Fast growing and profitable organizations across the globe have something in common, that is majority of them rely heavily on their investments but not just any investment; rather investment on their employee’s training and development. According to a recent industry report by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), U.S. organizations alone spend more than $126 billion annually on employee training and development (Paradise 2007).
Trainings within organizations have become more structured, customized and well-refined, based on the goals and developmental needs of the organization. When the Human Resource Leaders sit down with different Managers to scrutinize the training from its delivery to its effectiveness, with the key focus of closing the talent gap and acquiring the skill sets through the training is when they lock on their road map towards organizational success.
The reasons why several companies focus more on training is that training impact employee’s ability and skill set, all of which results to a better individual performance that ultimately leads to a team achieving its goals and henceforth retention and a more profitable organization. Numerous studies conducted in European countries have recognized the impact of training on organizational performance. Arag ´ on-S´anchez et al. (2003) studied the relationship between training and organizational performance by issuing a survey to 457 small and medium-size businesses in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, and Spain. Organizational performance was operationalized as (a) effectiveness (i.e., employee participation and quality), and (b) profitability (i.e., sales volume, benefits before interest and taxes, and a ratio of benefit before taxes/sales). Results indicated that some types of training activities, including training inside the organization using in-house trainers, were positively related to most dimensions of effectiveness and profitability.
Now considering that the organizational profitability and performance depends on the individual performance factored by training, it is vital to understand that each individual’s training need varies from another and analyzing the true training needs and objectives based on the organization’s goal is the first step to this key process.
In the training need analysis (TNA) process, leaders must identify which individual requires training, what training will be departed as well as the training method. There are various ways of gathering information for the TNA process, some of these include:
- Direct observation
- Focus groups
- Consultation with managers or personnel in key positions, and/or with specific knowledge
- Review of previous performance reviews
- Work samples / Job Analysis
- Assessments / Analysis / surveys
- Records & report studies
Whichever means are used for gathering training needs information, it is essential for the training planner to know what the organization is trying to accomplish, consider the history of how the organization has evolved, its culture, its recent process or organizational changes and the resources available for training. The training planner must also know what fund is available for training or the amount of investment the organization is willing to make for the training. Knowing the answers to such essential information will help the training planner design an effective training plan.
There are several perspectives to consider when designing a training plan for an organization. These are traditional and modern approaches to choose depending on the training need analysis results:
- On job training
- Off-the-job techniques
- Instructor lead training
- Technology-Based Learning
- Job rotation
- Group Discussions
- Management Games
- Off-site training
- Planned Reading
Last but not the least, the process of evaluating the training should be done during and / or at the end of the training in order to ensure the training is taking in to effect and at what level. For instance, some trainers throw in a few quizzes and questionnaire during the training to evaluate the response and degree of effectiveness of the training. If the response is positive, he may continue with the method, whereas if he receives a negative response he may take actions to avoid deviation from the training plan and the fulfillment of its objective. Frayne & Geringer (2000) conducted a field test in which they administered self-management training (lectures, group discussions, and case studies) to 30 salespeople in the life insurance industry. Results showed that salespeople who participated in the training program proved higher self-efficacy, outcome expectancy and objective conclusions (e.g., number of new policies sold) as well as individual job performance (i.e., sales managers’ ratings of each salesperson’s performance). The positive response of training-related performance improvement was sustained over a 12-month period after training ended.
Understanding an organization’s goals, its employee’s training needs, effective method of departing training and its timely evaluation will ensure an organization towards it success and profitability.