Term Paper: Training Knowledge, Skill and Attitude

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[. . .] Gaps indicate that there is a definite need for change in organizational behavior and TNA helps in identifying what needs to be changed. Demands for change can be triggered by various factors - positive triggers such as new products, new customers, new equipments and performance appraisal; negative triggers such as loss of customer complaints, customers, declining productivity and profitability; and external triggers such as change in government policies, legislation, customer requirements, and strategy of competition. (Bartram and Gibson, 1997). Most of these triggers are visible and hence can form the basis for carrying out TNA.

The basic steps that can make an effective needs assessment are (a) analysis of the current situation (b)evaluation of the on-going training mechanism - identify gaps in skills and knowledge (d) identify and evaluate various training options and (e) choose the appropriate solutions that will best fit the organizational needs. TNA attempts to answer the fundamental questions of who (the target audience who needs to be trained), what (content of the training program), when (the timing) and where (the context or training environment).

Training evaluation:

After a training program is administered it is important to carry out evaluation of the outcome or effectiveness of the program. One problem often encountered by human resource managers is that while a training program may produce desirable changes in some aspects in the individuals, it may not be quite successful in other areas, thus falling short of organizational needs. It is in this context, that evaluation of training program assumes significance. The well-known Kirkpatrick's model of evaluation suggests a four level model of evaluation - reactions, learning, behavior and results. Human resource practitioners also rely on a wider model developed by Warr, Bird and Rackham. For a complete evaluation, a range of outcomes must be assessed, which fall under the broad categories of individual level outcomes and organization level outcomes.

Individual level outcomes are evaluated under four types: emotional outcome which covers employee reaction to the training course, changes in attitude towards the subject of training and development of motivation and self-confidence. Knowledge outcomes evaluate what the trainees have learnt and understood and whether there is increase in the level of knowledge after the program is completed. Software and management consulting firms expect employees to develop new knowledge on a continual basis to keep abreast of the rapidly changing developments. Behavioral outcomes measure demonstrable evidences of desirable actions carried out by the participants after the training is administered.

This is very important, as it directly translates into benefits for the organization in terms of better knowledge, skills and job performance. Manufacturing and service-oriented companies give special emphasis to this element. Finally, the instrumental outcomes are evaluated, which covers the events resulting out of the individual's participation in the training program. For instance, an employee may get a salary raise or promotion because of a special skill acquired by training. Almost all of the individual level outcomes can also be measured for a group of individuals. Common methods used include questionnaire, personal interviews, group discussions and live demonstrations.

Managers are also interested in understanding the effectiveness of training program at the organizational level. In other words, how and to what extent the organization has benefited because of the training program. Evaluation of organizational level outcomes deals with the assessment of change in key divisions or departments. Some factors which are generally evaluated include productivity levels, quality of products or services, health and safety indicators, response to changing customer requirements and market conditions, efficiency or work systems, personnel indicators and financial performance.

on-the-job training:

It is one of the important methods of training imparted by organizations in almost all areas. This is perhaps due to the conviction that this type or training produces tangible and measurable results in terms of performance enhancement. While there are several types of on-the-job training three areas which can be of use in most organizations - management training, professional and technical skills training and sales and customer relations training. Management training focuses on implementing well defined practices at the work-place and includes managing employees, supervision, appraisals, conflict resolution, recruitment and implementing management policies.

Professional and technical skills training are aimed at enhancing skills and knowledge in areas such as engineering, medicine, accounting, law and business. It is in high due to its perceived value and also enables the professionals to keep abreast of the changes in their fields, Sales and customer relations training is seen as vital to retaining customers and developing new ones, which are paramount to the profitability of any business. With competition increasing due to globalization of businesses, customer relations is the key to survival and growth and hence the need for staff to be trained in this area.

Advantages of diverse workforce:

learning organization tends to have a diverse workforce, where many personnel have multiple skills. This is possible by effective training of the staff, imparting the knowledge and skills required to work across areas which they are not familiar. In the current environment of competition and organizations tending to be leaner and mean, it is necessary that employees have multiple skills to meet the ever changing demands at the workplace. A diverse workforce provides several advantages. It contributes to building an internal talent pool that is equipped to take on new challenges and new developments, thus meeting organizational needs and also keep costs under control. Second, when skilled and experienced individuals leave the organization suddenly, other members are in a position to fill in the gap.

An organization seeking a diverse workforce follows the policy of equal opportunity employment and does not differentiate or discriminate based on gender, religion, ethnicity, disability or nationality. Employee diversity, if correctly managed can bring several benefits such as more effective recruitment, retention and motivation of employees, greater innovation, creativity and adaptability and better customer service. (Cox and Blake, 1991). Research studies have shown that managerial diversity can enable organizations to leverage their core competencies and distinct capabilities, leading to competitive advantage and better returns on investment. (Hamel and Prahalad, 1994, Robins and Wiersema, 1995).


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Hamel, G and Prahalad, C.K - 'Competing for the Future: Breakthrough Strategies for Seizing Control of your Industry and Creating the Markets of Tomorrow, Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1994

Lassey, P - 'Developing a Learning Organization', Kogan Page: London, 1998

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Senge, P - The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, New York: Double Day, 1990

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Defining an Attitude" Retrieved at http://users.ipfw.edu/bordens/social/attit.htm. Accessed on 03/04/2004 [END OF PREVIEW]

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