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Role of Training and Development in Employee and Organizational Performance

Role of Training and Development in Employee and Organizational Performance

The accomplishments or issues experienced by an organization are highly dependent to the performance of its employees. Also, changing technology needs that the employees possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to cope with new processes and production techniques. Hence, it is important for the management to recognize the importance of training and development. The main purpose of training and development is to improve knowledge and skills, and to change attitudes or behaviour of the employees. It is one of the most important potential motivators which can lead to many possible benefits for both the employees and the organization.

The focus of employees’ training and development leads to a superior workforce. This helps the organization in its performance and growth. The organizational performance and growth can be achieved through proper and systematic implementation of employees’ training and development programmes. Employees are always associated with development in career-enhancing skills which leads to employee motivation and retention. There is no doubt that well trained and developed employees are a valuable asset to the organization. They increases the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization by efficiently discharging their duties.

Training and development can be explained as a planned and systematic effort by the organizational management aimed at altering behaviour of the employees, in a direction which achieves the organizational goals. A formal training and development programme is an effort by the management to provide opportunities for the employees to acquire job-related skills, attitudes and knowledge. Several organizational managements have long recognized the importance of employees’ training and development for improving the organizational performance. As new technology progresses, it makes certain jobs and skills redundant and an increasing emphasis is to be placed on the need for a skilled and highly trained workforce. Several of the jobs being replaced by machines have been of an unskilled and semi-skilled nature, and this emphasizes the need for higher education and skills for those wishing to grow with the organization in the future.

The recognition of the importance of training and development in recent years has been heavily influenced by the intensification of competition and the relative success of those organizations where investment in employee development is considerably emphasized. Further, the technological developments and organizational change have gradually led the organizational management to the realization that success relies on the skills and abilities of the employees, and this means considerable and continuous investment in training and development. Also, the HRM (human resource management) concepts such as commitment to the organization and the growth in the quality movement have led the organizational management to realize the increased importance of training, employee development and long-term education. Such concepts need not only careful planning but a greater emphasis on employee development.=

Strategic approaches are necessary for the success of the training and development in the organization. The choice of approach is to be based on an analysis of the organizational needs, attitudes and beliefs of the management and the employees, as well as the level of resources which can be committed for the purpose. The strategic approach is to be followed both for assessing the current requirements as well as when planning for the future needs.

Enhanced employees’ capabilities, knowledge, and skills are the foundation for the organizational competitive advantage in the present day market environment. Training and development has the distinct role in the achievement of the organizational goal by incorporating the interests of organization and the employees. In the present environment, training and development  is the most important factor for the organizational success since it increases the efficiency and the effectiveness of both the employees and the organization.

Employee performance is defined as the outcome or contribution made by the employees to attain  the goals, while the organizational performance can be defined as the accomplishment of the organization with respect to the process, results, relevance, and success. It is the achievement of specific tasks measured against pre-determined or identified standards of accuracy, completeness, cost, and speed. Employee performance can be manifested in improvement in production, easiness in using the new technology, and high employee motivation.

The usefulness of training and development in the organization is that it increases (i) productivity, (ii) improves the quality of work, (iii) enhances skills, knowledge, understanding and attitude, (iv) brings about proper use of equipment, machinery and tools,(v) reduces waste, accidents, turnover, lateness, absenteeism, and other overhead costs, (vi) eliminates obsolesce in skills, technologies, methods, and products, (vii) capital management, (viii) enhances the implementation of new policies and regulations, (Ix) prepares the employees for achievement, (x) improves human resource development, and (xi) ensures the survival and growth of the organization. Training and development helps in optimizing the utilization of human resource which further helps to achieve the organizational goals as well as their individual goals. Training and development helps to provide an opportunity and broad structure for the development of human resources’ technical and behavioural skills in the organization. It also helps the employees in attaining personal growth. It helps in increasing the job knowledge and skills of employees at each level. In fact, it is a unified concept which helps to expand the horizons of human intellect and an overall personality of the employees.

Training and development is important for the success of the organization since it (i) helps in addressing employee weaknesses, (ii) causes improvement in the employees’ performance, (iii) results in the consistency in duty performance, (iv) ensures employees job satisfaction, (v) results in increase in the employees’ productivity, (vi) results in the improvement in the quality of service and products, and (vii) results in the reduction in supervision of the employees for the carrying their job. Fig 1 shows training and development process.

Fig 1 Training and development process

Further, through training and development of the employees the organizational management ensures (i) high morale of employees since the employees who are subjected to training and development have increased confidence and motivation, (ii) lower cost of production since training and development eliminates risks because trained and developed employees are able to make better and economic use of material and equipment thereby reducing and avoiding waste, (iii) lower turnover as training and development brings a sense of security at the workplace which reduces employees turnover and absenteeism is avoided, (iv) change management since training and development helps to manage change by increasing the understanding and involvement of employees in the change process and also provides the skills and abilities needed to adjust to new situations, (v) recognition, enhanced responsibility and the possibility of increased compensation and promotion, (vi) a feeling of personal satisfaction and achievement, and broaden opportunities for career progression; and (vii) improve the availability and quality of the employees.

The needs of training and development are normally organization specific. This is since it is largely a function of the requirements of the organization manpower for job specification. It is adoption of the available human resource of the organization to the need or objectives and to the orientation of the organization. In fact, employee training and development is focused on equipping the organizational human resource with the capabilities which are needed for effective performance in the organization. It is geared towards updating the employees with new techniques or skills associated with the performance of their jobs.

The training and development methods help in job rotation, self-development, and self-assessment. It also helps in succession planning since it allows smooth transition of work. It helps in job rotation by making the employees competent in several work areas and /or disciplines. It enhances the self discipline which means a personal desire to improve through an individual’s attempt to embark on study and practical experience which are independent of the organizational role and contribution. Self-assessment means personal identification of strength and an attempt to improve and build current efforts for a more fulfilling organizational movement.

Methods of manpower development include orientation, on–the-job training, in service training, committee / work group method, vestibule training method and apprenticeship, coaching / understanding, job rotation, committee membership, special assignment, programmed instructions, simulation, special course, professional body’s membership, business games, and part- time programs. Further, methods of employee development include career planning, mentoring, job training, and proficiency courses such as technical courses and professional certifications to improve the current and future job performance of employees. It also involves existence of a cordial atmosphere in the organization which encourages employees to add value to them to enhance their current and future goal attainment in a cost effective ways.

No matter which method of employee development is used, the thing which counts is that employee development programmes are to be designed to meet specific objectives, which contribute to both employee and organizational effectiveness. Within this context, there are several steps in the process of training and development which are to be considered. These steps include reviewing organizational objectives, evaluating the organizational current manpower resources, determining individual needs, designing and implementing training and development programmes and evaluating the effectiveness of these programs, measuring the impact of training on participating employees’ quality of work life and finally, providing effective feedback which lists the overall returns and benefits on employees and organization.

For meeting of the current and future organizational requirements, training and development process has a strategic role in the organization. Hence, a proper understanding of training and development by the organizational management is essential so that it can be developed and practiced within the organization by appreciating learning of theories and approaches. Management is to understand and appreciate that the employees are to be equipped with the right kind of skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform their assigned tasks and training and development plays a crucial role towards the growth and success of the organization. By choosing the right type of training and development method, the management is to ensure that the needs of the organization ar met and these needs are to be continuously updated in the light of the changes in the environments which take place on a continuous basis.

Training is an effort initiated by the organization to foster learning among its employees. It goes a long way in training to upgrade the existing skills and knowledge of the employees for performing job activities. It encompasses the adoption of both formal and informal approaches to impart knowledge so that the employees get the needed proficiency to deliver. It is the process whereby employees enhance their aptitudes, expertise, and abilities to enable them to do specific jobs. It is considered as the formal and systematic modification of behaviour through learning which occurs as a result of education, instruction, development and planned experience. It is a type of activity which is planned, systematic and it results in enhanced level of skill, knowledge, and competency which are necessary to perform work effectively.

Development is an effort which is oriented more towards broadening the employees’ skills for the future responsibility. It consists of a broad ongoing multi-faceted set of activities (training activities among them) aimed at bringing the employees of the organization upto another threshold of performance, frequently to perform some job or a new role in the future. It includes getting the skills, knowledge, and other behaviours necessary for or applicable to a job or an activity. It prepares the employees for future higher responsibilities linked with higher positions. It comprises activities such as coaching, formal educational commitments and experiences. Development programs are regarded as specific framework for helping employees to develop their personal and professional skills, knowledge, attitudes, behaviour, and hence improve their abilities to perform specific task in the organization.

Additionally, employees’ training and their development enable human capital to unleash employees’ agility and it helps to ensure that the employees have the knowledge and skills they need to perform their jobs effectively, take on new responsibilities, and adapt to changing condition. Also training and development address the issues related to the employees’ performance concerned with some elements such as communication, job knowledge, creativity / innovation, technological skills, problem solving, attitude, sense of accountability, culture fit and so on, which are associated with the organizational success.

Thus training and development is any activity which improves upon skills, knowledge and behaviour, with the utilization of both formal and informal training. It is a continuous effort designed to improve employees’ competence and organize performance as a goal to improve on the employees’ capacity and performance. From the foregoing, it is visible that there is a symbiotic relationship between training and development.

Training and development is very important for the organizations. It enables the organization to adapt to changes which meet the tastes and preferences of its customers. It also improves employees’ skills and boosts their morale, thereby making them efficient, improving operations, reducing waste, and increasing productivity. In addition, training and development makes employees more disciplined which results in minimal supervision. It shortens the time for learning by new employees, reduces learning costs, and motivates employees to be loyal to the organization. Employees get a lot of benefits from the employee training and development programmes. They learn the soft and technical skills as needed by their jobs.

The organization increases its effectiveness and improves its performance by having the employees who are equipped with the skills and expertise of the jobs which they are to perform. Hence, the organizational management is required to focus and invest in effective training and development programmes for organizational effectiveness. The investment made on training and development activities is considered as investment only when training and development activities fulfills the purpose i.e. the improved performance of the employees. In order training programmes to be effective, training and development activities are to be designed and developed effectively. Management frequently struggle in designing such effective programmes.

The employee performance depends on several factors such as job satisfaction, motivation, compensation and incentives etc., but the most important factor for enhancing the employees’ performance is training and development as it strengthens the foundation  on which the capabilities for the improved performance is build up. The employee performance is the important factor and, in fact, the building block for increasing the overall performance of the organization.  Hence for improving the organizational performance, it becomes necessary that the employees’ performance is enhanced, and a properly designed training and development programme plays an important role in this.

The main objective of training and development is to implant required knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the employees so that they are better equipped to perform the assigned tasks. The knowledge, skills, and capabilities of performing a job provides the employees a deep satisfaction when they carry out the job at their work places successfully and productively. This has an impact on the employees’ motivation and they become more committed for the job. The higher is the commitment and motivation, the higher is the level of performance of the employees on the job and improved employees’ performance on the job gets immediately reflected in the organizational performance.

Training and development programmes are directed towards maintaining and improving job performance of the employees in their present work places. Training provides the employees a learning experience, seeks a change in employees’ skills, knowledge, attitudes, or behaviour which is increasingly needed to assist the employees in using modern techniques, tools, strategies, and materials in their performing jobs. On the other hand, employees’ development normally focuses on future jobs in the organization and it encourages employees to acquire new or advanced skills, knowledge, and view points, by providing learning and training facilities, and workplace where such new ideas can be applied. Again employee development is a joint initiative of the employees as well as the organizational management.

Development seeks to improve skills for future jobs. Considering the progress in the technology, certain jobs become redundant when the replacement of machines and equipment becomes necessary for meeting the ever changing market requirements. Further, enhancement of the education and competence becomes essential for those employees in current positions who wish to be promoted in the future.

The purpose of training in the work situation is to develop the abilities of the individual and to satisfy the current and future needs of the organization. Training is a learning activity directed towards the acquisition of specific knowledge and skills for the purpose of an occupation or task. The learning has occurred can only be inferred from a comparison of the employees’ behaviour prior to the experiences of specific kinds of task. This is not to say that there has been no learning if there is no obvious behavioural change. Since training is normally intended to provide learning experiences which help the employees to perform more effectively in their jobs, organizational training is required to follow the learning principle. A properly designed and well planned training and development programme can create the potential for a virtuous learning circle which is shown in Fig 2.

Fig 2 Virtuous learning circle

The focus of training and development is the job or task, for example, the need to have efficiency and safety in the operation of particular machines or equipment, or the need for an effective work force etc. Training and development is the planned and systematic modification of behaviour through learning events, activities and programmes which results in the participating employees achieving the levels of knowledge, skills, competencies and abilities to carry out their work effectively and to achieve effective performance in an activity or range of activities. It is the systematic process of altering the behaviour and or attitudes of employees in a direction to increase the achievement of the organizational goals. This means for the organization to succeed in achieving the objectives of its training programme, the design and implementation is to be planned, systematic, and tailored towards enhancing performance and productivity.

During designing of the training and development programmes, the aspects which are to be taken care include information of prior knowledge of trainees, format of training, focus on behavioural aspects, contents of training, instructional procedures, and training aids etc. Learning curve is an important factor to be considered while designing the training and development programmes. It is a well known fact that learning does not take place at constant rate. A number of factors such as the difficulty of task, and the ability of an individual to learn influence the learning process. A learning curve (Fig 3) has three stages. Stage 1 is rapid initial learning stage; stage 2 is the tapering of the learning stage, while the stage 3 is the tapering of the learning stage.

Fig 3 Typical learning curve

The success of a training and development efforts in the organization depends more on the organizational ability to identify training and development needs and the care with which it prepares the training and development programmes. If the employees do not learn what they are supposed to learn from the training and development programmes, the training and development activity in the organization is not going to be successful. If the employees do not learn from the programmes then it is probably that some of the important learning principle have been overlooked while the designing of the training and development programmes.

The success or failure of a training programme is frequently related to the recognition and application of basic psychological principles of learning. This assertion is not necessarily right. If the trainees do not learn anything then of what benefit the employees are going to provide the organization. If the employees return empty from a training and development programme, with nothing to contribute, it can also mean that even though the organization might have done all that is necessary to ensure a successful training programme, the wrong employees have been selected for the training programme.

Training and development also enhances the capabilities of the employees in a very effective way by motivating them and transforming them into well organized and well-mannered personnel and this ultimately affects the performance of the organization. It is an indicator for the enhanced superior skills, knowledge, capabilities, and outlook of the employees which are essential means for the effective performance of the employees and for the improvement in their productivity. This in turn ultimately affects the organization performance and effectiveness.

Furthermore, the most important impact of training and development on employees’ and organizational performance is improving the quality and quantity of organization’s output, increasing  the profitability of the organization, safeguarding of the organization stability, minimizing of the risk, decreasing of the organizational cost and expenses, improving the management of the organization, and establishing a positive image of the organization in the market. All these can be achieved through systematic modification and updating of behaviour, skills and abilities to effectively meet the future requirements.

Since training and development is seen as the most prevalent means for enhancing the employees’ productivity and communicating organizational goals to employees, it has to be systematic, well planned and effective. For training programmes to be effective, training needs in the organization are to be identified first. Every training and development programme is related to the specific needs of the organization and of the individual employees. It is to be launched only after the training needs are assessed clearly. The effectiveness of training and the development programmes can be judged with the help of training needs identified in advance. To identify the same, gap between the existing and required levels of knowledge, skills, performance and aptitudes is to be specified.

One of the barriers to convey the training to the employees is the poor training content and delivery style. A good trainer is the one who has the skills to conduct a training programme more purposeful by setting appropriate training objectives, capture the attention of the audience, and also deliver it in a way so that the employees can easily understand well. Training objectives are considered as the ‘pillar’ of training programmes and lack of solid objectives leads to failure of training and development programmes. There can be several reasons for the failure of training and development programmes.  These are described below.

The first reason identified for the failure of training and development programme stems from the training objectives not being aligned with the organizational needs. If the root of the problem of poor performance, for example, is related to such factors as incentive and reward systems, job design, and motivation, which are not related to training, training and development programme does not help and is pointless.

The second reason for failure is the absence of the objectives. In the absence of the objectives to provide direction and focus, training and development efforts certainly do not succeed. Training and development is to be a focused process which allows the employees to get the desired results. Objectives afford important direction and focus for learning the final product, which is a change in job performance.

The third reason relates to the training cost. When training and development programme is too expensive compared to its short-term return on investment, then the organizational management can consider it a failure and, hence, unacceptable. However, the long-term pay-off can be rewarding.

As regards the fourth reason, training and development programme is worthless if the participants regard the programme as a mere event without any change to their behaviour. Whenever training is considered as a single event, the chances of behaviour change are slim.

As per the fifth reason, training and development programme is likely to fail if the participants are not held accountable for the results. Normally, employees are not held accountable for the use of the contents of their course in the workplace. Unless they are held accountable, no change occurs in their behaviour.

As per the sixth reason the failure takes place when the conditions are not conducive to learning. In such conditions, the training efforts go waste. Without the support of line management, training and development efforts end up in failure. When there is no support from the line managers, the employees resist implementing the new skills and knowledge acquired during the training course. Management involvement is crucial to the learning process.

Further, the failure of training and development occurs when the organization fails to isolate the effects of training and development. However, other factors rather than training can influence the performance. Thus, the advances directly related to training are to be isolated. If not, some training programmes clearly noticeable as impacting on the bottom line can be discarded as irrelevant. For the success of a training programme, the commitment of the management is critical. The management not only allocates the resources but, for the training and development to succeed, but also participates in the design of the process.

Lastly, training and development efforts are unsuccessful if there is a failure to provide feedback and use information about the results. If the organization fails to evaluate training by providing feedback, employees are not able to know about their progress, neither the facilitators are able to understand the success of the programmes.

However, these causes of failure can be prevented or at least reduced. There are a set of desirable techniques and models which can prevent the failure of training and development programmes.

Training and development plays an important role in human resource development of the organization to achieve both the objectives of the employees and the organization. Training and development is said to have significant impact on employees’ performance as well as organizational performance.

Training and development can be regarded as the major factor in the creation of employee human capital, which determines the long-term productivity of the employees’ behaviour. The role of training and development is a prominent determinant for improving human resource productivity. It plays a very important role in improving the productivity of human resources. The usefulness of training and development in the organization is now universally accepted. The various outcomes of the training and development are (i) it increases productivity, (ii) improves the quality of work, (iii) enhances skills, knowledge, understanding and attitude, (iv) bring about the use of tools and machine, (v) reduces waste, accidents, turnover, lateness, absenteeism and other overhead costs, (vi) eliminates obsolescence in skills, technologies, methods, products, capital management, (vii) enhances the implementation of new policies and regulations, and (viii) prepares people for achievement, improves manpower development, and ensures the survival and growth of the organization. Furthermore, it not only equip employees with most of the knowledge and skills needed to accomplish jobs, but it also helps to achieve overall  organizational objectives by contributing to the satisfaction and productivity of employee.

Organizational productivity is the measure of how specified resources are managed to accomplish timely objectives as stated in terms of quantity and quality. Training and development can be regarded as the major factor in the creation of employee human capital, which determines the long-term productivity of the employees’ behaviour. Furthermore, effective training and development not only equip employee with most of the knowledge and skills needed to accomplish jobs, it also help to achieve overall organization objectives by contributing to the satisfaction and productivity of employee. Sometimes, the organization can have employees with the ability and determination, with appropriate equipment and managerial support yet productivity can still fall below expected standards. This missing link is frequently caused by the lack of acquisition and by extension utilization of adequate skills and knowledge as well as positive work attitude by employees, which are normally acquired through effective mechanism of employees’ training and development. Absence of such employees’ training and development programmes in the organization frequently manifests tripartite problems of incompetence, inefficiency, and ineffectiveness and consequently negatively contributing to individual and he organizational activities.

In this respect it is worth mentioning that training and development is not exclusively reserved for newly recruited employees but it is also a necessity for the older employees. Hence, for the purpose of enhancing individual performance, it is important that training and development is made a continuous process which is to last through the employees’ entire working life. The presence of a continuous training and development can solve a variety of employees’ problems which resists the optimal productivity and performance. These problems include needs to (i) increase productivity and efficiency, (ii) improve the quality and quantity of work, (iii) boost employees’ morale and organizational climate, (iv) implement new or changed policies or regulations, (v) ensure the survival and growth of the organization, (vi) develop new skills, knowledge, understanding and attitudes, provide for succession plan and ensure continuity of leadership, (vii) prevent skill obsolescence and cope with the new technological advancement, (viii) use correctly new tools, machines, processes, methods or modifications thereof, (ix) reduce waste, accidents, turnover, lateness, absenteeism, and other overhead costs and bring incumbents to that level of performance which meets ‘100 % of the time’ the standard of performance for the job.

Hence, it can be concluded that training and development provide adequate criteria to the employees to perform better in a given task and subsequently contributes to the organizational performance. Highly developed, intelligent, flexible, skilled, competent, effective and well trained employees are central to performance, productivity and the success of the organization.

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