Training and Development Process

Training and Development Process

In the present-day knowledge-based environment, things are changing at a very fast pace. Even to maintain its position, the organization has to do a lot as well as to act very fast. Organization achieves strategic advantages only because of its core competencies and core competence is developed only by the employees of the organization. Hence for achieving a level of excellence, organizations are to invest in updating the skills of its employees. This is done through training and development process which is shown in Fig 1.

Fig 1 Training and development process

Every organization needs to have well trained and experienced people to perform the activities which are required to be carried out in the organization. This needs the raising the skill levels and increasing the versatility and adoptability of the employees. Inadequate performance of the employees at the workplace results in a decline in employee productivity. Further, in case of job redesigning or technology upgradation, a necessity arises for imparting some type of training to the employees so that they can be developed to carry out the new job efficiently.

In a rapidly changing technological environment, the regular training and development of the employees is not only is desirable but also needs regular commitment of resources from the management so that knowledgeable employees are available in the organization for carrying out its activities efficiently. Further, training is needed for the newly recruited employees regardless of their previous training and experience so that they can be introduced to the work-environment of their new Job and taught how to perform specific tasks. Also, retraining of the existing employees is needed when they are transferred or promoted or when jobs change takes place. Training is valuable to the new employees in terms of better job security and greater opportunity for advancement. Hence, a skill acquired by the new employees through training is an asset to the organization.

Training and development programmes are important for the organization since they (i) improve the quality of the work done by the employees, (ii) improve the employees’ growth, (iii) prevent obsolescence since the employee is up to date with new technology and the fear of being thrown out of the organization is reduced, (iv) assist the newly recruited employees, (v) bridge the gap between planning and implementation, (vi) help in the implementation of health and safety measures since they teach the employees about the different risk involved in their job, the different problems which can arise, and how to prevent such problems, (vii) increase efficiency and effectiveness since they make the employees more skilled and competent, (viii) improve employees’ productivity, and (ix) provide competitive advantage to the organization by removing performance deficiencies, making employees stay longer, minimizing accidents, scraps and damages, and meeting future employee needs.

Training and development process is very important for organizations. There is a symbiotic relationship between training and development. Training encompasses the adoption of both formal and informal approaches to impart knowledge so that the employees get the needed skills to deliver. It is the process whereby employees’ aptitudes, skills and abilities enable them to do specific jobs. It is the formal and systematic modification of behaviour through learning which occurs as a result of education, instruction, development, and planned experience. Development, on the other hand, includes getting the skills, knowledge and other behaviours necessary for or applicable to a process or an activity. It prepares employees to occupy higher positions in the organization and assists them to get future jobs. It comprises activities such as coaching, formal educational commitments, and experiences.

Training and development process is any activity which improves upon skills, knowledge and behaviour through both formal and informal training. It enables the organization to adapt to changes which meet the requirements of the customers. It also improves employees’ skills and boosts their morale, thereby making them efficient, reducing waste and operations and increasing productivity. In addition, training and development process brings about reduction in employee turnover and results in minimal supervision. Still, it shortens the time for learning for the new employees, reduces learning costs, and motivates employees to be loyal to the organization.

Training and development processes are one of the main functions of the human resource management. Training refers to a systematic setup where employees are instructed and taught matters of technical knowledge related to their jobs. These processes focus on teaching employees how to use particular equipment or how to do specific tasks to increase efficiency. Whereas, development refers to the overall holistic and educational growth and maturity of people in managerial positions. The process of development is in relation to insights, attitudes, and adaptability, leadership, and human relations. Hence, training and development is an attempt to improve present or future performance of the  employees by increasing the employees’ ability to perform through learning, normally by changing the employees’ attitude or increasing their skills and knowledge.

Training is an organized activity for increasing the knowledge and skills of the employees for a definite purpose. It involves systematic procedures for transferring technical know-how to the employees doing specific jobs with proficiency. In other words, the employees acquire the technical knowledge, skills and problem-solving ability by undergoing the training programmes. Hence, training is the act of increasing the knowledge and skills of the employee for doing a particular job. Training involves the development of skills which are normally necessary for performing a specific job. Its purpose is to achieve a change in the behaviour of those trained and to enable them to do their jobs better. Training makes newly recruited employees fully productive in the minimum of time. Training is equally necessary for the existing employees whenever new technology and equipment are introduced and / or there is change in the techniques of doing the work.

Training has a complementary role to play in accelerating learning. It is to be reserved for situations which justify a more directed, expert-led approach rather than viewing it as a comprehensive and all-pervasive people development solution. The conventional training model has a tendency to emphasize subject-specific knowledge, rather than trying to build core learning abilities. Formal training is indeed only one of the ways of ensuring that learning takes place, but it can also be justified since (i) the work needs skills which are best developed by formal instruction, (ii) different skills are needed by a number of people, which have to be developed quickly to meet new demands and cannot be acquired by relying on experience, (iii) the tasks to be carried out are so specialized or complex that people are unlikely to master them on their own initiative at a reasonable speed, (iv) critical information is to be imparted to employees to ensure that they meet their responsibilities, and (v) a learning need common to a number of people has to be met which can readily be dealt with in a training programme, for example induction, essential information technology (IT) skills, and communication skills etc.

Training is the use of systematic and planned instruction activities to promote learning. The approach can be summarized in the phrase ‘learner-based training’. It is one of several responses an organization can undertake to promote learning. Training is conducted through training centres, working with a mentor, coaching by the line manager or team leader, getting experience in new tasks, guided reading, special assignments and action learning. Formal training to develop knowledge and skills can be part of the plan but it is not the most important part.

Training is the process through which employees are made capable of doing the jobs prescribed to them. It is the act of increasing the knowledge and skills of the employees for doing a particular job. It is the process by which the employees acquire skills for carrying out the particular jobs assigned to them. It is the organized procedure by which employees learn knowledge and skills for a definite purpose. They acquire new skills, technical knowledge, problem-solving ability, and develop positive attitude towards their work. Training makes newly recruited employees fully productive in the minimum of time. Even training is necessary for the existing employees to refresh their knowledge and to be conversant with work techniques which have been upgraded in the mean-time. Fig 2 shows systematic approach to the training process.

Fig 2 Systematic approach to training process

The four terms which are frequently being used are training, learning, education, and development. On the face of it, there appears to be not much difference between them, but when a deep thought is given, there appear that there are differences between them. Training involves some learning and education while learning and education have a built-in a training component in them. Also, these three terms cannot be separated from development.

Training involves the application of formal processes to impart knowledge and help people to acquire the skills necessary for them to perform their jobs satisfactorily. Learning is distinguished from training.

Learning is the process by which a person constructs new knowledge, skills, and capabilities, whereas training is one of several responses an organization can undertake to promote learning. The encouragement of learning makes use of a process model, which is concerned with facilitating the learning activities of the employees and providing learning resources for them to use. On the other hand, the provision of training involves the use of a content model, which means deciding in advance the knowledge and skills which need to be improved by training, planning the programme, deciding on training methods, and presenting the content in a logical sequence through various forms of instruction. A distinction is made between learning, which ‘lies within the domain of the individual’ and training which ‘lies within the domain of the organization’. Presently, the approach is to focus on individual learning and ensure that it takes place when needed which is ‘just-for-you’ and ‘just-in-time’ learning.

Training is a process of learning a sequence of programmed behaviour. In all types of training, there is some education and in all types of education there is some training. And the training and education cannot be separated from development. Training is application of knowledge. It gives the employees an awareness of the rules and procedures to guide their behaviour. It attempts to improve employees’ performance on the present job or prepare them for an intended job. Training is the corner-stone of sound management, since it makes employees more effective and productive. It is an integral part of the management programmes. Development is a related process. It covers not only those activities which improve job performance but also those which bring about growth of the personality, help employees in the progress towards maturity and actualization of their potential capacities so that they become not only good employees but better individuals and hold greater responsibility. Training an employee for a bigger and higher job is development. It includes not only imparting specific skills and knowledge but also inculcating certain personality and mental attitudes. The organization can have its own training centre. Some large organization also have corporate universities.

The process of training and development is an activity which aims to improve the performance of the employees and groups in the organization. Organizations make systematic procedures to educate employees on the necessary technical and management skills for their roles. Development is concerned with ensuring that the employees’ ability and potential are grown and realized through the provision of learning experiences or through self-directed (self-managed) learning. It is an unfolding process which enables employees to progress from a present state of understanding and capability to a future state in which higher-level skills, knowledge, and competencies are needed.

Learning and development are the processes of acquiring and developing knowledge, skills, capabilities, behaviours and attitudes through learning or developmental experiences. It is concerned with ensuring that the organization has the knowledgeable, skilled, engaged and committed employees it needs. Learning is the means by which the employees acquire and develop new knowledge, skills, capabilities, behaviours and attitudes. Learning has taken place when employees people can demonstrate that they know something which they did not know before (insights, realizations as well as facts) and when they can do something they could not do before (skills). Learning is a continuous process which not only improves existing capabilities but also leads to the development of the skills, knowledge and attitudes which prepare employees for enlarged or higher-level responsibilities in the future.

Formal learning is planned and systematic. It makes use of structured training programmes consisting of instruction and practice which can be conducted on-the-job or off-the-job. It can be planned to provide opportunities for continuous learning and development. Formal learning and developmental activities can be used such as action learning, coaching, mentoring and outdoor learning. A properly designed and planned training process can create the potential for a virtuous learning circle. Fig 3 shows a virtuous leaning circle.

Fig 3 Virtuous learning circle

Education is the understanding and interpretation of knowledge. It does not provide definite answers, but rather, it develops a logical and rational mind which can determine relationships among pertinent variables and thereby understand phenomena. Education imparts qualities of mind and character, understanding of basic principles, synthesis, and objectivity. Normally, education involves a range of skills and expertise, which can be provided only by educational institutions. Organizations can and do make use of such institutions in order to support and supplement their internal training and development efforts.

Training is defined as the systematic development of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed by an individual to perform adequately a given task or job. It is also defined as a planned process to modify attitude, knowledge, or skill behaviour through learning experience to achieve effective performance in an activity or range of activities. Its purpose in the work situation is to develop the abilities of the employees and to satisfy present and future manpower needs of the organization. It clearly implies that the role of training is to improve the overall performance of the organization. The term ‘performance’ is, hence interwoven with training.

Training is a short-term process utilizing a systematic and organized procedure by which employees have technical knowledge and skills for a definite purpose. Development is a long-term educational process utilizing a systematic and organized procedure by which managerial employees learn conceptual and the theoretical knowledge for general purpose. Training refers only to instruction in technical and mechanical operations while development refers to philosophical and theoretical educational concepts.

Training courses are typically designed for a short-term purpose, while development involves a broader education for long-term purposes. Training and development differ on account of ‘what’, ‘who’, ‘why’, and ‘when’. Employee training is distinct from management development or executive development. While the former refers to training given to the employees in the areas of operations, technical, and allied subjects, the latter refers to developing the employees in the areas of principles and techniques of management, administration, organization, and allied areas. It can be more appropriately understood as explained below.

Training is meant for all individuals and normally meant for line managers, supervisors, and non-executive employees. On the other hand, developmental activities are normally focused on the executive employees. The aim of training is to develop specific abilities in an employee, while the aim of development is to improve the total personality of the employee. Training is a specific activity or one-shot affair aimed to imparting specific job-related information and skills while development is a continuous process. Training is mostly a preparation to meet the present needs of an individual. Hence, it can be seen as a reactive process. Training is a short-term process utilizing a systematic and organized procedure by which non-managerial employees learn technical knowledge and skills for a definite purpose.

Development is a long-term educational process utilizing a systematic and organized procedure by which managerial employees learn conceptual and theoretical knowledge for general purpose. Training refers only to instruction in technical and mechanical operations, while development refers to philosophical and theoretical educational concepts.

Development is a preparation of the individuals so that they can meet their future responsibilities and hence development process is having the long-run objectives. The initiative for training largely comes from management, while the initiative for development comes from the individual employee, and it is because of internal motivation. Different activities, planned and unplanned, formal and informal, initiated and carried out by individual and the organization, come under development.

The objectives of training include to (i) increase the knowledge of the employees in doing specific jobs, (ii) impart new skills among the employees systematically so that they learn quickly, (iii) bring about change in the attitudes of the employees towards fellow employees, line manager, and the organization, (iv) improve the overall performance of the organization, (v) make the employees handle materials, tools, and equipment efficiently and hence check the wastages of time and resources, (vi) reduce the number of incidents and accidents by providing safety training to the employees, and (vii) prepare the employees for the higher positions in the organization.

Training and development enable the employees to get acquainted with jobs and increase their aptitudes, skills, and knowledge. It helps the newly recruited employee to be productive in minimum time. Even for the experienced employees, it is necessary to refresh them and enable them to keep up with new methods, techniques, new technologies and equipments for doing the work. Training is vital and necessary for the activities of the organization and plays a big role in determining the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization. It is advantageous not only to the organization but also to the employees. The major advantages of training to the organizations are given below.

Quick learning – Training helps to reduce the learning time to reach the acceptable level of performance. The employees need not learn by observing others and waste time if the formal training programme exists in the organization. The qualified trainers help the new employees to acquire the skills and knowledge to do particular jobs quickly

Follow up of selection procedure – Training is a follow up of selection procedure. It helps in choosing the most appropriate individuals for different jobs. Training can be used in spotting out promising employees and in removing short-comings in the selection process.

Better performance – Training is about improvement of the quality of output by increasing the skills of the employees. It makes the fresh as well as the existing employees acquire more skills and so that they can work more efficiently at their workplace.

Higher productivity – Training increases the skill of the new employees in the performance of a particular job. An increase in skill normally helps in increasing both the quantity and the quality of the output. Training is also of great help to the existing employees. It helps them to increase their level of performance on their present job assignment and prepares them for future assignments.

Economical operations – Training of the employees help them in making better and economical use of the materials and equipments besides decreasing the wastages. In addition, the rate of accidents can cause damage to the plant and equipment which is reduced because of training. This results into lower specific cost of production.

Standardization of procedures – With the help of training, the best available methods of performing the work can be standardized and taught to all the employees. Standardization helps achieving higher level of performance as a rule rather than as an exception.

Reduction in supervision – If the employees are given proper training, then the need of supervision gets reduced. Well trained employees are self-reliant in their work since they have been introduced to the work-environment of their new Job and have been taught how to perform specific tasks. They know what is to be done and how it is to be done. Under such situations, close supervision of the employees is no more need and hence, organizational resources can be utilized for on other basic and important functions of the organization.

Increase in employee morale – Training boosts the morale of the employees. As a common objective of the organization, training programme moulds the attitude of the employees towards achieving support for the organizational activities and hence the organization gets better cooperation and increased loyalty. Also, since training contributes to the employees’ satisfaction, it reduces complaints, absenteeism, and turnover. Hence, training helps in building an efficient and cooperative workforce.

Preparation of employees for new technologies – When new skills are needed by the organization because of the introduction of new technology and / or equipment, it has to face difficulties. Training of the employees helps in smooth introduction of new technologies / equipment.

Organizational stability and flexibility – Training increases the stability and flexibility of the organization. It creates of a reservoir of trained replacements which increases the stability of the organization, since the organization is able to sustain its effectiveness despite the loss of key personnel.

Training and development also provide advantages to the employees. These advantages have been summarized below.

Increase in wage earning capacity – Training and development help the employees to acquire new knowledge and job skills. The improved knowledge and skills help the employees in increasing their market value and wage-earning power which in turn leads to increase in their pay and status.

Job security – Training and development help the employees to develop their ability to adopt to new work methods, besides learning to use new kinds of equipment and adjusting to major changes in job contents as well a work relationship. This improves their job security.

Chances of promotion – Training and development help the employees to qualify for promotion to more responsible jobs.

Training and development also have its limitations. These are (i) training is a costly process making the organization to spend substantive amount which the organization is to manage from its budget, (ii) training and development can result in dislocation of work and loss of output since regular work is likely to be interrupted or delayed because of the time the employees spend when they are being trained, (iii) sometimes, it is difficult to get training instructors and leaders, and (iv) self-reliance and capacity for new ideas can be stifled.

Effective training is not an isolated event in an organization. Training is to be strategic in that it is to be designed to improve the knowledge, skills and abilities of the employees to help them achieve the organization’s strategic plan. Hence, for the training is to be designed effectively, one has to first understand the organization. This is done by conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and strengths) analysis to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the organization. With this information and an understanding of the organizational vision, effective training creates a competitive advantage for the organization. After completing the SWOT analysis, a training needs assessment is conducted to identify the gaps between the employees’ actual performance and desired performance. Careful analysis of performance gaps determines what training needs to be done or if there is a need for training at all. In some cases, the performance gaps are not related to training deficiencies and other interventions are needed. Fig 4 gives a model for training and development.

Fig 4 Model for training and development

Training needs analysis is a plan to ensure that the training becomes a targeted, and an effective activity. It is done to find out exactly what the employees need to know (i) to achieve the organizational objectives, (ii) where the present skill is missing the mark, and (iii) how the management can deliver consistent training to keep the skill base of the employees afloat.

Training needs are identified on the basis of organizational analysis, job analysis, and man-power analysis. Training programmes, training methods, and the course contents are to be planned in keeping with the training needs. Training needs are those aspects necessary to perform the job in the organization in which executive is lacking attitude / aptitude of knowledge and skills. The methods normally used to assess the training needs are (i) organizational goal and objectives, (ii) organizational requirements and weaknesses, (iii) departmental requirements and weaknesses, (iv) job specifications, (v) identification of specific problems, (vi) issues which are expected to arise in future, (vii) desire of the organizational management, (viii) observations of the supervising manager, (ix) interviews, (x) department / group meetings, (xi) questionnaire surveys, (xii) tests or examinations, (xiii) check lists, and (xiv) performance appraisals.

The two outcomes of a training need analysis are (i) there is a need for training, and (ii) there is no need for training. A training need reveals a performance gap which can be filled with training. Training need exists when the employee does not know how to do the job because of a lack of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. A non-training need reveals a gap which cannot be filled (or fixed) with training. It can encompass workflow, recruitment, or job design. Employees know how to do the job, but something else affects their performance.

While several different approaches can be used to identify the training needs of the organization, McGhee and Thayer three-level analysis (Fig 5) is the most commonly used approach. The model provides a systematic means of conducting a training need analysis at three levels namely (i) organizational level, (ii) operational (or task) level, and (iii) individual (or person) level. The levels of analysis are a hierarchy which descends from the organizational level to the individual level. At the same time as people descend the hierarchy, they also move to a more micro focus in the organization.

Fig 5 McGhee and Thayer three-level analysis

There are three types of training needs assessments namely (i) performance gap analysis, (ii) annual training plan, and (iii) curriculum plan. The first type of training needs assessment is the performance gap analysis. This assessment is done when there is a difference between the way employees are presently performing an aspect of their job (actual performance) and the way management wants them to do it (desired performance). The objective is to figure out what training is needed to be designed to close the gap between the two. For doing this, a person is required to define both actual and desired performance in as much detail as possible as well as to find out what is causing the gap. A lack of knowledge and skill is certainly one possibility. However, it is also necessary to investigate other possible causes such as a lack of proper tools or materials, time, or authority. In the latter case, training alone does not close the gap and can even be a waste of resources.

Management is required to perform a variation on the performance gap analysis when something new is introduced in the organization for which employees are to be trained. This something new can be a new product, competitor, market, technology, process, system, role, set of responsibilities, or statutory regulation. In this situation, there is a need to define the difference between how employees perform their work today (actual performance) and how they are to perform the work in the future as a result of the introduction of the new thing (desired performance). In such a case, there is no need to investigate other possible causes of the gap in performance since the new thing is clearly the reason.

Annual training plan is a second type of assessment of the need. The training assessment is done to create an annual training plan. The objective is to identify both performance issues as well as anything new scheduled for the year.

Curriculum plan is the third type of needs assessment. The assessment is done to create a curriculum for a single position. This assessment is frequently performed when the organization is recruiting a large number of employees for a particular job. The focus of this assessment is very different than either of the previous two. In this case, it is required to identify the specific areas of responsibilities and tasks for the job.

The training programme is not effective if the trainers imparting training are not properly equipped with the technical aspects of the content or if they lack aptitude for teaching and teaching skills. Training comprises of mainly learning and teaching. Training principles can be studied through the principles of learning and teaching. Some of the significant principles and assumptions of learning include (i) all human beings can learn, (ii) an individual is to be motivated to learn, (iii) learning is active and not passive, (iv) learners can acquire knowledge more rapidly with guidance, and feedback ensures improvement in speed and accuracy of learning, (v) appropriate material (like case studies, tools, problems, and reading material etc.) are to be provided, (vi) time is to be provided to practice learning, (vii) learning methods are to be varied since variety of methods off-set fatigue and boredom, (viii) learners need reinforcement of correct behaviour, (ix) standards of performance are to be set for the learner, (x) different levels of learning exists, (xi) learning is an adjustment on the part of an individual, (xii) individual differences play a large part in effectiveness of the learning process, (xiii) learning is a cumulative process, (xiv) ego factor is widely regarded as a major factor in learning, (xv) the rate of learning decreases when complex skills are involved, (xvi) learning is closely related to attention and concentration, (xvii) learning involves long-run retention and immediate acquisition of knowledge, (xviii) accuracy deserves normally more emphasis than speed, (xix) learning is to be relatively based, and (xx) learning is to be a goal-oriented.

The result of a training need analysis is a plan to ensure that the training becomes a targeted, effective activity. One can find out exactly what the employees need to know to achieve the organizational objectives, where the present content is missing the mark, and how one can deliver consistent training to keep the skill base of the employees afloat.

The characteristics of the learning process are (i) learning is a continuous process, (ii) people learn through their actual personal experience, simulated experience, and from others, (iii) people learn step by step, from known to unknown and simple to complex, (iv) there is a need for repetition in teaching to inculcate skill and to learn perfectly, (v) practice makes man perfect, hence, opportunity is to be provided to use and transfer skills, knowledge, and abilities acquired through learning since it gives satisfaction to the learner, (vi) conflict in learning arises when the person imparting training knows or has developed some habits which are incorrect in terms of the method being learned.

The person imparting training is to be familiar with the subject and its applied area. This person is required to have the knowledge of the possible learning problems like (i) lack of knowledge, skill, and favourable attitude, (ii) knowledge and skill not being applied, (iii) existence of anti-learning factors e.g., majority of the operational situations contain a number of elements which restrict the development of employees regardless of the methods employed for learning, (iv) psychological problems like fear and shyness, (v) durability to transfer of learning to operational situation, (vi) heavy dependence on repetition, demonstration, and practice, (vii) not willing to change, (viii) lack of interest about the knowledge of results, and (ix) absence of self-motivation.

In addition to the learning principles, teaching principles are also to be taken care for effective training. The teaching principles are (i) the employees are to be taught to practice only the correct techniques of work, (ii) job analysis and motion study techniques are to be used, (iii) job training under actual working conditions are to be preferred to class room training, (iv) emphasis is to be given more on accuracy than on speed, (v) teaching is to be done at different time intervals, (vi) it is to be recognized that it is easier to train younger employees than older employees because of their decreasing adaptability with the increase in age.

A sound training programme is to be based on several principles such as (i) designed to achieve pre-determined objectives, (ii) less-expensive, (iii) developed for all, (iv) pre-planned and well organized , (v) suiting the size, nature, and financial position of the organization, (vi) flexible, (vii) conducted by an experienced trainer, (viii) coverage of theoretical as well as practical aspects, (ix) interests of the management and the employees, (x) more than one method, (xi) training followed by reward, and (xii) sufficient time available for practice.

Employees under training need some understanding of the patterns in which new skills are adopted. They are likely to find themselves unusually clumsy during the early stages of learning. This can be called discouraging stage. After the employees under training adjust themselves to the environment, they learn at a faster rate. A fatigue develops after the lapse of more training time because of the loss of motivation and lack of break in training schedule. The employees reach the next stage when they are motivated by the trainer and the training process restarts after some break. The employees at this stage learn at a fast rate. Repetition of the course leads the employees to reach the stage of over-learning. Hence, it is clear that learning partly takes place at a constant rate. It varies according to the difficulty of the task, ability of the individual, and physical factors. However, the rate of learning varies from one individual to another.

Learning curve is an important factor to be considered while planning for training since 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. The shape of the learning curve can vary depending upon the context. It can be linear, s-curve, or even exponential. The s-curve (sigmoid function) is the generalized form of the learning curve, with slow beginning, followed by steep acceleration till proficiency is reached, In the end, learning reaches plateau which is the mature stage. Fig 6 shows the learning curve.

Fig 6 The learning curve

Organization normally provides training to their personnel in several areas such as (i) skills in different areas of the plant and different operational technologies, (ii) skills in maintenance of plant and equipment, (iii) managerial and supervisory skills, (iv) health and safety, (v) first aid, (vi) organizational policies and procedures, (vii) human relations, (vii) applicable statutory regulations, (viii) quality management, and (ix) many more areas. Training programmes are costly affair, and time consuming. Hence, they need to be drafted very carefully. In the organization of training programmes, the steps which are considered normally necessary are (i) discovering (or) identifying the training needs, (ii) getting ready for the job, (iii) selection and preparation of the employees for training, (iv) training and knowledge transfer, (v) performance try-out, and (vi) follow-up and evaluation of the programme.

There are a number of methods through which the employees are trained. Training is to be designed to achieve the objectives formulated, and for this appropriate training methods are to be adopted to achieve the objectives effectively. There are several factors which influence the training methods. Fig 7 shows the factors influencing the training methods.

Fig 7 Factors influencing the training methods

The important types of training programmes are described below.

Induction or orientation training – Induction is concerned with introducing or orienting new employees to the organization and its procedures, rules, and regulations. When new employees report to work, they are to be helped to get acquainted with the work environment and fellow employees. It is very short informative training given after recruitment. It creates a feeling of involvement in the minds of newly appointed employees.

Job training – Job training relates to specific job which the employees are to handle. It gives information about equipment, technology, process of production, instructions to be followed, methods to be used and so on. It develops skills and confidence among the employees and enable them to perform the job efficiently. Job training is the most common of formal in-plant training programmes. It is necessary for the new employees to acquaint them with the jobs they are expected to perform.

Refresher training or retraining – The refresher training is meant for the existing employees of the organization. The basic purpose of refresher training is to acquaint the existing employees with the latest developments as well as methods of performing their jobs and improve their efficiency further. Retraining programmes are designed to avoid personnel obsolescence.

Internship training – Under this method, the educational or vocational institutes enter into arrangement with the organization for providing practical knowledge to their students. Internship training is normally meant for such vocations where advanced theoretical knowledge is to be backed up by practical experience on the job. For example, metallurgical engineering students are sent to steel plants or aluminum plants for gaining practical work experience and to get practical knowledge.

Apprenticeship training – Apprentice training can be traced back to medieval times when those intended of learning trade skill bound themselves to master craftsmen to learn by doing the work under their guidance. In earlier periods, apprenticeship was not restricted to ascertains, but was used in training for the professions including foundries, medicine, law, dentistry, teaching, etc. Present-day industrial organizations need large number of skilled employees who can be trained by this system. Such training is either provided by the organization or it is imparted by statutory agencies. Such training arrangements normally provide a mixed programme of classroom and job experience.

Workshops – A training workshop is a type of interactive training where participants carry out a number of training activities rather than passively listen to a lecture or presentation.

Vestibule schools or simulation training – Several large organizations are frequently provided with what is described as vestibule schools, a preliminary to actual shop experience. As far as possible, shop conditions are duplicated, under the close watch of the instructors. Vestibule schools are widely used in training for clerical and office jobs as well as for plant production jobs. Such training is through simulation methods, and are thorough, shorter, and less complex but is relatively expensive. However, the costs are justified if the volume of training is large and since high-standard results are achieved.

The methods normally used for training of operative and supervisory personnel are classified into ‘on the job’ and ‘off-the-job’ training methods.

In on-the-Job training method, the employees learn to master the operations involved, on the actual job situation, under the supervision of their immediate line managers who undertake the responsibility of conducting training. It is considered to be most effective method of training the operative personnel since the employees learn in the actual work environment. This type of training is based on the principle of ‘learning by doing’. It has the advantage of providing first-hand knowledge and experience under the actual working conditions. The emphasis is placed on rendering services in the most effective manner rather than learning how to perform the job. On-the-job training techniques are most appropriate for imparting knowledge and skills which can be learnt in a relatively short time. The effectiveness of the method depends largely on the competency of the trainer to teach. Notable on-the-job methods are described below.

Specific job – The most common or formal on-the-job training programme is training for a specific job. Present practice in job training was first designed to improve the job performance through job instruction. On-the-job training is conducted through (i) experience, (ii) coaching, and (iii) under study. Experience is the oldest method of on-the-job training. But as an exclusive approach, it is wasteful, time consuming and inefficient. It has been observed that it is to be followed by other training methods to make it more effective. On-the-job problem-solving and colleague interactions are being considered as most important for professional growth.

Coaching – Under this method, the supervisor imparts job knowledge and skills to his subordinate. The emphasis in coaching or instructing the subordinate is on feeling by doing. This method is very effective if the superior has sufficient time to provide coaching to his subordinates.

On-the-job coaching by a superior such as line manager is an important and potentially effective approach, if superior is properly trained and oriented. The superior provides feed-back to the employees on their performance and offers them some suggestions for improvement. Frequently the employees share their thoughts, views, and apprehensions about the duties and responsibilities with the superior. A limitation of this method of training is that the employees do not have the freedom of opportunity to express their own ideas since the coach happens to be their immediate superior.

Understudy – In the understudy method, the superiors give training to a subordinate as their understudy. The understudy method prepares the subordinate to assume the responsibilities of the superior’s job in case the superior leaves the organization. The purpose of understudy is to prepare someone to fill the vacancy caused by death, retirement, promotion, or transfer of the superior.

The understudy method is considered a somewhat different approach from the other methods since a certain person is specifically designated as the heir-apparent. The understudy method makes the trainee employees as assistant to the present job holder. The trainee employee learns by experience, observation, and imitation of the style of the person the employee has been asked to work with. The trainee employees learn the policies, methods, techniques etc. from the person with whom they are attached as understudy. The advantage of this method is that training is conducted in a practical and realistic situation.

Job / position rotation – The major objective of job rotation is the broadening of the background of the employees in the organization. This type of training involves the movement of the employees from one job to another. The employees receive the job knowledge and gain experience from their line manager or person assigned as trainer in each of the different job assignments. This method gives an opportunity to the employees to understand the operational dynamics of a variety of jobs. There are certain disadvantages of this method. The productive work can suffer because of the obvious disruption caused by such changes. Rotations become less useful when job specialization is a requirement.

The purpose of job / position rotation is to broaden the background of the trainees in various positions. The trainees are periodically rotated from job to job instead of sticking to one job so that they acquire a general background of different jobs. However, rotation of the employees from one job to another job is not to be done too frequently. The employees are to be allowed to stay on a job for a sufficient period of time so that they can acquire the full knowledge of the job. Job rotation is used by several organizations to develop all round employees. The employees learn new skills and gain experience in handling different kinds of jobs. They also come to know the inter-relationship between different jobs. Job rotation is also used to place employees on the right jobs and prepare them to handle other jobs in case of need.

Informal learning – Surveys from the American society for training and development estimate that around 80 % of what employees learn on the job is through informal means, including performing their jobs while interacting every day with their colleagues. Managers can facilitate informal learning. For example, informal learning takes place through work related discussions taking place amongst employees during recess time.

Job instructions training – Several jobs (or parts of job) consist of a sequence of steps which can best be learned step by step. Such step-by-step training is called job instructions training.  Under this training, first, the steps needed for the job are listed in their proper sequence. Then a corresponding ‘key point’ (if any) is listed besides each step. The steps in such a job instruction training sheet show the trainees what to do, and the key point show how it is to be done and why.

Special projects – This is a very flexible training method. The special project assignments grow ordinarily out of an individual analysis of weaknesses. The employees can be asked to perform special assignment, thereby they learn the work procedures. Employees not only acquire knowledge about the assignment activities, but also learn how to work with others.

Selective readings – Employee in the organization can gather and advance their knowledge and background through selective reading. The readings can include professional journals and books. Several organizations maintain libraries for their employees. Several employees become members of professional associations and they exchange their ideas with others. This is a good method of assimilating knowledge. However, some employees claim that it is very difficult to find time to do much reading other than absolutely necessary for the performance of their jobs.

The off-the-job training methods requires the employees to undergo training for a specific period away from the work place. These methods are concerned with both knowledge and skills in doing certain jobs. The employees are free of tension of work when they are learning. In these methods, employees are to leave their work-place and devote their entire time to the development objective. In these methods, development of the employees is the prime objective and any usable work produced during training is secondary. Since the employees are not instructed by job requirements, they can place their entire concentration on learning the job rather than spending their time in performing it. There is an opportunity for freedom of expression for the employees. Off-the-job training methods are described below.

Special courses, lectures, and discussions – Lecturing is the most traditional form of formal training method. Special courses and lecturers can be organized by the organization in a number of ways as part of their development programmes. First, there are courses which the organizations themselves establish to be taught by the faculty selected from the organizational manpower. Some organizations have regular instructors assigned to their training and development departments. A second approach to special courses and lecturers is for organizations to work with universities or institutes in establishing a course or series of courses to be taught by instructors of these institutions. A third approach is for the organizations to send personnel to programmes organized by the universities, institutes and other bodies. Such courses are organized for a short period ranging from 2-3 days to a few weeks.

There are certain aspects of nearly all jobs which can be learnt better in the classroom than on the job. Orientation about organization and safety training can be accomplished more effectively in the class room. Here the trainers possess considerable depth of knowledge of the subject at hand. They seek to communicate their thoughts in such a manner as to interest the class and causes the employees under training to retain what they have said. The employees normally take notes as an aid to learning.

Conferences – This is an old but still a favourite training method. In order to escape the limitations of straight lecturing, several organizations have adopted guided-discussion type of conferences in their training programmes. In this method, the participants pool their ideas and experiences in attempting to arrive at improved methods of dealing with the problems, which are common subject of discussion. Conferences can include buzz sessions which divide conferences into small groups of four or five for intensive discussion. These small groups then report back to the whole conference with their conclusions or questions.

Case studies – This technique is one of the most common forms of training. A case is written account of trained reporter or analyst seeking to describe an actual situation. Cases are widely used in a variety of programmes. This method increases the employees’ power of observation, helping them to ask better questions and to look for a broader range of problems. A well-chosen case can promote objective discussion, but the lack of emotional involvement can make it difficult to effect any basic change in the behaviour and attitude of the employees under training.

Brainstorming – This is the method of stimulating employees under training to creative thinking. This approach seeks to reduce inhibiting forces by providing for a maximum of group participation and a minimum of criticism. A problem is posed and ideas are sought. Quantity rather than quality is the primary objective. Ideas are encouraged and criticism of any idea is discouraged. Chain reaction from idea to idea is developed frequently. Later, these ideas are critically examined. There is no trainer in brainstorming. Brainstorming frankly favours divergence, and this fact can be sufficient to explain why brainstorming is so little used yet in some countries where new solutions ought to carry the highest premium. It is virtually untried even though its immediate use is limited to new ideas only, not change in behaviour.

Laboratory training – Laboratory training adds to conventional training by providing situations, which the employees under training themselves experience through their own interaction. In this way, they more or less experiment the conditions on themselves. Laboratory training is more concerned about changing individual behaviour and attitude. It is normally more successful in changing job performance than conventional training methods. There are two methods of laboratory training namely simulation training and sensitivity training.

Programmed learning – Programmed learning is a step-by-step, self-learning methods which consists of three parts namely (i) presenting questions, facts, or problems to the learner, (ii) allowing the person to respond, and (iii) providing feedback on the accuracy of answers, with instructions on what to do next. Programmed learning reduces training time. It also facilitates learning by letting the employees under training to learn at their pace, get immediate feedback, and reduce the risk of error.

Behaviour modelling – It is a training technique in which employees under training are first shown good management techniques in a film. Then they are asked to play roles in a simulated situation and are then given feedback and praise by their trainer. Behaviour modeling involves (i) showing the employees the right (or ‘model’) way of doing something, (ii) letting the employees practice that way, and then (iii) giving feedback on the employees’ performance. Behaviour modelling training is one of the most widely used, well-researched, and highly regarded psychologically based training interventions .

Simulation of performance is an increasingly popular technique of management development. In this method, instead of taking participants into the field, the field situations are simulated in the training session itself. Simulation is the presentation of real situation of organization in the training session. It covers situations of varying complexities and roles for the participants. It creates a field situation and relates participants through key roles in it, and asks them to deal with specific situations of a kind they encounter in real life. There are two common simulation methods of training namely (i) role-playing, and (ii) business game.

Role-playing is a laboratory method, which can be used rather easily as a supplement to conventional training methods. Its purpose is to increase the employees’ skill in dealing with other people. One of its greatest uses is in connection with human relations training but it is also used in marketing training as well. It is spontaneous acting of realistic situation involving two or more persons under classroom situations. Dialogue spontaneously grows out of the situation, as it is developed by the employees who are assigned to it. Other employees in the group serve as observers or critics. Since people take role regularly, they are somewhat experienced in the art, and with a certain amount of imagination, they can project themselves into roles other than their own. By this method, employees can broaden their experience by trying different approaches. Role-playing also has weaknesses which partly offset its values. It is time consuming and expensive. It needs experienced trainers since it can easily turn sour without effective direction. However, these weaknesses do not undermine the strengths of this method.

Business games have been devised to simulate the problems of running an organization or even a particular department. It has been used for a variety of training objectives, from investment strategy, to collective bargaining techniques, and to the morale of personnel. It has been used at all levels from the top executives to the line managers. Business games is a laboratory method in which role-playing exists but its difference is that it forces attention on administrative problems, while role-playing tends to emphasize mostly on interaction. It involves several teams each of which is given an organization to operate for a specified period. Normally, the period is a short one, say one year or so. In each period, each team makes decisions on different matters such as fixation of price, level of production, inventory level, and so forth. Since each team is competing with others, each organizational decisions affect the results of all others. All the organizational decisions are fed into a computer, which is programmed to behave somewhat like a real market. The computer provides the results and the winner is the team which has accumulated largest profit. In the light of such results, strengths and weaknesses of decisions are analyzed.

Sensitivity training is the most controversial laboratory training method. Several of its advocates have an almost religious zeal in their improvements with the training group experience. Some of its critics match this enthusiasm in their attacks on the technique. As a result of criticism and experience, a somewhat revised approach, frequently described as ‘team development’ training, has appeared. The training groups are called T-Group. Sensitivity training is a small-group interaction under stress in an unstructured encounter group which needs people to become sensitive to one another’s feeling in order to develop reasonable group activity. T-Group has several characteristic features such as (i) T-group is normally, small, and have from ten to twenty members, (ii) the group begins its activity with no formal agenda, (iii) the role of trainer is primarily to call attention from time to time to the on-going process within the group, and (iv) the procedure tends to develop introspection and self-examination, with emotional levels of involvement. The objectives of such training are concern for others, increased tolerance for individual differences, less ethnic prejudice, understanding of a group process, improved listening skills, and increased trust and support.

Training efforts in majority of the cases in several organizations becomes a failure because of the weaknesses in policies, procedures, and practices concerning training activities. Some of the important causes for the failure of training, in general, are (i) top management does not have complete faith basically in HRD philosophy and has little confidence in training as an important method for ensuring development of human resources, (ii) the training objectives or not clear, specific and not understood by all, (iii) training policy is not clear, lacks comprehensiveness, and does not have proper linkage with other HRD policies, (iv) organizational arrangements, budgetary allocations, employee resources, aids, etc. are not adequate and properly placed, (v) training personnel lacks coordination with other personnel, (vi) in different aspects relating to training, such as identification of needs, selection of employees for training, sponsoring candidates for training, using employees under training on the job etc., there is not adequate seriousness to ensure effectiveness of training, and the procedures are adopted as a mere formality, (vii) in conducting training activity, absence of seriousness to involve the employees under training in learning affects the training outcome, besides, lack of expertise in using the methods, aids, resources, etc. hampers the expected results, (viii) lack of efforts to make better utilization of the employees under trainees and unfavourable environment to them in applying their enhanced abilities and in rewarding their improved performance, and (ix) lack of evaluation of training at different stages. The outcomes of training programmes are not monitored. Efforts to overcome these weaknesses can help the organization in improving the effectiveness of training.

A desirable characteristic of all training programmes is built-in-provision for its evaluation to find out whether the objectives of training activity or programmes are achieved or not. Notable dimensions of training evaluation are described below.

Evaluation of contextual factors – Training effectiveness depends on not only what happens during the training, but also on what happens before the actual training and what happens after the training has formally ended. Hence, there is need for both pre-training and post-training evaluation of contextual factors.

Evaluation of training inputs – It involves the evaluation of training curriculum, its sequencing, trainers’ abilities, facilities, aids and resources used.

Evaluation of training process – The climate of training organization, the relationship and interaction between participants of training programme, attitudes and approaches of the trainers, training methods used, and involvement of the trainers in learning are some of the important elements of the training process, which need to be evaluated.

Evolution of training outcomes – It involves measuring the results of the training in terms of what has been achieved on account of training programme. Pay-offs from training is intangible, slow and not clearly identifiable with the specific activity. In evaluation of outcomes, four categories of outcomes can be measured. These are (i) reaction which is the evaluation of trainee’s reaction to the programme, (ii) learning which is the evaluation of what employees under training have learnt, (iii) behaviour which is the evaluation of change in the behaviour of the employees under training because of training, and (iv) results which is the evaluation of results achieved because of training in different areas such as production, human resource utilization, employees’ performance, general job and organization environment, and cost-value relationship.

If evaluation in any form is to be effective, it is required to be done in accordance with the principles consisting of (i) evaluation is to be planned, which means that when, why, by what means, and by whom are to be determined in advance, (ii) evaluation is to be objective which means that it is not to be a mere formality or eyewash or for namesake, (iii) evaluation is to be verifiable, which means that the results can be compared by the same or different means, (iv) evaluation is to be cooperative which means that it is to involve all those part of or affected by the training programme and it is not to be a contest between the evaluator and the subject of evaluation, (v) evaluation is to be continuous to ensure effectiveness at every step, (vi) evaluation is to be specific which means that it is to specify the strengths and weaknesses for further improvement and it does not make out unclear statements or make generalizations, (vii) evaluation is to be quantitative which means that all the measurements are to aim at quantifying the changes in different performance variables, (viii) evaluation is to be feasible which means that it is to be administratively manageable, and (ix) evaluation is to be cost effective which means that the results are to be commensurate with the costs incurred.

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