Developing Employees

Training

Training is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies through a conscious skills development program.

Learning Objectives

Compare and contrast on-the-job and off-the-job training

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Training has specific goals of improving one’s capability, capacity, and performance, so that he or she may perform his or her job with higher quality and more efficiency.
  • On-the-job training takes place in a normal working situation, and has a general reputation as being most effective for vocational work. Off-the-job training takes place away from normal work situations, and has proven more effective in inculcating concepts and ideas.
  • An On the Job Training Plan or an OJT Plan is a detailed plan of what is to be covered, how long it will take, and what the training outcomes should be.
  • A more recent development in job training is the On the Job Training Plan or OJT Plan. According to the United States Department of the Interior, a proper OJT plan should include an overview of the subjects to be covered, the number of hours the training is expected to take, an estimated completion date, and a method by which the training will be evaluated.

Key Terms

  • off-the-job training: Training that takes place away from normal work situations, and tends to be more effective in inculcating concepts and ideas.
  • on-the-job training: Training that takes place in regular working situations using actual tools and equipment that trainees will use when fully trained.

The concept behind training is for the trainee to acquire knowledge, skills, and competencies from the trainer as a result of being taught vocational or practical skills. The trainee gains knowledge that relates to specific useful competencies in his or her field. Training has specific goals of improving one’s capability, capacity, and performance. It forms the core of apprenticeships and provides the backbone of content at institutes of technology (also known as technical colleges or polytechnics). These activities are often focused upon, and evaluated against, the job that an individual currently holds.

Types of Training

One can generally categorize training as on-the-job or off-the-job:

image

An astronaut in training.: An Example of Training

On-the-job training takes place in a normal working situation, using the actual tools, equipment, documents or materials that trainees will use once they are fully trained. On-the-job training has a general reputation as being most effective for vocational work.

Off-the-job training takes place away from normal work situations—implying that the employee does not count as a directly productive worker while such training takes place. Off-the-job training has the advantage in that it allows people to get away from work and concentrate more thoroughly on the training itself. This type of training has proven more effective in inculcating concepts and ideas.

A more recent development in job training is the On the Job Training Plan or OJT Plan. According to the United States Department of the Interior, a proper OJT plan should include:

  • An overview of the subjects to be covered;
  • The number of hours the training is expected to take, with an estimated completion date;
  • A method by which the training will be evaluated.

The stakeholders in training and development are categorized into several classes. The sponsors of training and development are senior managers. The clients of training and development are business planners. Line managers are responsible for coaching, resources, and performance. The participants are those who actually undergo the processes. The facilitators are Human Resources management staff. And the providers are specialists in the field. Each of these groups has its own agenda and motivations, which sometimes conflict with the agendas and motivations of the others.

Long-Term Development

Professional development refers to skills and knowledge attained for both personal development and career advancement.

Learning Objectives

Outline the various methods used for long term professional development

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Those who engage in professional development share a common purpose of enhancing their ability to do their work. At the heart of professional development is the individual’s interest in lifelong learning and increasing their own skills and knowledge.
  • There are a variety of approaches to professional development, including consultation, coaching, communities of practice, lesson study, mentoring, reflective supervision and technical assistance.
  • Professional development on the job may develop or enhance process skills, sometimes referred to as leadership skills, as well as task skills. Some examples for process skills are ‘effectiveness skills,’ ‘ team functioning skills,’ and ‘ systems thinking skills’.
  • The 21st century has seen a significant growth in online professional development. Content providers incorporate collaborative platforms such as discussion boards and wikis, thereby encouraging and facilitating interaction, and optimizing training effectiveness.
  • The 21st century has seen a significant growth in online professional development. Content providers incorporate collaborative platforms such as discussion boards and wikis, thereby encouraging and facilitating interaction, and optimizing training effectiveness.

Key Terms

  • communities of practice: Approach to professional development by engaging in shared inquiry and learning with people who have a common goal.
  • reflective supervision: A method of professional development which aims to support, develop, and ultimately evaluate the performance of employees through a process of inquiry that encourages their understanding and articulation of the rationale for their own practices.
  • technical assistance: A method of professional development that aims to assist individuals and their organization to improve by offering resources and information, supporting networking and change efforts.

Long Term Development

In addition to the basic training required for a trade, occupation, or profession, observers of the labor-market recognize the need to continue training beyond initial qualifications: to maintain, upgrade, and update skills throughout working life. This is known as professional development.

Professional development refers to skills and knowledge attained for both personal development and career advancement. Professional development encompasses all types of facilitated learning opportunities, ranging from college degrees to formal coursework, conferences, and informal learning opportunities situated in practice. It has been described as intensive and collaborative, ideally incorporating an evaluative stage. There are a variety of approaches to professional development, including consultation, coaching, communities of practice, lesson study, mentoring, reflective supervision and technical assistance.

Who Participates and Why?

A wide variety of people, such as teachers, military officers and non-commissioned officers, health care professionals, lawyers, accountants and engineers engage in professional development. Individuals may participate in professional development because of an interest in lifelong learning, a sense of moral obligation, to maintain and improve professional competence, enhance career progression, keep abreast of new technology and practice, or to comply with professional regulatory organizations.

Many American states have professional development requirements for school teachers. For example, Arkansas teachers must complete 60 hours of documented professional development activities annually. American and Canadian nurses, as well as those in the United Kingdom, are required to participate in formal and informal professional development to maintain professional registration. Other groups such as engineering and geoscience regulatory bodies also have mandatory professional development requirements.

Approaches

In a broad sense, professional development may include formal types of vocational education, typically post-secondary or poly-technical training leading to a qualification or credential required to obtain or retain employment. Professional development may also come in the form of pre-service or in-service professional development programs. These programs may be formal, or informal, group, or individualized. Individuals may pursue professional development independently, or programs may be offered by human resource departments. Professional development on the job may develop or enhance process skills, sometimes referred to as leadership skills, as well as task skills. Some examples for process skills are ‘effectiveness skills,’ ‘team functioning skills,’ and ‘systems thinking skills. ‘

image

CPR Training: This first-aid course is a form of professional development. While not directly relevant to, say, teachers, it nonetheless provides an important skill that may be used in case of an emergency, and thus would indirectly benefit a teacher who learns these skills.

Some examples of approaches to professional development include:

Case Study Method – the case study method is a teaching approach that consists of presenting the students with a case, putting them in the role of a decision maker facing the problem.

Consultation – to assist an individual or group of individuals to clarify and address immediate concerns by following a systematic problem-solving process.

Coaching – to enhance a person’s competencies in a specific skill area by providing a process of observation, reflection, and action.

Lesson Study – to solve practical dilemmas related to intervention or instruction through participation with other professionals in systematically examining practice.

Mentoring – to promote an individual’s awareness and refinement of his or her own professional development by providing and recommending structured opportunities for reflection and observation.

Other methods include communities of practice, reflective supervision, and technical assistance.

Online Professional Development

The 21st century has seen a significant growth in online professional development. Content providers incorporate collaborative platforms such as discussion boards and wikis, thereby encouraging and facilitating interaction, and optimizing training effectiveness.

Whereas many other industries have used online sources of continuing education and professional practices for many years, traditionally, educators have turned solely to internal professional development departments, local education agencies (LEAs), and local colleges and universities to acquire the necessary education to meet the required hours/units for renewal of their state teaching licenses.

However, the economic pressures facing school districts, combined with a greater conviction that online professional development can be effective, has led to increased interest in this option. Rather than replacing traditional sources of professional development, online sources and providers have served to augment existing options and can bring a widening access to topics and a broader scope to “learning communities. ” As teacher performance comes under increased scrutiny, a study conducted by Boston College found that English and math teachers who took professional development courses online improved their instructional practices and boosted their subject knowledge scores, producing modest performance gains for their students. This type of research-based and outcomes-focused study has lent credibility to the idea that online professional development can and will serve an important role in supporting the educational goals of the United States Department of Education.

Performance Assessment

A performance appraisal is done to assess an employee’s job performance and productivity on certain preestablished criteria and objectives.

Learning Objectives

Explain the steps in performance appraisal (PA)

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • A performance appraisal is a systematic and periodic process that assesses an individual employee’s job performance and productivity in relation to certain preestablished criteria and organizational objectives.
  • There are three main methods used to collect performance appraisal data: objective production, personnel, and judgmental evaluation. The latter are the most commonly used with a large variety of evaluation methods.
  • A performance assessment is typically conducted annually, though the frequency of an evaluation, and policies concerning them, varies widely from workplace to workplace.
  • An evaluation may include an assessment on how well the employee is doing, and employee goals that are expected to be met (or have significant progress made) by a set time, such as the next evaluation.
  • Performance assessment is often included in performance management systems. These systems are used “to manage and align” all of an organization’s resources in order to achieve the highest possible performance.

Key Terms

  • Evaluation: An assessment, such as an annual personnel performance review, used as the basis for a salary increase or bonus, or a summary of a particular situation.
  • performance appraisal: a method by which how well an employee did a job is evaluated
image

Performance Appraisal: A performance appraisal (PA) or performance evaluation is a systematic and periodic process that assesses an individual employee’s job performance and productivity in relation to certain preestablished criteria and organizational objectives.

A performance appraisal (PA) or performance evaluation is a systematic and periodic process that assesses an individual employee’s job performance and productivity, in relation to certain preestablished criteria and organizational objectives. Other aspects of individual employees are considered as well, such as organizational citizenship behavior, accomplishments, potential for future improvement, strengths and weaknesses.

Three main methods are used to collect PA data: objective production, personnel, and judgmental evaluation. The latter are the most commonly used with a large variety of evaluation methods.

A PA is typically conducted annually. However, the frequency of an evaluation, and policies concerning them, varies widely from workplace to workplace. Sometimes, an evaluation will be given to a new employee when a probationary period lapses, after which they may be conducted on a regular basis (such as every year).

Usually, the employee’s supervisor (and frequently, a more senior manager ) is responsible for evaluating the employee. A private conference is often scheduled to discuss the evaluation. The interview could function as:

“Providing feedback to employees, counseling and developing employees, and conveying and discussing compensation, job status, or disciplinary decisions”.

The process of an evaluation may include one or more of these things:

  • An assessment on how well the employee is doing. Sometimes, this may include a scale rating indicating strengths and weaknesses in key areas (e.g., following instructions, promptness, and ability to get along with others). Often, the supervisor and manager will discuss the key areas. Or, as some have dared to expose, employers often don’t care about following instructions, arriving on time, or the ability to get along with others.
  • Employee goals that are expected to be met (or have made significant progress) by a set time, such as the next evaluation. Sometimes, the employee may voluntarily offer a goal, while at other times it will be set by his boss. A significantly-underperforming employee may be given an performance improvement plan, which details specific goals that must be met to maintain his/her job.
  • Sharing of feedback by a worker’s fellow employees and supervisors. The employee is given his chance to share his/her feelings, concerns and suggestions about the workplace as well.
  • Details about workplace standing, promotions and pay raises. Sometimes, an employee who has performed very well since his last review period may get an increase in pay or be promoted to a more prestigious position. However, a pay raise that is denied is not always the result of a poor review, as economic conditions and other factors dictate the ability for employers to raise their workers’ pay.

PA is often included in performance management systems. These systems are used “to manage and align” all of an organization’s resources in order to achieve the highest possible performance. How performance is managed in an organization determines to a large extent its success or failure. Therefore, improving PA for everyone should be among the highest priorities of contemporary organizations.

Reducing Turnover

Turnover is the rate at which employees leave an organization.

Learning Objectives

Explain the root causes for high turnover

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Turnover is measured for individual companies and for their industry as a whole.
  • Turnover can be optimal when a poorly performing employee decides to leave an organization. Turnover can be dysfunctional if a high turnover rate increases the costs associated with recruitment and training of new employees, or if good employees consistently decide to leave.
  • Research on job turnover has attempted to understand the causes of individual decisions to leave an organization. It has been found that lower performance, lack of reward contingencies for performance, and better external job opportunities are the main causes.
  • Providing a stimulating workplace environment, which fosters happy, motivated, and empowered individuals, lowers employee turnover and absentee rates.

Key Terms

  • staff turnover: The relative rate at which an employer gains and loses staff.

Turnover Defined

In a human resources context, turnover is the rate at which employees leave an organization. Simple ways to describe it are “how long employees tend to stay” or “the rate of traffic through the revolving door. ”

Staff turnover can be optimal when a poorly performing employee decides to leave an organization, or dysfunctional when the high turnover rate increases the costs associated with recruitment and training of new employees, or if good employees consistently decide to leave.

image

Employee Turnover: Turnover can be optimal when a poorly performing employee decides to leave an organization.

Measuring Turnover

Turnover is measured for individual companies and for their industry as a whole. If an employer is said to have a high turnover relative to its competitors, it means that employees of that company have a shorter average tenure than those of other companies in the same industry. High turnover may be harmful to a company’s productivity if skilled workers are often leaving and the worker population contains a high percentage of novice workers.

In the United States, the average total non-farm seasonally adjusted monthly turnover rate was 3.3% for the period from December 2000 to November 2008. However rates vary widely when compared over different periods of time or different job sectors. For example, during the period 2001 to 2006, the annual turnover rate for all industry sectors averaged 39.6% before seasonal adjustments, while the leisure and hospitality sector experienced an average annual rate of 74.6% during the same period.

Preventing Turnover

Preventing the turnover of employees is important in any business. Without them, the business would be unsuccessful. However, more and more employers today are finding that employees remain for approximately 23 to 24 months, according to the 2006 Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Employment Policy Foundation states that it costs a company an average of $15,000 per employee, which includes separation costs, including paperwork, unemployment; vacancy costs, including overtime or temporary employees; and replacement costs including advertisement, interview time, relocation, training, and decreased productivity when colleagues depart.

Research on employee job turnover has attempted to understand the causes of individual decisions to leave an organization. It has been found that lower performance, lack of reward contingencies for performance, and better external job opportunities are the main causes. Other variables related to turnover are the conditions in the external job market, the availability of other job opportunities, and the length of employee tenure.

Providing a stimulating workplace environment, which fosters happy, motivated, and empowered individuals, lowers employee turnover and absentee rates. Promoting a work environment that fosters personal and professional growth promotes harmony and encouragement on all levels, so the effects are felt company wide.

Continual training and reinforcement also develops a workforce that is competent, consistent, competitive, effective, and efficient. Beginning on the first day of work, providing individuals with the necessary skills to perform their job is important. Before the first day, it is important the interview and hiring process expose new hires to an explanation of the company, so individuals know whether the job is their best choice.

Networking and strategizing within the company provides ongoing performance management and helps build relationships among coworkers. It is also important to motivate employees to focus on customer success, profitable growth, and the company well-being. Employers can keep their employees informed and involved by including them in future plans, new purchases, policy changes, as well as introducing new employees to the employees who have gone above and beyond in meetings. Engagement shows employees that they are valuable through information or recognition rewards and makes them feel included.

In addition, by paying above-market wages, the worker’s motivation to leave the job and look for a job elsewhere will be reduced. This strategy makes sense because it is often expensive to train replacement workers.

When companies hire the best people, new hired talent and veterans are enabled to reach company goals, maximizing the investment of each employee. Taking the time to listen to employees and making them feel involved will create loyalty, in turn reducing turnover and allowing for growth.