Sustaining effective staff training and development in the workplace

Category: Staff
Last Updated: 13 Jan 2021
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Table of contents

I Introduction

a)What is then training and development?

Training and development is a concept in management which allow the organisational activity to be aimed directly at performance of individuals, groups and the organization (Landale, 1999). There are three main activities under the guise of training and development which are interlinked – training, education and development. It is not just the role of the employer to identify training and development needs, the employee also needs to be able to identify their role in the organization and how they can effectively develop themselves (Landale, 1999). Van der Bossche et al (2010) acknowledge that due to the rapid advancements in technology and knowledge require the individual to participate in personal and professional development. The development of talent within the organization is necessary for competitive advantage to exist, it is also necessary for the retention of employees. The organization needs to identify talent and to support the individuals through all their training needs.

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b) Training and Development is described as

the necessity to cover the essential skills used in the everyday work situation. Within the promotion of training and development, the individual needs to be focused on the goal of developing their skills, knowledge and understanding of how the organization exists within its environment (Jerling, 1996). If the manager can motivate the employee in their work and can encourage development then the employee will see it in a positive light and will work towards the goals.I I Background

Having effective employees is instrumental to the success of any business organization. This is the case because of the high employee turnover rates and high unemployment rates evident in most countries. Since the 2008 recession in the U.S, other countries of the world have experienced the ripple effects as the world largest economy struggles to recover. The European nations have suffered under the current debt crisis that has shrunk economies in Europe. Other countries in African and Asia have also felt the impact, as their economies are most dependent on both the U.S and European markets for trade. The subject of having effective employees has therefore, gained relevance as employers look for ways to sustain their workers. In an effort to keep their most important asset, organizations are heavily involved in the training and development of employees (Hung &Wong 2007). Training and development has been a tool used by organizations to mitigate the risks of losing employee to other organizations. It has also been used to groom future leaders of the company, as well as assist organizations in saving time and money. This essay shall discuss two theories that discuss employer support and training, as well as the impacts of employee performance in relation to training and development of employees.III Development

Humphry Hung and Yiu Wong have come up with two theories that discuss the relationship between the employer and the workers when it comes to training, continuing education and work study performance (Hung and Wong, 2007). The theories were introduced because of a case study of Hong Kong students who were in school and worked at the same time. The authors then came up with the theories to help explain the student or employee’s performance in relations to their employees and employer relationship (Hung and Wong, 2007). The first theory was the psychological contract theory while the second one was the expectancy disconfirmation theory. The researchers realized the need for employees to have an education so that they are able to move up the ladder as far as the work force is concerned. The researchers used the employee and employer relations as the subject of research, and came up with a model to explain how training and development can be effectively used in the workplace (Hung &Wong2007).

Psychological contract theory

According to the psychological theory, the employer and the employee have a set of beliefs, promises and obligations that go beyond the formal contract between the two. This psychological contract theory is attributed to the second wave of research in this subject, namely where the basis is a mutual loyalty between employees and organization (Hall and Moss, 1998). The elements of the third wave of research on the psychological contract, which measures the attitudes and perpceptions of employees towards organization are demonstrated below (Robinson, 1996). In other words, once an employer hires an employee, the employee has to abide by certain rules while the employer is obligated to behave professionally. This means that the employees expect to exchange their loyalty and productivity for wages and other forms of compensation (Kimberly 2009).

This theory may be regarded to be limited in delivery of depth of investigation of relations between organization and employees (Robinson and Morrisson, 1995). This suggests that recent research has failed to acknowledge the fact that psychological contact theory is more multi-dimensional as opposed to what has been presented in the research (Trunley and Feldamn, 1999a).

As a result, there were two kinds of contents presented, namely transactional and relational. Transactional content involves measurable economic exchanges between the two parties. For instance, an employee works 40 hours a week for a paycheck at the end of the week. Relational contents are based on trust and long-term relationships. In such a case, an employee can delegate a certain role to the employee based on trust (McConnell 2004). In the study, three principles can emerged. First, there is interaction at an individual level, mutual relationship between the two parties and finally tactical exchanges. Most people believe that the relationship between the employee and the employer is based on personal ties because the employer is an embodiment of the organization, and the experience of their interaction dictates the success of an organization (Hung &Hing 2007).

On the other hand, some believe that there has to be a mutual relationship between the employer and the employee for organizations to succeed. The mutual obligation is based on the belief that the employer is obliged to the employee in return for a commitment. Finally, the tactical exchanges occur between the workers in which case, the employee insists on a mental connection between the two parties (Kimberly 2009). The significance of the psychological contract theory is that it attempts to explain the employee’s behavior in regards to how he is treated by the employer. In other words, the employee relationship to the employer is imperative to matters regarding how employees react when subjected to training by organizations. The development of the employee dictates the performance of the employee in the continuing work-study. The research found that students who had a good working relationship with their employer performed well in their training and education compared to those who had a bad relationship (Hung &Hing 2007).

Another limitation is attributed to the assumption, that psychological contact theory fails to address the specifics of individual work behaviour (Robinson, 1996a). From methodological perspective, this theory was developed on the basis of employee’s self-appraisals. As a result, it failed to include the actual supervisor’s appraisals, which are perceived to be quite crucial in delivery of objective opinion on the subject of job performance (Keeney and Svyantek, 2000).

Expectancy disconfirmation theory

The expectancy disconfirmation theory is similar to that of consumer dissonance. Only that in this case, it deals with the employee, as opposed to the consumer. The theory was brought about from the comparison of a worker and a consumer when dealing with their products. An employee is believed to have positively disconfirmed their role in the organisation when their perceived performance exceeds their expected performance (Roughton&Mercurio 2002). The opposite is true and referred to as negative disconfirmation. Negative disconfirmation occurs when an employee believes that their expectations exceed their perceived

The ability for the organisation to be able to sustain effective staff training and development in the workplace is a necessity in the global market. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on training and development in the workplace (Venkatesh and Goyal, 2010). Other considerations which must be taken into consideration when discussing this topic are in relation to the culture and structure of the organisation as well as the importance of communication and the impact of the leadership styles on the overall behaviour of the organisation (Venkatesh and Goyal, 2010). The global market has allowed the transfer of skills and knowledge through migration and the internationalisation of organisations.

Training and development are important to how the organisation can compete in the market, if the organisation can sustain their employees through training and development they will be able to compete in the market. The effectiveness of employees will prove to be a valuable asset to the organisation and it is important that the organisation holds on to their employees (Klein, 1998). It has been argued that the resources of an organisation are the key sources of competitiveness. There is a need to examine the background of the organisation – culture and structure to see how these can determine how the organisation perceives training and development opportunities within the organisation.

This theory has also proved to have some limitations attributed to it. This implies that it has been a subject to limitations imposed on the methodlogical approach. This implies that there have been some concerns reported in relation to the measurement of expectations that have been met (Irving and Meyer, 1999). This implies that direct measurement which is utilized in prediction of the disrepency between the expectations in relation to the job and actual behavioural intentions (Irving and Meyer, 1999).

Strategic Management

Strategic management is an essential process which needs to be considered in any organisation. Thompson & Martin (2005) explain the process as being concerned with organisational actions and activities which identify and deal with threats, opportunities etc in both the internal and external environment. How strategic management is managed shows how well the organisation can adapt to change and how training and development will be welcomed in the organisational context. Lamb (1984) states that strategic management assesses competitors of the organisation and sets goals and strategies which can be seen in the context of training and development and how the organisation views the importance of its employees.

One of the most important strategic processes is the practice of retaining employees. It is best practice to keep the skills and knowledge available to the organisation to remain competitive and to be able to recruit the most talented individuals in the market. If an organisation has the pick of the talent through their recruitment process they can sustain their competitive advantage which will allow them to compete consistently. The type of culture is reflected through the recruitment and selection processes as well the organisational structure and culture. If an organisation can effectively train and develop their workforce as well as retain their employees. Performance management and a competitive incentive programme can enhance the ability of the organisation to select and recruit the individuals they want to recruit to positions and not just because they have to fill the position (Phillips & Pulliam Phillips (2002).

Lambin (2000) defines the strategic process as allowing management to identify advantages and disadvantages. It will be important to identify the advantages and disadvantages of training and development further on in this paper but it is extremely necessary that these are identified so that the organisation can identify the skills and knowledge which they require in their organisation. The human element to the resources of the organisation are extremely important, Armstrong (2006) cites that the skills and competencies identified within the human resources process need to meet the future demands and challenges of the organisation and the environment. It will be necessary for the organisation to meet the pressures from the competitive environment and it should be prepared for this. Most organisations would not be able to function effectively in their environment without sustaining effective training and development in their workplaces. It is important that employees can be motivated into performing and target meeting.

Organisational Culture

The culture of the organisation is an integral factor of organisational activity. Holbeche (2006) believes that there are issues linking corporate social responsibility, accountability and the stakeholder environment. The culture of the organisation will impact on the behaviour of the employees in reference to how they behave, their work attitudes, the ability to embrace change and how the organisational objectives are achievable or not. Motivational theory is extremely important (Alderfer, 1969, Vroom, 1964, Maslow, 1943, Herzberg, 1966) link the goals of the organisation to the performance and achievement of personal goals which in turn can be fuelled by how skilled and knowledgeable the individual is. The culture of the organisation can be linked to success through the achievement of the competitive advantage. Deal & Kennedy (1982) believe that the most important factor for the success or failure of the organisation is the culture.

Culture by its very nature is implicit of behaviours within the organisation. Leadership and management are also essential to the understanding of culture and how it affects all mechanisms within the organisation (Rabey, 2003). This is also essential to the concept of training and development within the organisation as the development of management within the organisation, as the leadership role needs to grow both personally and professionally thus the impetus is on the development through training and development. The leader plays a role in the development of the organisation and if this individual is in tune with the development and training of the human resources, the organisation will embrace this concept. Schein (2004) reflects that the leadership and culture are inseparable. Structure is also important to the training and development environment within an organisation. The more rigid the hierarchical structure the less likely the culture will embrace training and development practices. While many organisations realise the need for progressive training and development it should be noted that not every organisation is a learning organisation (Schein, 2004).


It is necessary to understand leadership as a concept before attempting to evaluate training and development. The development of the leader, according to Pedlar et al (2003), is that the concept is based on unexamined assumptions. There is no single definition of a leader, however, there are many attributes attached to leadership such as an ability to adapt, to make decisions, to be flexible and to be able to recognise skills within themselves and within others. The ability of the strategic manager is to be able to create an environment where employees want to participate and make a significant contribution to their role in the organisation. It is through this communicative process that the leader can identify the development requirements of the employee. The employee should be able to trust the judgement of the leader to allow them to participate in any programmes for development and learning within the organisation (Rabey, 2003).

It is also necessary that the leader can identify any developmental needs in their own career progression. If the leader is forward thinking they will bring the organisation into line with the requirement of the selection and recruitment process to enhance the competitive nature of the organisation. The performance of the individual is impacted by the authority figure in the organisational relationship and can be highly influenced by the use of incentives.

One such incentive which can be used to motivate the employee is that of training and development opportunities. These types of incentives are extremely important in today’s global environment with the internationalisation of organisations and the free movement of the workforce. The more skilled the workforce, the more ability the employee has to dictate their position within the organisation. This position allows the employee to hold some power over the authority figure as they can determine where they want to go in terms of their career and their development. Communication is key to this process so that the employee knows what kind of training is available to them and for the leader to be able to communicate the type of training which may best suit the employee. It is important that the leader can apply self development to themselves before they apply it to the individuals within their organisation and there should be an ethos throughout the organisation on lifelong learning.

Learning Organisation

In today’s global environment the concept of lifelong learning is extremely important and it is necessary for all employees to keep their development and learning up to date. The availability of learning to employees should be a pre-requisite to any organisation who profess to be a global leader. It is necessary for all employees to keep their skills, resources and knowledge updated so that they can compete in their business market. The markets while very dynamic and complex are also extremely competitive, and organisations are always looking for the right individual to take up a position within the organisation, who will ultimately enhance their competitive advantage (Lambin, 2000).

Lifelong learning as a concept is not new, however, the concept of learning within the organisational context is very new. This allows the individual to learn around their own experiences. Both the organisation and the individual should be in synch with each other to allow their goals to be achieved. The service which the individual can apply to their customer greatly leaves a mark on the organisation as to how proficient it is in dealing with its customer. The ability of the organisation to provide professional training for their employees will successfully promote the organisation as well as the role of the employee. It is necessary that lifelong learning should be promoted more readily in today’s global markets due to the expansion of business and the free movement of employees to other countries.

Lifelong learning can be provided throughout the organisation and does not necessary mean that it must be formal, it can be on the job training, but it should be used to encourage and motivate the individual. It is important to understand that the concept of lifelong learning is not without it disadvantages and within many organisations the facility is very much available. However, it is up to the individual to decide that they wish to partake in any programme, and also up to the manager to put the employee forward for training and development. This is very much about communication. Depending on how free flowing communication is, depends on the availability of these facilities. If the employee does not push for these opportunities they can hardly be expected to be handed the opportunity. However, the manager must communicate that these opportunities are available to the employee and explain the positive features for the employee.

It is also necessary that the vision and politics of the organisation match the service and opportunities which can be given to employees. The need to preserve the abilities of employees within the organisation has become increasingly important, especially for the organisation to retain the skills, knowledge and resources which it currently holds. Lifelong learning can in effect change the labour market and the direction which the organisation is heading. Smith (2001) identifies the need of an organisation to be progressive, to allow the individual to gain more knowledge throughout their career and to persuade the individual to use the resources available to them for educational and growth purposes.

Benefits of Training and Development

Training and development is a particularly helpful feature to the organisation as well as the individual. The process allows both the organisation and the individual to grow alongside with the global market. It allows the individual within the organisation to recognise that they should be motivated to perform their job to the best of their ability because they can feel more valued by the incentives which they can receive from the organisation. There are many benefits to the organisation and the employee but it should also be recognised that there are also disadvantages to this.

Lifelong learning does not necessary mean that the employee has to go off site on participate in in-house training, it also means a variety of opportunities within the organisation such as job rotation, secondment etc. These types of roles allow the employee to try out the role but also it means that they can avail of training in other positions within the organisation. This type of training can also motivate the employee as it can be seen as a performance reward for their hard work. It would seem in today’s environment, the emphasis would be very much on a culture of performance equals rewards. Other types of training and development include attending classes and online courses.

Advantages and disadvantages of Training and Development

The advantages which can be beneficial to the organisation is the retention of the current employees who are competent in their positions and have the ability to take on new roles within the organisation. If the employee can be trained in other positions it will benefit the organisation when it comes to employees leaving, thus the need for an urgent replacement for the position is no longer made a priority as the organisation can often promote or second from within. This allows the organisation some time to proceed with the recruitment and selection process to allow for them to find the right candidate. This also allows the employee to try other positions within the organisation and to decide if they wish to apply for these positions. With these types of training and development opportunities, the employee gets an opportunity to experience other roles and they may also provide a monetary incentive such as a pay rise while they are in the position. The ability of the organisation to provide these types of roles will also allow the organisation to retain their workforce and the skills and knowledge which come with that. It also enhances the skills of the employee.

While there are advantages to training and development, there are also disadvantages. These disadvantages are predominately to the organisation but those which are important factors to the employee are the amount of time they would have to spend on the training and they may not be fully aware of the training opportunities which are afforded to them. This could be due to a lack of communication within the organisation or that the organisation is not overly interested in the development of their employees. One major reason that an organisation may not provide training and development would be down to cost in time and money. It may not be convenient for the organisation to spent time and money on an employee when the end result could be that they lose the skills and knowledge of the employee to another organisation due to the training and development they received. This has become more common as employees are more empowered and acknowledge the freedom to move to another job, even to move to another country.

How Training and Development is Changing

Garrison & Anderson (2003: p.i) state that

‘The growth of e-learning is being described as explosive, unprecedented, and above all, disruptive.’ E-learning is associated with providing a framework for understanding the application and to goal set. This method of learning has become increasingly adopted as technology is evolving and transforming work practices. Many organisations have acknowledged the need to change according to reviewing the values and culture of their organisations. It has become increasingly important for organisations to adapt to the new learning environment.

Training and development has changed rapidly due to global expansion. The employee no longer needs to take time off work to participate in training. Along with on the job training, it has become cost effective for employees to educate themselves through online and DVD/ CD’s. Technology has afforded organisations and employees easier ways to participate in training and development. Study can take place at the workstation or at home rather than the traditional format where the employee had to leave the workplace and travel to a destination where they could be facilitated. This has become extremely cost effective for the organisation as they are not losing man hours when the employee is studying/ on their course and it also means that workloads are not high because the work is still being completed.

Along with the rise in popularity of the Internet and its main feature, namely interactivity, the human resource managers have found out that this may be used to the advantage for training and development purposes (Venkatesh and Goyal, 2010). The internet, as an interactive and communication medium provides wider access to the information and enables distance learning for knowledge transfer purposes. This suggests that it is much easier to engage in learning programs from any location in the world, if an individual has an Internet connection (Venkatesh and Goyal, 2010). Additionally, it has been estimated that the Internet is associated with lower costs, imposed on the training and development strategies. This implies that the main costs are reduced in the areas of physical distribution of training and development programs and the need for hiring a specific staff in order to maintain those. Online training allow the individual to manage the training program by himself, where he is regarded to be in control over the situation (Venkatesh and Goyal, 2010). Van Dam, (2002) suggests that online training is utilized in combination with the offline channel, suggesting that in the majority of cases, the users of the online training system tend to maintain an offline contact whilst receiving the necessary instructions. The online training system is mainly utilized for the development of computer skills, job-related skills and technical competencies.

Recently, there has been an emergence of economic recession that has affected the planning and implementation process of training and development programs. This implies that economic recession has made the companies to reconsider their costs and thereby plan the cuts, where necessary. CIPD, (in EWCO, 2009) has estimated that the performance of the majority of companies in the previous 12 months has been worsened. With regard to training and development, it has been estimated that 32 % of surveyed companies have reported cuts in the training and development budget in the previous 12 months. However, in the light of recession, despite the imposed cuts in budget, the majority of companies has estimated that training and development has not been viewed as an expendable commodity. This implies that the management of the companies still view training and development programs as the key priority for company’s achievement of organizational objectives (CIPD in EWCO, 2009; Bourke, 2009). This suggests that there is a great potential for further investments in training and development programs, given its significance in the corporate world.

Methods used in Training and Development

This type of training also encourages the employee as they can do all their study with the use of a pc and can do it during working hours at their workstation. It also allows the employee to have more say in their development and to enhance their skills. The use of IT has allowed the development of more globalised skills which are transferrable. It is also appropriate for the organisation to provide the employee with the information about training and development opportunities which is extremely easy compared to how the traditional methods had been. The employee and the organisation can research the courses/ training and development opportunities. The manager has the ability to distinguish worthwhile courses/ training opportunities according to the need of the employee with the use of IT. This is where the ability to communicate and identify the individual needs of the employee as well as their own needs.

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