Training and Development
Function of Training
The singular function of training is to produce change. It is the upgrading of a person’s skill or the addition of a new skill, which in turn can bring about the desired change an agency is seeking. It is important to understand that training in and of itself cannot motivate a work force. However, it is an integral part of what is needed to accomplish the long-term goals of the agency.
Value of Training
Often supervisors ask, "Why should I provide training to my staff?" There are many reasons agencies provide training to their employees:
- to foster growth and development
- to provide opportunities for employees to accept greater challenges
- to aid employees in contributing to the achievement of department goals and the agency’s mission and vision
- to build employee self-confidence and commitment
- to produce a measurable change in performance
- to bring about the desired changes that can solve a variety of problems
Benefits of Training
Providing training to an employee benefits both the employer and employee by:
- improving an employee’s performance
- developing the group and team skills needed to achieve organizational goals
- giving employees the needed skills and knowledge to complete assigned jobs, duties and tasks
- motivating employees to achieve higher standards
- increasing overall efficiency
- improving customer service, which leads to customer satisfaction
- preparing employees for promotional opportunities
- decreasing employee turnover, which reduces down time
- enhancing employee morale, motivation, and creativity
- enabling managers to reach unit goals and objectives
- giving employees the tools needed to analyze interpersonal and situational factors that create obstacles to achieving high performance
Determining Training Needs
There are a number of ways to determine the type of training an employee will need.
- Request from employee – Employees usually are the first to recognize the need for additional training. This need can result from the assignment of a new task, technological changes, or just a realization that additional training would result in a more efficient work product.
- Change in agency vision or mission – Agency vision and mission can sometimes change due to state or federal legislation. Thus employees may be assigned new duties or positions may be restructured. Before assigning new duties and responsibilities to employees, decide if the employees will need additional training. Remember, the reason for providing training is to produce a change or provide support so employees can reach their goals and objectives; thus attaining the agency’s vision and mission.
- Determination through performance management review – An excellent time to determine training needs is when a performance review is completed on employees. What additional training would be needed to assist employees to meet or exceed job expectations? Based on the employee’s self-assessment of identified strengths and improvement opportunities, an analysis should follow to determine training that may be needed to improve overall work performance.
Types of Training to Provide
There is no pre-determined "check list" regarding the type of training needed to ensure employees will always meet performance expectations. Since each individual is different, supervisors will have to make a thorough assessment of the type of training needed. Human Resource Management Services conducts a yearly training needs assessment to ensure programs are being offered that meet agency requirements. Agencies can also contact Human Resource Management Services to arrange for specific training based on performance management review, revised missions and vision, etc.
There are core or basic training programs needed when a person accepts supervisory or management positions, such as:
- Understanding management, organizational and motivational theory, and application
- Planning, setting, and carrying out organizational objectives
- Planning and leading effectively
Specific training needed when an individual enters a supervisory position is:
- Planning, scheduling, and delegating work assignments.
- Communicating, handling conflict, and handling grievance procedures.
- Understanding various state and federal employment laws.
- Interviewing and completing performance management reviews.
- Setting unit goals and objectives.
Levels and Types of Formal Training
We have identified three levels of formal training available to employees. The type of training selected should be based on the need of the individual, which can be determined through the performance management review, individual request, reorganization efforts, or supervisor observation. The Human Resource Management Services web site lists the various training programs offered to state agencies. The types of formal training available to employees are:
- Orientation Training
This training is geared for the newly hired or reassigned personnel. These programs are designed to give new employees the basic knowledge, understanding, and skill needed for successful job performance. Programs include orientation and various job skills training such as computer usage, communication techniques, phone usage, etc.
Human Resource Management Services provides general orientation that is designed to give employees a general knowledge of state policies, procedures, and practices relating to the employment relationship. The individual agencies complete orientation by providing information on agency policy and job-specific instruction.
- Remedial Training
This training is designed to correct observed deficiencies in employee knowledge, skill, and attitudes. Programs include stress reduction, time management, presentation skill building, assertiveness building, business writing, hands-on experiences in word processing, computer software, etc.
- Upgrading or Advanced Training
This training is designed to improve or upgrade individual job skills and knowledge. Programs include advanced computer training, decision making, employment laws, managing conflict, conducting performance evaluations, sensitivity training, supervisory responsibilities, resolving grievances, etc.
Right Training at the Right Time
Supervisors who perceive a training need, should contact their human resource officer or Human Resource Management Services, who can assist in developing a needs assessment to identify a specific training need.
Human Resource Management Services will assist supervisors to look into the future and consider such things as:
- What skills will employees need?
- What will be the organizational structure?
- What technological requirements will be needed?
- What services will be provided?
Once the direction is known, agencies may develop short and long-term plans in relation to staffing objectives, career ladders, organization development, etc.
After agencies know their focus and have developed their plans, they can determine the exact training needed to meet objectives through a needs assessment. There are four types of needs assessment. They are:
- Organizational needs assessment
Organizational needs emerge from agency goals, objectives, and priorities. This type of need can be universal for all employees, such as reducing stress, improving productivity, etc.
- Group needs assessment
These types of needs are easier to determine because they are closely related to specific job levels and categories of employees, such as team-building, problem solving, etc.
- Individual employee needs assessment
The needs uncovered with this type of assessment are more specific and can be easily identified by reviewing the individual’s background, education, training, experience, skills, knowledge, and past performance. Individual needs are those skills needed to do the employee’s current job, future assignments, and career plans.
- Job needs assessment
Based on the job in question, this type of need can be the most difficult or easiest to identify. Occupational, job, and task analyses are conducted to determine the type of training needed.
Challenges and Issues
How can we be assured that agency human capital is competent and contributing to their fullest? Making sure employees are managed, trained, and developed are primary factors that lead to efficiency and effectiveness. Therefore, how do we do this?
- Ensure employees have the necessary skill, knowledge, and experience needed to match current job descriptions.
- Assist employees in achieving performance potential by:
- Assigning effective developmental opportunities.
- Involving employees in an interactive process to improve performance.
- Increasing motivation.
- Developing a harmonious work environment.
- Improve work habits by obtaining employee commitment, developing an action plan, and providing support.
- Manage employee performance through top-management involvement and role modeling of performance management practices, ensuring goals are aligned to agency mission and vision.
The challenge for managers is to gather the resources and skills required to meet the demands of today’s problems and tomorrow’s uncertainties. Training is the answer to meet this challenge.
Training Dates Back to Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution ...
Corporate organizations emerged. Need for training employees on how to complete specific tasks. Development of technical schools, agriculture and mechanical colleges, factor schools, etc.
Mass production ruled how people worked. Vocational teachers were teaching job-related skills to those individuals who replaced men that reported for military duty.
Application of scientific management and the need to involve top management when determining training needs.
Training focused on group and individual behavior, motivation, and attitude change.
Training focused on discrimination, racism, and management by objectives.
Popular training topics were behavior modeling, teamwork, empowerment, diversity, feedback, and quality circles.
Popular training topics have been visioning, learning organizations, performance management, sexual harassment, reengineering, and balancing work and family.
Popular training topics are employment law, computer security, workplace violence awareness and prevention, stress management, generational differences in the workplace, and teamwork.