Sunday, May 15, 2011

Explain the meaning, need, importance and methods of training.

Explain the meaning, need, importance and methods of training. Discuss the existing training system of your organisation or an organisation you are familiar with. Describe how an organisation identifies the needs of training and comes up with the appropriate training programmes. Describe the organisation you are referring to.

Answer. In simple terms, training refers to the imparting of specific skills, abilities and knowledge to an employee. Training intends to develop specific and useful knowledge, skills and techniques. It is basically a task oriented activity which prepares people to carry out predetermine tasks. A formal definition of training and development is

.. it is any attempt to improve current or future employee performance by increasing an employee’s ability to perform through learning, usually by changing the employee’s attitude or increasing his or her skills and knowledge. The need for training is determined by the employee’s performance deficiency, computed as follows:
Training and development need = Standard performance – Actual performance

Need of Training
• Increased productivity: Training programs help in increasing skill, aptitude and abilities of workers. It results in increased productivity.
• Reduced Supervision: The trained employee requires less supervision and he can supervise himself.
• Reduced dissatisfaction: Well-trained employees usually experience satisfaction associated with a sense of achievement and knowledge. Consequently they develop their inherent capabilities at work.
• Minimum wastage and accidents: An important advantage of training is that accident, spoiled work and damage to machinery and equipments can be kept at minimum.
• Organizational flexibility and stability: Trained and motivated personnel are assets for an organization who can adjust to short run variations in the volume of work whether there is loss of key personnel. Hence personnel with multiple skills are in a position to transfer to jobs where the demands is the highest.

Importance of Training and development
Training and development programmes help remove performance deficiencies in employee. This is particularly true when –(i) the deficiency is cause by lack of ability rather than a lack of motivation to perform, (ii) the individuals involved have the aptitude and motivation need to learn to do the job better, and (iii) supervisors and peers are supportive of the desired behaviours.

There is greater stability, flexibility, and capacity for growth in an organization. Training contributes to employee stability in at least two ways. Employees become efficient after undergoing training and efficient employees contribute to the growth of the organization. Future needs of employees will be met through training and development programmes. Organizations take fresh diploma holders or graduates as apprentices or management trainees. They are absorbed after course completion. Training serves as an effective source of recruitment. Training is an investment in HR with a promise of better returns in future.

Training Methods
Most training takes place on the job. This can be attributed to the simplicity of such methods and their usually lower cost. However, on the job training can disrupt the workplace and result in an increase in errors as learning proceeds. In such cases off the job training methods are used.

On the Job training: Popular training methods include job rotation and understudy assignments. Job rotation involves lateral transfers that enable employees to work at different jobs. Employees get to learn a wide variety of jobs and gain increased insight into the interdependency between jobs and a wider perspective on organizational activities. New employees frequently learn their jobs by understudying a seasoned veteran. On the job methods includes:
• Orientation training
• Job-instruction training
• Apprentice training
• Internships and assistantships
• Job rotation
• Coaching

Off the job training: There are a number of off the job training methods that managers may want to make available to employees.
• Vestibule
• Lecture
• Special study
• Films
• Television
• Conference and discussion
• Case study
• Role playing
• Simulation
• Programmed instruction
• Laboratory training

I am familiar with Reliance Infocomm Ltd. Reliance Infocomm is the outcome of the late visionary Dhirubhai Ambani's dream to herald a digital revolution in India by bringing affordable means of information and communication to the doorsteps of India's vast population.

Working at breakneck speed, from late 1999 to 2002 Reliance Infocomm built the backbone for a digital India - 60,000 kilometres of fibre optic backbone, crisscrossing the entire country. The Reliance Infocomm pan-India network was commissioned on December 28, 2002, the 70th - birth anniversary of Dhirubhai. This day also marked his first birth anniversary after his demise July - 6, 2002.

Existing training system of our organization
In today’s electronic world, the world wide web (www) is all pervasive. The internet and intranet are changing the face of training and learning. Using a PC, modem and a web browser, it has become possible to learn online. In our company, we are reaping the benefits of virtual learning. Employees of our company have access of self-paced computer based training (CBT) material through the firm’s Intranet. Our company offers nearly 100 courses online, mostly in information technology. Learning through the web can be very convenient for employees. There are no fixed schedules or limitations of time. One can attend a course at home, in the evening, or while travelling. It is not just technical programs: soft skills can also be learnt electronically. We use a CD-ROM based manual to impart soft skills like performance management, coaching, and interviewing skills. The CD-ROM based training is supplemented with shared learning via teleconferencing, where mangers discuss key learnings and ask for clarifications. Face to face, role-playing exercises are added for the human touch.

Training need identification
Needs assessment diagnoses present problems and future challenges to be met through training and development. There are several methods for the purpose:

Group or Organizational analysis Individual analysis
Organizational goals and objectives Performance appraisal
Personnel/skills inventories Work sampling
Organizational climate indices Interviews
Efficiency indices Questionnaires
Exit interviews Surveys
MBO or work planning systems Training progress
Quality circles Rating scales
Customer survey/satisfaction data
Consideration of current and projected changes

In our organization, we developed a 3-tier need survey to identify training needs of employees at different levels.

3-tier of the proposed survey cab be described as follows:
Tier 1: Identifying problems of various departments and the training needs for the various categories of employees by line managers through questionnaire.
Tier 2: Prioritizing the various training areas for different categories of employees by the Senior Managers and Head of Departments.
Tier 3: Based on the findings from the above two tiers, conducting interviews with the Deputy General Managers and General Managers to get their feedback.

The survey was taken up with following four basic objectives.
• To identify problems of line managers which may by overcome with the help of training.
• To enhance the effectiveness of present training programmes vis-a-vis identified problems.
• To identify training needs of the employees in the division.
• To involve line managers by initiating the process of participative management in the training function.


Tier1: A questionnaire consisting of six questions was designed and circulated to a random sample of 50 line managers from various departments in order to find out-answers to the following questions:

• What are the burning problems in. the department?
• What are the training needs of different categories of employees in the department?
• What are the perceptions of line managers about the effectiveness of programmes presently organized by the Training Development Department?
• What are the expectations of line managers from the Training and Development Department.

Tier 2: A list of various training areas/programmes was compiled and circulated to 66 Senior Managers/Head of Departments. The programmes were classified under the following heads.

• General Management Programmes
• Behavioral Science Oriented Programmes
• Technique Oriented Programmes
• Functional Management Programmes
• Skill Development Programmes

The respondents were asked to indicate the priorities 1 to 5 under each subject for each category of employee.

Tier 3: Detailed personal discussions were held individually with the seven Deputy General Managers by Training and Development managers and his deputies so as to.
• Obtain their view/perception/suggestions about the training needs
• To get validation of the date/views expressed in the earlier two tiers
• To intimate the process of involvement of the line as well as top management

The response to questionnaires was not very encouraging. This is a normal phenomenon. Based on responses, line managers identified some of the common problems for different categories of employees as given below.

Among Executives Among Supervisors Among Artisans
Lack of Leadership Lack of team spirit Low productivity
Lack of role clarity Lack of responsibility Absenteeism
Lack of initiative Poor Planning Lack of Quality consciousness
Lack of Interpersonal and analytical skills Poor decision making Lack of interest
Lack of sensitivity to the needs of other departments Lack of knowledge about administrative and disciplinary procedures Lack of skills to do the job
Based on the above problems line managers identify the training needs of their employees. The category wise priorities of the training needs were also determined.

Tier 2: Here the response to the questionnaire was much better. The information received was compiled to find out priorities for different programmes.

Tier 3: Personal discussions were held with Deputy General Managers, Senior Managers of Production, Finance and Marketing departments. Findings from the earlier two tiers were also presented to them. Their views were mostly in line with views of Senior Managers in Tier 2. They frankly expressed their views and priorities. Their emphasis was on methodology so that such forums could be used to generate solutions to problems within the organization.

The summary findings were discussed in detail in the Personnel Department. Some programmes were designed around real organizational problems. In some other programmes, application of concepts from innovative managers was obtained by designing some of them as Programme Directors and by involving them in identifying participants for different programmes. This method resulted in increasing the credibility, acceptance and involvement of line managers in this company’s training programmes.

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