Effectiveness of training and development to organisations

What is training and development and is it effective and beneficial to organisations? Why then would some organisations be reluctant to investing in it?

This essay looks at the critical issues raised by the afore-mentioned question and tries to analyse the issues by explaining the meaning of training and development, present evidences based on various researches by scholars to support positive impact of training and development on organisations as well as identifying reasons why some organisations are reluctant to investing in training

Training both socially, physically and mentally are very necessary in facilitating not only the level of productivity but also the achievement of organizational plans and strategy. Goldstein and ford, (2002) suggests ‘training’ to be a systematic approach to development and learning to increase team, individual and organizational effectiveness while “Development’ refers to action leading to the acquisition of new skills and knowledge for purpose of personal or organizational growth. Roger Buckley and Jim Caple (2007) both defined training as a systematic and planned effort to develop attitude, knowledge and skill through learning experience, in other to achieve effective performance in a range of activities. They further identified the purpose in the work situation as enabling an employee acquire extra abilities, in order that he or she can perform adequately in a given task or job while “Development” is systematic efforts aimed at affecting employees skills for purpose of personal growth or future jobs and roles.

Training and development can be classified as external and internal. Externally training and development can be provided by private training organizations and co-workers, while Internal training can be on-the-job or off-the-job. On-the-job training is a training being instructed by another trainer, fellow worker or supervisor while off-the-job training provided by the organization in the form of demonstrations and lectures, but far away from the work station. Training and development however, have a lot of similarities which is often difficult to differentiate and as such are used interchangeably.

The aim of training and development programs is to improve organizational capabilities and employee ability. When the organization invests in improving the skills and knowledge for its employees, the investment will lead to more productive and effective employees. Successful Training and development programme focuses on employee performance or team performance. In the empirical research conducted by Watad & Ospina (1999), they identified the establishment and implementation of training and development. Found that training and development programmes should be based on training needs identified by their analysis, that money and time invested in training and development should be related or linked to the mission or core business strategy of the organization.

There are two basic views by which organization and employee perceive training and development which could either be positive or negative in relation. These views on training and development are really important in making decisions on whether to include training and development in their organizational plans or not. Organizations with a positive view may base their opinion on some scholars who opined that training should not be something to be identified as an immediate solution to their problems or means of detecting weak employees. Rather, training and development should be an integral part of the business function or process of the organisation which is done to enhance the productivity of employees and in turn the productivity of the organisation. While other organisations with a negative view, also base their opinion on some author like Mabey and Thomson (2000), who lamented that training and development cannot provide any measurable benefits to the firm on the cost of investing in training and development. In addition, the success of an organization does not depend solely on organizational training and development but mainly on the organizational objectives, goals, and managerial ability. The later view may be responsible for the reason some organizations do not want to take risk investing in people, furthermore some research show that, organizations invest in training and development only when the organizational climate is financially favourable.

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Employee training and development does not entail only obtaining new abilities, skills and knowledge but also the possibility to promote entrepreneurship, initiate employees to changes, encourage the changes of their attitude, introduce the employers to important business decisions and involve them actively in the process of decision making within the context of learning organisation, it is not sufficient for the worker only to add value to the organization based on his knowledge but he also has to receive knowledge. He gives as much knowledge as he receives. Organizations that invest in the training and development of their employees reap many benefits. But so do employees and the society in which they live.

We will be looking at the benefit of training and development to the organisation as well as employees respectively. Training and development benefits to the organization are numerous that ultimately help an organization obtain a sustained competitive advantage.

Training and development can facilitate organization’s strategy, effectiveness and improve employee retention and recruitment. Saks and Haccoun (2010) explain that the goal of all organizations is to prosper and survive and therefore training and development can help organizations achieve these goals. Organizations can be successful by training employees who have the knowledge and skills necessary to assist organizations achieve their goals and objectives. By linking training to an organization’s strategy, training becomes a strategic activity that operates in performance with other programs and activities to achieve an organization’s strategic business objectives.

There is a quantifiable benefit to training employees. Trained employees can do more and better work, make fewer errors, require less control, have more positive attitudes, and have lesser rates of attrition. Trained employees also produce higher-quality products and services. For example, a survey conducted by American Management Association found that companies that expanded their training programs showed gains in productivity and larger operating profits. In another study, a 10 percent increase in training produced a 3 percent increase in productivity over two years. Companies that invest more heavily in training are more successful and more profitable.

The link between training and an organization’s effectiveness is strongly supported by research. Study after study has found that companies that invest more in training have higher revenues, profits, and productivity growth than firms that invest less in training. A review of research on training and organizational effectiveness found that training is positively related to human resource outcomes (e.g. motivation, behaviours, employee attitudes,), organizational performance outcomes (e.g. performance and productivity), and to a lesser extent financial outcomes (e.g. profit, financial indicators).

In employee Recruitment and Retention, training and development is considered an effective tool for attracting and retaining top talent, especially for those under the age of 30 who consider their career growth and professional development more important than salary. The benefits to employees can be identified as those that are internal to an employee, such as attitudes, skills, knowledge and those that are external to an employee. The internal benefit to employee is by acquiring new skills and knowledge which enable them to perform better on their task. Research has shown that training and development of an employee has a positive impact on the employee’s performance and job behaviour. However to improve employee knowledge and skills, trained employees must also develop a greater self-efficacy and confidence in performing their job. Training and development motivate employee work level of knowledge and skills. It provides sense of satisfaction, which refer to intrinsic motivator. Training and development serve as an antecedent of job performance in the organization (Kraiger 2002).According to Arthur et al (2003), research on meta- analysis of 1152 affect sizes from 165 sources which resulted to, the relationship that exist between no-training and per training, Training and development had a positive effect on performance or job-related behaviours (mean effect size or d = 0.62). Although, the differences in terms of positive effect size were not too large, the high benefits of training will depend on the training delivery method and the skill and knowledge or task being trained and developed on.

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External benefits to the employee in training and development include higher earnings as a result of increased skills and knowledge, greater security of employment, improved marketability and enhanced opportunities for advancement and promotion. Organizations should have a successful program to note the barriers to effective training. Training and development of a liable employee is critical to the increase and productivity of an organization. This is because well trained employees become valuable assets to the organization as they perform with excellence and competence.

Unfortunately, top managers in an organization do not realize the above as problem. The relationship that exists between them is that organization still views training and development as expensive, rather than an investment worthy of investing.Further investigation concerning why organization don’t want to invest in training and development was carried out by (Mabey and Thomson, 2000) which brought the attention of (Sambrook and Stewart, 2000) in that area, which they concluded that costs associated with management training and development and time pressures as the main problems why organization don’t want to participate or invest in training and development. These same problems were also identified by (Thomson et al, 2001) as costs, time and people were not able to identify any countable benefits that related to training and development.

Another reason why employee and organization are indisposed to training and development is that many of the organisational managers may be under the influence of prejudices which can be as a result of cost. Training and development is can be an expensive burden on the organization, they see it is as not rewarding providing training for the young, claiming knowledge and skills are expenses, but fail to realise that ignorance is even much more expensive. Individual possibilities to training are unlimited, unless individuals do not limit their abilities within their minds. Empirical studies have shown that investing in employee training and development has larger business effects than investing in equipment and other material resources.

Sambrook and Stewart (2000) identified in their research that managers identify different cultural characteristics at the firm’s level which can make firms and employee to feel reluctant to training and development. They cited a world called “turfism” which was explained to be that some managers are territorial in an organization. This was further explained that bureaucracy exists in the organization, fear of change and increased workplace pressure, lack of time available for training due to workload. Both studies identify all these as among the problem that are likely faced by an organization and individual not to invest in training and development. However they identify the influence of reference others for example peer and senior managers, whose support was found to affect an employee’s interest. Interestingly, both work highlighted the role of stakeholder, trade unions which was not discussed in other study.

Some author have also argued that one of the major reason why organization don’t want to invest in training and development is because of cost, (Mabey et al, 2002) also stresses more on this by identifying that the major reasons why organization don’t want to invest in training and development is also cost. However this is not accepted by some authors like storey and west head (1997) where they identify that the majority of the research studies carried out only examines the impact of training and development on organization using a limited dependent or variable measures. However their research was able to identify that no training has taken place and whether a particular group of mangers or employee were involved. Shochlars, Macracken, (2004) carried out a qualitative survey of the reasons to training participation for mid – career managers. Their result was able to facilitate and highlight a model developed that concerns organization not to invest in training and development. This model includes many of the extrinsic factor or organizational oriented factors and intrinsic factor which have been first identified by (Stuart 1984). In the studies of Stuart who considerably contributed to training and development program, where he logically assembled the reasons why organization and individual feel reluctant to invest in training in two dimensions.

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First the extrinsic factor, he explained as factors present as outcome of influences from the organization in which organization work. He further explain the extrinsic factors in two ways psycho-social constraints that “…arise from the prevailing climate and relationships of which trainee is a part” and , the physical-structural barriers “. . . where the trainee experiences blocks and barriers to his training which are rooted in his tasks, the structure within which they are located, and the physical setting in which they are carried out”; secondly, he explained the intrinsic factors as, problems which occur due to employer and employee attitude, experience, believe and perception. Reader should bear in mind that, the implicit grouping of participation barriers into intrinsic and extrinsic factors has become a standard feature in this essay.

McCracken, 2004 further developed the extrinsic factor for organization model to include the following, work life pressures such as location of the training program, time and physical pressure, and specifically views concerning development opportunities, access or management development culture and support for training; and the trainee’s overall perception of the firms environment or firms culture while intrinsic or the individual oriented factors which include the following, desire to participate in training or motivation to participate in training; emotional, including insecurity and fear of failure; perceptual, or the perceived value of training; Cognitive, or extent to which past training and development experiences affect the current or feature training activities.

In conclusion, employees training and development has been identified by various scholars and anchors to be very essential to an organization and its effectiveness.

Organizations are therefore encouraged to train and develop their staff to the fullest advantage in order to enhance their effectiveness. As training reduces the effort of the manager in terms of close supervision it also improves the drive, initiative and quality of work of the employees thus helping them to be more committed to achieving the goals and objectives of the organization and this has the tendency of enhancing effectiveness among workers within the organization.

However, the prosperity of organizations becomes explicitly dependent on the intellectual capacity of their employees and their ability to change and adjust to the dynamic business environment.Furthermore, organization need to understand that apart from training and development, further linked to development is employee motivation and satisfaction. There is the need for organisations to create an enabling environment for employees to express their creativity and create that ownership spirit that would lead to innovation and thus increased productivity. Because the absence of these would make all organisations effort futile and lead to drained cost and less productivity. Improved and effective organisational communication whereby employee’s inputs are recognized in organisational strategy would ultimately lead to increased productivity and foster development and growth which would benefit both the employees and the organisation


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