THE IMPACT OF TRAINING ON EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE
The importance of training and development to employees’ performance and for that matter to employees and organisational performance cannot be overemphasised. Noe (1999) affirms that management of individual skills is an important aspect of doing business today, and employee development will likely grow in the future. The benefits of employee development extend beyond the actual skills gained and their contribution to an individual’s productivity.
The issue of training is paramount to the success of any organisation and this function of training has been examined for decades now. However, in today’s business climate of continuous changes and uncertainty, the importance of training to employee and organisational performance as a whole, needs to be seen from a new perspective. The need for organisations to respond to the needs of its human capital and the effect of training on their performance of the organisation has become a crucial subject for business activity.
It is important to note that there is an established link between training and performance. Not only does training enhance employee motivation and satisfaction, increases productivity, reduces the problems associated with the supervision of employees but also creates a reservoir of qualified employee as well as reduces work related activities as a result of increased knowledge, skills, abilities and competences.
According to the Journal of Industrial Training, November / December 1947 edition, “it is suggested that training be defined as that tool of management which through sound principles of teaching and learning, is utilised to raise the productive ability and to maintain and improve the performance of all employees”. Training which consists of planned programmes must be on-going designed to improve performance at the individual, group, and organisational levels.
Improved performance, in turn, implies that there have been measurable changes in knowledge, skills, attitude, and social behaviour. In fact, well-planned, well-executed training efforts may fail unless companies and communities help workers see training as a long term investment in their own career.
Nestlé Ghana Limited started business in Ghana in 1957 under the trading name of Nestlé Products (Gh) Limited with the importation of Nestlé products such as milk and chocolates. In 1968, it was incorporated as Food Specialties (Gh) Limited to manufacture and market locally well known Nestlé brands. The company became Nestlé Ghana Limited in 1987.
In 1971 the production of the IDEAL Milk and MILO started at the Tema Factory which has since been expanded further with products not only produced for Ghana but also exported across West Africa.
In 2003, Nestlé Ghana Ltd invested in a new warehouse, the Central Distribution centre, located next to the factory in Tema. The company also runs sales offices with warehouses in Kumasi, Takoradi, Koforidua and Tamale.
The main objectives of the company are the development of the local and regional West African market. Since it was established, the company has significantly stimulated the Ghanaian economy with a dynamic, well trained and dedicated workforce, manufacturing and marketing well known quality brands such as Ideal Full Cream Evaporated Milk, Carnation Filled Milk, Carnation Tea Creamer, Milo, Chocolim, Choco Milo, Cerevita Porridges, Cerelac and Nestlé infant cereals. Nestlé Ghana Ltd also imports and distributes brands such as Nido Milk Powder, Lactogen and Nan Infant Formula and soluble coffee Nescafe. All those products can be found all over the country’s extended distribution network. The company also takes an important role in the social life of Ghana by promoting medical students in health sciences, supporting child education and social events as well as sports.
In addition to all these, the Nestle Ghana Ltd in its Investment Projects/ Growth Strategy, has invested some 130 billion cedis in 2004 and 2005 to increase its production capacity, particularly in the area of cocoa-based beverages, and to construct modern and efficient distribution facilities next to the factory in Tema.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Over the years, performances within some sectors of the company have not been particularly impressive. Even though through its brands, profits have soared, it is believed that the level of employees’ skills, knowledge and competencies, if improved, would enhance not only the company’s image but also shoot profits through the roof. Nestle Gh Ltd has elaborate training and development policies for its employees which include study leave, on-the-job training, off-the-job training, special short courses, mentoring and workshops among others
All of the above are aimed at updating the knowledge, skills, abilities and competences of its employees in order to achieve organisational goals and objectives.
PURPOSE OF STUDY
The general objective of the study will be to assess the effects of training on the performance of employees of the Nestle Ghana Ltd
The specific objectives of the study are to:
Examine the knowledge, skills and qualifications of employees of the Nestle Ghana Ltd
Examine the training needs of employees of Nestle Ghana Ltd
Ascertain employee performance management or appraisal system of Nestle Ghana Ltd
Determine effects of training on job performance of employees of Nestle Ghana Ltd
Make recommendations to the institution on ways to improve upon training and performance of employees and to inform policy and programme formulation
The following research questions have been formulated to guide the study:
What are the criteria for selecting trainees in Nestle Ghana Ltd?
How does training affect employee performance in Nestle Ghana Ltd?
What level of importance does Nestle Ghana Ltd attach to training?
Significance of the study
One of the sources of improving on the knowledge, skills, attitudes, effectiveness and performance of employees in every institution is through sustained training and development. In this direction, there has been a reasonable amount of studies conducted on the subject matter in Ghana. However, studies of such kind are inadequate. It is therefore significant to undertake a study to assess the effects of training on the performance of employees of Nestle Ghana Ltd. The study is thus intended to serve as a reliable source of data for relevant agencies, researchers, students, and organisations and institutions interested in the effects of training on employee performance.
Furthermore, the study is expected to contribute to knowledge and existing literature on training and its effects on employee performance.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study will focused on assessing the impact of training on employee performance by using Nestle Ghana Ltd.
According to Herzberg (1966) human resources constitute the ultimate basis for the wealth of a nation or an organisation, Human resources, particularly employee’s energies, talents, skills, abilities, knowledge and efforts are often useful in the production of goods or rendering services.
Employees are often described as the most significant and dynamic among organisational resources since the character and strength of an organisation is invariably tied up with the quality and attributes of its employees (Cole, 2002).
Employee training and development therefore is not only essential but also critical to an organisation’s survival. The global trend now is the training and development of human resources as the knowledge that human beings possess is the pivot for achieving an increase in total factor productivity (UNIDO, 1995).
Training and development is a comprehensive learning system designed to enhance individual performance for the purpose of improving organisational effectiveness and efficiency.
Training is the process of facilitating organisational learning, performance and change through formal and informal interactions, initiatives and management actions for the purpose of enhancing an organisations performance, capacity, capability, competence, competitiveness and readiness (Gilley, England & Gilley, 2002).
According to Cole (1998) training and development activities depends on the policy and strategies of an organisation. Many organisations in the review of related literature as regards training in an organisation are not quite easy, as available literature encounters many difficulties. Beginning with, the use of the two terms of training and development are thought of as one entity.
Some authors such as Cole (1998) and Robbins (1991) equate staff development to human resource development which focuses on among other things, preparing employees for greater responsibility and advancement. Others however look at it from the view of worker’s education and training.
According to Robbins (1991), when management provide employees with training, its intention is to instil preferred work behaviours and attitudes in them. This may be most obvious during the new employees’ orientation, which is a type of training in itself.
Daft (as cited in Mullins 1999) is of the view that all organisations are open systems and ignoring the environment may lead to failure in the entire system. Organisations and the environment in which they operate are constantly in link with each other. Indeed, interdependence is very crucial since the malfunction or neglect of any one of them inevitably affects the others and the total system. The training functions in any organisation is functionally linked to this whole work system and any extortion in the series of independent systems could affect productivity, hence the effectiveness by training (Mullin, 1999).
Motivation is concerned with the factors that influence people to behave in certain ways, Armstrong (2006). Motivation is a tool for encouragement, a driving force that defines behaviour. It can be intrinsic, that is, self generating factors or extrinsic which is motivation that originates outside the individual.
The survival of any training programme is dependent on its sensitivity to the demands of the environment, which includes the trainees, management and the entire community.
It must be emphasized that the most literature agrees that the aim of the training process is to help develop the organisations employee’s skills, knowledge and attitude that have been regarded necessary for an effective performance of their work.
According to Mc-Beath (1994), development is about total growth of knowledge, experience and abilities of the individual, the development of the “whole person” as he progresses towards his ultimate potential, being long term and future oriented opportunities to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes largely off-the-job, to help achieve designed performance or levels of knowledge. The definition is role of employee specific. Training is seen as teaching lower level employees how to perform their present job while development involves teaching managers and professional employees skills needed for their present and future jobs.
Rae (1994) identifies the following training functions as the most commonly found in organisations.
General job skills training: This sees staff at all levels frequently possessing a common problem or needs in order to carry out their jobs efficiently.
Functional job skills training: concerns itself mainly with situations where organisations introduce new or revised operating systems, procedures and so on.
On-the job training: refers to face-to-face, individualized training or instruction on-the job at the work place.
Technical skills training: generally refers to training in the information technology where specific and technological skills are required.
Professional skills training: involve the training of professional staff such as Accountants, Surveyors, Auditors, Architects, etc.
Management training: trainers in many large organisations specialize in training and development of managers.
In – trainer training: the trainers themselves require advance skills in their existing line of work.
To Mullin (1999), the purpose of training is to improve knowledge and skills, and to change attitudes. Mullins again states that in order to secure the full benefits of successful training, there must therefore be a planned and systematic approach to the effective management of training
According to Douglas and Philip (1987), there are several training principles pertaining to training and learning. The generalisations are the results of efforts to formulate a reasonable useful set of descriptive statements concerning the trainee and training methods, materials and situations.
Some writers who have written on training observed that most training reported was for organisational rather than individual development. This presupposes that carrier development does not appear to be fully blamed for such positions since some employers lose considerable human resource annually after investing heavily in them. The concern here is whether organisations are justified in maintaining such policies.
Foster as cited in Mayo and Du Bois (1993) states that training should create conditions and stimuli to evoke response in others, to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes, to produce changes in behaviour and finally to attain specific objectives.
The connection between training and organisational goals implies that training in an organisation could be strategic, informal and operational (O’Connor, Bronner & Delaney, 1996).
Informal training is based on the need to give the employees information about the organisation which includes orientation, developing corporate citizenship, and creating a contextual reference for employees (Noe, 1999).
Thomas (1996) in his deliberations on the descriptive surveys method stressed that data sometimes live buried with the minds or within the attitudes, feeling reactions of men and women and they can act as clues for further investigations to be canned out. The use of the survey method enables the researcher to systematically collect data about the nature of the training programme and its attendant challenges that the participants face.
The sample population used in this research was thirty staff members of Nestle Ghana Ltd. There will be three groups of respondents:
a. workers who have been in the company for just a year and have undergone only orientation training
b. workers who have undergone in-service training within the company
c. workers who have gone into international training. These are usually managerial staff.
The Human Resource unit of Nestle Ghana Ltd will be contacted to provide the sample size of workers of the company who fall under these categories.
Respondents will be issued questionnaires to fill on the information required. Where possible, there will be unstructured interviews with the respondents as to questionnaires they are required to fill.
The standard questionnaire will be the main instrument for data collection for the trained staff of Nestle Ghana Ltd. It will be used to elicit responses from the beneficiaries as to how they are involved in the objective setting and the training needs assessment of the training programmes among others.
All the questions will be asked to ascertain whether the purpose of training can be perceived in terms of ensuring that employees have the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes required to perform well at post.
The questionnaires will consist of both open and closed questions. The closed-ended questions are asked to make sure of uniformity and greater reliability. The open-ended techniques will used to probe further on the questions and also eliminate ambiguities.
The study will be based on both primary and secondary data sources. The primary data consists of responses to the questionnaire administered to Nestle Ghana Ltd staffs who have attended some training programmes. In addition bits of information will also be taken from other published and unpublished studies related to the study.
The data collected will be matched, synthesized and coded for easy presentation. Data collected from respondents will be analysed with the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).
The research will highlight the importance of training to Nestle Ghana Limited and develop a link between training and both employee and company development.REFERENCES
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