Training and development as defined by Noe (2008). It is important to note that training focuses on improving an employee’s skill level as related to his or her current job, while development has a more long-term focus intended to help an employee prepare for future jobs. The basic aim of training and development programs is to help the organization to achieve its mission and goals by improving individual and, ultimately, organizational performance (Noe, 2008). Source: Noe, R. A. (2008). Employee Training & Development, 4th ed., New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Though different texts may use different terms, these are the general steps in the training and development process. These elements will be discussed separately in class. It is important to recognize, though, that these elements are not mutually exclusive and encompass subcomponents that may blend with one another. For example, evaluation is listed at the end, but it should occur throughout the process. Source: United State General Accounting Office. (2004). Human Capital: A Guide for Assessing Strategic Training and Development Efforts in the Federal Government. GAO-04-546G.
Because students will work extensively on a group project in this class, it is important that they understand group process. In 1965, Bruce W. Tuckman, an educational psychologist, studied the behavior of small groups in a variety of environments and described four distinct stages that groups experience before reaching maximum effectiveness. He described the stages as forming, storming, norming and performing. In 1977, he revised the model by adding a fifth stage—adjourning—to describe what happens to the group at the conclusion of a project. Forming--Tuckman’s first stage--describes what happens when a group first comes together to work on a project. This is somewhat like a first date, where people are on their best behavior. At this point, they are unlikely to bring up serious issues or cause any controversy; instead, most will sit back, gather information and quietly form impressions about the other members of the group. During the second stage of development, storming, things start to happen. Some people are no longer nice and strong opinions and feelings are likely to be expressed. There may be conflict as the group deals with differences in personalities and in methods for getting work done. At the norming state, the group understands the scope and responsibilities of their task and the rules of engagement have been established. Individuals appreciate and support each others work as the group becomes a cohesive and effective team. Finally, during the performing state, the group becomes a high performance work team demonstrating trust and interdependence. Individual roles and responsibilities are fluid and change according to what is needed at the time. There is a high degree of comfort among members and the energy of the group is directed toward accomplishment of the group objectives. This is where we want to go, but unfortunately, not all groups reach this stage. Some get stuck between storming and norming. Adjourning is the last stage of Tuckman’s model and it occurs when the group’s work is complete. Group members experience pride in their work but also a sense of loss and mourning as the group is dissolved and individuals move to other, separate tasks. Sources: Chimaera Consulting, www.chimaeraconsulting.com/tuckman.htm. George Mason University, Center for Leadership and Community Engagement, www.gmu.edu/student/csl/leadership/5stages.html. Housel, D.J. (2002). Team Dynamics. Professional Development Series, South-Western, Thomson Learning, Inc.
Ask students to discuss the kinds of groups in which they have been participants.
Ask students to describe their experience in groups. Not all groups have positive outcomes. Remind students that creating a team is more than just putting a group of people together and calling them a team. A team is a cohesive unit with a common purpose whose members can trust and depend on each other. A group may be just a bunch of people who never reach team performance.
Every individual in a group plays a specific role within that group. Task-oriented roles are those actions that help move the project toward completion. Maintenance roles are also referred to a social roles because their focus is on the relationships among group members. High maintenance-oriented individuals recognize that work gets done through people and therefore maintenance is important in successful accomplishment of group activities. Remember, all groups are comprised of individuals, each with his or her own needs and personalities. Some are not team-oriented and instead play individualistic roles that are destructive to the group process. If you have worked on group projects, you have probably experienced both the harmonizer and the dominator! Source: The Evergreen State College, http://academic.evergreen.edu/curricular/businessandsociety/documents/GroupRoles.pdf. Pearson Higher Education, www.abacon.com/commstudies/groups/roles.html.
Class #2 / Unit #1
An organization’s value consists of three types of assets that are crucial to providing goods and services. An organization must have financial assets, cash and securities, to maintain day-to-day activities and to invest in the future. There must be physical assets, such as facilities, plants and equipment, to produce marketable goods and services. And lastly, organizations have intangible assets, such as staff and a good reputation, all necessary to achieve the organization’s mission. It’s easy to count the cash or assess the facility, but it can be difficult to measure the worth of intangible assets – What’s the value of a good reputation? Certainly, reputation is not listed on the organization’s balance sheet, but we all recognize that without a good reputation, the company’s sales plummet, the stock price spirals downward and it becomes impossible to hire and retain good employees. So – What’s the value of an intangible like reputation? Priceless! The same can be said for an organization’s human capital. What is the value of a well-trained staff?
Traditionally, training has not been seen as a priority in organizations and, consequently, it was a low-budget item. The idea of training was to teach employees the skills needed for their current job with the hope that they would apply those new techniques to their daily activities. Today, organizations recognize that simple skills training is not enough. Organizations are increasingly looking to increase the value of their intangible assets, and many see their human capital assets as a way to gain an advantage over competitors. This attitude change is reflected in the increase U.S. organizations are spending on training, with $109 billion spent on training in 2006 compared with just $51 billion in 1995. Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov. American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), www.astd.org. March 2007. Learning Moves Up the Ladder in HR Value. HRFocus, 84, 3.
Why are organizations increasingly interested in employee training? Globalization. Many organizations work across national borders, and cross-culture training has become a common occurrence. In addition, many employees working in the United States come from other countries; organizational success requires that all employees understand cultural and diversity issues. Successful organizations need effective leaders. With the aging of the workforce and imminent retirement of the Baby Boomers, U.S. organizations are experiencing a shortage of skilled leaders and a significant need for leadership training. Skilled leadership affects the entire workforce; numerous studies indicate that one of the key reasons that employees leave jobs is because they are uncomfortable with the working environment created by their direct supervisor. Leadership training could reduce turnover at all levels in an organization. Intangible assets may be responsible for an organization’s competitive advantage, and organizations are recognizing the increased value of human capital. Employers are therefore more willing to invest in training. According to an ASTD survey of more than 500 publically traded U.S.-based organizations, organizations that invest the most in training and development had a shareholder return that was 86 percent higher than organizations in the bottom half of the survey and 46 percent higher than the market average (Noe, 2008, p. 12). Instead of being simply a side issue as it was in the past, training is increasingly linked to an organization’s business strategy. Training professionals are expected to design learning activities to help the organization successfully implement strategy and reach organizational goals.
Training significantly affects employee retention. Surveys show that the opportunity for career growth, and learning and development activities are one of the top reasons employees stay with an organization. Training is a major influence on employee satisfaction because it increases an employee’s opportunity for advancement (Noe, 2008, p. 17). Increased competition among organizations has resulted in a strong emphasis on quality and customer service. Measures of quality such as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the ISO 9000:2000 quality standards all require employee training. Immigration and the aging labor force continue to change workforce demographics. Training programs are needed to eliminate skill deficiencies, to integrate immigrant workers into the organization and to help employees acquire necessary technical skills. Some organizations provide training in generational differences to help employees understand the differences in how people work. New technology and economic uncertainty has lead to training that is delivered on an as-needed basis, available 24-7, rather than taking employees away from job sites and into a classroom for on-site learning. New methods of delivering training have made training more cost-effective and increasingly available to employees scattered around the globe.
Instructors should create teams of three to four students for the class project. Allow class time for students to meet with their teams to discuss project plans and identify the organization they want to use for their training and development class project.
Discuss with students the specifics of the assignment. Allow time in class as available throughout the course for students to work with their teams.