Review: Ask students to define training as discussed in the previous unit. What is training? Training is any planned effort by an organization designed to facilitate employees in the acquisition of job-related competencies. It is a method of enhancing human performance. What is the goal of training? The goal of training is for employees to master the knowledge, skills and behaviors emphasized in training programs and to apply them to their day-to-day activities. How is training strategic? Training is strategic to the extent that it helps achieve the organization’s strategic plan or business strategy.
Strategic training starts with an understanding of the organization’s strategic plan. The strategic plan influences how the organization uses: Physical capital: Facilities, technology and equipment. Financial capital: Assets and cash reserves. Human capital: Employees. A good strategic plan must be realistic and attainable to allow trainers to think strategically and act operationally. Strategic training and development initiatives are based on the business environment and an understanding of the organization’s goals and resources. The training function adds value to the organization when it is oriented toward helping the organization reach its goals.
Phase 1 Focuses on developing an organization’s identity. This includes defining the organization’s mission, vision and values. Defining these elements requires consultation with all the relevant constituents and stakeholders, including competitors and partners within the internal and external environments (Camillus, 2008). Mission statements express the nature of the organization and indicate the organization’s purpose. For example: The mission statement of the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disaster and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies (Source: The American Red Cross, www.redcross.org). The mission statement for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream: Ben & Jerry’s is founded on and dedicated to a sustainable corporate concept of linked prosperity. Our mission consists of 3 interrelated parts: product mission, economic mission and social mission. Central to the mission of Ben & Jerry’s is the belief that all three parts must thrive equally in a manner that commands deep respect for individuals in and outside the company and supports the communities of which they are a part (Source: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, http://www.benjerry.com/our_company/). Part of establishing a corporate identity involves articulating a vision for the organization, i.e. “where do we want to be in one, five, ten years?” A vision statement should be presented as a picture of the organization in three or more years in terms of its likely physical appearance, size, activities, etc. It should also take into consideration future products, markets, customers, processes, location, staffing, etc. It should be idealistic and futuristic in orientation. Business values govern the operation of the organization and its conduct and relationships with society at large, including customers, suppliers, employees, local community and other stakeholders. Source: Camillus, J.C. (May 2008). Strategy as a wicked problem. Harvard Business Review, 44-54.
Phase 2 In the second phase of strategic planning, organizations create action plans to attain the vision established in the first phase. Whereas vision describes where the organization is going, this second phase addresses how the organization will get there by outlining the strategies to be implemented to achieve the organization’s desired goals and objectives. Goals are broad aims for an organization. Goals can be interim or ultimate time-based. Goals should be quantifiable, consistent, realistic and achievable. They can relate to factors like market (sizes and shares), products, finances, profitability, utilization or efficiency. Objectives relate to the expectations and requirements of all the major stakeholders--including employees--and should reflect the underlying reasons for the organization’s existence. Objectives should include growth, profitability, technology, product offerings and markets. Strategies are the tactics, guidelines and processes by which the mission and objectives are achieved. Programs set out the implementation plans--including training plans--to achieve the key strategies. Source: Camillus, J.C. (May 2008). Strategy as a wicked problem. Harvard Business Review, 44-54.
Phase 3 This phase focuses on determining how well the organization is doing in achieving its strategic plan. This phase requires the identification of performance measures of success. What metrics or measures will assess how the organization is doing? How will the organization know when goals have been achieved? Source: Camillus, J.C. (May 2008). Strategy as a wicked problem. Harvard Business Review, 44-54.
All organizations must be competitive in their marketplace, whether they are producers of tangible goods or service providers. Customers look for value. If your organization can produce the value that the customer wants and can produce it at a lower cost or a higher quality, it has an advantage over competition in the marketplace.
Well-trained employees can be a competitive advantage for an organization when employee training focuses on the skills and knowledge needed by employees to achieve the organization’s strategic plan.
Strategic training links to the organization’s long-term planning and focuses on the skills and knowledge necessary for employees to achieve the organization’s goals. It consists of both formal, planned learning activities, such as seminars, workshops and organization-sanctioned mentoring programs, and informal learning that takes place through spontaneous interactions between employees. A great deal of organizational information is passed on through employee interactions at the water cooler or during casual conversations. Planned training activities focus on explicit knowledge, which is transfer of information that can be formalized and codified. Safety training and employee orientation are examples of explicit knowledge. Employee interaction and casual conversation result in the transfer of tacit knowledge, which is knowledge based on individual experience that is impossible to codify and may even be difficult to explain to others. It is knowledge an employee gains just by being there over time. An experienced employee who shows the ropes to a new employee is likely passing on tacit knowledge. Regardless of how it is communicated, to be effective, learning must be supported by top management. Management must provide the physical and technical resources for learning to be accomplished and must encourage a psychologically supportive environment as well. Ideally, the organization supports training through intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.
To plan and design appropriate training, training managers must understand the organization and participate in the strategic planning process. A SWOT analysis is a planning tool used to understand an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal to the organization. Opportunities and threats are external. Strengths describe the positive attributes internal to the organization. It answers the questions: What do you do well? What is your advantage in the marketplace? What resources do you have? Weaknesses are areas that detract from your competitive edge. They are areas that are within your control but, for whatever reason, are not being addressed. It answers the questions: What does the organization do poorly? Where do we need improvement? What problems could be avoided? Are your employees poorly trained? Opportunities are external factors in the marketplace that represent potential that your organization is not exploiting. It answers the questions: What do our customers want that we are not providing? What could we be doing that we are not? What trends or changes in the marketplace could we exploit to our advantage? Threats are external factors that are beyond your control and could put your organization at risk. It answers the questions: What are your competitors doing well? What obstacles does your organization face? Is your market changing in ways that you are unprepared for? Sources: Planware.org, www.planware.org/strategicplanner.htm Mplans.com, www.mplans.com/cm/print.cfm?i=148
Additional instructions for this assignment are in the Instructor Notes document.
There are a number of different models available for instructional design, but the standard process is called the ADDIE model. It is a five-phase process to determine training needs. The first step is assessment, followed by design, development, implementation and, finally, evaluation of training. In the first phase, assessment, information is collected to identify any gaps between actual job performance and desired job performance. If these gaps point to a lack of knowledge and skills, then employee training is desirable. In the second phase, design, training objectives are identified and methods and strategies to conduct training are determined. Development is the third phase. In this phase training materials are created. In some cases, off-the-shelf training programs may be available that fit the training need; other times, the training program must be created from scratch. Implementation is the process of delivering the training to the target audience. Evaluation is the final step where the program results are compared to the original objectives. Source: SHRM Learning System. (2008). Human Resource Development, 3-76 – 3-77.
The terms needs assessment and needs analysis are often used interchangeably. However, it is important to make the distinction that needs assessment involves the collection of data and needs analysis involves the analysis of the data collected. Some confusion is understandable as the two processes do overlap. Noe, 2008
ADDIE model needs assessment process: The purpose of the needs assessment is to identify the need for training. This is done by gathering data that will identify the problem and associated needs. There are a number of ways data can be gathered. Most organizations use a combination of methods to generate the greatest variety of valid data. Not all problems can be solved through training. If the needs assessment identifies that employees lack skills or knowledge needed to be successful in their jobs, this is certainly a training issue. But if the problem is a motivation issue caused by poor management, training employees won’t help. The second step in the assessment is to determine what needs can actually be met through training. After establishing that a performance gap exists, all possible solutions should be identified and assessed for their ability to address the problem. No organization has unlimited resources. Step four is to estimate the cost of the training intervention(s). Organizations are interested in a return on investment, so training must be cost-justified. Consider the cost of training each employee in relation to the value returned to the organization. Choose the most appropriate training intervention considering the resources available, the needs of the trainees and the long-term strategy of the organization. Implement the training. SHRM Learning System. (2008). Human Resource Development, 3-80 – 3-85.
The main purpose of conducting a needs assessment is to understand the situation before making training decisions. Generally, training is conducted in an effort to solve a problem. If training is conducted to solve a problem that is not a training problem, however, the training will be ineffective and likely an expensive waste of money. There may be a triggering event that indicates the need for training. For example, if performance is below standard and employees lack the skills necessary to improve their performance, skills training could help. If new technologies, products or procedures are implemented in your workplace, employees may need training to use the new resources properly. These are all pressure points that suggest that training may be necessary. Keep in mind that these pressure points don’t guarantee that training is the correct solution for the problem. This is why it is important to clearly understand the situation before embarking on a training project.
Triggers: these are the precipitating events. Context: this is the environment within which the performance problems are occurring. Outcomes of needs assessment: 1. Separation of symptoms from causes/problems. 2. Identification of: Performance problems and causes. What trainees need to learn. Who receives training. Type of training needed. Frequency of training. Buy ready-made training vs. build training vs. hire a consultant. Training decision. Training versus other HR options such as changing selection procedures or job redesign. (Noe, 2008)
The basic goal of a needs assessment is to determine if a training need exists. Once it is determined that there is a need for training, the needs assessment must identify who needs the training and what tasks or skills should be taught in the training. So who decides all this? Managers should be involved. Mid-level and lower-level managers are usually the first to identify a training need because they work closest with the staff. Upper management must be involved as well because they will view the needs assessment from a broader perspective. Their interest lies in the relationship between the training need and overall business strategy, and they must agree to provide the financial resources necessary for training to occur. Trainers and SMEs are primarily interested in obtaining information as to what they will need to administer, develop and support the training program. SMEs are employees, managers, technical experts, customers and even suppliers who are knowledgeable about the tasks to be performed and the skills and equipment necessary for successful performance. (Yes—sometimes patients are surprised to learn that the surgeon who implanted their new high-tech medical device was actually trained on that device by an employee of the manufacturing company!) And certainly, job incumbents must be included in the assessment process because they are the most knowledgeable about the job and will have insight as to what is needed for successful performance. They are also likely to be much more supportive of the training itself if they have input into the needs assessment. (Noe, 2008)
Performance tests assess participants’ application of skills acquired through training or in the work environment. Questionnaires and surveys are used to collect standardized data from a large number of participants. Observations are used to examine an activity and record what is seen. Focus groups explore a topic in-depth with a small number of participants. Interviews are used to collect standardized reporting data, in person or over the phone. Work samples are examined to determine level of proficiency. Industry standards provide benchmarks for proficiency levels. Work records are examined to determine past employee performance. Key employee consultation involves interviewing employees considered key in terms of experience, length of service, expertise or other criteria. Company reports and print media analysis provides written records of archived organization information. Checklists are used to identify all steps involved in a job task. See Silberman and Noe texts for advantages and disadvantages of each assessment tool.
Organizational analysis is used to determine if training supports the organization’s mission and if there is management support and adequate resources available to carry out the training. The analysis is done by gathering information from interviews and focus groups of managers and training staff. It determines if the training is appropriate and if the organization will commit to the training. The person analysis is conducted once it is determined that the organization wants to proceed with training. This is an analysis of the factors that will influence employee performance and learning. It will identify who needs training and if the employees are ready for training. If employees lack basic skills, there may be a need for remedial training to ensure that staff are prepared to learn the desired organizational skills. For training to be successful, employees must also have the motivation to learn new skills and the willingness to transfer the skills learned back to the work environment. Person analysis determines who needs training and if they have the basic skills and motivation to learn. A task analysis looks at the activities performed by an employee and the knowledge, skills and abilities required to complete a task. A task analysis is a time-consuming and tedious process and should only be undertaken once the organizational analysis has determined that the organization intends to engage in training. The task analysis determines what knowledge, skills and abilities need to be taught for successful task performance. A competency model identifies areas of personal capability that enable employees to successfully perform their jobs. It is used to identify the knowledge, skills and personal characteristics needed for successful performance. A job analysis focuses on what is to be done to accomplish a particular task; a competency model focuses on how the work is to be done. (Noe, 2008)
A needs analysis identifies the gap between the actual or current state of performance and the expected or ideal state of performance. These gaps are called performance deficiencies. A needs analysis is a way to capture and make sense of the problem identified in the needs assessment. The needs analysis will identify, document and help prioritize the differences or gaps in results.
Please Note: The flow chart is continued on the next slide. This slide identifies training options. Are training or non-training interventions the solution to poor performance in the workplace? The problem analysis flow chart helps the needs analyst determine if training is the answer. The process starts with identifying the problem and describing the performance discrepancy. The next question to ask is if the discrepancy is due to knowledge, skills or attitude deficiency. If not, then training is not the solution because the employee actually knows how to do the task but for one reason or another is not performing. The solution to this performance discrepancy is non-training options. If the employee does not know how to accomplish the task, then this is a training issue. However, the extent of the training will depend on whether or not the employee has performed the task before. If not, formal training is necessary. If the task has been accomplished in the past, the employee may just need practice through training or just feedback. Source: Geigle, S. Oregon OSHA 600 Train the Trainer Workshop.
Second part of flow chart. This slide indentifies non-training options.
Team project assignment
Strategic training shrm
Module 1 : Training and the
Organization’s Strategic Plan
Unit 2, Class 1:
Training and the Organization’s Strategic Plan
By the end of this unit, students will:
Define training and strategic training.
Explain various elements of a strategic plan.
Describe how the organization’s strategic plan should
Understand and conduct a SWOT analysis.
Explain the training needs created by business
What Is Training?
What is training?
What is the goal of training?
How is training strategic?
A strategic plan:
Is a visionary, conceptual and directional outline of the
Integrates the organization’s goals, policies and actions.
Helps direct the organization’s activities to reach
Phase 1: Identify the organization’s business strategy:
Mission: Describes the organization’s reason for
Vision: States the organization’s picture of the future.
Values: What the organization stands for.
Phase 2: Develop action plans:
How should the organization attain its vision of the
Phase 3: Evaluate accomplishments:
How will the organization know how it is performing?
The Strategic Training and
Training as a Competitive Advantage
An organization’s ability to maintain and gain market
share in a specific industry.
A competitive advantage exists when an organization is
able to provide the customer a better value than the
competition. For example, the ability to produce
products at a lower price or of better quality can create
a competitive advantage.
Training as a Competitive Advantage
Training becomes a competitive advantage when:
It is linked to business strategy and organization goals.
It focuses on the organization’s future.
Employees are trained in the knowledge, skills and
abilities required to achieve that future.
It moves from basic skills to learning, creating and
Overview of Needs Assessment
1. Gather data to identify needs.
2. Determine needs that can be
met by training intervention.
3. Propose solutions.
4. Calculate potential cost of
5. Choose the training.
6. Implement the training.
Problem Analysis Flow Chart:
Determining If There Is a Need for Training
Is there a
Employee does not know
how to accomplish the task
Is the task
1. Conduct formal training
2. Conduct practice
3. Provide feedback