Training involves vocational instructions for the already employed persons. The idea and concept of training was first used in the Second World War (Lathan, 2001, p 31). Training that is work related is significant as emerging techniques, methods, synthetic materials, tools, power sources, and the increased dependence on automation result in extensive changes in the work place. Training at the work place may take on two forms: onsite and off –the-job training. Onsite training sessions include those that are carried out within the actual establishments; most of these sessions are conducted by senior employees. On the other hand off-the-job training involves training sessions outside the work place and is mostly conducted by specialists.
However whether a company decides to use onsite or off-the-job training the underlying purposes for doing the training remains the same. Training is done to raise the level of job satisfaction and morale among staff members, to increase the level of efficiency and hence increasing the financial gains realized, increasing staff capacity to adapt to emerging production methods and technology, and also lowering the rate of employee turnover. It is notable in the objectives for training, both the company and the employee benefit from the actual training (Snell & Bohlander, 2002, p 155). This is why the training process in human resource management has been described as a win- win situation for all the stakeholders involved.
According to Paige and Cosby (2011), helping employee skill enhancement creates a win- win situation for an employer and their workers. One of the reasons given for this statement is that employee training results in improved levels of productivity. For example when employees in a hotel are trained on how to make a new cuisine, the establishment increases its product mix and hence broadening its target market. At the same time the skill imparted in the employee cannot be taken away from them and hence the employee still gains from the training session. This situation of a win-win situation has however been affected by employees who view the training process as only benefiting the employer and hence lay little emphasis on acquiring new skills during the process. This consequently translates to the employee not being fully aware of new trends in the market or the use of technology. This means that the organization through its training process has been able to achieve the intended objectives but the employee has not gained; hence making it not to be a win-win situation.
According to a research conducted on Campbell, a food producer in the United Kingdom, the organization was able to improve its overall productivity through staff training (Campbell, 1995, p 21). The actual figures noted during the research show that within a period of three years the company had been able to improve its accuracy, reduce breakdown, decrease stockholding, improve customer service, and reduce time used repairing faults at the plant. The organization had launched an ambitious training program that was meant to ‘double’ the skills possessed by its employees. This was after the management realized the general importance of working with a well trained human resource as it not only reduces on wastage due to faults but also reduces time wasted in correcting the employees and the mistakes they had done. The research was able to establish that within the period that the organization conducted its training, the team spirit and morale at the plant had significantly improved. This was brought about by the fact that the training had reduced incidences of accidental fires and also reduced the frustration employees feel when they are unable to produce a certain standard of products. These frustrations have a great impact on the level of productivity of an organization. This is because the employees do not feel motivated at the work place, they conduct their operations slowly to ensure that they do them right, and also because it may negatively affect the employee- client relationship as the employee releases their frustrations on anyone. Campbell was able to recognize the existence of these frustrations within its human resource in good time, this way it was able to replace the feelings with those of the employee feeling part of the company’s success. This is an example of how training can be a win-win situation as through the training the organization was not only able to increase productivity but also to boost employee morale. On the other hand the employees got more satisfaction from their jobs as they felt as an integral part of the success of the organization they worked for (Campbell, 1995, p 22).
An assumption however made in the literature shown above is the fact that acquisition of skills is considered a win by the employees. This is based on the idea that the employee can use the skills to improve their productivity and hence may get a promotion. Also it is assumed that with the new skills the employee can use them even in another company in case they decide to leave the company. What this literature forgets is that unless a person wants something they cannot be said to have won it. In fact most of the training done by companies is mainly focused on improving their productivity through imparting new skills to employees without the employees’ consent. This may however be self centered from the side of the company as it may also lead to overworking of employees.
Overworking of employees after being subjected to training programs is one thing trade unions have been keen to point out. This occurs because after the training the employee is able to carry out their responsibilities quickly and more efficiently; hence the employee may end up having some free time as compared to their previous program before the training program. This free time is only theoretical since most organizations use it to direct the employee’s efforts to produce more (Garrod, 2001, p 23). So for example an employee who was producing 200 bags per day may end up producing 250 per day with no extra payment. Trade unions argue that for those employees who are already producing the stipulated quota, an increase would hence mean over working at no extra cost. The trade outfits also note that most of the organizations end up realizing increased profit margins after training programs but do not let the profits trickle down to the employee. One way of doing this would be perhaps by giving bonuses and informing the employees that the bonuses are due to their increased productivity; this would also act as a good way of motivating the staff members to produce more.
Though the trade argument seems valid, it would be important to consider the idea that training is a win-win situation from the owner’s or management’s point of view. Training helps in bringing about operational efficiency at the work place which has been argued to be only a win for the employer or management. However it is important to note that through the creation of operational efficiency the employee is able to acquire teamwork and good communication skills. These skills go beyond the work environment and can be useful to the employee even in other aspects of their life such as in their families. The training also helps the employees to think critically and apply logic when it comes to solving problems at the work place (Brache & Rummler, 1995, p 302). After this skill is imparted, the employee can use to better other aspects of their lives and not only their productivity. There have been reported cases of parents, husbands, and wives who have shown drastic change for the better after training programs at their work place (Feather, 1990, p 10). Some are able to share their feelings with their spouses more clearly than before while some have become better parents who apply logic in understanding some of the stages their children go through. According to the employer’s perspective all these improvements on the employee’s life can be considered as making the training session a win-win situation. Employers on their part also benefit from the training as it has been proven that employees who have been trained are adaptable to change, which is an integral part of the economy, as compared to those who have not been trained on it.
As much as training helps motivate the human resource of an organization, it also helps in increasing job satisfaction on the part of the employee. Research has identified an organization’s focus on its employees, and development and training of the employees as the two most significant elements in influencing employee loyalty. This research helps in showing the gains made by an organization after it has conducted a training program for its employees. This is because having loyal employees translates to reduced turnover of employees and also reduced chances of employees giving out company’s secrets to competitors. On the other hand employees benefit from the training as job satisfaction helps in making them content with their lives. Psychologists such as Abraham Maslow have identified esteem as an important need to human beings and have also pointed out that the satisfaction of this need helps in the process of a person actualizing (Elwood & Swanson, 2009, p 267). All human beings, not only employees, strive to achieve some form of actualization in their lives. This is because they all want to feel in control of their environment and appreciated. As noted in the research on Campbell Groceries, training helps in reducing frustrations in employees by making them feel appreciated and part of an organization’s success. This in turn helps in building the employee’s self esteem and hence aiding in their process of actualization. It also brings about a feeling of contentment with life in general and the work place in particular; discontent is one of the key causes of stress, depression and diseases such as ulcers. Hence the employee also gains from the training programs and hence making it a win-win situation.
However some trade union members argue against this notion that training helps bring about job satisfaction. According to them it is the responsibility of the management to ensure that employees are satisfied with their work place with or without training (Gray & Herr, 1997, p 112). They hence argue that the job satisfaction gained from training is a requirement that employers should provide the employees with and hence should not consider it a gain. The argument here is that the same way an employee is expected to produce quality goods and services, the same way an employer is expected to ensure that the employees get job satisfaction at the work place. It is however important to give some credit to the employers due to their training programs. The assumption made by the trade unions advancing the argument above is that job satisfaction is something one automatically gains or creates. What the trade unions forget is that there is no single utility, incentive, benefit, or reward offered by an organization that can satisfy all employees. Hence it is indeed a gain for the employee to work in an organization that seeks to ensure job satisfaction by doing something extra instead of the norm.
Training is also a win-win situation as it helps employees improve their skills and also their lives. It is however interesting to note that research shows that the most efficient employees want to work on organizations that help them better their skills. This is mainly done through training where organizational knowledge and information on emerging trends in the market are transferred to the employee. This therefore makes training a win-win situation since the employee improves their skills while the employer gains as these skills are used to improve productivity and efficiency. Another way of noting the win-win situation that training creates is by viewing the work environment as a place to improve ones skills and not only one to apply skills learnt in college. This way training offered by an organization to its employees can be seen as an opportunity for employees to study new skills without any payments unlike in college where there are tuition fees (Lathan, 2002, p 30).
Training of the human resource in organizations can also be seen as a win-win situation as most large organizations even have talent managers who help in nurturing the special abilities possessed by their employees. This way the employee gets an opportunity to build on their special abilities while the only cost they are paying is by working for an organization. The organization gains by using the employee’s special responsibilities to improve its operations while the employee gains by improving their talents while at the same time being paid for them. In one medical technology company that is located in New Jersey, the talent manager was charged with task of creating a corporate university for the company. The university was targeted to equip the 25,000 employees that the company had with information on emerging market trends, technology, and also to help them nurture their talents (Kathryn, 2005). The type of training involved was onsite and the trainers were mainly company leaders. 10 months into the program the talent manager noted that a dynamic learning institution had been established which was basically founded on employees teaching each other the curricula of the university. Also the program was able to achieve increased staff morale, leadership development in employees, reduced employee turnover, and better identification of talents by employees (Kathryn, 2005). The benefits from the corporate university show that training is not only beneficial to the company but also to the employee. Also important to note is that these benefits are not only limited to the work place but also other aspects of an employee’s life.
Another stakeholder in the work environment is the government- which has a stand when it comes to human resource training. The government supports human resource training and in fact views it as a win-win-win situation for it, the employer, and the employer (Dodge & Wilkinson, 1982, p 37). The government agrees that the employer benefits from the training given to the employees through increased productivity and quality of service. The government also believes that employees benefit through the acquisition of important skills. An advantage of human resource training, not discussed earlier, to the employee according to the government is that the former is helped to become a more economically productive citizen. The government views this as something any loyal citizen should be proud of: the opportunity to serve one’s country (Dodge & Wilkinson, 1982, p 41). As pointed out earlier the government sees this training as a win-win-win situation as a well trained human resource is an integral component of economic stability and international competitiveness.
The divergent views of the government, the employer, and the employee may at times to conflict at the work place. This is because for each of these stakeholders there is what they want to achieve through human resource training. The government is known to pile pressure on organizations to periodically train their employees so as to help improve the economy. The employers on the other hand may feel that this pressure is uncalled for and that the periodic training is not a necessity but just an added cost. The employer’s perspective of training is based on increasing profit margins through an increase in productivity. Hence an employer will mainly opt for onsite training so as to ensure that the employees being trained can also work as they train. Most employees on their part feel that the employer’s approach to training is self-centered; according to the employees training should be a session of learning and so should be conducted by specialists outside the establishment. Employees also view training as an opportunity to acquire skills and hence those slow to learning new things may slow down the training program, if only for them to grasp what is being taught. However employers on the other hand do not like training sessions being prolonged; they view as prolonged breaks that may result in reduced productivity, and also as an added cost since the longer the training the more the costs incurred. It is important that a balance is created between the different views of the stakeholders on human training. This would help in ensuring that all the stakeholders come into the training program with a positive attitude towards each other.
Training in the human resource area is indeed a win-win situation basically since the organization and the employee both benefit from the training. The organization benefits from increased productivity, efficiency and morale at the workplace while the employee benefits from improvement of the skills they have.
Kathryn, T. (2005). Promoting the teacher within: employee-led training programs create a win-win-win situation. HR Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.allbusiness.com/public-administration/administration-human/620676-1.html
Campbell’s make double of its technicians’ skill: Win-win achieved for employees and company (1995). Human resource Management International Digest, 15 (1), 20-22
Paige, M. & Cosby, S. (2011). MSSC Incumbent Worker Training- A Win-Win Situation. The Value of a Good Job. Retrieved from http://wisaflcio.typepad.com/ww/2011/03/mssc-incumbent-worker-training-a-win-win-situation.html
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