Type of Company
The focal point of this paper is to develop Training Strategies for a Manufacturing Industry that is into consumer and specialties chemicals. The product range includes Sealants, Adhesives, Paint and construction chemicals and pigments.
Vision of the company:
a) Delight customers by providing quality products and excellent services
b) Encourage and promote innovation and sustain global standards
c) Adopt ethical and pro environmental practices
Training to be effective has to be linked with the organizational vision and goals. Hence, the training strategy would stress on those strategies that will help the organization and its employees to achieve those goals.
Training is provided to enhance/ improve/ provide certain skill sets required to achieve the goals or pluck the gaps in performance.
In this case in order to evaluate why training needs to be conducted a Training Needs Analysis should be undertaken and thereafter a training program needs to be prepared. A Training program would include initiatives and strategies that would help the employees achieve organizational goals and personal targets. A training program would also carry out a cost benefit analysis to assess if the training provided is feasible and would be a return on investment in time to come. It must be kept in mind that training cannot be random and it must be utilized to achieve certain end without which it is ineffective and a waste of company resources and time. After a proper cost benefit analysis a training schedule is prepared. But a training program doesn’t end here as feedback of training imparted is equally important and an evaluation of performance, a post training check-up is essential to gauge the effectiveness of the Training Strategy.
This is a brief outline of how we would proceed further on our discussion of Training Strategy.
Objectives of training needs to be defined such that employees, the management and the trainer conducting the program is aware of what the training program would achieve and what are the outcomes and the results of the training conducted. Setting objectives is also a part of the expectation setting. When the employees and the management is clear of what the outcome is and the result of the training they are prepared to receive the information and they know what is expected of them at the end of the program.
Training objectives as per the business requirements and organizational goals:
a) To equip the marketing employees with the skills to engage customers to retain customers
b) To improve retailers and marketing personnel relationship to achieve sales targets and retain important retailers
c) To encourage the Research and Development and product designing staff to be innovative and create a learning environment for them.
d) By the end of the training the employees would have effectively learnt how to manage time
e) To reduce stress during high pressure situations such that performance and the productivity of the employees is not affected.
After the objectives of the Training Program have been carefully designed keeping in mind the business needs and performance objectives a Training Needs Analysis is carried out.
Training Needs Analysis:
Training Need Analysis needs to be conducted to assess the kind of training needs to be imparted, the number of employees that need to be trained and the skills that need to be enhanced. The knowledge and skills acquired by the employees at the training program will help them perform at the desired level.
Training Needs Analysis helps achieve:
a) The training that needs to be imparted/ conducted to achieve the goals
b) The number of employees that need to be trained
c) Performance gaps are identified and measures are taken to pluck them
d) It helps design the training program
a) Training Identification:
The training that needs to be imparted is identified.
(i) Soft Skills Training : To improve communication of the marketing personnel
(ii) Customer Relationship Management: To improve the company and customer engagement levels and improve the customer service
(iii) Retailers Engagement program: To help marketing personnel to have better engagement levels with the retailers and to help retaining big retailers and thereby bring improvement in sales (Kalman, 2009).
(iv) Effective Innovation and creativity: To encourage the spirit of innovation and out of the box thinking for the R&D staff and the product designing personnel.
(v) Six Sigma and continuous Improvement: To reduce errors and aim for continuous learning for the product designing personnel
(vi) Stress Management for all employees
(vii) Time Management for all employees
b) Number of Employees:
After the training that needs to be conducted is identified the next step is to determine the number of employees that would be undergoing the training. Some of the training is for the entire organization and some for a selected number of staff members. It is important to identify the number of employees undergoing training in order to evaluate the cost and the benefits of conducting such training (Kraiger, McLinden & Casper, 2004).
Total Number of employees in the organization on pay rolls: 1640
Total number of departments and the department strength:
The number of employees undergoing training:
c) Performance Review
An important aspect of training is employee participation without which the training objectives cannot be met. The supervisors play a very important role in any training program to be effective as they are in a very strategic position to identify which of the employees’ would need special attention and the kind of skills that need to be developed or enhanced. Depending on each individual’s performance specialized training to those particular employees can also be imparted.
Each and every supervisor would evaluate the employees’ performance on the parameters that are required to be developed or improved. His/her current level of performance needs to be measured as such a performance review before the training program needs to be conducted. It should be noted that this is not a performance appraisal but a review where each employee who is undergoing training, his/her current level of performance based on pre-set criteria need to be taken down. This is done to measure the gap between the required performance levels and the current performance levels and how much improvement is necessary to achieve those levels.
There are also certain skills that would be developed during the training phase. To know if those skills have been properly acquired and utilized in the desired way current levels of performance need to be taken into account such that improvement after the training has been conducted can be measured and observed.
d) Designing Training Program
Once the training initiative and the type of training has been identified, the training needs assessed, the number of employees who would be undergoing training decided and their current performance levels have been noted, the next and a very essential step of a training strategy is to design a training program.
The training and development team would follow a check list in order to proceed.
a) Total number of employees selected for different trainings.
b) Determining the faculty/ trainer for conducting training. Decision needs to be taken whether the trainer would be in-house or external. If the trainer is in-house is he/she capable of conducting the training?
c) Venue for conducting the training program-in house or external. Does the company premise have the capacity to accommodate all the employees for training?
d) What is the language in which the training would be conducted? Would the language used be understood by all?
e) Availability of the employees needs to be determined such that the productivity of the company is not affected and all work is not stalled.
f) Days for conducting the training needs to be identified and a time schedule needs to be prepared.
g) Communicating the time schedule prepared which has been finalized after taking the buy in of the various department heads is important such that the employees are prepared and are aware of the training way in advance. No attendance can come at a heavy cost to the company (Chiaburu, Van & Hutchins, 2010).
Before the schedule can be designed and communicated a very important aspect is that of the cost of the training. Whether or not the cost that the company is bearing for the training is justified? What are the outcomes expected out of the training and would that improve the bottom-line? The company is concerned about its bottom-line and if the training has contributed to it that means the returns on training has been realized. If a particular training has very little impact then it is not feasible to conduct that since the cost to the company would be very high. The company has to consider the man days lost in training since every hour away from work is costing the company a lot of money. Hence, it is important to determine the type of cost the company is most likely to incur on the over-all training. There are certain aspects that the company has to consider like where would the training be conducted-internally or externally? If it is internal then the company saves the venue cost. Would the training be conducted by some internal faculty like a training head or the Line manager for a particular product range or department head, etc? If it is an internal faculty then the company again saves on the trainer cost. The company can also choose to conduct the training over weekends spread over two weeks and compensate by providing offs (extra leaves) or the employees would be paid for the days they come for the training on their off days to avoid hurting the business hours.
Hence, the training team has arrived at a plan for conducting the training program and has listed out the type of cost that would be incurred for different trainings.
After the training schedule is prepared and communicated to all the department heads and the training is conducted the next step is the feedback session. It is important to take a feedback after training since it is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of the training program. If this isn’t done then the entire purpose of conducting the training would be defeated. Training without the desired outcome is ineffective.
Hence, the feedback session would involve all the employees where they would be asked to rate the training program on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest and 5 the highest) on different parameters like
1) How effective the content of the program was?
2) How was the trainer?
3) Do they feel a difference in their attitude or their thinking after the training?
4) Do they feel the training has brought a solution to their performance problem?
5) Did they understand the content?
6) What are the improvements they suggest?
Cost Benefit Analysis:
A performance review needs to be conducted six months from the training program to evaluate the performance and see if there is an improvement after the training. Unless this is done there is no way of knowing how effective the training was and if it has brought in remarkable change in the performance of the individuals and thereby contributed to the over-all growth of the company.
The cost benefit would be evaluated by this formula –
For a manufacturing company the sales figures are very important hence a good training strategy that is aligned to the organizational goals is the most effective otherwise training becomes a cost to the company and nothing else. The training strategy devised in this program would be bring in positive changes in the attitude of the employees as care has been taken to see that the company goals are met through the training programs. Soft skills, customer relationship and retailers engagement would ensure that the sales figures would look good and the other process improvement trainings would see to it that the company delivers on its promise of quality and innovation. Stress management and time management is important for the overall development and growth of the organization. A healthy organization is one where the productivity of the employee is high with reduced stress levels and the time is effectively managed.
Care has also been taken to ensure that the costs aren’t too high by deploying company resources in the best way possible. Internal faculty not only reduced costs but is also aware of the requirements of the company and its goals. The internal faculties connect and engagement levels with the rest of the employees are always high. Thus this training strategy would definitely deliver on its objectives.