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An In-Depth Look at Developmental Training Intervention

Organizational Development (OD) has vast implications in the world of business as of today. It is not a desire, it has become a need – a need that fulfills the thriving thirst of the managers and leaders of the organization to bring an organisational change and lead the organisation towards unbounded success.  Most organisational internationally are recognizing this need to adapt its workers to the changing work requirements in the increasingly competitive world, for this they employ extensive training and development and a concept known as developmental training intervention (Gilley, 2002). What is developmental training intervention? Why do organizations bother with it? What are its ethical implications? What are the processes? What are the different approaches? And how are the results of the intervention evaluated? The paper will attempt to answer all of these questions. But first, let us understand what really the concept is behind developmental training.

Developmental Training Intervention is a process employed by the organisations that aids in the organisational development and the organisational change that has long been desired by the directors and the managers. Developmental training intervention is done through training and development programs, which are conducted in different ways by different organisations with more or less the same intentions but different implications, as each organisation adds its different and unique elements (Desler, 2003).

More specifically, developmental training intervention is a process that provides skills and knowledge necessary to perform tasks, enables personal development of the employees so that they could be taught and developed as individuals, increases the overall organization’s skills and knowledge base, and finally increases employee retention and their overall performance. We now go into more detail of each of these to develop a strong theoretical framework of the concept of developmental training intervention.

Provision of Skills and Knowledge Necessary to Perform Tasks

Usually, a training need in the organisation emerges when the employees seem somehow unable or ineffective in producing the standard of work required to fulfill customer demands. Not all employees, when hired, come in perfect shape that they start giving their best in the manner required by managers as soon as they are hired. To bring them to the standard of the organizational demands, the managers have to train them. In this way, they intervene in the process of organizational development through training programs and bring the change they desire. Through training and development employees get the skills and knowledge necessary to perform tasks that command competitiveness and expertise (Gilley, 2002).

Personal Development of the Employees

An organizational change can not occur if each individual is involved in his own personal development. training and development programs enable that to occur as they bring the learning down to the most personal and individual level, through which the employees get to advance their personal grooming and development to get more competitive, and thus, become a part of what is known as a competitive workforce (Desler, 2003).

Increase in the Overall Organization’s Skills and Knowledge Base

When training and development takes place, it is done so to increase the skill level of each employee. Eventually, after the trainings, the managers see that the highly skilled and trained employees have created an overall skill and knowledge base of an organisation which it can refer to and rely on upon the fulfillment of strategies to cater to the competitive environment of the business.

Increase in Employee Retention and their Overall Performance

Training and development is a link between employee retention and performance. When given with sufficient training, the managers see highly skilled employees and the need to make them redundant due to their lack of skills reduces and thus the retention rate increases. Also, on another note, employees upon receiving the importance in the form of training, feel that they are a big part of the organization and their work matters and they have to give back the organisation in the form of high performance. Thus, the employees give high retention and their high retention results in high performance (Desler, 2003).

Reasons for Developmental Training Intervention

We have established so far that the training intervention is done so to create a highly skilled employee workforce. But that is too a step to climb to get to a greater level. What is that greater level? What is the real reason that underlies the need to create such a highly effective workforce? Not a reason but we should say ‘reasons’ for there are various reasons why developmental training becomes necessary for organisations, especially when they achieve a certain size and seniority in the market (Noe, 2001). The reasons are individually explained as follows.

War for Talent

The organisations in today’s world are in a way in war for talent as they require extreme amounts of talent to fulfill their needs. Why talent? Let us face it: these are not the times of industrialization where mass production solved all problems. Today, the work demands talent. There are many businesses producing more or less the same products but are continually looking for ways to induce change into their services to provide a better service and lead the market with innovation and creativity. When ‘many’ comes into the market, there is a desperate need for differentiation and it is the talent of the organization’s workforce which through its talent creates the differentiation with innovation and creativity that makes it stand out in the market and sell its products proficiently to customers (Desler, 2003). Thus, organizations deem talent. They demand talent. But talent comes in all shapes and sizes. So, organisations have to shape the talent according to their needs through the provision of training. After the recruitment and selection when the talent potential is detected, it is the job of the organizational trainers to shape that talent in a way that would bring success to the organization at different levels of the organization’s operations (Noe, 2001).

Changing Nature of Workforce

The changing nature of workforce has brought about another immense need for training and development. there are now flexible, part time, and diverse workforce available to organization who demand training and different levels and the organizations have to catch up to that. Flexible working hours, computer based jobs, online jobs, part time jobs, job sharing, and a lot more are a few examples of how organizations are changing in the workplace are of the nature of workforce (Werner, 2005). Also, the element of self managing teams is there, which poses the biggest challenge, as they are essential in today’s increasingly competitive environment but they demand a lot of training on  part of the employees as not all can make the cut to be able to be delegated authority. How does an organization make its employees capable enough to be delegated authority? It is done through training them, hence, comes the need to train employees (Noe, 2001).

Shifting Social Expectations

As mentioned earlier, the modern era does not have the workforce that is available twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. But the workforce today is coupled with leisure needs, family needs and other social underpinnings. The industrialization age was when the people were striving for food and shelter and all that mattered to them to feed themselves and their family and simply go home to rest. But post industrialization and today’s era calls for a life that is a balance between work and leisure, family and friends and learning and development. People when advancing up the corporate ladder expect less work and more leisure and it becomes the organization’s duty to fulfill that need (Werner, 2005). When employees seek a higher social standing and a healthy family life, they demand promotion and a higher work position, but they are only granted so, when they undergo the development that makes them suitable for the upgrade (Noe, 2001).

Development of Human Capital

Human resource development is the modern world’s extreme need. Human resource is one of the factors of production, and as organizations work exceptionally hard to obtain higher capital for the business, they also invest heavily in the development of the human capital that is their biggest asset. The more skilled and highly competitive the human capital is in the organization, the more competencies it achieves to compete profitably and expand in the market. Thus, the organizations invest great money, time and effort to create the modern effective and highly skilled workforce to compete in the market with the human capital that exceeds others.

Customer Satisfaction

In the end, it is the customers of the business who decide the fate of it because it is for the customers that the companies invest in production and provision of goods and services. It is through the provision of high quality goods and services that the organizations can achieve customer satisfaction that forever mark its success. How does the organization create high quality in goods? Fine, automation has brought quality into the goods, but who operates the machines? Who decides the strategies for the operation of the business? Who does the marketing so as to create brand perceptions and brand image of the goods? Of course it is done by not the machines, the humans, or in other words the human capital. And what makes the human capital capable of producing the desired quality in services? It is their development which is done through training. Thus, to bring about customer satisfaction, employee training and development is crucial.

Recruiting and Retention of Workforce

As identified earlier in the paper, the organizations need talent in the workforce, they hunt for it, and they try to retain it so as to continue benefiting from the high performance they bring along with themselves to the organization. But do employees immediately commence high performance? Not necessarily. Every organization expects something different from the employees and they have to shape their potential talent accordingly. The training intervention shapes the employees and helps retain them and allows the organization to continually benefit from their high performance returns (Werner, 2005).

Meeting the Global Business Needs

Globalization has brought many opportunities along with many challenges for the businesses. Businesses can not compete globally if they do not possess innovation, creativity, differentiation in their products and services, and a diverse workforce. It is globalization of businesses that has added fuel to the need for developmental training intervention. The more business are expanding to the international market, the more skills and expertise they demand from their employees which is only obtained through extensive training and development. it is for this reason, that only experienced and highly skilled and trained employees are selected to run the foreign offices and delegated authority (Werner, 2005). In today’s world, when running a business in the local market is extremely tough considering the immense competition and the customer awareness and perception of so many businesses, it is ten times tougher to run the business internationally and a business has to be highly proficient in terms of skilled and highly innovative and talented workforce to enter into the international market because pleasing customers is not a child’s play.

Ethical Considerations in Developmental Training

Developmental training intervention is an immensely important and highly effective practice in modern organizations. It is for this reason that they also have to have ethical considerations vested in them that have to be given due importance to in order to fully accomplish the objectives of the overall training and development programs. What are these ethical considerations? These are discussed as follows.

Recognition of the Rights and Dignities of Each Individual

The training and development programs have to be institutionalized with the due consideration given to each and every employee’s rights and dignities. When the programs are developed, it is important to give equal importance to the deserving employees and not discriminate them according to their race or gender. Organizations even today tend to do that, and when they do, it should be noted that the program that they eventually develop for training, may be effective in achieving the objectives, but it lacks ethical considerations and socially it may fail. In today’s world there are many human rights movements and organizations have to be extremely careful to not underestimate this element because once their social image goes down, they have to invest heavily to get it back and getting it back is not an easy task. Many companies, who have displayed the discrimination, fell target of the human rights agencies or groups and have had to face consequences that posed long term effects onto their organizations overall performance (Werner, 2005). 

Development of Human Potential

When employees select certain organizations to join, surely their main motive is to earn more and get a life of bliss with high payment. But that is not the only motive; they seek first the organizations which provide them with a career development and growth potential. That is the biggest reason that motivates them to join certain organizations that would allow them to climb the corporate ladder to eventually attain high self esteem and growth in their career. It is then falls on the shoulders of the organizations to allow the employees to develop their career when they see how committed they are to their work.

Provision of Learners with the Highest Level Quality Education, Training and Development

When the organizations do attempt to provide the employees with the training, they should not just claim that they are providing training, and not do so in reality. This is what some organizations do. This is unethical. When the organizations claim that they invest in training and development of their employees, bound by ethics, they should do in a quality environment and with quality equipment and tools so that the employees do get to be developed.

Compliance with all Copyright Laws

It is also essential that the training programs be designed and implemented in compliance with the copyright laws, so that no other can copy the material used in the training and use it in their own organization’s training. When employees feel that similar training is given in other organizations, their motivation levels drop, as they feel less important to have been considered to be given a unique training session especially designed for them (Swanson, 2009). Thus, it is important that the organizations when design an effective training program, they get a copyright of the material.

Keep Informed of Pertinent Knowledge

When the organizational trainers design the training programs and conduct them it is essential they keep themselves informed of the pertinent knowledge. This is yet another ethical consideration that should be given importance to.

Maintain Confidentiality

It is essential to keep the training programs confidential from other organizations who are highly competitive, so that they would not follow suit in the same way. Developmental training intervention is a strategic element in the organization and it is a part of the long term profitability plans of the company, so keeping them confidential is necessary.

Support Employees

During the training sessions it is important that the employees are supported and encouraged to keep on learning.

Ethical Behavior of Trainers

The organizations have to make sure that the trainers deliver the training in the highly ethical manner, and no employee feels discriminated against during the sessions.

Improvement of the Public Understanding of Workplace and Learning and Performance

Through training and development programs the result should be the public understanding of the workplace, and the learning and the performance requirements required by it.

The Developmental Training Process

Now, we come to the procedure that is followed to train the employees. Following are the basic steps that are followed.

Analyse the needs, the required performance skills and measureable knowledge to be used in job on part of the employees

Produce the training program consisting of workbooks, content, tests and assessments and other activities.

Validate the program

Implement the program

Evaluate the program for its success
Successful training programs are usually those that are most based on the overall strategic plans of the company.

Training, Learning and Motivation

For increasing their learning and motivation, it should be considered that the matter is easier for trainees to understand and remember the material that is meaningful so the information delivered during the training should be in meaningful units. Also, it should be made easy to transfer new skills and behaviors from training site to the job site.

Analyzing Training Needs

  1. New Employees’ Training Needs – These are assessed through ‘task analysis’. Task analysis is a detailed study of a job to identify the specific skills required. The results from this are supplemented with the job description.
  2. Current Employees’ Training NeedsThese are assessed through ‘performance analysis’. Performance Analysis is the process of verifying that there is a performance deficiency and determining whether that deficiency should be corrected through training or through some other means (such as transferring the employee).

Training Methods

Various training methods are employed by the organizations. Each of these are discussed.

Orientation Training

Orientation Training process introduces the employee to company’s rules, and other basic background information. A handbook or rules and guides to procedures can be given to employees once the training is over (Desler, 2003).

On-the-Job Training

On-the-Job training is where the employees learn to do a job while performing it under a senior

  1. Coaching
  2. Understudy
  3. Special assignments

In on the job training following steps are followed:

Step 1: Preparing the learner

Step 2: Presenting the Operation

Step 3: Doing a tryout

Step 4: Following up

Apprenticeship Training

Apprenticeship Training is a structured process by which people become skilled workers through a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training (Desler, 2003).

Informal Training

Since the business is a small one, relying on informal training given through interaction with colleagues and observation of others on the same job could also be useful (Desler, 2003).

Job Instruction Training

Job instruction training lists down each job’s basic tasks, along with key points, in order to provide step-by-step training for employees (Desler, 2003).

Lectures

These are similar to classroom lectures.

Programmed Learning

This is a systematic method for teaching job skills involving presenting questions or facts, allowing the person to respond, and giving the learner immediate feedback on the accuracy of his or her answers (Desler, 2003).

Audiovisual-Based Training

Instructors make PowerPoint presentation slides to step by step explain the procedures of the tasks of each job. Other visual aids that could be used are videos of perfect job performance with demonstration tutorials (Desler, 2003).

Simulated Training

Simulated training involves training employees on special off-the-job equipment, as in airplane pilot training, so training costs and hazards can be reduced.

Computer based Training

This involves the use of computers to demonstrate the skills required and ways of learning them.

Electronic Performance Support Systems

These are sets of computerized tools and displays that automate training, documentation, and phone support, integrate this automation into applications, and provide support that’s faster, cheaper, and more effective than traditional methods (Silberman, 2006).

Distance and Internet Based Learning

These include:

  • teletraining
    videoconferencing
  • Virtual Classroom
  • Mp3/Instant Messaging
  • HRIS learning portals (Silberman, 2006)

Literacy Training Techniques

These programs are designed to enhance the literacy and vocational learning of the employees.

Management Development

Management development is any attempt to improve current or future management performance by imparting knowledge, changing attitudes, or increasing skills. Following are the ways in which management development takes place (Mello, 2005).

Succession Planning

It is a process through which senior level openings are planned for and eventually filled. It is based on the following steps:

  1. Anticipate management needs
  2. Review firm’s management skills inventory
  3. Create replacement charts
  4. Begin management development (Silberman, 2006)

Managerial On-the-Job Training

  1. Job Rotation – a management training technique that involves moving a trainee from department to department to broaden his or her experience and identify strong and weak points (Silberman, 2006)
  2. Coaching/Understudy Approach
  3. Action Learning – a training technique by which management trainees are allowed to work full time analyzing and solving problems in other departments (Mello, 2005).

Off-the-Job Management Training and Development Techniques

  1. The Case Study Method – manager is presented with a written description of an organizational problem to diagnose and solve.
  2. Management Games – teams of managers compete by making computerized decisions regarding realistic but simulated situations
  3. Outside Seminars
  4. University-Related Programs – executive education
  5. Role-Playing – trainees act out parts in a realistic management situation
  6. Behavior Modeling – trainees are shown good management techniques in a film, are asked to play roles in a similar situation, and are then given feedback and praise by their supervisor (Silberman, 2006)
  7. Corporate Universities – in-house development centers
  8. Executive Coaches – outside consultant who questions the executive’s associates in order to identify the executive’s strengths and weaknesses and then counsels he executive so he or she can capitalize on those strengths and overcome the weaknesses (Mello, 2005).
  9. The SHRM Learning System – Society for Human Resource Management encourages HR professionals to qyality for certification by taking examination.

Managing Organizational Change and Development

Leading Change

  1. Freezing Phase – establish a sense of urgency. Mobilize commitment through join diagnoses of problem
  2. Moving Phase – create a guiding coalition. Develop and communicate a shared vision. Help employees make the change. Consolidate gains and produce more change.
  3. Refreezing Phase – reinforce new ways o doing thins with changes to the company’s systems and procedures. Finally the leader must monitor and assess progress (Mello, 2005).

Using Organizational Development

It is a special approach to organizational change in which employees themselves formulate and implement the change required.

It involves action research. It applies behavioral science knowledge to improve organization’s effectiveness. It changes the organization in a particular direction. Four characteristics:

  1. Human Process Applications – aims at improving human relations skills. Uses sensitivity training, team building and survey research
  2. Technostructural Applications – changing firm’s structures, methods, and job designs
  3. Human Resource management Applications – changing human resource practices
  4. Strategic applications – achieving a fit amongst firm’s strategy, structure, culture and external environment.

Evaluating the Training Effort

When the training programs are conducted, it is then  important to measure how effective they were in achieving their targets and how well do the trained employees contribute to the organizations as a follow-up to the training.

Designing the Evaluation Study

  1. Time Series Design – through this, the performance before and after the training is measured and assessed to see the differences.
  2. Controlled Experimentation – this method tests the effectiveness of a training program with before and after tests of a controlled group (Robinson, 1989).

Training Effects to Measure

What really is being measured to assess the effectiveness of the training intervention?

Following are the effects (Robinson, 1989).

  1. Reaction – what were the employees’ reactions to the training programs?
  2. Learning – employees are tested to what they have learned. If the learning falls short of expectation, then it means the training programs had some serious flaws.
  3. Behavior – what was the change in the behavior of the employees? Is their behavior in better and more job-suited shape now?
  4. Results – what results have the job performances seen after the training session? (Mello, 2005)

Conclusion

Developmental Training Intervention is a process employed by the organisations that aids in the organisational development and the organisational change that has long been desired by the directors and the managers. Many factors have lead to the growing emergence of this concept, some of which include customer satisfaction and globalization. There are many ethical considerations to look into to develop an effective training program. And there are many methods and tools that the companies can use in their training programs. But the success of these programs depends upon how far reaching they are in terms of the employee performance following the training. With the passage of time, new and improved methods of developmental training are emerging with the growing importance for the need to have a talented and highly skilled workforce (Swanson, 2009). What is important is that organizations and the employees realize in its depth the essence and importance and need of the developmental training, because unless they realize it they would not be able to fully benefit from the many advantages it potentially holds for them.