Orientation and Training
Technical skills training are required for new employees and for present employees whose performance is deficient. For either uncovering training requirements begins with analyzing the cause of the problem and determining the training that may be needed. It must be noted that the problem might be rooted in poor selection or poor wages and not necessarily in lack of training.
The training process consists of five steps: needs analysis, instructional design, validation implementation and evaluation.
Some principles of learning theory include: make the material meaningful (by providing a birds eye view and familiar examples, organizing the material, splitting it into parts, and using familiar terms and visual aids) make provision for transfer of training and try to motivate your trainee.
Job instruction training is useful for training on jobs that consist of a logical sequence of steps. Vestibule training combines the advantages of on and off the job training.
On the job training is the third basic training technique. It might take the form of the understudy method, job rotation or special assignments and committees. In any case it should have four steps: preparing the learner, presenting the operation (or nature of the job), doing performance try outs, and following up. Other training methods include audiovisual techniques, lectures and computer assisted instruction.
In gauging the effectiveness of a training program that are four categories of outcomes that you can measure: reaction, learning, behavior, and results. In some cases where training seems to have failed, it may be because training was not the solution.
Management development is aimed at preparing employees for future jobs with the organization, or at solving organization wide problems concerning, for example, inadequate inter-departmental communication.
On the job experience is by far the most favoured form of management development. However, the preferred techniques differ by organizational level, with in house programs being preferred for first line supervisors and external conferences and seminars more widely used for top executive.
Managerial on the job training methods include job rotation, coaching, junior boards, and action learning, basic of the job techniques include case studies, management games, outside seminars, university related programs, role playing, behavior modeling and in-house development centers.
HR can contribute toward building the learning organization through its impact on: systematic problem solving, experimentation, learning from experience and from others, transferring knowledge, and providing employees with lifelong learning.
Organizational development is an approach instituting change in which employees themselves play a major role in the change process by providing data, by obtaining feedback on problems, and by team planning solutions. Some of the organizational development methods include: sensitivity training, grid development and survey feedback.
Grid programs and other inter group team building building efforts aim at developing better problem solving and more cooperation at work through the action research process. Each work group analyzes work team problems and generates action plans for solving them. Then this same approach is used by special inter group teams so that companywide problems are solved.
Successful development programs require CEO involvement, a clear development policy, linkage to plans, succession planning and development, and line responsibility.
Managing Quality and Productivity
Flexi-time is a plan whereby employees flexible workdays are built around a core of midday hours, such as 11 am to 3 pm it seems to improve employee attitudes and morale, increases production, and decreases tardiness; however unavailability of key people at certain times and the difficulty of scheduling activities like meetings can be problems. Flexi-time and other flexible work arrangements are aimed in part at tapping employees needs to be treated as responsible human beings, and to that extent they boost quality of work life.
A quality circle is a group of five to ten specially trained employees who meet for an hour once a week for the purpose of spotting and solving problems in their work area.
Steps in establishing a quality circle program include planning, training, initiating, and operating. Problems to be aware of include: poor attitude such as ‘this is just another time waster’ and ‘management pays no attention to our ideas’; agendas outside the circle’s expertise; problems that are too difficult to handle; scheduling problems; and fear of interference from the union.
Comprehensive companywide quality improvement programs like that at FPL basically aim at improving the customer orientation of a firm by appealing to employees higher order needs. A framework of objectives or policies is first laid out based on customer needs. Then a comprehensive program of training incentives, quality circles, and culture modification is carried out to appeal to employees sense of responsibility. As at FPL, its not just specific techniques (such as selection, training or incentives) that ensure higher performance; the culture of the firm – its basic shared attitudes and values are important too.
Self directed teams carry out independent tasks and use consensus decision making to choose other team members, solve job related problems, design their own jobs, schedule their own break times, and do much of their own work planning and review. Such teams contribute to building commitment by enriching and empowering employees jobs.
Reengineering is the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service and speed. HR contributes to reengineering processes by its effect on: building commitment reengineering; team building; changing the nature of work; empowering jobs; moving from training to education; and shifting focus from activities to results.
People want and need feedback on what they are doing, and appraisal provides an opportunity for you to give them that feedback.
Before the appraisal, make sure to clarify the performance you expect so that the employee knows his/her goals. Ask ‘what do I really expect this person to do?’
Performance appraisal tools include the graphic rating scale, alternation ranking method, forced distribution method, BARS, MBO, and critical incident method.
Appraisal problems to be aware of include unclear standards, halo effect, central tendency, leniency or strictness problem and bias.
Most subordinates probably want a specific explanation or examples regarding why they were appraised high or low, and for this, compiling a record of positive and negative critical incidents can be useful even if the company that you work for requires that you summarize the appraisal in a form like a graphic rating scale, a list of critical incidents can be useful when the time comes for discussing the appraisal with your subordinate.
The subordinate should view the appraisal as a fair one, and in this regard there are four things to do: Evaluate his or her performance frequently; make sure that you are familiar with the person’s performance; make sure that there is agreement between you and your subordinate concerning his/her job duties; and finally solicit the persons help when you formulate plans for eliminating performance weakness.
There are three types of appraisal interviews. When performance is unsatisfactory but correctable the objective is to lay out an action plan for correcting performance. For employees whose performance is satisfactory but for whom promotion is not possible the objective is to maintain satisfactory performance. Finally, the satisfactory-promotable interview has the main focus to discuss the person’s career plans and to develop a specific action plan for the educational and professional development the person needs to move onto the next job.
To prepare for the appraisal interview, assemble the data, prepare the employee, and choose the time and the place.
To bring about constructive change in your subordinates behavior get the person to talk in the interview. Try silence, use open ended questions, state questions in terms of a problem, use command questions, use choice questions to try to understand the feelings underlying what the person is saying, and restate person’s last point as a question. On the other hand do not do all the talking, don’t use restrictive questions, don’t be judgmental, don’t give free advice, and don’t get caught with name calling, ridicule or sarcasm.
The best way to handle a defensive subordinate is to proceed very carefully. Specifically recognize that defensive behavior is normal, never attack a person’s defenses, postpone actions and limit your own limitations.
The most important thing that you should aim to accomplish is to clear up job related problems and set improvement goals and a schedule for achieving them.
Appraisals should also ideally serve a managing performance role by providing a concrete basis for analysis of an employees work related performance. Taking a TQM based approach for appraisals is also recommended. Characteristics of such an approach include: making the appraisal scale as broadly descriptive as possible so that it contains relatively few performance categories and avoids forced distribution; measures results objectively; specifically identifies if the performance deficiency is a result of lack of motivation, training, or factors outside the employees control; uses 360 degree feedback; includes adequate samples of work behavior; addresses problems in an atmosphere of partnership and constructive advice; and bases performance standards on an analysis of key external and internal customers needs and expectations.