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Employee Development

This week, in my Training and Development course, we have been discussing Employee Development. Employee Development is a form of formal education, in which job experiences, relationship, and assessment of personality and skills help employees prepare for the future. There are two components to Employee Development; Training (helping the employee’s performance at their current job level) and Development (preparing employee for changes in their current job such as new technology, work designs, new customers, or new product markets; very critical for talent management). Essentially, the formula for successful employee development is: Training + Development= Employee Development.

So, what are the benefits of employee development? Let’s take a look. In the eyes of the employee, the development helps to address 5 key aspects:

Established professional goals and aspirations. What professional goals do I have? What excites me to grow professionally?
Recognize talents and weaknesses. What are my talents and strengths?
Identify development needs that need improvement. What development needs are important to improve?
Develop objectives and action plans. What will be my objective for this plan? What steps can I take to meet the objective?
Sense of appreciation and job security.
In a nutshell, these 5 points/ aspects contribute to the employee developing their personalized employee development, hence the reason for this post; however, I will be focusing on 4 types of development that I would like to advocate for my employer (hypothetically) to provide, rather than the typical extensive development plan.

Type of Development

Rationale

Reality Check

A reality check is a necessary and often

uncomfortable part of life; however, it is essential for productivity and success. A reality check involves the company providing information about my skills and knowledge and how it fits into the company’s plan for potential promotional opportunities and lateral moves. The reality check, in my company’s way of saying this is where you are, this is what where need of you, and this is the path to get there. It is a way of providing an equal level of understanding.

Goal Setting

Goal setting helps with the development of short- term and long-term development objectives. It is a way of assessing the desired promotion, level of skill application, work setting, and skill acquisition. Essentially, goal setting assist with defining where I want to be, how I want to get there, and the milestones necessary to accomplish achieving the ultimate goal. Goal setting helps determine “where I belong” and “what I want to do” within the organization.”

Tuition Reimbursement

In life, we have to be susceptible to change. We must be willing to improve ourselves not only for the benefit of the company, but also for personal gain. By providing tuition reimbursement, I am able to participate in a collegiate environment that improves my skills and abilities academically and professionally. By studying an area of interest to me as well as the company. New skills can flourish and improvements will occur within the company.

360-degree feedback systems

The 360-degree feedback system is important because it assesses the employee’s behaviors or skills which are evaluated by peers, customers, managers, and the employee. This periodic form of feedback can serve as the basis of whether an employee is or is not on the right path. The multiple perspectives provided can formulate a system of communication for constant improvement and constructive feedback.

High Tech Learning

High Tech Learning.

High Tech Learning

      This week, in my Training and Development course, we have been discussing the benefits of training technology and its various forms. Many people believe that technologies have and will continue to have a major impact on the training and development environments. While this statement is debatable, there are four technologies or technological advancements that I believe are and will be beneficial for training and education. Within the next decade as technology improves, its cost decreases, and companies recognize its cost savings, the need for customized training will increase.

   The first is e-learning. E-Learning is a form of Computer Based Training (CBT), delivery of instruction or training by the computer through the Internet or web (Noe, R., 2013, pp. 323).The benefit of e-learning is its ability to provide faster training to more employees in a short period of time regardless of an employee’s geographical location. In my opinion, e-learning will become a “new norm” for training due to convenience as well as the reduction of traveling cost that company’s would have to consider if they were to hire trainers to train at their facility, or if employees would have to attend training at another location (other than the office); companies, such as Ritz Camera, use e-learning to update employees on product information as well as enhance their product skills. Employees are able to access short training courses online in a wide variety of technology and brands. Here is a link to the Ritz Carlton Leadership Center. By clicking on this link, you can see the various courses that the company offers employees. http://corporate.ritzcarlton.com/en/LeadershipCenter/Courses/Default.htm.

    Podcasting, the second technological advancement for training, involves a web-based delivery of audio and video files. Rasmus Blok and Mikkel Godsk conducted a survey at Aarhus University in Denmark in which they evaluate student’s use of podcast its effect on education. Blok and Godsk discovered there are 10 advantages and benefits for the use of educational podcasts. The top 5 advantages were:

  1.  Portability, flexibility, and convenience for students.
  2.  The ability to asynchronously whenever, wherever, on which ever device the student chooses.
  3.  The ability to multi-task while performing a daily routine such as exercising or travelling.
  4.  Easy accessibility regardless of the time or day (flexibility).
  5.  The ability to playback and alter the speed of listening, depending on the device.

These 5 advantages, in my opinion, are possibly the key for educational institutions or organizations using podcast for training. Think about it, mini lectures can be provided to students so that they feel prepared before entering the classroom. From the podcast, students can generate ideas which can then be shared or discussed during lecture. Better yet, if a student were absent from a class, the podcast would provide valuable information as to what was discussed, what is to be expected the next class, as well as any approaching assignments. Here is a link to the educational podcasting research article: http://www.editlib.org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/p/32442.

   I recall the first time I designed a simulation. I was nervous about the end product. Various end-users tested the document for accuracy and provided feedback for improvement. Simulations, is my third technological advancement. Simulations or games, depending on the company, are delivered via a personal computer or gaming technology such as Xbox and Play station. The key to simulations is use fun and motivational aspects to help trainees or employees acquire a new or existing knowledge or skill. Games such as Sims City, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto are all examples of simulations. Miller Brewing Company uses a game called “Tips on Tap” to teach bartenders how to serve the beer, card customers, and provide exceptional service. The game includes simulations such as, “Score Your Pour,” which teaches bartenders how o properly pour beer at the proper angle and height. After each game, feedback is provided so that the employee is aware of necessary improvement. I am pretty sure that as technology becomes more prevalent and detrimental to our living…think about it, how lost do you feel if you misplace your phone, it is my assumption that games and simulations will become valuable in the world of education.

   Mobile learning refers to delivering training through a mobile device such as a smart phone, net book, android, or iPad. This fourth technological advancement has been used by companies such as IBM. IBM discovered that mobile technology has increased the availability of employees and has increased their knowledge and use of technology outside of the office. The company noticed that communication increased within the secondary and tertiary connections. According to IBM, employees were able to limit the middle man and make a direct connection with the main point of contact. What happened is the phone became a “jump off” point for increased connections and communication. The correlation between IBM’s establishment of a network “Blue Pages” similar to the Yellow Pages improved employees’ confidence level as well as their self perception and job performance. The key is that employee’s no longer felt disconnected and held back by their job title as well as their lack of job performance.

   My last technological advancement is distance learning. Distance Learning is used to provide new information about new products, policies, and procedures as well as delivering skills for training and lectures. Distance Learning can include virtual classrooms, teleconferencing, web conferencing, and webcasting. Teleconferencing is a synchronous exchange of audio, video, or text between two or more individuals or groups. Virtual classrooms refer to using a computer and the Internet to distribute instructor-led training to employees in different geographical locations. Webcasting and web conferencing involves instruction provided online through live broadcast. In a nutshell, distance learning has various components or technologies associated with its productivity. The key is choosing a technology that is beneficial to the company. In several instances, I have attended webinars, a form of web-conferencing in meetings and trainings were held to schedule constraints that prevented all employees meeting in a central location. There have been times when I have had to call into meetings while driving, traveling from plane to plane, or from one cab to another. In essence, I believe that as technology continues to prove its validity more business will be conducted out of the office, more so than in the office. Who knows, maybe “working in the office” will involve working in your pajamas…there’s nothing wrong with wishful thinking!

Resources
Ahmad, N., & Orton, P. (2010). Smartphones make IBM smarter, but not as expected. Training and Development, 64(1), 46–50. Retrieved from the Academic Search Complete database.
Blok, R. & Godsk, M. (2009). Podcasts in Higher Education: What Students Want, What They Really Need, and How This Might be Supported. Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/32442.
Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill

Pictures Presentation

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Southwest Airlines…Needs Assessment

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For this week, we (the EIDT class) are providing a needs assessment, process to determine which type of training is necessary and whether trainees are willing to learn,  for a company of our choice (Noe, 2013). Considering that I have traveled using Southwest Airlines and believe that they have great customer service skills, I decided to assess them.

While they are a well-known for their customer service and well-known tactic “bags fly free”, Southwest Airlines also supports its employees by providing on the job training and other forms of support that enhances the skills and abilities of its employees.   

When conducting a needs assessment, the trainer must first identify key stakeholders in order to obtain get “buy-in” (approval) from major decision makers. It would be beneficial to note the CEO, President, and upper level management, but a trainer must also consider mid-level managers, such as regional managers, shift managers, SME’s, etc., because they (the managers) provide an organizational analysis as to the allotted budget for training, the types of employees to receive training, and jobs where training can make a difference (Noe, 117).   So, hypothetically, of course, once I note “authorities” of management and decision making, I can then target them in order to determine the needs of the company.

Of course when conducting any form of assessment, there are questions or issues to address. These questions can be simple or complex…I suggest asking simple questions, too complex questions can lead to frustration and difficulty understanding the company’s goals and missions. A few questions to consider would be:

  1. Do you have the budget to buy training services?
  2. Ho will employees who need training be identified?
  3. What tasks will employees be trained?
  4. What skills, abilities, or characteristics are necessary for training?

As you ask these questions, you will see that it leads to in depth answers, which in turn, foster more in depth and researched based questions, such as: Since your last training session in 2013, employees have struggled in _______(fill in the blank). Do you see what I am saying; general questions can lead to specific questions as the answers are revealed.

Documentation is essential when undergoing a needs assessment. Contrary to what many believe, it is not always best to start from scratch. Many key aspects and questions are addressed through “historical” documentation. This documentation could be: performance data, previously used job aids, training requirements, simulations, technical diagrams, flight attendant manual, etc.  If I were to employ a technique for training at Southwest Airlines, I would use a combination of techniques. I would use: historical data because it provides data related to performance and practices, documentation because it is a good source of information on procedure, interviews because they are good at uncovering details of training needs and causes/solutions to problems, and lastly, observation because it minimizes interruptions at work (Noe, 118).

 

Reference

Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

The Truth About Training…Elevator Speech

Well, it’s been a while since I posted anything on this blog. Part of it is due to my busy schedule and the other part is due to the fact that I have not had much to say. Fear not…there is something that I would like to share with all of you. This week, in my EIDT 6501 (Training and Development) class, we are discussing the importance of training. Whether we want to believe it or not, training is necessary within any company or organization. Therefore, this week, we have been assigned the task of creating an “elevator speech”, limited to 90 seconds, which highlights 3 key concepts of/insights of training in order to convince a potential naysayer the importance of training and how it supports a company or organization.

Without further or due…below is my elevator speech. Feel free to leave feedback. An audio file has been attached to this post.

Happy Listening!

Sarah Holliday

 

Elevator Speech:”You know, many people doubt the affects of corporate training. Many believe view it as a waste of time and money. Contrary to their belief, training is very beneficial! Many well known companies such as: Campbell’s soup, Walt Disney, and AT&T  were facing a high employee turn over rate. As a result, these companies decided to incorporate corporate training. They discovered that by doing so, employees were able to gain new skills and perspective and improve their workplace performance; which resulted in all 3 companies exceeding their business goals, having happier employees, and increased revenue which contributed to promotions and company incentives. So, that’s just a brief overview of the benefits of training. If you have a few minutes we can further discuss the benefits of training for this organization. After all, employees are the driving force of the company, without them, how will we succeed?”

Scope Creep: The Client vs. The Company?

This week in my Project Management course, we are learning how to identify risk, propose a contingency plan, and essentially prepare for the worst case scenario (when managing projects). While reading the assignments for this week, as well as the required readings, I recall my first experience in the world of instructional design. I was an intern working for a fortune 500 company. I was unsure of my role within the company and what was expected of me. I was put on a project for a construction company. Essentially, my duties were to test data, note data that was inaccurate, and request appropriate data so that the testing issue is resolved. Well, this sounds a lot easier said than done.  

Toward the middle of the project, there was a shift. This shift, which I have learned is called a “scope creep”,  was  result of the client (the construction company)wanting to improve the project’s output by requesting that high priority emails be sent t the tech lead when testing data is needed. Doing this, in the client’s opinion, would provide an “immediate response” for providing testing data. They could have not been more wrong. The tech lead did not check there email on a regular basis and thus data entry was pushed back 2-3 days because she had other things to do. The stakeholder felt that they should be the priority, thus they requested that all information be sent to their employees who will provide the necessary information within 24 hours. This was even worse.

Looking back on the experience, if I were the Project Manager, I would have followed Dr. Stolovich’s advice and create a change of scope document. In the document, I would have stated what the client wants, the implications as a result of the change, the timelines established due to the change, and the deliverables expected.  As a Project Manager, one must expect change and be prepared to handle it when it occurs. The best way, according to Portny and colleagues, is to implement a change control system, a formal process where changes are introduced and accomplished with little distress.  My suggestion to future or current Project Managers, document every change (even the point size of a period or justifying paragraphs) with a change of scope document. Furthermore, always implement the change control system when managing documents because change is unpredictable and implementing the control system will make managing the project a lot easier and less stressful!

Resources:

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Stolovich, H. (n.d.).Monitoring Projects. Laureate Education, Inc. (2013).

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