Companies of the 21st century have to engage in Employee Development, in order for the organisation to achieve its goals. It has to develop its main core of the company which is the employees which are the assets that drives the company to its goals. Therefore it is important to place employee development in the context of the business strategies.
Employee development includes training and skill development of the employee, an emphasis on the internal advancement of the entry-level or low-skilled workers (Insight 2009). Encouraging employees to acquire new or advanced skills, knowledge and viewpoints by providing learning and training facilities and avenues where new ideas can be applied.
Development is a specific state of growth or advancement. Employee development or career development is an on-going refinement of job mastery and professional development coupled with career planning activities. Job mastery is necessary skills to successfully perform one job. (Guide to Human Managing Resources)
Learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study experience or taught. Information is knowledge and knowledge requires learning. In this era of the century, there is a strong emphasis on human capital despite financial and physical assets.
Training means giving new and current employees the skill they need to perform their jobs (Human Resource Management Text Book) Training are able to improve employee’s efficiency and motivation leading the organization to gain productivity and job satisfaction.
Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad (“Dutch Lady Malaysia”) the leader in branded quality dairy business in Malaysia. Incorporated in 1963, Dutch Lady was the first milk company in Malaysia to be listed on Bursa Malaysia, the local Stock Exchange in 1968. Its holding company is Royal Friesland Campina, a Dutch multinational corporation and one of the largest milk companies in the world. Permodalan Nasional Berhad is the second largest shareholder in the Company. (Figure 1)
Dutch Lady Malaysia manufactures and sells a variety dairy products and fruit juices for the home and export market such as Infant Formula, Growing-up Milk, Powdered Milk, Condensed Milk, UHT Milk, Sterilised Milk, Pasteurised Milk, Cultured Milk, Yoghurt and Fruit Juice Drinks. The Company’s dairy products have a strong consumer following and are represented by strong brands such as Dutch Lady, Frisolac, Friso, Completa, Omela and Joy.
Dutch Lady motto is “Great ready for Life” as it applies to the products that they carry is also applies to the employees of Dutch as they use employee development to build the employees. At Dutch Lady Office in Malaysia, the 600 employees continue to discover ideal environment for lively, approachable team players who combine initiative with a genuine enthusiasm to learn.
In Dutch Lady Human Resource faces challenges from all levels from executives to managers, and these employees are being challenged daily by frustrated employees. Human resource challenges is costing the company time, money, resources, lost opportunities, and reduced productivity,
(taken from www.dutchlady.com.my)
In order for the organization to perform effectively training needs analysis (TNA) needs to assist in identifying the needs of the employee that needs to be trained is it at departmental or organizational level. Training needs analysis need to ensure that training addresses existing problems, and is tailored to organisational objectives, delivered in an effective and cost efficient manner. (Chartered Management Institute 2005)
Training is one of the most important strategies for organizations to help employees gain proper knowledge and skills needed to meet the environmental challenges. (European Journal of Social Science 2010)
Employee development program and activities can be costly in terms of time and resources that organizations devote to them. Often such programs and activities must be justified by demonstrating their potential for adding value to the organization. (Employee Perceived Cost, 2008)
This will help strengthen the organization by increasing motivation and current information about the organization, helps employees makes their career development goals more realistic. Opportunities for promotion and/or lateral moves contribute to the employee’s career satisfaction and attention to career development helps you attract top staff and retain valued employee (Guide to Human Managing Resources). It can also be looked into another direction whereby the organization will create a condition where employees believe that their organization value their contribution and care about their employment. It creates an obligation by the employees towards the organization and in turn willingness by employees to work hard to increase the organization’s effectiveness (International Journal of Human Resource Management). (Arthur 1994; Woods and de Menezes 1998)
According to Grawitch, et al. (2006), the practices that contribute to employee development have been linked to employee commitment to the organization, increased productivity and decreased absenteeism and turnover. Skill development contributes to learning opportunities. (Guide to Human Managing Resources)
The disadvantage of development is “performance pay” which is based on individual performance rating, and not the group coordination or organizational productivity (Kerr, 1995; Kohn, 1993) Journal of Human Resources Education Performance Appraisal Reappraised: It’s Not All Positive 2007
The challenge that is always encountered is retaining employees. In order to in still commitment the employees, organizations have resorted to promoting long term career path through development programs. (SAM Advanced Management Journal 2001)
Previously, it was common to have in-house training or reimbursing employees for the cost of taking classes at the school. But such general skills acquired were not enough for employees to perform specific jobs or future jobs in the future. By General Motors and McDonalds pioneering the university concept allows employees to access their skills and compare them against organization and industry standards. This encourages the employees to cultivate skills in both their current employment and future employment. With this employees appreciate the ability to improve their skill, but for much discipline are difficult to maintain. (SAM Advanced Management Journal 2001)
Knowledge is regarded as key asset of employees and ability to acquire and use it as a core competence. (New Zealand applied business journal) (Argyris, 1991; Drucker 1992;
Ulrich, 1998) A learning organization works in an environment in which “people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together”. (Journal of Workplace Learning 2008) Peter Senge (1990, p. 3), the learning organization concept in his book, The Fifth Discipline,
Those who are learning oriented will find great value in activities that will assist them in developing and improving their skills. (Journal of Management Development 2008) (Dweck and Leggett, 1988
The negative employees with a low learning-orientation do not value this kind of emphasis on growth and learning, and as a result are not highly committed to the organization. (Journal of Management Development 2008)
Challenges that were encountered with learning are that computer based training programs tend to be entirely self-directed. The program results to have low rate of success. Experts believe that the human element needs to be involved. (SAM Advanced Management Journal 2001)
In technology-based training several companies, like Honeywell, and QUALCOMM employees tend to resist technology based training as the employees do not understand the method it is conducted and fair returns will not be possible. Example, some employees are “hand-on” learners and do not adapt to computer-based training, when developing a training program, keep in mind that the workforce has many different types of learners. (SAM Advanced Management Journal 2001)
In a relationship between commitment and training a sample of the numerous possible
backgrounds that have been explored include perception, and benefits such as career, job related, personnel (Mathieu and Martineau,1997), satisfaction (Tannenbaum et al,1991), self-efficacy (Saks,1995), individual variables, such as age, education level , and gender (Meyer and Allen ,1984; Collarelli et al,1987;Mathieu and Zajac,1990) European Journal of Social Science Vol 14 No 1 2010
Training can also be considered as employee turnover. If the new skills that have been acquired by the employee and the skill are of high value to other organization, the organisation will risk losing their trained employee. (European Journal of Social Science Vol 14 No 1 2010)
The ability to manage the cost of training and keep within the budget of the organization proves to be a challenge. Trying to prove to the management that training is part of the organization even when organization is not into training. (European Journal of Social Science Vol 13 2010)
In today fast pace technology era, technology is changing the way the organization is operated. Technology devices that employees are trained to use today will be obsolete tomorrow. The organization has to train the staff to keep abreast with the changing technology. (European Journal of Social Science Vol 13 2010)
In order for training to be a success in the strategic human resource management literature, training is an important factor for lowering turnover and improving organizational performance (Richard Devinney, Yip, and Johnson, 2009). One way in which this can be achieved in the provision of training and fostering high organizational commitment to enhance the retention of employees and customers.
Schlesinger and Heskett (1991) views high employee turnover as a factor of cycle of failure. The result of it is that discourages management from investing in hiring, training, which leads to ineffective performance and it, will also affect service quality and customer loyalty.
Proposed Employees Development Plan
The reason for conducting a TNA is to ensure the training effectiveness (Blanchard and Thacker, 2003; Goldstein and Ford, 2002; and Noe, 2005), ensure return of investment in the training, minimise errors made in the training programs (Elbadri, 2001)., try to solve performance problems and in the absence of TNA the training program will have little or no contribution to the achievement of the organization objectives. (International Review of Business Research Papers 2007)
The systematic method of conducting needs analysis is that the process is based on specific method of information gathering technique whereby it is conducted in stages with one affecting (Directory Journal 2007) another and helping to shape the next stage, there is no short-cut is available to carry out the process because every situation requires observing, probing, analysing and deducting. When completed, needs analysis would be a wise investment for the organization by saving time, finance and resources on solving the right problems. Organizations that do not support needs analysis make costly mistakes training is either used in an effective, non-effective manner or too little or there is no follow up. (Directory Journal 2007)
The data collection method can be divided into two categories quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative will be the using of survey questionnaire; where else qualitative will involve interviews. (Wagonhurst 2002).
Questionnaire is an interview on paper (Figure 2). Advantages of conducting a questionnaire is that every person input can be included. Employees can complete the questionnaires as and when they choose to. The data that is compiled and analyse is easily done because every employee are asked the same question (Directory Journal 2007)
Interviews (Figure 3) are able to ensure that the types of data collected from all sources are consistent and this information can be one person’s opinion, or the entire organization. Questions that are selected help the organization to understand what they are trying to learn (Directory Journal 2007).
In order to obtain a full understanding of the performance deficiencies it is important to obtain the employees comments. By asking intelligent questions and listening to them will build credibility from your interviewees. Personal involvement and commitment would be able to establish personal relationship with potential trainers that will be important to succeed as an analyst and trainer (Directory Journal 2007).
This will be a four step process using Task Analysis (Figure 4)
The analysis stage which is the first step involves accessing new employees training needs. The aim is to give new employees the skill and knowledge to do the job. Job description and job specification are important here as it will list the specific duties and skill which will be the reference points in determining the training required. By uncovering the training needs by reviewing the existing performance standards, performing the job and question the current job holders.
The instructional Design, second step will consist of the duration which will take 4-12 weeks depending on size of the department. Involvement will be HR executives and manger conducting the ground work together with HR director at the final stage before feed back to the management on the result of each department. Cost will be minimal as the process of the data collection will conducted by the Human Resources department.
The third step, program Implementation method that I would recommend for the different types of training methods is
On the job training – is the most popular or widely used method in todays’ organizations, it is the most familiar method whereby the experienced worker or trainee supervisor trains the employee. Job Instruction training
Informal training, covers 80% of what employees learn on the job is not through formal training but informal means on a daily means while in collaboration with their colleagues
Lecturers, lectures can be boring but it is a quick and simple way to present knowledge to a large group of trainees or when the sales force is being introduced to a new product.
Computer based training, trainers use interactive computer systems to increase the knowledge or skills. By using an interactive multimedia training which uses text, video, graphics, photos, animation and sound to allow the employee to interact.
Evaluation is the final or fourth step. This process will involve determining the participant reaction to training program, how much participants have learned and transfer of the training back to the job. This information gathered is then used in the next cycle of training needs assessment.
Ranking, the approach is relatively simple and if there are few jobs involved it tends to work. Identify the key jobs and interpolate where each is in ranking order. Job ranking will be difficult in large organizations because of unfamiliarity of the job.
Grading is another form of ranking. Defined as a predetermined classification system in rising order of importance. It is widely used, simple to understand and simple to administer and implement.
Point assessment developed to evaluate managerial and technical jobs. Popular and wide used because of its point’s factor, whereby enables inter-company job and pay comparison. Job analysis also identifies the expertise and experience required, accountabilities, freedom to decide and act, number of staff supervised and position within the organization (Managing People Manual)
Critical Success Factors
As Dutch Lady continue to create awareness as a collective responsibility, that its employees will continue to practice prevention of injuries and occupational health hazard as an assurance to the public when carrying out business activities.
Talent Assessment Programme continues to identify and develop future leaders, therefore results obtained from TNA will assist to identify and develop young employees into Dutch Lady Graduate Trainee Programme that will have excellent leadership and managerial qualities.
Long term service appreciation will continue to be practised at Dutch Lady for employees that served for 10 to 25 years. Moreover special retirement awards are also handed out to retiring employees.
As an organization with diversity in its employees Dutch Lady believes in strengthening bonds of friendship and relationship creating a sense of belonging among the employees. Annual Dinner, Family Day and Sports Club are some of the many ways of bringing families of all hierarchy in the organization to commune together as a family are some of the objectives that are achieved.
Employee development will always be an on-going process for the organization. In order to continue to retain employees, the organization has to make employee development part of its core objectives and also to keep ahead of the business environment. A learning organization is always a fruitful and ever evolving in its industry and worldwide.