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Human resource development is one of the most important aspects in organizational management and growth. The capacity of an organization to remain competitive and to adapt to the changing client demands and tastes is principally determined by the level of expertise in human resource. The future of any organization also rests more on the capacity of the human resource to accept the new challenges and to embrace different technologies. The demand for staff/ human resource training in the recent past has seen many organizations spend substantial amounts of resources on human resource development; they have become their own training institutions always engaging in staff training. In the opinion of Sloman (1999, p. 212), most organizations rely on human resource training as a part of their strategies in boosting their output and performance. In training tasks, the trainers always work to uplift the level of knowledge or skills of the trainees to conform to certain required standard of the organization, most training sessions have specific procedures, objectives and structural guidelines. Many organizations have evolved different strategies and types of training programs; however, the systematic approach to training has remained as the most widely used approach in human resource training and development. In this paper, an assessment of the systematic approach to training is examined, its pros and cons and potentials for improvements.
Importance of Human Resource Development
The benefit of human resource development and training goes far more beyond just uplifting the knowledge of the workers. According to Kevin Ford (1997, p. 73) human resource development is the heart of organizational management. Stronger human resource base determines the strength and competitiveness of the organisation in the market and in the eyes of the public. A well-developed human resource promotes the performance of the workers, their command of knowledge within their fields of specialization increases; this, in turn, increases the general output and, thus, a greater success toward achieving the organizational goals and objectives. Human resource development ensures reduction of organizational conflicts and insanity. Through the processes of training and exposure the worker are made to evolve better and more advanced methods of tackling their problems or challenges that arise, this idea is also advanced by Kandula (2004, p. 99) . Trainings and education are able to change people’s perspectives of life; these transform reasoning and make a person different, according to Armstrong (2008, p. 490), human resource development is the stay of any organization.
Systematic approach to training is an approach that looks at training as a process that has stages and involves different parts that have to be followed to achieve some desired end. According to Buckley and Caple (2009, p. 24) systematic training is seen as a subsystem interacting with other subsystems, upon which the organization depends for its survival, according to him it involves a series of sequential processes of training. Other researchers, like Russ-Eft and Preskill (2009, p. 3), see systematic training approach in the light of a systematic and planned manipulation of behavior, and this is achieved through learning procedures or programs and guidelines that make individuals develop knowledge, competence and skills that they need to carry out a particular kind of work. In systematic training approach the training has to be planned, it also has to be systematic. The aim is to improve workers’ abilities and level of skills. Many human resource development experts view systematic approach as cyclic, it involves a continuous process of training, where one stage of the training leads to the other, the outcome of the cycle leads to another form of a beginning for training. According to Millward (2005, p. 84), training is always an unfinished process, it is continuous and revolving.
A systematic approach to training involves four major distinct stages, and these include the following: need analysis is always considered the first stage; the second is development of a training program, then implementation of the training program, and finally, evaluation of the training activities and outcomes. Systematic approach is looked at as a structured logical model for guiding a training session. The four sages of the approach are sometimes summarized into three stages, as in the model discussed below: assessment, activities, and evaluation.
Identifying the Training Needs and Development of Programme Objectives
This is the initial stage in the systematic approach of training; also called the assessment stage. This stage involves two activities, which include the need assessment and program design. In the need analysis/assessment the trainers assess the need of the training, why is the training necessary, and what need is it going to address. Unless there is a need for the training, the training is useless and invalid. The organizations have to establish the gap or the void that the training is going to fill, as illustrated by Armstrong (2008, p. 490). Training program is always designed to address certain specific challenges facing an organization, and this is what is called the “need”. The objectives for the training are formulated at this stage; the objectives have to be in line with the needs assessed.
It is at this stage of assessment that the organization has to develop the most appropriate training program and design. After assessing the need for the training and establishing why the training is necessary, the organization takes a step to decide what the most effective training design is. According to Kevin Ford (1997, p. 73), every organization may decide to use different models, among which systematic approach is one. At this point, depending on the level of need, the organization may decide to use seminars, workshops or online commuter training. The organization may also decide to do the training for its entire staff or only a number of the employees.
Activity Phase (Designing and Delivering Interventions)
The activity phase involvers the actual implementation of the training program, here the organization undertakes the actual training exercise. The training conducted should be in a manner that is likely to achieve the intended objectives. The mode of presentations and the skills of the trainers also affect the overall goals of the training exercise, a thought also expressed by Millward (2005, p. 84). During the activity phase, there is a need to follow the program design as was identified during the assessment phase, if the laid out program is not followed during the session, it is likely that the training may fall outside its agenda. If the training program is followed well, the benefits and outcomes are likely to be realised.
Evaluation of Training and Development Programme
Every activity undertaken by an organization has to be evaluated, especially when it involves the use of money and resources. Evaluation criterion has to be developed to ensure that the important information is captured. At the evaluation the organization wants to assess the level at which the training program has achieved its objectives and desired goals. According to Werner and DeSimone (2008, p. 183), there are different evaluation criterions that can be used. For example, the organization may decide to test the results and to interview the trainees to test if they have learned something new. Some of the evaluation tools used in systematic approach include: assessment of the reactions of the trainees to the training, how they feel about the whole training process, and their level of satisfaction can tell a lot about the success of the training program. The organization may also evaluate the training using the learning approaches. For example, they may use semi questionnaires to assess the level of what the trainees learned, the score averages could tell their level of understanding.
The behaviour of the trainees can be used to evaluate the performance of a training program. Particular kind of behaviour normally follows satisfying-training programs, which can indicate excellence or failure. Satisfied people, in most cases, will be very happy and they would want to share their experiences with everyone.
Advantage and Disadvantage of Systematic Approach
One advantage of systematic approach to training is that it is easy to apply and cheap, it is less complicated, and, as such, it can be practiced by many organizations. With appropriate identification of the need, the rest of the process can be carried out without problems. The need determines which type of program design is to be used, and, finally, the need will determine which evaluation criterion is appropriate. This makes the systematic approach a model to be admired, as also expressed by Wireman (2010, p. 41).
Systematic approach eliminates time wastage and irrelevance; this is because systematic approach has well designed structure and guidelines to be followed. This ensures that the training process is guided within some boundaries, so that they did not engage in activities that were not captured by the program.
This approach may also be applied in conjunction with other performance control methods in the opinion of Sloman (1999, p. 212). For example, in the process of assessing the training need, the organization may also get other relevant information which may be useful for other aspects of the management. This may aid in the development of effective method of management, this is also supported by Price (2007, p. 513). The outcome of the evaluation process and need analysis may be used to adjust the performance of the organization.
Generally, systematic approach of training leads to a higher output in the production scale, training improves people’s level of performance, skills and knowledge and, thus, leads to a higher output. In systematic approach of training the various phases of the training processes produces result, which helps in the next step of development. the results generated in one stage are directly or indirectly useful at the next phase.
There are also challenges associated with systematic approach of training; some of these limitations have contributed greatly to the development of other approaches that are considered to overcome the limitation in the systematic approach, for example, the consultancy methods. A systematic approach is limited in terms of the structure and design, it looks too simple to represent all the complexities of organizational designs, the argument also expressed by Harnisch (2008, p. 9). The model does not fully represent the entire subsystems that exist in an organization; it also does not show the full interaction of the various systems, activities and phases. The simplicity of this method makes it to appear too assumptive; it assumes that there are only four stages in the development of effective human resource capacity
Human resource development is one of the most important aspects in organizational management and growth. An organization cannot live without continuous upgrade of its human power and resource. The future of any organization also rests more on the capacity of the human resource to accept the new challenges and to embrace different technologies. Systematic approach has been identified by many organizations as a model of training.
Systematic approach involves properassessments, geared towards determining effective training goals and ob objectives; it also involves designing or building methods that are fit and efficient to ensure achievement of the goals and objectives stipulated at the assessment stage.
The next stage following the two above is the implementation stage, where the design and the methods identified in stage two are put into actual application. The final stage in the systematic research cycle is the evaluation stage, here serious work is undertaken to make sure that the training reaches its earlier expectation, and that the goals and the objectives are met. Organizations that adopt systematic approach in their training programs are likely to reap higher benefits, this approach ensures that trainers get the best and the most from their employees.
Generally, systematic approach of training leads to a higher output in the production scale, training improves people’s level of performance, skills and knowledge and, thus, produces a greater output, as also supported by Talbot (2011, p. 49). In systematic approach of training the various phases of the training processes produce results which help in the next step of development. T he results, generated at one stage, are directly or indirectly useful at the next phase. With careful evaluation before, during and after training the results to the organization are likely to increase. This approach not only builds the trainees or employees in their organizations, it also motivates trainers.