Employee training and development is part of the field of human resource management. It is concerned with activities related to the management of an organization, its aim is to better the performance of groups and individuals in an organizational setting. Employee training and development is known by many names, including human resource development, employee development and learning and development. The quality of employees and their development through education and training is a major factor in determining profitability [long-term] of a business. It is a good policy to invest in the development of employee skills, especially if the employees are good at their jobs. Training and development not only help the employees to better their performance, but it also increases productivity. Training is mostly associated with new employees, which is a mistake because current/old employees also benefit from it. Training helps employees to adjust to rapid changes in job requirements and keeps them updated to new technologies and methods. Training may include some of the following methods; other such methods are mentioned and explained further below:

•    Job rotation
•    Lectures
•    Role playing and simulation
•    Apprenticeships
•    Audiovisual methods
•    Internships and assistantships
•    Programmed learning or laboratory training

Purpose of Training and Development

The purpose of training and development as mentioned above is simply to enhance employee knowledge about particular methods to improve their job performance. It also helps employees to develop a greater sense of self worth, well-being and dignity as they become more valuable to their organization or society. Generally, employees are the ones who gain more because of their increased productivity. Such factors give them a sense of satisfaction through the achievement of company as well as personal goals. Recent research has shown specific benefits that a business receives from employee training and development, including:

•    Reduced Turnover
•    Increased productivity
•    Increased efficiency resulting in financial gain
•    Decreased need for supervision

However, some of the reasons for the emphasis on the development and growth of personnel may include the following: “Creating a pool of readily available and adequate replacements for personnel who may leave or move up in the organization, Enhancing the company’s ability to adopt and use advances in technology because of a sufficiently knowledgeable staff, Building a more efficient, effective and highly motivated team, which enhances the company’s competitive position and improves employee morale and Ensuring adequate human resources for expansion into new programs.”[sky]

Training Process

The steps given below are necessary in the training process:

•    Organizations objectives
•    Need of assessment
•    Identifying a Gap
•    Training objectives
•    Selecting trainees
•    Selecting the training method and mode
•    Choosing the means of evaluation
•    Administering training in the organization
•    Evaluation of the training

Remember that the business should have a clearly defined strategy and a set of objectives that directs and drives all the decisions, which are made especially for the training decisions. Organizations that plan their training process are much more successful than those that do so without planning ahead. Most of the time business owners want to succeed, but do not want to engage in a training design to improve their chance of success. Why is that? Below are five most identified reasons:

•    Time
•    Broad expertise
•    Getting started
•    Lack of trust and openness
•    Skepticism as to the value of training

A training program which is well conceived and planned can help a firm succeed. A program structured with a company’s objectives and strategy in mind has a much higher probability of improving its productivity and other goals and objectives which are set I the training mission.
It is essential to formulate a training strategy, which requires addressing a few important questions, for example: Identify your customers/target market, why do they purchase your product? Identify your competitors, how do they serve the market and what competitive advantages do they enjoy? What parts of the market do you think they have ignored, which you can target? What is your company’s strength, or weakness? What new social or economic trends are emerging that may affect your firm?

Training Needs

The need for training can be assessed by analyzing 3 major human resource areas, which are: characteristics of a job, needs of an individual and the organization as a whole. This analysis provides answers to the following questions: Why and where is training needed? What specifically must an employee learn while being trained, in order to be more productive? Who needs to be trained and when? The process starts by assessing the current status of a particular company and how it performs it tasks by applying the abilities of its employees. This analysis provides some benchmarks against which the effectiveness of a training program may be evaluated. Before starting it is essential to understand where you need your firm to be at a given time for instance, “where do you see your firm in five years time”? The training program should be planned to get you there or to achieve that goal.

Before starting a training or development program it is important to determine the areas where training is needed. It would be very foolish to implement a company-wide training effort without first concentrating resources on the actual problematic areas. An internal audit is one of the best ways to help point out the areas which would benefit from training. Secondly, a skills inventory is another way to determine skills possessed by employees in general. By doing this the human resource department can assess what skills are present and what skills are needed and can be acquired with the help of training for future development.

Training Goals

Training goals in any training and development program should always relate directly to the needs determined by the assessment program as mentioned above.  The training course should clearly state what behavior or skill will be changes as a result of the training along with relating to the mission and the company’s strategic plan. Training goals should include milestones to help take the employee from where she/he is today to where the firm wants to see him in the future in terms of job performance and productivity. Setting goals in the beginning helps to evaluate the training program and also motivates employees and gives them an idea of how they themselves can improve their work. The best part of allowing employees to participate in setting objectives or goals is that it increases the probability of success.

Training Methods

Some of the training methods are mentioned above; the ones mentioned below will help you understand training methods more clearly. There are two main types of training methods available to businesses: “on-the-job and off-the-job methods. What method should be used or is best suitable for your business is determined by individual circumstances and some other factors like, who is part of the training and why, and what the training is for exactly. On-the-job training is delivered to employees while they perform their regular jobs; it is the best way to get the job done with no time lost; more like multi-tasking. Off-the-job training may include, training via, lectures, special studies, television, conferences, films discussions, case-studies, role-playing, simulation, programmed instruction and laboratory training. Orientations are for new employees. The first few days on the job are crucial in the success of new employees as they determine if they will stay or not. “This point is illustrated by the fact that 60 percent of all employees who quit do so in the first ten days.” However, orientation training should emphasize on the topics given below:

•    Company’s history and mission
•    Key members in the organization
•    Key members in the department
•    How the department helps fulfill the goals and mission of the company
•    Personnel rules and regulation

Some companies use written presentation whereas others may use verbal presentations. Small businesses however, convey such topics in one-on-one orientations. What method is used is not as important as what message is given to the new comer and how he/she understands his/her new place of employment.

[adsense1]Individual employees can be evaluated by the company by comparing the performance and current skill level to the company’s performance standards or estimated needs. Discrepancies between an actual as well as anticipated skill levels identifies training need. When you have identified the training need it is important to decide what training is necessary and where it is needed. One of the most important things to decide is who needs the training. Companies should understand the importance of training and development, but keep in mind that it is not a cheap practice; it costs a lot of money. Planning ahead is always a good measure. Training selection should be careful, keeping in mind, how the company can benefit by training a particular employee. It is best to choose people who will help benefit the company in the best way possible along with themselves with the training. Companies can only benefit, if the employee benefits from the training program. If the employee is motivated the result will automatically lead to a positive direction.