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Training And Development: A Choice Or A Necessity?

Dr Bidhan Das

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Why Have Training & Development?

Poor work performance can result due to many reasons, including task requirements that exceed human potential, insufficient infrastructure or equipment, unsatisfactory and frustrating work environments, inadequate selection processes, negative or unhealthy work culture, insensitive policies and management, and contradictory performance standards. Training might not eradicate these problems, but it can be a powerful force in overcoming those, which result from inadequate or poor application of job skills.

While training and development need to be placed at the core of improving patient care, it is important to make sure that the training set-up for the employees helps the organisation, and the people in it succeed and give the desired return on investment (ROI). Planning a training calendar can be a futile activity if training designs, methods and materials are not sensitive to the uniqueness of learners. It is therefore essential to understand how to design, develop and deliver efficient and cost-effective training.

Devising A Training Programme

Stage I: Assessment & Analysis

Step 1. Training Needs Assessment

Diagnose the problem; define solution and state conclusions to confirm the need for training. Try to isolate the conditions, policies, practices, or other elements that contribute to quality outcomes. There are many aspects to training needs analysis, but the essential activity involves: Determining what is required to complete the work activity; determining the existing skill levels of the staff completing the work, determining the training gap (if any). Training gap is the difference between required and existing skill levels. The word ‘skill’ is generic in this case – it includes the knowledge, skills, attitude and aptitude required to undertake the activity effectively and efficiently.

Several basic needs assessment techniques include direct observation, questionnaires, consultation with persons in key positions, and/or with specific knowledge, review of relevant literature, interviews, focus groups, tests, records & report studies, work samples, knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) studies. Training needs analysis or assessment ensures that training addresses real and important business or productivity needs. It links training to real world results.

Types Of Training Needs Assessment

Context Analysis: An analysis of the business needs that considers who decided that training should be conducted, why is it a recommended solution, history of the organisation with regard to employee training and other management interventions.

User Analysis: It deals with potential participants and instructors involved. Who will receive the training, existing knowledge, learning style, and who will conduct the training is of prime importance.

Work analysis: Also known as a task analysis or job analysis, it focuses on the requirements for performing the task. It seeks to specify the main duties and skills required. It ensures that the training will include relevant links to the content of the job.

Content Analysis: It involves an analysis of documents, manuals, laws, procedures used on the job. It avoids any conflict or contradiction between the training content and job requirements.

Training Suitability Analysis: Training is one of several solutions to employment problems. It is important to determine if training will be effective in its usage or are there alternatives to training.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: Analysis of the return on investment (ROI) of training. Effective training results in a return of value to the organisation that is greater than the initial investment.

Checklist: Assessment & Analysis Phase

Inclusion of all the tasks. Has each task been stated as an action and its outcome? Participant profile & how each characteristic affects the training design. Deadlines, cost constraints, and other requirements. Resources available. Training delivery options. Indicators to verify success.

Step 2. Develop A Task List

List the tasks involved in the activity (ies) you want to improve through training, describing each in terms of an action and what it is to accomplish.

Step 3. Identify Participant Characteristics

This would include literacy levels, ethnic backgrounds etc. Profile the intended trainees according to their skills and knowledge, barriers to learning and variability. Several versions of training programme may be needed to accommodate different subgroups of participants in case of high variability.

Step 4. Specify Requirements, Resources, Constraints & Explore Training Delivery Options

Consider the benefits and liabilities of alternative ways of delivering training, including pedagogy, classroom instruction, on-the-job tutoring, distance and e-learning etc.

Step 5. Determine Key Outcome Indicators

Establish the criteria you will use to verify that your training has improved performance and has made the desired contribution to the organisational functioning.

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