Human Resource Development
Human Resource Development (HRD) is an important aspect of Human Resource Management (HRM) that presupposes the processes of training and learning of employees for increasing their performance and productivity. HRD is based on the diverse learning styles that determine the outcomes of learning and training. It is evident that there is no perfect learning style as it is preconditioned by the psychological and personal peculiarities of an employee. The importance of transferring the learning process in the workplace is enormous due to the positive outcomes for an organization. The main thing is to plan and design training for employees in a proper way. Consequently, this paper intends to understand learning theories and styles, show planning and designing of the learning process, and reveal development initiatives.
LO1. Understanding Learning Theories and Learning Styles
- Comparison of different learning styles
Understanding and determining the learning style are necessary for the development and training of a learner in a proper way. Honey and Mumford distinguish four key learning styles: the pragmatist, theorist, reflector, and activist (Armstrong & Taylor 2014). Activist learning style is based on the personal desire to jump at the depth of new experience and try new skills and knowledge. The advantages of activists are that they are open-minded, creative, dynamic, and flexible. Activist learning style presupposes tackling issues as the driving forces of motivation. Pragmatist learning style presupposes studying new theories and ideas. Consequently, pragmatists are not less enthusiastic than activists. However, if compare to activist learning style, pragmatist learning style relies on the facts. Consequently, scientific diagrams, research papers, and making lists are preferable for pragmatists. Reflector learning style demands methodological approach and logical thinking. Reflectors differ from activists and pragmatists as they rely on the intuition. Moreover, they prefer analysis of both old and new information. Theorist learning style is based on objectivity and rationality. The advantages of theorists comparing with other learners refer to the discipline of learning and endless curiosity.
Fleming determines three types of learning style: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Auditory learning style is based on such tools as talking and hearing. As a result, auditory learns can have difficulties with writing and reading tasks. Visual learning, on the contrary, is based on writing and reading tasks. Kinesthetic learners are worse in the activities mentioned above but better in moving and touching. Consequently, it is necessary to find tasks and activities corresponding to the learning style.
Moreover, one should distinguish the following learning styles: constructivism, cognivitism, and behaviourism. It is evident that there are crucial differences between them. Behaviourism is task-based learning that focuses its attention on the observation for a learner. Cognitivism is more complicated learning style as it demands problem solving, clear objectives, and reasoning. It differs from behaviourism, because it is computational and structured. Constructivism is the most vaguely defined. It means that every learner has his/her meaning and understanding of facts, processes, and phenomenon. This learning style demands social and cultural participation and engagement. Cognitivism, on the contrary, is based on the previous experiences and existing schema.
- The role of the learning curve and the importance of transferring learning to the workplace
The learning curve can be gained through practice and experience. It presupposes the continuous improvement process. Moreover, learning curve helps employees to set career path, add values, and develop new skills. The learning and efficiency can increase when the continuous experience is in progress. One should say that the learning curve needs adaptation and adjustment of the technical skills. Consequently, a learner can receive it only with the help of the constant training and learning. Transferring learning to the workplace is important as it helps to acquire and train new skills. However, transferring learning can be successful only if managers are looking for the best possible options for any post and adapting them to employees’ needs. Knowledge transferring is based on the high performance, understanding core organizational values, and building skills. Moreover, employees also need off-the-job training to achieve the essential progress.
Transferring of knowledge cannot be realized only with the help of communication. It is evident that employees need the practical tasks to build their skills and tacit and new knowledge to acquire helpful experience. The use of learning curve and effective transfer of knowledge are interrelated processes that help to identify the performance level of employees and business competence. Moreover, they bring the efficiency in performance and decision making process as well as benefit setting the realistic career path. Consequently, learning curve and transfer of knowledge are necessary for any company that intent to increase its performance, productivity, and progress.
- The contribution of learning styles and theories when planning and designing a learning event
Learning theories belong to the theoretical and conceptual framework of learning requirements and objectives. Employees can determine what learning style to prefer the most. Consequently, it is a must to analyze all learning theories and styles to understand what it is necessary for a particular workplace. Only successful choice of learning styles and theories can contribute positively to the HR event. Another step is to establish the relationship between learning styles and theories and HR even to reveal whether they can coexist. It is evident that focusing on one particular style cannot be the basement for success. As a result, it is recommended to combine several theories and styles.
One learning style cannot cover all organizational needs as a company may demand improvements of responsibility area, team work, efficiency, decision making ability, and leadership skills. Consequently, for planning and designing learning event, it is obligatory to find out the needs and the ways of their fulfilment. Planning and designing of HR event also determine the outcomes of learning and training processes. Employees should prioritize the best learning options to provide the most effective result. Moreover, it is necessary to define individual needs of an employee to create harmony in a team-work. The contribution of learning styles and theories will not be immediate as it demands time and efforts. One should also mention that any HR event should promote development and personal growth of an employee. Consequently, underlining the parallel between learning theories and styles, one should take into consideration its weaknesses and strengths.
LO2. Planning and Designing Training and Development
- Comparison of the training needs of staff at different levels in organization
Marks & Spencer consists of the following levels: management level, customer service level, and operation level. Management level is responsible for decision making, leadership, and organization of team work. Consequently, staff of management level should receive the practical learning for decision making capability, team work, and building skills. The training should be also of-the-job to bring the efficacy. It is evident that employees of management level should be exemplary for employees of other levels. Customer service level is responsible for work and cooperation with customers. First, they should implement queue management. Second, they should provide the expert solutions to the work with customers. The training needs of staff of customer service level differ from management one. Employees should be trained how to manage the queue quicker and more effectively and know how to minimize the waiting time span. Moreover, they should receive the additional training how to assist any customer and fulfil his/her demands.
Operation level is responsible for performing all activities effectively and in time. The staff, at this level, should be trained to make appraisals and performance reviews to motivate other employees to work better and more qualitative. Moreover, they should know how to minimize costs spent on creating products and services. It is evident that training needs of all levels are diverse. However, it is necessary to study and monitor them carefully to understand them completely. One can also conduct the common training for staff of all levels to see how they interact and collaborate at training and learning. It is also recommended to develop them separately to give them more attention and opportunities for self-expression.
- Assessment of advantages and disadvantages of training methods used in an organization
Marks & Spencer uses different training methods to train its employees. Without a doubt, they have its advantages and disadvantages. Performance appraisal is the most used tool. The advantage of performance appraisals is related to the help of employees to see their progress in competencies and skills. The disadvantage of this training method is that it can demotivate employees as they can feel disgrace. Another training technique is role playing. Marks & Spencer uses it because it helps employees to imagine themselves at other posts and what they should do to be promoted. The disadvantage of this technique is that it can lead to performance degradation as not everybody wants to impose diverse roles.
The discussion is another training method used by Marks & Spencer. It is effective because it helps to build a career development plan and personal skills. The disadvantage of this training is that it demands a supporting role from managers. Employees will not be able to develop a plan without managers. Another technique is performance coaching. It helps to assess performance and determine necessary improvements. The advantage of this technique is that it provides more confidence and realization of opportunities. The disadvantage is that the assessments cannot be objective and bias employees.
- A systematic approach to plan training and development for a training event
Problem-solving training program is one of the most important training events for any organization. To plan this HR event, one should do the following steps:
- To introduce problem scenario. This problem should be realistic, actual, and alarming. Moreover, it should not be abstract but concrete to result in the decision-making process.
- To conduct Q&A session. All employees should be involved in it with carefully prepared questions. All questions should be related to the discussed problem. Managers and trainers should be ready to answer them. Q&A session will help to understand problem scenario.
- To come up with findings and discussion. It is crucial to make the training program full of discussions and corresponding to organizational needs.
- To provide the best solutions during the discussion and Q&A. Solutions should be realistic and practical as they should be implemented immediately.
- Resubmission of the solution. All solutions should be looked through to understand whether they are made in a proper way.
- To provide the solutions to the problem in the team. This is the final step that should be objective and supported by employees.
LO3. Evaluation of a Training Event
- Preparation of the evaluation of a training event using suitable technologies
To evaluate the training event discussed above, one should use the following technologies:
- Need assessment. This technology will help to determine whether the discussed problem is actual and necessary for discussion. Moreover, this tool will help to understand whether there is the necessity of conducting training solving program.
- Monitoring and accountability. This tool intends to reveal the services delivering by a company, the kind of participants, and the factors provoking the necessity of training.
- Program clarification. This technology is applied to evaluate different needs levels and answer the questions how to make them more effective.
- Progress. This tool is employed to identify and assess the progress of participants taking part in problem-solving training program. Moreover, this technology is used to evaluate whether participants are making progress.
- Program impact. This technology is used to determine the long-term impact of the training program. It is an experimental approach that helps to reveal strengths and weaknesses and predict the consequences of the implementation of problem-solving training program. Moreover, it will help to judge the effectiveness and efficiency of HR event.
- The evaluation of a training event
It is evident that this training event will provoke active participation and enthusiasm of employees as it will increase their competency and skills. This problem-solving training program will refer to the relationships with customers. Consequently, everybody will be ready to participate in it. Moreover, this training event will provide applicable and realistic solutions to the problem of relationships between employees and customers. This training event will have actual benefits that will provide the recommendation in the work with customers and help to avoid misunderstanding and conflicts. Feasible and logical conclusions can be made after the discussion of the program.
The advantages of this training event are that it will benefit cooperation and collaboration among employees and provide the practical advice how to manage with customers. This training program may fail if employees are not curious, interested, and active. Moreover, this training program can be ineffective if it the received propositions and recommendations are not implemented in practice. Consequently, HR managers should predict all positive and negative outcomes of this training event.
- The success of the evaluation methods used
Need assessment, monitoring and accountability program clarification, and progress are the effective methods for the evaluation of the success of the suggested program in a real life work environment. The diversion and feasibility of this problem solving training program can be determined with the help of the system combining the techniques described above. All managers and employees should take part in the assessment procedure as they are interested in the benefits received from this HR event. It is evident that they should receive analytical and logical propositions to improve their performance. However, one should not rely on the total objectivity of analyzed technologies.
One can say that it is enough successful assessment system as it analyzes all the policies and steps taken by HR managers critically.
LO4. Understanding of Government Led Skills Development Initiatives
- The role of government in training, development, and lifelong learning
The UK government plays a significant role providing training, development, and lifelong learning, especially employees of private organizations. First, the government arranges training programs that are useful and helpful for HR managers. Second, the government sets the standards of performance to develop the competent and competitive employees. For example, Marks & Spencer is a giant retailer firm in the UK. However, it does not mean that government should not develop its initiatives further. The UK government should concern about the internal development of a company’s performance. The UK government is responsible for taking the performance to a standard level. Lifelong learning is an obligatory aspect of any employee that refers to self-motivated learning.
It is obvious that government involvement in training procedure can motivate employees acquiring more knowledge and skills from working environment. Moreover, those companies that cannot afford expensive training and learning programs can receive the support from the government. The government is interested in creating the highly competitive market and advantageous situation for companies. Learning and development are the driving forces of many governmental initiatives.
- How the development of the competency movement has impacted on the public and private sectors
Competency movement is another driving force for a company’s development. It makes them concern about the performance gap and low productivity. One should say that private companies are more progressive comparing with the public ones. First, they have more costs for investment in training and development. Second, they want to be more competitive in the market. Consequently, public organizations fall into competitive disadvantage due to the lack of the proper training and learning mechanisms. Public organizations have lower motivation, inefficient production, and poor service quality comparing with the provide ones. It means that their competency movement is low. The learning should be never ending of a company wants to move forward.
It is evident that public organizations should also orient on the experience of the private companies and lift up their performance. Movement of skills and competencies should become the part of the organizational policy and the basement for further priorities. Moreover, employees should be highly motivated to move forward and support a company in its growth and development. Consequently, both public and private organizations should develop the competency movement.
- How contemporary training initiatives introduced by the UK government contribute to HRD of an organization
The UK government has taken the contemporary training initiatives providing useful training and development programs necessary for brining growth and stability in economy. For Marks & Spencer, these initiatives are very crucial as they will provide further competitive advantage and growth. Training programs are vocational and can give a quick learning on different areas of business. Taking into consideration the governmental training initiatives, Marks & Spencer has changed its core values adapting them to the specific training needs. The UK government orients on the future of the economy designing different qualitative training programs for the diverse companies. Marks & Spencer uses them adapting to the contemporary needs of its staff. It is evident that the economy is preconditioned by the performance of employees. As a result, companies should be interested in its growth as it is basement for profitability. The training of Marks & Spencer is oriented on adaptability factors, future prospect, market condition, competitive position, and customers’ expectations. One should mention that the UK government continues to develop its contemporary training initiatives that should be supported by public and private organizations.
HRD is a must for any organization. First, it should be based on learning theories and learning styles that make training more diverse and corresponding to the learners’ needs. Second, it is crucial for any company to plan and design training and development to make it more practical and realistic. Third, the resource development process demands an adequate evaluation of the conducted training events, determining its advantages and disadvantages. Fourth, it is crucial for companies to follow the government development initiatives that promote learning and training. It is evident that HRD cannot be similar in public and private organizations as any training program needs the minimal investments, employees’ motivation and desire.