Increasing Product Sales through Training
MJB Manufacturing consists of a Company President (in charge of manufacturing) a Company Vice President (in charge of sales and marketing), along with a Company Vice President (in charge of Information Technology (IT)). MJB is the specialist for high-performance cup filling and sealing machines for liquid products in pre-formed cups made of plastic, aluminum, and bottle filling and sealing machines in pre-formed containers.
MJB Manufacturing Organizational Chart
The costs of employee turnover, hiring, and training creates a cost efficiency gap in the training process. In 2008, 250 human resources professionals were surveyed across different industries of varying sizes and locations. In terms of workforce skill readiness, 94% of respondents indicated that their company's employees were not adequately prepared or possessed the necessary skills to meet business goals ("Most HR", 2008, para. 1). Thus, it is abundantly clear that training is a necessity. Some training based on improving current processes while some geared toward implementing entirely new concepts or technologies. Therefore, as an Instructional Design (ID) consultant for the MJB Manufacturing Company, Mark will first need to determine two important things: 1) what areas the employees need improvement in, and 2) what new systems or technologies they need to learn. The best way to determine where the employee needs lie is simply to ask them. Surveys and interviews provide critical information that take the guesswork out of determining needs. Of course as Beebe, Mottet & Roach (2004) make clear "In addition to analyzing the needs of individuals, it's also important to consider the needs of the company. To analyze the needs of the company, consider what the company needs in order to achieve its mission. Does it need skilled workers? Or does it need competent leaders and managers? After considering the needs of the company, you'll then need to determine how training can help address those needs." (pp. 16-17).
Mark will also need to determine how much of the corporate budget is allotted to training to make sure that his plan does not exceed the company's resources. In addition, he will have to make sure that his determinations from the needs assessment are in line with what the company stakeholders want. If they are not, he needs to adjust his strategy to fit what they think they need. Mark is the one who has performed the needs analysis and knows where the training dollars should invest. However, if the company has certain ideas set in stone and is not willing to venture down a different path. Mark has no choice but to adjust his thinking and design a training program that meets the employer's demands. Unfortunately, this may overlook some of the needs of the employees.
Before designing and implementing the training program; it is important for Mark that the stakeholders buy into his goals. The is the best way Mark needs to make sure that his needs analysis results in the training program he deems as the most valuable in collecting the correct data. The more information Mark has to support the investment in new software programs that help organize their sales data and more accurately target their markets as a more profitable investment, the better the chance of buy-in. Brown (2002) points out, "trainers should view themselves the same way that management does, making a direct contribution to the bottom line" (p. 569). Mark can show the employer, by the numbers, that the program he implements resulting from the needs assessment will both retain and increase earnings.
Cost Benefit Analysis
A cost-benefit analysis helps Mark to convince management that his training plan considers certain aspects associated with training, including job performance, which are difficult to quantify. According to Judge et al, (2001) contributing factors to the lack of research done on cost-efficiency remote education lies in the different criteria measuring job performance across industries. The dynamics of job performance is complex involving much more research in the implementation of a defined sets of responsibilities and projected results. The difficulty within is to discover the extent to which investing in online training improve the return on investment (ROI) as opposed to face-to-face training. It is necessary to use job performance as a major parameter in measuring ROI, and thus it is critical to define the qualities that correlate with performance ratings.
Christen, Iyer, and Soberman (2006) provide a broad definition of job performance as an aggregate construct of effort, skill, and outcomes that are important to the employee, and results that are important to the firm. The challenge for Mark will be that when seeking to compare ROI between departments is that each department is likely to have a distinctive set of priorities. However, Mark may benefit by examining previous research on companies similar to MJB as a guide to developing a set of criteria for job performance. In doing so, he will be able to use performance as a significant measurement parameter in determining the effects of the training program on the bottom line.
Once Mark has completed his needs assessment and cost-benefit analysis, he will need to start devising the content of her training program. This begins by developing a set of training objectives based on his findings. For example, let say that Mark conducts a survey among the employees in the marketing and promotion department of MJB, asking them what aspects of their job performance they feel most confident in and which ones they feel the least confident in. If, for example, 75 percent of the employees felt the least confident in using e-mail marketing software, then obviously a workshop in how to use that software would be appropriate. However, Mark can take this a step further by not only conducting training on e-mail marketing software, but also on other types of marketing software that the employees at MJB have never used. This way, both types of training are being implemented: enhancement of previous skills and implementation of a skill.
Training Design Model
As Beebe, Mottet & Roach (2004) point out when describing the "process approach" to consultation, sometimes companies do not even know they have a need for something until they are actually confronted with it. Therefore, it is the IDT consultant's responsibility "to determine the overall vitality of the organization and then recommends strategies for improving organizational effectiveness" (Beebe et. al., 2004, p. 10).
Taking all of this into consideration, Mark's list of objectives would likely look something like this.
In order to achieve these objectives, Mark will need to organize the content of the training programs and determine the training methods. This involves matching the results from the needs assessment and the cost-benefit analysis of the types of training content and methods being recommended. For example, should the training be online or in person? Should it be a one-day workshop or an ongoing seminar? Should the content and the instruction method be geared toward visual learners or auditory learners? Or both? Should the training be conducted by in-house managers or outside IDT professionals? There are a host of details to consider when creating the actual training program and making decisions on content and strategies. Mark will need to make these decisions based on her detailed company analysis along with any outside research she can find to help guide her toward the decisions that will have the optimum results for the company.
Beebe, S. A., Mottet, T.P., and Roach, K.D. (2004). Training and development: Enhancing communication and leadership skills. Boston: Pearson.
Brown, J. (2002). Training Needs Assessment: A Must for Developing an Effective Training Program. Public Personnel Management, 31(4), 569.
Christen, M., Iyer, G., & Soberman, D. (2006). Job satisfaction, job performance, and effort: A reexamination using agency theory. Journal of Marketing, 70(1), 137-150.
Edwards, J. R. (2001). Multidimensional constructs in organizational behavior research: An integrative analytical framework. Organizational Research Methods, 4, 144-192
Judge, T.A., Thoresen, C.J., Bono, J.E. & Marshaton, G.K. (2001). The job satisfaction-job performance relationship: A qualitative and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 376-407.
Most HR pros feel their workforces are inadequately prepared, In the news. (2008, February). Chief Learning Officer Magazine. [Online] Retrieved 19 May, 2014 from http://www.clomedia.com/in-the-news/2008/February/2068/index.php
© 2015 Mark Bush