Organizational Analysis: Does Training Support a Company's Strategic Direction?

Topics: Skill, Training, Learning Pages: 22 (7770 words) Published: April 27, 2014
Needs Assessment
By RA Noe

Organizational analysis involves identifying whether training supports the company’s strategic direction; whether managers, peers, and employees support training activity; and what training resources are available. Table 3.3 provides questions that trainers should answer in an organizational analysis. Some combination of documentation, interviews, or focus groups of managers and individuals in the training function should be used to answer these questions. The strategic role of training influences the frequency and type of training and how the training function is organized in the company. In companies in which training is expected to contribute to the achievement of business strategies and goals, the amount of money allocated to training and the frequency of training will likely be higher than in companies in which training is done haphazardly or with no strategic intent in mind. For example, companies that believe learning contributes to their competitive advantage or that have adopted high-performance work systems (e.g., teams) are likely to have greater training budgets and conduct more training. The business strategy also influences the type of training. Companies that have adopted a disinvestment strategy are more likely to focus on Outplacement assistance and job search skills training than are companies with other strategic initiatives. Last, the greater the strategic role of training, the more likely the company will organize the training function using the business-embedded or Corporate University Model. Both these models emphasize that training is used to help solve business problems. Support of Managers, Peers, and Employees for Training Activities A number of studies have found that peer and manager support for training is critical, along with employee enthusiasm and motivation to attend training. The key factors for success are a positive attitude among peers, managers, and employees about participation in training activities; managers’ and peers’ willingness to provide information to trainees about how they can more effectively use knowledge, skill, or behaviors learned in training on the job; and opportunities for trainees to use training content in their jobs. If peers’ and managers’ attitudes and behaviors are not supportive, employees are not likely to apply training content to their jobs. Training Resources

It is necessary to identify whether the company has the budget, time, and expertise for training. For example, if the company is installing computer-based manufacturing equipment in one of its plants, it has three possible strategies for dealing with the need to have computerliterate employees. First, the company can decide that, given its staff expertise and budget, it can use internal consultants to train all affected employees. Second, the company may decide that it is more cost-effective to identify employees who are computer-literate by using tests and work samples. Employees who fail the test or perform below standards on the work sample can be reassigned to other jobs. Choosing this strategy suggests that the company has decided to devote resources to selection and placement rather than training. Third, because it lacks time or expertise, the company may decide to purchase training from a consultant.       One way to identify training resources is for companies that have similar operations or departments located across the country or the world to share practices. For example, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals created a “virtual learning team” to promote the sharing of “best practices” in technical training among its U.S. manufacturing sites. Training managers from New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana, Puerto Rico, and Belgium serve on the team. The team members meet face-to-face once every business quarter and also have a regular conference call every six weeks. The objectives of the team are to (1) provide a centralized focus to...
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