Human Resource Development
An effective Human Resource Development (HRD) plan considers various components of organizational performance and the needs of employees that are tasked with reaching company goals. The Sports Board Unlimited is challenged by numerous HR issues ranging from generational differences to the duplication of workers’ responsibilities due to the acquisition of another company. Therefore, the HR manager is tasked with developing a comprehensive plan of employee development that considers the needs of workers and incorporates training suggestions to meet the primary concerns.
Addressing New Employees’ Needs
Sports Board Unlimited is currently experiencing a difficult period in organizational development. The company is struggling with the complexity of the staff environment, such as generational issues, the challenges of staying in business during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the recent acquisition of another company (Kaetzler et al., 2019). Thus, the first step toward addressing such challenges is meeting the needs of new employees. The immediate action is establishing consistent and transparent communication between managers, new workers, and the Sports Board’s employees. The new employees will be educated about the company’s organizational culture and professional standards of the company and informed that HRs are always open to answer any questions (Osborne & Hammoud, 2017). Transparency is crucial in this context because new employees should feel supported and comfortable in the new environment. Their needs will be met with compassion and empathy, with regular staff meetings and discussions about strategy improvement.
Addressing Current Employees’ Needs
Addressing the needs of current employees will be complicated because workers are getting dissatisfied with their work at the company and struggle to communicate with each other, mainly due to generational issues. The first step in the HRD plan that concerns existing employees entails the assessment of the current employees for identifying their knowledge, skills, abilities, and concerns. In addition, it is necessary to identify the talents of employees that go beyond their current job descriptions so that they can be promoted to get more responsibilities. After conducting such assessments, HRs will create employee development plans to establish a direction on how to improve skills and advance careers for increasing business performance.
In addition, for employees who may have overgrown their current roles, it is necessary to create a succession plan developed on the basis of conversations with employees regarding their career goals and visions of the future. Besides, employees should be kept informed about the possible changes that the organization may encounter and how such changes can be affected. Being transparent is necessary because it will ease anxiety and prevent workers from imagining the negative implications of the changes. Finally, it is required to conduct a gap analysis to identify the resources that the company has and what will be needed in for future development. HRs will access the practices and infrastructure of the company to determine the areas that need improving alongside practices for supporting the professional growth of staff.
Addressing the Needs of Managers and Supervisors
When it comes to the needs of managers and supervisors of Sports Board Unlimited, the improvement of their experience at the organization is necessary for making sure that the company meets its performance goals (Holton & Swanson, 1997). The company’s HRs will be responsible for defining the qualities that the good leaders exemplify at their organization, possibly by carrying out the cross-company activity to define the organization’s values and the leadership qualities that workers consider essential. After collecting this information on managers and supervisors, they should be informed about them so that there are clear expectations for them to show their skills and balance existing duties. In addition, they will be prepared for potential obstacles and challenges that can occur in the foreseeable future.
Because the responsibilities that fall on leaders and managers are complicated and multi-dimensional, they should not be left without support, which is why the head of the HR department will conduct one-on-one meetings and direct reports, setting them up with mentors if needed. For instance, managers who have highly technical roles need support developing soft skills such as conflict resolution, negotiation, and communication. The needs assessment applied to managers and supervisors will help HRs foster the environment for ongoing learning and improvement, and it is imperative to facilitate the development of such opportunities for managers of all levels of experience.
Addressing Generational Issues
The management of a multi-generational workforce presents some challenges because of the conflicts that may arise between employees whose age differences result in them having varied perspectives in the workplace. There are several challenges associated with generational issues; for instance, negative stereotyping results in the lack of respect for the representatives of a generation. Specifically, there are such stereotypes that Baby Boomers cannot use technologies correctly or that Gen Z employees do not have interpersonal skills. Therefore, an effective HDR plan entails flexible communication, the acceptance of different work styles, as well as respect for different perspectives. In contrast, older generations are usually more traditional and linear, while younger generations are more open and spontaneous. To manage their differences, it is recommended to introduce team-building activities that allow for the workers to share their experiences as well as assemble age-diverse project teams who will collaborate by processing various levels of expertise. It is vital for HR to listen to employees from different generations and find out more about their needs, which, in turn, will allow for the customization of individualized approaches for every worker.
Managing Remote Workers
The healthcare threats presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in many employees finding themselves working out of the office and separated from the office environment. To address the skill development as well as the management of employees who work remotely, it is recommended to establish a reliable system of digital messaging that enables ongoing communication between managers and employees. By enabling clear and transparent communication, it becomes possible to set clear standards of remote work productivity. For instance, the customer support team can be set the standard of answering all customer emails by the end of their shift. This enables increased productivity despite the fact that the work is done remotely. To facilitate effective skill development and acquisition, managers should identify and provide the right tools to their subordinates to ensure that they have all the resources necessary for professional growth. Specifically, it is necessary to provide policy and procedure manuals, the needed software programs, and supplies for everyday work, as well as any telecommuting technologies. Finally, for more effective interactions between workers, HR should develop a schedule for team interactions during which all remote and non-remote workers come together to discuss problem solutions or just interact.
Training vs Learning and Development
While training and learning and development are often confused, they denote different contexts in which workers’ skills and knowledge are improved. Training is organization-focused and entails the focus on the acquisition of new skills and skillsets that will be applied specifically in the context of organizational work. To identify the training needs of employees, managers can use surveys or questionnaires, observe workers and examine their work, as well as to conduct regular assessments. After that, it is necessary to match workers’ training needs to the resources available to the organization. For instance, if there is an opportunity to hire independent coaches to train employees, the company should do so. If not, the senior staff of the organization can play the role of trainers to educate and support employees in their professional improvement needs/
Learning and development, on the contrary, is individual-focused and entails providing a person with the capabilities to tackle not only professional issues but also personal and be able to creatively come up with ways to tackle them in the future. Those responsible for addressing the learning and development of staff within an organization should determine the existing skill gaps between employees and teams and then develop training for bridging such gaps. Addressing such gaps is possible with the help of various strategies. For example, there is an opportunity to carry out workshops and working groups, on-the-job development, conferences, job rotation, as well as mentoring and coaching. The choice of the strategies will depend on the needs of each individual worker and their learning goals.
Needs assessment refers to the process of determining the needs of an organization, which usually entails three core components, such as initiation, data collection and analysis, and final products. Such assessments are crucial because they help companies determine the challenges that prevent them from achieving the desired goals. When managers know what works well and what should be improved and changed is vital to moving in the direction of making an organization successful. The first step, initiation, entails the identification of “frame” or “limiting factors” that relate to the organization being analyzed. These limiting factors serve as a framework for a project proposal for future improvement. The next step includes data collection and analysis, during which organizations conduct SWOT and PEST analyses and collect relevant data. The data is being collected through interviews, observations, surveys, and reviews of documents. The comprehensive analyses allow for the identification of areas of success and areas of concern. The final product in the needs assessment entails a summary of findings and the establishment of a strategy that will detail the driving forces should be strengthened and which restraining powers should be limited, with the final report containing critical recommendations for the company.
Developing and Securing Training Content
Facilitating effective training through good content is necessary to enable performance improvement in multiple business areas such as new product development, marketing, and sales. Besides, the recent acquisition of another company resulted in the duplication of responsibilities, and it may be beneficial to implement training for workers to try new roles. Developing and securing good training content will result from surveying employees who will provide valuable feedback as to what should be improved or addressed. It is likely that employees will want to receive training from skilled professionals in their field who know the topics at hand. Because of this, the management will select supervisors or high-performing employees and prepare them for becoming trainers themselves, so they know what and how to train, how to make the process enjoyable, fun, and relevant to the particular case of the organization. Besides, it is necessary to align training with the management’s operating goals, which will help design targeted programs. For example, the marketing and sales department of the organization needs training content for strengthening quality and consistency, while the majority of teams require supervisory skills training for promoting workers’ satisfaction.
Because the needs of workers may be multi-dimensional and vary based on their levels of expertise and professionalism, the training content can also allow for self-directed learning. This strategy is especially applied to high-potential workers who are motivated to learn and advance on their own (Holton & Swanson, 1997). There are several benefits of allowing workers to engage in self-directed learning because of the potential to develop soft skills, point-of-need skills, as well as specific competencies that allow them to develop professionally and in accordance with their responsibilities in their positions.
In the case of Sports Board Limited, blended employee training is the most suitable strategy because it combines multiple methods of information delivery. More than one method is used because there are employees with different needs and learning tendencies, some of whom work remotely, and some go to the office. Therefore, the company’s HR does not have to gather all employees in one place to receive training as there is no unified solution that will be a good fit for every training need. Blended learning will be delivered through instructor-led training and online learning strategies that fit the needs and tendencies of every employee (Poon, 2013). The classroom setting, which mimics the traditional school setting, requires learners and their instructors to be physically present in the classroom, actively participating and listening. This method of instruction will be applied to older in-office employees who are more used to the traditional learning strategy (Ulrich, 1998). On-the-job training will be applied to in-office workers who struggle to complete their tasks or to new employees reassigned to fulfill different roles. It is a practical method of teaching new knowledge and skills needed for employees to perform their job as it allows them to practice right away. The final type of physical learning includes mentoring, which entails semi-structured guidance during which one person, the mentor, shares their comprehensive knowledge and experience to assist others to progress in their own careers. The mentorship programs are developed situationally based on employees’ needs and level of knowledge.
In contrast to traditional methods of training, blended learning also entails the implementation of online training methods, which will especially benefit remoter workers. Remote employees will be asked to participate in video courses that involve a collection of video lessons grouped together (Colman, 2020). Each lesson has a separate them and questions to be answered at the end. This format is more applicable to remote workers because it calls for more time dedicated to learning and works best for complex topics that need a deeper dive into the material. The course can be developed by an externally hired professional who specializes in professional improvement.
Overall, blended learning is the strategy that fits Sports Board Limited best because of the diverse distribution of employees, ranging from different ages to various levels of expertise or approaches to work. Blended learning can be more engaging and attractive to workers because it can be tailored to each employee’s interests and needs. By using the combination of online and in-personal training approaches, it is possible for the organization to develop a training program to capture the engagement and attention of any worker.
Evaluating Program Effectiveness
The training and development of employees at the organization set the expectation of gaining improved skills and productivity, greater staff satisfaction and retention, as well as improved reputation. After delivering the blended training to employees, the HR manager will ask several questions to be answered. Specifically, it is important to determine how effective was the particular training techniques in helping employees gain relevant skills and knowledge, whether the learners be able to apply the newly acquired skills and knowledge to improve performance, as well as what were the other benefits achieved by the program.
HRs of Sports Board Limited should make sure that the training allows employees to show an improvement in their productivity and overall skill application. Evaluating training effectiveness is possible with the help of post-training quizzes for employees, one-to-one discussions with them, surveys, case studies, as well as official certification exams. Formal methods of assessments that are stricter and more structured will be applied to employees whose professional skills and knowledge are under question, especially in light of the possible letting go of workers with duplicated roles after the acquisition. It is important to measure and collect as much data as possible for it to be easier to quantify the return on investment.
It is recommended to follow the Kirkpatrick evaluation model, which entails four levels, reaction, learning, behavior, and results. At the reaction stage, the company’s HRs will carry out questionnaires and one-to-one conversations with employees to identify whether the content of the training was relevant and easy to understand, what were the strengths and weaknesses of the training program, and whether the training was accommodative to employees’ learning style and pace. At the learning level, the management should measure the skills and knowledge that employees gained as the result of the training. To measure the extent of workers’ improvement, managers will determine the influence on performance KPIs, supervisor feedback and report, and evaluate applied learning projects. At this level, HRs will determine whether the training met its set objectives and identify the specific skills developed in the course of the training.
At the third level, the management will have to understand how the training was impacted the performance of employees and their attitude to work. This can be accomplished with the help of informal feedback from peers and managers, focus groups, self-assessment questionnaires, KPIs, and on-the-job observations. The final level entails the measurement of the result that the employee training program brought. These may include improved quality and productivity of work, employee retention, higher morale, as well as improved feedback from customers. In conclusion, it should be mentioned that there are some benefits that cannot be measured precisely. Such indicators as training enjoyment or employee satisfaction are intangible, although highly important for measuring the success of the program.
Colman, H. (2020). How to train remote employees: A complete guide.
Holton, E. F., & Swanson, R. (1997). Human resource development research handbook. Berrett-Koehler.
Kaetzler, B., Kordestani, K., O’Loughlin, R., & Van Oostende, M. (2019). Managing and supporting employees through cultural change in mergers.
Osborne, S., & Hammoud, M. (2017). Effective employee engagement in the workplace. International Journal of Applied Management and Technology, 16(1), 50-67.
Poon, J. (2013). Blended learning: An institutional approach for enhancing students’ learning experiences. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2).
Ulrich, D. (1998). A new mandate for human resources. Harvard Business Review.