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Training and Development in Small Businesses
Effective training and development strategy
Training and development in business are paramount and particularly very essential in small businesses. Employees who have experience and competence contribute to both productivity and profitability of the business. For a medium-sized business to remain competitive, it requires ensuring the workforces gets maximum training and updating on ever changing skills and knowledge in the current global economy. According to Atwood (2008), training and development may prove expensive, but still it is worthwhile in reference to the achievement of long-term benefits of the business.
Dynamic Printers is a printing business that deals with printing services and sale of printing papers. It has 15 employees many of whom have been working in the business for the last five years. Such a business requires its staff to undergo continuous training to update on technology that is advancing every day. Apart from technological knowhow requirements, the staff requires continuous training on ways to market the business and to improve performance.
Any training and development program should be cost effective and the impact should reflect on business performance thereafter. There are various key elements to consider in the development of an effective and successful training program in Dynamic Printers. In developing the program, it should check on the programs alignment with goals, awareness of current learning culture and the need analysis of the business. Other strategies to consider are the content strategy, the evaluation and success criteria, marketing and communication strategy and the measurement of firm impact strategy (Matlay, 2004).
The alignment of business goals forms the most fundamental element in any training strategy. Every internal structure in the business should require a structure aligned to support the attainment of set goals. A suitable suite should not skip this step, as it is a natural way to think of a business and its bottom line. The main point to understand and to know is that when employees do perform at higher levels, the entire business benefits (Atwood, 2008). Having a setup that clearly focuses on the employees way of thinking, makes it easy to equip employees with the best techniques aimed at achieving the goals of the business. Thus, a training and development effort should align with and offer support to the business goals.
In every business, the current training culture is very crucial. Various questions form the basis of determining the best training program. One |need to ask whether the training embeds on workflows of the business, and if not that is a weakness. Other questions to ask are if the employees have the commitment and whether the business is receptive to improvement and performance change (Korda, 2012). The issue of readiness for technology-based training solution to a business also forms another query to consider. A complete knowledge of the business current culture is essential. The knowledge is important, as any training solution must be appropriate to the current culture thus, a throughway in achievement of desired performance and behavior changes resulting from training program.
The need analysis helps create a focus on the challenges that a training program may face. Not every business faces these challenges, but as a small business, there was arises a need to tackle the challenges for effective training. It is necessary to ensure that the program focuses on efforts and limited resources where signs to yield business benefits exists (Atwood, 2008).
The next stage involves the content strategy. On understanding the challenges that require addressing, a business should concentrate on checking the content that can help the employees (Matlay, 2004). An essential element of the content strategy should come through understanding of desired learning culture.
There is a need to weigh whether the training program will be successful. The criteria to use in measuring the impact of the training must exist before the start the training. The situation creates the question of how success will be like and how to note it exists. On answering the questions, then the business can identify with ease the data that it requires to gather.
Another critical element to any successful training program is the generation of marketing and communication strategy (Atwood, 2008). The employees require to be informed of the training, should be motivated to participate and a clear highlight offered on how the program will be of help to them. Many businesses stop marketing the value of trainings soon after starting, but a suitable plan should share and highlight success stories so as employees to see the training as part of the daily flow of their work.
Understanding and measuring the actual business effect of training, seals the elements key in training programs. It may not be smooth to do so, but this bears the crucial part of the strategic mission. The point of discussion should be about the benefits of the business and the connection between the training and how the business gains. The challenge comes when the objectives of the training program aligns tightly with a sully supporting of the business goals from the beginning.
Challenges in addressing organizational performance
To be a high performing business, the teams involved must dedicate themselves to working toward an agreed goal. In a case of experiencing personal disconnect with other members, the team may end being non-functional. The triggering issues in most cases stem from organizational communication breakdown that creates confusion on personal and team common goals. Managers need the offer frequent feedbacks and foster cohesiveness in the business.
Individuals have differing expectations. Employees may have differing ideas of what constitutes appropriate conduct or productivity (Korda, 2012). The affiliation on culture, gender, religion and other factors such as generation factor contribute to the differences in the organization. Problems may pop in if the management is not clear on the own expectations, or it is unaware of the existing conflicts within the employees.
The lack of proper documentation and prior performance management may provide one of the greatest challenges. If no proper documentation exists, any new supervisor may inherit performance problems from previous regime (Atwood, 2008). In the case of such a scenario, the best strategy entails getting back to the drawing board and starting with good documentation and a comprehensive performance management.
Disability accommodation may also signal a challenge. It is the legal obligations of the business managers to discuss the applicable accommodations if the employee notifies them the problem in performance may be because of a disability. A discussion should exist to check whether there are adjustments or accommodations that can allow the employee to perform successfully the crucial functions of the job.
Another challenge may arise in an organization performance, in case of failure to tackle senior leaders' performance problems. Senior managers' relation with the organization depicts a very strong message to the employees. Thus, ignoring poor performance of any senior managers may imply to employees that performances are not very critical. It is essential that senior managers in an organization to model a reliable performance management.
Effects of detecting organizational gaps in small business
Gap analysis helps to reveal what keeps the business away from reaching its full potential. The gap analysis should focus on the business as a whole and in all business engagement areas. It helps determine areas that underperforms and finds out whether the problems results from internal inefficiencies or external challenges. The outcome allows development of strategies to eliminate the gap and to maximize the profits (Matlay, 2004).
There are three major pitfalls associated with a gap analysis. Staying on the course is a major challenge with organizations as in the usual state they tend to be in comfort zone. Organizations tend to rely on old systems and fail to invest time and money on training and equipping themselves with current trends and systems. Businesses need to dedicate time and resources to examine the general outlook in order to remain competitive.
The other challenge entails treatment of symptoms in the business rather than the cause. Before implementing any improvements, it is necessary to identify the underlying reasons of the shortcomings. The business should have a system interoperability that will build customized pieces of address on the systems such as the inability to communicate between two systems.
Failure to check on the future provides the other pitfall. A business needs to what will drive its processes to the future (Korda, 2012). For those using antiquated technology, the challenge lies on how to enable current systems to communicate with each other and the modern systems available. It is necessary for a business to create room for available technologies and skills to support future add-ons.
A suitable and well-conceived plan can help in the process to smooth the transition in the business. The plan should help bridge the gaps in various zones of the business. Identifying the gaps is the first step towards bridging the gaps. It involves having a clear picture of the current system, knowing what needs implementation, and the use of technology (Bartram, & Gibson, 2000). Recognizing, articulating problems of the current system…[continue]
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