Human resources management requires constant and persistent maintenance in order for success to thrive. Much like a garden needs tending, so do the skills of those professionals dedicated to enhancing the work experience through human resources management. The purpose of this essay is to describe the needs and processes of training. This essay will describe the process by taking the point-of-view of a member of a HR department of a small retail company. Upper management has requested that a new employee customer service training class be created and conducted to improve upon the organization and establish more of a competitive advantage within the market. To do this, a needs assessment will first be described to address five ways in which a training program would expose any existing performance deficiencies. Next, the customer service training plan will be discussed and as how to best implement this change. Issues of employee motivation and justification for the methods chosen will also be presented to add context to the discussion.
Assessing the strength of an organization is the first step in finding comparable solutions to the problems that have been identified by organizational leadership. The most important issue in discussing human resources strategy is that it is firmly aligned whit the general strategic outlook as presented by the organization's leadership. The needs of the company come from this source and human resources managers merely adjust their goals and objectives to the needs presented to them. In this case, customer service improvement appears to be the most important need the leadership has established in making positive change towards the growth and stability of the organization.
In order to determine how this organization stands it is necessary to find ways that a needs assessment will expose what is actually being done correctly and incorrectly within the standard practices of the company. One way an assessment is valuable is that exposes what the general environment of the company is feeling. It is difficult for managers to get a grasp of the totality of the situation without stopping to think about the big picture. This pause in management will help gather thoughts and approach things in fresh and new manner.
Another way identifying the needs of a training plan are helpful is that it helps to organize the environment. A proficiency level of the entire group can be gauged by offering standardized training that can test their skills. A third way in which this needs assessment process can assist human resources managers is by revealing opportunities for growth and improvement.
Rouda & Kusy (1995) suggested this as being essential in discovering the potential in the process. They wrote " The largest expense for HRD programs, by far, is attributable to the time spent by the participants in training programs, career development, and/or organization development activities. In training, costs due to lost production and travel time can be as much as 90-95% of the total program costs. Direct and indirect costs for the delivery of training are about 6% of the total cost, and design and development count for only about 1-2% of the total . Realistically, it makes sense to invest in an assessment of needs to make sure we are making wise investments in training and other possible interventions. "
Assessments expose threats to the organization as well. Sometimes deficiencies are easy to disguise and cannot be easily detected in normal everyday routines. The mere act of conducting training sessions demonstrates an employee's ability to be flexible and open for growth. Conversely, the weak spots of poor performing employees are much more likely to exposed in such an event, and these weaknesses pose certain real threats to the profitability of the organization and negates the possibility for improving team building.
Customer Service Training Plan
The customer service training plan will be implemented in three phases. The ability to bring about transformative change within the realm of the customer service skills is the ultimate aim of this plan. The purpose is to ensure that each and every employee is performing competent skills that lead to productive growth and sustained operability. Liao & Chuang (2004) suggested the importance of such efforts when they wrote " empirical evidence shows that, to the extent that employees are able to deliver high-quality service, customers are more likely to generate favorable evaluations of service encounters, experience higher satisfaction and increase their purchases and the frequency of their future visits."
The first phase of the training plan is the "walk phase" where rudimentary skills are offered in lecture format. This phase will be conducted in one day containing a series of lectures aimed at improving customer service skills. Employees are expected to take notes and ask questions during this receptive phase of the plan.
The second phase of the plan is the practical application or "jog" phase of the plan. In this phase employees will be allowed to practice their skills in a series of situations that we performed in small and large groups. This phase of the training is intended to give the employees fundamental opportunities to practice what they had learned before. This phase will last one day.
The third and final phase of this plan, or the "run phase," the employees will be evaluated and assessed in two different methods. The first method will consist of a written examination that tests the information learned from the first phase. The second method will be a practical exam in which each student will be faced with a customer service challenge and be evaluated on how they handled the problem. This phase will last one day with the testing in the morning and the role playing evaluations in the afternoon.
This training method is the best application of simplicity and effectiveness. By identifying the problems in the needs assessment, the objectives of the training becomes clear when taken as a three step approach. Many things are accomplished in this method by exercising a number of different approaches to the processes of learning. Essentially, the "walk, jog, run" transitions allows for mistakes to be made and redemption to be earned.
The most important idea however is that the importance of customer service is being implemented within the organizational culture. Regardless of the results of the assessment, each and every employee now recognizes the importance this skill has in being successful and accepted within the organization. Leadership within the organization must be sure to stay aligned to the principles discussed in the training session in order for any real change to manifest. The skills must resonate throughout the organization if they are to be taken seriously by the workers who are asked to do things their bosses can't.
Most importantly this procedure allows for a new perspective on the way that the organization works. If taken with an open mind and lack of defensive posture, much learning can take place and profits can be realized. Tax & Brown (1998) agreed with this argument when they suggested "The ability to deal effectively with customer problems is also closely related to employee satisfaction and loyalty, which are critical concerns in industries where customer relationships are more closely associated with the individual service provider than with the organization."
If indeed employees resist this training there are methods to motivate them to adhere to this newly established culture where customer service skills are placed at a higher level of importance. Peer pressure works great wonders at motivating others to conform to collective standards. A constant reinforcement of the benefits of this training should be explained reasonably and convincingly to achieve such a desired effect. Eventually this attitude will take hold and drive those who do not belong out of the organization.
Another motivational technique to encourage employees to attend this training is…