Avondale Industries’ training and development office was asked to develop and implement a training program for its engineers located in its Bengaluru, India site. The program was developed in conjunction with several managers in Bengaluru who needed to improve the flow of their projects, many of which were not delivered on time. The managers felt that project management training would help their engineers develop the skills needed to understand the importance of time management, setting of goals and objectives, and prioritizing their goals to assist in making better use of their time. The training was delivered as requested, but three months later the managers reported they had seen no improvement in meeting project delivery deadlines. Which statement best explains why the training was not effective?
- Cultural differences were not accounted for when the training and development team organized the training and was thus not effective.
- The engineers relied too heavily on technology to guarantee the success of the training they received.
- The training was not effective because engineers were trained when managers, who oversee project resources and set deadlines, should have been trained.
- Effectiveness of the training was poor because it did not ask for the engineers’ input or engage their interest.
It is critical to understand that in supporting overall organizational goals, training is but one of several avenues available for human resource development. Training can be thought of as a “subsystem” of human resource management. Just because a training program is well thought out and addresses a significant issue in a firm, it is not guaranteed to succeed. In some instances, managers may not encourage recently trained employees to use the new skills or knowledge they have acquired in training. In other cases, the proper tools, equipment, and/or time may not be available for recent trainees to put their new-found expertise to use. In yet other cases, training may not even be the answer to a particular problem.
Avondale Industries established its first training and development program in 1989, two years after the organization hired its 10,000th employee. In 1987, the organization had expanded and diversified from solely working in the field of avionics (the electrical systems used in aircraft) to also providing aircraft wheel and brake production and repair. From 1987 to 1989, the organization found their turnover rate rose to more than 36 percent, due in large part to employees lacking the skills necessary to work in the new division. Company recruiters were finding it harder to attract the number of people needed to fill positions because Avondale had a reputation as a tough place to work. Training of employees, current and new, was implemented for the new division and proved highly valuable as employees gained the skills necessary to do their jobs better. Turnover rates were significantly reduced within a year to 23 percent. Which of the following reasons best explains why the new training program made such an impact on the turnover rate?
- The training program allowed the company to develop new ways to perform existing jobs and changed job expectations.
- The training program helped employees gain competencies; employees were more satisfied, turnover declined, and the company’s ability to retain and recruit improved.
- The training program helped line managers determine what skills were most important for their employees to utilize, and they then always hired people with those skills.
- The training program allowed the company to identify which of its employees were the most highly motivated and hardworking and focus on training them exclusively.
At the end of Avondale Industries’ fiscal year, the training and development office reviewed its budget and found that, due to the cancellation of two training programs, there were still funds left to spend. With just two weeks in which to spend the money, the training director put together a program to train employees who were transferring from the avionics division to the new adhesives and sealants division. The training was held but there was not enough time to consult with managers in the adhesives and sealants division to set learning objectives for the skills needed in the new division. A month later, the training director was asked to provide another training as the employees did not have the knowledge, skills, and abilities for their new jobs. Why is it important that a thorough analysis of training needs be conducted prior to holding a training program?
- A thorough analysis of training needs should be conducted first so that supervisors can provide input and receive recognition for their contribution to the training.
- Analyzing the needs of the new division prior to offering training will allow the company to better utilize its human resources as well as understand financial implications.
- Understanding the needs of the new division will help supervisors identify which employees need the training the most.
- Aligning training with anticipated capabilities needed in the new division will help the company achieve its organizational goals.
Avondale Industries’ training director conducted an employee survey and found that employees in several departments lacked trust and confidence in their supervisors. The director arranged for training of these supervisors to help them strengthen their interpersonal, communication, conflict resolution, and problem-solving skills. Why is it in the best interest of the organization to help its supervisors improve their performance and gain the trust and confidence of their direct reports?
- Improving relationships between employees is an essential role for the training and development office and helps it achieve its goals.
- Helping individuals improve their performance through training helps the organization reach its strategic goals.
- Training supervisors to be more trustworthy will help them relate more effectively with their employees and encourage better communication.
- Providing training for individuals that focuses on improving skills allows employees to develop competencies for future jobs.
Frequently, a distinction is made between training and development. The former is generally regarded as an organization’s planned effort to facilitate employees’ learning of job-related knowledge, skills, and competencies for the current job. The latter has a more long-term focus represented by formal education, job experiences, relationships, and assessments of personality and abilities that help employees prepare for future jobs. Regardless of whether an organization is looking to the short- or the long-term, the basic aim of training and development programs is to help the organization achieve its mission and goals by improving individual—and, ultimately, organizational—performance. As noted above, this can be done by helping to build human capital into social capital, and by creating organizational capabilities that are difficult for competitors to imitate.
Avondale Industries’ training and development office mandates compliance training for sexual harassment prevention; workplace safety, violence, and substance abuse; diversity; and so forth. Supervisors are required to go through this training every two years. However, supervisors have complained that these topics, while important, are not the only training they need. What they really want is training that will help them adapt quickly to changes and solve problems they face every day as they try to meet their goals. Which statement best explains why the training and development office should be concerned about helping supervisors learn and improve in their jobs?
- Improving supervisors’ capabilities will directly impact their interactions with their direct reports and help them transfer knowledge to their employees.
- When a supervisor increases their skills, they are better able to respond to issues that can arise in their area of responsibility.
- When supervisors know how to do their jobs better, they are able to identify ways in which they can adapt to changes and challenges.
- Enabling a supervisor to learn how to do their job better helps the company successfully achieve its overall goals and objectives.
When Avondale Industries was started in 1958, it employed 40 people. As more people were hired and the company grew, leadership provided a formal one-day orientation for new employees to help them navigate paperwork and review key procedures and policies. In 2005, the training and development office recognized that the orientation process was not sufficient because 70 percent of new employees complained they did not know enough about their jobs at a month after their hire date. The office developed a more extensive onboarding process that included in-depth coaching and mentoring from an experienced employee, quick job rotations, and an initial performance review at the two-week mark. Why was this change an important step for the company?
- The improved onboarding process helps employees form a more favorable initial impression of the company.
- The onboarding process allows an employee to determine if the company is the right fit for them.
- The onboarding process gives senior employees the opportunity to provide feedback early in the training process.
- The onboarding process helps the company analyze employee performance early and identify employees who are higher performers.
It is also important to understand that one of the first places a new employee is sent after he or she is hired is to a training program. That is, the initial impressions—which can be lasting—that a new employee will form about an organization often happen in training. Most commonly this first training program is called an orientation. Here new employees are exposed to the expectations the organization has for them, key policies and procedures relevant to them, the basic business model under which the organization operates in order to be successful, the variety and types of co-workers present on the job, the corporate culture, and other aspects of organizational life. Newer, more extensive versions of orientation are now frequently referred to as “onboarding.” This latter process can last for months rather than just days, and may include several quick job rotations, in-depth coaching and mentoring from an experienced employee, and an initial performance review with feedback from multiple sources.
In response to a request from the HR Department in Avondale Industries’ Hong Kong site, the training and development office at corporate headquarters in Phoenix, AZ developed an online training program for the Hong Kong HR staff. Participation was 100 percent, and evaluations following the training were excellent. Riding high on these results, the training program was then offered to the HR staff at the Tucson, AZ site. However, the training was not well received, and 70 percent of the participants said the training was not engaging or interesting. Which of the following statements best explains how the training and development office can improve the training the next time they offer it?
- The next time, the training and development office can improve the training by having managers as well as direct reports attend to ensure the training is applied on the job.
- Training approaches need to be customized to individual site’s needs and expectations. The next time, the training and development office should clarify expectations prior to offering training.
- While the two sites have HR staff who perform many of the same functions, next time the training and development office needs to be aware of cultural differences and adjust its training accordingly.
- The training and development office should educate all sites about the value and benefits achieved through online learning and the cost savings that can be realized through this training approach.
Avondale Industries’ IT department has requested that five percent of its budget and five percent of its employees’ time be devoted to learning. Corporate leadership is questioning both the amount of money and the amount of time and has asked the training and development office to review the request and determine if the request is valid and will bring value to the company. Why might the training and development office support IT’s request?
a. Continual learning helps employees stay current in their knowledge, skills, and abilities, which in turn benefits the company.
d. Training the employees will help increase the possibility they will remain with the company instead of looking for other employment.
c. The request is valid because it conveys to the employees the value the company has for them and their contributions.
b. Because the request requires training, the training and development office will be able to count the training toward their office goals.
One of Avondale Industries’ global locations (located just outside of London, England) is part of the aircraft wheel and brake production and repair division and focuses on brake repair for aircraft at the nearby Heathrow Airport. The site competes with three other companies in the area to provide brake repair service. Improvements in brake design on several aircraft that the site has service contracts with has necessitated the installation of new equipment to aid the company in responding more quickly and efficiently to service demands. Avondale’s training and development office has been asked to arrange for employee training on the new equipment within one week. What is the most important reason for the employees to be trained quickly to operate the new equipment?
- Employees need to be more aware of new product technologies and the benefits the company will gain from utilization of the new technologies.
- Employees should be quickly trained to operate the new equipment so the transition will go smoothly and make their jobs easier.
- Employees need to be aware that their jobs could be in jeopardy if they don’t learn to operate the new equipment.
- Employees’ skills need to be constantly upgraded for the company to maintain its ability to respond quickly to customer demand.
Avondale Industries’ senior leadership has identified several standout employees who are highly productive and motivated, have a great attitude, and have strong communication skills. The leadership team has asked the training and development office to develop a leadership training course for these outstanding employees. Which of the following is the best reason to offer leadership training?
- Through the leadership training course, the company can teach effective ways to provide feedback to motivate and increase the skill level of their team members.
- The leadership training course will improve the skills these employees have and enable them to make better decisions in their current roles.
- Employees who receive opportunities for career growth through learning and development activities will likely stay with the company longer.
- Providing leadership training will help these employees develop their own personal leadership style that team members will best respond to.
Training significantly affects employee retention, both indirectly, through the provision of higher quality leadership, and directly. The opportunity for career growth through learning and development activities is one of the top reasons employees stay with an organization. Training is a major influence on employee satisfaction because it increases an employee’s opportunities for advancement.
New employees at Avondale Industries’ unmanned systems production line in Denver, CO, participate in employee training under the direction of the training and development department, but the line managers conduct the actual training. During the last two trainings, the line managers cut the sessions short and explained that the employees would receive better training while working on the production line. The trainer responsible for the program understood the line managers’ viewpoint about developing skills used on the line but needed them to see that training should provide more than just developing those specific skills. Which of the follow statements best explains why training should provide a longer-term view than just teaching line workers the skills needed to perform satisfactorily in their current jobs?
- Giving line workers expanded training helps them understand more than specific skills; it also helps them become more confident contributors.
- Line workers should have the opportunity to advance their careers in the company, and line managers should help them learn and give them opportunities to grow and develop.
- Providing line workers with a longer-term view of the company enables them to become more flexible workers who are more productive.
- Training with a longer-term view allows new employees the chance to see how the company is organized and how their work relates to the company’s success.
During Avondale Industries’ acquisition of the adhesives and sealant company, the training and development office was asked to train employees retained in the acquisition to help them transition to the new organization. Which of the following trainings would provide the best value to the new employees as well as the organization and why?
- Training that provides the new employees with the nuts and bolts of the organization will help employees settle into their new environment more quickly.
- Training that matches learning goals to company strategies and goals will help the new employees engage quickly and be more productive.
- Training in soft skills, such as listening, motivating others, and communicating effectively, can help new employees navigate the new organization with greater ease.
- Quality training for the new employees will help them detect, eliminate, and prevent problems and help save the company money.
Avondale Industries opened its first global office in London, England in 1978. Since that time, additional sites have been opened in Brisbane, Australia (1990); Hong Kong, China (1998); and Bengaluru, India (2011). While there are many advantages to having a diverse workforce, the training and development office has faced challenges when training employees from different parts of the world, and changes have had to be made for all training. Which statement best explains why the training and development office has needed to adjust their training?
- The training and development office has needed to adjust their training to match their learning objectives to what is needed at each site.
- To be effective at all locations, training needs to consider country differences and norms and help all employees develop a global mindset and appreciate cultural diversity.
- Differences in learning styles from country to country necessitate adjusting training styles to meet the needs of the majority of company employees.
- The content and strategies for training need to be designed and adjusted to cater to a much wider audience, not just employees in the US.
The training and development office at Avondale Industries offers periodic training sessions to supervisors to enable them to be better qualified to deal with organizational change due to a slew of challenges: new technology, budgets, staffing issues, and so forth. Lately, attendance, which is not mandatory at these trainings, has been sparse at best. Problems seen in teams and divisions, however, could clearly be solved if employees were willing to actively participate in these trainings. How can the training and development office best help the supervisors understand the importance of the training and why is it important to both them and the company?
- Explain to the supervisors the company’s strategy and how becoming better at their jobs contributes to both individual satisfaction as well as company success.
- Explain that the training sessions will enable them to be better prepared to deal with problems with employees and improve productivity.
- Explain that training is important to learning how to solve problems and they need to participate voluntarily or the trainings could become mandatory.
- Explain to the supervisors that training is important for them to be able to advance in their careers at the company.
An economic downturn has significantly impacted Avondale Industries, and, as a way of reducing costs as revenues shrink, the company is considering cutting training and development dollars. Why is it a good idea for the company to still offer training, even though the training and development office might have to offer programs in more cost-effective ways?
- If the training and development budget is totally cut, it will be extremely difficult to rebuild the office when the economy has recovered.
- Offering ongoing training increases the likelihood that, in case the company needs to downsize, employees will have updated skills if they need to seek employment elsewhere.
- Training current employees is cheaper than hiring new employees, so offering training to existing employees will actually save the company money.
- Offering training will help employees use company resources more effectively, which will allow them to be more satisfied in their current jobs.
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