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Development Programme for Line Managers


The progress of any business depends largely on the important aspect of communication. This is the exchange of information between the business and its stakeholders in a way to enhance the functionalism and address the fundamental concerns of the business. In most cases, the type of communication used by a business substantially determines its operations and thereby its performance (Barrett 2008 p.46).

The more the business expands, the greater the need for the adoption of better ways of communication in the business. Thus, communication is certainly indispensable from the operations of the business. It is certainly the lifeblood that ensures the success of the organization. The corporate world is becoming extremely competitive. This implies that businesses need to come up with strategies to ensure that they attain competitive advantage over their competitors. This is a challenge that the managers in charge must handle with utmost expertise so as to ensure that their decisions enhance the achievement of set goals and objectives.

Communication in business is one factor that plays an extremely crucial role. This implies that the management must implement strategies that enhance an effective communication. This means that communication must be enhanced by both within the organization and in the external environment. The internal environment necessitates the need to improve both the vertical and horizontal communication. The inclusion of publication and Internet posting is one of the tools that companies should adapt in their quest to boost effective communication. Therefore, communication should not be optional in businesses since it helps conducting business in an effective manner.

It is crucial that proper communication exists within the internal system of the organization. This means that there should be effective communication between juniors and seniors. According to Means & Rankin (2010), essential communication between the two enables them to clear out any misunderstandings that may exist.

Training and Development

Employee training is often used interchangeably with employee development, though they are not the same. Training is the imparting of proficiencies and knowledge that are specifically related to relatively narrow areas of employment, whereas development implies individual growth and self realization more especially for line managers.

According to Noe (2006 p.26), training refers to a planned effort by a company to facilitate employees’ learning of job related competencies. Some of the key competencies that are critical for successful job performance include skills, behaviors, and knowledge. By ‘planned’, it means that training is specifically designed to meet defined needs. The goal of training is for employees to master the knowledge, skills and behaviors emphasized in training programmes and apply them to their day-to-day activities.

Knowledge and Vision of Training and Development

The fundamental aim of training is to help the organization achieve its purpose by adding value to its key resource- the people it employs (Landale, 2002 p.34). Therefore, training means investing in the management to enable them perform better by empowering them make the best use of their natural abilities.

The training and development process must have a purpose which can only be defined if the learning needs of the organization, the groups and individuals within it have been systematically identified and analyzed. Before any plans or preparations for training can take place, there is a need to find out what training is needed. It is of prime importance that this is done in an organized and systematic manner. If any errors or diagnoses take place at this stage, then the results of the training undertaken will not be those intended, needed, or desired by the organization (Holton & Larid 2002 p.56).

The exercise of conducting and identifying training needs should be a continuous and regular activity for many organizations. This can be an annual exercise that follows the business planning process and allows training budgets to be allocated. Furthermore, Landale (2006) exemplifies that, the time spent in identifying training needs is well invested since it will result in training being directed to areas where it is actually needed. Additionally, it will ensure that the investment made in training is not wasted but contribute towards improving the operations of the organization.

Training Needs Analysis (TNA)

Training and development is one of the core responsibilities the human resource department in any organization. I would advise the President of the United States that conducting training needs analysis in any corporation is the key to making training and development departments effective. This is partly concerned with defining the gap between what is happening and what should happen. According to Holton & Larid (2002), training needs analysis helps the organization to establish the difference between what people know and can do, verses, what they should know and be able to do.

However, when conducting the training needs analysis exercise, organizations should avoid adopting the ‘deficiency model’ approach, which implies that training is about fixing things when they are broken. Instead, training should be geared towards identifying and satisfying learning and development needs, for example, fitting people to take extra responsibilities, increasing all round competence, and preparing people to take on higher levels of responsibility in the future.

A need analysis comprises of thee levels: task/operational analysis, and the organization. In operational/task analysis behaviour and all skills are identified by the demands of the incumbents of a given job description. Through organization analysis the challenges and demands that the organizations experiences are located, discussed and evaluated. This is not all in the needs assessment, a personal analysis is critical too. The objective here is to examine and reexamine how well the employees are delivering in their jobs. According to Munter (2000 p.43), a satisfactory training should be given to those who deserve it. Taking all employees to training regardless of their skills and needs is a waste of resources of the company. The main objective of training should be explained in advance and must be linked to the areas identified in the task analysis. Training should challenge the employees, be understood, be precise and achievable by all. In most cases when there is a performance gap, specified standards are critical to improve performance. There are also certain factors that should be considered before conducting training, example the number of employees with skill deficiency: Number of employees to be trained. Severity of skill deficiency and the disadvantages or loss that the organization is making due to the absence of that skill: value of the skill: How crucial is the skill to be possessed by the manpower.

Phase 2:    Delivering the Training

A training   program adopted should be a direct response to an organizational need. Approaches differ by presentation, location, and type. In terms of location, training can on the job or outside the training facility. In most cases training organized outside the job become an exciting experience.

Phase 3:   Methods of Training

The Lecturing method is a proficient means of transmitting large amounts of information to a large group of people at the same time. It is also a traditional technique of teaching which is applied in many training programs. A skilled lecture can

A Case method is an appropriate training technique where trainees are expected to study information provided in cases and make concrete decisions based on it (Green & Knippen 1999p.76). Training can also be offered through simulation, internships and coaching.

Phase 4: Evaluating Training

After training has been successfully done, the reliability of the training offered can be evaluated to gauge the level of success. Here, the effectiveness of the training is assessed. This can be gauged in monetary or non-monetary terms. It is imperative that training be assessed on how well it tackles the needs for which it was designed. The opinions of the participants are critical too, and this is done by asking the participants opinions. This is an inexpensive method that yields an immediate response and suggestions for improvements. The only problem with this evaluation is that, it relies on opinion other than Fact where in reality; a trainee may have gained nothing, but perceived a learning experience actually occurred.

Training and Development Philosophy

Noe (2006) defines the philosophy of training and development of an organization as the degree of importance it attaches to these two fundamental aspects of human resource. Some organizations adopt a laissez-faire approach to training and development with a belief that employees will learn through the ropes and fit into the organizational culture on their own.

Organizations with a positive training and development philosophy understand that they live in a world where competitive advantage is achieved by having more efficient and quality employees than their competitors in the business (Landale, 2006). This can only be achieved by investing in the development of skills and competences of their employees, and recognizing that actual or potential skills shortages can threaten the company’s future growth and prosperity.

It is not enough to believe in training as an act of faith, but the believe must also   supported by a realistic and positive philosophy on training and development. The training must be able to contain a strategic approach of how to achieve the set organizational objectives. According to Noe (2006), a good training and development philosophy must contain the following key variables.

i)          Continuous development: training and development of employees should not be taken as the provision of short term isolated courses at various points of a worker’s career. Instead, it should be a continuous process, and a policy of continuous development of employee career should be made compulsory in the organization.

ii)         Problem based: training and development programs should be planned with the ability to fill the gaps between what people can do, and what they need to do now and in the future. Organizational problems can either be negative in the form of weaknesses that needs to be rectified, or positive, in the form of enhancing skills and knowledge to meet future requirements.

iii)        Relevance: organizations should shy away from adopting the ‘deficiency model’ approach in their training and development philosophies. They should instead commit and invest a lot of resources in appropriate and relevant training needs. This calls for a comprehensive and conclusive training and development needs analysis so as to result into an increase and improvement in performance.

iv)        A strategic approach: this requires the organization to take a long term view of what skills, knowledge and levels of competence are needed by employees of the organization. A good and relevant philosophy should emphasize that training and development is an integral part of the management process, hence should enable the review of individual and team performance in relation to agreed objectives.

v)         Action oriented: a good philosophy should stress on that training and development programs exist to make things happen, that is, to get employees into action and things done much better than before. The objective of any training and development philosophy should be defined in terms of “deliverables”- that is what employees should be able to do and achieve better after the training and development process.

vi)        Training and Development policies. Policies are expressions of philosophies of the organization, which are meant to provide guidelines on the amount of training and development that should be provided to all cadres of staff at any given time. They should outline the scope and aims of training and development schemes, and also provide guidelines on the amount of money allocated for training and development activities.

It is paramount that the management and its employees understand each other to achieve a successful communication. This is because the same morale that is inculcated in the business is likely to be transferred to customers. This method helps communication become more targeted and manageable. Enhancing two-way communication is essential since it ensures that the parties involved are in a position to understand the expectations and hence, conform to them.

Opening of information channels and ensuring that communication flows towards the correct direction helps the performance in the organization significantly. In addition, holding pertinent information to oneself may give clients and employees’ wrong signals, which may mean something else, can easily lose them. According to the research carried out in finding the connection between improved supervisor/employee communication and better productivity and employee retention, the analysts found out that those employees who had good attitudes and a factor that is caused by information sharing increased customers satisfaction and improved revenue growth in the company.

Managers should allow employees to collect information they require from their seniors. This encourages people to read the company’s publications, attend all meetings and visit Internet sites more often to read the company’s postings and watch videos regarding the company (Connor & Seymour 1994 p.39). When the manager discourages such activities and sees them as non-productive, they increase their burden of proving the information, which means there would be a delay of employees putting them into use. Once the information is known by the employees, manager only interprets the information via his or her work group. As a result, the information is put into practice faster by the employees.  Managers should pick those communication channels that are convenient for his or her audiences and not the one that is convenient for him or her.

Poor communication skills caused the use of impolite language by managers when addressing juniors has been found to be the root of problems in many companies. Communication geared to develop an organization should be free from ambiguity and so managers should not look at communication as a cost item, which he or she can do when time allows. They should realize it is difficult to afford to do anything worthy without proper communication involved in an economy (Maxwell, 1996 p.56).

Effective communication also requires that information be logical and structured in a manner that can easily be comprehended. In that regard, documents such as letters and speeches should be structured in a way that keen attention is paid to the audience. The content of the communication should have the ability to relay the information easily in a way that ensures that all the meaning is clearly understood. Indeed, business communication documents are extremely prominent in enhancing communication in the process of business. In any case, it is realized that these documents are normally used to relay the information between various parties in the business matrix.

Such documents as letters and memos are normally imperative in the sense that they can always be used as legal documents or manuals in case the need arises. For instance, manuals that specify the rule and regulations that govern the conduct of employees in the organization can effectively be used in the legal process as a basis for making concrete judgments. One fundamental advantage of communication documents is the fact that they significantly help to minimize the understanding that often characterize business communication. This is enhanced by the fact that unlike oral means, documents can easily be retrieved so that reference is made.

In the organizational setup, communication documents normally help to underscore some of the policies that are fundamental to the organization and should be promoted. In the same way, communication documents are crucial in helping the management to instruct the employees and other stakeholders in the organization. They help create a sense of priority in the roles and duties that have to be conducted in the organization. In a way to promote the business, communication documents are normally indispensable tools that can easily enhance the growth of the business (Lannon & Gurak 2011). One challenge that normally accompanies undocumented information is the ease of loss of such information.

In training, communication documents provide effective communication methods where the chances of loss of information are significantly reduced.  Often, it is realized, that business people find it a challenge in reading and understanding some of the information received. This is in the form of letters, memos, policies and other documents. Without such proper comprehension, it is difficult to enhance the growth of the business with regard to the aspect of communication.

Business communication generally includes aspects of customer relations, branding, advertising, public relations and other interactions with the stakeholders of the business. In a bid to improve the business communication process, some of the barriers of communication have to be reduced (Means & Rankin 2010 p.63). For instance, the message contained in the documents should be simplified and should mainly focus on the information to be relayed. In the same way, it is always necessary to provide all the relevant information in the communication process so that the receiver is not left to guess part of the message. It is also noteworthy that the language used in the communication is understandable and does not include a lot of verbosity that can limit the understandability of the message being relayed.

It is also necessary to exactly know what information is intended to achieve once it is relayed. This would necessitate the development of a document that clearly stipulates the real issues to be addressed and does not give a mere communication (Guffey & Loewy 2010). In the same way, the attitude of the recipient upon reading the document is a critical factor that should guide the process of developing the communication documents. In most cases, it appears that communicators are never concerned with the attitude of their respondents with regard to the information they give.

Positive attitude is mostly enhanced by the type of language used, salutation, and the tone in the message and such other salient factors in the communication document. It is vital that the writer selects the main ideas and decides on the best order and format to present the ideas. The style of the document is then chosen for the communication. This can take the form of a report, memo letter or any other document that can express the message. The document has to be edited for any errors and to improve its appearance in the face of the recipients.

A proper communication document is crucial in enhancing prompt and quick actions in the organization and creating the change that is required. In the same way, a good document creates a sense of professionalism and authority which is beneficial in enhancing the affairs of the business. However, challenges often abound in the process. It is always realized that communication barriers, poor attitude and lack of feedback are some of the issues that often become inevitable. In the same way, developing a proper document for communication requires time which might not be easily available in certain instances when quick information has to be relayed fast (Munter 2000). However, it must be emphasized that proper communication documents are relevant in enhancing organizational growth.

Conclusion and Recommendation

Training alone cannot overcome an employee’s inability to understand cause-and-effect relationships, to synthesize from experience, or visualize organizational relationship. As a result, employee development should be predominantly incorporated with other organizational programs as an educative rather than a training process. Based on this argument, I would recommend that; training and development programmes should be designed around competencies needed for filling vacancies, pay progression, and for bridging the skills and knowledge gap to allow employees to apply for more senior roles and positions.  Besides, training and development for support staff to improve on literacy, confidence and service delivery which will result into better working relationships between staff and managers and more accurate completion of work.

Training and development is a key organizational activity which can be justified on many grounds. It reduces employee turnover, improves company image and products and also leads to increased efficiency in work output resulting in financial profitability and increased job satisfaction (Holton & Larid ,2002 p 46).

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