Training is a reasonable solution when a PG is caused by an employee’s lack of KSAs. However, most problems identified by managers as requiring training actually do not require training. Most such problems are a function of organizational barriers (reward/punishment incongruities, inadequate feedback, or system barriers) to performance. A TNA will reveal the location and reason for the problem.
When a gap in required KSAs creates a PG and training is required, the TNA ensures that the KSA deficiencies are identified. Training that is focused on these KSAs will be relevant and therefore more motivating for the trainees. The likelihood is higher that training will be successful when a TNA is conducted because
· the appropriate KSAs required to do the job are identified (operational analysis),
· the KSAs of the employees in that job are determined (person analysis) so that only those needing training are trained, and
· the roadblocks to transfer of the training are identified (organizational analysis) and removed.
The TNA consists of organizational, operational, and person analysis. The organizational analysis is designed to assess the capital resources, HR availability, and the work environment. It is important to understand the amount and type of resources available and what type of environment the affected employees work in. Often, employees are not performing at the expected level for reasons other than a lack of KSAs. The organizational analysis identifies these reasons so they can be rectified. Even where KSAs are the problem, other remedies (job aids, practice, and so forth) can be considered before training.
The operational analysis provides information pertaining to the KSA requirements for the job in question. Observing the job, doing the job, and examining job descriptions and specifications are some of the ways of determining this information. The method most often used, however, is to ask incumbents and supervisors what is required in a systematic way.
The person analysis provides information on each employee’s specific level of competence regarding the KSA requirements. Several methods can be used to determine competence levels, such as examining performance appraisals, testing, or simply asking employees where they encounter problems. Each of these approaches offers advantages, and the one you choose depends on factors such as time and availability.
There are two types of TNA: proactive and reactive. With proactive TNA, the focus is on planned changes to jobs and performance expectations. Typically, these changes evolve from strategic planning, but also might occur from other processes. Because the proactive TNA anticipates future changes, it also must anticipate the KSAs required to meet or exceed performance expectations in the future. As a result, some of the types of information collected are different from those collected for the reactive TNA.
The reactive TNA is far more common and is a response to a current PG. Here, the TNA needs to be completed more quickly because the gap is already affecting productivity. An effective organization uses both proactive and reactive types of TNA.
The Training Program (Fabrics, Inc.)
This section is the beginning of a step-by-step process for developing a training program for a small fabrications company. Here, we examine the TNA for the program, and in subsequent chapters, we will continue the process through to the evaluation.
Fabrics, Inc., once a small organization, recently experienced an incredible growth. Only two years ago, the owner was also the supervisor of 40 employees. Now it is a firm that employs more than 200. The fast growth proved good for some, with the opportunity for advancement. The owner called a consultant to help him with a few problems that emerged with the fast growth. “I seem to have trouble keeping my mold-makers and some other key employees,” he said. “They are in demand, and although I am competitive regarding money, I think the new supervisors are not treating them well. Also, I received some complaints from customers about the way supervisors talk to them. The supervisors were all promoted from within, without any formal training in supervising employees. They know their stuff regarding the work the employees are doing, so they are able to help employees who are having problems. However, they seem to get into arguments easily, and I hear a lot of yelling going on in the plant. When we were smaller, I looked after the supervisory responsibilities myself and never found a reason to yell at the employees, so I think the supervisors need some training in effective ways to deal with employees. I only have nine supervisors—could you give them some sort of training to be better?”
The consultant responded, “If you want to be sure that we deal with the problem, it would be useful to determine what issues are creating the problems and, from that, recommend a course of action.”
“Actually, I talked to a few other vendors and they indicate they have some traditional basic supervisor training packages that would fit our needs and, therefore, they could start right away. I really want this fixed fast,” the owner said.
“Well, I can understand that, but you do want to be sure that the training you get is relevant to the problems you experienced; otherwise, it is a waste of money. How about I simply contract to do a training needs analysis and give you a report of the findings? Then, based on this information, you can decide whether any of the other vendors or the training I can provide best fits your needs in terms of relevancy and cost. That way, you are assured that any training you purchase will be relevant,” said the consultant.
“How long would that take?” the owner asked.
“It requires that I talk to you in a bit more detail, as well as to those involved; some of the supervisors and subordinates. If they are readily available I would be done this week, with a report going to you early next week,” the consultant replied. The owner asked how much it would cost, and after negotiating for 15 minutes, agreed to the project. They returned to the office to write up the contract for a needs analysis.
The interview with the owner (who was also the manager of all the first-line supervisors) was scheduled first and included an organizational and operational analysis. What follows is an edited version of the questions related to the organizational analysis.
Direction of the Organization
1. Q: What is the mission of the company? What are the goals employees should be working for?
2. A: I do not really have time for that kind of stuff. I have to keep the organization running.
3. Q: If there is no mission, how do employees understand what the focus of their job should be?
4. A: They understand that they need to do their jobs.
5. Q: What about goals or objectives?
6. A: Again, I do not have the time for that, and I have never needed such stuff in the past.
7. Q: That may be true, but you are much larger now and do need to communicate these things in some fashion. How do employees know what to focus on: quality, quantity, customer service, keeping costs down?
8. A: All of those things are important, but I get your point. I never actually indicated anything about this to them. I simply took it for granted that they understood it.
9. Q: What type of management style do you want supervisors to have, and how do you promote that?
10. A: I assumed that they would supervise like me. I always listened to them when they were workers. I believe in treating everyone with dignity and respect and expect others to do the same. I do not have any method to transmit that except to follow my style.
1. Q: What criteria are used to select, transfer, and promote individuals?
2. A: I hired a firm to do all the hiring for me when I was expanding. I told them I wanted qualified workers. As for the promotion to supervisor, I picked the best workers.
3. Q: Best how? What criteria were you using?
4. A: Well, I picked those who were the hardest workers, the ones who always turned out the best work the fastest, and were always willing to work late to get the job done.
5. Q: Are there formal appraisal systems? If yes, what is the information used for promotion, bonuses, and so forth?
6. A: I do not have time for that. I believe that people generally know when they are doing a good job. If they are not, I will not keep them.
1. Q: How are supervisors’ jobs organized? Where do they get their information and where does it go?
2. A: Supervisors receive the orders for each day at the beginning of the day and then give it out to the relevant workers. They then keep track of it to see that it is done on time and out to the customer.
1. Q: What incentives are in place to encourage employees to work toward the success of the organization?
2. A: Well, I think I pay them well.
3. Q: Does everyone receive the same amount of pay?
4. A: At the present time, yes, because they are all relatively new supervisors. I do plan to give them raises based on how well they are performing.
5. Q: But you indicated that you do not really have a method of informing them what you are measuring them on. How are they to know what is important?
6. A: Well, I will tell them. I guess I need to be considering that issue down the road.
1. Q: How do the supervisors know what their role is in the company?
2. A: I told them that they needed to supervise the employees and what that entailed.
3. Q: How do they find out how well they are doing in their job? Is there a formal feedback process?
4. A: I talk to them about how they are doing from time to time, but I get your point and will think about that.
5. Q: Are there opportunities for help if they are having problems?
6. A: Take this problem with the yelling and getting employees angry at them. I have talked to them about it and have offered to get them training.
7. Q: How do they feel about that?
8. A: Actually, they thought it was great. As I said, none of these supervisors have had anything in the way of supervisory training.
Methods and Practices
1. Q: What are the policies, procedures, and rules in the organization? In your view, how do they facilitate or inhibit performance?
2. A: I really do not think there is anything hindering their performance. I am always willing to help, but I also have work to do. That is why I promoted employees to supervisors, so I would not have to deal with that part of the business.
After gathering information on the organization, the consultant gathered operational analysis data from the manager (owner). The consultant used the method provided in Figure 4-3. What follows is a portion of the completed form.
JOB TITLE: SUPERVISOR
SPECIFIC DUTY: BE SURE WORK IS COMPLETED AND SENT TO THE CUSTOMER ON TIME
Organize jobs in manner that ensures completion on time
Examine jobs and assess time required
Knowledge of types of jobs we get
Knowledge of times required for jobs to be completed
Sort and give jobs to appropriate employees
Organization and prioritizing skills
Knowledge of employees’ capabilities
Monitor progress of work
Talk to employees about their progress on jobs
Knowledge of proper feedback
Effective feedback skills
Examine specific job products during production to ensure quality
Knowledge of quality standards
Quality assessment skills
Provide feedback to employees about performance
Knowledge of effective listening skills
Knowledge of conflict styles
Conflict resolution skills
Knowledge of proper feedback
Effective feedback skills
Positive attitude for treating employees with respect
And so forth . . .
Next, the consultant met with the supervisors, first as a single group of nine to do an operational analysis and then individually to discuss individual performance. He chose to use a slightly different approach to the operational analysis because he expected that they might have some problems working from the form used with the owner. The following excerpt comes from that interview.
To begin the meeting, the consultant said:
I am here to find out just what your job as supervisor entails. This step is the first in determining what training we can provide to make you more effective in your job. First, we need to know what it is you do on the job. So I am going to let you provide me with a list of the things you do on the job—the tasks. Let me give you an example of what I mean. For the job of a salesperson, I might be told a required task was to “sell printers.” This description is too general to be useful, or you might say you must “introduce yourself to a new client,” which is too specific. What we need is somewhere in between these two extremes, such as “make oral presentation to a small group of people.” Are there any questions? OK, let’s begin.
1. Q: Think of a typical Monday. What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at work?
2. A: Check the answering machine.
3. Q: That is a little too specific. Why do you check the answering machine?
4. A: I need to return any important calls from suppliers or customers.
5. Q: What do these calls deal with?
6. A: Complaints usually, although some are checking on the status of their job.
7. Q: Anybody else do anything different from that?
8. A: No.
9. Q: What do you do next?
10. A: Examine the jobs that have come in and prioritize them based on their complexity and due date.
11. Q: The task, then, is organizing and prioritizing the new jobs you received. What next?
12. A: Meet with each subordinate, see how they are doing, and distribute the new work.
13. Q: Tell me what “see how they are doing” means.
14. A: I make sure that they are on schedule with their work. I check their progress on the jobs they are working on.
15. Q: OK, so check on progress of subordinates is the task. What next?
16. A: After all the work is distributed, I check to see what orders are due to be completed and sent out today.
17. Q: OK, but I guess that assumes everyone is on schedule. What do you do if someone is behind in their job?
18. A: Depends how far behind the job is. If it is serious, I may simply take the job away and give it to someone I think can do the job faster.
19. A: I do not do that. I find out what the problem is and help the person get back on track.
20. Q: So you spend some time training that person?
21. A: Well, sort of. It is not formal training, but I will see why the person is having problems and give some of my “tricks of the trade” to speed things up.
22. Q: Anybody deal with this issue differently?
23. A: I do not usually have the time to do any training. I will give it to someone who can do it, or in some cases, just do the job myself. Sometimes that is faster. After all, we have all this useless paperwork that we have to do.
24. Q: I want to come back to the paperwork, but first, are you saying that no standard exists for dealing with employees who are having problems with particular jobs?
25. A: Sure there is. The boss expects us to train them, but with the pressure for production, we often do not have time to do that.
26. A: Well, I agree with that. Even though I do stop and spend time helping, I often feel the pressure to rush and probably do not do a good job of it. I do try and tell them what they need to do to improve in the particular area.
Although the format used in the session starts first thing in the morning and continues through a typical day, clues often emerge as to other tasks that are done. The mentioning of “tell them what they need to do to improve” causes the consultant to focus on that task and what other tasks are related to it, because the owner did indicate that providing feedback was an important task.
1. Q: OK, let’s look at the issue of telling them how to improve. We could think of that as giving feedback to employees. What other tasks require you to discuss things with subordinates?
2. A: We are supposed to deal with their concerns.
3. A: Yeah, that’s right, and also we are supposed to meet one-on-one with them and discuss their performance. Trouble is, these new employees are know-it-alls and not willing to listen.