Published on March 10, 2014
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i Table of Content: Executive summary ii LO-1 Understand learning theories and learning styles 3 1.1 Compare different learning styles 3 1.2 Explain the role of the learning curve and the importance of transferring learning to the workplace in Marks and Spencer 4 1.3 Assess the contribution of learning styles and theories when planning and designing a learning event for the Company 6 LO-2 Explain the role of the learning curve and the importance of transferring learning to the workplace in Marks and Spencer 7 2.1 Compare the training needs for staff at different levels in Marks and Spencer 7 2.2 Assess the advantages and disadvantages of current training methods used in the organisation 7 2.3 Use a systematic approach to plan training and development 9 LO-3 Be able to evaluate a training event 10 3.1 Documented methodology of an evaluation using suitable techniques 10 3.2 Analysis (and evaluation) of the training event 12 3.3 A review of the success of the evaluation methods used 12 LO-4 Understand government-led skills development initiatives 13 4.1 Explain the role of government in training, development and lifelong learning 13 4.2 Explain how the development of the competency movement has impacted on the public and private sectors 13 4.3 Assess how contemporary training initiatives introduced by the UK government contribute to human resources development for an organisation such as Marks and Spencer 14 Conclusion 15 References 16
ii Executive summary: Marks and Spencer is one of the massive retail stores in UK effective for around 120 years. It maintains a huge number of workforces working for the firm around 65,000 in figure. Presence of intense competition led the company to develop core values and strategy which mainly focuses on the improvement and standardizing of performance of the employees. To bring efficiency and more customer satisfaction, the firm has been arranging training programs of different styles to catch up with the individual need and capabilities. They offer both on-the-job and off-the-job training facilities to make their employees more capable and skilled in their performance and quickly adapt in the changing environment. They have flattened their organizational structure creating scope of responsibility and opportunity for the employees. A training event idea was offered which can be more helpful in achieving the objectives. Government led initiatives in human resource development can play a vital part in training the M&S employees contributing more in the economy as a result.
3 LO-1 Understand learning theories and learning styles 1.1 Compare different learning styles: Because of extreme competition, M & S had to grow new business policies and values. This changing setting brought enormous challenge to the workforces. Employees needed to generate a job path for themselves through the learning curve of the training and development procedure of M & S. 1.1.1 Different learning styles: There are diverse learning styles to be followed by an organization subject to which style fits the best for an individual. Honey & Mumford (1986) discussed 4 types of learning styles- activist, theorist, pragmatist and reflector. Activists: Activist employees involve themselves in new experiences as a continuous change in activities. They just move from one experience to another within a short time span. In rapidly changing situations and experience requirements these learners can engage themselves in altering and wider responsibilities. But activists might be able to work in different responsibilities and tasks but they are less adept in any specific area of skill and competency. Theorists: Theorist employees are the perfectionists who always prioritize logics and theories before making a decision. They are strict to analytical and rationality of any task or objective to be done. Their decisions are not from their experience or previous learning. They make analysis and based on their rational findings on the current scenario, they come to a conclusion. Pragmatist: Pragmatists are practical in nature and try to take any opportunity that comes. They love to take challenges and make decision by growing confident through learning and experience. They are ready to take new responsibility and build up skills accordingly. The learners are able to adapt quickly in changing situations, challenging environment and tasks. The situation M&S firm has created for the employees and managers need these kinds of learners to be able to fit themselves and develop according to the requirements. Reflector: Reflectors normally don’t take initiatives, search for opportunities. They sit back, collect data, analyse, think about it thoroughly and then make a logical decision. These
4 people normally don’t participate actively in discussion only listen to others to make own points. Reflector learners are slow in developing and judging a situation because they spend a lot of effort in analysing the data, theory and finding. As they make own points after a long and thorough analysis, the chances of deviation and problems in their decisions are low. They are effective in decision making but not efficient. 1.1.2 Learning style followed: M & S follows pragmatic learning style to help employees get more confidence in taking more challenges and responsibilities. They maintain competency profile to find out in which area employees need to improve themselves. Performance review helps them assess their progress and set career path. The on-the job training methods of M & S like attachment to a manager, performance coaching helps employee to achieve practical learning to improve required technical skill and business competencies. The off-the-job training programs provide learning to improve efficiency and make effective decision. The training programs are investments for the firm because as a result of the training event employees would be able to increase the level of output increasing profit. 1.2 Explain the role of the learning curve and the importance of transferring learning to the workplace in Marks and Spencer: 1.2.1 Learning curve: The learning curve is the continuous improvement process which is gained through experience. To bring efficiency and perfection gradually to a new task environment learning curve is very significant to be followed. Through building experience in performing a task, learning curve helps the employees to focus on developing new skills, adding values and set career path. As M & S set new business strategies and new core values, the employees faced new challenges in the changing environment. For this they had to adapt to new learning curve to adjust their technical skills and business competencies with the standard level. The employees are provided with practical experience, performance review, performance coaching to identify their expertise area and build realistic career path.
5 Through the diagram we can see that when continuous experience is in progress, the learning and efficiency increases while time required performing the job. Thus experience brings down the time increasing the expertise level and more production. 1.2.2. Significance of knowledge transfer: Line managers, performance coaches discuss with the employees to share and transfer knowledge about the performance, areas of improvement and firm’s requirement. Transfer of knowledge through off-the-job trainings like workshops, workbooks is very helpful to the employees for the learning and development of skills. It’s very essential for the organization to build skills, understand the core values and perform accordingly. Through the better understanding and enhanced knowledge, employees earned efficiency in their work and managers could find out the best possible options for each responsibility and position. 1.2.3. Effect of learning curve: Transferring of knowledge is not just the communication; it’s the sharing of tacit and practical knowledge that will help the employees to build their skills. Effective transfer of knowledge and use of learning curve helped the employees to identify the performance level in technical skill and business competency, being able to set realistic career path, participate in decision making more effectively and bring efficiency in performance. This wide area of improvements in employee learning and skill resulted in gaining a competitive advantage for M & S.
6 1.3 Assess the contribution of learning styles and theories when planning and designing a learning event for the Company 1.3.1 Contribution of learning styles and theories: Learning theories provide conceptual framework to the learning objectives and requirements. But which learning style will be used that depends on which way the employees prefer the most and how fast the firm want the employees adapt the new condition. So, before selecting and conducting training events for the employees the learning styles and theories must be analysed and adjusted according to the firm expectations and desires. Thus successful study on learning preferences and theoretical evidences contribute to the successful HR event organizing. 1.3.2 Relationship among learning style, theory, event: But choosing a single style can be difficult and that’s why combination of multiple learning styles can be more effective in designing learning events. Firm may require improving different capabilities and skills like leadership skills, decision making ability, efficiency, team work, enhancing responsibility area etc. These needs define the characteristics of training and development necessities. And learning theories defines learning types, structures and theoretical explanations and learning style dictates how most effectively learning can be designed with the most appropriate targeted objectives. Learning event is the implementation of the improvement expectation. 1.3.3 Contribution of learning theory and event: Learning style and theories used by Marks and Spencer is focused on the most effective result can be obtained through learning events. How each and every employee reacts to an event reflects how successful an event is. To plan and design such an event the firm must focus on the best learning option prioritized by the employees. Every individual prefer and accustomed to different learning patterns and ways. It’s important to understand and relate learning theories given by theorists with the individual learning needs and patterns to execute a better focused and objective- oriented training facility.
7 LO-2 Explain the role of the learning curve and the importance of transferring learning to the workplace in Marks and Spencer 2.1 Compare the training needs for staff at different levels in Marks and Spencer 2.1.1 Training needs at different level: Marks and Spencer needs different training styles at different level of its operation. It has created a family-friendly working environment for the staffs. Management level Customer service level Operation level # Practical learning for building skill, team work and decision making capability. # Workshops and other off-the- job training programs to build up skills and get evaluation. # Queue management: Train staffs how to manage the queue more effectively and It will minimize the waiting time span. # Provide expert solution to work efficiently and assist customer to find what they want. # Performance review and appraisal of line managers is done to motivate managers to work more efficiently and minimize cost that will add value to the product. 2.2 Assess the advantages and disadvantages of current training methods used in the organisation 2.2.1 Analysing current training method: Marks & Spencer provides different training facilities to train its employees. They provide counselling to help the employees build successful career path. Performance appraisal is provided to identify their performance level and improvement areas. Role playing helps them to understand the responsibility and capability in new role and context. Their off-the-job training facilities like workshop, workbook are designed to develop skills, practical knowledge and efficiency. The
8 management always search for better and improved learning tools for their employees that would be more appropriate for their firm and their objective. 2.2.2 Advantage & Disadvantage of current training methods: Training methods Advantage Dis-advantage Performance appraisal Helps the employees to find out their progress in skills and competencies. Employees can then identify what they skills they required to meet the standard May demotivate the under- performing employees because of the feeling of disgrace. Role playing aids the employee to find out what it takes to be successful in a management or different role Employees might feel and reluctant and nervous about a different role that can result in performance degradation. Discussion Discussion with the managers, employees are able to build their own skill and career development plan A positive and supporting role from the manager side is important otherwise employee won’t be able to develop a plan. Induction Program gives the new employees an overview of the firm, role and corporate culture at M&S. it helps employees to clearly understand his/her role and objective of the firm. The statements made by the firm may differ from the actual scenario that will create a negative impression later. Workshops Are held to provide the employees with learning materials to practice and get an idea about their skill and performance requirements It consumes more cost and success depends on the participants how well they can receive the message. Performance coaching Assess employee’s performance and specify the areas of improvement. It helps the employees to identify opportunity and The assessment needs to be un- biased and accurate otherwise it can create negative result in
9 gain confidence in decision making. the employee’s development process. 2.3 Use a systematic approach to plan training and development 2.3.1 Training and development for a group training event: I will execute problem solving training program which will be actually result in taking part in decision making. In this event employees will be given a realistic problem and they will be asked to make appropriate analysis and possible solutions. A final assessment will be done by the entire team where the management and other employees will also evaluate the selected solutions. It’s a continuous process and employees will be welcomed to come up with any new organizational problem scenario regarding customer service improvement, production efficiency, employee relation, motivation, effective management. This training event will energize the employees to take part in decision making and increase the ability to provide more realistic analysis and solution. Problem scenario introduced Q&A session Come up with findings & discussion Solution to the problem in team Scrutinized and re- submission of solutions Best solution after discussion and Q&A
10 2.3.2 Training process of the event: In my training program when I invite a group of staff I will at 1st introduce each and every one with the management team. Then they will be elaborately introduced with the actual problem scenario to be solved. Then there will be a Q&A session for the staffs and make sure that they have clearly understood the scenario. Individuals will be given proper instructions and next day they will be told to come up with the related factors, findings and a discussion session among themselves will be held. Then they will be told to form a group of 3 members analysing and the solution within a specified time period. This finding will be disseminated among the managers and they will let them know which area they need to improve. Again time will be provided to re-shape the findings and the final submission will be judged and examined by the whole team. Through discussion and Q&A session managers will decide which solution was most appropriate and will be undertaken. LO-3 Be able to evaluate a training event 3.1 Documented methodology of an evaluation using suitable techniques 3.1.1 Methodology of evaluations: To evaluate the outcome of the training managers will use different methodology to judge the outcome, efficiency and effectiveness of the event. Top management will want to know how successful the training program was and for this they will assess different elements and factors, costs and benefits to decide on whether it will continue or not. I used ‘Five tiered approach’ defined by Jacobs. F. (1988). The framework evaluates a program in five levels and compares the actual outcome with the expected outcome of the program. The purpose that the program aimed at 5 different stages has met the need or not is assessed in five tiered approach. 1. Need assessment: It answers the question what is the actual problem? The answer will dictate whether the need for the training program is required or not. 2. Monitoring and accountability: This level answers for the question, who are the participants and what service we are delivering? 3. Program clarification: It states the evaluation at different need level to answer how more effective the event could be made.
11 4. Progress: This stage identifies and evaluates the progress of the participant answers the question- how well the participants are making progress? 5. Program impact: It’s an experimental approach that evaluates the long-term impact of the training program. 3.1.2 Process of documentation of the training program: The evaluation process used to assess the program is mostly qualitative. I used three methods to identify the gap at different levels of the training event. i. Trainer/Trainee feedback: Feedback from the trainer and trainees will be taken after each training event ends to know what they think about the program. Their opinion and feedback is essential for the accurate and realistic finding on the training program that will help the managers to identify how the related parties were affected. ii. Observation: Carefully observe the activities and participation of the employees and effects of internal and external factors on the training event. The happenings and participation level will show the positive and negative aspects of the event and the necessary steps to be made. iii. Customer comments: How effectively employees apply their learning in customer service. Through the training event employees get to learn different factors in the organization environment including customer service through problem solving and discussion. Customer comments will state how much positive or negative change occurred in the customer service. Need assessment Accountability Program clarification Progress Program impact
12 3.1.3 Documents used for evaluation: For the assessment of the training some core factors needed to be considered. Based on these factors the training program was evaluated how much effective it was. i. Quality improvement: Whether the quality of product is improved or not is assessed. ii. Customer service: To whether customer service is improved or met the core value of the company. iii. Production efficiency: This training focuses on bringing efficiency and motivation in work place. The change in productivity is measured in the evaluation process. iv. Change in sales: How much change positive or negative is made through the training program is calculated to identify the effect of the training program. 3.2 Analysis (and evaluation) of the training event: The training event was successful considering the active participation and enthusiasm of the employees. In the 1st event they were given a customer service problem scenario. There were a good number of realistic and applicable solutions given by the groups. In the discussion session management team and the participants had long discussion session which resulted in a more feasible and logical conclusion. The actual benefit was that during solving the problem and discussion employees found out what was necessary to be improved in their customer service. 3.3 A review of the success of the evaluation methods used: The Five tiered evaluation method was very useful to evaluate the success of the event in real life work environment. The system evaluated the expected benefit and actual benefit to sort out the diversion and feasibility of the training event. During the assessment procedure employees, managers provided their problems and critical activities of the training event that affected adversely in their development process. Thus it was easy to figure it out the cost- benefit ratio to decide on whether it will continue or not or improvement need to be made. The management found it a successful assessment system which critically analysed all the steps and policies taken by HR managers. More logical and analytical improvement was made in order to receive a better output and result in performance.
13 LO-4 Understand government-led skills development initiatives 4.1 Explain the role of government in training, development and lifelong learning: The UK government possess a significant role in the training and development of the employees of private firms. Govt. arrange training programs through expert trainer to make sure the employees can develop and reach at least a minimum standard of performance. Marks and Spencer is a giant retailer firm in UK; so UK govt. should concern about the internal development of the firm’s performance. To do so they have to take the responsibility to take the performance to a standard level. Lifelong learning is the self-motivated learning by the employees. Govt. involvement in training can aid the employees to pursuit knowledge from the working environment. Moreover the firms might not be able to invest in high amount and design the needed training facilities. In these cases the firms are benefitted through the Govt. involvement and support in their HR development. In turn the economy industries are flourishing more quickly and gaining HR effectiveness and standard output quality. This helps to create an advantageous situation for the firms in the highly competitive market. 4.2 Explain how the development of the competency movement has impacted on the public and private sectors Competency movement has made other firms to concern about the performance gap of their firms. Private firms are investing more in this sector to increase their competency to gain competitive advantage. The firms don’t want competency in employee performance fall in competitive disadvantage which means poor service quality, inefficient production, low motivation etc. Deloitte a private consulting and auditing firm makes huge investment in training their employees. They provide a steeper learning curve to develop their expertise quickly. The learning is never-ending and qualification is provided to grow their confidence level. As growth in private firm’s performance has an impact on the economy, the public bodies have also improved themselves to lift up their performance. Public companies in UK like ‘East Coast Trains’ are making continuous effort to improve the performance and service quality at a standard level. Movement of competencies and skills are essential part of learning
14 and effective and improved performance. Higher success rate of the never-ending process of learning and competency movement in the faster development in activities and productivity has influenced all the firms to introduce the pattern in their own workplaces. Employees are receiving a greater amount of motivation and effort in their development and diversification of their responsibility areas. 4.3 Assess how contemporary training initiatives introduced by the UK government contribute to human resources development for an organisation such as Marks and Spencer 4.3.1 Assessment of Contemporary training initiatives: Contemporary training initiative was taken by the UK govt. to provide the small and medium firms industry a useful training and development program to bring stability and growth in economy. The training is vocational and aimed at quick learning on different areas of a business. Having an understanding on the present scenario and future prospect UK govt. designs different qualitative training programs for different firms. This contemporary training facility is quicker process of development in the vulnerable working atmosphere. As the economy is affected by the performances of the employees in all firms, the Govt. has been putting further possible effort in designing the best learning options to the firms as per the type of learning needs. 4.3.2 Role of contemporary learning in M&S: For Marks and Spencer this training initiative is very necessary for further development and gaining competitive advantage. M&S has developed and changed their core values and to make it successful they need specific training facilities for their employees. This cotemporary training will aid the employees to quickly adapt to the changing environment. The training is evaluated concentrating the expectation of customers, competitive position, market condition, future prospect and adaptability factors. Faster adaptability is possible with the active participation and effective implementation of contemporary learning events as per the firm’s structure and employees require.
15 Conclusion: Marks and Spencer is a leading retailer firm possessing a high impact on the UK economy. The management bring different facilities for a faster performance adjustment of workers. These helped the firm to stay and fight in the highly competitive market gaining more customer satisfaction and loyalty. The friendly environment aids the workforces to feel more importance and find out organizational flaws. For different learning requirements and development necessities, the firm need to identify more critical areas and organizational problems for effective implication of theories and practices. The employees can be at their best performance level if management provide full support to them and toward their organizational structure and work environment.
16 References: Bergenhenegouwen G. (1996) Competence development – a challenge for HRM professionals: core competences of organizations as guidelines for the development of employees, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 20 Issue 9, pp.29-35 Budhwar P. (2000) Evaluating levels of strategic integration and devolvement of human resource management in the UK, Personnel Review, Vol. 29 Issue 2, pp.141-157 Doorewaard H. and Benschop Y. (2003) HRM and organizational change: an emotional endeavor, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 16 Issue 3, pp.272- 286 Farquharson L. and Baum T. (2002) Enacting organisational change programmes: a centre stage role for HRM?, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 14 Issue 5, pp.243-250 Gilly, J., Eggland, S. & Gilly, A. (2002). Principles of Human resource management New York: Basic books [online] collected from- http://nhokanson.wordpress.com/2007/02/01/definitions-of-human-resources-human- resource-management-and-their-relation-to-human-resource-development/ Huang T. (2001) The effects of linkage between business and human resource management strategies, Personnel Review, Vol. 30 Issue 2, pp.132-151 Liao Y. (2005) Business strategy and performance: the role of human resource management control, Personnel Review, Vol. 34 Issue 3, pp.294-309 Nath, A. 2010, 10 HR tips for entrepreneur [online], Available from: http://info.shine.com/Career-Advice-Articles/Shine-Experts/10-HR-tips-for- entrepreneurs/3788/Aty18.aspx Pichault F. and Schienaers F. (2003) HRM Practices in a Process of Organisational Change: A Contextualist Perspective, Applied Psychology: An International Review, Vol.52 Issue 1, pp.120-143 Redman T. and Wilkinson A. (2001) Contemporary Human Resource Management – Text and Cases, Prentice Hall
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