The Strategic Training of Employees Model

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In the article “The Strategic Training of Employees Model: Balancing Organizational Constraints and Training Content” by Dan Wentland, we see several issues that emerge from the STEM model and how it can be used in virtually any organization. Wentland examines the historical perspective, examines the available literature on the subject, looks at the foundations of the Strategic Training of Employees Model, analyzes the macro and micro-organizational training levels, and examines the four “P’s” of micro-organizational training analysis. He closes with suggestions for future research.

In the historical perspective, Wentland identifies both his thesis and one of the key issues in training employees. In his thesis, Wentland states that any training must be balanced against organizational constraints. He also notes that although Americans spend upwards of $50 billion a year in training employees, the efficacy of the training programs is “questionable compared with many other countries (Wentland, 2003). ” He notes that most of the training is the type that the employee gets on the job, usually by following an employee around.

This, he notes, is not an effective training technique because the employee being shadowed may not impart all the essential knowledge for the job due to maintaining his own job security or the fact that the employee may not have all of the essential knowledge for the job. Here, Westland’s conclusion is that a process is needed that is both systematic and consistent that “provides a framework for evaluating training goals and techniques (Ibid). ” In terms of the literature review, Wentland looks at the economic literature and human capital, learning theories and training implications, and adult learning theories.

Under the category of economic literature and human capital, Wentland identifies the issue of training being an economic expenditure that enhances human capital. Training, he notes, increases an employee’s production for the employer. Wentland then turns to learning theories and training implications. He identifies five theories that can “provide a foundation for understanding how a trainee is motivated to learn (Ibid). ” Reinforcement theory operates on the basis that employees are either motivated to perform or to avoid certain behaviors due to desirable or undesirable outcomes.

Social learning theory is the “follow Joe” model that some employers use. This model that learners first watch others who act as models. Goal-setting theory emphasizes that by setting and committing to specific goals an employer can impact the outcome of an employee’s behavior. Need theories “assume that need deficiencies cause behavior (Ibid). ” In other words, trainers should identify the needs of the trainee and then state how the training will fulfill those needs. Finally, expectancy theory states that human behavior is a function of expectancy, instrumentality, and valence.

It refers to the belief that an individual’s behavior will lead to a particular performance level. Finally, Wentland examines adult learning theory, identifying six issues that influence both employee performance and employer need. Adult learning theories make the following assumptions. First, “employees learn best when they understand the objective of the training program (Ibid). ” Second, employees learn best when the training is tied directly to their own work experiences. Third, practice, practice, practice. Employees must be given a chance to practice what is being taught.

Fourth, employees need to know how they are doing. In that respect, employer feedback plays an enormous role in overall success. Fifth, employees learn by observing and imitating a model. Finally, the employee must see a cohesiveness to the program. This also means coordinating the physical environment so the employees are not distracted. Wentland then turns his attention to the foundations of the Strategic training of employees model, or STEM as it is called. STEM, he notes, is built on the premise that employers have limited resources and those resources must be used to the best advantage.

STEM links employee training with the goals of the employer in order that the focus will be on the overall goals of the organization. STEM “directs the flow of the training process by focusing on the organization’s strategic objectives and then designing specific training and career development activities to obtain those goals. Wentland then examines the micro and macro organizational training levels. The two levels work together to create a program that enhances the organization’s objectives and moves it forward within the industry. At the macro level, one focuses on identifying the mission statement of the organization.

At the micro level, the focus is on the specific training content. The macro level is comprised of the business strategies that have been developed by upper management. Then, a task analysis is conducted to evaluate what jobs, tasks, and abilities are needed to reach the goal. After the task analysis, training programs are developed that help to meet the goals and fit in with the conclusions of the task analysis. On the micro level, task analysis targets specific employees for training and develops training programs that are designed to achieve management objectives.

Wentland also states that utilizing the “four P’s approach” can help in designing specific training content. The four P’s are place, which refers to either on the job or off the job training, product analysis, such as the purpose of the training, promotion, which builds trust between training and other departments, and price, which focuses on budgetary constraints and considerations. He notes that if the benefits outweigh the costs, then the training should be implemented. Finally, he suggests areas for future research and concludes his article.

He looks at possible research studies that include surveying employees about the STEM approach, studying the impact of the STEM approach on employee motivation, and analyzing how diversity and pre-training differences can affect the STEM approach. He states in conclusion that that by utilizing STEM, organizations can achieve their goals in a cost-effective manner and have training processes that feed into employee skills and abilities that will help the company compete in the global marketplace.

How can this be used in a future organization that this writer may be involved with? The STEM model clearly plays onto an employee’s strengths, while completing the educational and corporate goals of the company. This is a valuable tool that should be utilized to create training programs that help to nourish the company while feeding and comforting employees and engendering them to the corporate culture that has been created.

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