Everything you need to know about the various methods of employee training. Training is an organised procedure by which people learn knowledge and acquire the skills they need for a definite purpose.
Training is rooted in the learning process and learning is that human process by which skills, knowledge, habits and attitudes are acquired and utilised in such a way that behaviour is modified.
In simple words, training causes learning process that takes place within the trainees, in which behavioral changes occur as a result of experience. The training methods commonly used to train operative and supervisory personnel are broadly classified into on-the-job and off-the-job training methods.
In this article we will discuss about the methods and techniques of employee training. Learn about:- 1. On-the-Job-Training 2. Off-The-Job Training.
Also learn about:- 1. Vestibule Training 2. Apprenticeship Training 3. Self-Directed Learning 4. Small Group Activities 5. Job Instruction- Modular Training 6. Training in Behavioral Skills 7. T-Groups 8. Interpersonal Skill Training 9. Training for Quality Improvement 10. Lectures.
List of Methods and Techniques for Training Your Employees
Methods of Employee Training – Top 4 Methods: On-the-Job-Training, Vestibule Training, Apprenticeship Training and Off-the-Job Training
Training is an organised procedure by which people learn knowledge and acquire the skills they need for a definite purpose. Training is rooted in the learning process and learning is that human process by which skills, knowledge, habits and attitudes are acquired and utilised in such a way that Behaviour is modified.
In simple words, training causes learning process that takes place within the trainees, in which behavioral changes occur as a result of experience.
Learning cannot be measured directly but the changes in Behaviour that occur as a result of learning can only be measured. Under training the trainee has to learn something what he wishes to learn.
There are so many methods or techniques for imparting training to the trainees. The forms and types of employee training methods are inter-related. In fact, methods are multifaceted in scope and dimension, and each is suitable for a particular situation. The best technique for one situation may not be the best for different groups or tasks.
The choice of any method will depend upon cost, time available, number of persons to be trained, depth of knowledge required, background of the trainees, and type of the job, objectives behind training and many other factors.
The following are methods of training:
2. Vestibule training
3. Apprenticeship training
4. Off-the-Job Training
Method # 1. On-the-Job-Training:
This is considered to be the most effective method of training to the operative personnel. Under this method the worker is trained on the job while he is working, at his working place, on the same machine, material, methods, under same working conditions with the same process that he will be using ultimately after completing the training. This type of training is given by his immediate boss. Thus, the superior knows exactly the problem of the employee, and what the trainee should learn to do.
Sometimes, the professional outsider instructor, who is specialist in that area is invited for imparting training to the employees. The most important advantages of this type is ‘training while working.’ So special time for training is saved. The workers start giving production and at the same time learn something related to work. Working and training goes on simultaneously under this method. Effectiveness of on-the-job training depends upon qualified trainees alone.
Following methods of training come under the classification of ‘on-the-job Training’:
i. Under Study Method:
Under this method a senior and experienced employee teaches a new employee as his understudy. The trainee under this system may lose his motivation and morale because the person under whom he is working may not take interest in him. This method takes a long time and the trainee loses his motivation because of uncertainty in his promotion position.
In other words under this system a man learns from the man above him and teachers the man below him. This system is more suitable in circumstances where the trainer requires an assistant.
Rotation is another method of training on the job. Under this system the employee is periodically rotated from one job to another instead of sticking to one job, just to acquire functioning of other jobs. The main objective is to broaden the background of trainee on various positions of jobs.
iii. Training by Superior:
The superior in charge is responsible for the training to the operative staff under this system. The supervisor supervises and instructs the employee while on work. Sometimes he demonstrates the system of working to the employee. It enables the supervisor and the employee to understand each other better and to maintain healthy relations between them.
Every employee, from clerk to company president, gets some on-the-job training, when he joins it. Therefore William Trady has said that, the most common, the most widely used and accepted method of training and the most necessary methods of training employees in the skills is essential for acceptable job performance.
i. The trainee learns on the actual machines and equipment in use and in the true environment of his job. So he gets a feeling of the actual production conditions and requirements.
ii. If the employee is sent outside for training the organisation loses his working period. But under this method, there is no chance for loosing working time. Working and learning both go on simultaneously.
iii. It is highly economical, since no additional personnel or facilities, special or artificial arrangements are required for impacting such training.
iv. The trainee learns the rules, regulations and procedures by observing their day-to-day application. So the employees easily co-operate with the management in maintaining discipline in the organisation.
v. This type of training is suitable for all organisations because it is suitable for every type of job.
vi. Time taken under this method is very less. It is a time saving method. It is most appropriate for teaching the knowledge and skills which can be acquired in a relatively short period, that is to say, a few days or weeks.
i. Main demerit of on the job training is that training instruction are not properly organised. They are haphazard and training is not properly supervised.
ii. The experienced employees may not possess skill to impart training to the trainee.
iii. The working hours of employees remain unproductive while giving instructions.
iv. The trainee, more often, lacks in motivation for such training.
v. Trainees, learners are often distracted because of a noisy shop or office.
vi. Low productivity, low quality of work and inefficiency come to fore floor especially when the employee is unable to fully develop his skills.
Method # 2. Vestibule Training:
This method attempts to duplicate on-the-job- situations in a class room. It is a classroom training which is often imparted with the help of equipment and machines which are identical with those in use at the place of work. This technique enables the trainee to concentrate on learning the new skills rather than on performing actual job. After training the worker is put on similar job in the workshop. It should be noted that a well-qualified and trained instructor is deputed as the incharge of the programme.
This method is quite expensive because there is a duplication of material, equipment and conditions found in a real work place. But it is a correct way of imparting theory along with acquainting with the practical work, it means theoretical training is given in the class room while the practical work is conducted on the production line. This is an excellent method for a big number of employees to be trained for the same kind of job and for training semi-skilled personnel.
This method is often used to train clerks, bank tellers, inspectors, machine operators, testers, typists etc. It is most useful when philosophic concepts, attitudes, theories and problem solving abilities have to be taught. This training is generally given in the form of class room lectures, conferences, case studies, role playing and discussion etc.
i. There is less distraction because it is given in a separate room.
ii. A well-qualified and trained instructor who knows how to teach, can be more effectively utilised.
iii. Trainees can be taught without interrupting production.
iv. It permits the trainee to practice without the fear of supervisor’s or fellow workers observation, criticism and their possible ridicule.
i. Under this method responsibilities are split up between line and staff which leads to organisational problems.
ii. An additional investment in equipment is necessary. Therefore it is a costly method.
iii. The training situation is artificial. When employee goes back to his working place, the problem of working environment is posed before him.
iv. It may lead to conflict between line and staff.
Method # 3. Apprenticeship Training:
This type of training is designed for a higher level of skill. This training programme tends towards more education than on-the-job training. The Government have passed law which makes it obligatory on every employer to provide apprenticeship training to young people. Under this training system trainees are paid stipend during training period and generally offered jobs by the employer after the completion of training. In this type of training knowledge and skill in doing a craft or series of related jobs are involved.
It involves both on-the-job training and experience with class room instructions in particular subjects. This type of training is desirable in industries which require continuous flow of new employees expected to become all round craftsmen. This type of training is mainly suitable for employees working in printing trades, building construction and trades like mechanics, electricians, welders, a tool-maker, a pattern designer, carpenters, weavers, fitters, and in technical areas. Apprenticeship training is the oldest and most commonly used method, especially when proficiency in a job is required.
i. A skilled and trained work force is maintained.
ii. Instant returns can be expected from training. For example skillful work, trained, more efficient and good quality of workers etc.
iii. The workmanship is good. It reduces labour turnover. So hiring cost is lower. It also helps in reducing production cost.
iv. It increases the loyalty and honesty among employees and opportunities for growth are frequent.
i. The apprenticeship programme is generally too rigid. Every apprentice is required to undergo a prescribed routine and follow a prescribed series of subjects. Little attention is given to individual differences and to varying knowledge and skills.
ii. It is an expensive training. It is quite lengthy also and after training there is no assurance that the apprentice will be absorbed in the firm.
iii. If this programme is registered and sponsored by the government, the firm is required to maintain certain standards and frequent interference and inspections may create day to day difficulties.
Method # 4. Off-the-Job Training:
Off-the-job training is provided to the employees away from their job. It is basically theoretical in nature and is imparted in class room type atmosphere. It simply means that training is not a part of everyday job activity.
Methods adopted for this are:
i. Lectures (Class Room Instructions):
Lectures are the simplest way of imparting knowledge to the trainees, especially when facts, concepts or principles, attitudes, theories and problem solving abilities are to be taught. This method is used when a large number of employees are to be trained for the same job, within a short time. This training reduces the cost per trainee. Lectures are essential when it is a question of imparting technical or special information of a complex nature.
It is related discussions film shows, case studies role playing and demonstrations. Audio visual aids enhance their value. It is a formal lecture by an instructor to the trainee, the instructor possesses a considerable depth of knowledge of the subject at hand. The trainees, generally, take notes as aid to learning. It has certain limitation also.
The learners may be passive. It is a one way communication, but students may be permitted to ask questions. Lectures can easily be combined with other techniques, but this is not done. The instructor through lecture adds new information only. It violates the principle of learning by doing.
ii. Conferences, Seminars Etc.:
There are two types of seminar. The first is that in which a student gives lecture on some predetermined topic and is followed by discussion and exchange of views under a chairman who sums up the discussion by his fruitful advice and comments. The second method is where all students participate in the seminar under a chairman who sparks off the idea and discussion is followed, which in turn leads to further ideas.
In conference method of training the group members are asked to discuss and share a problem common to them and to their experience. Sharing experience and giving solutions through participation of all members create interest and satisfaction. Analytical thinking is encouraged.
iii. Case Study Method (Learning by Doing):
Case studies are used to describe and provide facts about entire situation. The purpose is to teach trainees to handle similar situations when they arise. Case studies are often used to illustrate to broad principles and are used more for middle management and executive training. Some business organisations use case studies for supervisory training also.
The case study is based upon the belief that managerial competence can best be attained case study is based upon the belief that managerial competence can best be attained through the study, contemplation and discussion of concrete cases. In a case study a practical problem that may be faced by an industrial unit is discussed at large in the group, possibly to find best solution. The trainee studies the problem and finds the solution. The supervisor reviews the solution and discusses it with the trainee.
This system of class room method is not of much value for the operative staff. These are used generally to train the employees for various executive positions. In case study method, the trainees are expected to master the facts, become acquainted with the contents of the cases, define the objectives sought in dealing with the issues in the case, identify the problems in case and uncover their problem causes, develop alternative courses of action, screen the alternatives, select the alternative that is most in keeping with the stated objectives.
iv. Role Playing:
This method was developed by Moreno, a Venetian psychiatrist, He coined the term as role-playing, role reversal, socio-drama, psychodrama and a variety of specialised terms, with emphasis on learning human relations skills through practice and insight into one’s own behaviour and its effect upon others. The idea of role playing involves action, doing and practice. Under this system the trainees play the assigned roles, such as role of superior, instructor etc.
Under the supervision of an instructor who prepares them and assigns different roles to play. This method is not of much value of the operative staff. Role playing methods is mainly good for increasing the skill of the trainee in the field of human relations. Dramatisation and skits are other dramatic training methods somewhat related to role playing.
The purpose of role playing is to aid trainees to understand certain business problems and to enable observers to evaluate their reaction. This technique makes trainees self-conscious and imaginative and analytical of their own behaviour.
v. Special Reading:
Big business organisations run libraries and reading rooms and encourage and provide time to their supervisory and executive staff to study for advancing their general knowledge and background. Reputed books, magazines journals are given to these trainees for careful studies. Books in the field of management, human relations, job, advance studies in the concerning subjects etc., are made available.
vi. Programmed Induction (Teaching by the Machine Method):
In such a programme, knowledge is imparted with the use of a text book or a teaching machine. The programme involves, presenting questions, facts, or problems to the trainees, who, in turn utilise it and answer to it. They receive feedback instantly. Sometimes rewards are given or penalties are imposed on the trainees according to accuracy of answers. This method highly motivates the trainees.
vii. T-Group Training:
This usually comprises association, audio- visual aids, and planned reading programmes. Members of a professional association receive training by it, in new techniques and ideas pertaining to their own vocations. Through a regular supply of professional journals and informal social contacts or gatherings, members are kept informed of the latest developments in their particular field. Audio visual aids-records, tapes and films are generally used in conjunction with other conventional teaching methods.
Planned and supervised reading programmes are conducted. Technical publications and the latest journals are kept in the library for the use of the trainees.
These are the available methods of training for the operative employees. These organisation has to select a method best suited to it. Suitability of training method depends upon, size and field of the organisations, its objects of training, jobs for which training is aimed at, abilities of the employees etc.
Different methods may be used for different groups of personnel and at different times. It is, very difficult to choose a single method of training for all types of persons at all times. Proper evaluation of training methods should be done at frequent intervals.
Methods of Employee Training – On-the-Job Training and Off-the-Job Training
As a result of research in the field of training, a number of training programs are available. Some of these are new methods, while others are improvements over the traditional methods of training. It is the responsibility of the trainer to choose the most suitable training program.
Such a decision is usually determined by considerations of cost, nature of job, amount of knowledge and skill required background of the trainees, time available, and the policies of the company. For instance, if the company is engaged in a cost-cutting process and a limited budget is available, then the company will go for only essential and the urgent training programs. While cost cutting, the first axe to fall on is the amount of money spent for training purposes.
Whether it is technical training or supervisory training, determines the nature of training and accordingly, the training programs are selected. The long and short range programs also determine the type of training programs needed. If it is a knowledge-based program, it may involve classroom education in or outside the company.
The findings of the survey undertaken by Utgaard and Dawis of training methods in 63 manufacturing and 49 non-manufacturing firms in the U.S. show that the following training methods were commonly used- Of course, these methods of training vary from company to company and industry to industry.
The training programs commonly used to train operative and supervisory personnel are discussed below. These programs are broadly classified into on-the-job and off-the-job training programs.
On-the-job training is usually known as OJT. Soon after the selection, the new employees or the employees transferred to new jobs are placed on jobs for a short period before they are considered as regular employees. The trainers will supervise their training activities and act as supervisors.
This type of training, also known as job instruction, is the most commonly used method. Under this method, the individual is placed on a regular job and taught the skills necessary to perform the job where he or she will be working once the training is completed. The trainee learns under the supervision and guidance of a qualified instructor. Apprenticeship, job rotation, mentoring and coaching are some forms of this type of training.
Apprenticeship training is a very traditional form of training which existed in industries for a long time. Hands-on experience is provided under this form of training. Generally, a worker entering the skill trade is given thorough instruction and gains experience, both on and off the job in practical and theoretical aspects of the work. In recent years, the trainees are compensated during the training but not at a regular rate.
Under this method of training, the trainee is separated from the job situation and the attention is focused upon learning the method related to the trainee’s future job performance. Vestibule training (simulating actual work conditions in a classroom), role-playing, lecture method, conference or discussion, and programmed instruction, are some examples of this type of training.
When the trainees are removed from regular jobs, not much pressure is imposed on them. A maximum number of trainees can be handled by the minimum number of instructors. The errors made by the trainees can be tolerated to an extent. Generally, off-the-job training focuses more on the theoretical aspects.
In the off-the-job training situations, there can be a mix of trainees from various locations of the company and in this way, there is an opportunity to get to know the trainees from other work stations of the company and share the experiences. Unless a few instructors are involved, it becomes a problem to follow-up, once the training is over. The opportunity for participation and interaction is better in this type of training. But personal attention may not be possible.
There are various other types of training programs. Computers and information technology is used widely in the programs administered to operative employees. CAD-CAM (Computer Assisted Design and Computer Assisted Machining) training is very popular in recent years. Let us look at the commonly used training methods briefly, starting from placing the newly recruited candidate and placing him or her through orientation and induction processes.
Once the candidates are selected for placement, they are given a brief orientation as to what their jobs constitute and what their work environment will look like and their responsibilities when placed on jobs. The new employees are introduced to the culture, structure, expectations, and goals of the company.
This is an essential aspect since it brings the new employee and the organization face-to-face. Both look forward to the expectations of each other. While the company provides information about the organization, its culture, expectations, benefits, rules, regulations, policies and procedures, it gets to know the background, expectations, and other relevant information from the new employees.
Some organizations require the new employee’s spouse to also attend such orientations. Orientation provides an opportunity for adjustment and adaptation of new employee to the organization. Where proper orientation is not provided, there may be a chance for new employees to quit the company since they are not sure of their work environment and promises made during the selection process.
At times, the orientation process is also known as induction although there may be some differences in the interpretation of these two. Inducting the new employee into the company and placing him or her on the job requires orientation. During this process, some information must be provided to the new employee who would facilitate the adjustment and minimizes the future problems.
Where lip service is provided, the companies experience a certain amount of turnover at this time. The new employee finds it difficult to adjust to his or her new job and surroundings including the fellow employees, in the same way as a small kid reports to school on the first day.
To avoid such problems, the new employees must be acquainted with the fellow-employees, immediate supervisor, rules, regulations, facilities and privileges the company offers. The new employee must be given an opportunity to clear his doubts. Some companies use effective techniques in inducting a new employee on the job. Such methods include: classroom lectures, movies, slide presentation and a conference with immediate supervisor and fellow employees.
The new employees must be provided with the following information:
i. How the company came into existence
ii. Type of products, services, and operations
iii. Size, branches and their locations
iv. Policies, goals, rules, and regulations
i. Duties and responsibilities
ii. Wages and salary, insurance plans and other fringe benefits, promotions and transfers, holidays and vacations, and athletic events
iii. Hours of work and working conditions and suggestion system
Orientation may be fun to attend; a lot can be gained by preparing for such an experience. The information provided in the format will be of help to prepare oneself for such experiences. When potential applicants go through various stages of the selection process and receive communication from the potential employer to report to the orientation process, they will be thrilled. But it is not all over yet.
The orientation will provide the potential applicant an opportunity to make up his or her mind whether to join the company or not. The employer also will have a last minute opportunity to observe the applicant before making a final decision about the applicant. In the opinion of both the employer and the potential employee, orientation provides a last chance. Such an orientation also takes place in the educational institutions in these days with the purpose of matching the student’s background with placement opportunities.
Generally, the orientation process gives a fair chance to the placement-seekers. From the organizational point of view, a fit is accomplished between the opening and the background of the individual candidate. It may not be fair for the organization to brush this process as waste of time or frivolous. When such an attitude exists, the organization may have to pay for it.
Whether one needs to consider orientation as a method of training is debatable. But if we apply the characteristics of the training process and training programs, one may conclude that there are good reasons to consider orientation as an important training process. A number of gaps can be closed if a company conducts a good orientation program. It gives a breathing time before human resource department can design and administer future training programs.
Below, a sample orientation program taken actually from a real world company is presented. Although the format remains the same, some of the contents of the program may vary from company to company. The purpose of the orientation program may very well determine the type of activities to be included in the orientation program. Whatever the contents of the orientation program, copies can be made and distributed to the participants prior to the program so that they will come prepared and as a result good participation can be generated.
Orientation is not an hour’s process or one-day affair although the preliminary part takes place on the first day of orientation. There are first week, first month, and subsequent sessions to clear the doubts and queries of the new employees. These doubts and queries will occur as the new employees move forward in their new jobs and in the new environment.
The supervisors can play an important role in this process by contacting the new employees personally or by phone to clear their doubts. The public relations effort must continue until the new employee feels comfortable in his or her job. Companies which overlook orientation process or place minimum emphasis pay for it when new employees are placed on the jobs. Orientation gives the new employees a great deal of confidence and when they move to their regular jobs, they will be able to capitalize on this confidence.
Methods of Employee Training – 2 Main Methods Generally Used to Provide Training: On-the-Job Training (OJT) and Off-the-Job Training
The efficiency of a training programme depends upon selection of the most suitable training methods. Only those training methods should be used which accomplish certain training needs and objectives. Through the methods of job analysis, psychological tests, attitude and morale surveys, activity analysis and group therapy, training needs can be assessed.
Following are the main methods generally used to provide training:
Method # 1. On-the-Job Training (OJT):
Numerous training methods can be used while a man is engaged in the process of productive work. OJT methods are suitable for all levels of personnel.
Various methods of OJT are as follows:
i. On Specific Job:
The most common and formal OJT programme is training for a specific job. The current practice in job training has been strongly influenced by the war-time training within industry (TWI) which was first designed to improve the job performance through job instruction. TWI also included training for supervisors to improve job performance.
These are the following methods of training on specific job:
It is the oldest method of OJT. Learning by experience cannot and should not be eliminated as a method of development, though as a sole approach, it is wasteful, time- consuming and inefficient. In some cases, this method has proved to be very efficient, though it should be followed by other training methods to make it more meaningful.
On-the-job coaching by the superior is an important and potentially effective approach if the superior is properly trained and oriented. The technique involves direct personal instructions and guidance, usually with extensive demonstration and continuous critical evaluation and correction.
The advantage is increased motivation for the trainee and the minimisation of the problem of learning transfer from theory to practice. The danger in this method lies in the possible neglect to coaching by superior.
The understudy method is considered a somewhat different approach from those described previously in that a certain person is specifically designated as the heir apparent. The understudy method makes the trainee an assistant to the current job holder. The trainee learns by experience, observation and imitation.
If decisions are discussed with the understudy, he/she can become informed on the policies and theories involved. The advantage of this method is that training is conducted in a practical and realistic situation.
However, disadvantages are many. For example, the method tends to perpetuate mistakes and deficiencies of existing managerial practices. Moreover, the understudies are frequently neglected by those they assist.
One of the approaches to OJT is the ‘job instruction training’ (JIT) system which was developed during the Second World War. As per this system, the trainers first train the supervisors who, in turn, train the employees.
ii. Position/Job Rotation:
The major objective of job rotation training is the broadening of the background of trainee in the organisation. If trainee is rotated periodically from one job to another, he/she acquires a general background.
The main advantages of this method are as follows – it provides a general background to the trainee, training takes place in an actual situation, competition can be stimulated among the rotating trainees and it stimulates a more cooperative attitude by exposing a man to other fellows’ problems and viewpoints. There are also certain disadvantages of this method. The productive work can suffer because of the obvious disruption caused by such changes.
Rotation becomes less useful as specialisation proceeds, for few people have the breadth of technological knowledge and skills to move from one functional area to another.
iii. Special Projects:
This is a very flexible training device. Such special project assignments grow ordinarily out of an analysis of individuals’ work. The trainee may be asked to perform special assignment, thereby he/she learns the work procedure.
Sometimes, a task force is created consisting of a number of trainees representing different functions in the organisation. Trainees not only acquire knowledge about the assigned activities but also learn how to work with others.
iv. Selective Reading:
Individuals in the organisation can gather and advance their knowledge and background through selective reading. The reading may include professional journals and books. Various business organisations maintain libraries for their own executives.
Many executives become members of professional associations and they exchange their ideas with others. This is a good method for assimilating knowledge. However, some executives claim that it is very difficult to find time for much reading other than absolutely required in the performance of their jobs.
Appropriate training can be traced back to medieval times when those intended on learning trade skill bound themselves to a master craftsman to learn by doing the work under his/her guidance. In earlier periods, apprenticeship was not restricted to artisans but was also used in training for the professions including medicine, law, dentistry and teaching.
Apprenticeship is a process by which people become skilled workers, usually through a combination of formal learning and long-term OJT. Today’s industrial organisations require large number of skilled craftsmen who can be trained by this system. Such training is either provided by the organisations or it is imparted by governmental agencies.
In order to regulate and control the training of apprentices, the Government of India passed the Apprentices Act, 1961, the twin major objectives of which are promotion of new skills and improvement or refinement of old skills through both practical and theoretical training in a good number of trades and occupations.
A number of substantial changes are being affected by the government in the Apprentices Act, 1961. Most states now have their own apprenticeship laws with supervised plans for such training. Arrangements usually provide a mixed programme of classroom and job experience.
vi. Vestibule Schools:
Large organisations frequently provide what are described as vestibule schools, a preliminary-to-actual shop experience. As far as possible, shop conditions are duplicated, but instructions, not output, are major objectives, with special instructors provided.
Vestibule schools are widely used in training for clerical and office jobs as well as for factory production jobs. Such training is usually shorter and less complex than that adaptable to the apprenticeship system. Vestibule training is relatively expensive, but these costs are justified if the volume of training is large, or if uniform, high standard results are important.
vii. Multiple Management:
Multiple management emphasises the use of committees to increase the flow of ideas from less experience managers and to train them for positions of greater responsibility. The programme was developed by the McCormick & Company of Baltimore, USA. The company claims that the plan has increased employee efficiency, reduced labour turnover and absenteeism, and enabled the company to pay higher wages than those prevailing in the area and industry.
In this method, a junior board is authorised to discuss any problem that the senior board may discuss, and its members are encouraged to put their minds to work on the business as a whole, rather than to concentrate to their specialised areas.
Method # 2. Off-the-Job Training:
In these methods, trainees have to leave their workplace and devote their entire time to the development objective. In these methods, development of trainees is primary, and any usable work produced during training is secondary.
The following training techniques are used off the job:
i. Special Courses and Lectures:
Lecturing is the most traditional form of formal training method. Special courses and lectures can be identified and arranged by business organisations in numerous ways as a part of their development programmes. First, there are courses which the organisations themselves establish to be taught by members of the organisations.
Some organisations have regular instructors assigned to their training and development departments such as Tata and Hindustan Lever in the private sector and Life Insurance Corporation, State Bank of India and other nationalised commercial banks, Reserve Bank, Hindustan Steel, Fertilizer Corporation and many others in the public sector.
The second approach to special courses and lectures is for organisations to work with universities or institutes in establishing a course or series of courses to be taught by instructors of these institutes. The third approach is for the organisations to send personnel to programmes established by the universities, institutes and other bodies.
Such courses are organised for a short period ranging from two-three days to a few weeks. The first such programme was the Slogan Fellowship programme, established in 1931 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.
In India, such courses are organised frequently by the institutes of Management, Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), National Productivity Council, National Institute for Transport and Logistics (NITL), All India Management Association and some other organisations and universities.
This is also an old method but still a favourite training method. In order to escape the limitations of straight lecturing, many organisations have adopted guided discussion type of conferences in their training programmes. In this method, the participants pool their ideas and experience in attempting to arrive at improved methods of dealing with the problems which are common subject of discussion.
Conferences may include buzz sessions that divide conferences into small groups of four or five intensive discussions. These small groups then report back to the whole coherence with their conclusions or questions. The conference method allows the trainees to look at the broader angle.
These conferences, however, have certain limitations. Unless the discussion is directed to the felt needs of the participants, they may well feel that the whole session is useless.
iii. Case Studies:
This technique, which has been developed and popularised by the Harvard Business School, USA, is one of the most common forms of training. A case is a written account by a trained reporter or analyst seeking to describe a real decision-making situation in the organisation.
Some cases are merely illustrative, others are detailed and comprehensive, demanding extensive and intensive analytical ability. Cases are widely used in a variety of programmes. This method increases the trainees’ power of observation, helping him/her to ask better questions and to look for a broader range of problems.
Trainers are supposed to study the case, identify the problems, analyse the problems, offer solutions, choose the best solution and implement it. The instructor acts like a catalyst and facilitator and gets all the participants involved in finding out solution to the problem.
The incident method is one variation of the case method in which only bare outlines of a problem are put forth initially and the participants are given a role in which to view the incident. In case any additional relevant information is sought by the participants, it is provided to them.
Initially, each participant solves the case followed by formation of groups based on similarity of solutions. Each group so formed is expected to formulate a strong statement of position. Then groups debate their solutions followed by comparison of their solutions with the results.
Finally, participants are supposed to try to apply this knowledge to their job situations and be benefited accordingly. A well-chosen case may promote objective discussion, but the lack of emotional involvement may make it difficult to effect any basic change in the behaviour and attitude of trainees.
This is the method of stimulating trainees to creative thinking. This approach, developed by Alex Osborn, seeks to reduce inhibiting forces by providing for a maximum of group participation and a minimum of criticism. A problem is posed and ideas are invited. Quantity rather than quality is the primary objective.
Ideas are encouraged and criticism of any idea is discouraged. Chain reactions from idea to idea often develop. Later, these ideas are critically examined. There is no trainer in brainstorming, and it has been found that the introduction of own experts into it will reduce the originality and practicability of the group contribution.
Brainstorming frankly favours divergence, and its fact may be sufficient to explain why brainstorming is so little used as yet in developing countries where no solutions ought to carry the highest premium. It is virtually untried, even though its immediate use is limited to new ideas only, not change in behaviour
v. Laboratory Training:
Laboratory training adds to conventional training by providing situations in which the trainees themselves experience through their own interaction some of the conditions they are talking about. In this way, they more or less experiment on themselves. Laboratory training is more concerned about changing individual behaviour and attitude. It is generally more successful in changing job performance than conventional training methods.
There are two methods of laboratory training:
a. Simulation and
b. Sensitivity training.
An increasingly popular technique of management development is simulation of performance. In this method, instead of taking participants into the field, the field is simulated in the training session itself. Simulation is the presentation of real situations of organisations in the training session.
It covers situations of varying complexities and roles for the participants. It creates a whole field of organisation, relates participants through key roles in it and has them deal with specific situations. There are two common simulation methods of training- role-playing and business game.
Role-playing is a laboratory method which can be used rather easily as a supplement of conventional training methods. Its purpose is to increase the trainees skill in dealing with other people. One of its greatest use is in connection with human relations training, but it is also used in sales training.
It is spontaneous acting of a realistic situation involving two or more people under classroom situations. Dialogue spontaneously grows out of the situation, as it is developed by the trainees assigned to it. Other trainees in the group serve as observers or critics.
Since people take roles every day, they are somewhat experienced in the art, and with a certain amount of imagination they can project themselves into roles other than their own. Since a manager is regularly acting roles in his/her relationship with others, it is essential for him/ her to have role awareness and to do role thinking so that they can size up each relationship and develop the most effective interaction position.
Role-playing has many advantages. By this method, a trainee can broaden his/her experience by trying different approaches, while in actual situation, he/she often has only one chance.
Gaming has been devised to simulate the problems of running a company or even a particular department. It has been used for a variety of training objectives, from investment strategy and collective bargaining techniques to the morale of clerical personnel.
It has been used at all levels, from the executives to the production supervisors. Gaming is a laboratory method in which role-playing exists, but its difference is that it focuses attention on administrative problems, while role-playing tends to emphasise mostly feeling and tone between people in interaction.
Gaming involves several teams, each of which is given a firm to operate for a number of periods. Usually, the period is short, one year or so. In each period, each team makes decisions on various matters such as fixation of price, level of production and inventory level.
Since each team is competing with others, each firm’s decision will affect the results of all others. All the firms’ decisions are fed into a computer which is programmed to behave somewhat like a real market. The computer provides the results, and the winner is the team which has accumulated largest profit. In the light of such results, strength and weaknesses of decisions are analysed.
b. Sensitivity Training:
Sensitivity training is the most controversial laboratory training method. Many of its advocates have an almost religious zeal in their enhancement with the training group experience. Some of its critics match this favour in their attacks on the technique.
As a result of criticism and experience, a somewhat revised approach, often described as ‘team development’ training, has appeared. It was first used by National Training Laboratories at Bethel, USA. The training groups called themselves ‘T Group’. Since then, its use has been extended to other organisations, universities and institutes.
EPSS are sets of computerised tools and displays which automate training, phone support and documentation. They are used to help employees in not learning and memorising a substantial chunk of details, which are difficult to memorise, but are otherwise necessary.
In tele-training, groups of employees located at remote locations are taught by a trainer in a central location via television hook-ups. It is a very economical method.
Involving the use of audio and visual equipment, videoconferencing enables trainers sitting at one location to communicate live with trainees in other cities. PC-based video cameras play a vital role in this method. This method saves time and is economical also.
ix. MP3/Instant Messaging:
These days, some organisations encourage their employees to use instant messaging as a quick learning device. The organisation usually purchases iPods for trainees and the training department and then has an Internet audiobook provider create an audio learning site within the organisations firewall. The employees use it to download training materials to their iPods.
x. Slides and Videotapes:
Slides and videotapes can be used either off the job or in special media rooms. Although this method is both thought-provoking as well as interesting, it does not have the provision for trainees to put questions or have interaction but, of late, these shortcomings are also being overcome by and by. Some organisations use slides, tapes, films and so on as a supplement to the programme.
xi. Programmed Learning:
Programmed learning reduces training time. It lets the trainee learn at his/her own pace, though it provides immediate feedback on the accuracy of his/her answers to the questions presented to him/her after presenting facts and problems, which determines what will be the next question to the trainee.
Some organisations follow intelligent tutoring systems which indicate which questions and approaches prove effective or ineffective and then adjust the instrumental sequences accordingly.
xii. Audiovisual-Based Training:
Although a little bit more expensive, it appears to be interesting to the trainees/learners. The techniques such as films, PowerPoint presentations, videoconferencing, DVDs and videotapes are commonly used these days as they usually prove quite effective.
The use of audiovisual-based training techniques is recommended when there is a need to expose trainees to events which are not easily demonstrable in live lectures or when it is a costly proposition to move trainers from place to place and that too frequently.
xiii. HRIS Learning Portals:
Through its business portals, the learners can get the tools needed to analyse data inside and outside their organisation and see the customised content they need. These days, many employers conduct the training through learning portals. Learning portal suppliers create special courses for an organisations employees and customers.
These days, organisations are making efforts towards integrating e-learning system with the organisations overall enterprise-wide information systems. This may enable the organisation to synchronise employees’ training with their performance appraisal, succession plans, skill inventory and so on.
xiv. Using E-Learning:
In this method, it has to be ensured that the trainee can use the extra control that Web-based learning should provide. It has also to be ensured that the trainee knows the control he/she has, and how he/she can use it, such as how to change the learning sequence.
However, today, the trend is towards blended learning solutions and not a choice of conventional versus online training. Of course, e-based learning can be improved in a number of ways.
In mentoring, a senior manager assumes the responsibility for grooming a junior person. A mentor is a guide, counsellor, teacher, developer of skills and intellect, supporter and facilitator, who helps the mentee in realising his/her vision, attaining psychological maturity and getting him/her integrated with the company.
Mentoring can be effective if the mentor is a patient listener, understands well, stimulates the learning, builds self-confidence in the mentee, counsels well, acts as a role model, encourages and shares his/her experiences in the right perspective.
On the other hand, it is also necessary that the mentee is also a good listener, follows the advice given by the mentor, is a committed learner, is not an egoist, is open-minded and proactive and is willing to change. However, employees who serve as mentors frequently are not trained in effective mentoring skills or designing mentoring programme.
They are most often busy with their responsibilities and expected to squeeze mentoring onto an already full plate. Once they take on mentoring duties, they are usually left to their own devices and have few avenues to discuss problems and challenges in their mentoring programmes or relationships. Employees, therefore, need training to be mentors and must be rewarded for a job well done.
xvi. Informal Learning:
The employers do not arrange informal learning except that they can place certain tools in a common area which can be made use of for work-related discussion. In almost all organisations, some type of informal training does happen. Most SMEs prefer informal training because it involves less cost besides being at the heart of the SME culture and productivity outcomes. It can also be easily integrated into daily operations with presumption of being less costly.
xvii. Distance and Internet-Based Training:
This method involves the use of various forms of distance learning methods such as tele-training, modern Internet-based courses and videoconferencing. In case a large number of trainees located at different places are to be taught, this method proves very economical.
Methods of Employee Training – Used in Industry and Business: Self-Directed Learning, Small Group Activities and Job Instruction-Modular Training
Some of the training methods used in industry and business which are on-the-job as well as off-the-job type of programs. These may be individual as well as group-oriented programs. The individually focused programs are flexible and can be designed to suit the needs of the individual trainees. The group programs are conducted in classroom situations, either during the work hours or after work hours.
Classroom training, including lectures, films, audio-visual techniques, and simulation, etc., make up approximately 70 percent of all formal corporate training.
Self-directed Learning or sometimes known as Programmed Instruction involves specially designed books, manuals, or computer materials to provide subject matters in highly organized and logical sequences that require employees to answer a series of questions about the material. Thus, this type of learning is a technique for instruction without the presence or intervention of a human instructor.
Some companies have invested heavily on setting up computer laboratories for their employees so that they can equip themselves with skills to handle their jobs more efficiently. In the programmed learning, the material is broken down into smaller segments and arranged from easy to difficult levels. The feedback is provided on the self-learning as the trainee progresses. The trainees can determine from checking their responses against provided answers whether their grasp of information is accurate.
In recent years, the focus of training at the supervisory and below supervisory levels seem to be on the formation and utilization of small group activities such as, Quality Control Circles, Work Improvement Teams, Zero-defect Groups, and Operations Improvement Teams. There is an increased emphasis on using training as a method of improving productivity.
The Basic Education for Skill Training (BEST) program implemented in many organizations has a significant improvement in many organizations. In addition, there are also remedial and developmental training programs to put the worker on the right track. For all these programs, a certain degree of monitoring is required to see whether the knowledge gained in these programs is implemented appropriately.
Inculcating the quality consciousness is an important aspect of Japanese management and this thinking has spread throughout the world and many companies are providing training programs in structuring and operating Quality Control Circles. These circles are small groups of people working in a particular area of work. They get together once or twice a month, examine the problems in their work area, analyze them and try to come out with alternative solutions to resolve the problems.
These solutions are evaluated against a given criteria and one or more solutions are chosen for implementation. The group also works out the implementation process with details. Presentations are made and the management is impressed, and the suggestions are implemented. Occasionally, the team members are rewarded to sustain their morale and motivation. A great deal of training is necessary to structure and make these groups function effectively.
For instance, an automobile manufacturing company practices the Team Work Program to enhance productivity and the quality of its workforce. From each production line, groups are formed which include the lead-girls, repair technicians, and quality control inspectors. Everyone on the same assembly line is invited to join the team on a voluntary basis. They are given training lasting for twenty hours to be familiarized in team techniques such as, brainstorming sessions, leader-member roles, problem identification, use of charts, diagrams, and other tools, and presentations.
The achievements of these teams are published in the company newsletters and magazines.
Work Improvement Teams (WITS) are the common form of approach to productivity improvement in the Civil Service and governmental organizations in Singapore which has one of the best Civil Services in the world. For instance, in the police force two or three teams are set up in each division, chief facilitators and team leaders are trained in structuring and functioning of their teams. They discuss matters relating to their work area. Emphasis is on, “speaking with facts”. Projects are presented to senior management. Minor improvements are implemented at the division level. Competitions are also held and awards are given.
These types of programs are primarily for new employees once they complete their orientation programs. They may last for couple of weeks to a month or two, depending on the nature and scope of the job involved. The instructors are generally the trainers appointed by the department and approved by the human resource department. They must have completed the instructor training programs with five to six years of work experience. They are given additional incentives to get involved in training activities.
In highly specialized areas, the trainers are relieved of their regular duties so that they can get fully involved in training the trainees. The Singapore Airlines which has one of the best pilot training programs has pilot instructors specially chosen for these training programs. Such pilots have a good record and a number of years of experience. Flight modules are used to provide training. These modules are just like the cockpits in an aeroplane. The landing and take-off simulations are used in training the pilots in these aspects.
In other industries, prototype machines and parts are used to train the employees to show them the structure and parts of a particular machine and how to operate it. Since the real situation is simulated, there is no wastage or accidents. The trainer must be skilled in the method and process of training.
During the 70s and 80s, training in behavioral skills, especially interpersonal skills took an upward swing. Realizing the innumerable problems created at the work place either between employees or among employees, and behavioral specialists brought in to study the interpersonal relationships among employees.
Although the Hawthorne studies ignited the need for such studies and improvement of relations at work, studies by Woodward, Likert, Lewin, Bakke, Lawrence and Lorsch studied human problems in depth in work organizations. Various leadership styles, motivational techniques, and communication pattern were identified and used to enhance work performance. The basic focus was training methods and techniques. Behavioral sciences such as, anthropology, psychology, sociology and social psychology were used to research and bring to the notice more effective ways of managing people at work.
More than half a century ago, the T-Group Laboratory Training movement was started and used as important training methods. These groups are basically devoted to the mutual facilitation of learning by members of the group. Each member is encouraged to function as observer, participant, as diagnostician-actor, as planner-executor-evaluator, as expresser and critic of expression, and as helper-client.
The human relations movement has made and is still making a number of contributions to our understanding of the behavior that goes on in organizations. A number of newly designed training programs are slowly being implemented in work organizations. A classic study by William Foot Whyte shed quite a bit of light on interpersonal relations and status hierarchy in organizations.
The old Personnel Management had been replaced by Human Resource Management which deals with finding the right people, placing them on the right jobs, and training and developing them for better performance and employee satisfaction. How human resources are treated in an organization depends on the philosophy of the organization toward human resource management. Human beings are treated as assets and not as a cost factor.
Better human relations can be achieved only through care and concern for the training and development of human resources. Such concern should be reflected in terms of concrete training programs to upgrade the skills of employees.
In recent years more persuasive and influencing skills are used to get things done at the work place. This type of training is administered in groups where observations will be made during their problem-solving exercises. A list will be maintained as to who interacted more, with whom, and so on. Based on the observations, the training can be structured to foster better interpersonal relations.
Once this impediment is settled, team building exercises can be administered. Transactional Analysis, Sensitivity Training and Grid Approach are effective methods of providing interpersonal skill training. If knowledge and skill training is provided in helping the trainees to relate to supervisors, peers, and to subordinates, then the program is effective in enabling the trainees to foster good interpersonal relations.
Frederick Taylor’s one best way of doing things at work triggered quality consciousness in work organizations at the factory level. As a result of the interest in quality, a number of quality gurus such as, Deming, Juran, Crosby, Feigenbaum, and Ishikawa contributed a great deal to quality movement. Quality Control Circles perfected the Japanese manufacturing process. This interest spread like wildfire throughout the world.
The quality award winning companies like Motorola and Xerox placed high value on worth and contributions of their employees. At Federal Express, through in-house network, a call-in format where employees at any level can get answers for their problems and questions from managers. IBM encourages employees at any level to raise their quality concerns directly to management.
Cadillac car manufacturing company sent over 1,000 employees to attend a four-day Deming quality program at a fee of U.S. 650 dollars per employee. Ritz-Carlton Hotel, an international hotel chain, winner of Balridge Quality Award, trained front-line personnel dealing directly with guests, and each department is trained to see vision and goals to be the best.
Federal Express, through training provides quality tools which the employees need to promote one-hundred percent customer satisfaction. The Quality Academy of Federal Express, a courier company designs corporate quality courses, ensures consistent education and solicits ideas for improvisation. Satellite training involves usage of T.V. network and employees take courses at their own work sites.
Through interactive video network, courses on quality are offered. In self-paced Instruction, more than 2,000 courses are offered under this method. These courses include- reengineering, team-building, and quality Improvement. Computer-based instruction in quality training programs are delivered to employees at their work-sites and competency tests are also built-in. Stand-up instruction is classroom instruction training and focuses on quality Planning process control and so on.
“Federal Express employees register for these courses by using an automated system. The Quality Academy tracks down information pertaining to courses. This company lives up to its philosophy of “people first” by providing training and education to its employees.
Training through lectures is the most commonly used type of training. The lectures can be administered to a large group of people and the quicker way of providing training and preparing the trainees for urgent jobs. Once concepts are provided through lectures, then exercises can be worked out to see whether the trainees understood the concepts and gained competency.
Generally it is one-way training, unless the trainer provides for interactions and questioning methods. Where the need for trainees is to get a basic understanding of the theoretical aspects of operation or their jobs, the lecture method of training is an effective source. The trainer must be aware of some psychological principles in order to impart knowledge to the trainees.
He or she must have the ability to break the subject matter into easily understandable segments. The observation, questioning and motivating skills are essential for a trainer to make his or her sessions more productive and worthwhile. This way, the lecture method can be made a two-way process and its effectiveness can be enhanced.