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7Workers today must be equipped not simply with technical know how but also with the ability to create, analyze, and transform information and to interact effectively with others. Alan Greenspan Federal Reserve Board Chairman INTRODUCTION The literature review was constructed on the principle that in todayâs world a training program must be developed based on a broad understanding of what is happening in the world at large, as well as an understanding of the substantive work and strategic goals and objectives of the state DOT. The training program must also understand its linkage and relationship to other components of the agencyâs human capital program, including recruitment, retention, succession planning, and performance management. The organizationâs strategic goals and outcomes must drive the training and development pro- gram. Other key assumptions are that to be successful train- ing professionals and agency management must: â¢ Understand that training exists as a tool to enhance performance. â¢ Identify the competencies that are required to achieve the strategic goals and outcomes of the organization, as well as which of the occupations must possess some or all of these particular competencies. â¢ Analyze the degree to which the current workforce pos- sesses these competencies, and be able to identify both emerging and submerging (those competencies that are no longer needed) competencies. â¢ Ensure that the training and development needed for employees to acquire the various competencies is avail- able either within the organization or through public and private partners. â¢ Develop evaluation methods that assess the degree to which training and development programs meet both the training objectives and the larger organization goals of the strategic plan. â¢ Be directly linked to the other components of the human capital system of the organization. â¢ Have a communications strategy and plan to ensure that decisions makers and employees at all levels in the organization understand how the training and development programs contribute to achieving strate- gic goals and objectives, and that these individuals know what is available, when it is available, why the organization thinks the course is worth an organiza- tional investment, and where the training program offerings will be available. As is usually the case in todayâs world there are thousands of electronic and print books and articles relevant to the issues. To provide the maximum assistance to readers, this chapter includes the most directly relevant information to the topics at hand. The Bibliography cites additional references that may be useful for those who want or need to do more detailed research, but that are not specifically addressed in this report. TRENDS TRANSFORMING GOVERNMENT One of the most succinct summaries of what is transpiring in public service at the state, local, and federal levels is found in research completed in 2003 by the IBM Endow- ment for the Business of Government. The information sum- marized here is found both in the article, âFour Trends that are Changing Government,â from its magazine The Business of Government (Abramson et al. 2003), and in a four-volume report that delves into each of the four trends in much greater detail. Both the article and the books can be found at www.businessofgovernment.org. These four trends are important because they dictate competencies that are or will be needed in public organizations over the next quarter of a century. Many organizations will need to design training and development programs to ensure that their employees can successfully handle the evolving nature of government. The authors of the article, Mark A. Abramson, Jonathan D. Breul, and John M. Kamensky, are known for their inno- vative thinking and for their ability to forecast coming changes in the operations of government. In the introduction to this analysis the authors assert that: Government is now being transformed . . . Based on five years of research on the changing ways of doing business in government (we) have identified four significant trends that are now trans- forming government: trend one: changing rules; trend two: emphasizing performance; trend three: improving service deliv- ery; and trend four: increasing collaboration. . . . Each of the four trends . . . will require a steep learning curve and will be charac- terized by constant learning and adaptation. . . . The emphasis on performance will also require trial and error as government learns how to measure performance and reward or penalize executives for that performance. New approaches to service delivery will continue to be controversial . . . [I]ncreased collaboration will CHAPTER TWO ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE TRAINING PROGRAM
also require a steep learning curve as government learns how to partner with nonprofit and profit-making organizations. . . . Over the past five years, federal, state, and local governments have been developing approaches to link organizational goals to intended results, oftentimes in customer-centric terms and occa- sionally beyond the boundaries of individual agencies. The changing ârules of the gameâ is the first major trend identified. These changing rules affect both public servants and private individuals and affect the fundamental administrative infrastructure of government including âcivil service systems, procurement practices, budgeting, and financial management. The new systems provide program managers with greater flex- ibility for the quid pro quo of more accountability on the part of program managers.â This combination âappears to be a pow- erful incentive for encouraging results-based management.â In three statesâFlorida, Georgia, and Texasâthe civil service remains merit-based, but employment is âat the willâ of the state. The impact of this trend on training and develop- ment programs can be seen in the way training is developed and procured. Trend number two âinvolves the increased emphasis on per- formance throughout government.â For the last decade, local, state, and federal government organizations have worked hard to identify their important mission and functions and to trans- late those into strategic plans with specific goals, objectives, and outcomes. These then become the basis for prioritizing work, and each program area must identify how its programs relate to and support accomplishing the goals, objectives, and outcomes, with a strong emphasis on results. âResults-based management provides a way of focusing on what government does, instead of solely on what it spends.â Two citiesâNew York City and Baltimoreââhave pioneered the use of cross- cutting performance management as a way of improving orga- nizational performance.â This second trend has had a profound affect on training and development programs that must now demonstrate how they contribute to improved individual and organizational performance. More fundamentally, training and development are now seen as a primary tool for improving per- formance of both individuals and organizations. Trend number three is the demand for âimproving service delivery.â Integral to this trend is the concept of citizens and/or other government or private-sector organizations as cus- tomers. This trend completely refocuses how business is done so that âinstead of organizing around the processes they per- formed, they organized around those they serve.â One conse- quence of this change is the growing use of websites and other electronic methods that allow customers access 24 h a day, 7 days a week. It also assumes a shared responsibility between provider and customer, and leads naturally to the fourth trend. For training and development programs trend number three means changes such as multiple delivery media and the need to demonstrate, qualitatively and quantitatively, that the train- ing and development programs and activities are value added. Furthermore, it means that the organization and the individual 8 employee have a shared responsibility to identify training and development needs and to see that those needs are met. Trend number four is âincreasing collaboration.â Citi- zens increasingly expect government to deliver resultsâ clean air, safe food, healthy kids, safe streets, and specific to the raison dâetre of state DOTs, economical, efficient trans- portation. There are few public (or private) organizations that are complete within themselves. The complexities of these issues are such that governments are more likely to achieve successful results by creating collaborative efforts that reach across agencies, across levels of government, and across the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. . . . The key tools for doing this are partner- ships and networks. . . . There are two drivers for the increased use of partnerships and networks in the public sector: (1) the communication revolution brought about by technology, which makes collaboration easier, and (2) the shift in societal power to the âmarket state,â which ârespects neither the borders nor the icons of the traditional state. Additional forces include the changing nature of work from labor-based production to the inte- gration of knowledge-based work. State DOTs are a prime example of a variety of partner- ships between and among the federal government (FHWA and NHI); professional organizations such as AASHTO, colleges, and universities; and private-sector organizations. At the 2005 Training Directors Conference, every training director described at least one type of partnership that he or she uses to ensure that state DOT employees have access to the training and development needed to ensure a well- qualified workforce. These four trends provide critical input for state DOT training programs. They suggest different ways for training programs to be developed and managed; for example, through collaborative and inclusive methods rather than the more traditional âsilos of responsibility.â They suggest emerging competencies, such as partnering or networking skills that will be needed in the workforce. In addition, they focus on the need for training and development programs to demonstrate a value added contribution to the organizationâs strategic goals and objectives, and on the need to continually improve customer service with the quality, quantity, and timeliness of training and development programs and events. TRENDS TRANSFORMING WORKFORCE AND WORKPLACE To understand the challenges facing training programs in state DOTs it is important to first understand both workplace and employment trends that will be in operation in the United States over the next several decades. There are three primary factors that will influence the workplace of the future. The first is a lower birth rate. In 1910, there were 30.1 births per 1,000 population. By 1955, the rate was 25 births per 1,000 population, and as of 2004 it is 14.14 births per 1,000 (National Center for Health Statistics). It is believed that the
9U.S. birthrate will continue to fall. Because the U.S. birthrate is slowing, the rate of growth for the American labor force is shrinking at a time when the economy is predicted to grow at a relatively robust rate. This means that all sectors of the economyâpublic, private, and nonprofitâwill be compet- ing for a historically smaller pool of talent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), âthe annual rate of workforce growth for 2000 to 2010 is projected to be 1.1%, but drops to 0.4% for the period from 2010 to 2020 and to 0.3% for the period of 2020 to 2030. In comparison, the civil- ian labor force grew by 1.1% in the 1990s and 1.6% in the 1980sâ (Where the Jobs Are . . . 2005). Scarcity creates value. A declining birthrate that causes the labor pool to grow more slowly means that each individ- ual in the labor pool is more valuable. It also means that the competition for these scarce resources will increase. The second factor, identified by all of the TRB studies cited in chapter one, as well as in BLS analyses and studies conducted by the RAND Corporation, NAPA, and the Hud- son Institute, is the impact of technology and innovation on the work process and therefore on the workforce. The third factor is that the rate of change is predicted to continue to accelerate. New products, services, and industries will be created, which will place a premium on having a highly skilled workforce. There will be an associated decrease in the demand for low- or unskilled workers as technology displaces workers performing routine, replicable functions. An example of this drive toward increased use of technol- ogy is that in the early 1990s there were just over one million computer programmers, computer systems analysts and man- agers, hardware and software engineers and similar IT profes- sionals. Today, according to the BLS, that occupational cate- gory has well in excess of 2.5 million members. Between now and 2012, BLS predicts an additional 179,000 jobs for com- puter software engineers and an additional 103,000 jobs for information systems managers (Where the Jobs Are . . . 2005). These trends âplace a premium on workers who demon- strate strong abstract reasoning skills, problem-solving, com- munication, and collaboration skills. . .â as well as strong interpersonal and networking skills. It is no longer sufficient for those with highly technical skillsâengineers, scientists, IT professionals, accountants, engineering technicians, and construction tradesâto rely solely on their technical skills. They must also have the human interaction skills required by the current and future workplace. These trends underscore the absolute demand for all organizationsâpublic and privateâto provide training and development programs and opportunities for their employees to ensure that they continue to maintain their current capabilities and learn the new skills and knowledge brought about by innovation with work processes, tools, and products (Where the Jobs Are . . . 2005). DEMAND FOR A KNOWLEDGEABLE WORKFORCE Knowledge across a wide variety of subjects is increasing exponentially. Therefore, today, and even more so in the future, knowledge represents both power and competitive advantage. Successful public and private organizations will be those entities that ensure that their employees continue to learn as their professions and the tools of the profession advance. Since 1997, the ASTD has prepared a âState of the Indus- try Reportâ summarizing the trends in workplace learning and performance. This report provides one of the most authorita- tive analyses of what is happening in the world of workplace learning and performance. It provides data that state DOTs can use to compare the state of their own training programs and accomplishments. Comparison data includes hours of development, cost per hour, and similar features. This report also provides a special analysis of the âvalue addedâ to an organization by the public and private organizations who have been recipients of ASTDâs BEST Awards. It is worth noting that ASTD now defines its world as âworkplace learn- ing and performance.â This lends further support to our con- tention that training and development are tools for enhancing individual and organizational performance. The complete Executive Summary of the 2005 report can be found in Appendix C. The report concludes: As the ASTD State of the Industry Report enters its ninth con- secutive year of publication, we find ourselves in an exciting period in the field of workplace learning and performance (WLP). The perception of the value of learning in driving organizational performance is increasing, as is the level of investment in learn- ing. The learning function is being run like any other business function with increased attention to operational efficiency, accountability, and connection to organizational strategy. The 2005 report focuses on trends in the United States from 1999 through 2004, with projections for 2005, based on data submit- ted through ASTDâs benchmarking surveys (BMS), Bench- marking Forum (BMF), and BEST Awards program. . . . These three samples give the most comprehensive set of data available on both historical and current workplace learning and perfor- mance investments and practices in the U.S. This report serves as a barometer for the WLP community and provides data against which organizations can benchmark their own learning investments and practices. The entire report is available at http://www.astd.org/NR/ rdonlyres/B5CF7620-FA40-4B3C-8E7C-FC1745A73B7A/ 0/ASTD_StateoftheIndustry_2005.pdf for ASTD members. (Nonmembers can purchase the report through the ASTD on-line bookstore.) Having provided an overview of trends that are affecting the functioning of government and the state of workplace learning and performance, this report focuses its attention on issues of importance for ensuring the appropriate infrastruc- ture for successful training and development programs within state DOTs.
CRITICAL ROLE OF STRATEGIC PLANNING So much to do and so few resources with which to do it! This is a truism of modern government, and training is no excep- tion. Legislatures continue to pass laws and mandate actions without always supplying sufficient resources to achieve the results required. With so many competing demands, organi- zations must have a mechanism to identify and focus on âthe critical fewââthose actions, outcomes, and activities that are most likely to achieve the required outcomes. For most orga- nizations, that mechanism is the agencyâs strategic plan or similar document. As Carter McNamara wrote, âSimply put, strategic planning determines where an organization is going over the next year or more, how itâs going to get there and how itâll know if it got there or not.â More information on McNamaraâs ideas on strategic planning can be found at http://www.managementhelp.org (McNamara 1999). In his book, Strategic Planning for Public and Non-Profit Organizations (1995), John R. Bryson describes strategic planning as a management tool whose primary purpose is to assist organizations in doing a better job of focusing attention on its most important work and in providing a plan to marshal scarce resources most effectively. It is also a tool that allows an organizationâs employees to share the vision of what are the important areas of focus and what are the desired out- comes that the organization wants to achieve. It provides a basis for identifying the competencies needed in the work- force and a basis for both organization and individual perfor- mance assessment. The strategic plan is a current document. It is about fundamental decisions and actions, but it does not attempt to make future decisions (Steiner 1979). Strategic plan- ning involves anticipating the future environment, but the deci- sions are made in the present. This means that over time, the organization must stay abreast of changes in order to make the best decisions it can at any given pointâit must manage, as well as plan, strategically. For state DOTs, the strategic plan provides the training pro- gram with a point of departure for identifying the competencies needed in the workforce and for prioritizing training demands so that those that are the most important to the organization receive first priority for funding, development, and delivery. COMPETENCIES AS A FOUNDATION FOR TRAINING PROGRAMS David McClelland, a researcher on human motivation, first began to develop the idea of competencies in the 1960s. McClellandâs thesis was that the more traditional ways of predicting job successâexaminations of knowledge and IQ testsâwere not successful predictors of performance at the work site. Instead, he argued we should look for ways to identify other variablesââcompetenciesââthat could pre- dict job success. The work on competencies was further enhanced in the early 1980s when Richard Boyatzis was hired by the American Management Association to see if 10 management competencies could be identified. He was the first individual to define competency and to develop the behavioral interview methodology that is still the basis of most competency definition. Boyatzis defined a competency as âan underlying characteristic of an individual, which is causally related to effective or superior performance in a job.â Competencies can be traits, skills, aspects of oneâs self- image or social role, or a body of knowledge that one uses. The emphasis is on outcomes, which makes competencies well suited for the work world of today with its emphasis on achieving outcomes. Paul C. Green has also been a major contributor to the use of competencies. He helped translate the concept into operational realities by defining how to develop and conduct behavioral interviews (and by actually coining the phrase âbehavioral interviewâ). Greenâs initial focus was on the managerâs use of the behavioral interview to improve selection. More recently, however, he has written on how job seekers can improve their interviewing skills (Get Hired: Winning Strategies to Ace the Interview 1996). Although Greenâs focus in this publication was on getting the job, behavioral interviewing can be an equally useful selec- tion technique for training and development by helping to ensure that those selected for training programsâin particu- lar, for example, executive development programsâhave the basic capabilities to warrant the substantial investment. Many organizations are moving to competency-based assessment and training systems. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has defined and validated competencies for all federal occupations and these provide the foundation for a num- ber of public organizations at the federal, state, and local level to develop their own specific workforce competencies. Most organizations use competencies primarily for career develop- ment and training purposes. Arizona, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, and Texas are examples of state DOTs using competencies as a foundation for training and development pro- grams. Any state DOT thinking about developing competencies should first review the substantial body of literature that already exists and can most likely find an excellent point of departure for identifying specific state DOT competencies. In its discussion of competencies, the New York State Civil Service Commission says: Competencies are a critical tool in workforce and succession planning. At a minimum, they are a means to: â¢ Identify capabilities, attitudes, and attributes needed to meet current and future staffing needs as organizational priorities and strategies shift; and â¢ Focus employee development efforts to eliminate the gap between capabilities needed and those available. The New York Civil Service Commission went on to say that organizations also have competencies. They are usually the result of collective individual competencies common throughout
11 the organization. Organizational competencies have significant impact on organizational results and are worth identifying, if not developing. Organizational competencies can include process improve- ment, teamwork, performance measurement, values, project management, new ways of thinking or performing, and knowl- edge management. These are built, in part, on individuals hav- ing the competency or related competencies. For example, an organizational competency of strategic planning is dependent on managers having the skills to do the planning. In addition, the organization needs a workable planning process, skilled people assigned to coordinate the process, organizational per- formance measures, and systems for reporting performance data and tracking progress in meeting goals and objectives. All of these components could comprise the organizational com- petency of strategic planning. Many public organizations develop career roadmaps that define the competency requirements for a particular type of work from entry level to the most senior performance level. This roadmap identifies the type and the location of the posi- tions, as well as any training or developmental assignments offered by the organization that assist the individual in acquir- ing the competencies. This way an employee is empowered to make his or her own career decisions about which routes can be pursued to achieve the competency desired. There is, however, a contradictory view of the value of com- petencies as the basis for training and development. The Gallup Organization has for years surveyed employees in a range of public and private organizations to identify what inspires exceptional performance. In their 2002 book, Follow this Path: How the Worldâs Great Organizations Drive Growth by Unleashing Human Potential, Coffman and Gonzalez-Molina argue that competency-based training fails because it focuses on employee weaknesses rather than strengths. Most organizations assume that anyone can excel at any job, pro- vided they receive enough training and try hard enough. Second, they take strengths for granted and try to fix weaknesses. (Emphasis added.) This âcompetencyâ approach is a huge waste of energy and time, no matter how well intended, designed, and executed it is. The reason is simple: It is based on three flawed assumptions. Those who excel in the same role all display the same behaviors. Each of these behaviors is learned. Each of these behaviors should be learned, because improving weaknesses leads to success. The competency based approach is very popular with human resource departments because its explicit aim is to âdevelop peo- pleâ and âbuild human capital.â Human resources, therefore, becomes a âstrategic partnerâ by adhering to the official list of desired competencies. This places human resources (and training) in a defensive, rather than an offensive, position. . . . The compe- tency approach is a dead end. It rarely succeeds in measurably improving either productivity, customer satisfaction, employee engagement or retention, or safety or performance records, all of which are the real measures of how effectively a person works. . . . Being sent to learn something for which they have lit- tle interest or aptitude is not a good use of either employeesâ or trainersâ time. Receiving training to augment strengths is rarely considered. The Gallup Organization arguments are worth considering. While serving as the Chief Learning Officer for the Internal Revenue Service in the early 2000s, Dr. James Trinka experi- mented with training that would improve a managerâs strengths rather than work on his or her weaknesses. The eval- uations showed that the return on investment was significantly greater than the more traditional training to correct a weakness. A 5% or greater increase in a strength area resulted in a far bet- ter job performance than a similar increase in an area of weak- ness. The Internal Revenue Service concluded that it was more beneficial and cost-effective to focus on ensuring that within the entire team in an organization there were the requi- site competencies, rather than trying to ensure that those who were weak in a particular area have training to improve the weakness (thought leader interview with J. Trinka, June 2005). In his 1999 article, âManaging Oneself,â Peter Drucker argued that success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselvesâtheir strengths, their values, and how they best per- form. [He noted that] Historyâs great achieversâa Napoleon, a daVinci, a Mozartâhave always managed themselves. . . . Now, most of us, even those of us with modest endowments, will have to learn to manage ourselves. In the article, he then asked and answered a series of questions: â¢ What are my strengths? â¢ How do I perform? â¢ What are my values? â¢ Where do I belong? â¢ What should I contribute? Drucker argued that each of us should use feedback analysis to answer these questions and that after using feedback for analysis a few years we would clearly understand our strengths and weaknesses. His insights provide a useful framework for structuring an individual training and development program as well as an organizational one. More information on this can be found at http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu. His insights about the importance of managing oneself were prescient. A few years after this article was published, NACE and other research organizations began reporting on the importance that college graduates and other knowledge workers were placing on their personal responsibility for ensuring that they continue to keep their knowledge and skills at the cutting edge. This evolution of the allocation of responsibility between the organization and its employees suggests that training and development organizations must have mechanisms to ensure that they solicit input from employees as part of the needs
assessment process and they can structure programs that assume that individual employees have a share of the burden to ensure a well-qualified workforce. SUCCESSION PLANNING Succession planning is an important component of any orga- nizationâs human capital management program and has impor- tant implications for structuring training and development programs. The Baby Boomers are retiring, the available labor force is predicted to grow at a much slower rate in the first third of the 21st century than it did in the last half of the 20th cen- tury, and the challenges to organizations are continuing to grow in number and in complexity. (Baby Boomers, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, are redefining retire- ment, just as they have redefined each generational gate through which they have passed. Many are retiring between the ages 55 and 60. Because they have a longer life expectancy and generally enjoy better health than previous generations, many are choosing second, or even third, careers and are work- ing part-time or full-time in these new endeavors. However, in 2034, the last of the Baby Boomer generation will turn 70, at which point the majority will have left the workforce. BLS predicts that birth rates will continue to decrease and that by the 2020â2030 decade, the annual labor force increase will be 0.3% as compared with an annual growth rate of 1.6% in the late 1990s and very early 2000s. Thirty years is a relatively short time to totally rethink how an organization will acquire, retain, and develop the talent needed to accomplish an organi- zationâs strategic goals and objectives in a significantly more competitive labor market.) These challenges suggest that suc- cession planning will grow in importance and will focus on the identification and development of a cadre of well-qualified talent for both leadership and critical occupation positions. Essential elements of a succession planning program are: â¢ Identify the positions for which the organization wants to ensure a readily available supply of well-trained candidates. â¢ Identify the mission-critical competencies needed to perform successfully in each position. â¢ Identify the positions, special assignments, training courses, educational experiences, coaching, and men- toring needed for individuals to develop the compe- tence to perform successfully in each of the positions identified. â¢ Develop a methodology to identify and select individu- als to be developed. â¢ Have a group of key executives, usually including the head of the organization, actively involved in each of these steps on an ongoing basis. NAPA recently completed a review of the National Aero- nautics and Space Administrationâs (NASA) human capital program, including its succession planning and leadership 12 development program. In recognition of the importance of suc- cession planning for leadership positions, the Academy recom- mended that the administrator of NASA appoint an Executive Utilization Board, which he would personally chair, that âwould have the corporate responsibility for identifying, devel- oping, and assigning the top ten to fifteen percent of the career executives in the agency,â thus ensuring that NASA will have available the leadership talent needed to fill leadership vacan- cies as they occur (Human Capital Flexibilities . . . 2005). Succession planning is important not only because it ensures an orderly transition within an organization, but because well-trained, competent supervisors, managers, and executives are essential to successful organization perfor- mance and play a critical role in engaging the minds and hearts of employees in the work of the organization. In his book, Peak Performance: Aligning the Hearts and Minds of Your Employees, Jon R. Katzenbach says that: The definition of higher performing workforcesâany significant group of employees whose emotional commitment enables them to make or deliver products or services that constitute a sustain- able competitive advantage for their employerâimplies the fol- lowing criteria. â¢ A larger than normal proportion (i.e., more than one-third) of individual workers consistently exceeds the expectations of their leaders and customers. â¢ The average worker performs better than the average com- petitive workerâ[Katzenbach identifies training and devel- opment opportunities as one of the motivating/energizing mechanisms]. â¢ A strong emotional commitment to higher standards and aspirations is reflected all across the workforce and appears to create a multiplier beyond what rational systems and pro- grams could explain. â¢ The collective performance of the entire workforce or of its critical segments [typically the front line; Katzenbach defines âthe front lineâ as the employees who work directly with cus- tomers and the supervisors of these employees] forms the core of the institutionâs competitive advantage and is extremely dif- ficult to copy. A well-structured, well-run succession planning program is an essential ingredient for a successful organization. Although public and private organizations have different motivations and often different values, research continues to show that to be successful both must have a cadre of talented first line supervisors. The Gallup Organization research in both the public and the private sector on what employees seek in an organization (employee engagement) consistently shows that well-trained first line supervisors are critical to individual and organizational success. For example, work units with well-trained supervisors can be as much as 40% more productive. More information about this research can be found at www.gallup.com. A related and subsidiary component of succession planning is an organizationâs career development program. As Shelly Prochaska observed in her February 2000 article âDesigning
13 Organizational Programs for Employee Career Development,â which was made available through the Society of Human Resources Information Center, A comprehensive career development program will contain the following: â¢ An employee orientation program that offers detailed infor- mation about the career development program and the organi- zation, its mission, and its values; â¢ A training program in which managers learn how to coach employees; â¢ A career development center or library where employees have access to job search and labor market information; â¢ Access to a career counselor for individual sessions; â¢ A performance appraisal system where employees receive ongoing feedback; â¢ Career development workshops on topics such as resume and letter writing, networking, interviewing, interest/value/skill exploration and identification, managing career burnout, and goal setting; â¢ A job posting system where employees have access to position announcements; â¢ Access to organizational job descriptions so employees are aware of necessary competencies and requirements for other positions; â¢ A career patching system so employees know what careers are available to someone with their skills and training; â¢ An EEO [Equal Employment Opportunity]/Affirmative Action program to ensure fairness and diversity in the workplace; â¢ Internal training programs where employees can build upon their skills and learn new ones to prepare them for promotions and to learn about the organization; â¢ A formal mentoring program where employees learn from oth- ers who are already in positions to which they may aspire; â¢ A succession planning program that identifies competencies for higher positions and identifies and develops potential employees who would fit those positions; â¢ A tuition reimbursement program that allows employees to enroll in college or professional development courses; â¢ A course on how to apply to college and select a program of study; â¢ A program for job rotation or internal internships where employees can have on-the-job experiences working in a new setting to develop and use new skills; â¢ A supervisory/management development program that trains supervisors and develops potential supervisors; and â¢ Exit interviews to ascertain why employees leave the organi- zation. In the report, Career Development in the 21st Century, Craig and Gilpin define career development by saying, âThe individual-level aspect is often referred to as career planning, while the organization-level aspect is called career manage- ment.â This definition is well suited for todayâs worker. He or she is in all likelihood a âknowledge worker,â who knows that his or her current and future career is dependent on con- tinuing to learn and keeping current on the developing state of information in the chosen career field. Career development is no longer a patriarchal responsibility of the organization; it is a shared responsibility between employee and organiza- tion. Both stand to lose if the partnership is not forged and both stand to gain significantly if it is. State DOTs employ the âtraditionalâ knowledge worker, such as engineers and IT professionals, as well as the trades and labor occupations associated with road and track build- ing and maintenance. Both types of professions continue to change rapidly and require employees to be current with the changing work processes, materials, environmental con- cerns, and similar issues. Succession planning is essential to organization success. Relatively few organizations at the state, local, or federal level have yet grappled with this issue successfully. No study has been done to ascertain exactly how many organizations do have a functioning succession planning program. How- ever, based on a recent review of 24 federal agencies and the questionnaire responses from state DOTs, a safe estimate would be that less than 20% currently have a well-defined, operating succession program in place. TRAINING ORGANIZATION Organization Placement There are three common rules of thumb on organizational placement for the training function in both public and private organizations. The placement is a function on training con- tent and sometimes the size of the training program. The placement of training is also affected by the view of the orga- nizationâs leaders on the importance of training. The most typical placement is as a component of the human resources or human capital management function. The training func- tion may also exist as a separate organization under the gen- eral umbrella of the administrative support infrastructure. The general lines of demarcation are based on the quantity and type of training. If the training program is predominately personal competence skills, which include leadership train- ing, writing and communications skills, financial manage- ment, human resources management, organization policies and procedures, and similar subjects, it tends to reside within the Office of Human Resources or Human Capital Manage- ment. If the training is focused predominately on technical skills or professional skills, the training tends to be under the direction of those in the organization who have the technical or professional competency. For example, NASAâs leader- ship development programs are under the direction of the agencyâs Chief Human Capital Officer. Its engineering and technical project management training programs are under the direction of the Chief Engineer. In their responses to the synthesis questionnaire, a number of state DOTs cited simi- lar divisions of responsibility. The more general training and development was the responsibility of the Training Division or the training unit within the Human Capital Office. Tech- nical training was the responsibility of the Chief Engineer or a similar position. Centralized Versus Decentralized Another question that frequently arises when organization structure is considered is: Should the training function be
decentralized or centralized (Rodriguez 2005)? The benefits of a centralized function include: â¢ A single focus of responsibility and accountability that âassumes accountabilityâ for managing learning and development throughout the organization. The function usually reports to a Chief Learning Officer (CLO) or similar position. â¢ There are less likely to be âvariances and redundancies.â â¢ Measurement of results can be more focused and more disciplined. â¢ A single organization can âleverage purchasing dollarsâ both for equipment and training programs. â¢ Centralization allows a single individual to âoversee and direct the companyâs investmentâ and makes easier the comparison of the value of a training investment versus some other use of funds. â¢ It also âfacilitates the sharing of best practices as it creates economies of scale and makes it easier to track initiatives.â There are equally valid arguments for decentralization. They include: â¢ Helps ensure a more direct link between the program goals and the training and development programs and activities. â¢ Allows for a better alignment with business strategy and a greater possibility that trainers will become familiar with the business and programs for which they are pro- viding training. â¢ Is consistent with the entrepreneurial values and culture of some organizations. â¢ Allows for a more consistent focus on leadership or tech- nical or other business and program-specific training. Either organizational modelâcentralized or decentral- izedâwill work. The option chosen must be consistent with the organizationâs mission, its values, its strategic goals and objectives, the work to be done, and the type of training and development needed by the organizationâs employees. Other factors to consider include whether the organization is geo- graphically dispersed or geographically concentrated and the degree to which it has and uses electronic means to deliver training and development programs. Another organization structure is the corporate university (CU). The CU, according to a Society of Human Resources white paper, is different from a more traditional training department in the following ways: Typically, the human resource development function reacts to training needs determined through employee surveys, individual or group requests, or new technology. These programs are most likely direct instruction on specific skills. A CU, on the other hand, can impart more than a new skill set for employees. It can actually be used as a holistic conduit to instill corporate values, culture, philosophy, history, leadership skills, and more. . . . 14 Components of a CU might include. . . courses such as: Business Education . . . , Professional Education . . . , Personal Develop- ment . . . Technical Instruction . . . A CU must only not only link to the business needs, but it must also meet the needs of individual employees to be effective. Learning has become a life-long commitment for many people in todayâs workforce. Many organizations recognize this and are using employee development initiatives as an important part of their recruiting and retention programs. The Society for Human Resources Management paper goes on to say that âproperly conceptualized and executed, (CU) can be the strongest forum in the organization for help- ing to shape and give direction to not only significant organi- zational change but also to the business itself.â It can also help improve recruitment, increase revenues, reduce turnover, and make available a wider talent pool. Private-sector firms with effective CUs include: Land Rover, Motorola, Sears, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (Prochaska 2001). Some public- sector organizations, particularly at the federal level of gov- ernment, are experimenting with the CU concept. Examples include the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Energy, and a number of U.S. Department of Defense orga- nizational components. Public organizations should think very carefully about whether a âcorporate universityâ is an appropriate mechanism for a training and development pro- gram delivery. They are expensive to establish and maintain, and the costâbenefit of the tailored training in the CU versus that which can be acquired at colleges and universities, or pro- vided by private- and public-sector vendors must be carefully analyzed. According to a research report by Bersin and Associates, the âmassive shiftâ to e-learning has raised the issue of what is the most effective and efficient training organization. Its June 2005 study (âWhat Worksâ 2005) is based on interviews with âapproximately 350 North American and global training organizations. Our goal was to understand what drives the effectiveness and efficiency of corporate training.â The study defined measurement elements effectiveness and efficiency as follows: EffectivenessâThe ability of the learning organization to meet the needs of the line of business managers. Includes developing, delivering, and measuring training that is timely, relevant, and results-oriented. The learning organization is aligned with corporate, HR, and business goals. EfficiencyâDeveloping and delivering training at an affordable cost. Includes sharing of best practices, vendors, and other resources, as well as the supporting technologies. Key conclusions of this study were: â¢ Centralization of training, while a trend, does not necessarily improve effectiveness. More than half of the organizations stud- ied use [of] what we call a âfederatedâ model. Similarly to the organization of government in this country, the federated model has some centralized functions and others that are distributed.
15 The biggest driver toward centralization is technologyâ investments in a centralized Learning Management System (LMS) require a centralized budget, support infrastructure, and often a content management and development team. â¢ The role of the CLO directly improves the impact of an orga- nization. Companies with strong CLOs have much higher effectiveness and efficiency measures than those without such a leader. The CLO has a dramatic impact on employee satis- faction in training as well. CLOs also create and enforce the use of meaningful measurements. . . â¢ Organizations with centralized LMSs perform at higher levels. The discipline and focus to implement and support a central- ized LMS forces a learning organization to set in place other structures that improve performance and efficiency. â¢ Alignment with [Human Resources] HR has positive and neg- ative impacts. Training organizations that align too heavily with HR tend to suffer. Over-alignment reduces the effective- ness of a learning organization and pulls it away from the line of business constituencies. However, certain programs, such as leadership, new hire, and compliance training, can be aligned effectively with HR. â¢ Sound resource allocation is both a cause and effect of an effec- tive organization. One of the biggest drivers of high impact is the establishment of an independent, outwardly focused per- formance consulting organization. . . . â¢ Use of shared services is critical to success. A well-defined, outwardly focused shared service model is mandatory, no matter how the learning organization itself is organized. Organizations with such models can efficiently respond to business needs, create standards, and centralize budget decisions. â¢ Our research verifies that organization and management have a significant impact on a learning organization. Excellent tech- nology, content, and instructional design are not enough. Training cannot succeed without strong business leadership, alignment, performance consulting, measurement, standards, and program management (emphasis added). The following are insights from thought leadersâSix Components That Make a Critical Difference. As part of the research for this synthesis, three thought lead- ers, J. Paul Longanbach, Dr. Susan Krup Grunin, and Dr. James E. Trinka, were contacted about what were the essential ingre- dients of an effective training program. Longanbach is a training and organizational development expert with national and international experience in both the public and private sectors. Named to the Smithsonianâs endowed Lunder Educational Chair for education, he devel- oped a comprehensive, educationally sound nationwide pro- gram for providing visual arts-linked educational resources that improve teaching and learning in U.S. classrooms. Grunin is currently a Senior Training Consultant with Wat- sonWyatt. Before joining WatsonWyatt, she directed the administrative and human capital training program for the federal judiciary. Trinka is the Associate Director for Train- ing and Development for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He directs the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia. These individuals were selected because they have a variety of public- and private-sector experience in establishing and managing successful training and development programs and reputations for thinking creatively about training and devel- opment issues. Their collective views are discussed here. The ingredients for an effective and successful training program include: â¢ A program reflective of the organizationâs strategic plan or business plan, â¢ A well-thought-out philosophy and set of values, â¢ Multiple delivery systems and mechanisms, â¢ An evaluation strategy and plan to continually refine training and development offerings, â¢ A strategy and plan to ensure the transfer of learning, and â¢ A communications strategy and plan to ensure that employees know what training and development activ- ities are available and how these are related to improved performance. First and foremost, the training and development program must flow from the organizationâs strategic plan and its objec- tives and outcomes. This is the anchor that helps ensure that the program is âvalue addedâ and that it directly addresses the organizationâs important issues, programs, and outcomes. Second, every successful training program must develop and articulate a philosophy; a set of values and goals that are consistent with the agencyâs strategic goals and outcomes. There should also be a career map for each occupation that identifies the competencies required at each level (e.g., entry, intermediate, and senior), the positions, work assignments, and internal or external training that can assist the employees in acquiring the needed competencies. This, too, must be consis- tent with the agency strategic goals and outcomes. This infor- mation must be transparent and available to all in a variety of traditional (e.g., written policies, hard copy newsletters, and discussed at conferences) and electronic formats (e-mail, web- sites, and electronic newsletters) so that employees can partic- ipate in the decisions about their professional development. Third, there must be multiple delivery systems, because adults have very different learning styles. The best training and development programs recognize this; therefore, the growth in alternative delivery systemsâtraditional classroom, web- based, computer-based, coaches, mentors, and other methods to ensure learning transfer. Examples of those who do this suc- cessfully are the U.S. Department of Defense; U.S. Office of Personnel of Management through its GOLearn program, which is used by federal, state, and local governments across the country; and National Guard Bureau. FHWA programs and those of the Minnesota DOT are also examples of organi- zations with advanced multiple delivery systems. Fourth, the best programs have an evaluation methodol- ogy and cycle to help recalibrate learning programs based on feedback from the training programs from supervisors about the performance of employees who take the courses. Train- ing is not an end unto itself, but an instrument to improve individual and organizational performance. Therefore, per- formance assessment is an essential ingredient in training program evaluation.
Fifth, the evaluation must also be calibrated to consider environmental changes, the degree to which learning transfer occurs, and the cost of the program in relation to the tangible benefits derived for both the individual and the organization. To assess these elements, qualitative and quantitative measures of success are identified and a baseline measurement is estab- lished to provide a point of comparison to judge whether the programs and activities are achieving the desired outcomes. Sixth, all must be cemented with a communications strategy and plan that is designed to address the various audiences within and outside the organization. Most orga- nizations have at least six internal audiencesâexecutives, managers, supervisors, subject matter experts in the partic- ular program area, employees, and employees with special needs such as the hearing or sight impaired. If the organi- zation has unions, those present a seventh audience. An organizationâs external audiences may include political and career individuals in other executive branch organizations, legislative members and their staffs, trade associations, and similar groups. The communications plan must ensure that communications goes at least two waysâup and downâ and that the multiple communications delivery mechanisms are in place to meet the various hearing and learning styles of different individuals. All three thought leaders spoke of the importance of involving these various audiences in the program planning and decision processes, through needs assessment surveys, evaluation of course content, and through one or several advisory committees. They each commented on the power of properly constituted and run advisory committees to gar- ner lasting support for learning and training programs. In their definition, âproperly constitutedâ means that the peo- ple included are those who have both a stake in successful training programs and whose organizations will benefit from this success. Competencies For the last two decades, ASTD has identified and published information on the competencies required for training profes- sionals. The latest version, published in 2004, updates the 1999 study and provides insight into the trends that are shaping the profession, as well as an update on competencies required for successful performance. The study is entitled Mapping the Future: ASTD 2004 Competency Study, New Workplace Learn- ing and Performance Competencies (Bernthal et al. 2004) and can be accessed on the ASTD website at www.astd.org/ astd/Research/competency_study/competency_study.html. As the executive summary explains: Each ASTD competency model marks a milestone in the expansion of the field from a singular focus on training to human and organization development to workplace learning and performance. . . [The study] provides a framework for the competencies that learning professionals need today and will 16 need in the future. This shifted focus from training to work- place learning and performance is one that is discussed in much of the literature, and is certainly consistent with the IBM study on the four trends that are changing government. The study reflects the input of more than 2,000 ASTD members and other practitioners. According to ASTD, there are eight trends that are shap- ing the profession: â¢ Uncertaintyâeconomic and fiscal uncertainties have left their mark on all and training is no exception. â¢ Blurring of lines between work and lifeânew organiza- tion structures are blurring the lines between work and other parts of life. â¢ Global impactsâinstantaneous, worldwide communi- cations change the way people relate and connect. There is increasing interdependency between peoples, compa- nies, and governments. â¢ Diversityâworkplace is increasingly diverse. â¢ Impact of changeâchange is ever with us. â¢ Security concernsâsecurity includes the physical secu- rity of employees and facilities, as well as security of intellectual property. â¢ Impact of technologyâtechnology is pervasive. â¢ Ethical issuesâneed for ethical conduct of public and private business; the unfortunate and very public failure of leaders to meet these standards is a constant in todayâs world. What then are the implications of these trends? The ASTD study conclusions are totally consistent with other research included in this synthesis. â¢ Being an expert in training and development is not suf- ficient; professionals must understand the program- matic and substantive work of the organization. â¢ There must be demonstrated value in training courses and activities, and these must be directly linked to the organizationâs strategic goals and outcomes. â¢ The training professional has a special obligation to help both the organization and individuals âdevelop a culture of integrity by honoring its commitment to the value of people in the workplace.â â¢ Technology is a key learning tool. The training profes- sional must know what is available and be able to artic- ulate its relevance to the agencyâs learning program. â¢ The power of the Internet should be used to communi- cate globally with customers for training products and offerings. â¢ The importance of oneâs role as a developer of talent for the organization must be understood. ASTD adheres to a traditional definition of competencyâ âCompetencies encompass the clusters of skills, knowledges, abilities, and behaviors required for success across all WLP (workplace learning and performance) jobs.â These compe- tencies are:
17 â¢ Analyzing needs and proposal solutions, â¢ Applying business acumen, â¢ Building trust, â¢ Communicating effectively, â¢ Demonstrating adaptability, â¢ Driving results, â¢ Influencing stakeholders, â¢ Leveraging diversity, â¢ Modeling personal development, â¢ Planning and implementing assignments, and â¢ Thinking strategically. These competencies are grouped into clusters (Business/ Management, Interpersonal, and Personal) to facilitate under- standing. A detailed discussion and definitions of these com- petencies are found in Appendix D. The study also identified four roles: Learning Strategist, Business Partner, Project Manager, and Professional Spe- cialist. This study is one of the most complete and relevant to the needs of state DOTs. It is firmly anchored in well done research and provides insights into current needs, and most importantly it clearly indicated where the profession is headed so that individual professionals and training program executives can get a glimpse of the future. This allows each DOT to compare the current with the anticipated and plan for the changes that may be needed. Evaluation This section discusses evaluation methodologies to be used in assessing training programs. The basic evaluation framework established by Fitz-enz and Phillips in their 1998 publication, A New Vision for Human Resources, is a classic in the litera- ture. The new vision of human capital management enunciated by the authors has as its basic assumption a âvalue imperative.â The products that organizations produce, whether public or private, must add value and must contribute to achieving the organizationâs programmatic strategic goals and objectives. Between 1991 and 1998 when this book was published, private-sector âHR budgets declined by 40% and staffing levels shrunk by nearly 25%.â The public sector experienced a simi- lar decline. (Ironically, this reduction of budget and staffing only increases the need for the Human Resources profes- sionalâs flexibility and an even greater diversity of skills.) Any function that cannot articulate its value to the organization can expect to experience a similar decline. In light of this demand to justify existence, Fitz-enz and Phillips defined a model of components that must be developed to evaluate human capital programs. They apply as well to training and development pro- grams. To assess value, an organization must assess its service, the quality of its products, and its productivity. From this flows the concept of return on investment. âIn competitive compa- nies, every function is a value-added operation. . . . [E]ach job must demonstrate an acceptable return on investment . . . [and] contribute in some way to continuous gains in product cost reduction, quality levels, and customer service.â Indicators include cost, time, volume, and human reaction. In thinking about these as programmatic components, it is important to know what type of data is available to add in assessment (e.g., quality, ease of access, and cost to accumulate). The next step is to decide âwhat needs attention and what you are excelling at.â The actual development of metrics and âmeasuring change over timeâ are the final steps in the process (Fitz-enz and Phillips 1998). When establishing an assessment process that is both qual- itatively and quantitatively focused, an important decision is how many and what dimensions to measure. The tendency is to identify process rather than substance as the dimensions to measure, and to identify more measures than are really needed. The consequence of these typical mistakes is that pro- gram evaluation becomes a very cumbersome and difficult process, and the results of the evaluation do not justify the cost of gathering and assessing the data. Successful evalua- tion programs identify three to seven measures that are truly the âlevers of powerâ in predicting performance. Several other factors are essential for successful evalua- tion efforts. The evaluation program must: â¢ Have the time and attention of the functionâs and the organizationâs leadership; â¢ Be part of both the organizationâs and the individualâs performance assessment requirements; â¢ Communicate results to appropriate internal and exter- nal stakeholders; and â¢ Use the results to revise and improve the program ser- vice, quality, and productivity. This is a circular and continuous process. Measurement is both an art and a science, with a good amount of common sense mixed in. However, there must be some valid, quantitative component to assessment for it to be a credible assessment methodology. In How to Measure Human Resources Management, Fitz-enz and Davison (2002) provided some additional approaches for program assessment. The accumulation and availability of information has spawned an obsessive drive for change and improvement. It is human nature that when something becomes easy to obtain, people want more and more of it. . . . As often happens, a need finds a solu- tion. [Computers and the World Wide Web came along] . . . and gave everyone the ability to access educational material from anywhere at anytime. . . . The training and education programs produced and delivered by organizations for the benefit of their employees and customers take many forms and use many media. The argument over classroom versus self-directed versus on-the- job experience is pointless. Each topic has a medium through which it is best encountered. However, it is a truism that distance consumes value. . . . The further away the learning experience is from its application, the less it is relevant and retained. [T]he learning medium should be as close as possible to the skill being taught. . . [W]e are not going to focus on the learning process but on the results of that process:
â¢ How well did someone learn? â¢ How effectively did he or she apply the learning . . .? â¢ What difference did it make to the business imperatives? . . . . The three general measures of training are cost, change, and impact. Cost is defined as expense per unit of training delivered. Change is defined as gain in skill or knowledge or positive change in attitude by the trainee, and impact is defined as results or outcomes from the traineeâs use of new skills, knowledge, or attitudes that are measurable in monetary terms in the organiza- tionâs productivity, quality, or service results. For those interested in a more technical discussion and in measurement formulas, please see Chapter 12 of the Fitz-enz and Davison book. A final comment should be stated on measurement: pro- grams can be measured in isolation, but the results have more meaning if they are measured as a component of the larger whole. For example, although each administrative infra- structure function, such as human capital, facilities manage- ment, and IT, have activities where the measurement is unique to the function, there are cross-cutting measures that can be used to compare how one function is doing in com- parison with another. If the organization is interested in look- ing at functions both individually and collectively, it may want to consider identifying common measures across simi- lar programs. The Human Resources Program-Evaluation Handbook is also an excellent reference on the methods and approaches for training evaluation. In âConducting Training Evalua- tion,â from the Handbook, Quinones and Tonidondel (2003) noted that in 1998 companies were spending more than $55 billion on training, but that this represented only the direct, out-of-pocket expense. It does not include on-the-job and similar training, and it does not take into account the more recent investments made in technology-based learning sys- tems and software. A related estimate for training expendi- ture was 1.8% of payroll or, in 1998 dollars, approximately $649 per employee. The authors also noted the changing workplace, the impact of technology, the multigenerational workforce, and the demand for greater organizational effi- ciency as trends affecting the demand for training. The five- step model proposed by the authors includes: â¢ Identifying training objectives, â¢ Developing evaluation criteria, â¢ Selecting an evaluation design, â¢ Assessing change as a result of training, and â¢ Performing a utility analysis (the utility analysis expresses the value of training in economic terms). The most widely known and used of all training evalua- tion models is the Kirkpatrick Four Level Model. Kirk- patrickâs book, Evaluating Training Programs, further developed his ideas that were originally published in 1959. The four levels of Kirkpatrickâs model measure are: 18 â¢ Student reactionââWhat they thought and felt about the training.â â¢ LearningââThe resulting increase in knowledge or capability.â â¢ BehaviorââThe extent of behavior and capability improvement and implementation and/or application.â â¢ ResultsââThe effect on the business or environment resulting from the traineeâs performance.â Kirkpatrick recommends use of âAll of these measures . . . for full and meaningful evaluation of learning in organiza- tions, although their application broadly increases in com- plexity, and usually cost, through the levels from level 1 to level 4â (see http://businessballs.com/kirkpatricklearning evaluationmodel.htm). There are a variety of other models that can be selected to assess training programs, with each having strengths and weaknesses. However, successful evaluation programs share the following characteristics: â¢ The evaluation objectives are known and supported by all who are involved in the evaluation process; for example, the organizationâs executives, other leaders and managers, training staff, and employees who take the programs and classes offered. â¢ Data sources are known, understood, accurate, and maintained. â¢ The evaluation team collects and analyzes the mini- mum amount of data required to properly evaluate the program. â¢ The programs being evaluated have clearly stated goals and objectives and agreed on qualitative and quantita- tive measures against which results are assessed. â¢ The evaluation process is cyclical. â¢ Recommendations for change are acted on with needed program changes being integrated as appropriate. E-Learning According to recent research completed by Bersin and Asso- ciates, a learning research organization, over the last five years, the training industry has been deluged with technologyâlearning management systems, development tools, blended learning, simulations, and much more. Our esti- mates show that as much as 20% to 30% of all training, by stu- dent hour, is delivered by e-learning in many organizations, a massive shift in delivery approaches in only the last few years. Learning Circuits, an on-line magazine, published its first ever learning survey âto gauge the impact that technology devel- opments, supplier consolidations, and the economy were having on e-learning efforts inside (the) organization.â Learning Cir- cuits is ASTDâs source for e-learning. This complete survey, earlier surveys, and other studies on e-learning issues can be found at http://www.learningcircuits.org/2003/nov/trends.htm.
19 As might be expected, Learning Circuits found that pub- lic and private organizations are continuing to explore and to educate themselves on e-learning issues. More than 40% of the respondents had used e-learning âfor some time,â which is defined as 5 or more years. Approximately 15% were beginning implementation of some facet of e-learning. The remaining 45% were in some stage of exploration or just beginning to look at options to actually designing and pilot- ing programs. E-learning budgets were relatively stable over the last few years. The e-learning tools and services portion of the survey revealed that nearly 60% of those responding use self-paced courseware, whereas just over 30% used âvirtual classrooms to supplement traditional classroom-based training.â Elec- tronic course registration was the most frequent e-learning support service used by survey respondents. The single great- est use of e-learning was for IT training and âgeneral business skills, which included everything from leadership training to . . . diversity training.â E-learning is still at the stage of devel- opment where most e-learning is initiated by the training organization rather than by the program offices of an organi- zation. Of those responding to the survey, more than 70% reported that their training staffs âhad received development on how to produce and support e-learning initiatives.â As is usually the case with the introduction of technology as a tool to support a program, we are still several years away from e-learning tools and programs being well-developed, totally integrated components of training and development programs. For most organizations, it takes 3 to 5 or more years to analyze the need; decide on and purchase the hardware and software; train subject matter experts, managers, leaders, and employees; develop, pilot, and revise the first programs; and then finally have the use of e-learning as an accepted component of the training and development program. The question then arises as to what competencies are required for those individuals and organizations that have made or are considering making an investment in e-learning programs and technology. According to Sanders (2001), the following 31 e-learning competencies apply to the career field. General (18): Adult learning, instructional design, per- formance gap analysis, change management, leadership, industry awareness, buy-in/advocacy, interpersonal rela- tionship building and collaboration, consulting, business knowledge, systems thinking, contracting, project manage- ment, awareness of e-learning industry, communications, program evaluation, design and development of content, and implementation and support. Management (3): Management of learning technology selection, management of learning technology design and development, and management of learning technology implementation. Distribution method (6): Cost analysis and return on investment of distribution methods, limitations and benefits of the distribution method, effect of distribution method on learner, integration of distribution methods, remote site coor- dination, and technology evaluation. Presentation method (4): Cost analysis and return on investment of presentation methods, limitations and benefits of the presentation method, effect of presentation method on learners, integration of presentation methods. Although these are not typical competencies, they do rep- resent a useful summary of the type of information and under- standing that training professionals must have if they are to operate successfully in the world of e-learning technology, course content and delivery, and program evaluation. In August 2004, Christopher Moore wrote âUsing Models to Manage Strategic Learning Investments,â in which he argues that organizations should consider using maturity models to help inform the technology decision-making process. A maturity model is a framework that classifies the evolution of a system from a less ordered, less effective state to a highly ordered, highly effective state. Maturity models have five levels or stages, typically beginning at stage one, ad hoc (some- times called the âchaoticâ state), and ending at stage five, opti- mized (often referred to as ânirvanaâ). Throughout each stage, a maturity model tracks the evolutionary changes of key orga- nizational characteristics based on the system being modeled. . . . Using the model as a frame of reference, organizations can set their sights on a particular state, assess where they currently are in relation to the model, create a strategy or plan to reach their destination, and measure their progress along the way (Moore 2004). The complete discussion of maturity models and their ap- plicability to learning technology decisions can be found at www.clomedia.com/content/templaates/clo_feature.asp? articleid=579@zoneid=31. Finally, the question of the effectiveness of e-learning versus classroom learning should be raised. Because e-learning is relatively new as a subsidiary field within training, there is still debate about its effectiveness in relationship to the more traditional classroom training. The Department of Defenseâs Advanced Distribution Learning Initiative and the University of Tulsa undertook a study to find the answer to this question. Writing in the August 2005 issue of Training and Devel- opment, Traci Stizmann reported that The answer appears to be yes according to researchers at the Department of Defenseâs Advanced Distribution Learning (ADL) initiative and the University of Tulsa. In their work, Traci Stizmann, Robert Wisher, Kurt Kraiger, and David Stewart con- ducted a meta-analysis of 96 previously conducted studies that compared the effects of web-based and classroom instruction. . . . E-learning and classroom learning were found to be equally
effective when the content and learners were similar in both the web-based and classroom courses. . . . Learners were equally sat- isfied with the two methods of instruction. . . . However, Stizmann et al. found that e-learning was more effec- tive than classroom instruction when learners had more control over the content, sequence, or pace of learning. WHAT IS THE VALUE ADDED? When assessing any of the components of the training programâorganization structure, succession planning, strate- gic training and development approach, program evaluation methodologies, staff competencies, e-learning, or other issues, the final questions to be answered are: What is the value proposition? Why is it worth making this investment for the organization? What is the benefit that justifies the cost of the investment? Research by WatsonWyatt, a worldwide human resources consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., provides a con- trary view to the traditional notion that training investments are beneficial to the organizationâs âbottom line,â whether the organization is public or private. WatsonWyatt maintains a Human Capital Index, which it uses to analyze a variety of human capital management issues, including the value of training. In this particular study, which included 750 large, publicly traded companies, training is actually linked to lower shareholder value, with companies providing it being worth 5.6 percent less than companies that do not pro- vide training. Furthermore, companies that train during an economic slowdown have a market value that is 3.4 percent less than companies who donât train during this time. . . . the WatsonWyatt research shows that a large part of the problem stems from too much investment in âdevelopmentalâ train- ingâdeveloping people for future jobs. . . . The WatsonWy- att findings should not lead HR to abandon developmental training. . . But, in the face of numbers that show training can be harmful to the bottom line, it is useful for HR to become healthy skeptics. All training is not equal. Companies must take a rigorous approach to the design of training programs to 20 reap the benefits of increased productivity, employee com- mitment, and shareholder value. There must be a strategy for return on investment (ROI). And the organization must cap- ture the new skills. The authors concluded their analysis by providing com- mon sense advice about how to help ensure that training is a value added experience. Specifically: â¢ Use training technologies that build how-to skills that are highly relevant and immediately applicable. â¢ Stay away from theoretical or inspirational training approaches where âthe rubber meets the sky.â â¢ Follow up on training sessions with on-the-job coaching and support from managers. â¢ Build training around organizational objectives and strategies. â¢ Use credible trainers. â¢ Involve senior management. The foregoing research reinforces the need for public organizations to link their training programs directly to the agencyâs strategic goals and outcomes, and to have a vigor- ous measurement program that provides insight on the value returned to the organization. A different view of the value added question is provided by Elaine Biech, President and Managing Principal of ebb asso- ciates, inc., and the author of Training for Dummies. From her perspective, training attracts talent (which is born out by a vari- ety of surveys, including the NACE survey of recent college graduates), keeps a company competitive, saves money, and it fosters across-the-board buy-in from staff that through train- ing come to have shared values and shared experiences. So what is the test of success? According to Biech: You know your training program is successful when the training department is invited to the decision-making table, when upper management taps into the trainersâ skills and expertise to plan for the future. . . Build a strong âtraining trackâ that is connected to your companyâs current strategy. I guarantee that it will positively affect the bottom line.