Large power distances are normally common in Asian countries such as Japan where individuals prefer decisions to be made for them allowing for minimum responsibility. At times, conflict arises from decision making as individuals carrying out the work would like to make suggestions of how the business could operate more effectively but are unable to contribute due to management style and strict hierarchies where staff input is not valued. When staff are being managed based on key performance indicators and principles of theory x management, the opportunity for staff input is largely seen as irrelevant.
In International Visas employees tend to avoid uncertainty by paying a great deal of attention to an individual’s application due to the ramifications for the client if the visa application is refused. The time-constraints caused by the nature of work often frustrate management who are constantly reviewing individuals’ key performance indicators. “…. Characteristics by work avoidance, only putting in effort when pushed and monitored (McGregor, 1960)
The constant monitoring of key performance indicators is based on completing the application within the shortest period of time in which to collect any outstanding payments. In order for this to work effectively employees’ numeration is based on performance output. Based on the processes of the casework department, individual employees are responsible for the collection of outstanding balance within an agreed time period. Although the onus is placed on the employee it can be viewed that a high degree of feminity exists.
The finances of the organisation are strictly controlled by the finance department who use an automated process in which to collect the cash. With the introduction of technology the culture has shifted towards masculinity. With strong emphasis on performance management a individuals feel isolated from colleagues resulting in a lack of motivation which contributes to conflict. “Human resources management relies on policies to encourage commitment, loyalty, a strong culture, shared goals and values. (Cited Guest, 1990) Training needs analysis
The investigation of the training needs of International Visas aims to benefit employees so that the organisation can benefit in the future. With the expansion of the network of offices there has been a significant increase in the number of complaints. Although few complaints had no basis, a vast majority identified that the communication with their individual caseworker had been difficult, although when contacted they were satisfied with the service provided. Prior to completing the training needs analysis an investigation of the organisations needs is required.
By reviewing the short and long term objectives of International Visas an analysis of job categories is required to ensure that the organisation has the necessary knowledge and skills in which to achieve the objectives. “Even if you measure skills and add them up, you know whether the quantity of skill is enough for your future need” (Cited, Hirsh & Riley, 1998 p138). This is an accurate reflection of employees of International Visas especially when considering the high level of individualism exercised in the organisation culture.
Competency and performance management approaches are evident in the organisation culture of International Visas. Despite being evident in the performance management of individuals underlying characteristics are not taken into account in processes, instead a restricted process is used which is currently not fulfilling the clients expectation. “Although structures do not determine the roles of individuals play in an organisation, they do greatly influence them.
At the individual level critical incident/priority problem analysis allows organisations to evaluate the relationship it has with clients. Due to the competitive nature of the industry and the continued demand for the organisations’ services, the initial application for immigration/migration support is placed on hold until a decision is reached by the issuing authority. This is due to the high volume of cases and revenue and submission targets are set by management which contributes to the individual performance based pay contributing to the individuals’ performance based pay.
Skittle argues that it may be impossible to train one group of people effectively without changing the behaviour of another group. Definition taken from beyond training interventions. When reviewing the performance based pay structure problems may be reduced by placing less emphasis on the number of cases submitted and instead rewarding individuals on the cases approved. The training needs analysis of International Visas has been completed by a sample of staff within the organisation to provide a better customer focused service to clients.
In order to complete the analysis of the training needs the impact must be taken into consideration at the organisation level, so that the training needs analysis can contribute to the corporate planning and long term training needs. With the organisation objectives stating that the organisation wishes to increase profitability, add additional offices to the overseas branch network it is important that the training needs contribute towards the organisation objectives.
By issuing self-complete questionnaires data can be gathered from the targeted group of caseworkers without the external intervention of an interviewer. By completing the questionnaires anonymously it provides the opportunity to the respondent to express their frustrations without fear of embarrassment. In addition by using questionnaires limitations that the organisation structure can be assessed on the employees performance. The feedback collected can also provide a benchmark for the observations and allow an interviewer to tackle any reoccurring problems in a semi-structured.
Observations can provide an insight to the approaches used by individuals to achieve set key performance indicators. In order to observe individuals accurately a selection of staff will be observed against a set criteria established from the questionnaire. In order to prevent the Hawthorn effect the observation will be completed unknowingly. “Hawthorn effect refers to the tendency of people being observed, as part of research effort, to behave differently that they otherwise would” (Cited Mayo, 1939, 283).
If the individuals were to alter their behaviour the method of training needs analysis would not be accurate. Conflict may also arise if the observation was known due to the low uncertainty avoidance felt by individuals within the corporate culture identified using Hofsteads collective programming. During the current time of economic downturn individuals may feel that cost saving exercises may result in redundancy and as a result the training needs analysis hindering the needs of the organisation instead of benefiting.
Observation feedback can be delivered in the form of an interview as it allows the individual to provide feedback regarding their skill, knowledge, attitudes, feelings, causes of problems and their solutions. Despite the benefits interviews have the can be costly as well as time consuming. Furthermore the skill and status of the interviewer can have an impact on the outcome of the interview especially in an organisation with a strong degree on individualism. “Interview respondents regularly cite the interview as something they dred” (Torrington 1994, p149).
In order for the interview to be an affective form of analysis a semi structured interview with open and non-directive questions has been used, giving the individual an opportunity to represent themselves. From completing the training needs analysis using the above methods of analysis it appears that motivation within the organisation is low and time management could be improved amongst individuals. Therefore the above points are included in the learning objectives.
Due to the cost implication of learning and development in the Human Resources department, it is important that the training programmes are evaluated. The purpose of the training needs analysis was to identify the reasons for the significant increase in customer complaints through training interventions. In order to evaluate the training plan derived from the training needs analysis the impact of the training plan the model of Whitelaw and Hamblin can be applied.
Although the model encompasses five levels the training needs analysis and training plan have a major impact on the individual as a learner. By completing the training needs analysis and evaluating the training plan the overall objective is to ensure that the employees’ behaviour changes through training. In order to evaluate level one towards the reaction of the means of training I have decided to use a questionnaire. Although questionnaires can be biased towards the likability of the trainer it also can be beneficial towards the individuals continued personal development.
To prevent any form of bias and for the questionnaire to be related to the individuals personal development plan a discussion will also be used to ensure that the skills learned can be applied to day-to-day business activities. The questionnaire used will be the same one that was used in the training needs analysis and will be completed six weeks after the training and used in the performance appraisal. At the second stage of Whitlaw and Hamlin’s model, learning attained provides feedback to the trainer about the methods deployed during the training plan in terms of learning objectives.
Participation in the training sessions can be used as an indicator; however this is reliant on the skills of the trainer which is why it does not provide the basis for evaluation. Structured exercises and case studies allow the trainer to identify the method of learning being used by the individuals/group. By giving the group an opportunity to participate in discussions the basis of the case study can identify if they have fulfilled the learning objective. Another stage that can be considered in the evaluation of the training needs analysis is that of level three of Whitelaw and Hamlin’s model, which assesses the performance of individuals.
Due to International Visas already having strict performance management measures in place, the performance of employees can be assessed against established criteria. In order to incorporate this method of evaluation, time-scales will have to be set over a defined period of six months for the improvements as a result of training being noted. In order for this method of evaluation to be effective, the processes and job role must remain constant with the overall objective being to service clients’ expectation more effectively and thus preventing any complaints instead of merely reducing them.