Re-imagining training in the new normal

Author: Abodunrin Roberts

Organisations innovate, change, transform, reform, and most importantly go through a life cycle from creation through different stages to maturity and finally through a rebirth or death. In the course of all these stages lies the employees; and the impact of the employees on the organisation either positively or negatively is defined by their skills, knowledge, competence, attitude, diversity in thinking and personality. The success of any strategy, planning or growth is dependent on the quality of the employees.

The inspiration to write this article came as a result of the experience of the year 2020 (The year I call –“the missing year”). Having stayed at home for months, it looks like everybody’s KPI seem to be on the downward trend. The questions that immediately came to mind are, what would the 2020 annual appraisal look like? Would you truly say that you have achieved anything or everything? How would you even appraise what you have achieved?

Training is a commonly used term which has various meanings to various people, yet it is a very important concept to all society. Some scholars regard training as simply taken to mean impartation of ‘knowledge’, ‘enlightenment’ or ‘wisdom’, another school of thought, defines training ‘as the process of teaching and giving instruction, the process of Improving’. Similarly, training can also be seen as ‘the activity of educating people, and all the policy and arrangements concerning this’.

Trainings are tools used by organisations to upgrade and equip employees with the knowledge and skills needed to deliver the vision of the organisation. It is the process of developing employees’ skills and learning new concepts, rules or attitudes in order to increase effectiveness on a particular job. Management training is defined as the process of developing managers’ knowledge, skills and attitude through instruction, demonstration, practice, and planned experience to meet the present and future needs of the business. In other words, training refers to teaching employees required skills and knowledge to perform the assigned tasks effectively and efficiently

The validity of these statements would be a point in focus as I try to unravel the what, why, when, how and where of training, with a special reference to the Risk management and Insurance industry.

Training vision

In everything in life, there must be a reason, a purpose and a desire to achieve something; and the tools to achieve such end are knowledge and skills, however, the knowledge and skills in itself as a tool must have a direction. So what is the purpose of training? What are organisations looking to achieve? How will training be customised to fit the peculiarities of each industry or need? What should organisations look for in providers to ensure that they are the right solutions provider to support their needs?

Competencies vs Training

Competency may be defined as the knowledge and skills that individuals must have to perform effectively at work (CII Competency framework), competency can also embrace those knowledge and skills that individuals must acquire to perform effectively.

Employees performing a task or a role may be doing so without complete competence, but they are unaware of these deficiencies until, by a variety of mechanisms, they may be made aware of these; and pass up the steps to the area of conscious incompetence. Through some learning action, they become capable and competent in the process, but have to perform it consciously and deliberately. Continuous implementation, practice and performance at work raises to the level of that of unconscious competence, where learning has been achieved, and the task is performed effectively without too much thought. However, without reinforcement, unconscious competence can easily slip back to unconscious incompetence.

Training as a function and as a set of activities is concerned with improving or changing behaviour. It is often said that training can influence skills, knowledge and attitude change or modification.

The employee training needs required by organisations are functions of training needs assessment carried on skills gap, qualifications necessary for jobs due to changes in product or services and operations problems emanating from organisation change. Recent evidence established the investment in training with the improvement on productivity, profitability, and stock market performance. A recent review highlights six specific studies that most strongly support this general conclusion. Accordingly, argued that training increases employees’ performance which in turn improve organizations productivity positively, and will further check and arrest the several human and financial costs involved with employees’ turnover. Furthermore they argued that training enable employees in organisation to enhance the potential contribution to the performance of organisation.

Components of Training

Training   involves   showing   evidence   of knowledge and breadth of understanding. The two terms are being used together here to establish that Training depicts more than just mere recitation of information and the acquisition of skills (which is the reality of training). It is generally believed that the Principle and Methods of training stated that the general aims of Training as given by O’ Lenorare is:

a).To provide men and women with the minimum of skills necessary for them to take their place in the society and to seek further knowledge.

b).To provide men and women with vocational training that will enable them to be self-supporting

c).To awaken an interest in and a taste for knowledge

d).To make people critical

e).To put people in touch with and train them to appreciate the cultural and moral achievement of mankind.

Recurring knowledge Gap

Risk Management and Insurance is one industry that requires the knowledge of the operations of the other industries to be able to effectively understand the risks of those other industries and effectively underwrite the risks and price it appropriately. Hence, the knowledge required is constantly dynamic as risks changes and regulation changes. Therefore, the knowledge acquired by Insurance professionals will always be dated subject to new ideas, new ages, new laws, and new regulations; as each change redefines the limits of the insurance principles.

Understanding the needs of organisations

In view the recurring gap that exists in the knowledge base of the practitioners, how do you evaluate an ever moving knowledge gap?

Training, Performance and Change – One of the widely used term in organisations is change, organisations that do not constantly review their strategies, their products, their structures and their philosophies would soon be commuted to history. If growth is desired in organisations, a constant review of objectives and key performance indicators would help to design current situation, future situation and both possible and likely future situations. Whatever the situation is, a key determinant of possible success is the degree to which employees can perform their functions more efficiently and effectively to achieve organisational goals. Training will continually be a tool used as a deliberate attempt to modify employee behaviour and hence performance. Unfortunately, training, just like insurance, have a common misfortune of being seen as a cost rather than an investment and a security.

Transformational Learning

There are four phases of transformational learning and these are (a) having experiences; (b) making assumptions based on simulated circumstances or scenarios; (c) challenging perspectives; and (d) experiencing transformative learning.

Stage 1: Learners are directed in their use of technology

Asynchronous access to information and peer networks. Some ability for learner to select platform, technology, or even content. Traditional classroom learning begins to be disrupted.

Stage 2: This stage is characterized by powerful access to information, networks, and communities, but is mostly unable to leverage that access without supporting frameworks or planning.

Learners are directed in their selection and constructivist use of technology in the learning process, traditionally to accomplish purely academic tasks that are fully accessible without the technology.

Stage 3: Mobile technology erodes traditional classroom. Truly mobile learners should disrupt non-flexible curriculum.

Mobile learning experiences are inherently unpredictable, requiring varied communication, critical thinking, and aggressive resourcefulness. Standards-based academic work struggles for gravity working against this stage of technology integration.

Stage 4: This final stage of technology implementation necessitates learners to consistently self-direct critical, core components of learning experiences.

Self-direction based on curiosity and play while supported by personalized learning algorithms and the connectivity of authentic networks characterizes this final stage of technology integration. Traditional classroom learning is fully disrupted.

 

Source: https://www.teachthought.com

 

Impact on the business

How does your organisation link training policies and plans to business policies and plans?

Transformative learning is a 360 degree learning impact that focuses on the employee, the downline report, the up line report and the organisation.

Individual transformation

Character, knowledge, attitude and skills defines an individual, the quality of these attributes would define the competence or contribution of any individual to any organisation. An oriental wise man once said, “The character of an organisation is determined by the character of the leader of that organisation”.

Team Transformation

As the saying goes, “a team is as strong as its weakest member”. For an organisation to reach a desire plateau, every member of the team must have undergone some form of transformation in their role to enable them contribute their best to the team. To this end, it is imperative that the focus on skills, competence and knowledge is first and foremost and individual job before transforming into the team. Easy examples of practical application of this concept is usually found in sports, football, rugby, relays and other similar team sports.

Organisational Transformation

Every organisation goes through different stages and at some point she needs a rebirth, a re-direction or a completely different focus. Whichever is the course that an organisation decided to take, the decision is, usually, either as reaction to environmental changes or as visionary step in creating a new for itself and its world.

Industry transformation

An industry that is leading in innovation and transformation is usually be led by an organisation that takes the position of at “Market maker”. This organisation usually takes the responsibility to redefine the limits of the industry, having done that, then it takes the lead in every aspect of the value chain in that industry. Such organisations would have passed through individual, team and organisational transformation, at that point, they can no longer play on the same level as the industry, hence the need to recreate the playing fields. Competitors that cannot play on this new level, would either transform, be absorbed or die a natural death.

Economic Transformation

The economy of every country is measured, amongst others, by the GDP, GNI and NI. The higher any of these are the higher the number of industries that have undergone transformation contributing to the economy. To attain a level of development as a country, these industries must not only have transformed, they must continually re-invent themselves and lead in innovation, knowledge and creativity.

Conclusion

The underlying factor in this write up is the fact that teams, organisations, industry and the economy are driven by individuals and those individuals are either employees or owners of organisations that play in the economy. The quality of thinking of these employees or individuals that works or owns these organisations usually determines the level of growth or advancement of an economy. It is then suffice it to say that the quality of knowledge they have is directly proportional to the quality of economy they play in. Training transformation is therefore, a key component of a would-be developed economy.

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists” – anonymous

 

Abodunrin Roberts

11th March, 2021

 

References

  1. Full Steam Ahead by Ken Blanchard and Jesse Lyn Stoner
  1. Effects of Training on Employees’ Productivity in Nigeria Insurance Industry Ofobruku Sylvester Abomeh and Nwakoby Nkiru Peace
  2. The Analysis of The Effect of Individual Characteristics and Supervisor Support on Motivation and Learning Transfer Agni S. Mayangsari , Jusuf Irianto and S. E. Anis Eliyana
  3. The Influence of Training and Development on Employee Performance: A Study on Garments Sector, Dhaka Bangladesh Most. Monowara Begum Mamy, Rubaiyat Shabbir and Md. Zahid Hasan
  4. Training and Development and Organisational Performance: Standpoint from Private Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria Adedoyin Olawale Adeyi, Exodus Kehinde Apansile, Wisdom Okere and Linus Izediuno Okafor
  5. Transformative Learning as Impact in Social Innovation. This paper is published in DESIGN AND CULTURE, Vol 11, Issue 1, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1080/17547075.2019.1567984, Pre-copyedited Version Jan 2019, Joyce Yee, Bas Raijmakers and Fumiko Ichikawa
  1. https://www.teachthought.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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