HR Training Class

Assignment 4: HR Training Class

Strategic Human Resources – HRM 530


This paper explores multiple sources to determine effective usage of needs assessments in order to discover the best way to deliver training to employees. Training employees can be extremely effective or an extreme waste of money. It is important to implement a training plan that will reach most or all of the employees. Selecting the wrong method will waste time and money. For the purposes of training customer service representatives, training most effective for these employees will be computer based training and instructor facilitated role play. These methods of training seem to work best with customer service representatives. Motivating employees to actively participate in training is also important. Lack of participation could cause the training be ineffective. By motivating employees, the company has a better chance of ensuring that training is successful and therefore becoming more profitable without having to spend a ton of money.

Key words: training, assessment, training plan, computer, role-play, motivation

Justify the use of a needs assessment of your company’s proposed employee customer service training, stressing five (5) ways in which such an assessment would expose any existing performance deficiencies.

A needs assessment is necessary prior to committing to training because the last thing a company wants to do is waste time, money, and resources providing a training that is unnecessary for the development of its employees. First off, a company has to really know what its needs are before assessing whether they need training. In an article about defining needs, Ryan Watkins states, “…how you define needs (a) clarifies the goals of your assessment; (b) influences how you design your assessment; (c) determines what you measure, and therefore how you measure; and (d) influences what you report, to whom, and in what format.” (Watkins, 2014). This definition truly encompasses what is necessary to understand needs. Watkins also points out that there is sometimes confusion over wants and needs and that wants should not be elevated to “needs” status. Lastly, Watkins advises, “…a needs assessment should help inform decisions about what to do next. Thus, when designing an assessment, you should first focus the design on the decisions that will have to be made (or questions to be answered) using the results. This type of backward design process, borrowed from numerous disciplines, will guide the design and ensure that the assessment achieves valuable results.” (Watkins, 2014).Similarly, Traci Lepicki points out in her needs assessment article that “…all too often clients tend to focus on solutions first before digging deeper into the problem, the actual need.”(Lepicki, 2014).With her needs assessment she advised she “knew it wasimportant to step back and ensure that the effort did not jump to solutionstrategies prematurely without fully examining needs.” (Lepicki, 2014). In conjunction with the other two authors, Tracey Cekada has similar ideas but digs deeper into the issues surrounding needs assessments. “Atrainingneedsassessmentisusedtodeterminewhethertrainingistherightsolutiontoaworkplaceproblem. A training needs analysis often reveals the needfor well-targeted training.” (Cekada, 2010).Cekada also points out that a company can request assistance from employees in determining what trainings are needed, however, in some cases, employees will list wants rather than needs. The consensus seems to be that clearly defining needs is necessary for the proper development of training. Without knowing what is needed a company could be “fixing” a problem that isn’t broke.

There are several ways in which a needs assessment could expose existing performance deficiencies. These performance deficiencies could show up in the following areas: individual performance, organizational performance, situational performance, occupational determination, and mental capacity which include emotional and/or external factors that contribute to mental state. Individual training will help look at each individual employee to see what training they are lacking. This will prevent sending employees to training that they have already had or training that is unrelated to their job. The Pennsylvania Office of Administration advises that situational deficiencies stem from “when an employee occasionally fails to meet the performance levels for the job.” (Addressing, 2011). If this behavior is not corrected immediately it could cause chronic deficiencies. Knowing that there are situational deficiencies within some employees will help narrow down training to those that need it. By assessing organizational performance, the organization will know what skills are needed and therefore who to hire. This also helps assess skills of current workers to assess whether they will need updated training. An occupational assessment can help a company see deficiencies in the work that people actually do versus the work they are supposed to do. This also allows the company to accurately gauge how effective employees would be if given new jobs or tasks. Mental capacity assessments are a little harder to deal with because emotional or external factors could potentially cause mental instability based on the incident. For instance, if a recently divorced wife is finding it hard to be polite to male callers, and her male supervisor calls her out on it, she could snap and potentially harm herself or the supervisor. According to the Pennsylvania Office of Administration, it is best to direct employees with emotional and external factor issues to contact their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for help.

Develop a customer service training implementation plan and determine the method of training (i.e., presentation, discussion, case study, discovery, role play, simulation, modeling, or on-the-job training).  

It has been determined by multiple sources that some of the most effective training comes from computer-based training and instructor-led training. In an article on sexual harassment training, whether it is more effective to train via computer or face-to-face, Melissa Preusser found that “that computer-based training lessens the cognitive loadassociated with listening, watching, and incorporating training materials and allowstrainees to work at their own pace.” (Preusser, 2011). However, she also states that face-to-face training has its perks as well. “A recentmeta-analysis has shown that it is actually an effective training method in theworkplace. Specifically, instructor-led training (including lecture, audiovisual materials,and discussion) produced significant learning results for cognitive, interpersonal, andpsychomotor skills whereas computer-based training was non-significant for all of these learning outcomes.” (Preusser, 2011).In another article written by H.M. Bosse, it was discussed the cost effectiveness of role-play versus standardized patient interaction. Bosse found that it was more cost efficient for trainees to practice role play prior to interaction with patients.

Due to the nature of the job a customer service representative must do, the most effective form of training would be a combination of computer-based training and some instructor-led training in which role-playing is a primary exercise. Computer-based training will help get the systematic information disseminated while role-playing guided by an instructor will help employees gain knowledge on interacting with customers. The implementation plan for this will be as follows:

Step 1: Assess training needs within the customer service department

Step 2: Determine which representatives will benefit from training versus representatives who will not

Step 3: Determine cost of creating training presentations, how long each training will be, and who will facilitate training

Step 4: Implement computer-based training first, followed by instructor-led role-play training

Step 5: Have employees evaluate each training individually

Step 6: Adjust training to meet needs of the employees (Continuous)

Step 7: Have new employees take updated training as they join the company (Continuous)

Justify why you selected the training method that you did. 

As seen in the two examples above (Bosse and Preusser), computer-based training and instructor-led role-playing appear to be the most successful in training methods. Computer-based allows for individuals to complete training at their own pace and allows them to focus on the training at hand whereas, with some other trainings senses can be overwhelmed with having to focus attention on viewing, listening, comprehending, staying attentive. Also, just as effective is the role-play directed by an instructor. This helps employees practice potential interactions with customers prior to interacting with them.

Propose two (2) ways to motivate an employee who has no interest in attending a training class.

One of the best conclusions of motivating comes from Laurentiu Hauser’s article on Work Motivation in Organizational Behavior. She states, “Managers can improve their own rate of success on the job offering extrinsic rewards (external, indirect, and organizational) that lead to intrinsic motivation (internal, direct, and individual) of employees and thus to achievement of desired performance and objectives.” (Hauser, 2014). Her final quote in the article was “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” which was compliments of Dwight D. Eisenhower(1890-1969, former president of United States of America). Both of these quotes ring true in that if you can find something that motivates employees, they will work harder for that reward which could turn into intrinsic motivation at some point. For our customer service training, we will use extrinsic rewards to motivate employees to take an interest in the trainings and to apply what they have learned. The first part of the reward is completion of the training, passing the assessments, and evaluating the courses. After those parts are completed, we will expect the employees to use the new information. A way to check and see if they are using it is to listen up to on calls. The representatives already get 30-45 calls monitored per month. We do not have to do anything different but listen for key words and indicators that the representatives are using the information they learned in training. Their reward will be to have a daily, weekly, and monthly bonuses given to those who use it in their monitored calls. For example, if one of the trainings was to introduce key words into their opening and closing, if they do, then they would receive a bonus, or be entered into a drawing for a bonus. Another reward would be recognition as top reps within the company. That type of status goes far when promotion times roll around.

Develop a survey to collect feedback from the employees who attend the training.

The following two surveys would be presented to employees following the computer-based training and the instructor-led role-playing trainings.

Survey One: Computer Training

On a scale from 0-10, with 0 being “Not at all/Not Likely/Low” and 10 being “Very/Very Likely/High,” what would you rate the following questions?

Survey Two: Instructor Led Role Playing Training

  • Was this computer training informative?
  • How likely is it that you will use this information when speaking to customers?
  • What are the chances that you would share this training with other coworkers?
  • What improvements would you recommend to make this training better?______

On a scale from 0-10, with 0 being “Not at all helpful” and 10 being “Very helpful”, how would you rate the following questions?


  • Was this instructor facilitated training helpful?
  • Was practicing scripted scenarios with your coworkers helpful in learning this information?
  • Do you feel you will be able to use these strategies with real customers?
  • What improvements would you recommend to make this training better?_______

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