Training is the process of learning an array of programmed behavior. It gives people an understanding of the rules and SOP’s that guide their behavior. It is a short term systematic process through which non-managerial staff learn technical skills. However, training is not only limited to non-managerial staff. Rather, it can be conducted at all hierarchical levels of an organization. The primary purpose of most trainings is to bridge the gap between job requirements and current competence of employees. Training is the cornerstone for sound management.
It is actively and closely connected with all personnel activities. It is an important part of the entire management program, with all its activities connected with each other. Kirkpatrick (1998) recommended that as much levels of the 4 evaluation levels be conducted as possible. In order to make most efficient use of organizational resources such as time, money, materials, space, equipment, manpower, continued efforts are needed to evaluate all levels of effectiveness of training programs. Trainers from all fields should come with evaluation plans and share the results of these plans.
Warr, Allan, and Birdie (1999) evaluated a two day training course involving 123 motor vehicle technicians over a seven month period in a longitudinal study using a variation of the Kirkpatrick model. The main purpose of this study was to prove that training led to an increased performance, thereby justifying the investment made in trainings. Warr et al. (1999) suggested that the levels in the Kirkpatrick model may be interrelated. They looked into six trainee features and one organizational characteristic that may be able to predict outcomes at each management level. The six features were motivation to learn, confidence about the learning task, learning strategies, technical qualifications, tenure, and age. The one organizational characteristic was transfer climate which means the extent to which the leanings of the training were applied on the job.Phillips and Pulliam (2000) reported an additional measure of training effectiveness, Return On Investment (ROI). This was done is response to the pressure faced by the Human Resources departments to produce measures of output for Total Quality Management (TQM) and Continuous Quality Improvements (CQI) and the threat of outsourcing due to downsizing. However, many training and development professionals believe that is too difficult and unreliable a measure to be used for evaluating trainings. After the oil shock, the transferability of various components of the Japanese Management style has become a subject of paramount interest. The Japanese management system is considered to be one of the key factors in the success achieved by the Japanese in improving the productivity and the quality of the goods and services they produce. After the Malaysian government developed the Look East Policy, information regarding Japanese management practices has been spread through mass media using different channels such as international journal articles and books. Japanese scholars and consultants have also been invited to present papers at numerous international conferences, and to conduct seminars.The major contributors to the literature on Japanese human resource management practices include foreigners as well as the Japanese themselves. Foreign contributors include Abegglen, Levine, Whitehill, and others. One of the representative characteristics prominent in the Japanese style of human resource management is training and education for all levels of employees paid for by the company. Worker productivity has increased through implementation of suggestion programs and groups activities such as Quality Control Circles (QCCs).Ouchi and Jaeger state that the traditional philosophy of Japanese education and training emphasizes on-the-job training. On-the-job training plays the primary role and other forms are introduced just as supplements. On-the-job training is basic for skilled labor, while a specially designed off-the-job education and training system is primarily for the office and technical staff. Training based on on-the-job training techniques in Japan is related to job mobility and job rotation. Off-the-job training is regularly introduced in training programs to instill intellectual skills into employees.In Malaysian organizations, the most popular on-the-job training is coaching which includes job rotation and self-learning. Off-the-job training is conducted by third party agencies to train managerial staff. Correspondence courses have also been introduced as an educational method of training. Most Malaysian employees are sponsored by their organizations, and wages are paid during the training period. Employees are required to stay with their firms after the completion of a training. However, if employees want to switch firms for a better job, management has no effective means to make them stay.As far as Malaysian enterprises are concerned, in Japanese owned assembly firms, training focuses on the development of job-related skills, delivered mostly through on-the-job training. Significant constraints to skill development have resulted from language barriers between Japanese management and Malaysian workers, inadequate time devoted to training, and high absenteeism and turnover. Multiple skills training is difficult to conduct and is also not very useful because employees rarely touch jobs other than their own. Capable workers are usually given greater responsibilities and many do not want to expose their skills because it would mean more work for them. Workers with multiple skills are not given a higher pay, neither is there an upgrading of skill rank. Additionally, supervisors feel threatened if their subordinates are more competent than them. This also jeopardizes workers’ chances of promotion. Important duties are assigned to employees as the need arises, especially to the senior and experienced ones at both management and production levels. All employees receive guidance from their superiors. In some companies, top managers directly inspect the work sites and provide guidance, but in most companies, these duties are carried out by supervisors. There is no active job rotation for administrative and technical employees, but it does happen for production workers. The emphasis is on-the-job training, apprenticeship, class room training, and practical experience after class room training. Though most of the training is on-the-job, there is no mentor system. New recruits come in and are placed under the supervisor for a short period. Basic skills are imparted to them gradually, and after sometime, they are expected to carry on with the job on their own. They learn new skills as they move along in their job. Though on-the-job training is very popular in Malaysia, Malaysian organizations also appear to have grasped the importance of off-the-job training for both blue as well as white collar workers. The most common forms of off-the-job training are role-playing, case studies, lectures, seminars, discussion groups, leadership training, and slide presentations. In-house training is conducted directly by top management and is mostly trainee-centered. Education and training is designed and implemented mostly by company staff. Practical education and training is closely fitted to the work site. Consultants are also invited to conduct courses such as motivation training programs.All Malaysian auto manufacturing companies contribute 1% of the payroll to the Human Resource Development Fund. These funds are then used for different training programs across the industry. Though all employees are given equal opportunities to go for trainings, many take the initiative of self-development. All companies do their best to facilitate employees willing to study. M1 Motor Corporation, for example, pays for part-time courses attended by employees. If the company sends an employee for further education, the employee concerned gets full pay while on study leave. In an effort to encourage self-learning, official certificates are issued by training institutions after attendance at a technical course. As long as there is a certificate to prove so, an employee is regarded as skilled. This motivates the workers and leads to an increase in productivity, efficiency, diligence and ability to work as a team. However, respect for seniors, respect for juniors, ability to work with foreign personnel, and loyalty to the company remain unaffected by the trainings. Quality Control Circles are not very popular at the moment. Incentive schemes resembling Quality Control Circles have been set up by the companies and cash or other forms of rewards are given for their efforts. M1 Motor Corporation, for example, has a scheme known as the Work Improvement Suggestion Scheme’ which is carried out every month and each suggestion accepted is paid RM 10. Every year between January and July, KAIZEN Competition’ is carried out, of which 3 winning teams are sent to Japan for presentations. Those teams not sent are given holiday tours sponsored by the company. As for Quality Control Circles, each team with their own unique name and logo lay out their objectives and one theme is acted upon. Japanese auto manufacturers place greater emphasis on training. Training and education in Japan is not only systematic and consistent but also a continuous process throughout the career of an employee. On the other hand, training and education in Malaysia is limited and the number of training programs carried out annually is nothing compared to those carried out in Japan. Companies are not willing to invest heavily in training only to lose employees to their competitors. In addition, workers retire early and returns on investment of training are affected by this. There is also a tendency for workers to go for self-development at their own expense, thus reducing the pressure on corporations. Although Malaysian enterprises are far behind Japanese ones in terms of training and education, much efforts have been made to fill the gap. On-the-job training is dominant though turnover is quite high especially for production workers. Nevertheless, as the informal and invisible on-the-job training system is the key to skill formation, Malaysia’s emulation of Japan’s on-the-job training for a long-term basis is of prime importance. Supplemented by off-the-job training systems, education and training will play a more prominent role in the companies’ efforts to upgrade the existing valuable workforce.Education and training have played a crucial role in Japans Human Resource Development. Fresh graduates are taken in and various forms of on-the-job as well as off-the-job trainings are provided to them throughout their career. Loyalty to the organization is ensured which makes the trainings worthwhile for the companies. Unlike Japan, Malaysian companies prefer experienced workers. This encourages job-hopping and young workers don’t stay with companies for longer time periods. For more commitment in education and training, routine hiring of new graduates and long-term employment should be practiced. All the organizations rely heavily on training techniques that emphasize mainly job rotation for on-the-job training and lecture and case study for off-the-job training. Though on-the-job training is widely used, to create a well-rounded employee who is equipped with better balance of practical and intellectual skills, all the organizations need to realize the importance of off-the-job trainings as well. ReferencesAbegglen JC. The Japanese factory. Illinois: The Free Press, Glencoe, 1958Levine SB, Kawada H. Human resources in Japanese industrial development. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980Whitehill AM. Japanese management: tradition and transition. London: Routledge, 1991Ouchi WG, Jaeger AM. Type Z organization: Stability in the midst of mobility. In: Academy of management review. Mississippi: Mississippi State University, 1978Koike K. Understanding industrial relations in modern Japan. London: Macmillan Press,1988Tokoro M. Human resource in Japanese corporations (Nihon kigyo no jinteki shigen). Tokyo: Hakuboshobo, 1992Muta H. Survey report: Japan. In: Asian dynamism through human resource development. 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