Linking Training with HR Management

By Anderson, Roger L.; DiBattista, Ron | Training & Development, March 1991 | Go to article overview
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Linking Training with HR Management

Anderson, Roger L., DiBattista, Ron, Training & Development

Linking Training With HR Management

Training and HRD work often overlap--for example, in the job selection process. Here's a technique for creating a data base of critical behaviorial criteria for both job skills training and employee selection procedures.

It makes sense to coordinate the efforts of the training and human resource departments to avoid duplicating work. For example, the same kinds of data may be required for employee selection procedures and for training employees for performing specific jobs.

One method for combining forces is to create a data base of the information needed to effectively manage both activities.

Specifically, managers with overlapping responsibilities in the area of job selection should share information. That may sound like an obvious, common-sense approach, but how often does such cooperation occur?

Anyone responsible for designing employee selection procedures can testify to the large amount of documentation required, particularly because such procedures must hold up to legal scrutiny. Effective performance appraisal systems and training programs also require a lot of supporting data.

If the required background work were unique to each program, coordination among those involved would not be critical. But research shows that the work required to create both is often the same. Clearly, it makes sense to integrate the two areas.

The typical job description

A trainer must know what duties a particular job position requires and what an employee must do to successfully carry out those responsibilities. General job descriptions are usually available, but detailed performance data are much harder to come by.

For example, a conventional job description typically defines the following:

* specific responsibilities or areas of accountability * level of authority * immediate supervisor and other reporting relationships * supervisory responsibilities * working conditions * knowledge, skills, and abilities required.

What the typical job description doesn't show are some factors that can mean the difference between success and failure on the job. Responsibility for generating that type of information is typically left to specialized staffs who use it for their own needs.

Job skills training

The following example highlights the limitations of traditional job descriptions.

Suppose you are responsible for developing a training program to prepare employees for the job that is described in the sidebar on page 76. You know from experience that the training will be more effective if it accomplishes the following:

* provides hands-on experience by simulating situations that employees will find on the job * provides "real world" examples of how new skills translate into on-the-job performance * encourages trainees to create goals for applying skills learned in training back on the job.

To meet those ends, you need to know more about the job than appears in the job description. You need to know exactly what an employee must do in order to get positive results. It's important to understand the specific behaviors that mean the difference between success and failure. That information is part of what a performance analysis can provide.

Employee selection procedures

It's also important to consider successful behaviors when designing valid employee selection procedures.

Suppose that you are responsible for selecting someone for the job of personnel specialist. Having identified the position's major responsibilities, you decide to develop a simulation that will replicate the main job requirements. Your objective is to observe the candidates in activities similar to those found on the job.

But on what basis will you select from among the pool of candidates? What specifically will the successful candidate do that the unsuccessful candidate won't do?

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