Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

One More Reason Not to Cut Your Training Budget; the Relationship between Training and Organizational Outcomes

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

One More Reason Not to Cut Your Training Budget; the Relationship between Training and Organizational Outcomes

Article excerpt

An element of human resources (HR) management that has often exasperated practitioners is the enigma of measurement; (1) that is, the measurement of what HR does and how it contributes to the organization. Further, the predominant organizational pressure to become evermore productive combined with dwindling resources necessitates commitment to this elusive task.

One function of human resources management that is both a source of organizational vitality and a part of the measurement puzzle is employee training. Training, while intuitively an organizational need and oftentimes even palpably measurable, is laden with issues regarding its contribution to organizational value and employee effectiveness. Specifically, the ability to verify whether a particular training program adds to organizational performance and employee capability determines whether a program continues to receive funding, and sometimes whether a trainer retains his or her position. Unfortunately, the path from training to an organization's performance is not always direct, and employees do not always leave training with ready-to-apply skills; they experience a learning curve. Practitioners must either continue to live with potential resource reductions or find the connection between training and performance results. Past studies have considered training and its relationship with such factors as satisfaction, trust, and commitment. (2) However, improving training effectiveness by measuring training's effect on organizational outcomes has not often been the context. The purpose of this study is to provide an additional tool to evaluate training effectiveness by demonstrating the link between training and important organizational outcomes.

Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment

Researchers have explored a myriad of variables that manifest in employees and their work environments with the goal of improving overall organizational performance and individual job performance. One such variable is job satisfaction.

Job satisfaction, defined as "the extent that an employee favors or disfavors a job, expressed emotionally and/or cognitively," (3) has been linked to improved job performance, so focusing on an intermediary (like job satisfaction) as a means to improvement is not a new strategy. (4) If it can be shown that an organization's training program increases job satisfaction, then a bridge from training and improved performance can be established. Therefore,

Hypothesis 1: Employees who receive training will report higher levels of job satisfaction than those employees who do not receive training.

Though studies have shown strong correlations between organizational commitment and job satisfaction, it has been demonstrated that they are indeed two distinct constructs. (5) Organizational commitment has also been linked to improved performance within an organizational context. (6) Considering this evidence, organizational commitment's contribution to improved job performance can also be used as a link between training and performance.

Hypothesis 2: Employees who receive training will report higher levels of organizational commitment than those employees who do not receive training.

Turnover

In many organizations, employee turnover is considered an outcome for which HR is responsible, or for which it at least makes some significant impact. The direct and indirect costs of turnover can have a significant impact on the efficiency of organizations. (7) Recruitment costs, training costs and severance costs are just a few measures that impact HR's budget as well as the organization's. Research has indicated that relationships exist between turnover cognitions (i.e., thoughts of quitting, search intentions, and turnover intentions), job satisfaction and the perception of organizational justice as well. (8)

Finally, past research has alluded to the possibility that training may affect quit rates. …

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