RESEARCH PROPOSAL: HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT EVALUATION
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (HRM) EVALUATION: THE ROLE OF EMPLOYEE TRAINING PROGRAMS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF SMEs in UK
The workplace today is in a state of metamorphosis with contemporary issues such as customer satisfaction, competitive advantage, revenue and expenditures, organisational culture, technological advancement, global markets, diverse customer demands and need for effective workforce with a global mindset penetrating every aspect of the organisation. Effective workforce is crucial as it is the organisation’s primary player in accomplishing goals and delivering service. According to and (2004) a firm’s human resource management (HRM) practices and the kind of workforce help attain organisational competitiveness (). HRM is the organisational function that enhances creativity, innovation, speed, flexibility, and efficiency of the workforce to transform them into organisational assets. Human resource management is now highly recognised as a strategic lever for the organisation in creating value.
Basically, this paper discusses in detail the research proposal that examines the significant effectiveness of training programs to SMEs in UK. The researcher attempts to identify whether the training programs employed by most SMEs in UK has significant impact to their progress. This includes discussion of its history, the current status of employee training programs, and its relationship to the business development. Specifically, this proposed research explores the perceptions of employee respondents and their view regarding the effectiveness of the said training programs.
This research proposal discusses in detail the background (literature review). Moreover, the objectives of the study and the research questions are presented. Here, vital concepts, questions and assumptions are stated. Finally, the scope and limitation of the study, overview of the methodology used, the significance of the research and definition of terms are discussed.
At the turn of the century, human resources managers will have to face new challenges. The economy and markets are different from those of a decade ago. As paradigms have changed, the characteristics affecting human resources management must also be revised such as organisational structure and functions in order to keep up to pace with relevance, latest trends and strategies. In today’s fast and technological modern world, the challenge that the Information Man faces is time’s nature of putting things in order and in place in the best and most effective way. Life has changed since the invention of the computer which dictated man to deal with things in the most efficient way possible. In the world of big international business industries where transactions and other business operations are governed by law, cultural differences and mutual trust, efficiency counts largely as a common entrepreneurial aim.
and (1995) state that human resource management is a system that attracts, strengthens, encourages, and maintains employees who are responsible for the successful functioning and survival of the organisation and its members (). The key functions and components of Human Resource Management are manpower planning, recruitment and selection, employee motivation, employee performance evaluation, industrial relations, employee services and employee training, development and education ( 2006).
Principles of Training and Development
The training function of human resource management is contemporarily termed as human resource development. It is a systematic effort to facilitate employee acquisition of present and future job-related knowledge, skills, and attitudes or assist them to correct any shortcomings in their performance ( 2002, ). and (1998) reports that training and development of people within an organisation refer to the advancement of skills, knowledge, and competencies, and the improved behaviour of people for both their personal and professional interests. This revolves around three areas – individual employee development, career development and performance improvement. Individual employee development follows seven laws: (1) the learning specialist must know the training program, lesson, subject, theories and skills to be taught; (2) the trainee/employee must be interested in the program; (3) the language used in the program must be understood by both learning specialist and trainee; (4) the learning specialist must fully explain the skills and information to be mastered to ensure total understanding; (5) the teaching and learning process must be interesting so that the trainee would be motivated to grasp the important information; (6) the learning process must help the trainee to comprehend new ideas in a manner that can trigger actions based on them; and (7) the results of the individual employee development must be observed in reproduction or application of skills and information that have been transferred to the trainee. Secondly, training and development revolves around the philosophical commitment to the professional advancement of people comprising the organisation through career development. Its key objective is to help employees analyse their abilities and interests to better match personnel needs for growth and development to organisational needs. Human resource management practitioners must be able to identify the factors in maintaining a successful career development program; incorporate each these factors into the career development program; determine their general responsibilities relative to career development and their specific responsibilities to their employer and the organisation; discover methods for improving harmony between the individual and the organisation in relation to career development; and put into practice career development outcomes to the organisational setting. Finally, training and development must be aimed at performance improvement to help the organisation attain stronger organisational efficiency, greater competitive practices, and enhanced profitability. This can be done through collaborative efforts between top level management, managers, supervisors and employees in goal setting, action planning, implementation, monitoring, taking corrective action, making changes in organisational culture, technology and management styles, and continuous learning ().
HRM also facilitates the performance evaluation of staff in order for the organisation to take account of its manpower and assess its contributions to organisational goals. Specific reasons for conducting performance evaluation are: to strengthen overall organisational performance by improving the individual performance; to identify existing potential which can be utilised to either handle future higher position vacancies or other jobs for a better use of the abilities; and to provide a fair method of relating compensation to performance where there are no numerical criteria. HRM personnel are responsible for the following activities: adapting the evaluation system to the distinct organisational culture and environment; informing higher management of the principles and objectives governing the evaluation system; soliciting the participation and cooperation of appraisers and those to be appraised; assisting the management in setting the objective standards of evaluation which may include the identification of targets for achievement, introduction of self-assessment, and elimination of complexity and duplication; explaining the purposes and uses of the activity to the general staff; organising and establishing the necessary training of managers and supervisors who will conduct actual appraisals; and monitoring the entire undertaking to ensure that it flows accordingly ( 2006). In addition, human resource management is responsible in seeing to it that organisational policies and procedures adhere to labour and social laws. (1998) claims that the human resource management function upholds employee aspirations in light of societal and labour laws and at times is obliged to intervene when employees run into difficulties personally and professionally; serves as the organisation's conscience by verbalising any violations in the organisational values and ethics; and treats people with kindness, respect and affection (). (2002) elaborates that human resource management personnel inform the management on the details of existing employment contracts and emerging trends and how to comply with them; administer the just implementation of wages and salaries; maintain the consistency of employer practices with definite policies; and implement an employee “voice mechanism” for complaints and grievances to reach the management (). Furthermore, HRM entails the provision of benefits and services to enhance the general welfare of the employees and maintain their level of performance and productivity. These benefits include sick leave, access to a medical consultant, sick pay, special leave, rehabilitation of injured and disabled staff, financial provision for work-related physical activities such as sports, cafeteria and catering facilities, financial or moral aid for employees during difficult times, pre-retirement courses and first aid trainings (2006). Finally, HRM is concerned with employee training, development and education through a career development program and human resource development. (2006) states that training, development and education is done for various reasons which include improving performance when performance appraisal indicates it, setting a standard to measure the congruence of the level of improvement with performance improvement, and ensuring the proper administration of the firm’s succession planning that assists employees to be eligible for role changes. Employees undergo training, development and education to augment job satisfaction, employee morale and motivation, enhance the efficiency of organisational processes, attain financial gain, strengthen the employees’ capability to handle new technologies and procedures, encourage innovation and strategies, lessen employee turnover, improve company image, and establish risk management strategies.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The primary objective of this study is to examine and determine the perception of the employee respondents regarding the effectiveness of training programs in their current SME company. To address this objective, the researcher explores the nature of training and HRM practices: its benefits and advantages to different employees.
Apparently, a survey to be conducted to SME employees aimed to determine their perception towards the current training scheme in their respective company/organisation. Furthermore, an interview will be also conducted to know what are their problems and concerns regarding training programs. Finally, this research comes up with pertinent findings, and provides insightful recommendations on training programs in relation to the development of SMEs in UK.
The study would like to test the following null hypothesis:
“The level of effectiveness of employee training as part of human resource management of SME managers significantly affects the general efficiency of the organisation.”
Generally, the purpose of this study is to conduct a study on the quality of training programs of SMEs in UK and identify the perception of the employees to quality training. This study tries to answer the following queries:
1. What are the employees’ perceptions regarding the training programs in their respective companies?
2. What are the variables that significantly affect the perception of the employees regarding training programs?
3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of employing a training program in SMEs in UK?
4. Is there any significant difference between the perception of the respondents regarding training programs and company development?
SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
The study intends to investigate the level of effectiveness of the employee training programs in most SMEs in UK. For this study, primary research and secondary research will be used. Primary research will be conducted using anonymous questionnaires that will be sent to selected employees of SMEs in UK. The questionnaires will be used to collect quantitative data and the interviews will be used to provide qualitative insights into the data collected.
The data will be analysed and compiled for the correlation of the hypothesis. The data will then be presented by means of graphical representations and illustration and the difference would be highlighted. A negative correlation between the variables would suggest that the hypothesis is null, that is, the level of effectiveness of training programs significantly affects the general efficiency of the organisation.
POSSIBLE CONTENTS OF DISSERTATION
The dissertation shall be divided into five chapters in order to provide clarity and coherence on the discussion of the effectives of training programs in most SMEs in UK. The first part of the dissertation will be discussing the problem uncovered by the researcher and provide ample background on the topic. The chapter shall constitute an introduction to the whole dissertation, the hypothesis, and the statement of the problem in order to present the basis of the study. Moreover, the chapter shall also have a discussion on the scope of its study as well as the significance of the study to society in general and specific effects on the management of firms.
The second chapter shall be discussing the relevance of the study in the existing literature. It shall provide studies on effective employee training programs, human resource management and performance management. After the presentation of the existing related literature, the researcher shall provide a synthesis of the whole chapter in relation to the study.
The third part of the study shall be discussing the methods and procedures used in the study. The chapter shall comprise of the presentation of the utilised techniques for data collection and research methodology. Similarly, it shall also contain a discussion on the used techniques in data analysis as well as the tools used to acquire the said data.
The fourth chapter shall be an analysis on the tabulated data. After the said tabulation, the data are statistically treated in order to uncover the relationship of the variable involved in the study. With the said data, the chapter seeks to address the statement of the problem noted in the first chapter.
The last chapter shall comprise of three sections, the summary of the findings, the conclusions of the study, and the recommendations. With the three portions, the chapter shall be able to address the verification of the hypothesis stated in the initial chapters of the study.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND TECHNIQUES FOR DATA COLLECTION
Research requires an organised data gathering in order to pinpoint the research philosophies and theories that will be included in the research, the methodology of the research and the instruments of data interpretation. In this study, the Research Process “Onion” will be utilised so that the findings of the study can be thoroughly established. The inner part of the onion describes the methodology portion whereas the outer part discusses the strategies that can be utilised in interpreting the results of the findings.
The descriptive research method uses observation and surveys. In this method, it is possible that the study would be cheap and quick. It could also suggest unanticipated hypotheses. Nonetheless, it would be very hard to rule out alternative explanations and especially infer causations. Thus, this study will use the descriptive approach. This descriptive type of research will utilise observations in the study. To illustrate the descriptive type of research, (1994) will guide the researcher when he stated: Descriptive method of research is to gather information about the present existing condition. The purpose of employing this method is to describe the nature of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study and to explore the cause/s of particular phenomena. The researcher opted to use this kind of research considering the desire of the researcher to obtain first hand data from the respondents so as to formulate rational and sound conclusions and recommendations for the study.
The research described in this document is partly based on quantitative research methods. This permits a flexible and iterative approach. During data gathering the choice and design of methods are constantly modified, based on ongoing analysis. This allows investigation of important new issues and questions as they arise, and allows the investigators to drop unproductive areas of research from the original research plan.
This study also employs qualitative research method, since this research intends to find and build theories that would explain the relationship of one variable with another variable through qualitative elements in research. These qualitative elements does not have standard measures, rather they are behaviour, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs.
Furthermore, as we define the qualitative research it is multimethod in focus, involving an interpretative, naturalistic approach to its subject matter. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them. Accordingly, qualitative researchers deploy a wide range of interconnected methods, hoping always to get a better fix on the subject matter at hand.
The primary source of data will come from interviews and anonymous questionnaires from employees of SMEs in UK. The primary data frequently gives the detailed definitions of terms and statistical units used in the study. These are usually broken down into finer classifications.
The secondary sources of data will come from published articles from social science journals, theses and related studies on personnel management. Acquiring secondary data are more convenient to use because they are already condensed and organised. Moreover, analysis and interpretation are done more easily.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Job analysis – This is the process of defining the work, activities, tasks, products, services, or processes performed by an employee. Well-defined jobs help the employees to systematise their performance; enhance communication because the employees know what they are supposed to do and can readily share ideas and knowledge; help managers to assess an applicant’s ability to perform the specific tasks of the job; make performance evaluation easier as the definition of tasks would determine what needs to be done and if the employee is able to do it; establish relative skills levels among the jobs for compensation decisions; serve as the basis for needs analysis in training program development; and assist organisations to identify core functions that must be maintained and the skills required to carry out these functions when confronted with issues of workforce reduction or expansion ( 1994, ).
Job description – Job description in an outline of the general functions and responsibilities of a specific position. Sometimes job descriptions also include the name of supervisor whom the position should report to, the qualifications required for the job, and salary range. Basically, job descriptions are utilised by the firm to advertise vacant and open positions, determine the appropriate compensation commensurate to the responsibilities of the job, and as a basis for performance evaluations ( 2006).
Job evaluation – Job evaluation is a practical process of breaking down jobs into specific tasks and helping employees to judge the size of a certain job in comparison to others. The process develops the foundation for internal ranking of jobs. The two primary methods of job evaluation are whole job ranking wherein jobs are ranked against each other in their entirety; and awarding points for various areas of the job such as education, training and experience. Job evaluation entails the assessment of jobs, not the people. It is a contributory factor for problem solving as it helps determine duplication of tasks and inconsistencies between jobs and specific functions ( 2005).
Performance appraisal – Performance appraisal is the process wherein supervisors evaluate an employee's performance to identify strengths and areas of improvement. Supervisors look into specific employee actions which may include volunteering for a task or activities that are not formally part of the job; taking extra effort/responsibility; suggesting improvements; displaying initiative; demonstrating functional participation; complying with organisational procedures, policies and rules; advocating organisational objectives; demonstrating loyalty and obedience, civic virtue, and conscientiousness; helping and cooperating with others; using the firm’s resources prudently; and demonstrating flexibility and problem-solving ability ( 2003, ). Performance appraisal provides an opportunity for the employees’ efforts to be recognised and thus improve their motivation. It also offers a chance for supervisors and staff to identify and agree on training needs as well as a basis for managers to assess the effectiveness of the recruitment and hiring strategies. Most importantly, performance appraisal assists employees and supervisors to adopt a new direction for better performance ( 2006).
Job Rotation – It is a management development practice wherein a person is moved through a series of assignments to provide him/her an opportunity to gain exposure to and experience the general operations of the firm as well as allow employees to thoroughly understand organisational processes and encourage greater job satisfaction through varied responsibilities. Job rotation among senior managers is a strategy of succession planning which is the process of developing a pool of people capable of assuming an existing job when necessary. For the lower management, job rotation answers the purposes of promotability or improvement of skills ( 2006).
Job Enlargement - Job enlargement is a process of extending the scope of a particular job through additional tasks that call for the same level of responsibilities and skills. It is facilitated to prevent boredom among employees. This strategy opposes the principles of specialisation and the division of labor wherein jobs are broken down into smaller units, each of which is performed repetitively by an employee. Some motivational theories claim that boredom and alienation through the routinary and repetitive performance advanced by division of labor can cause efficiency to weaken. Accordingly, job enlargement aims to motivate employees through additional tasks that do not greatly deviate from their current responsibilities. Some examples are replacement of assembly lines with modular work wherein a worker does not repeat the same step on every product; rather he/she handles numerous tasks on a single product ( 2007; 2006).
Job Enrichment - Job enrichment is a job redesign approach that expands individual jobs by adding more tasks and requiring other kinds of skills and competence to handle the additional tasks. The purpose is to fine tune the division of labor within the firm and improve organisational efficiency. Enriched jobs allow employees to realise their personal goals and evoke work behaviour congruent with the objectives of the firm. Job enrichment can correct ineffective work designs, enhance managerial control systems, abolish or lessen the need for labour, and intensify the work process ( 1986, ).
Job Satisfaction – Job satisfaction reflects the conscious attitudes toward one's job. Job satisfaction can be achieved through clear and just organisational policies; supervisors who appreciate employee efforts and outputs as well as guide ineffective performance; appropriate compensation for the job; a corporate culture that allows socialisation, camaraderie, and coordination; pleasant working conditions which include individual work areas, sufficient office supplies, ventilated office, and clean health and sanitary facilities; meaningful tasks; freedom to decide and carry out actions; and reward for loyalty and remarkable performance (, , & 1999). and (2004) claim that job satisfaction has been linked to critical organisational outcomes such as employee absenteeism, tardiness, intentions to turnover, actual turnover, job performance, organisational citizenship behaviour, burnout, physical and psychological well being, creativity, productivity, loyalty to company and life satisfaction ().
Management Development – Management development recognises the vitality of managers in the survival of the organisation. Thus, a program designed for the continuing education of managers on new management techniques, strategies and approaches is imperative. Contemporary management development programs make use of three approaches: one that focuses on the characteristics, knowledge, and experience of managers and attempts to provide special programs to address their needs; another underscores the improvement of managers as members of a class or a set of classes with overlapping membership; and the last emphasises a specific organisation which results to programs designed to enhance the functioning of a particular organisation, with a given manpower and resources faced with distinct situations and problems ( and 1998, ).
Career Planning – Career planning is a lifelong process of identifying, planning, pursuing and maintaining or changing a career. It entails choosing a specific occupation based on a person’s interests and skills, being employed for the job, developing within the job, changing careers when necessary and finally retiring. This process involves five steps. First, the person has to assess the kinds of interests, values, skills, knowledge, and developmental needs that he possesses and the work environment that he prefers. After these things are determined, the person has to explore all options available to him. These options may range from internships, volunteer works, academic materials, or full time employment. Afterwards, there is a need to identify possible jobs that the person can capably handle, assess the desirability of these jobs, analyse alternatives, and select short term and long term options. The fourth step requires the person to prepare for hiring requirements to the chosen job. Finally, the person has to successfully perform job requirements and learn everything that he can while on the job to maintain development of expertise which may be needed for future career plans and changes ( 2007).