Wednesday, December 21, 2011


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(A.) Analyse the training and development needs of an individual or group of individuals within you organisation or any organisation with which you are familiar.

United Beverages is a package beer wholesalers and the brand owner of Finches soft drinks. It deals in the licensed and grocery trades. It materialised in 180 with the merger of several regional wholesalers. In 1 Guinness, who in turn in the same year was bought by Diageo, bought it. This however doesn’t come into effect fully until ,004. There are over 00 employees working under the name of Finches.

Throughout the course of my research I conversed with two members of the United Beverages team, they were Sinead Cowzer, the Trade Marketing Manager and Jeanette Lindfield, the Human Resource Manager. Sinead got promoted from Marketing assistant, to her current position of Trade Marketing Manager in March of this year. Sinead has a degree in Science and is currently studying for her Marketing Degree at night in the Tallaght Institute of Technology. She reports directly to John Kershaw, the Commercial Director of United Beverages. There are ten members of the Commercial Team of United Beverages and they all work together in their offices in City West. There is both a formal and informal system of communication in the company, but according to Sinead it is quite a casual environment within the offices.

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The Human Resource department in United Beverages was only officially set up in 17. They have implemented a new system of Performance appraisals in the past year. It is still having some teething problems but it is semi successful. One of the main problems with the Performance reviews is the terminology used; there have been a lot of problems in that area so it is currently under review. Employees also feel there is too much paper involved and that it is too time consuming. The Human Resource Department are currently working on these difficulties with the Performance Appraisal so they are hopefully going to be completed electronically in the near future.

Both Sinead and Jeanette concur that United Beverages has moved on strategically only in the past few years, and really only since it became part of Diageo. They would now consider themselves to be a learning organisation. I believe that this is reflected in their commitment to training and developing their staff. They have a Diageo Brand Building Programme that is know as DWBB (Diageo’s Way of Brand Building). Diageo believe that the way to build their brand is through their employee’s. All employees are computer literate and all are sent to the European Driving licence course, even the employees that work in the warehouses. Diageo believe that all employees deserve to be equipped with ‘the basic work tools that are needed in almost every job today, regardless on whether they need it under their current job spec...’ (Lindfield rd April, interview).

Needs analysis is critical to the development and delivery of good Human Resource Development. There is no point in an individual undertaking training or development if they don’t have specific targets, and without analysis training and development is undertaken in the hope that it targets a need and it should always target a need. Although it must be recognised that poor needs analysis is worse than no needs analysis. Needs assessment is vital, otherwise the business can remain totally focused on training rather than business values. Training and development needs analysis is different in every organisation. United Beverages will determine which needs prominence should be placed on. Culture is also important to needs analysis; the environment will determine what activities and interventions will be best to bring the organisation forward.

In a company you can’t train and develop all staff at all times, so training and development analysis allows management to prioritise who needs the training and development and then prioritise what areas they should receive the training and development in. Training and development needs arise from a number of things. When the goals and strategies of a company are determined, management need to look and what tasks their employees need to be able to undertake in order for the strategy to be successful. The procedure of a job and the job description is another area that training and development needs can arise from, if an employee has been promoted or moved to a different department within the company, or has just begun working for the company, they made need to acquire new skills or upgrade the ones they already have in order to successfully complete the work that is expected from them in their new position. A training and development need may also arise from the review of the performance of staff and whether of not it is perceived that training and development is needed to improve their performance.

A training and development need arose in Diageo in March of this year. When Sinead Cowzer was promoted to Trade Marketing Manager it was for many reasons. The person who previously held the job left, and so the position became available. Sinead had worked directly below him in the structure of United Beverages and so stood a good chance of being successful in her application for the job. It was determined that while Sinead didn’t have all the qualifications and skills required for the job, she had the perfect attitude towards learning, training and development, which is most important when looking at prospective candidates. (Wiley lecture 00).

Analysing a training and development need involves a systematic process of determining, measuring and deciding on priorities for action. (Byrne week 5 learning pack). Also when analysing the training and development needs of and individual, the skills gap must be realised by looking at the actual knowledge, skills and attitude they possess, what KSA is needed now and what KSA is needed in the future in order for the companies business strategy to be successful. So basically there are two types of analysis, reactive and proactive. Reactive analysis is problem-based analysis, management look at an existing problem and determine the solution to be training and development. Proactive analysis is, analysis the company’s strategic plan and determining the training and development needs that must be met now in order for the success of it in the future. While proactive analysis is the best approach, reactive analysis tends to be the analysis most commonly used. In the case of United Beverages and Sinead, reactive training and development needs analysis was used. Management was reacting to the skills gap that arose after Sinead’s promotion.

There are three levels of needs analysis, they are, Organisational, Job and Individual (Byrne week 5 learning pack). Although, Boydell suggests that there are four levels, they are, Organisational, Occupational, Individual and Departmental. (In Wilson, 00111). Each level of the analysis works as part of a team. It is difficult to determine what the individual needs without looking and the Organisation, Occupation and Department. You can’t decide what the individual needs, if you don’t know what the organisation ultimately wants to achieve. The Organisational level is self explanatory, on the occupational level there needs to be a discussion of requirements of the job title e.g. new technology and how everyone will need to know how to use it. On the individual level, this is the analysis that took place in order for Sinead’s training and development needs to be prioritised. Of course when this was being done the Organisations, Departments and Occupations needs were all taken into account.

Spritzer claims that there are five steps in a systematic approach to training. They are Needs assessment, design, development, delivery and evaluation. Once the needs assessment is completed and the skills gap has been identified, a course of action is designed and then the development occurs along with the delivery of the desired training and development, finally an evaluation takes place to determine whether or not the analysis and action were successful. Fitzpatrick’s or Hamlin’s model of evaluation can be used.

As the complete take over of United Beverages by Diageo will take place in 004, the Marketing Department will be expanding. Sinead needs to be equipped to manage more staff and to be involved in the recruitment and selection of the marketing employees. So this marked a training and development need that incorporated the organisations strategic plan.

There are many sources of information that can be used when conducting needs analysis. Company records can be used to analysis training and development needs on an Organisational level, as can secondary information, managers, employees, customers and suppliers. (Byrne week 5 learning pack). There are also many research methods that can be used when conducting training and development needs analysis, they are document analysis, statistical analysis, interviews (individual and group), questionnaires (personal, postal and telephone) and tests (single and assessment centres). (Byrne week 5 learning pack). There are two other methods, Observation and Participation but they tend to be less popular than the others. Needs analysis is really about putting al l of the above methods together in order to get the full picture.

There are two types of analysis sources they are internal and external. Internal analysis includes corporate objectives and strategies, human resource plans, skills audits and inventories, statistics e.g. defects, complaints, absenteeism, turnover, profit and cost figures, also interviews with employees, managers and customers. (Byrne week 5 learning pack). External analysis sources used are competitors, customers, suppliers, and technology, legislation (e.g. Health & Safety regulations), pressure groups and social change. (Byrne week 5 learning pack).

“Job training analysis is the process of identifying the purpose of a job and its component parts and specifying what must be learnt in order for there to be effective work performance.” (Byrne week 5 learning pack (Harrison, 16)).

When conducting a needs analysis on an occupational level there are four different ways to do so. Although it is time consuming a comprehensive task analysis is one method, it in involves thoroughly looking at every task involved in a certain position and documenting the entire level of knowledge, skills and attitude required to complete the job. Key task analysis is another way of conducting a needs analysis on an occupational level. This is completed by looking at the tasks that are absolutely essential to the success of the given job. Reactive organisations tend to use a third type of needs analysis when dealing with the occupational level. Problem centred analysis is done by looking at a problem within the occupation and determining that training or development is the way to solve it. Competetency Based Analysis is the final analysis used when conducting a needs analysis on an occupational level. Competencies are the link between the personal traits, skill and characteristics and effective behaviour required to fill the job adequately.

Needs analysis on an individual level is very important also. There are generally two reasons why a needs analysis is required, firstly it can be to improve the current performance of an individual and secondly it is to ensure the continuous development of their career, e.g. to have the required skills for a promotion. There are numerous was of assessing the training and development needs of an individual, performance reviews, discussion with management, assessment centres (this is generally used for managers), self assessment and statistics. Statistics can indicate absenteeism and customer service area’s that need attention.

In the case of Sinead Cowzer, a training and development need arose because of promotion. While she didn’t possess all the skills that were required for the job she had the perfect attitude to training and development. There was a skills gap present and so Jeanette Lindfield undertook training and development needs analysis. The analysis was both reactive and proactive. On the organisational level Jeanette looked at United Beverages strategy and analysed what Sinead’s role was going to be. She also looked at the job description for Trade Marketing Manager and Sinead’s old job description as Marketing assistant and determined what skills gaps there was. She undertook both a Comprehensive task analysis and a key task analysis. On the individual level, Jeanette identified the training and development needs through discussion with Sinead and John Kershaw the Director. Jeanette also used Sinead’s performance reviews to determine training and development needs. Both Sinead and John outline objectives for Sinead during her bi-annual review and Jeanette determined what training and development needed to be undertaken in order for those objectives to be met.

(B.) Identify an appropriate learning activity to address the needs identified.

There were four main needs identified by the needs analysis

1. Interview Skills

. Management skills

. Brand responsibility

4. Media Advertising

1. Interview Skills

Lindfield found that when she compared Sinead’s job descriptions that there was a deficit in interview skills, since now Sinead would be officially head of the Marketing Department she would be required to interview potential employees, especially in 004 when United Beverages is completely taken over by Diageo. Lindfield determined that the best way of teaching interview skills was through practical experience. She gave Cowzer notes on how to prepare for interviews, how to conduct one and how to initially identify the candidates you wish to interview. Coaching was deemed to be the most effective way of closing the skills gap. As the Human Resource Manager Lindfield was very familiar with Interviewing, so she volunteered herself to coach Sinead in Interview skills. This coaching was free and therefore cost effective. The coaching was also on the job coaching and therefore not much time was wasted. One advantage of coaching is that it is focused on performance and therefore generally an improvement is noticeable almost immediately, if the individual is open and keen on the development of their skills, which Sinead definitely was.

. Management Skills

As this is the first Management position that Sinead has held she has some skills gaps when it comes to managing people. Sinead was chosen for the position even though she didn’t possess all the desired skills as she has a great attitude towards her colleagues and shows great determination when dealing with problems, she is very self confident and was decisive under pressure, and this was reflected in her performance appraisals. The mentoring system could be used in this training and development.

“…(Mentor refers to) experienced and often senior employees who support and advise less experienced and often younger colleagues through their personal and career development” (Walton, 11, in Byrne, week 6 learning pack).

Your boss should not do mentoring, yet John Kershaw was appointed as an internal mentor to Sinead, but she also had an external mentor within Diageo on the whole. Mentoring focuses on a broader aspect of achieving higher performance than coaching. While this will take time it is an ongoing process that will be invaluable to Sinead in the long run, she must learn how to efficiently delegate tasks and how to interact with staff. I believe that mentoring is the best way of establishing this.

. Brand Responsibility

Under her new role as Trade Marketing Manager Sinead is responsible for maintaining the finch’s brand in regards to marketing. While she was already somewhat responsible in her previous role of Marketing Assistant the onus is completely on her and she will be held responsible to any problems that arise within the marketing department. Sinead is already studying for her degree in Marketing and brand responsibility is one of the key areas covered on her course. United Beverages have therefore offered to pay Sinead’s college fees. While it is costly in involves very little effort on their part and almost insures that she will remain in their employment for sometime and at least until she completes her degree.

4. Media Advertising

This is another area that will be covered in Sinead’s degree course, although United Beverages feel that it would fit better with their strategy if she covered it more intensively and quicker. They enrolled Sinead in a media-buying course with another member of her marketing team. While this was expensive and time consuming it proved to be a complete success. United Beverages also sent her to an advanced course in media buying to cover her gap in Media Audit Skills, as the other course had been so successful.

Finally in conclusion, United Beverages have shown a commitment to the training and development needs of their staff. Although they may need to assess the performance review system currently in place, especially when it is used as one of the primary information sources when determining and training and development need.

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