I/O Psychology: Employee Development

To compete in global economy today, organizations need for employees to be on top of their jobs. In the rapidly changing business environment, employees are often required for continuous learning in order to adapt dynamic business processes toward organizational goals, therefore employee development plays strategic roles in organizational growth and success. In facilitation of employee development, employee training is an effective approach for maintaining a productive workforce engaged in continuous performance improvement (Aamodt, 2010).

In this article, the importance and benefits of employee training are analyzed. Employee performance appraisal and evaluation are discussed to scrutinize functions of performance appraisal and its interactions with employee training in the human resource (HR) management. This article also studies the integration of performance appraisal and employee training with the performance management system for optimizing employment performance improvement. As discussed in this article, the performance management process constructs a framework with multiple employee development dimensions including goal setting, development planning, performance review, performance improvement, and performance reward.

Employee Training

Employee training is an effective booster for employees’ job performance. According to Ameeq-ul-Ameeq and Hanif (2013), training “is a learning process that involves the acquisition of knowledge, sharpening of skills, concepts, rules, or changing of attitudes and behaviours to enhance the performance of employees” (p. 160). Many studies have demonstrated a positive relationship between training and employee performance; it is often found that training has a greater impact on employee performance than other factors like motivation, technology, management behavior, and working environment (Ikhlas, 2012). Employee training enables workers to develop their skills, knowledge, and abilities and transfer them to their workplace to result in optimized productivity (Mohd Noor & Dola, 2012).

Employee training leads to greater job satisfaction. Latif, Jan, and Shaheen (2013) indicated that “employee training is not only linked to improved business results but is also a powerful factor in shaping employee attitudes” (p. 159) because training increases employees’ job satisfaction with career advancement opportunities and creates a motivation for discretionary behavior. Job satisfaction builds the happy, productive workforce that leads to improved organizational performance. The study by Latif, Jan, and Shaheen (2013) concluded that “training initiatives are a wise investment” (p. 175) to increase employees’ job satisfaction, loyalty, and commitment “which have a positive impact on the bottom line by motivating employees, and decreasing turnover intent” (p. 175).

To make positive impacts of training to employees’ career development and organizational performance, HR managers should carefully evaluate the effectiveness of training programs. Kaur and Mittal (2013) stated that training programs sharpen the skills and capabilities of the employees “but each and every training program should be properly designed and evaluated in order to quantify the progress” (p. 56). The effectiveness of training could be affected by employees’ motivation and perception towards the training program. Ameeq-ul-Ameeq and Hanif (2013) stated that training perceived by the employees to be useful and valuable are likely resulting in increased productivity and job satisfaction, otherwise negative perception could prevent training from achieving expected results. Because “employees are likely to place greater value on training programs that are highly respected by colleagues, supervisors, and managers” (Ameeq-ul-Ameeq & Hanif, 2013, p. 68), the management team should communicate with employees to elaborate the objectives and benefits of training programs. To optimize training results, organizations should be able to measure the effectiveness of the training programs and analyze the feedback of employees’ training experience. The measurement of training effectiveness and employee feedback may be obtained from employee appraisal and evaluation (Levy, 2010).

Performance Appraisal and Evaluation

Performance appraisal is a conventional tool used in the HR management for assessing and evaluating employee performance; it is often conducted through merit rating, interview, performance review, and performance measurement (Singh, 2013). According to Kondrasuk (2012), an ideal performance appraisal needs to establish expectations for employee performance, provide resource and support to employee’s job, assess employee’s job performance, obtain employee feedback, and discuss appraiser’s evaluation with employee. Performance appraisal should be conducted at regular intervals to enhance employee motivation and improve business efficiency. Performance appraisal can help organizations discover “where their employees excel, where they can improve, and how well they have followed the goals set by the firm” (Kondrasuk, 2012, p. 116).

In order to get effective performance appraisal, organizations should clearly explain the appraisal process to employees and reach agreement with all people involved. Without adequate communication and planning, performance appraisals could tum counterproductive when employee negatively perceive performance appraisal “as an unreasonable attempt by management to exercise closer supervision and control over tasks they (employees) perform” (Boachie-Mensah & Seidu, 2012, p. 73). The HR management relies on valid and accurate performance appraisals for decision making in employment development. Boachie-Mensah and Seidu (2012) explained that the appraisal accuracy could only be achieved when appraisers “provide objective and unbiased ratings of employees” (p. 74).

Performance appraisals help individuals’ career development, enhance organizational improvement, and provide vital information for business planning. Organizations often use performance appraisals to obtain “feedback on performance strengths and weaknesses to identify training needs and determine assignments and transfers” (Cleveland et al. as cited in Boachie-Mensah & Seidu, 2012, p. 74). For example, when employees are newly hired or assigned to new positions, initial training is usually provided to help employees adapt to their jobs quickly. To evaluate how the training helps employees jump-start their new positions, the organization may conduct performance appraisals to rate their productivity and get feedback about their training and work. The data from appraisals will help the organization improve training programs and adjust employment development plans. Employee training and performance appraisal should be integrated into the employee performance management system (Gómez-Mejía, Balkin, & Cardy, 2012).

Performance Management

According to Muhammad-Ikhlas (2012), employee performance management is a systematic process for strategic management of human resources to maximize employee contributions to organizational production and services. As an integrated two-way process, both managers and employees interact to “plan, assess, and review results to ultimately improve organizational success” (Mondy as cited in Singh, 2013, P. 39). Performance management emphasizes on motivation and empowerment by encouraging employees’ involvement in organizational planning and employee development: because employees are anticipated to play important roles in the process, they are motivated to perform at a high level (Muhammad Ikhlas, 2012).

Both performance appraisal and performance management are critical tools in human resource management. Performance management is relevant to but different from performance appraisal. Unlike mere appraisal of performance, the process of performance management “has a more holistic orientation which aims to define, facilitate, measure, and constantly improve performance at the individual, team, and organizational levels” (Singh, 2013, P. 39). While performance appraisal focuses on individual’s job performance, performance management adopts an integrated approach to aim at improving employee performance in alignment with organizational goals and objectives.

Employee training is an imperative task for performance management which integrates goal setting, performance improvement, and performance reward into a holistic system. The amount and type of performance management can be influenced by initial training which is the starting stage of employee development. Organizations expect the initial training to put employees on the right track with necessary skills for their jobs; however the effectiveness of training and employees’ learning capabilities must be measured and verified by performance appraisal. Performance management provides systematic dimensions for performance planning, performance review, and feedback to help improve the training program and employee performance. The enhancement of initial training may reduce the amount of performance management because well-trained employees are likely self-motivated to achieve performance goals. Depending on employees’ merits and weakness identified by performance review and appraisal, difference types of performance management may be applied to help employees’ career development.

Conclusion

Employee development is an important aspect in HR management for maintaining a competitive workforce. Rapid changes in technologies and business environment require employees to constantly update their knowledge, skills and abilities thus organizations need to consolidate training programs into employee development plan. Employee training helps organizations reach their goals by increasing employee performance and job satisfaction. The HR management commonly use performance appraisal to evaluate employee performance and obtain job feedback. Performance appraisal helps managers identify employees’ job fitness, performance levels, and future needs for training and improvement. Performance appraisal and training plan should be integrated into employee performance management for systematic employee development implementations. Performance management adopts a holistic approach for both managers and employees to work together to develop effective plans for maximizing employee performance improvement. Employees’ initial training has a significant impact to the amount and type of performance management. Effective training and motivation may reduce the amount of employee performance management. Different types of performance management may be applied to employees for different needs of training and development.

References

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Singh, A. (2013). Perceptions of software professionals regarding performance management processes: An exploratory study. Vikalpa: The Journal for Decision Makers, 38(2), 39-59.