The Effects of Training and Development on Employee Performance in the Public Sector of Ghana
A Study of the Takoradi Branch of Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA)
Research Paper (postgraduate) 2014 51 Pages
The quality of Human Resource is an asset to any organization and as a result Training has become an issue that has to be faced by every organization. The amount, and quality of training carried out varies enormously from organization to organization due to factors such as the degree of external change, for instance, new markets or new processes, the adaptability of existing workforce and importantly the extent to which the organization supports the idea of internal career development. Most organizations meet their needs for training in an ad hoc and haphazard way whiles others set about identifying their training needs, then design training activities in a rational manner and finally assess the results of training. This study, therefore, sought to determine the impact of Training and Development on public sector organizations using Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority (GPHA) as a case study. The research was intended to determine the role and impact of training on employees with emphasis on the lower, middle level staff and the administrators of GPHA, who were randomly selected. The study assessed the training and development process of GPHA and whether training has improved employee performance. A questionnaire was designed using structured questions to collect primary data from employees of GPHA. Personal interviews were held with some management staff of the organization. The results indicated that GPHA’s employees were not well informed about training and development programmes in the organization. Most of the employees were of the view that training and development were effective tools for both personal and organizational success. The findings revealed that training practices, methods and activities at GPHA are not in line with the best practices regarding the planned and systematic nature of the training process as is generally known. It was recommended among other things, that the processes involved in training be duly followed, GPHA should help its staff identify their career paths and to guide them in the pursuit of higher education.
KEY WORD: THE EFFFCTS OF TRAINING AND DEVLOPMENT ON EMPLOYEE PERFOMANCE IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR OF GHANA
The main purpose of the study is to assess the effects of Training and Development on Employees Performance in the Public Sector of Ghana.
Chapter one outlines the background, problem statement, main and specific objectives of the study. The chapter continues by highlighting the research questions, significant, scope, limitations, and the organization of the study.
1.1 Background of the Study
In the fast pace changing world of business and environmental uncertainty, organizations realize its limitation of dealing with new challenges and should therefore invest in training programs to make their employees competent enough to face uncertainties and take effective decision in time and also remain competitive in the market (Tai, 2006). Effective training is beneficial for the firm in variety of ways, such as, it plays a vital role in building and maintaining capabilities, both on individual and organizational level, and thus participates in the process of organizational change (Valle et al. 2000). Moreover, it enhances the retention capacity of talented workforce, hence decreasing the unintentional job rotation of the workers (Shaw et al. 1998). Furthermore, it indicates the firm’s long-term commitment towards its workers and increases the employee’s motivational level (Pfeffer, 1994). All these contributions lead to achieving competitive advantage (Youndt et al.1996) and to an enhancement in employee performance and organizational productivity (Bart el, al. 1994).
Training both physically, socially, intellectually and mentally are very essential in facilitating not only the level of productivity but also the development of personnel in any organization. Therefore, training can be put in a contact relevant to public sector administrators. However, knowledge is the ability, the skill, the understanding, the information, which every individual requires in order to be able to function effectively and perform efficiently (Mamoria, 1995)
Abiodun (1999) submitted that: Training is a systematic development of knowledge, skills and attitudes required by employees to perform adequately on a given task or job. It can take place in a number of ways, on the job or off the job; in the organization or outside organization.
Adeniyi (1995) observed that staff training and development is a work activity that can make a very significant contribution to the overall effectiveness and profitability of an organization. He therefore, provides a systematic approach to training which encases the main elements of training. The effectiveness and success of an organization therefore lies on the people who form and work within the organization. It follows therefore that the employees in an organization to be able to perform their duties and make meaningful contributions to the success of the organizational goals need to acquire the relevant skills and knowledge. In appreciation of this fact, public sector organizations conduct training and development programmes for different levels of their manpower.
Usually, before training or development programmes are organized efforts are being made through individuals and organizational appraisals to identify the training needs. After the training and development programmes, an evaluation is carried out to ascertain the effectiveness of the programme in line with the need, which had been identified. It is worthy of mention that organization development follows the development of individual who form the organization. It follows that no organization becomes effective and efficient until the individual have and apply the required skills and knowledge. Training has been observed as part of human development. Human development is a process of enlarging people’s choices. In principle, these choices can be infinite and change over time. But at all levels of development, the three essential ones are for people to live a long and healthy life, to acquire knowledge through training, and to have access to resources needed for a decent standard of living. If these essential choices are not available many other opportunities remain inaccessible (Baruch, 2006).
According to human development experts is clearly only one option that people would like to have, albeit an important one. Development must therefore be more than just the expansion of income and wealth. (HDR 1990) since administering involves the creation and maintenance of an environment for performance, working closely or in isolation towards the accomplishment of common goals, it is obvious that administrators cannot be successful without well skilled and well trained people. The importance of incorporating training into organizational or institutional roles the staffing of these roles and the entire process of direction and leading people must be premises on knowledge and skills.
The need for improved productivity in organization has become universally accepted and that it depends on efficient and effective training. It has further become necessary in view of advancement in modern world to invest in training. Thus, the role played by staff training and development can no longer be over-emphasized. However, the need for organizations to embark on staff development programme for employees has become obvious. Absence of these programmes often manifest tripartite problems of incompetence, inefficiency and ineffectiveness (Arnoff, 1997).
Oribabor (2000) submitted that training and development aim at developing competences such as technical, human, conceptual and managerial for the furtherance of individual and organization growth, also Isyaku (2000) postulated that the process of training and development is a continuous one. Man is dynamic in nature, the need to be current and relevant in all spheres of human endeavor’s make staff development a necessity, to keep track with current event and methods.
Griffin (1978) has drawn the attention of the entire sundry to the inestimable value of training and development. It is an avenue to acquire more and new knowledge and develop further the skills and techniques to function effectively. Scholars, experts, social scientist and public sector administrators now recognize the fact that training is obviously indispensable not only in the development of the individuals but also facilitate the productive capacity of the workers. Training is not coaxing or persuading people to do what is wanted but rather a process of creating organizational conditions that will cause personnel to strive for better performance.
Among other schools that highlighted the usefulness of training are Akintayo (1996), Oguntimehin (2001) and Graig (1976). They identified the functions of training as follow: increase productivity, improves the quality of work; improves skills, knowledge, understanding and attitude; enhance the use of tools and machine; reduces waste, accidents, turnover, lateness, absenteeism and other overhead costs, eliminates obsolesce in skills, technologies, methods, products, capital management etc. It brings incumbents to that level of performance which needs the performance for the job; enhance the implementation of new policies and regulations; prepares people for achievement, improves man-power development and ensures the survival and growth of the enterprise.
Pitfield (1982) is of the opinion that the objectives of training are to: provide the skills, knowledge and aptitudes necessary to undertake required job efficiently develop the workers so that if he has the potentials, he may progress, increase efficiency by reducing spoilt work, misuse of machines and lessening physical risks. Chris Obisi (1996) submitted that training and development aim at developing competences such as technical, human, conceptual and managerial for the furtherance of individual and organization growth. Also Akinpeju (1999) postulated that the process of training and development is a continuous one. The need to perform one’s job efficiently and the need to know how to lead others are sufficient reasons for training and development and the desire to meet organizations objectives of higher productivity, makes it absolutely compulsory.
1.2 Statement of the problem
It is a well known fact that training and development enhances worker performance and productivity in organizations (G.A Cole, 2002). Many organizations in Ghana and indeed the public sector engage in training and development of staff and have departments, units and sectors in charge of training and development. GPHA is one such organization that has been practicing training and development since its beginning and particularly for the past ten (10) years.
However, for some years now it appears training in Ghana Ports Harbours Authority is haphazard, unplanned and unsystematic, and several of its employees such as machine operators, junior and middle level engineers, accounts clerks, computer operators, secretaries, drivers and many other category of workers, have not qualified for any form of training nor is there any systematic process of staff development in place. A brief interaction with some employees did show that Management of Ghana Ports Harbours Authority see the cost incurred in the acquisition and maintenance of plant and equipment as more relevant than that expense on training and development of its staff.
In the absence of training and development of employees by Management of Ghana Ports Harbors Authority, the employees sponsored themselves in furtherance of their education to obtain professional or higher level certificates. Employees who expressed the desire to pursue university education were not given any form of assistance like study leave with pay. Their applications for study leave were turned down with those who were persistent being advised to resign. Those who sought for part-time programs were disengaged after their studies as management claimed their programs were not relevant to the job. The few ones who were retained had no promotion to match their added skills and competencies. This it is believed to have led to high labor turnover in the organization. The study was therefore to assess the role of training on the human resource and how this affects worker performance.
1.3 Main Objectives
The main objective of the study is to assess the effects of Training and Development on Employees’ Performance in the Public Sector of Ghana. To be able to achieve this, the following specific objective has been identified
1.4 Specific Objectives
The objectives of this study are to:-
- Identify the major purposes of training and development, as well as the key internal and external influences on training.
- Find out the training and development policies in operation at GPHA.
- Outline and explain the training and development policies and processes including the assessment of training needs.
- Find out whether training and development schemes have positive effects on the performance of workers and productivity at GPHA.
1.5 Research Questions:
- What are the major purposes of training and development practices and processes including the assessment of training needs?
- How did the training and development practice develop in GPHA?
- What are the training and development policies and practices in GPHA?
- Does training and development have positive effect on worker performance and productivity at GPHA?
1.6 Significance of the study
It is expected that the study will inform the Management of GPHA and other organizations that to increase productivity, there is the need to have and retain well trained and motivated employees. It is also to help develop and maintain a quality work life, which will provide an opportunity for employees’ job satisfaction and self-actualization. Finally, it is to aid management of GPHA to introduce modern schemes for training and development, to be able to meet the challenges of change in the future.
1.7 Scope of the study
The study is limited as it looks at the role and impact that training and development policies and activities have played in the last ten years of GPHA’s life using their Takoradi port as the focal point between the years 2004 to 2013. The Takoradi Port constitutes an important location of GPHA and holds a large population of employees. Accordingly the analysis and conclusions will be based on this time period.
Problems such as the swearing of an oath of secrecy and indifference on the part of interviewees and respondents were limitations to the study as some of the employees felt uncomfortable and others were simply not bothered. The absence or inaccessibility of reliable records and reports on GPHA activities within the past ten years also limited the research investigation. The unwillingness of Management to divulge strategic information in the name of confidentiality is a limitation to the study.
1.9 Organization of the study
The study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one introduces the study by giving the background information on the research problem, main and specific objectives. the chapter further outlines the research questions, significance, scope, limitations as well as the organization of the study. Chapter two deals with the review of relevant literature on the research problems and concepts with specific reference to how it applies to Ghana Port and Harbor Authority. Chapter three discusses the research methodology adopted for the study and relevant justifications. It outlines the methodology for carrying out the secondary and primary data collections and how results were analyzed. Chapter four presents the findings on the practices and impact of training and development in Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority. It will also lay out the researcher’s analysis on the organization’s responses to the impact and role of such training on its employees in terms of performance and productivity. Chapter five gives the conclusions drawn from the research findings and recommendations to enhance organizational effectiveness through training, and to ensure a stable and committed human resource.
The purpose of this study is to assess the effects of training and development on employee performance in the public sector of Ghana with particular reference to the Ghana Port and Habour Authority (GHAPA). This chapter deals with the review of relevant literature on the research problems and concepts with specific reference to how it applies to Ghana Port and Harbor Authority.
The literature on Training and Development (T&D) is vast and growing. A considerable number of individual studies and meta-analytic reviews of training and development have taken a multi-dimensional perspective enveloping the needs of individuals, teams, organizations and the society at large to document evidence of a positive impact on them. A training and development program - an essential Human Resource Development (HRD) function of any organization - addresses a discrepancy between the current performance of the employee and what is expected of him. Training refers to a systematic approach to learning and development to improve individual, team, and organizational effectiveness (Goldstein & Ford, 2002). Alternatively, development refers to activities leading to the acquisition of new knowledge or skills for purposes of personal growth or future jobs and/or roles. However, with the changing socio-economic and technological relevance of T&D, the definitions, scope, methods and evaluation of these programs have undergone a sea change in the last decade. This literature review offers a critique of the relevant conceptual account on the topic.
Training-related activities result in improved job performance and other positive changes (e.g., acquisition of new skills; Hill & Lent 2006, Satterfield & Hughes 2007) that serve as antecedents of job performance (Kraiger 2002). Barber (2004) found that training led to greater innovation and tacit skills. Decker & Nathan (1985), Robertson (1990) in their research found that training affects change in worker skills through a change in trainees’ knowledge structures or mental models. Training may not only affect declarative or procedural knowledge but also may enhance strategic knowledge which is defined as knowing when to apply a specific knowledge or skill (Kozlowski et al. 2001, Kraiger et al. 1993). Training benefits employees to perform their jobs in a different culture and/or adjust psychologically to living in that culture (Bhawuk & Brislin 2000, Lievens et al. 2003). Studies made by (Morey et al. 2002, Salas et al. 2001) indicate that training improves declarative knowledge, planning and task coordination, collaborative problem solving, and communication in novel team and task environments.
Several studies have also documented the impact of training on the organizational performance. Results of the research by Aragon-Sanchez et al. (2003) indicate that training activities were positively related to most dimensions of effectiveness (i.e., employee involvement, human resource indicators, and quality) and profitability (i.e., sales volume, benefits before interest and taxes, and a ratio of benefit before taxes/sales). Ubeda Garcıa (2005) study on organizations’ training policies suggested that training programs oriented toward human capital development were directly related to employee, customer, and owner/shareholder satisfaction as well as an objective measure of business performance (i.e., sales per employee). Similarly, it is also observed that 4.6% of the variance in financial performance was explained by training via the mediating role of social and organizational performance (Guerrero & Barraud-Didier, 2004). Yet another possible benefit of training is social capital, via relationship building, norm development, and institutional trust (Brown & Van Buren, 2007). Interestingly, Clardy (2005) noted that an organization’s reputation can be affected by its training practices. The adoption of many policies to encourage the design and delivery of training programs at the national level is the recognition of the benefits of training activities for society (Herman Aguinis and Kurt Kraiger, 2009). Most of the researches on the relationship between training activities and their benefits for society have been conducted by economists; the focal dependent variable is national economic performance.
Becker (1964) observed that training efforts produce improvements in the quality of the labor force, which in turn is one of the most important contributors to national economic growth. Riding on the benefits as T&D efforts in many organizations continue to expand and grow, there has been a greater than ever pressure to show the results of training. It is imperative to focus and to adequately and properly demonstrate and communicate that training efforts are making worthwhile contributions. As a result, there is a growing body of conceptual work on measuring the effectiveness of T & D. Hamblin (1974) defined the process of evaluating T&D as “any attempt to obtain information (feedback) on the effects of a training program, and to assess the value of the training in the light of that information”.
Sackett and Mullen, (1993) suggested that the purpose of evaluation is to help organizations make decision about future training activities, and provide tools needed to assess the type of evaluation possible in a given situation, to conduct the most informative evaluation possible, given the constraints of the situation, and to communicate to organizational decision makers both the strengths and the limitations of whatever evaluation data is obtained. The findings of the study by Grider et. al (1990) suggested that Organizations should provide necessary resources to evaluate the training activity effectiveness while Integrating T&D into the strategic plan of the firm. They also opine that organizations should establish an information network to facilitate access to necessary data for before and after measurement.
Saxena (1997) reported that the actual practice of evaluation in many organizations did not often follow the strict recommendations of evaluation literature. However, Campbell (1998) suggested evaluation can provide a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment to the personnel associated with a course or program. The key messages from the literature reviewed include that Training evaluation can take many forms and the components it includes should be selected according to the information needed and how those information are expected to be used. It should essentially look at the whole training cycle and not just at the course itself, including needs assessment, design, delivery and follow up.
According Cole (2002:330), in his book Personnel and Human Resource Management, training is a learning activity directed towards the acquisition of specific knowledge and skills for the purpose of an occupation or task. The focus of training is the job or task for example, the need to have efficiency and safety in the operation of particular machines or equipment, or the need for an effective sales force to mention but a few.
Training is the planned and systematic modification of behavior through learning events, activities and programs which results in the participants achieving the levels of knowledge, skills, competencies and abilities to carry out their work effectively (Gordon 1992:235). Pheesey (1971:130) defines training as the systematic process of altering the behavior and or attitudes of employees in a direction to increase the achievement of organizational goals. This means for any organization to succeed in achieving the objectives of its training program, the design and implementation must be planned and systematic, tailored towards enhancing performance and productivity.
The Manpower Services commission of the United Kingdom, which was set up by the 1973 Employment and Training Act defined training as a planned process to modify attitude, knowledge or skill behavior through learning experience to achieve effective performance in an activity or range of activities. According to them, the purpose of training in the work situation is to develop the abilities of the individual and to satisfy the current and future of the organization. Most organizations have long recognized the importance of training to its development. As new technology progresses, making certain jobs and skills redundant, an increasing emphasis is being placed on the need for a skilled and highly trained workforce. Many of the jobs being replaced by machines have been of an unskilled and semi-skilled nature, and this emphasizes the need for higher education and skills for those wishing to gain employment in the future.
According to Armstrong (1996:11), expressing an understanding of training emphasizes that training should be developed and operated within an organization by appreciating learning theories and approaches if the training is to be well understood. This was also affirmed by Sherman et al (1996:13). They expressly indicated that the success of a training program depends more on the organization’s ability to identify training needs and the care with which it prepares the program so that if the trainees do not learn what they are supposed to learn, the training has not been successful. They further indicated that training experts believe that if trainees do not learn, it is probably only because some important learning principle had been overlooked.
What they are saying is that the success or failure of a training program is frequently related to the recognition and application of basic psychological principles of learning. This assertion is not necessarily right. If the trainees do not learn anything then of what benefit will they be for the organization. If trainees return empty, with nothing to contribute, it can also mean that even though the organization might have done all that is necessary to ensure a successful training program, the wrong candidate might have been selected for the training program.
McGhee et al (1996:54) wrote on the nature of learning and said learning is a term used to describe the process by which behavioral changes results from experience. They also said the fact that learning has occurred could only be inferred from a comparison of an individual’s behavior prior to the experiences of specific kinds of task. This is not to say that there has been no learning if there is no overt behavioral change. Since training generally is intended to provide learning experiences that will help people perform more effectively in their jobs, organizational training should follow the learning principle.
Training therefore can be explained as a planned and systematic effort by management aimed at altering behavior of employees, in a direction that will achieve organizational goals. A formal training program is an effort by the employer to provide opportunities for the employee to acquire job-related skills, attitudes and knowledge, McGhee et al (1996:55)
The purpose of training is mainly to improve knowledge and skills, and to change attitudes or behavior. It is one of the most important potential motivators which can lead to many possible benefits for both individuals and the organization. Changing technology requires that employees possess the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to cope with new processes and production techniques. According to Cole (2002) training can achieve:
- High morale - employees who receive training have increased confidence and motivation;
- Lower cost of production – training eliminates risks because trained personnel are able to make better and economic use of material and equipment thereby reducing and avoiding waste;
- Lower turnover – training brings a sense of security at the workplace which reduces labor turnover and absenteeism is avoided;
- Change management- training helps to manage change by increasing the understanding and involvement of employees in the change process and also provides the skills and abilities needed to adjust to new situations;
- Provide recognition, enhanced responsibility and the possibility of increased pay and promotion;
- Give a feeling of personal satisfaction and achievement, and broaden opportunities for career progression; and
- Help to improve the availability and quality of staff.
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