Training Needs for Wal-Mart: A HRD Challenge.
Performance Management: Strength
Kirkpatrick Hierarchical Model
Outcome 1: Improved Customer Service
Outcome 2: Improved Communication and Diversity
Outcome 3: Improved Teamwork
Presently, local and multinational organizations are considering the human resource as the most valuable of all assets that can provide a significantly sustainable competitive advantage in a rather volatile business environment (Wright & McMahan, 2011). If a human resource in an organization is not effective in the provision strategic advantage, it becomes evident that the human resource management in the given organization is less ineffective in achieving its objectives (Chuang & Liao, 2010). At the same time, human resource departments continue to consider the traditional roles of just looking at managing the workforce, recruiting, and training. Instead, current requirements indicate that such departments are also looking at providing a platform for meeting factors such as increased work-life balance of the employees with the aim of ensuring high levels of commitment, productivity, and satisfaction among employees (Van Buren, Greenwood, & Sheehan, 2011).
Human resource development involves several strategies and a set of intentional activities carried out by an organization with the aim of ensuring improved employee's skills, abilities, and the job know how. At the same time, employee development activities aim at directing these skills and abilities acquired by the employees for the benefit of the organization as pointed out by Gennard (2010). The term also refers to the planned procedures and implemented strategies through which the human capital of the given business organization grows to people to the outcomes of developmental procedures (Cascio & Aguinis, 2014). In every context, within this concept of human resource development, the existence of different dimensions of strategy, perspectives, contents, and process have been helping organizational strategists to avoid the unexpected consequences of poor practice and its impact on organizational performance (Dávila, Epstein, & Manzoni, 2012).
To understand these ideas, this study puts into focus the key challenges of human resource development in Wal-Mart, the aspects of human resource development that the company does well, and the proper human resource development model that works better. All these considerations are aimed at providing various recommendations for the company.
The founder and former CEO of Wal-Mart, Sam Walton is the greatest resource the organization has. Walton’s leadership model and the desire for success have been significant in taking the company towards the realization of its objectives. Despite his death in 1992, Walton’s contribution lives on within the company owing to his ideas of offering low prices and great service. Sam Walton’s leadership and name are both rare and difficult to imitate. In fact, Wal-Mart is relying on Walton’s business idea and model to stay ahead of other companies such as target in the industry. Additionally, Wal-Mart has over 9,000 locations with approximately 2 million active staff. With such a big size, the company is able to accomplish things that smaller companies cannot. Additionally, the size is valuable in providing large economies of scale that translates to high profitability.
Additionally, no any other company could replicate Wal-Mart’s size in the retail industry. However, the resource is imitable since other companies could reproduce a huge size. Finally, Wal-Mart has a diverse product base that offers competitive advantage. According to Jack, Cavusgil, Griffin, and Eiteman (2013), being known for having products that meet customer needs make significant value for an organization in terms of customer attraction and retention. Additionally, having a wide range of products implies that the organization has a large supplier base this large customer base offers the company the opportunity for bargaining power, eventually calling for proper human resource development practices. Although the idea of product diversity is good, it is imitable although the organization is working towards the introduction of other product lines. However, in its human resource development strategies, Wal-Mart’s greatest challenge is that related to the analysis of training needs. However, its best practice is that related to performance management.
Training Needs for Wal-Mart: A HRD Challenge.
Need assessment is one of the most significant steps undertaken by organizations in designing training programs. The approach used for4 training is significant in ensuring that training is efficient to meet objectives. Before commissioning any training, the organization’s human resource should have to establish how, who, when, and why training is a necessity. The primary objective of training need analysis is the determination of the existing gaps among knowledge, skills, and abilities of the employees in carrying out operations and meeting the expectations of specific job requirements. In the case of Wal-Mart, the organization has been successful in terms of sales and business line. However, the organization’s customer service remains at stake. As such, need assessment is significant in determining whether training could be the appropriate solution for improving customer service and satisfaction. Therefore, the training issue in this assessment focuses on checking gender cases of various concerned groups alongside language fluency. Additionally, the need assessment should consider a sustainable establishment of claims based on the organizational requirement for employee welfare as Opperman and Meyer (2008) points out.
In its background information, the organization boasts of a reputable convenience, value of money, and a stable brand. The company has also been growing extensively using information technology and a strategy that emphasizes on effective HR. However, Wal-Mart has been on record for underpaying its employees. Additionally, since 1995, Wal-Mart recorded over 60 complaints related to gross violations of the requirements provided in the National Labor Relations Act. The task analysis, in this case, should successfully establish the key areas for the achievement of customer service, the level of customer service skills, strategies for customer service, relationship with hostile clients, media relations, and quality service among employees. Therefore, the organization could draw a training based on the choices made by the staff. To come up with the necessary choices of areas that need training, serving employees with questionnaires should be an issue of concern.
The first questions to ask employees could relate to common topic and areas they feel could need training. Having received the results of the common majority topics, another questionnaire with the issues of performance appraisal and proficiency tests could be the next step. In this case, employees should respond to questions about their experience in the work environment, their skills in customer relations, the understanding of quality services, communication skills, and their understanding of work requirements. With responses from this individual analysis approach, the organization’s human resource department could also seek answers to questions related to motivation at work, and change management. The responses to these questions could provide data sources for personal analysis for development (Sarkar, 2013).
The use of the questionnaires carries the form of evaluating employee work behavior by comparing such behaviors with the organization’s set standards for customer service. The human resource could document all findings and compare them to the company’s expected performance of the organization (Aldag & Kuzuhara, 2015). The aim of this analysis is the provision of feedback to employees and the determination of areas that need improvement. Furthermore, performance appraisal results could be useful in the determination of the group of employees that need training, promotion, demotion, and dismissal (Alfes, Shantz, Truss, & Soane, 2013). On the other hand, the results of proficiency tests provide the understanding of employee’s skills and knowledge in customer service and other operations. Proficiency test results could also indicate the ability to communicate effectively and handle hostile clients with ease. As such, the combination of common elements from the questionnaires could inform Wal-Mart that its service employees could require training on customer service.
Performance Management: Strength
Improved performance a key aspect related to the development of human resource development strategies (Cervai, Kekäle, & Claxton, 2014). For Wal-Mart, the company’s performance planning has it foundation on three main dimensions that relate with the needs of its retail business. These three main dimensions include customer service orientation, problem solving, and decision-making and result orientation.
Wal-Mart uses the customer service orientation as a tool for directly addressing the organization’s human resource development concerns in the context of the company’s stores with specific focus on retail. Retail is a service business. Therefore, the company puts more emphasis on the customer service orientation while coming up with employee development and performance planning. The organization uses this orientation to ensure that its services are effective in satisfying customers.
Furthermore, the decision-making and results orientation is one important dimension used by the company across all stages of human resource development (Torrington, 2014). Although the company applies this dimension across all positions of the organization, it is emphasized in planning for managerial and supervisory positions as a means of ensuring the development and implementation of proper human resource management practices. Wal-Mart’s human resource management objective in using this orientation is to optimize organizational resilience through effective decision-making. With the final dimension, analysis and problem solving is employed by the company as a means of measuring the outcomes of human resource development strategies.
Kirkpatrick Hierarchical Model
The most suitable human resource development model for Wal-Mart is the Kirkpatrick Hierarchical Model. The company’s human resource development is characteristic of being result-oriented. From this perspective, it is suitable for the company to typically employ the Kirkpatrick Hierarchical Model for evaluating training programs. This model is significant in linking to the company’s business strategy. In this model, the organization finds the opportunity to collect information like reactions and learning of the trainees (Jiang et al., 2012)). The company can also be able to collect information related to changes in behaviors. Finally, this model is significant for the company in the sense that it provides room for evaluating the results of training. Such results may include the rate of learning and the acquisition of knowledge new skills to support employee development.
As identified earlier, Wal-Mart is in need of a training program targeted at its front-line managers and service employees to ensure general business productivity. From the training needs assessment. It is apparent that the identified gaps that the training program should address revolve around poor customer service, lack of enhanced teamwork, and poor communication among employees and their customers. In fact, most of the service employees do not have the skills for embracing diversity and dealing with hostile customers. Therefore, by initiating a training program, the organization could be seeking outcomes aimed at improving customer service, enhancing teamwork, and ensuring that service employees could be able to communicate with clients in an effective manner. According to Eid (2013), such approaches could improve an organization’s productivity through improved customer satisfaction and loyalty. Roustasekehravani et al. (2014) also lauds Eid’s argument by maintaining that such strategies could also help in terms of ensuring customer retention through proper services, communication, and teamwork.