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Staff Development

Approaches, Skills

and Issues

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Training, Education and Development

  • TrainingSkills, knowledge, the "affective" – attitudes, values and beliefs.

  • EducationInstitutional process includes qualifications up to & incl. degrees. Major contributor to personal development. Direct & indirect enhancement of knowledge, ability, character, culture, aspiration & achievement.

  • DevelopmentPrimary process - positive or negative. Individual (& organisation?) adaptation to achieve potential. Become more complex, elaborate, settled, aware, differentiated & autonomous

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What training?

  • Operational competence

    • aggregate of knowledge, understanding, skill & personal orientation

    • in a situation

    • at a standard or level of performance.

  • Product, service, procedural and system know-how

  • Task and situation specific

    • Reduced, double-sided and stapled photocopying

    • Return of goods procedure

    • Advanced Powerpoint Skills

    • Recruitment interviewing

    • Gall-stone removal

    • Desert survival

    • Aircraft emergency landing

    • New policy on patient care

Open and closed competencies + pre- and co-requisites

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Scientific/philosophical rigour

Critical evaluation

Complex synthesis

Analytical explanation

Technical application

Contextual understanding

Descriptive knowledge

and categorisation


3Rs and access to learning

  • Open capacities – may include task specific?

  • knowledge, wisdom, skill (physical, conceptual, procedural, social) & personal orientation

  • analysis + problem solving bridging concept and practice

  • standards/level of performance?

  • levels of product, service, procedural and system know-how?

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What education - 2

  • National curriculum and school/university quality

  • Education for

    • citizenship

    • occupational success

    • personal development and life

  • School, college, university, community/adult

  • Life long learning

  • Public attitudes about the value of education

  • Government, employer and individual responsibility for education

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Business Strategy & Training

Training policy & programmes


Know-how for competitive advantage & performance

Staffing plan

Skill gaps

Demand for skills

Skills audit

Data for audit




Performance review



Current performance

Data to integrate individual & organisational needs

Development action

Training, seminars, delegation, coaching, private study, day release, learning company, IIP

Improved capability, competence + motivation

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Business Training development

  • Programme and task focused learning

  • Developmental needs of employees (group + individual)

  • Technical and management development

  • Self-managed learning & career management

  • Learning organisations/knowledge management

  • Culture and its role in organisations – HRM levers for change, in particular, shifts in attitudes and beliefs (as well as behaviour)

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Programmes & Interventions

  • New recruits

    • induction to firm & job, familiarisation  comprehensive job training

  • Develop & up-date know-how for “live” situations.

    • Technical: product, procedure & specialism training

    • Social skills e.g. handling demanding situations

  • Corporate training for all e.g. for ISO9000 or new policy

  • Supervisory & management training

    • from leadership to corporate analysis, change & Action learning

  • Sales training

  • Customer, dealer & supplier training

  • Face-to-face vs. package training - from manuals to CBL

  • Corporate education e.g. to counter institutional racism?

  • Company University - Ford, McDonalds, LotusU?

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Organisational Expectations

  • FE & HE preparation to enable new technology & empower

  • adapt & learn new skills, continuous occupational development

  • Learning for CQI, flexibility, multi-skilling & shifts in management style

  • Empowerment

    • Flatter project/team structures.

    • less supervision, set own objectives, self monitoring and corrective action

  • Manage interfaces & delight customers - external & internal

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Disappointment with “Training Services and Schemes”

  • Much talk, expenditure & effort in training

  • Many initiatives and events

  • Evidence of outcomes and value for money: from training events, coaching, secondments, learning from experience (success & failure) & role models.

    Yet, T&D strategies often disappoint. Why?

  • What determines & influences training effectiveness?

  • How do training needs become apparent?

  • What factors hinder/help investment in T&D?

  • Training as a strategic issue?

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Whose is served?

  • The individual

    Well placed (job demands + aspirations) to evaluate development needs (SWOT)? But is time & effort invested? Perception of“market” gaps, demands, relevance, support & learning opportunities?

  • Training Sponsors

    Top managers (“lack of know-how is jeopardising performance”)? Line Managers? HRD specialists who speak for T&D activity? Employer attitudes to training. Voluntarism.

  • Institutional and Market factors?

    • Civic, intellectual & cultural factors. Workforce competencies & international comparisons. Industrial re-structuring.

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Staff Development Strategies

  • Laissez-faire - little or no training, buy-in.

  • Training for workforce maintenance: induction, product, policy/procedure

  • Off-the-job training vs. on-the-job

  • Staff appraisal, coaching & mentoring

  • Central training vs. devolved

  • Recognising, valuing & accrediting “competencies” (NVQs)

  • Learning Company model. Investors in People

  • Supported self-organised learning, Life-Long Learning & CPD

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Apply Legge‘s critical analysis framework to HRD.

Karen Legge:

HRM Rhetorics & Realities 1995

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Training Manager - Service provider or change agent?

Forecast, plan, organise, direct & control.

Strategic analysis, choice and implementation of programmes


Reactive + provider of T&D within existing brief, structure & culture

Change Agent (Facilitator)

Proactive + consultancy. Define problems.

Facilitate organisational & individual learning, innovation & cultural change.

Role in transition?

  • from provider to change agent

  • in-house or outsourced

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Analysing training needs?

  • Blanket/Comprehensive or Selective

    • Who does it?

    • Define needs, objectives, frequency, difficulty, performance standards & measurements

    • Brief/train all according to level.

    • Job curriculums - ALL or SOME job facets: skills, knowledge & attitudes for tasks/situations

    • New legislation, strategy/policy drive.

    • Identify

      • key tasks and problems/difficulties

      • competencies to handle it.

      • learner involvement + individual & group needs

      • best learning approach, training media & methods

    • Is a training solution vital for performance?

    • Self-organised learning: opportunity or cop-out?

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Competence, Experience & the Job

  • a composite of knowledge & behaviour/skill comprising ability to do something to a defined level in a performance situation

  • Existing staff may be competent or less than competent.

  • Perceived gaps in mastery of performance.

  • The organisation may urge enhanced competence.

  • Can the organisation reward enhanced competence?

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Pre-requisite (Foundation) competencies


  • A trainee airline cabin crew member?

  • midwife?

  • bought ledger clerk?

  • marketing assistant manning a stand at the Ideal Homes Exhibition?

  • new CEO for Rail-Track?

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  • Return to job

  • Transfer of learning

  • to performance

  • Has training solved the problem?

Environment of change

Learning for knowledge,

competence & creativity

Organisational & trainee feedback


needs &


- individual

& group




of delivery,

learning opps

& materials








Learning Contract

Assessment & test criteria - validity, reliability & utility

General Model for Training Interventions

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How do we measure learning - degree of behaviour change?

  • Compare - performance & progress between individuals

  • Against established norms or standard levels of performance/progress for specific applications

  • Assess/test- individual progress & performance

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Generic, Core/Key Skills (Open capacities )

  • transferable across jobs/or tasks

    • awareness, investigation, observation/reflection, analysis & learning

    • decision-making/problem-solving, creativity & evaluation

    • communication & social skills, interacting/working with others, influencing

    • numerical & information oriented skills plus IT abilities

  • Critical success factor competences

  • Occupational competencies (NVQ)

  • Boyatzis : threshold competencies & clusters for management

  • Kolb : learning to learn and the experiential learning cycle

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Boyatsis - Seven Threshold Competencies

  • Use of unilateral power - forms of influence to gain compliance

  • Accurate self-assessment - realistic/grounded view of self, strengths & weaknesses/limitations

  • Positive regard - basic belief/optimistic in others

  • Spontaneity - free/easy self-expression.

  • Logical thought - orderly, sequential, systematic

  • Specialised knowledge - usable facts, frameworks, models

  • Developing others - helping, coach, feedback skills, facilitating, supporting

(1982, The Competent Manager, Wiley)

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Boyatzis - Clusters of Mgt Competence

  • Goal & action management cluster

    • concern with impact, diagnostic use of concepts,

    • efficiency orientation, proactivity

  • Leadership

    • conceptualisation, self-confidence, oral presentation

  • HRM

    • use of socialised power, managing group processes

  • Focus on other clusters

    • perceptual objectivity, self control, stamina & adaptability

  • Directing subordinates

    • Threshold competencies - developing others, spontaneity, use of unilateral power

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Kolb Experiential Learning Cycle

A useful model for

personal awareness

and development

D Kolb, Rubin & McIntyre

Organisational Psychology, Addison Wesley

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Successes/Failures of Training & Educational Interventions

  • Pre 1964. Collapse of apprenticeships

  • 1964 Industrial Training Act and ITBs

  • CATs and Polytechnics

  • BTEC and City and Guilds

  • From 1972 onwards – the marginalisation of ITBs. Abolished 1982

  • Manpower Services Commission. YOPs and TOPs

  • Training Services Agency

  • National Curriculum

  • Local management of schools

  • Expansion of university education – from Polys to Universities

  • National Vocational Qualifications

  • Investors in People

  • Fees for Higher Education, education loans and training credits

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Investors in People: National voluntarism

accreditation to promote Er-led, quality, effective staff development

  • top level, commitment to develop all employees to achieve business objectives

  • regular review of T&D needs of all staff

  • action to train & develop individuals on recruitment + throughout employment

  • evaluate T&D to assess achievement & improve future effectiveness

  • written plan: business goals/targets, how employees will contribute, assess needs etc. Identify T&D resources

  • agree T&D needs with each employee. Link to NVQ if poss. Action: train new recruits & improve skills of existing staff

  • Review investment, competence & commitment of employees & skills learnt against business plan + at all levels

  • T&D effectiveness reviewed by top level  renewed commitment & targets

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National Vocational Qualifications

  • 1986: desire for a skilled, flexible workforce ›› ›› NCVQ + NVQs based on

  • National Occupational Standards = performance standards developed by employer-led NTOs

  • what competent people in the occupation are expected to be able to do

    • main aspects of an occupation

    • best practice & ability to adapt

    • knowledge-base underpinning competent performance.

    • GNVQs in schools (but A Level "gold standard")

  • 1997 NCVQ merged with the School Curriculum & Assessment Authority (SCAA) ›› ›› Qualifications & Curriculum Authority (QCA).

  • Remit: pre-school learning, national curriculum and tests, GCSEs, A-levels, GNVQs, NVQs, higher level vocational qualifications.

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Underpinning principles - NVQ Approach

  • Open access. No artificial barriers to training

  • Focus on what people CAN DO > learning for qualifications (process & time) + APL

  • uniform standards (devised by industry lead bodies) - no rival qualifications.

  • flexibility & modularisation + a learning contract

  • assessment principles - portfolio & work-based (demos at work or simulations).

  • Time to complete. Criteria = “currency”.

  • assessment by qualified (NVQ’d) assessor

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Differing Views on NVQs

“Enormous potential for the health of the nation & the creation of a learning society”.

Sue Slipman, a lead body representative, 1995

“A disaster of epic proportion”

Prof. Ian Smithers,

Brunel University,

Channel 4 documentary, 1993

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Tesco Implementation of NVQs

  • flatter, lean, flexible organisation

  • line managers as assessors. Store managers internal verifiers

  • every line manager is responsible for structured training & assessment + involved with NVQs

  • improved performance through pay links

  • integration of needs of individual with needs of organisation

  • staff development through accreditation of higher competence

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Tesco NVQ Policy - Perceived Benefits

  • ideal training for a retail organisation?

  • training assessed internally by line managers & at store level

  • high performances from staff?

  • less absenteeism, increased motivation & improved general staff moral

  • reduced labour turnover

  • career progression for staff - helps with selection of core staff

  • customers benefit from improved quality standards & services

  • IIP kite mark

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Criticisms of National NVQ Strategy

  • Not market-led - under-represented in mgt, professions, financial, technical & international

  • Shift from “learning” to assessment (laborious process)

  • Bureaucracy, evidence portfolio, charting, assessment of each unit/element

  • Employers want local tailored NVQs ---> challenges validity of “national model” & generality of standards

  • Assessment standard depends on assessor supply/quality. Institutional HE antipathy to “training agenda”

    “technically equipped but intellectually incapable (underpinning ideas)”

  • Low take-up. Growth at Levels 1/2, none at Level 3, fall at Levels 4/5. Traditional vocational awards outstrip NVQs by wide margin esp. at higher levels.

  • TEC funding linked to NVQ take-up. TECs disappear.

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HRM and ingredients of a “Learning Organisation”

  • Adopt a Learning Approach to Strategy

  • Participative Policy Making

  • Informating (Information Systems)

  • Formative accounting

  • Internal Exchange (Client-Server relationships)

  • Reward Flexibility

  • Roles and flexible, matrix structures

  • Boundary workers as intelligence agents

  • Company-to-company learning

  • Learning climate

  • Self-development opportunities for all

Pedler et al

The Learning Company


The Fifth Discipline

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Training & Rewards - Issues

  • Best practice in a learning organisation

  • Integration with “appraisal and rewards strategy”.

  • Locals + cosmopolitans (Gouldner) & market mobility

  • Investors in People

    • Good training …more pay, less pay? Increments for qualifications?

    • Certification as a job requirement.

    • Selling job competence. Strong CV. Career progression, job change, employee independence & life long learning

    • Who pays? Should the leaver reimburse the employer who has just paid £2500 for their training?

  • CPD stress - compulsory, evidence-based continuous “professional” up-dating

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  • Buchanan and Huczynski - Chapters

    • 5: Learning

    • 17: Organisational Development

  • Mabey and Salaman Chapters

    • 10: Learning Organisations

    • 11: Promoting Learning in Organisations

    • 12: Managing the Process of Training and Development

  • BOLA: