Training is the systematic acquisition of skills, concepts, or attitudes that results in improved performance in another environment. Most people hired for a job are not already versed in all the tasks required to perform the job effectively. Evidence indicates that training is effective and that these training expenditures are paying off in terms of higher net sales and gross profitability per employee. Training can be beneficial for the organization and for employees in terms of increasing their value to their organization as well as their employability in the broader marketplace. Many organizations are using training and development as a way to attract and retain their most successful employees.
An I–O psychologist would employ a job analysis in concert with principles of instructional design to create an effective training program. A training program is likely to include a summative evaluation at its conclusion in order to ensure that trainees have met the training objectives and can perform the target work tasks at an acceptable level. Training programs often include formative evaluations to assess the impact of the training as the training proceeds. Formative evaluations can be used to locate problems in training procedures and help I–O psychologists make corrective adjustments while the training is ongoing.
The basic foundation for training programs is learning. Learning outcomes can be organized into three broad categories: cognitive, skill-based, and affective outcomes. Cognitive is a type of learning outcome that includes declarative knowledge or the knowledge of rules, fasts, and principles. An example is police officers acquire declarative knowledge about laws and court procedures. Skill-based is a learning outcome that concerns procedural knowledge and the development of motor and technical skills. An example is motor skills that involve the coordination of physical movements such as using a special tool or flying a certain aircraft, whereas technical skills might include understanding a certain software program, or exhibiting effective customer relations behaviors. Affective is a type of learning outcome that includes attitudes or beliefs that predispose a person to behave in a certain way. Attitudes can be developed or changed through training programs. Examples of these attitudes are organizational commitment and appreciation of diversity.
Before training design issues are considered, a careful needs analysis is required to develop a systematic understanding of where training is needed, what needs to be taught or trained, and who will be trained. Training needs analysis typically involves a three step process that includes organizational analysis, task analysis and person analysis. Organizational analysis examines organizational goals, available resources, and the organizational environment to determine where training should be directed. This analysis identifies the training needs of different departments or subunits and systematically assessing manager, peer, and technological support for transfer of training. Organizational analysis also takes into account the climate of the organization and its subunits. For example, if a climate for safety is emphasized throughout the organization or in particular parts of the organization (e.g., production), then training needs will likely reflect this emphasis. Task analysis uses the results from job analysis on determining what is needed for successful job performance and then determines what the content of training should be. Task analysis can consist of developing task statements, determining homogeneous task clusters, and identifying KSAOs (knowledge, skills, abilities, other characteristics) required for the job. With organizations increasingly trying to identify "core competencies" that are required for all jobs, task analysis can also include an assessment of competencies. Person analysis identifies which individuals within an organization should receive training and what kind of instruction they need. Employee needs can be assessed using a variety of methods that identify weaknesses that training and development can address. The needs analysis makes it possible to identify the training program's objectives, which in turn, represents the information for both the trainer and trainee about what is to be learned for the benefit of the organization.
Therefore with any training program it is key to establish specify training objectives. Schultz & Schultz (2010) states that need assessment is an analysis of corporate and individual goals undertaken before designing a training program. Examples of need assessment are based on organizational, task, and work analysis is conducted using job analysis critical incidents, performance appraisal, and self-assessment techniques.
But with any training there are always challenges that one faces. Challenges which I–O psychologists face:1. To identify the abilities required to perform increasingly complex jobs.
2. To provide job opportunities for unskilled workers.
3. To assist supervisors in the management of an ethnically diverse workforce.
4. To retain workers displaced by changing economic, technological, and political forces.
5. To help organizations remain competitive in the international marketplace.
6. To conduct the necessary research to determine the effectiveness of training programs.