HRD Programme: Design, Implementation, Evaluation and Benefits

When HRD Programs have to be made, it has to be based on the current and future HRD requirements. The work of the human resource development practitioner is continuously evolving. Human resource development is now expected to make a strategic level contribution and contribute to individual and organizational effectiveness.

Human resource development practitioners are increasingly required to network and build relationships to obtain support, resources, information, and knowledge. The benefits of HRD Program are many. The systematic and well-designed HRD Program can contribute to the organizational performance. 

Learn about:- 1. Designing Effective Programs 2. Implementing HRD Programs 3. Evaluation 4. Potential Benefits 5. Essential Beliefs for the Success 6. Responsible HRD Programs.

HRD Programme: Design, Implementation, Evaluation, Benefits and Responsible HRD Programs

HRD Programme – Designing Effective Programs by Assessing Critical Success Factors 

When HRD Programs have to be made, it has to be based on the current and future HRD requirements.

The different phases or critical success factors which lead to the success of any HRD Program are:

1. Phase I – Assessment Phase – In this phase the needs are prioritized according to thy contribution to the overall Organizational Strategy.

2. Phase II – Design Phase – The specific objectives are defined in this phase. The Lesson plan is made, trainer is selected and accordingly the methods, techniques and materials. Finally the schedule of the Program is made.

3. Phase III – Implementation Phase – The most crucial phase of all deals with delivering of the Program as a strategic intervention.

4. Phase IV – Evaluation Phase – The evaluation criteria are selected on the basis of which the success of the program is assessed. The results are interpreted and form the basis of other HRD programs.

The issue of development has always been important. In recent years, however, the process of development is more important than ever in order for organizations to cope with accelerating change which affects existent HR needs.

According to Kenney and Reid (1994), the most widespread methods of diagnosis of organizational development needs are the following:

i. Evaluation of HR skills and performance by Audit team.

ii. Analysis of work to identify and get insights into the areas in which employees need training must be identified.

iii. Analysis of skills set to identify the differences between new and experienced employees, in relation to their effectiveness.

iv. Changes in the organization and work design like the creation of new job process and the abolition of old processes or the integration of processes.

v. Analysis of available information from departmental records like personnel statistics, accident records, training reports, and staff appraisal forms.

vi. What other organizations in the industry are doing.

The above checklist helps an organization ascertain the developmental needs and accordingly design their HRD programs which can then be implemented.

HRD Programme – Implementing HRD Programs 

The work of the human resource development practitioner is continuously evolving. Human resource development is now expected to make a strategic level contribution and contribute to individual and organizational effectiveness. Human resource development practitioners are increasingly required to network and build relationships to obtain support, resources, information, and knowledge.

The accumulation of social capital is considered important in determining individual career success and role performance. Given the importance attached to this dimension of HRD practitioners’ roles, it is important to implement the HRD programs cautiously. According to Pedler, Boydell and Burgoyne (1989), learning organization is “an organization which facilitates the learning of all its members and continually transforms itself”.

Therefore the implementation method has to be in line with the philosophy of good training which is it Improves performance, Improves productivity, Improves chances for promotion and improves the bottom line. For this right training methods need to be used in the right way to ensure successful HRD implementation.

Since the real organizational needs are known, the process of training can begin. Exclusive of the training techniques, the trainees and the trainers constitute other key elements of a training program. However there are certain delusions which should be done away with.

These misconceptions include the best way to learn any new skill is to learn it on the job, Lectures are not a good method for training, it’s easy to come up with stimulating discussion questions, and that the Case studies are used for time fillers. The method of training should be keeping in mind the objective of the Program.

The selection of trainees is a very important activity in order for an organization to achieve desirable training results. According to Peel (1994), the elements of trainees which have to be taken into consideration in order for the selection of appropriate training methods are the following –

1. The number of trainees.

2. Demographics like age, the level of education, qualifications and experience.

3. Reasons why they are chosen for development and what are their needs.

It should be remembered that what needs to be learned cannot always be taught. Human resource development programs must therefore help people to learn from their experience. Development cannot be left to chance.

Effective implementation depends on three main elements:

1. The degree to which the training adds to productive output meets the standards of quantity, quality, and timeliness of the people who receive, review, and/or use the HRD Programs.

2. The degree to which the HRD process of carried out the work enhances the capability of members to work together interdependently in the future.

3. The degree to which the group experience contributes to the growth of the trainees and eventually the Organizations.

This is the most crucial of all phases since it is directly related to the output of the Program. It is the real show that takes place on an actual level, a point when the developers/trainers and trainee are in direct contact. The success depends on the extent to which trainees experience meaningfulness of the developmental exercise, active responsibility for the exercise and its outcomes and knowledge of actual benefits of the training.

HRD Programme Evaluation of HRD Programs

HRD evaluation is defined as – “The methodical collection of vivid and judgmental information necessary to make effective training decisions related to the selection, implementation, value, and modification of various developmental, activities.”

The important points highlighted in this definition are:

1. Evaluation involves the methodical collection of information according to a predetermined plan to ensure that the information is appropriate and useful.

2. While conducting an HRD evaluation, both descriptive and judgmental information should be collected.

3. Evaluation is conducted to help managers, employees and HRD professionals make informed decisions about particular programs and methods.

Evaluation of HRD Program can serve a number of purposes within the organization.

According to Phillips, evaluation can help to do the following:

1. Establish whether a program is accomplishing its objectives as proposed.

2. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of HRD programs.

3. Conclude the cost-benefit ratio of an HRD program.

4. Decide the number and nature of participants who benefited the most or least from the program.

5. Emphasize major points to be made to the participants.

6. Gather data to assist in designing future programs.

7. Determine the appropriateness of the program.

8. Better and more informed decision making in future relating to design of HRD programs.

There are other reasons for conducting HRD evaluation as well. Evaluation can build credibility with top managers and others in the organization. If HRD staff cannot substantiate its contribution to the organization, it’s funding and program may be revised during the budgeting process. Thus, evaluation is a critical step in the HRD process. It is the only way one can know whether an HRD program has fulfilled its objectives.

HRD evaluation outlines the criteria for and focuses on the evaluation effort.

The steps in the process of evaluation are:

1. Data Collection for HRD Evaluation:

The first step of an evaluation effort requires the collection of data to providing the decision makers with facts and judgments upon which they can base their decisions is vital. Three important aspects of providing information for HRD Evaluation include data collection methods, types of data, and the use of report.

2. Research Design:

Research design is significant to HRD evaluation as it specifies the expected results of the evaluation, the methods of data collection, and the method of data analysis.

3. Ethical Issues Concerning Evaluation:

Many of the decisions supervisors and HRD professionals make when conducting HRD evaluations have ethical dimensions. Actions such as – assigning participants to training and Control groups, reporting results, and the actual conduct of the evaluation study itself all raise ethical questions like that of confidentiality and biasness. Some evaluation research project involves asking participants questions about their or others’ job performance.

The results of these inquiries may be embarrassing or lead to adverse treatment by others if they are made public. Also supervisors dislike being rated by their subordinates on performance aspects and rater’s bias can creep in. Halo effect, recency effect are other potential biases that can creep in.

Evaluation studies should be monitored by a review board to ensure that participants are aware that they are participating in a study and know its purpose, what they will be expected to do, and the potential risks and benefits of participating. In some cases, an investigator may feel that the study will yield better results if employees don’t realize they are in an evaluation study, or if they are given some false or misleading information during the study.

HRD professionals and their managers may feel pressurized to make sure that the results of their evaluation reveal that the program was effective. This may be one reason why meticulous evaluation of HRD programs is not done more often. The HRD people are the ones who design and develop, implement, and evaluate the program, if the evaluation shows the program was ineffective the HRD department may lose financial support and have their activities curtailed.

Although the possibility exists for “deception” in the form of doctoring results, reporting partial results, or setting up biased studies, it is unclear how often this occurs in HRD evaluation. But it is imperative on the part of Management to be cautious while evaluating the HRD Programs.

One of the most tenuous and unsatisfactory aspects of training programs is the evaluation of their effectiveness. Evaluation is any attempt to obtain feedback on the effects of a training program and to assess the value of the training in the light of information thus collected. Evaluation leads to decision making and control which means deciding whether or not the training was worth the effort and what improvements are required to make it even more effective.

According to Hamblin, there are five levels at which evaluation can take place:

1. Reactions of trainees to the training experience itself.

2. Learning evaluation requires the measurement of what trainees have learned as a result of their training.

3. Job behavior evaluation is concerned with measuring the extent to which trainees have applied their learning on the job.

4. Organizational unit evaluation endeavors to measure the effect of changes in the job behavior of trainees on the functioning of the pan of the organization in which they are employed.

5. Ultimate value evaluation aims to measure how the organization as a whole has benefited from the training in terms of greater profitability, survival or growth.

There are many models to measure training effectiveness. The most popular and influential framework for training evaluation was articulated by Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick argues that training efforts can be evaluated according to four criteria:

1. Reaction,

2. Learning,

3. Job behaviour, and

4. Results.

The four levels are:

1. Level 1 – Reaction to Training Program:

Did the trainees like the program and feel it was useful? At this level, the focus is on the trainees’ perceptions about the program and its effectiveness. Positive reactions to a training program may make it easier to encourage employees to attend future programs. The main limitation of evaluating HRD programs at the reaction level is that this information cannot indicate whether the program met its objective beyond ensuring participant satisfaction.

2. Level 2 – Learning:

Did the trainees learn what the HRD objectives said they should learn? This is an important criterion; one many in the organization would expect an effective HRD program to satisfy.

3. Level 3 – Job Behavior:

Does the trainee use what was learned in training back on the job? If learning does not get transferred to the job, the training effort cannot have an impact on the employee’s or organization’s effectiveness. Measuring whether training has transferred to the job requires observation of the trainees on-the-job behavior and comparing it with past performance errors.

4. Level 4 – Results:

Has the training or HRD effort improved the organization’s effectiveness? Is the organization more efficient, more profitable as a result of the training program? Meeting this criterion is considered to be the most challenging level to evaluate, given the limitations of employee performance, how training has had an effect on the bottom line is important to know. Typically at this level, economic and operating data are collected and analyzed.

Kirkpatrick’s framework provides a useful way of looking at the possible consequences of training and recapitulates that HRD efforts often have multiple objectives. Each succeeding level incorporates the one prior to it, finally terminating in what is considered to be the ultimate contribution of any organizational activity that is improving the organizations effectiveness. However Kirkpatrick’s approach has its limitations too. The framework evaluates only what happens after training, as opposed to the entire training process.

Several authors have suggested modifications to Kirkpatrick’s four-level approach to offset its flaws. They have suggested expansion of the reaction level to include assessing the participants’ reaction to the training methods and efficiency and splitting the reaction level to include assessing participants’ perceptions of enjoyment, utility, and the difficulty of the program. Further the researchers propose addition of a fifth level to address the societal contribution and outcomes created by an HRD program and to specifically address the organizations return on investment.

Another Model for evaluation of training is the Brinkerhoff’s Model which extends the training evaluation model to six stages questioning the rationale, process and benefits of having an HRD Program –

1. Goal Setting – What is the need for HRD Program?

2. Program Design – What will work to meet the need?

3. Program Implementation – Is the HRD Program working, with the focus on the implementation of the program?

4. Immediate Outcomes – What did the participants learn?

5. Intermediate Outcomes – Are the participants using what they learned?

6. Impacts and Worth – Did it make a worthwhile difference to the organizations performance?

Bushnell suggests a model based on a systems view of the HRD function – input -throughput-output containing four stages:

1. Input – What goes into the training effort? This consists of performance indications such as – trainee qualification and trainer ability.

2. Process – The planning, design, development, and implementation of the HRD program.

3. Output – Trainee reactions, knowledge or skills gained, and improved job behavior.

4. Outcome – Effects on the organization, including profits, productivity and customer satisfaction.

The evaluation measurement should be done to ensure that the program is well designed and meets its objectives. In its simplest form, evaluation should address the question of whether the training program achieved its objectives. Basing training objectives on needs assessment information, and then evaluating those objectives, is the most economical way of summarizing what training evaluation efforts can focus on.

HRD Programme  Potential Benefits of HRD Program 

The benefits of HRD Program are many. The systematic and well-designed HRD Program can contribute to the organizational performance.

There should be a checklist of benefits:

1. Training results must be measured against costs.

2. Training must contribute to the “bottom line”.

3. HRD must justify itself repeatedly as a revenue enhancer.

As for the future HRD implementation at enterprise level, comprehensive training programs should be developed by individual companies in order to cope with both external and internal challenges. This requires that not only training basic knowledge and skills, but also other programs such as – improving special skills, response to the technology changes, business and economic literacy, handling market competition and globalization, and specific competencies among the workforce.

The training should be carefully made as per the requirements of the employees. Both Formal and informal methods can be employed according to the requirements. Self-directed learning should be also encouraged among employees. A learning environment and culture should be created in which people choose other forms of learning outside routine HRD Programs for purpose of developing confidence and competence as capable human beings.

These developments require organizations to provide a long-term support. The fact that the training that gets transferred gets rewarded should be made the catch line of any HRD Program.

HRD Programme  Essential Beliefs for the Success of any HRD Programme

Following beliefs are essential for the success of any HRD programme:

i. Human beings are the most important assets in the organisation.

ii. Human beings can be developed to an unlimited extent.

iii. Employees feel committed to their work and the organisation if the organisation develops a feeling of ‘belonging’ in them.

iv. Employees are likely to have a feeling of ‘belonging’ in them if the organisation adequately cares for the satisfaction of their basic and high-order needs.

v. Employees’ commitment to their work increases when they get opportunity to discover and use their full potential.

vi. It is every manager’s responsibility to ensure the development and utilisation of the capabilities of his subordinates, to create a healthy and motivating work climate, and to set examples for subordinates to follow.

vii. The higher the level of a manager the more attention he should pay to the HRD function in order to ensure its effectiveness.

viii. A healthy and motivating climate is one, which is characterised by openness, enthusiasm, trust, mutuality and collaboration.

Guided in its HRD programme by the philosophy and ideas of its founder Jamshedji Tata, the Tata Iron and Steel Co. is one example of an ideal HRD philosophy.

It believes that it can effectively discharge its obligations towards its employees only:

i. By a realistic and generous understanding and acceptance of their needs and rights and enlightened awareness of the social responsibility of industry;

ii. By providing adequate wages, good working conditions, job security, an effective machinery for speedy redressal of grievances, and suitable opportunities for promotion and self-development;

iii. By promoting feelings of trust and loyalty through a humane and purposeful awareness of their needs and aspirations; and

iv. By creating a sense of belonging and team-spirit through their close association with management at various levels.

Another excellent example of a company’s HRD philosophy is provided by the well-known Indian Tobacco Co. This company has, from its original business of cigarettes and tobacco, diversified into several new areas such as cottage sector products, edible oils and oilseeds. The group employs over 15,000 people. Following is the company’s statement on its HRD philosophy.

HRD Programme  Responsible HRD Programs

Strategic management involves decision making aimed at providing futuristic direction to an enterprise and therefore has a range of social implications as well apart from the economic results it is aimed at achieving. HRD responsibility emphasizes the consideration of the social criteria along with the familiar economic criteria in the development of corporate strategy.

An enterprise survives in the business because of the employees and thus has a responsibility towards the employees as well. All the decisions that an organization takes has a social side to it and therefore must be given appropriate consideration from this standpoint. The doctrine of employee development is the central guiding factor for an enterprise when it takes decisions with regards to the social aspect.

The great expansion in the scope and domain of enterprises has amplified manifold the importance of the concept of employee development. There is a trend towards growing awareness because of increase in education and communication between the organizations and the public at large. It is because of this reason that companies now a day want to behave in a socially responsible manner as any glitch is very evident and has serious ramifications due to better populace awareness.

In this competitive world being loyal to the society is a matter of survival as public opinion is important and there are legislations and government policies which protect the consumers and hold the ultimate power. The best way in which this can be achieved is by having proper employee development programs.

Employee responsibilities can be defined as the businessman’s decisions and actions taken to reasons, at least partially, beyond the firm’s direct economic or technical interest for the welfare of the workforce. And therefore HRD has an important role to play; it can be a vehicle for achieving these objectives.

If we consider the definition of employee development it is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.

The definition throws light at the management’s compulsions to set policies, make decisions and follow a course of action, that Ire advantageous for the employees. Corporations, before making their decisions, need to analyse the developmental consequences of such resolutions on human resources.

Though there are some disagreements amongst businessmen who do not subscribe to the concept of employee development beyond a point because they feel that is entails costs. This notion can be rejected declaring that the sole responsibility of a business cannot be to guarantee effective utilization of resources that it has and engage in work designed to generate profits.

In a free enterprise a corporate executive is an employee of the Company who has a direct responsibility towards his owners, his chief responsibility is to act as per the desire of the owners of the company and generate maximum profit for them while confirming to the basic rules of the society. Also the enterprises are not separate from society and organizations are made by people, for people and are of the people. Therefore it is important to develop the human resources if the company wants to survive in the competitive era.

In the early 20th century, business firms were primarily worried with maximizing their profits. In the 1970s, social activists began to question business enterprises’ odd objective of profit maximization. They reasoned that since businesses derive their existence from society, they have some compulsions towards it.

The concept of employee development has been supported by various modern economists including various corporate executives.

Employee development is important for the following reasons:

1. To operate at a profit and ensure growth of the organization as a wealth creating and wealth producing organ of the society the company has to be serious about human resources development.

2. For ensuring future success and to avoid lack of skilled resources, employee development should be incorporated as apart from being a vehicle for developing the human resources, it can also help the company get the desired image of a socially responsible, enriching and fancied organization.

3. It helps ensure compliance to the social beliefs and cohesion by providing opportunity to the human resources to grow both within and outside the organization.

Any organization that aims at growing in the future must fulfill its social responsibilities with complete ardor. Being an inseparable part of the society the organization must look to translate all the demands that the society makes into opportunities rather than perceiving them as threats to the organizations economic profitability. It is the task of the management to guarantee that all the demands of the society especially HRD is given due consideration.

Employee development should be perceived as an opportunity to grow into a more socially effective organization. The cases in point are some of the largest growing companies like Microsoft and SAIL who have used employee development as an opportunity to enhance their consumer base and social recognition as a socially responsible company.

Since, employees put in their time and hard work, towards the development of the organization. Therefore, an organizations responsibility is to treat workers as the main pillars of the organization. Merely providing for provisions of adequate compensation is not enough. In order to survive it is important to protect the interest of employees in the organization and undertake activities that promote cooperative endeavour between employers, employees and society.

Tate & Lyle, a global leader in carbohydrate processing, carried out an extensive opinion survey of its employees in UK and Portugal. The survey revealed, among other things, that employees desired to have access to personal training facilities. So, Tate & Lyle set up a new Learning Resource Centre at the Thames Refinery in London.

This would allow all Thames-based employees to update their existing skills or acquire new ones. The Centre also provided employees the facilities for enhancing their professional qualifications or just expanding their knowledge base.

There are numerous other examples of Indian companies which have shown great compliance to employee development. Tata’s have been the pioneer for the Indian companies in this field; they had special provisions for employing the native adivasis of Jamshedpur area in their manufacturing plant.

They have taken various other initiatives aimed at the development of the society. Since, social responsibility is an intelligent and objective concern for the welfare of society. It restrains individuals and corporate behaviour from ultimately destructive activities, no matter how immediately profitable, and leads in the direction of positive contribution to human betterment.