How the “business literacy” programs help to strengthen individual/team performance and organizational profitability

Content

i) Profile of “Business Literacy” Programs and the Research Objective 1

ii) “Business Literacy” Programs help Employees see the Connection between Individual/team Performance and Organizational Profitability 2

The Value of “Business Literacy Programs” 2

Analysis of Performance and Organizational Profitability Due to “Business Literacy” Programs 3

iii) Business Literacy Programs Improve the Credibility of Pay-for-Performance Plan 4

Definition of Pay-for-Performance Plan 4

The Knowledge about Pay-for-Performance Learns from “Business Literacy Programs” 4

The Impact from Employees who Finish “Business Literacy Programs” 5

iv) Additional Information should be Collected before Sending Managers to a Training Program 6

Collect Feedback from Managers 6

Training Programs Evaluation-Collect Information about Training Programs 7

v) Methods to Collect the Information 8

Interview 8

Focus Group 9

Non-Tangible Questionnaire 10

vi) Measures to ensure managers accept Future Training 10

Participation of Directors 10

Promotion after Train (Depend on Performance) 11

Compensation during Training 12

vii) Conclusion 12

List of Chart

Figure 1……………………………………………………………………………….7

i) Profile of “Business Literacy” Programs and the Research Objective

Business Literacy” program is a kind of business training programs, which may improve the personal skills or abilities of participator. Training is an important part of a company’s human capital development. Firms undertake training to improve the performance of their workers (Black & Lynch, 1996; Acton & Golden, 2003; Bartel, 1995) and to expand the knowledge base of their company enhances the future productivity and of workers. Thus, the likelihood of employers providing training for their workers would depend on the relative costs and benefits of undertaking such investment (Stevens, 1994). In doing so, companies need to evaluate the factors that influence their training. These factors or “determinants” of training, however, are not always well defined despite being widely discussed in some range of business (Smith & Hayton, 1999).

Notwithstanding the general or specific nature of training, a company’s decision to train is largely influenced by the nature of the company or sector it is involved in and the characteristics of the workers employed. In the past, it has generally found that training is more likely to be provided when the company is larger in size, profitable, innovative, technology or R&D driven, faces high competition, has low worker turnover, export-oriented, has foreign ownership, has a training policy, has a strong internal labor market and receives training grants. As for the characteristics of the worker, a company would generally train the younger workers, the more educated, those who work full time and those with more working experience.

In this paper, there following topic are addressed: (1) Whether “business literacy” programs (business training programs) may help employee see the connection between individual/team performance and organizational profitability. (2) These programs improve the credibility of pay-for-performance. (3) What additional information should be collected before sending someone to the training programs? (4) How managers collect the additional information. (5) Measures which could ensure employees are willing to go for training.

In other word, after discussion of above topics, companies and employees could understand the value of “Business Literacy” Programs. Moreover, to companies, they may understand to use some measures to ensure these programs could be smoothly implemented, and to employees, they may coordinate with companies to finish these programs and improve the performance in their jobs.

ii) “Business Literacy” Programs help Employees see the Connection between Individual/team Performance and Organizational Profitability

The Value of “Business Literacy Programs”

Business Literacy” program is the program which could help someone to improve or develop his or her own skills. The role of training is to give the progress to employees who participate in and let them have the better performance in their daily work. It does so by setting goals, monitoring employees’ achievement of those goals, and making adjustments to achieve them more effectively and efficiently, sharing feedback with the employees, evaluating the employees’ performance and rewarding performance (Silberman & Phillips, 2006, P 67).

Many people who clearly recognize the value of “business literacy” programs (business training programs) pick up the discreet decisions to encourage firms to give their staffs significant autonomy to develop their skills and have made a wide range of training available. Companies may gain a lot from the employees who go back from business literacy programs. Baldwin-Evans (2007) points out that the productivity could be improved, especially in some areas, such as IT, customer services, and sales.

Kumpikaite and Ciarniene (2008) describe that “training of employees helps organizations to meet competitive challenges and environmental changes.” Kumpikaite and Ciarniene (2008) also explain that the final goal of training is to judge whether employees can improve their performance in daily working meanwhile it relate to educating them and try to meet the requirement of other operating posts in the company and enhancing their professional knowledge to adjust to jobs that may be created in the future.

Analysis of Performance and Organizational Profitability Due to “Business Literacy” Programs

To start with, employees who are sent to the business literacy programs might learn some knowledge which they do not have or improve some skills and abilities which are not enough. After the improvement and development of their skills and abilities, they could perform better than before when they are doing their jobs. The achievability will continuously promote them to get more success in performing their jobs. On the other hand, the profitability of company will increase with the outstanding performance of its staffs at the same time. The most directly and best respond of company is to give the promotion or improve the salary of the employees who perform well in the daily work. In this situation, employees can understand that the increase of company’s profits is because of their performance. It is the simple reason that only the growth of benefits and profits of company, it can pay more to its employees. With the improvement of contribution of employee to company, employees could gain more reward from company. Thus, in this point of view, employees can see the connection between individual/team performance and organizational profitability. Logically, contribution comes from the personal skills, and abilities. But if staffs do not have the necessary skills and abilities which could support to perform in their jobs, it means that they have to need some training to improve.

Moreover, company is a big collective, and employees are the elements in this collective. Through the effort of the all members, the collective will be more powerful. On the other hand, if the performance of members is upgrade, the profits of company will increase equally. However, members will get the proper reward from collective. In the business literacy programs, they will teach all students to establish the above conception and teach them how to improve and develop their skills and abilities to perform in their jobs. After these programs, employees will evaluate themselves and clearly recognize what they should do in the organization. Basically, employees who go back from business literacy programs will better understand the connection between individual/team performance and organizational profitability.

iii) Business Literacy Programs Improve the Credibility of Pay-for-Performance Plan

Definition of Pay-for-Performance Plan

Pay-for-performance is a term that describes the company offers financial rewards to providers who achieve or exceed specified quality benchmarks. Most approaches adjust aggregate payments to employees on the basis of performance on a number of different quality measures. Payments may be made at the individual, group, or institutional level. Performance may be measured using benchmarks or relative comparisons. In general, three types of performance measures may be used: structure, process, and outcome. Pay-for-performance plan is intended to increase the provision of quality and decrease costs over the long term (Unknown, 2000).

The Knowledge about Pay-for-Performance Learns from “Business Literacy Programs”

When employees participate in the business literacy programs, they will be taught something about what is pay-for-performance, the value of pay-for-performance, why companies design pay-for-performance plan, and what is the effort of pay-for-performance plan. Thus, employees will understand why the payments from companies are based on performance after they attend the business literacy program. In the case of someone does not agree with pay-for-performance, the company may send him or her to the business literacy about human resource management. After that, they will understand the activities of company and gain the concept about pay-for-performance, such as “companies have their own standard to evaluate employees and decide to pay more or less, so if you want to gain more, the performance of you should be good enough”. Accordingly, the credibility of pay-for-performance plan will be improved due to the learning of employees which is from business literacy programs.

The Impact from Employees who Finish “Business Literacy Programs”

After graduating from business literacy program, some employees may understand the essence of pay-for-performance, once they go back to their jobs to perform, they will tell others what they learn in the business literacy program and let others know what pay-for-performance is also. In the course of time, more and more employees will believe that the company needs such pay-for-performance plan to mange the whole organization. “Nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards”, so more and more employees will understand the advantages of pay-for-performance through the explanation from the employees who go back from business literacy program. Even though this impact is not directly from business literacy program, but business literacy program imparts the knowledge about pay-for-performance to students which may impact others within organization. Thus, business literacy program may indirectly influence others’ opinions about pay-for-performance plan and improve the credibility of it also.

iv) Additional Information should be Collected before Sending Managers to a Training Program

Collect Feedback from Managers

Feedback is broadly defined as any information that, one person gives to another about that person. In the context of some business, feedback is information given to indicate the level of performance that has been achieved in performance of a task. Feedback can therefore be positive or negative depending on whether the task was completed well or not. Feedback is a widely used concept in the process of management. It is used in management decision making (Bogart, 1980; Cantley, 1981), planned organizational change (Chin, 1976), management control (Hackman, 1976), organization design, and training, performance appraisal, motivation (Kim & Schuler, 1979; Nemeroff & Consentino, 1979). As Figure 1 mention, the feedback system has an important place in the process of the organization development (Torokoff, n.d.).

Therefore, if a preliminary company wants to send its managers to a training program, it should collect the feedback from its managers, which may affect the result and effort after training. As a company, it should communicate with managers to the feedback from them and understand what managers need. Moreover, the company not only should get the feedback from managers, but it should analyze the feedback as well. After the analysis of feedback, the company might know the current emotion of mangers and why they dispute training programs. In addition, feedback is an effective way of communication. Normally, a lot of misunderstanding is due to the lack of communication. If the company is willing to collect more feedback (communication), employees will feel more consideration from company which may establish the good relationship between managers and company. In this situation, managers are willing to follow the step of company and may be willing to attend the training program also.

Figure 1: Framework for organizational development and its link to the feedback system.

Source: Torokoff, n.d. The Importance of Feedback in the Organization’s Development Process

Training Programs Evaluation-Collect Information about Training Programs

Many people believe that evaluation is about proving the success or failure of a program. This myth assumes that success is implementing the perfect program and never having to hear from employees, customers or clients again- the program will now run itself perfectly. This does not happen in real life. Success is remaining open to continuing feedback and adjusting the program accordingly. Evaluation gives you this continuing feedback (McNamara, 2007).

Furthermore, according to training programs, the evaluation of training programs before participation could let people understand what they will do in the class. Candlin and Edelhoff (1982) assert that learners learn most when they are quite precisely aware of how their efforts are to be judged and evaluated. Evaluation also plays a central role in understanding what teachers teach and how they teach before someone starts to join a training program.

As a preliminary company, it not only evaluates its managers, but also it should evaluate the training program to gain some information about training programs. Many people who are unwilling to participate in training programs are due to they do not know what they can do in the class and what kind of improvement they can gain. Such perplexity may cause the resistance which let managers do not want to go for training. Consequently, the company should collect the information about training programs, such as how students can learn from that program, what the style of teaching is, and how long the course is. After that, the company may better realize the training program and go back to explain to mangers the benefits which they will gain in the training program. With the deep acquaintance and evaluation of training programs, the company might convince managers to attend training programs.

v) Methods to Collect the Information

Interview

An interview is a personal meeting with a prospective employer to assess the qualifications of employees.

The preliminary company should support a series of fixed but open-ended questions to ask with probes to cover different aspects of the topic to its employees and ask the same questions to ensure consistency, and cover the same topics in each interview. Furthermore, the company also can ask additional questions during the interview if necessary, which can better understand the thinking and emotion of employees. In addition, the interview could be inform also, such as after working, the high level management managers could invite one of their subordinates to drink or have dinner together. In the process of meeting, they can easier get the feedback from their subordinates through chatting due to the comfortable surrounding environment. It is the fact that the employee might scare his or her leaders and do not represent the real opinions during the interview of business hours. But such informal interview may bring the feeling to employee that boss is a friend after working, which may let the employee talk more about his or her own perspective on issues. In the process of interview, the executants could write down the note of what the employees say. After several interview of employees, the company can together count the feedback which is from employees and summarize what employees concern. At the same time, the company can interview the people in charge of training programs to get the information about programs and evaluate whether these training programs can meet the needs of its managers.

Focus Group

Morgan (1988) mentions that the hallmark of a focus group is the explicit use of the group interaction to produce data and insights that would be less accessible without the interaction found in a group. Focus group method strives to produce good conversation on a given topic. The moderator accomplishes this conversation by using an interview guide (Morgan & Krueger, 1998). A well-designed guide assists group members to relax, open up, think deeply, and consider alternatives. Consider that conversation in many cultures avoids conflict. Consider also those individuals are adept at changing the subject away from overtly private matters, like sex and salaries. In general, people strive to be polite. Therefore, focus groups do not produce reliable data on topics that produce extremely strong feelings (Krueger & Casey, 2000).

The company may gather several managers as a group to discuss about the issue why they do not want to be sent to a training program. In the process of discussion, the topic can refer to what kind of information they want to gain before they are sent to a training program, but it is better to avoid the topic which may cause the conflict, such as improvement of salaries, position, and so on. As a company, it should encourage its managers to present their own opinions to coordinate with the training program. After several times of meeting, the company may acquire the necessary feedback from its managers and basically find out why do not want to be sent to a training program.

Non-Tangible Questionnaire

Questionnaire is a communication method of designing questionnaires to collect the requisite information. It is used for research work by scientists, business entities, and so on. It is a list of questions framed to get facts.

Questionnaire could be used in the company which wants to know the feedback from employees. The form of questionnaire could be non-tangible and the employees or managers could fill in it sincerely. Due to some pressure from losing the job, most employees or managers do not willing to convey their aspirations which may affect the safety of their jobs. But when the company uses the non-tangible questionnaire method to survey among managers, it may more effectiveness and efficiency. In addition, the question list of questionnaire may refer to what kind of training you want, what kind of lecture you like, and so on. After counting most of managers’ questionnaire, the company may understand what kind of training programs is suitable to its managers. From that, the relationship between company and managers will be better than before, and managers will trust their company can support a useful and effectual training program to them. Meanwhile the voice of opposition about going for training which comes from managers will be reduced.

vi) Measures to ensure managers accept Future Training

Participation of Directors

Director is a person who responsible for determining the policy of a corporation, institution or other entity. Directors are usually elected by the shareholders, but sometime are appointed. Directors appoint the organization’s president, vice presidents and other operating officers, and decide among other things, when dividends are paid. Directors are on the position of high level management, and they have the heavily work about management.

According to the views of managers, if some directors can participate in the training programs, mangers will consider directors as a model and willing to participate in the training programs also. As a result of the workload of directors is far more than managers and the skills, abilities, experience of directors are better than managers as well, so if directors take part in the training programs, the phenomenon will give the signal to managers that even the directors can participate in the training programs which already prove the value of training programs, so why you do not take part in. The participation of directors not only motivates managers to attend the training programs, but also give the concept to managers that every is equal in the company because everybody who does not have enough abilities, skills, experience to meet the needs of development needs training.

Promotion after Train (Depend on Performance)

Radvillas (2010) informs that one important aspect impacting one’s job perception is one’s opportunity for promotion and career advancement. An organization that focuses on promotions and career advancement instills employees with a sense of value from his or her organization, which cultivates an upbeat experience for spectator. Employee promotion is always used in when employees perform their jobs well. It is that fact that if someone performs his or her job very well but does not have any promotion for a long time, the organization will lose the “soldiers’ morale” soon.

Therefore, promotion is a kind of temptation to every employee within organization and the issues which are brought by promotion are money, right, reputation, and respect, so organizational members try their best to represent themselves and seek to the opportunity to get promotion. Consequently, the company may conclude an agreement with managers that if the performance of them is good enough which can attain the standard after training, they will be promoted in return. In this situation, managers will willing to join the training programs and struggle to get the better performance after training.

Compensation during Training

Griffin and Pustay (2010, P 589) notice that firms should provide prevailing compensation to their managers in a given market to remain competitive. The compensation includes salary and nonsalary items and is determined by labor market forces such as the supply and demand of managerial talent, occupational status, professional licensing requirements, standards of living, government regulations, tax codes, and similar factors. With the compensation, some complicated issues will become easy.

If the company provides appropriate economic compensation to encourage mangers to participate in training programs, managers will not consider that training programs is a waste of time. Due to the training programs always take place in evening, so the company should comprehend the thinking of manager which they are unwilling to join the training programs because they should utilize their space time to attend. Thus, if company tells its managers that going for training will be counted as OT, many people believe that managers are willing to participate in training programs. As the saying is “there is no free lunch”, so managers can get balance in their heart when they get some economic compensation from the company because of training program, and they might sequentially accept the training program in the future.

vii) Conclusion

Business training program is a necessary human capital investment for companies to become more competitive and profitable. As training involves a number of barriers for companies, there is a need to know what causes the employees are unwilling to attend a training program. As a result of the individual/team performance closely relate to organizational profitability, so employees should understand the relationship between these two. And the business literacy programs may help the employee improve the professional knowledge. Furthermore, business literacy programs may help employee to comprehend what is pay-for-performance plan and why companies want to design it. After that, the credibility of pay-for-performance plans will be improved with in organization.

The resistant comes from a lot of managers who consider the training is a waste of time because of they do not have enough understanding what they can learn from a training program, so the company should collect the necessary feedback from its managers (such as what kind of training program they want, what style of lecture they like, and so on). On the other hand, the company can get some information about training programs and judge whether these programs are suitable for its employees or not. On the premise of “peace”, the company may through several methods to gather the information, such as interview, focus group, and non-tangible questionnaire. Lastly, the participation of directors, the promotion after training (depend on performance), and the compensation during training could ensure managers will accept the future training. All in all, the business literacy programs may help employees gain a lot of knowledge about business and might let them perform well in the daily work, but the company should combine with some measures to ensure employees to accept training.

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