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HR 5002 Developing a Learning Culture : New Customers

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1.What are the learning and development issues raised in this case?

2.What barriers might management come up against  in the creation of ‘learning culture’ at Blitzen?

3.Why  might  significant  company  investment  in  skills  development  across  the  workforce  be beneficial to employees? Under what circumstances might investment in workforce skills result in negative outcomes for both workers and the company?

4.Would a ‘one size fits all’ approach to human resource development at Blitzen be appropriate?
5.In the context of your answers to the above questions, how would you advise the HR manager on:

a.The learning needs of workers at Blitzen

b.Appropriate methods of learning and development to meet these needs

c.The  expectations  and  responsibilities  placed  on  the  different  employee  groups  at Blitzen as part of the drive for continuous improvement

d.How progress towards the development of a ‘learning culture’ might be assessed.

Answer:


Introduction

Development of a learning culture is an important aspect for any business organization. This assignment highlights the development of the learning culture at Blitzen Engineering. This company is a specialist as a supplier of the specialised automotive components. The Blitzen Engineering makes automobile components for some of the most prestigious car models, with detailed specifications. They are focused on quality and meet the exact requirements of the customers. Along with the maintenance of the quality of the components, with detailed and exact design requirement, they are famous for delivery of the components in a very short span of time. The efficiency of the employees, along with the knowledge and skills they posses, makes it possible for the company to achieve customer satisfaction and excellence. This assignment highlights the various learning and development issues that are faced by the company. The importance of skill development in the organizations and the reason why companies might invest in the development of the skills is discussed in this assignment. The approach of “one size fit all” and its appropriateness in the Blitzen Engineering is critically analysed.  Finally, a recommendation that might be given to the HR regarding the development of the learning culture at the Blitzen Engineering has been provided, in this assignment. Following these recommendations, it would be possible for the company to retain its customers, along with attracting new customers.

1. What are the leaning and development issues raised?

Training and development is an important activity that needs to be developed in every organization. Training and continuous learning enhances the skill set of the employees and the enhancement of the production in the company is achieved. In the given case study of Blitzen Engineering, it has been observed that due to the loss of a senior engineer to a competitor, the company has made new recruitments (Boshyk 2016). However, in the recent days, one of the main customers has terminated the contract with the Blitzen Engineering, and this had resulted in a tough blow for the company. Following this incident, the Blitzen Engineering planned to develop new skill sets and technologies such that the potential loss could be survived with new skills and technologies (Bracker and Cohen 2015). However, while the company tries to bring in new technologies and skills, various learning and development issues might be faced.

As mentioned in the case study, average age of the engineers of the company was 53. At this age, most of the experienced engineers were found to be reluctant to learn new technologies and skills. This might be a challenge, while trying to incorporate new technologies and skills among the employees (Crider and Ulrich 2016). Another issue that might be faced by Blitzen Engineering is the amount of investment that the company has to bear. Training and development of various skills an incorporation of new technologies is an expensive affair. Hence, it might be an overhead for Blitzen Engineering to introduce training and development among the employees, resulting in an issue in training and development (Frost 2014). Training and developmental issue that might be faced while training the newly recruited employees is that, since they are highly skilled, the training sessions designed for them might not be required, as their skills are already updated. Moreover, another issue that might be faced by the company while training and developing the skills is redundant recruitment. Blitzen Engineering had recently recuited new engineers and graduates with specific skills (Fullan 2014). However, a complete change in the skills and knowledge are required, the new recruitment would be redundant.

In this context, the Social cognitive theory could be used. This theory is a learning theory and it analyses the thoughts as well as feelings of the learning process. This theory is useful to analyse the behaviour and social interactions of the learners and the employees undergoing the training and development process. The reaction of the trainees along with the changes in the skills and behaviour of the employees would ensure the success or failure of the training session.

2. What are the barriers that the management might face in Blitzen Engineering?

The management of the Blitzen Engineering have been trying to introduce and create a learning culture at the organization. In the attempt to do so, the management of Blitzen Engineering might face various challenges and barriers. These are as follows:

Resistance to change: One of the most commonly faced barriers that might be faced by the management of the Blitzen Engineering is the resistance from the employees of the company. The employees might not be open enough to the training and development that the management have been planning (Gasevic et al. 2016). Moreover, since most of the employees were of the average of 53 years, hence they might not be interested in learning new skills and take the training, which has been planned by the management.

Competitive forces: Strong competition among the companies and the loss of important clients and customers might also present challenges to the management. In the given case study, it has been highlighted that one of the most loyal and important clients have terminated the contract with the company (Kolb 2014). Thus, this is also a major setback for management of Blitzen Engineering.

Complexity: The change in the skill set among the employees, imparting training, and new technologies among them might be a complex process. The introduction of the new technology and the learning revolution, that the management wanted to introduce is a complex process and could be an overhead for the company and the management.  

Communication: The management of the Blitzen Engineering might face this issue of communication. The changes that the management was about to introduce, and the learning revolution has to be communicated effectively to the employees. The lack of clarity of communication from the management to the employees could result in increased resistance from the employees (Maben et al. 2016). Failure to communicate effectively would result in spreading fears and rumours among the employees, thus increasing the resistance from the employees.

Non-cooperation: As mentioned in the case study, the recruitment of the new employees creates a diverse workplace, however, with an uneven distribution of skills. Thus, the learning revolution involves the newly recruited employees, sharing their knowledge and training the elderly employees. However, the older employees might exhibit non-co operations such as to create a barrier in the training and knowledge sharing.

In order to mitigate the above mentioned issues, the talent management theory could be used by the management. This theory ensures that the business organization is commited to the recruitment as well as development of the talents of the skills that are essential for the enhancement of the business of the company.

3. What is the significance of the company investment in skill development? Under what circumstances does this investment have negative outcome?

The development of training and skills among the employees is an important activity and a costly one for the company. Training and development of the employees of any company is essential in order to ensure the enhancement of the productivity of the company. The significance of the investment of the companies, for training and development of the skills, is to keep up with the changes in the industry. The market trends have been changing day by day and the companies need to keep up with the changing trends. In order to do so, the employees need to be given the required training. Thus, the investments for the development of the skills are significant.

Another significance of the company investment in the development of the skills is to be ahead in competition. Lack of adequate training and developmental programs among the employees might result in decrease in production of the business. Thus, in order to stay ahead in competition in the contemporary market, it is essential for the companies to invest adequate funds in the training and development of the employees. Another significance of the investments of the companies in the training and development of the employees is to analyse the weakness and gaps among the employees. The employer identifies the necessary training needs of the employees and the adequate training is given to the employees. Once the weaknesses of the employees are identified, it is easier for the management to provide the adequate training. Moreover, along with these, it is essential to create an unified knowledge set among the employees. In order to do so, investment of the company for the training and development is important. The increase in the level of satisfaction among the employees is also essential to be achieved. Thus, in order to ensure the employee satisfaction, the training and development needs have to be identified and the adequate training has to be imparted.  

However, investments in the training and development might not be fruitful always and may have a negative outcome. Resistance from the employees to take part in the training sessions might result in loss of investment in the sector of training and development. Moreover, if the is of very high standard, and the employees are unable to understand it, then the investment of the company might result in loss. Moreover, in case the company fails to identify the actual training needs of the employees and imparts a training that is of no use to the employees, then the investment of the company for the training and development might have a negative outcome.   

4. Would “one size fits all” approach suitable for Blitzen Engineering? 

The “one size fits all” approach is an approach is a competency model in which a broadly defined set of jobs that might have very different responsibilities, along with a variety of skill requirements. In case of Blitzen Engineering, this approach is not suitable. This is because, as mentioned in the case study, the average ages of the employees were 53 years and the new recruitment that was made were fresh graduates and engineers. Hence, the level of experience, knowledge, and skills as well as the expertise are very different. Hence, the “one size fits all” approach is not suitable. The “one size fits all” approach is most suitable in situations where the HR wants to promote the employees to align with the values and vision of the company. moreover, this approach is also preferred when the internal and external stakeholders prefer a simpler solution (Nolan et al. 2015). Moreover, this approach is also suitable, when the management wishes to implement changes quickly. Thus, in case of Blitzen Engineering, this approach is not suitable, mainly due to the variations in the age of the employees along with the variations in experience and knowledge. This approach is not suitable for selection of the candidates for a specific job, which requires job-specific knowledge.

It is essential to note that the training needs vary from person to person, and even in case of Blitzen Engineering the training needs of the employees are different. Hence, using the “one size fits all” approach is not at all suitable for the company. Another factor that needs to be taken into consideration is that while the new recruitment have been made, candidates from a variety of educational background and domain has been selected. Thus, this approach cannot be used. Since the company Blitzen Engineering had been facing recent crisis due to the loss of an important customer as well as loss of an experienced employee to its competitors, hence at this critical period it is essential for the management of the Blitzen Engineering to refrain from adopting the “one size fit all” approach. The people resources theory could be used such that the talents of each individual could be identified and the training as per the requirements could be given, instead of the “one size fit all” approach.

5. Recommendations to the HR manager regarding the following:

  1. Learning needs of the employees

It is recommended for the HR manager that the learning needs of each of the employees have to be identified individually. After the training needs of each of the employees are identified, the adequate training needs to be imparted to each of them. moreover, since the old employees and the new employees have a wide variation in the knowledge and experience, hence they might involve in exchange of knowledge (Sharma and Kaur 2016). However, it is important to ensure that the earning needs of the employees are fulfilled in order to ensure that the training needs are aligned with the requirements of the company.     

  1. Appropriate methods for learning

In context to the appropriateness of the learning method, various methods could be used. Using a variety of methods such as presentations, group activities, knowledge exchange, visual and audio presentations could be used as methods of learning (Pollock et al.2015). This is because, each individual employee is comfortable in a particular way of learning. Hence, in order to facilitate each one of them, a mix of the above mentioned methods could be used.   

  1. Expectations and responsibilities of the various groups of employees

The expectations from each of the groups of employees are different and the responsibilities given to each of them also varies. Hence, while imparting training, it is essential to ensure that the most appropriate training is given to each of the group of employees. It is also recommended to ensure that the trainings should be given in such a way that the expectations and responsibilities could be fulfilled by the employees, even more efficiently.

  1. Assessment of the progress of the learning culture

Assessment of the progress of the learning culture in the organization needs to be done from time to time such that the manager could track the effectiveness of the training and development (Pyle and Liker 2014). The assessment of the progress could be done by monitoring the productivity and the effectiveness of the employees. Significant enhancement of the production of the employees highlights the fact that the training has been an effective one for the employees. However, if the production tends to decrease, then it might be concluded that the learning culture has not been a successful one.    

Conclusion

The importance of learning culture in the organization is an important and effective culture that needs to be incorporated by each organization. The learning culture at Blitzen Engineering has been highlights in this assignment. The various learning and the development issues that might be faced by the company includes the reluctance of the employees as well as variation in the knowledge of the elderly employees and the newly recruited ones. The significance of the investment for the training and development lies in the fact that enhancement in business is witnessed if the training and development program is effective. However, the investment might have a negative outcome if the training is not effective or if the training imparted is redundant to the particular industry. The appropriateness of the “one size fit all” approach to the Blitzen Engineering is also mentioned. This approach is not appropriate for Blitzen Engineering, since there is a lot of variation in the knowledge of the employees. Finally, recommendations are provided regarding the learning needs of the employees, as well as the appropriateness of the learning. Thus, it might be concluded that development of learning culture is essential for any business organization, as well as in Blitzen Engineering.

References

Boshyk, Y, 2016. Business driven action learning: Global best practices. Springer.

Bracker, J.S. and Cohen, D.J., 2015. The Impact of Training and Development Activities on Small Technology Oriented Entrepreneurial Firm Performance. Journal of Small Business Strategy, 3(2), pp.1-14.

Crider, N.M. and Ulrich, E., 2016. EVALUATION OF ORGANIZATIONS AND SYSTEMS. Evaluation of Health Care Quality for DNPs.

Frost, S., 2014. The importance of training & development in the workplace.

Fullan, M., 2014. Leading in a culture of change personal action guide and workbook. John Wiley & Sons.

Gasevic, D., Dawson, S., and Rogers, T. 2016. Learning analytics should not promote one size fits all: The effects of instructional conditions in predicting academic success. The Internet and Higher Education, 28, pp.68-84.

Kolb, D.A., 2014. Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. FT press.

Maben, J., Griffiths, P., Penfold, C., Simon, M., Anderson, J.E., Robert, G., Pizzo, E., Hughes, J., Murrells, T. and Barlow, J., 2016. One size fits all? Mixed methods evaluation of the impact of 100% single-room accommodation on staff and patient experience, safety and costs. BMJ Qual Saf, 25(4), pp.241-256.

Nolan, A.J., Russell, J.L., Pickard, A.C. and Beasley, R., 2015, October. One Size Fits All?: A model of human growth and its application to systems thinking. In INCOSE International Symposium (Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 420-434).

Pollock, R.V., Wick, C.W. and Jefferson, A., 2015. The six disciplines of breakthrough learning: How to turn training and development into business results. John Wiley & Sons.

Pyle, M.J. and Liker, J.K., 2014. Imitation in Large Complex Organizations: A Case of Design for Six Sigma in the Automobile Industry. Journal of Enterprise Transformation, 4(2), pp.76-99.

Sharma, S. and Kaur, J., 2016. Training and Development Practices in Small and Medium IT Firms: An Empirical Investigation. Small Enterprises Development, Management & Extension Journal (Sedme), 41(1).

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