PRoject Plan

PART One:

 

1.0       Working title

 

How
to dramatically improve Blackrock’s Corporate Training and Development program!

 

2.0     Significance of the Project

 

Regardless of their
respective industries or their budget size, organizations are always looking
for a way to improve their bottom line. One of the key areas that often require
a large chunk of resources is employee training. Training
is the backbone of workplace success, safety, and performance which serve as
the catalyst for employee skills improvement and development. Blackrock, training has always been an area that they want to improve.
Effective training for new and current employees is essential for Blackrock to carry on being
competitive in their industry. Blackrock can make adjustments to their current
training plans that will help improve workplace productivity. This project will allow us to find a solution that meets Blackrock’s
needs.

 

3.0 Aim/s & Objective’s

Aim: The aim of this report is
to improve BlackRock’s’ current Training and Development plan in
order to provide the firm with with recorded results and measurable success.

 

Objectives:

–         
Establish program goals

–         
Align training goals with corporate
goals

–         
Strive to eliminate any work
for which the cost exceeds the value

–         
Create useful and engaging
learning

–         
Improve human performance

–         
Deliver training to employees
at the right time

–         
Measure employee satisfaction
to determine if training is having the desire effects

–         
Access and research how
well correlated the results obtained are and come to a valid conclusion.

–         
The design of a training plan
capable of providing efficient training whilst reducing training costs

–         
The production of a feedback
report to employees to allow them to anonymously reflect upon their own views

 

 

4.0   
Personal Learning Achievements

When developing my personal
learning during this project, I will use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to help
me. Maslow (1970) suggests that all individuals have an in-built need for
personal development, which occurs through a process called self-actualisation.
This theory will be vital in my personal development throughout this project.
Maslow says that the extent to which people are able to develop depends on
certain needs being met and these needs form a hierarchy (Maslow, 1970). The
theory suggest that only at the point when the level of need is fulfilled can
you then move onto trying to fulfil the next level.

 

5.0   
Approaches and Methods

The first approach I will take it to look at the
current training and development materials that Blackrock are utilizing currently.
This will allow me to determine which ones are absolutely necessary and which
ones can be removed from the training and development strategy. Better yet, during
the project I will send out surveys to employees and their managers alongside in
depth needs analysis to determine if Blackrock’s current training strategy is
actually effective. All of this will require Blackrock employees to get
involved with all types of analysis to help us see what they have learned and
how successful the training is working. This will not only allow me to pinpoint
which training courses can be cut, but also to fine tune the courses we do need
to keep.

I will also take a close look at BlackRock’s current
training locations and how the currently deliver the trainings and see how we
can move more training to an online format. With eLearning, you have access to
a wealth of multimedia tools and delivery formats. As such, you have the
ability to make the training experience more interactive and engaging, which
can lead to a more effective knowledge/skill set acquisition and retention.
More importantly, you gain all of these benefits with a reduced price tag.

 

6.0   
Project Structure

For this project, firstly I want to clearly
identify a business goal that the training supports so we fulfil BlackRock’s
needs. I don’t want to provide training if it’s
not clear why we’re doing it, or if it doesn’t directly support a business goal.
I want to determine the tasks the workers need to perform so Blackrock can
reach that goal. Once I have identified this
business goal, I am going to ask myself what Blackrock employees have to do if
the company is to reach that goal. During this phase, I will identify the
“performance gap” between what Blackrock’s workers can do now, and what they
must be able to do. 

I will then determine the training activities
that will help Blackrock employees learn to perform the tasks.This
may include a quick and short explanation of the product, an equally quick and
short overview of the production process, and demonstrations mixed with
hands-on practice of the tasks they’ll have to perform on the job. This will be
different for all the areas in Blackrock so the employees get the correct
training for that specific area.

I want to then make sure the learning
characteristics of the workers will make the training more effective. In a
perfect world, I would want to cater training to each individual, but that’s
not possible in an organisation like Blackrock and I will have to consider the
average characteristics of the group as a whole. When implementing this I can
consider many factors like: are they more comfortable with computer-based
training or instructor-led training; do they like self-guided or self-paced
learning, or would they struggle in that environment; are they youngish or
older; are there cultural issues that may factor in; do they learn better from
reading, listening, or doing; etc.

It is hard to create a one-size
training that fits all, so I need to consider training that blends different
aspects so we have a better chance of reaching everyone and the goals that
Blackrock want to meet.

Once I have determined all of
the above, I then need to begin to implement the changes necessary into
Blackrock’s training plan. After its implemented, it is then key to make sure
we use various methods to gain insight to how the training plan is working and
whether there is areas that need to be improved. 

 

7.0   Methods
and Criteria to evaluate outcomes

When
evaluating the outcomes of the project I am going to look at the most widely used and popular model for the
evaluation of training programs. This is known as “The Four Levels of
Learning Evaluation.” The model was defined in 1959 by Donald L.
Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick redefined the evaluation model with his 1998 book
“Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels.”

His conception behind
the model is for an organization like Blackrock to have paramount evaluation of
learning in the organization. The degree of difficulty increases as you move
through the calibres. However, the cognizance learned regarding the efficacy of
the training program more than compensates for this.

The four levels of
Kirkpatrick’s model are:

Level 1: Reaction – Kirkpatrick refers to Level 1 as a
measure of customer satisfaction. Most of the forms that people fill out at the
end of a class or workshop are instruments for measuring Level 1

Level
2: Learning – Kirkpatrick defines learning as the extent
to which participants change attitudes, increase knowledge, and/or increase
skill as a result of attending a program. So for example with the training plan
we will create we can ask Blackrock employees what knowledge was learned, what
skills were developed or improved and what attitudes were changed.

Level
3: Behaviour – Level three can be defined as the extent to
which a change in behaviour has occurred because someone attended a training
program. In order for change in behaviour to occur, four conditions are
necessary:

The
person must have a desire to change
The
person must know what to do and how to do it
The
person must work in the right climate
The
person must be rewarded for changing

Level
4: Results – This involves measuring the final results that
occurred because a person attended a training session. This can include
increased production, improved work quality, reduced turnover, etc. Level four
can be difficult especially for me as I want to make sure we determine what
final results occurred because of attendance and participation in the training
program.

This is only one model to look
at when evaluating the outcome of improving Blackrock’s corporate training and
development. I will also look at other models when evaluating the best way to
improve BlackRock’s corporate development.

 

8.0   Times Schedules

 

 
 
TASK
 

 
 
COMPLETION DATE
 
 

 
Project
Outline
 

 
25th
June 2017

 
Start
focusing on Methods and Approaches
 

 
15th
July 2017

 
Fully
Implement Project Structure
 

 
8th
September 2017

 
Start
evaluation of Project Outcomes
 

 
12th
November 2017

 
Start
evaluation of Personal Learning Achievements
 

 
10th
December 2017

 
Draft Hand
in
 

 
5th
January 2018

 
Final
Assignment Completed
 

 
26th
January 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 2: Project Rationale

 

Introduction

Training
current and new employees is one of Blackrock’s biggest challenges especially
in the rapidly changing business environment that they operate in. When looking
at fostering employee engagement and loyalty, there a few things that are more
effective than a well formed training and development plan. Starting with
new hires and continuing throughout an employee’s career, it will allow
Blackrock to have the ability to give them the tools and training they need
which will have a significant impact on the company’s retention rate.

If
you provide your employees with the relevant corporate training and development,
their performance for the company will improve. That’s because after they’re
trained, your employees are better
prepared for their job functions and more skilled in performing them.
When employees improve their business skills and broaden their horizons,
they’re able to contribute more to the bottom line, and have an impact on strategic
business objectives (Group, 2014).

 

Project Outcomes

The value of improving Blackrock’s training and
development plan cannot be measured without defining success. Therefore it
requires focus on outcomes. The outcomes are the positives that arise from the
improvement in the training and development plan.

 

One of the main outcomes of this project was the need
to transform from classroom based learning to eLearning. When I decided on the
project, Blackrock’s eLearning capacity was near enough non-existent. I had
spoken to a significant amount of employees at Blackrock about this project and
near enough everyone mentioned eLearning. Changing to eLearning provides many
advantages. ELearning has significantly quicker cycle times than traditional
classroom based instruction. There is no travel time needed to get to the
training and the employees can set their own pace, rather than the pace of the
whole room. Due to the speed and ease in which eLearning is delivered, the
costs that Blackrock currently pay will be drastically reduced. As part of the
project I decided to hold some eLearning sessions with a few employees from
Blackrock so they could experience eLearning compared to the classroom learning
they are used to. When evaluating the outcome of the effectiveness of this, I
looked at the Kirkpatrick Four-Level Training Evaluation model. This model
looks at evaluating the effectiveness of training.

 

Another outcome for this project was that
Blackrock needed to align its training goals with its corporate goals. “A
mere 7% of employees today fully understand their company’s business strategies
and what’s expected of them in order to help achieve company goals.”
(Kaplan & Norton, 2001). It is known that there is a strong correlation
between a company’s financial performance and an effective goal setting
process. I thought that if Blackrock made sure during their training to
employees they aligned their corporate goals then the company would see much
higher levels of financial success.

To achieve goal alignment at Blackrock, it needs to
be made sure that Blackrock clearly communicates its strategic business
objectives in its training plan and indicates how employees play a part in them
achieving that goal. To help me with this outcome I looked at a Training Needs
Analysis (TNA). TNA is used to assess a company’s trainings needs. At the heart
of TNA is gap analysis. This is an assessment of the
gap between the knowledge, skills and attitudes that the people in the
organization currently possess and the knowledge, skills and attitudes that
they require to meet the organization’s objectives (Allan, 2003).

 

Project delivery toolkit

When
looking at the effectiveness of eLearning compared to Classroom learning, I
decided to evaluate the outcome by looking at the Kirkpatrick Four-level
training evaluation model. The model is well known for measuring the
effectiveness of training. Donald Kirkpatrick developed it in the late 1950’s.
The model looks at 4 different levels.

 

·   Level 4 – Results

What
measurable organizational benefits resulted from the training in terms such as
productivity, efficiency and sales revenue?

·   Level 3 – Behaviour

To
what extent did participants change their behaviour back in the workplace as a
result of the training?

·   Level 2 – Learning

To
what extent did participants improve knowledge and skills and change attitudes
as a result of the training?

·   Level 1 – Reaction

To
what extent did the participants find the training useful, challenging,
well-structured, organized, and so on?

Figure 1 –
Kirkpatrick Model for Evaluating Effectiveness of Training Programs (Allan,
2003)

 

The
objective of the model is that at every level you make an evaluation, which
tells you if the training provided did in fact meet its goal. Every level of
the model is important. I evaluated the outcome of eLearning over a number of
months. I started with evaluating level 1, which looks at Reaction. This
relates to understanding how the employees felt about the learning experience.
The best way I thought for understanding the employee’s feelings about the
training was to hand out questionnaires. This was a very quick and easy way for
me to obtain Level 1 and very inexpensive.

I
then moved on to look at Level 2, the Learning level. This looks at if the
training provided increased the employees Knowledge. When evaluating this level,
I found it easy to set up some time with the whole group of employees that took
part in the eLearning and asked them various questions relating to the training
they had just taken. This was an easy to set up but would not work if we were
looking at something like attitudinal development. Following this evaluation, I
moved on to looking at the third level, behaviour evaluation. This looked at
the extent to which the employees applied the learning and changed their
behaviour. For this evaluation we used self-assessment.  This evaluation came a month after the
training. We let the employee’s judge how they felt the training had affected
them in their jobs since taking part. I thought this was relevant indicator of
behaviour change evaluation.

The
final level looks at the results. This is the effect on the business and
environment resulting from the improved performance of the employees. The way I
evaluated this Level was linking up mangers of the employees three months after
they had taken the eLearning courses. I think gave an evaluation from for the
manager to fill out that looked at their performance since the training.
Combined with this I also spoke to the employees again individually to get
their personal feedback on how they feel they have developed since the
training. Once the analysis was gathered, it could be seen that eLearning
showed a higher retention rate compared to classroom learning and allowed employees
to be flexible when taking the training.

We
used a different analysis when focusing on aligning training goals with
corporate goals at Blackrock. It seemed that conducting a Training Needs
Analysis was the best option. Training needs analysis is concerned with addressing
skills gaps at the organisational level, the group level and the individual
level, and falls under the remit of learning and
development (“What is Training Needs Analysis?”, 2018). The
analysis has 4 steps. Step 1 is Identifying the Business need. Our business
need was to make sure the corporate goals are aligned with the training goals.
Identifying this need allowed us to focus our efforts on areas of trainings
that are necessary to achieve this.

The next step was to perform a gap analysis.
This was where we assessed the current employees understanding of the company
and its goals compared to the desired level Blackrock would like them at. To
help with this I sent out a questionnaire that quizzed the employees on their
current understanding. I then conducted step three which looked at needs
analysis. This step allowed me to identify the types of needs to address the
root cause. This step led to the final step which was reporting Training Needs
and Recommending a training plan. The considerations for this were looking at
what training is already being offered and should it continue to be offered and
coming up with a final plan.

After gathering the analysis, we decided to come
up with a plan to fix the issue of alignment. Our final plan was to make sure
we have specific training courses (eLearning and classroom learning) on
Blackrock goals that employees could take to ensure they fully understand the firm’s
stance. We also suggested sending all employees a video made by senior managers
of the firm that explained the firm’s goals and the reason behind them and the
expectation of all employees in playing a role in them.

To monitor my personal learning during this
project, I looked at Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs. As humans you are desired to
achieve goals.  Achieving those goals
satisfies your needs and desires. Needs are categorized into a hierarchy, in which
certain needs must be met before others (Maslow, 1943). Maslow’s theory looks
at the stages of growth for humans. His theory has always been shown in the
shape of a pyramid with the necessary needs at the bottom and the needs for
self-actualization at the top. For this project, focusing on various outcomes
was necessary so using Maslow’s theory allowed me to understand when I have
achieved certain goals which satisfied me to then move on to other outcomes.

 

Project monitoring,
evaluation and learning toolkit

During
this project there was many monitoring and evaluation toolkits I could have
used. I focused on three for various reasons. I looked at Kirkpatrick’s four
level training evaluation model, Training Needs Analysis and finally Maslow’s
hierarchy of Needs.

When
looking at Kirkpatrick’s model, I thought this was very useful as the model
when used can give immensely valuable information about the employees, what is
working for them, what’s not working and the best way for them to perform
better. Even though Kirkpatrick’s model is widely used, there are a few
considerations that need to be taken into account when using it. The main
considerations for this model are time, expense and effort. For example, when
looking at the final level in the model specifically for my project, it had to
partly be carried out by the employee’s managers.  But it has to be taken into account that most
managers don’t take trainings seriously enough to think that it deserves the
level of evaluation I carried out. Therefore how serious are the managers
taking the final evaluation. This leads to the worry of how accurate are the
results we have obtained. After using this tool I looked into other models that
expand on Kirkpatrick’s model. If I was to redo my project I would us the
Philips model which adds a fifth level that looks at Return on Investment.

Rae (2000) denotes that Training Needs
Analysis (TNA) is the
process that defines what is missing in the performance of the employees and
provides organizations a base on what to be dealt with. Personally I think TNA
worked well as an analysis tool for this project as it helped me understand obstructions
that were effecting Blackrock employees being fully aligned when it came to
understand the firm’s objectives. The analysis provided valuable learning
opportunities which is imperative to Blackrock for future growth. It has to be
noted that TNA does have its limitations. Peters (1994) argues
that the problem
behind training needs analysis is that it focuses only on the needs of the
employees and organizations and does not emphasize the good performances of the
employees, which, in fact, is a very good indication of understanding what
others really need and determining this fact can result in effective training
needs analysis. I would say that for this project did the analysis I carry out
truly focus on the needs of the employees and the business. I think it could
have concentrated on this more carefully so therefore it could be argued that
the TNA carried out is ineffective.

 

For evaluating my personal
development during this project, I used Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s
theory is one of the most widely recognized theories for self-development. I
thought this was beneficial as it’s a great way of understanding my needs and allowing
me to focus on specific areas that I knew would be beneficial in this project.
This theory does have considerations that need to be taken into account. The
main pro of the model is its simplicity but for this project I undertook I
would say I needed deeper investigation into my needs. Maslow’s model only
looks at basic needs so therefore I would say it wasn’t the best model to look
at my personal development for this project.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, for a company like Blackrock to remain
competitive and grow their business, they need to focus more on Training and
Development. They not only increase the employee’s abilities and knowledge but
also strengthen the relationship that exists between the workforce and the
members of leadership with the company (Ivan, 2014). During this project it was
evident that the firm needs to transition from Classroom learning to eLearning.
Not only does this cut down cost and time but the analysis showed there was a
higher learning retention compared to classroom training. There was also
thought around implementing training videos conducted by senior managers of the
firm that provide the firms goals and how employees can contribute to reaching
that goal. This shows not only do the senior leadership care about the training
being delivered but also that the only way they can succeed in achieving theses
goals is by the involvement of the employees.

This project has allowed me to personally develop immensely.
I think my strengths of this project where understanding the need for Blackrock
to improve on their current training program and the understanding of
implementing technology to help train employees. I feel like areas of weakness
during this project were communication and employee participation. I think to
really evaluate how successful the training programs are requires a significant
amount of participation and this project lacked that. From a communication standpoint
I feel that I could have been stronger on delivering my desired outcomes for this
project to employees as I don’t think they took it 100% seriously. This also
goes for manager’s feedback when evaluating employee’s performance after the
training sessions.

To conclude, there was positives and negatives that arose
during the undertaking of this project. I feel like valuable information was
gained that will benefit Blackrock and help them improve the current training
and development that have in place. Looking back I would have chosen more specific
theories to help with the analysis and have had a bigger group of employees
taking part.