A Study Among Bank Employees in India Essay Sample

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Training effectiveness is a widely researched area, with much of the studies focusing upon the participants’ reaction towards the entire training programme. Training effectiveness is measured in terms of trainees’ perceived efficiency of the training, perceived usefulness of the training and perceived trainer performance (PET, PUT, and PTP). The present study has been conducted among bank employees in India based upon their reaction towards the training programme they attended. Data is collected directly from the trainees at the end of the training programme. The major objective of the study is to understand the training effectiveness and its relationship with that of PET, PUT, and PTP. Another variable i.e. overall satisfaction of the training programme is also considered for the study.

The study revealed that majority of the participants disagreed that the training they attended is effective and only Perceived usefulness of training (PUT) seemed to be significantly related with training effectiveness. It is also established that there is no significant relationship between training effectiveness and overall training satisfaction. Demographic variables such as gender, age and work experience didn’t seem to have an association with training effectiveness. It is suggested that banks do a systematic need analysis, based upon which training programmes may be designed and implemented. This would in turn lead to training programmes being effective.

Key words: perceived efficiency of the training, perceived trainer performance, perceived usefulness of the training, training effectiveness, training evaluation, overall satisfaction of training.

Introduction

In organisatons training is viewed in two different perspectives – one as a remedy to most problems (Chaudron 1996; Gomez-Mejia, Balkin and Cardy, 2004); and the other as a cost incurring activity, in terms of time and money (Costa & Giannecchini 2005). Researchers argue that given the fact that training is a key human resource practice, it deserves and requires systematic monitoring and evaluation (Rebora, 2005; Owens, 2006). Training effectiveness is measured in terms of the benefits derived from the programmes. A systematic assessment of costs and benefits from both organization and employee point of view is a must. There are different methods to measure the training effectiveness. The most frequently used and accepted method of evaluating training effectiveness is the one offered by Kirkpatrick (1959). Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation is based upon four dimensions namely Reaction, Learning, Behavior & Results. Studies shows that evaluation based on the first dimension i.e., participant reaction is the most commonly used method (Olsen, 1998; Antonio Giangreco et al., 2009). The present study conducted among bank employees evaluates their reaction towards training effectiveness.

Training evaluation

Training evaluation is defined as the ‘systematic collection of descriptive and judge mental information necessary to make effective training decisions related to the selection, adoption, value and modification of various instructional activities’ (Goldstein,1980). Further according to Buckley & Capes it is considered as ‘a process of assessing the total value of training: that is the cost benefits and general outcomes which benefit the organization as well as the value of the improved performance of those who have undertaken training'(Buckley and Caples, 1990). The literature review reveals that the training evaluation consists of two techniques i.e. formative and summative (Rajeev et al., 2009). The first two levels of Kirkpatrick model, i.e., reaction and learning, are known as formative and the other two, i.e., behavior and results, are summative (Laird, 2003). It is suggested that the circumference of training evaluation has to be narrow focusing on fulfilling the needs of trainees (Collins, 2002), hence literature review identifies the first two levels i.e., reaction and learning as the most simple, practicable, flexible, widely applicable and extensively accepted one (Kirkpatrick, 1996; Hamtini, 2008; Aldrich, 2002; Tian et al., 2007). Studies also shows that most of the organizations prefer training evaluations based upon these first two levels (Ban and Faerman, 1990) as these are assessed within the training setting and are easy to measure (Collins, 2008).

The present study focuses on the first level i.e., measuring effectiveness based upon the trainees’ reaction, since it evaluates the trainees’ immediate reaction towards the training. Studies reveal that more than 80 % of the business organizations focus only on the reaction of trainees towards the training effectiveness (Al-Athari and Zairi, 2002). Trainees reaction towards training activities is based upon his opinions, perceptions, understanding about the training programme, trainer and his individual performance (Jeng and Hsu, 2002; Rajeev et al., 2009). Reaction level of evaluation is primarily focused upon the key stake holder i.e., the trainee and it is considered as a major source of information for training evaluation (Tan and Hall, 2003). This type of evaluation helps in providing a feed back to both the trainer as well as the organization and provides insights into enhancing the quality of the training programme (Lee and Pershing, 1999).Studies show that reaction evaluation can help organizations identify particular problems or weaknesses with their current training, and act as a basis for improving future training programmes. It is also seen that positive training experiences is related with job motivation, organizational commitment and perceived organizational support. (Goldstein, 1993)

Variables in reaction evaluation

Literature review reveals that reaction evaluation is done on the basis of trainees’ satisfaction with programme objectives, content, instruction, delivery, and trainers (Tian et al., 2007; Hahs-Vaughn et al., 2007). These variables so identified seem to have an influence on the reaction of trainees towards the training. (Eseryel, 2002; Tan & Hall, 2003). Three key variables such as perception of trainees towards the efficiency, usefulness of the training, and trainer performance (PET, PUT, and PTP) has been identified as affecting training effectiveness. (Antonio Giangreco et al., 2009). Same has been used in the present study also. These variables are discussed in detail below.

Perceived efficiency of training (PET) means participants’ evaluation of the organizational and administrative aspects of the training course they have attended. It includes validity of the teaching materials used in the training program, organizing of the training program and about the course planning of the complete training program (Antonio Giangreco et al., 2009) It also includes the training schedule, timing of the sessions, quality of the teaching aids and materials such as books, slides, case studies etc ( Lanigan, 2008). Perceived usefulness of training (PUT) means trainees evaluation of various aspects of the content of the training programme in which they took part. It includes usefulness of the topics in terms of immediate work responsibilities, usefulness of informative methodologies to motivate the trainees, relevance of the topics to future career development of the trainees, relevance of the topics in relation to the individual learning needs of the trainees, reliability of the declared objectives of the training program, balance between theory and practice and application of learned materials during training program into trainees(Antonio Giangreco et al., 2009 ).

Perceived Trainer performance (PTP) means trainees perception of trainer’s mastery of topics and delivery. Studies show that trainer performance contributes towards the success of training (Hesseling, 1966). PTP includes trainer’s capability to deliver topics to the candidates, trainer’s capability to involve participants into the training program, trainer’s capability of topics taken in the training program and about the usage of informative methodologies used by the trainer in the training program. It also covers the trainer’s capacity to involve the audience, capacity to manage time, and the appropriateness of the teaching style and method used (Antonio Giangreco et al., 2009).

About the present study

Banking sector is considered to be the backbone of the Indian economy, providing capital for innovation, infrastructure, job creation and overall prosperity. Banks also play an integral role in society, affecting not only spending by individual consumers, but also the growth of entire industries. The role of banks is essentially carried out by the employees and therefore it is essential to have a well – trained and motivated staff to manage the banking operations. This is very much dependent upon on the training input given to the employees, and it is highly imperative that the effectiveness of those training programmes be assessed. The present study is conducted among 182 employees who had participated in different training programmes. Data was collected from the trainees at the end of the programme, they have attended.

The tool used for the study is the questionnaire developed by Giangreco, Antonio, Sebastiano, Antonio and Peccei, Riccardo (2009) in their study ‘Trainees’ reactions to training: an analysis of the factors affecting overall satisfaction with training’. Statements in the questionnaire were related to participants overall satisfaction with training, perception of trainees towards the efficiency, usefulness of the training, and trainer performance. The respondents were asked to respond on a 5 point agreeableness scale ranging from ‘strongly disagree’ (1) to ‘strongly agree’ (5). All the four variables namely perception of trainees towards the efficiency, usefulness of the training, and trainer performance (PET, PUT, PTP) and participants overall satisfaction with training were considered as independent variables. Demographic variables such as gender, age, years of work experience were also considered for the study.

The major objective of the study is to understand the training effectiveness and its relationship with that of PET, PUT, and PTP with that of training effectiveness. The other objectives are to understand the relationship of training effectiveness with that of overall satisfaction of training. The association of demographic variables such as gender, age, years of work experience with that of PET, PUT, PTP and participants overall satisfaction of training is also assessed. The major hypotheses of the study are as follows

a. The variables such as PET, PUT, and PTP are significantly related with training effectiveness. b. Training effectiveness is significantly related with overall training satisfaction. c. There is significant association between variables such as gender, age, years of work experience with that of training effectiveness and participants overall satisfaction of training.

Result and Discussion

The major objective of the study as stated above is to understand the overall training effectiveness and its relationship with that of PET, PUT & PTP. Table 2 shows the descriptive statistics for the trainees’ agreeableness towards training effectiveness. It is clear that 44.49% of the trainees strongly disagreed or disagreed with training being effective, compared with 28.56 % of trainees agreeing or strongly agreeing. 26.92 % of the trainees neither agreed nor disagreed with training being effective.

Table 1

|Strongly disagree |Disagree |Neither Disagree nor agree |Agree |Strongly agree |Total | |Number |26 |55 |49 |39 |13 |182 | |Percentage |14.28 |30.21 |26.92 |21.42 |7.14 |100 | |Mean: 2.45. Standard deviation: .87

In understanding the perceived usefulness of training (PUT), perceived efficiency of training (PET) & perceived trainer performance (PTP), descriptive statistics of all these independent variables i.e. PUT, PET and PTP were taken. Table 3 shows the descriptive statistics of all these independent variables. It is evident that majority of the participants strongly disagreed or disagreed with training usefulness, efficiency and trainer performance.

Table 2

| |Strongly Disagree |Disagree |Neither Disagree nor Agree |Agree |Strongly Agree | |1. PUT |N |35 |58 |30 |39 |20 | |M: 2.33 SD: 1.05 |% |19.23 |31.86 |16.48 |21.42 |10.98 | |2. PET |N |26 |85 |36 |24 |11 | |M : 2.13 SD:1.09 |% |14.28 |46.7 |19.78 |13.18 |6.04 | |3.PTP |N |47 |77 |26 |23 |9 | |M: 2.02 SD: 1.13 |% |25.82 |42.3 |14.28 |12.63 |4.95 | |

This opens up an interesting question whether organizing and attending training programmes is any worth for both organizations and the participants. The need of the hour is to have customised training methods, training contents and training materials that make training effective (Rajeev et al., 2009). This is reaffirmed by the studies of Forsyth et al (1995) who contend that training material, training methods, trainers, training media, training manager and training environment ensure the effectiveness of the training programme. In testing the hypothesis, the relationship between training effectiveness & PUT, PET, PTP, it is identified that PUT has a higher correlation (0.56) with training effectiveness compared with PET & PTP (0.32, O.26). This assumes higher significance as participants are more interested in usefulness of the topics in terms of immediate work responsibilities, relevance of the topics to future career development , balance between theory and practice, relevance of the topics in relation to the individual learning needs etc, than other aspects. Studies show that the content of the training should relate both theoretical and practical aspects, which would lead to acquisition of knowledge and skills (Gauld and Miller, 2004).This in fact should act as a feedback for both trainers and organizations to reset training objectives, redesign the contents and improve the course material.(Sanderson, 1994)

The correlation between factors affecting PUT with that of PUT revealed that only sufficient information provided by trainers have high correlation (0.62).In the case of correlation between factors affecting PET with that of PET , it is seen that only course planning showed high correlation (0.59). Relationship between factors affecting PTP and with that of PTP revealed that ability to deliver topics and ability to manage time showed high correlation (0.58, 0.65) with PTP. The second hypothesis is to test the relationship between training effectiveness and participants overall satisfaction with training, the correlation is found to be 0.28, which shows only a slight correlation. The reasons for such a finding is open to further research. It is assumed that the reasons for overall training satisfaction are factors other than training effectiveness, which could be identified through another study.

Association between variables such as gender, age, years of work experience with that of training effectiveness and participants overall satisfaction of training is also tested. It is identified that there is significant difference across different age groups and work experience with respect to that of overall training satisfaction, as the asymptotic score is 0.04 & 0.02 respectively. Previous studies show that age is significantly related with training outcomes, including training satisfaction (Kubeck et al, 1996). It is assumed that younger trainees are much more willing to engage in training activities, which will lead to higher training satisfaction (McEnrue, 1989). None of the variables seemed to have an association with training effectiveness. This is in contradiction with the previous studies where age, gender & work experience were found to be associated with training effectiveness (Devins et.al, 2004; Chou, 1994; Elizabeth, 2002; Dewberry, 2001).

Conclusion

The present study has thrown light into the training effectiveness in banks, based upon the trainees’ reaction. It is identified that out of the three variables, only perceived usefulness of training has high correlation with training effectiveness. This shows that trainees are more concerned about the usefulness of training like usefulness of the topics in terms of immediate work responsibilities, balance between theory and practice, relevance of the topics in relation to the individual learning needs etc. Banks also have to concentrate on this aspect while designing the training programmes. It is advised that both the organization and the trainer have clarity in fixing the training objectives, and design the programme accordingly. A detailed need analysis would help in this regard.

The preparation and presentation on behalf of the trainer should focus upon clearly communicating the relevance of the topic presented to their immediate work responsibilities and also to their future career. The study also revealed only a slight correlation between training effectiveness and overall training satisfaction. The factors specifically contributing to overall training satisfaction is open to further research. It also opens up a debate whether organizations should focus upon training effectiveness or rather upon overall training satisfaction, if both are considered as independent variables. No significant association was found between demographic variables such as gender, age, and work experience of trainees with that of training effectiveness. But it is seen that age and years of experience had a significant association with overall training satisfaction. One of the reasons identified is younger trainees’ willingness to engage in training activities (McEnrue, 1989).

The findings of this study are open to further research, and it is suggested that banks do training evaluation on a systematic and continuous basis. This would enhance the quality of training programmes planned by the banks and ultimately would lead to overall training effectiveness. The need of the hour is to have a systematic need analysis, careful planning and designing of training programmes, and finally a continuous evaluation method. Banks should focus on designing customised training and development programmes, which fits into the actual requirements of trainees.

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