By Sam Altawil
After looking at the areas of organizational differences and recruitment in the first part of this series, we can now turn our focus to succession planning and training.
While many organizations (including fire departments) do not have the luxury of starting with ideal skilled employees, some have adopted a well designed training program for their current employees and leader.
However, many organizations over the years have discovered that just having a training program is not enough. Many tried to cut corners by having a "one size fits all" program and in a short amount of time realized their program was not working for everyone, not even for the majority.
As a result, many organizations decided to take reasonable steps to assure a good training program, and here is how they did it:
1. Above all, an organization must have clear and realistic objectives.
2. It must identify the skills needed to carry out these objectives.
3. It must identify existing employees that have the abilities and the desires to be trained
4. The ability to implement the training program with refresher summary courses. On many occasions, refresher summary courses are an excellent idea to assure the material is completely absorbed and relearned.
However, the biggest challenge for any organization is management leadership training, which covers executives in corporate business and fire chiefs in fire departments. Here, the leadership must complete a self-analysis as to how they can be developed in order to assure organizational objectives.
Unfortunately in the past leaders, with strong egos refused any thought for self-analysis and self-improvement. Many of those individuals have years of experience and simply believe that they have seen and done it all. For those leaders who resist leadership training, they must consider their credibility as leaders. One way of losing credibility with employees is to implement a program that leaders are not willing themselves to participate in.
Assuming you began a training program tailored to your organization, now the question is how to determine whether the program works. Many human resources experts rely on performance appraisal, or which some prefer to call performance reviews or simply reviews.
They are designed to measure the performance of an employee during the year and in some cases during a six-month period. Generally speaking, after an employee completes the training program, his/her performance is evaluated during one of these periods, and their performance compared with his/her previous review.
If the reviews were conducted properly, the supervisor/manager should see an improvement in performance. On the other hand, if the employee received a poor performance review after completing the training program, management must evaluate other employees who completed the program. If most also received poor reviews, then the training program needs to be evaluated and either modified or changed.
Lastly, to determine success or failures with any program, there must be a way to quantify these items. One of the most popular is a matrix, which is basically a mathematical spreadsheet that can be completed by using an Excel program or any other software of your choice.
The key to building a successful matrix is to customize it to your organization and consistently maintain it. A monthly evaluation of the data will help determine whether you are on the right track or not in any area, whether it be training, recruitment cost, safety cost and/or new program evaluations.
Sam Altawil is a Human Resource leader with experience in human resources, legal compliance and financial responsibilities. He works closely with organizational leaders to improve personnel and business efficiency by mapping and executing strategic campaigns. He currently works at Professional Employment Resolutions in Sacramento, which helps clients focus on their core business by providing HR support for their organization while helping reduce costs and administrative redundancies. You can contact Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org.