Outline the key decisions made from the beginning to the end of this case. Who made each of those decisions, and why?
The first decision made at the Telecommunication Company was that a training program was needed. Following a period characterized by low sales, the management reviewed some strategies that could be used to improve sales. The management finally decided a training program for its large, dispersed workforce was needed. The second decision was to choose a preferred technology to implement at the company. The company’s training department settled on a generic technology to implement the training program. Despite receiving immense pressure from the management, the ultimate decision on which training technology to use was under the department’s purview. New design engineers responsible for new product development make the third and final decision.
Describe the ideal process for handling the concern about declining sales, ignoring, for now, the pressure from management.
Without paying attention to management’s pressure, a person analysis exercise should be conducted to determine the training needs. A person analysis’s first query is whether employees’ underperformance is due to lacking necessary skills and expertise (Stewart and Brown 343-344). To that end, other reasons may contribute to employee underperformance, like the lack of equipment, support, and capacity. Secondly, if training is needed, a person analysis helps determine the people who need training. The training department would examine employee records or surveys to determine potential candidates.
Undertaking a personal analysis at the Telecommunication Company will help determine the weaknesses in the sales team that may be lowering sales. In this case, such an analysis will have ruled training exercises. Instead, it will have helped the management figure out that uncoordinated new product launches are affecting the sales team’s delivery and embrace a collaborative approach between design engineers and the sales team.
What arguments could be made to convince management that working with an outdated needs assessment is not wise?
Concluding that employees need training without conducting a needs assessment is counterproductive. Other factors beyond the lack of expertise may contribute to underperformance from employees. For instance, the lack of an appropriate feedback system may demotivate employees. Also, inappropriate consequences in case of underperformance may spur resentment from employees, thereby worsening the situation.
What content, method, and media would you choose if you were asked to develop a training program for these sales agents? Explain your answers as best you can, given the limited information provided.
Discussions as an employee training method would be the most effective given the reigning circumstances at the Telecommunications Company. Discussions bolster engagement by allowing an open conversation between the trainer and trainee (Stewart and Brown 352). Since the teams at the company are large and dispersed, a virtual meeting that allows feedback would be the most suitable.
Stewart, Greg L., and Kenneth G Brown. Human Resource Management: Linking Strategy to Practice. Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2019.
We’ll write everything from scratch
Hypothetical Telecommunications Discussion A
Please read the case and answer the questions at the end. Please respond to two of your peers. Do you agree or disagree?
Sales at a large telecommunications company were down for the third quarter. Management reviewed several strategies to improve sales and concluded that one solution would be to improve training for the large, dispersed sales force.
For the sake of the training, the department began using a needs assessment it had conducted several years before to develop enhanced training. The plan was first to update the original needs analysis and then to develop new training strategies based on what it found. The department also began investigating new training technologies as a possible means to reduce training delivery costs. However, management was so intent on doing something quickly that the training department was ultimately pressured into purchasing a generic, off-the-shelf package from a local vendor.
One of the package’s features that appealed to management was that the course could be delivered over the Web, saving them the time and expense of having the sales force travel to the main office to receive training. Hence, even though the package was costly, I believed it was a bargain compared to the expense of developing a new package in-house and delivering it in person.
Sales were declining six months in person after the training had been delivered.
Management turned to the training department for answers. Because no measures of training performance had been collected, the training department had little information upon which to base its diagnosis. For lack of a better idea, members of the training department began questioning the sales force to see if they could determine why the training was not working.
The salespeople reported that the training was slow and boring and did not teach them any new sales techniques. They also complained that, without an instructor, it was impossible to get clarification on things they did not understand. Moreover, they reported that they believed sales were off not because they needed training in basic sales techniques but because so many new products were being introduced that they could not keep up. Several people requested meetings with design engineers so that they could update their product information.
1. Outline the key decisions made from the beginning to the end of this case. Who made each of those decisions, and why?
2. Describe the ideal process for handling the concern about declining sales, ignoring management’s pressure for now.
3. What arguments could be made to convince management that working with an outdated needs assessment
is not wise?
4. If you were asked to develop a training program for these sales agents, what content, method, and media would you choose? Explain your answers as best you can, given the limited information provided.
Source: Excerpted from Eduardo Salas and
Janice A. Cannon-Bowers, “Design Training
Systematically,” in Edwin A. Locke (ed.), Handbook of Principles of Organizational