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The Value and Importance of Training

Brookside is a famous company in Kenya as far as milk processing is concerned. This company has been there for the last three decades. The company was initiated by the first president of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. He started it as a family business in central Kenya where he originated from. It was later transformed into a government company. The company has diligent mangers from the loyal family. It has defeated all other milk processing industries in the country. Brookside Company has more than eight branches in Kenya. Every province has a branch, with central Kenya having more than three branches. A new branch is opened in any area where there is enough milk to support the business. Originally, Brookside was buying milk from farmers and selling it to the Kenyan Creameries Limited. This was the national milk processing industry. Brookside later stopped to sell milk to KCC. The company stands on its own. Every branch makes enough profit to meet its daily activities.

Brookside Company buys milk from farmers three times a day. It has enough vehicles to transport milk from the farmers' dwellings to the company. The first round starts at three in the morning. Milk is collected from farmers and taken to the company before nine. The second round starts at noon. This is usually a short period since few farmers milk their cows three times a day. The final journey starts at four and ends at six. When the milk is collected, it is processed and packed ready to be sold. The packed milk is then distributed to all parts of the country. People trust Brookside milk as it is of a high quality. According to the work done in this company, there are over ten thousand employees national wide. These employees are united as the work team for the same company. Their activities are similar in every branch. Additionally, the employees are paid the very same day, the same amount depending on their area of specialization.

Training is so important in every business such that companies cannot make these processes without training. With the new and advanced technology, there are new trends in business training. These are all directed towards the development and more profits. Currently, managers have comprehended the secret behind training employees. Brookside is one of the companies, which has succeeded after the continuous trainings that do not only equip the learners with knowledge but also motivate them to work hard towards achieving the goals. In most companies, training is now clear, formal and regular. Training sessions are no longer taken as the tiresome meetings as it used to be in the past. The term training remains the most frequently used word when learning processes start in the company. However, the emerging trend in this department has more than the mere training (Lynton & Pareek, 2000).

Training has now moved to the performance. Within many organizations, a philosophical shift is emerging. The new philosophical change maintains that we can never rely on training people. We can only facilitate their learning efforts. The employer and employees share the responsibility for growing and maintaining the personal competence. The employer provides the circumstances and tools to support the staff. The employee assumes a primary responsibility for his or her own personal growth. With the rapid flux in technology, the personal growth has become a lifetime mission. Training functions have become as the learning support functions. Increasingly, employees are being called upon to self-direct their learning and competency growth. A sign of success is that the employee's attitude towards training and the personal growth shift from "I am entitled" to "I have to carry my own weight."

Currently, there is self-directed learning versus self-paced learning. With regard to self-directed learning, there seems to be some confusion. Self-paced learning refers to self-study. Self-directed learning implies that employees, with the support of their management, will analyze their own competences and weaknesses, and then will take a personal initiative to avail themselves of some growth opportunities. Such opportunities are not limited to the company-sponsored group or self-study. Other opportunities exist including some local college and vocational school courses, conferences and seminars, mentoring programs, professional associations, university, and association-sponsored distance learning programs (Davies, 2001).

There is a real risk in limiting the one's concept of self-directed learning to the self-paced study. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, many high-tech companies have shifted much of their training to self-study. Too often, they tried to use the self-study even when it was inappropriate. The most significant misuse of self-study was the attempt to replace the group study and interpersonal skills development workshops with a self-paced instruction. In some cases, employees revolted demanding the classroom instruction. Often, the resistance was more passive. Students simply flipped through self-study booklets scanning the answer pages without making any real efforts to learn. When hit with too many self-study packages, some simply ignore them. The packages remained unopened in their shrink-wrapped packaging. As a result, by 1987, the companies have experienced a major shift from self-study back to group study. Now, because of the high costs for travel, lodging, and centralized training facilities, the pendulum seems to be swinging back (Chevalier, 2007).

This is another emerging trend being a blurring in the separation of responsibilities between the human resources organization and the organization responsible for the staff training and development. It is not unusual to hear about major turf battles between these functions. Some companies are experimenting with merging the functions and dispersing the staff by moving them out of the central location and assigning them desks within the offices of key business functions. The underlying assumption is that these individuals will be more productive and accountable if they are physically close to the business functions they support. Regardless of which the organization holds the responsibility for developing employee interpersonal skills team building, telemarketing, the quality improvement, and the likeness, they are being asked to demonstrate actual business results to retain the staff and budget.

The decentralization of the staff development responsibility is the other emerging issue in business training. It is one thing to say employees should assume the responsibility for their own growth in knowledge and competence, quite another to make it happen. Staff managers still have the responsibility for the staff development, but the nature of that responsibility is shifting. The same is true for the training function. People who used to respond to training requests by delivering training are now expected to be proactive business consultants to functional managers. In turn, functional managers no longer merely delegate the responsibility for training. They are active participants in its planning, delivery, and evaluation. They are as responsible as the staff development functions for the success of the employees' development programs. Employees are empowered to select and direct their own development, and they are held personally responsible for the success. In some organizations, the success is measured in terms of the credential qualification.

Empowerment versus enablement is another emerging issue in training. It is one thing to empower people, quite another to enable them to exercise their own new found power. How can those who have previously served as the classroom instructors suddenly act to be expected to serve as consultants to functional managers? How can functional managers learn overnight to be the staff development counselors and performance evaluators? How can employees who have always been told to be expected to develop their own competency development? The new self-directed paradigm will not happen unless programs are put in place to enable the empowerment. Strategic plans must be backed up with clear efforts such as the ongoing communication and training. Suddenly, managers and staff members of the training function have become the students themselves. The two ones will have to be self-directed but will require the development support from the senior management (Lynton & Pareek, 2000).

Putting the changes together for the overall success becomes an emerging issue in all businesses. A change begets a change. Reengineering a business process often leads to the need to reengineer the staff development process. The evaluation of the staff development function must be based on business results. Self-paced learning can be a cost-effective substitute for the centralized and classroom instruction for some learning requirements, but not for all. The decentralization of the staff development function changes everyone's staff development role. Empowerment without enablement is a pure path to failure.

Considering the diversity of Brookside Company branches, distance learning would be the most appropriate method to train its employees. This will free the trainees from the time and location constraints. It also sustains the trainees' motivation and confidence in them. The company has to focus on training which will protect the trainees from mistakes which could damage either him or the company. Therefore, the company has to encourage its self-analysis and insight. This will eliminate the blame and discouragement. It will permit an individual evaluation and choice for learning. Therefore, it will lead to continuous and enthusiastically pursued personal development. This way every trainee will have a chance to acquire portable skills which will enrich his or her future. Concentrating on the individual trainee leads the management to focus more on reducing training costs and obtaining the results without the need for the expensive equipment or resources. Portable training, the development which enhances the individual and stays with him or her wherever they go, has the great advantages for organizations too. It gives the trainees confidence in handling a rapid technological and organizational change. It promotes interests in learning and enables the reputation of the organization's attraction for the talented people (Davies, 2001).

For the maximum performance and motivation, Brookside Company has to follow three important phases in the training process. These are pre-training, training and post-training. These steps can also be termed as a preparation, training and a follow-up. This is the secret behind the success of training employees in any business. The three phases equip the learners with all necessary information, motivation and confidence in handling their areas of expertise.

A pre-training phase starts with understanding the situation and requiring more effective behavior. The first step is delineating the task, and, concurrently, the small group of people to perform it. This is the primary task group. Included here are the people involved in the input and output functions and in the planning and managerial functions of keeping efforts together and focused. When the task has to be changed, the composition of this group or the division of work among its members may also change. Those who are to be trained have to reflect the new management of functions. To provide a sound guidance for training, the individuals need and the description of any one task must go beyond the technical specifications to include relational requirements.

An operational description is needed from each person's part. This covers the technical requirement. Additionally, it also covers the kinds and frequencies of the personal contact. The task requires a doer to cooperate with others, for example, colleagues, customers, spouse or children. Similarly, the doer should have the pressure on the job, such as relentlessly heavy responsibilities or indefinite training. Any wide variations in the quantity of work and time required to complete will also be useful. The second key aspect of the situation to be understood is the receptivity in the system to have the more effective behavior on the part of the people to be trained. These identifications raise motivations and relationships. They are personal to the potential participants and to others in the organization and their families. They will affect their inclination and ability to learn, thus, the likely effectiveness of training (Lynton & Pareek, 2000).

In the training phase, participants do not leave these preparatory questions behind when they go for training or a session, an evening course or a residential program. In the evening program, these questions will remain prominent since participants will be reminded of them by ongoing realities at work or home. Back home questions surface in any training as new impressions crowd in and provoke comparing to the new subject matters, new people, and new atmosphere with the old one. Attention will focus most readily on those new impressions in combination. This seems engaging, useful and stimulating. After exploring these impressions, the participants try to practice this new behavior. In case this new behavior is useful to them, they practice it again as they check its effectiveness and satisfaction, try it repeatedly, and fine-hone it for themselves. They integrate a new facet in their day to day behavior in the training situation (Chevalier, 2007).

In the post-training phase, participants once again give their full attention to real-life tasks, colleagues, and families. They return prepared with some anticipation of these encounters. Likewise, people at home entertain more or less definite expectations from them. If the training is off-site, these expectations may have changed or hardened in the meantime. When participants return, a process of adjustment begins for everyone involved. The newly learned skills are modified appropriately to fit in the business situation practically. The company starts to encourage participants to use the knowledge they have acquired in training to support others and for the success of the set goals. This will ultimately lead to the improvement of the task performance and a general increment in the productivity.