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CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1:1 Background of the Study
Human capital can be regarded as the prime asset of an organization and businesses need to invest in that asset to ensure their survival and growth. The organization should ensure that, it obtains and retains skilled, committed and well-motivated workforce it needs. This means taking steps to assess and satisfy future people needs and to enhance and develop the inherent capacities of people- their contributions, potential and employability- by providing learning and continuous development opportunities.
Global competition has caused organizations to focus on every aspect of their operations, questioning how each function and process can contribute to strategic goals. Training departments are also under pressure to demonstrate their organizational value in the same terms Steed, (2000), this is because organizations spend a considerable time, effort and money in training their employees, but the benefits from these efforts are not clearly visible in organizations in terms of improved performance. To make training and development useful, it should be well planned and systematically implemented Rao and Nair, (1990). The capacity of staff in a firm influences the ability to achieve the desired targets particularly in performance driven enterprises. Human resource is recognized as a critical resource for success. In order to sustain performance of the organization, it is important to optimize the contribution of employees towards achievement of the aims and goals of an organization (Armstrong, 1999).
1.1.1 Training and Development
Armstrong, (2001) defines training as the formal and systematic modification of behavior through learning, which occurs as a result of education, instructions and development and planned experience. Training is the process of equipping the workforce with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude to tackle the job responsibilities. Staff development on the other hand is improvement of the employees‘ competences for future environmental demands and adaptability. Beardwell and Hidden (1994) consider training and development as a planned process to modify attitude, knowledge or skill behavior through learning experiences to achieve effective performance in an activity or range of activities. Corporations are offering a variety of training programs to meet their organizational needs. These include content on IT and systems, processes, procedures and business practices, industry-specific trainings, managerial or supervisory training, interpersonal skills, compliance, sales, executive development, basic skills, new employee orientation, customer service and quality. As Reynolds (2004) points out, training has a complementary role to play in accelerating learning. It should be reserved for situations that justify amore directed expected approach rather than viewing it as a comprehensive and all-pervasive people development solution. He also commented that the conventional training model has a tendency to emphasize subject –specific knowledge rather than trying to build core learning abilities.
Development is a long term education process utilizing a systematic and organized procedure by which managerial personnel learn conceptual and theoretical knowledge for general purpose. According to Campbell (1971) development implies an individual
growth and self-realization in a brand base. Cole (1990) suggests a broader view of knowledge and skills acquisition training. He suggests that he is more concerned with employee potential than immediate skills and views employees as adaptable resource aiming at personal growth and realization of potential of an employee. Armstrong (2001) indicates individual development is the progression by individuals in their career with guidance encouragement and help from the manager.
Training and Development improves the workforce competence in order to create a competitive advantage and contribute to organizational success. Training and development is also a means for employers to address the employees‘ needs. By offering the training and development opportunities employers help employees develop their own competitive advantage and ensure long term employability, Jackson (2008). Development implies it is an ongoing process and that progress is made over time and this fits also with the emphasis on long life learning.
1.1.2 Employee Performance
Holton (1995) defines performances a multi-dimensional construct, the measurement of which varies depending on variety of factors. Armstrong (2000) on the other hand indicates performance as both behavior and results and emphasizes that both behavior (input) and results (output) need to be considered when managing performance. Performance of an organization is the outcome of acrostic of individuals and units of the organization. Except for the external influences on individual behavior and personal traits, organizations can either influence or control all factors affecting performance of
individuals and units through formal and informal means. Greater influence of individuals can be exercised formally through communication; work culture and management style Kasturi (2006).
Employee performance involves all aspects which directly or indirectly affect and relate to the work of the employees. Performance means both behavior and results. Behavior emanates from the performer and transforms performance from abstraction to action. Not just the instruments for results, behaviors are also outcomes in their own right-the product of mental and physical effort applied to tasks-and can be judged apart from results Brumbranch (1998). Within high performance work systems, training will be aligned and integrated with actual work. Employees need training in group dynamics and interpersonal relations, and in systems thinking to understand better how all parts of their organization fit together and affect each other. Trainers play a key role in providing feedback on employees‘ performance and financial performance of their organization Steed (2000).
1.1.3 Safaricom Limited Call Centre
Safaricom customer services started in 2001, when safaricom was still a subsidiary of the Kenya postal and telecommunication company (Telkom Kenya). When safaricom became an independent subsidiary after the government sold 40% shareholding to Vodafone (UK), the customer service section was split into two: The customer care retail Centre and the call center for those customer who did not have a care center in their region due to distance, they could call in and get the same service. Shops have been
turned into revenue centre where they concentrate on sales as well as customer service. The total number of staff in retail shops has 850 while call centre has about 1400 staff, thus forming the largest number of all departments in the company.
The call centre is a centralized office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. The call centre is located at Sarin Park along Mombasa road and it adopts the name Jambo Contact Centre. The call centre is operated through an open workspace for call centre agents, with work stations that include a computer for each agent, a headset connected to a telecom switch and supervisor stations. The Jambo Contact Centre is divided into zones adopting animal names such as Twiga, Swara, Nyumbu, Tembo, simba, kifaru, chui and Nyati. Each of these zones is assigned a shift manager, line manager (team leader), support analysts, and call centre agents all charged with different assignments. There is the Quality Assessors team to oversee the quality of service delivered by each agent to our customers. From their assessment the training needs are identified and addressed by the team leaders. Each agent‘s performance is managed through this process, there are set objectives done half yearly and from these the performance levels are determined against the set key performance indices (KPIs), these are further used to determine the salary increase to be awarded, bonuses and in extreme cases dismissals.
The call centre is also equipped with other facilities to make the employees comfortable, these are: the gym, clinics that are run 24 hours with qualified staff and medical facilities, security personnel, entertainment, refreshments, a nursery for the children and a resource
centre. Jambo contact centre being far from the head office in westlands has been provided with representatives from the necessary departments to ensure flow of business; these are the IT staff and human resource business partners. Training rooms are available for any in-house training that is to be carried out.
1.2 Research Problem
Staff training and development is recognized as crucial element in the attainment of organizational goals and objectives. In order to sustain economic and effective performance, it‘s important to optimize the contribution of employees to the aims and goals of an organization Armstrong (1999). Training and development activities have implications for attempts to motivate and involve the workforce with an aim of improving performance. One of the primary objectives of human resource management is the creation of conditions whereby the latent potential of the employees will be realized and their commitment to the success of the organization secured. Chang (1994) points out that the scope of evaluating the training effort should explain how training contributes to the ‗big picture‘ as it is implemented to bring about improvement in job performance. The ultimate purpose of training is to help organizations achieve their performance results. Training activities have effect on relative competitiveness and economic performance, at both the aggregate level of the national economy or industrial sector, and at the level of individual enterprises Storey (1999).
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