Every organization needs to train their employees from time to time to keep them updated on the knowledge and skills needed for the job. Training is important and can be a big investment for the corporation. The first step in an effective employee training program is to identify the knowledge or skills the employees are missing or need to improve upon. This can be accomplished by performing a needs assessment at both individual and organizational levels. This process includes establishing an understanding of the current organizational status, as far as the employee skills are concerned, and at what level it should be in the future.
“A training needs analysis (TNA) is a systematic method for determining what caused performance to be less than expected or required. Performance improvement is the focus of training” (Blanchard & Thacker, 2007, p. 101). By performing a TNA, a company or organization can decide if training can improve performance issues. A TNA can be performed when a company or organization decides to change a policy or has concerns about a specific issue. A TNA also can be performed to help encourage and enhance team-building skills.
Team E has chosen Starbucks Corporation as the organization to perform a needs analysis that identifies training objectives and defines a measuring system that identifies those objectives’ effectiveness. The analysis will include an organizational analysis, a team analysis, and a task analysis.
Since the time Starbucks was founded in 1971, the company has undergone tremendous development that has not been attained by many global companies. However, for the sustainability of the development the company has had so far, there is a need to look at issues that have acted as hindrances in the development of the company (Bucks, 2009). These issues range from: organizational needs, conflict with host nations, dealing with hostilities and ensuring that the responses made by the customers are looked into.
Between 2001 and 2008, Starbucks had managerial problems that led to instability in the profits made. Between these times, two CEOs served the company (Gilbert, 2008). The first five years were under Orin Smith and the last three years the company was led by Jim Donald. During this time there was an unsteady rise and fall in business that was culminated by closure of 300 outlets in the United States of America (Bucks, 2009). However, between 2009 and 2012 when the management was given back to Howard Schultz, the company could get back on its feet. This poses a major threat on the future of the company. Bearing this in mind, Starbucks should be able to create a modernity that will ensure the continuity of business preempting post Howard era of the company (Bucks, 2009).
Starbucks closed its stores in Israel in 2008 because of operational difficulties. Some of the difficulties include the historic war between Israel and Palestine. Whereas Starbucks closed its stores, there are many companies both local and international that have still maintained their markets there. This calls on the ability of the company to deal with hostilities (Gilbert, 2008). There is no proof that the 62 countries where Starbucks has extended its markets will remain peaceful. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in America is one of experiences that caught the world by surprise. The attack revealed how prone any part of the world was to insecurity and thus the need for any company to be prepared for hostility occurrences.
The other area that Starbucks needs to improve on is how to deal with the feedback from customers and other external environment. A case in this respect is the outcry on the treatment of revenue gotten from Ethos water a company that Starbucks purchased in 2003 (Gilbert, 2008). In the branded bottles’ the company indicates that the sales made are aimed at ensuring that clean water is available to children. Critics have been raising the query why the brand is not yet charitable. In response, Starbucks argues that the statement on the bottle is aimed at creating awareness on need to use clean water (Bucks, 2009). This has raised even more criticism that is a risk to the market of both the Ethos brand and other products of Starbucks.
A team analysis might be necessary when an organization needs to hone in on or work on team-building skills. The goal of team-building is to train the team so that the team members work together in a unified and efficient manner. Team members may bring different knowledge, skills, and attitudes to the team. When team building is necessary, the members of the team should be trained together.
Starbuck’s associates are arranged into teams with each member possessing a different level of training or experience that gives him or her knowledge and skills relevant to his or her department. Not only is training necessary for knowledge of the products but also cognitive ability, skills for communication, and strategies for solving problems are also necessary for effective sales associate performance and satisfactory customer service. Because cognitive ability is crucial to sales an associate is that he or she needs to process information related to the variety of products offered by Starbucks. The three dimensions of cognitive ability are quantitative ability, verbal comprehension, and the ability to reason. Most of the customers who engage with customer service are not familiar with what they need and use of the variety of products. The development of training programs at Starbucks is centered on the team concept, and the focus remains primarily on the department in which the retail associate serves.
According to Blanchard and Thacker (2007), a task-oriented job analysis “identifies the various work activities (tasks) required to perform the job. After the tasks are identified, systematically examine these tasks to determine the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) necessary to perform them. Now you have justification for the KSAs and potential ideas for developing training” (p. 116).
When performing the task-oriented job analysis, one should determine the tasks, subtasks, and knowledge, and skills required to perform such tasks. Another important factor is to decide how significant the task is and the importance of an individual knowing how to accomplish the task at the time of employment. From the task-oriented analysis one can determine the expectations of a particular job and develop a training program to achieve the expected results.
According to Noe (2008), “Task analysis results in a description of work activities, including tasks performed by the employee and knowledge, skills, and abilities required to complete the task” (p. 110). If the employees lack the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the tasks expected, training is required. The key is to determine if the issue exists because of employee knowledge, skills, and abilities or is there another reason the issue is occurring.
In the Starbucks example, there is an issue with customer feedback and follow through. On the Starbucks website, Starbucks states “At Starbucks, we have always believed in the importance of building a great, enduring company that strikes a balance between profitability and a social conscience” (Starbucks, 2013, Being a Responsible Company). If customer feedback is not followed up in an acceptable manner, certainly this can cause problems for the company. Some training may be needed in the customer service department. The main task that would need to have training is following up in a professional, timely manner to customer feedback. When a company states in the profile or mission statement what their intent is, but do not follow this statement up with action, more training is necessary to keep up with the expectations of the company and the consumer.
The Starbucks Corporation is a great organization for both employees and customers to be involved with. The work environment at Starbucks is safe for the employees, and the many areas of training that are available help the employees learn new skills. The training classes are designed out of concern for the customers and the desire to increase the customer base and customer satisfaction.
Training is essential to employee performance and meeting company expectations. Performing a needs analysis will determine the source of the problem and what type of training is required to achieve the outcome the company expects. Once a determination is made, a training schedule should be developed that reflects the company’s mission and desired outcome. Training should be presented in a positive and encouraging manner. The bottom line is the company and the customers have expectations of the employees that can be achieved with proper training and education. A needs analysis can justify the cost and effort of training for employees and can establish a plan to train employees on an ongoing basis.
Once training has been completed, frequent follow-up is necessary to make sure the expected progress is taking place and continues to be followed. An important step is to make sure the trainee knows who to go to for follow up questions and assistance. After the training is implemented and the trainee appears to have learned the tasks, follow-up can taper off and be done on a less frequent basis.
Blanchard, P. N., & Thacker, J. W. (2007). Effective Training: Systems, Strategies, and Practices (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Bussing-Burks, M. (2009). Starbucks. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press.Gilbert, S., (2008). The story of Starbucks. New York: ICI
Gilbert, S. (2008). Built for Success: The Story of Starbucks. Mankato, MN: Creative Education.
Noe, R. A. (2008). Employee Training and Development (4th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
Starbucks Corporation. (2013). Starbucks company profile. Retrieved March 30, 2013, from http://globalassets.starbucks.com/assets/9a6616b98dc64271ac8c910fbee47884.pdf