This study investigates the influences of training and development on employee performance at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG). It comes in the context of the increasing recognition of training and development as an important means of nurturing quality human resource for employee performance in organizations. Situated within the qualitative research paradigm, the study employed the case study approach to detail the training arrangements, and processes at CRIG and how they influence the overall performance of employees towards the achievement of organizational goals. Primary data was sourced through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, with respondents purposively selected from the study population. The study revealed that there is an appreciable level of recognition of the importance of training and development for the performance of employees and therefore some organizational commitment by the CRIG towards T&D. T&D was found to influence the performance of CRIG employees in terms of enhanced skills and knowledge on the job, self-confidence and job satisfaction. The study also found inadequacy of financial resources, non-involvement of workers in designing and planning programs as some of the main challenges inhibiting effectiveness of training programs at CRIG. Against this background, the study recommends proper training needs assessment to be conducted in CRIG. In addition, planning and design of training and development programs must involve workers and line supervisors.
The importance of employee performance for the realization of organizational goals has long been recognized by both public administration and human resource scholars and practitioners (Yahya & Tan, 2015). With the advent of the New Public Management (NPM) however, more impetus has been given to the need to maximize the performance of employees, particularly in the public sector, which is generally known to be characterized by low productivity and poor performance (Farazmand, 2004; Dan & Pollitt, 2015). But getting employees to perform at optimum levels do not come per chance; it is consciously engineered through specific strategies, with training and development occupying center stage (Kimani, 2017; Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Several studies on organizational productivity (Bhat & Rainayee 2017; Hammond & Churchill, 2018; Mathis & Jackson, 2010) have found T&D to be an important strategy by which employees are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to take on new responsibilities, adapt to changing conditions and perform their jobs effectively. Dhar (2015), captures the importance of training on employees and organizations in general when he notes that training “helps to improve quality, customer satisfaction, productivity, morale, management succession, business development and profitability” (pg. 13). In this regard, development of human resource through training is vital to enhance employee and overall organizational performance (Armstrong, 2000; Mathis & Jackson 2009). According to Karikari & Boateng (2015), T&D helps to sharpen employee knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) for better performance.
Viewed this way, staff T&D is based on the premise that employees knowledge and skills need to be improved so they can contribute effectively towards the achievement of organizational goals. This view is reinforced by Bhat & Rainayee (2017), who opine that organizations need training programs to update and improve employees’ knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) demanded by the job to perform effectively on their job. These go to show that training is also known to improve staff productivity and widens their career choices and opportunities.
Given the importance of T&D to employees, it becomes imperative to train and develop the human resources of the organization to meet both—the organizational goals as well as individual objectives. Bratton & Gold (2017), indicate that one way of looking at training is to visualize it as a subsystem that acquaints employees with the material and the technology since growth and change are inherent in an organization. In contemporary times, when competition between organizations have become more intense as a result of globalization, T&D of employees is even more pertinent to enable them keep up with the pace of advancement in technology as well as other scientific and social developments (Farazmand 2004; Hammond & Churchill, 2018).
Statement of the Problem
While training is generally acknowledged to be crucial for employees to develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes, there are several challenges that tend to hinder their realization in organizations (Konings et al., 2009). Flynn et al. (2015), indicate that T&D strategies are sometimes not tailored to fit specific needs of employees, and therefore become irrelevant to them. They suggest that, for training to be effective, it needs to follow a systematic plan and be correctly implemented following all the steps of the process:
previous analysis of training needs, development and implementation of an adequate training plan and evaluation. Other scholars have also found the lack of training expertise and support from management as other challenges.
In developing countries like Ghana, the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness characterizing public sector organizations has been linked with inadequate training and development (Karikari & Boateng, 2015; Ohemeng & Ayee, 2016). Beyond this, managers have been found to relinquish training largely due to its associated costs. Singh & Mohanty (2012, pg.
88) observe that “although managers generally accept training as an important means to improve employee productivity leading to organizational productivity and effectiveness, they usually face this challenge with cost control including training practices expenditure. Therefore, in most companies, there is hardly any training evaluation and even when it is done, it tends to be casual with no impact on performance or productivity in the end (Singh & Mohanty, 2012).
Also, a look at the literature on T&D in Ghana reveals that scholars have tended to focus on mainstream public sector institutions particularly government ministries (Agyeman & Ofei 2013; Brown, 2017). So far, not much work has been done to examine the impact of T&D in other departments and research institutions like Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG). This study therefore investigates the T&D processes at CRIG to assess how they influence employee performance. As an organization mandated to investigate diseases and pests affecting cocoa production in Ghana, research is at the core of its mandate and that makes T&D crucial. Also, given the scientific and technical nature of their jobs, it is imperative for employees of the institute to be trained and developed on a regular basis to keep them updated on developments within the scientific community. A study into how
T&D influences the performance of employees of CRIG will not only contribute additional evidence on existing knowledge but also bring to the fore some of the peculiar challenges of training and development in research institutions.
Objectives of the study
This study explores the extent to which training and development influences productivity of workers of CRIG. To achieve this broad objective, the following specific objectives will be pursued.
- To identify the training and development programs for employees at CRIG
- To investigate how training and development influences the performance of employees of CRIG
- To examine the challenges of effective training and development at CRIG
- To offer recommendations for improving training and development at CRIG for increased performance among employees.
In order to achieve the above objectives, the study will be driven by the following questions.
- What training and development programs exist for employees at CRIG?
- To what extent does training and development influence the performance of CRIG employees?
- What are the challenges of training and development at CRIG?
- How can training and development programmes be improved to enhance employee performance at CRIG?
Significance of the study
The study is relevant in three ways: literature, practice and policy. In regards to literature, the study contributes additional empirical evidence to existing knowledge on T&D and its influences on employee performance from the Ghanaian context.
By way of policy, the study will inform the adoption and implementation of sound T&D policies in Ghanaian public organizations. It provides policy makers with information on the adoption and implementation of sound T&D needs. The study highlights the need for T&D in organizations and provides a basis for the formulation of effective policies in Ghana.
In terms of practice, the study brings to the fore some of the peculiar challenges of T&D at CRIG and other research institutions. On the basis of these challenges, the study offers recommendations for improving T&D for improved performance among employees at CRIG. The study therefore generates techniques of assisting managers incorporate best practices and guidelines for effective T&D programs in organizations.
This study is structured into five chapters. Chapter one offers a broad overview of the study, outlining what constitutes the research problem and objectives of the study. Chapter two is dedicated to a review of both the theoretical and empirical literature on training and development with a focus on the objectives, types and effects. The chapter also reviews relevant theories and models out of which an appropriate conceptual structure is developed to direct data collection and subsequent analysis. The third chapter covers the methodology used in conducting the study and it includes the research approach, the study design, and
procedures used in collecting and analysing the data for the study. Analysis and discussion of the study findings are carried out in chapter four with the closing chapter five embodying the summary, conclusions and recommendations.