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A multinational corporation, Unilever works with foods, beverages, cleaning products, and personal care products. Its principal offices are located in Rotterdam, Holland, and London, United Kingdom. Global statistics place Unilever as the top consumer product manufacturer in the world. Margarine Unie of the Netherlands and Lever Brothers of Britain were combined to form it in 1930. Over the course of the 20th century, the corporation significantly expanded its product lines and diversified its productions. The company recently started making health and beauty items, but they haven't sold well. Unilever is one such company which has the most excellent human resource management policies (Lingard, 2006). It conducts excellent recruitment and training procedures for the staff to ensure a competitive delivery and performance. It incorporates amicable training methods as well as effective assessment techniques to test and evaluate the staff competence. These training methods are realized through the administration of mentorship and leadership programs whose core intention is to enhance employees’ talent development and competence.
Training and Development (Human Resource Management)
The Unilever Global Company
Effective human resource management is a very key determinant of an organization’s performance and value addition. It can be referred to the company pillar because that is where recruitment of employees takes place. Training and development is part of the employees’ development process after the recruitment process. The main goal of training and development is to ensure that the employees do not remain dormant or rather fixed to a single task skill. It ensures that every employee has a taste of the organizations’ operations and be in a position to execute duties at diverse positions within the same organization. Training and development enhance acquisition of extra skills, motivation, and competence of employees that help them remain relevant to the organization. Unilever Company is one such organization that has exemplary training and development procedures.
Identification of training needs
This is the process where the organization analyzes some measures to identify any need to train its employees. Unilever employs a number of parameters that give an insight into the need to conduct training and development. The first one is the exploration of the overall organization performance (Lingard, 2006). In this case, Unilever takes into account the performance of each section, examining lacking aspects, and establishing whether the performance is below the set standards and goals. The goals can be defined by the company location. This step helps the organization to lay more emphasis on the low performing sections and at the same time working on the best performing. Training is needed in this to ensure balance in all the company departments and sections. The second means is by doing a comparison with other organizations. Unilever has a wide range of stiff competitors some local and others global. The most prominent are Nestle, Procter, and Gamble. It then has to look and evaluate what the competitors do differently from what Unilever does. The company examines the employees' technology, policies, and strategies and do a comparison. This might lead to adopting new technology, change of strategies, product modification and training update. The third training need identification is the performance of individual assessments (Wilson, 2005). This is where the company unit takes into consideration sole employees like production engineers, sales managers, finance officers among others and then examine their individual performance basing on the company set goals and standards. Those who are found low in performance are subjected to training to boost their capability.
Unilever employs the following training methods;
• On-the-Job training
In this method, employees are given an opportunity to go through manuals that have knowledge concerning a particular operation. There is also the use of job descriptions for both new and old employees which acts to remind all the staff of policies and procedures of every job. This method has been found more effective because it is more interactive and it allows employees to learn hands-on (Pollock, Wick & Jefferson, 2015).
• Technology-Based training
This makes use of the technology. Unilever has an intranet training program called eLearning. This platform is used for enabling staff to read and learn about particular topics and then finally answer some questions concerning the topic of study. The scores are used to identify the employees’ mastery of the company products, operations as well as policies and procedures.
This is the second most used training method after the technology-based training. In this method, the organization has a specialized human resource training personnel that guide the trainees through a series of coaching activities. It is more to the On-Job training only that coaching involves a lot of listening than reading. Here, trainees have a chance to interact and ask questions. Coaching is done almost every month in Unilever companies.
Internal and external training resources
Internal training resources are basically the inputs that the company owns that facilitate training of staff. Unilever makes use of the company’s HR section, leadership experts, and specialized training personnel as the internal training resources. It is sometimes termed as an informal training process because the staff is used to give information to trainees concerning products and operations. However, internal training has been found more economical since the company makes use of its available resources without hiring from outside.
External training resources available include outsourced training personnel and sending employees out of an office to attend training programs (Pollock, Wick & Jefferson, 2015). These are sometimes associated with travel costs, hiring costs which makes the method too expensive as compared to internal resources. The advantage of using external resources is that it provides the trainees with new ideas and skills that are not available within the organization.
Types of training programs
There are a number of training programs utilized in Unilever to enhance employee training and development;
Orientation is the most common training program used by many companies. It is usually done to introduce new staff to the organization structure and operations. Orientation is also used when the company has introduced a new line of products. Orientation covers areas such as:
Organization mission, vision and core values
Administrative parameters such as email setups, computer log in etc.
• Leadership training program
Unilever has a Future Leaders Program (FLP) which performs mentorship and training of employees on leadership skills. It is mainly involved in inculcating leadership and managerial skills to its employees. The organization also has a program called UL2020 which deals with teaching innovation and leadership skills to ensure that its employees remain relevant in handling future 2020 challenges.
• Soft skills development
Soft skills are essential in the growth of employee and the company. These are skills which ensure a harmonious interaction of employees among themselves within the working stations. Soft skills training is available for both existing and new employees. They include:
Measurement of training effectiveness
There are three main methods of measuring how effective a training program is.
• Skills Assessment
This is the first method of evaluation training effectiveness where skills of employees have evaluated prior the training session and then retested again after the training (Wilson, 2005).The scores before and after training are compared and a conclusion is made as to whether the training is adding any value to the trainees or not. The assessment can be done by use of questions and examinations. It can also involve interviews.
• Social ownership
In this method, employees are now allowed to implement their learnings in the real-life. They are given an opportunity to apply what they have learned in the organization under supervision. The trainees are also allowed to pass the knowledge to the other employees. How effective the trainees apply or implement the skills is a measure of how effective the training is.
• Course Evaluation
It is an evaluation which involves asking the trainees to give feedback on how the training was conducted. It can be done using questionnaires and surveys. Employees are allowed to write what they have learned and also give their own opinions on how the training was. This is a very important tool as it provides the HR training team with an overview of the training performance.
Value of training and development
Training and development adds the following values to Unilever Company;
• Enhanced productivity: Training and development improve the performance of employees by impacting in new skills and ideas. Therefore, employees are in a position to remain relevant to the changes which come with market and technology. Properly trained employees ensure a reduction in wastage, increased quality, and quantity and high-profit turnover of the organization.
• Reduced supervision: Well-trained employees are able to execute their duties without much supervision and guidance. The employee is in a position to act independently.
• Minimized errors and accidents: Occurrence or errors and accidents in an organization is due to lack of skills and knowledge concerning a particular parameter. Training ensures that employees gain the necessary knowledge and this reduces the risk or making errors and accidents.
• Creation of a talent pool: Training of employees brings together a collection of effective and talented employees. This ensures that the company’s human resource remains robust and effective in the case of employee transfer or resigning. It ensures that there is no gap created in the event that somebody is out of the organization.
• Ensuring job satisfaction: Training and development give employees courage and self-esteem, the ability to enjoy and feel satisfied with what they do. The feel a sense a belonging to the organization and they strive to perform better.
How training and development influences the Organization’s ability to attract and retain talents
Organizations are now finding it hard to obtain and retain talented and skilled human resource. This depends on a number of factors first of all being the organization environment in the sense that a convenient environment will always ensure the growth of employees. It will also depend on how the organization value training and development. If it takes it as a waste of a time then maintaining and attracting talents will be impossible. There are a number of strategies that ensure that an organization attracts and retains talents
• Conducting informal training: Employees are not always happy when training through formal procedures. It makes them feel fixed and lacking freedom. Most of the training done by Unilever are informal, whereby the employees are allowed to interact, share ideas and learn from each other. This has greatly enhanced employee motivation and rarely do employees leave the company out of bad faith.
• Provision of room for growth: Skilled candidates will most probably be attracted to organizations where they will find motivation and opportunity to grow. Candidates will find it hard to leave a company where they are being encouraged to grow and climb the ladder to higher positions.
• Getting rid of high entry expectations: There is the need for companies to reduce the behavior of valuing experience overtraining. Entry level experience is not a leading factor in Unilever since training is available to grow those candidates with skills and ideas.
Training and development is key to having a good human resource management in an organization. Employees are the driving forces of the organization and their performance is a reflection of the organization performance. Therefore, training employees are adding value to the organization (Pollock, Wick & Jefferson, 2015). Majority of global and best-performing companies like Unilever have invested more in training and development of their staff. The current global state of job market requires candidates who have a number of skills and who can best perform in diverse fields and positions. Organizations should major more in training and development than recruitment of new employees. They should provide a conducive environment where their staff can learn new things and grow.
Lingard, T. (2006). Creating a corporate responsibility culture: The approach of Unilever UK. In
Corporate Social Responsibility (pp. 217-230). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Pollock, R. V., Wick, C. W., & Jefferson, A. (2015). The six disciplines of breakthrough
learning: How to turn training and development into business results. John Wiley &
Wilson, J. P. (Ed.). (2005). Human resource development: learning & training for individuals &
organizations. Kogan Page Publishers.
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