HRM420 all weeks discussions l-September 2016

week 1

Core Competencies (graded)

Core competencies are important to training and development teams in human resource management groups. Review the lecture this week and the information about Fermilab, the governmental body that is discussed there. There are seven core competencies listed in the lecture and on the Fermilab website. Let’s talk about core competencies and ways of determining them for your company. To start, either discuss the Fermilab core competencies and what you think they mean to employees and employers or review the mission statement of a company where you work or one you have researched online, and provide your thoughts on some of the core competencies that you would expect to find in that company.

ADDIE and Training (graded)

ADDIE training is discussed in the lecture and will be utilized throughout the course to help you organize your thoughts about training. Let’s talk about ADDIE and also about training you may have taken part in at your current work, previous work, or even at school. To start, here are three questions (pick either 1 and 3, or 2 and 3, and then respond to a classmate’s post as well):

  1. Think about and describe briefly one of the best training sessions you have been involved with in the past or currently. What made it good? Did you find it improved your ability to do your job?
  2. Think about and describe briefly one of the worst training sessions you have been involved with in the past or currently. What made it so bad? Did you find it did nothing to assist you with your job? Or if it did assist you, why didn’t you to think it was good training?
  3. How did the trainer’s personality impact your answer to No. 1 or 2 above?

Your instructor will provide further direction on this as we move through the week.




week 2


SWOT Analysis (graded)

Review the lecture discussing SWOT analysis before attempting to post to the thread. Then, please review the 10-K and/or current event information about a publicly traded organization. The Assignments page gives a link to the McDonald’s 10-K for 2012, but to find a 10-K, simply use the search engine of your choice, and in the query box, type in the name of the publicly traded company and 10-K. Review the first few sections of the 10-K and consider the statements there. Using the SWOT analysis format, create a mini-SWOT analysis based on the company’s 10-K and post here. Your SWOT should be posted by Wednesday. Then respond to at least two of your classmates’ SWOTs with at least two ideas on training needs that you think may exist based on your classmates’ SWOT analysis. Respond back to anyone who posts to your SWOT. Your instructor will participate as well and may have more questions. Your post should include the following.

  1. The name and ticker symbol of your company
  2. The link where you found the 10-K (use the most recent one for your company available)
  3. Information for your analysis organized under these headings (about three to four bullets each)


Needs Assessment (graded)

Review this article.
Lucier, K. H. (2008). A consultative training program: Collateral effect of a needs assessment. Communication Education. 57(4), 482–489. doi:10.1080/03634520802094305 (Academic Search Complete database)
Instructions on how to locate this article are on the Assignments page.

In your initial post, answer these questions based on your opinion of the actions of Lucier in the article, and utilize at least one concept from Chapter 3 of the textbook in analyzing the method Lucier used for needs assessment at the bank.

  1. What was the initial reason that Lucier was called in to consult with the bank’s employees and manager? Do you feel this is in line with a traditional style of conducting a training needs assessment? Why or why not? (Opinions on this will vary; include at least one statement by Noe in your answer to support your opinion.)
  2. Explain one needs assessment method that Lucier used to conduct her needs assessment. State how she did this, and whether you feel this was an appropriate or inappropriate method considering the job she was asked to do for the project. If appropriate, why do you think that way? If inappropriate, which method would you have tried and why?

Throughout the week, your instructor will ask you more questions about needs assessment. Respond to your classmates’ original posts as well with thoughtful follow-up questions to their considerations.

week 3

Adult Learning Styles (graded)

Your textbook briefly discusses the work of Malcolm Knowles and David Kolb on adult learning theories. Using Internet research or our library, find an article (not Wikipedia) about one or the other’s theories (or both), and read the article. Explain in a one- to two-paragraph post something interesting you learned about how adults learn differently than children and how you would apply this knowledge to a training decision, method, or design. Cite your source please. Then reply to a classmate’s post with a question or feedback about how you think you would learn better because of the information that student brought to the thread. Throughout the week, your professor will ask further questions about how adult learning styles will impact your training designs and method selections. Come back frequently and join in the discussions.


SMART Training Goals and Objectives (graded)

Assume you are a manager in the HR department of McDonald’s. Review the SWOT analysis that was performed in the Week 2 Lecture. Utilizing that SWOT and the information about McDonald’s you are aware of from your own experiences eating there, determine a training need for McDonald’s that you think would improve its bottom line. For your first post (by Wednesday), identify the need for training you have identified, and write one training objective for that training need. Write the objective in the manner that is used in the lecture (using the three parts).

Then reply to at least one classmate’s learning objective with a SMART goal analysis. Analyze how you could take that training objective and make it SMART for future evaluation. Title your post with SMART analysis so your classmates and instructor know that is what you are doing. If you get confused, your professor or classmates will help.

Respond to one SMART reply of a classmate by creating the SMART goal. Return often and debate this with your classmates. Further respond, if you can, to questions your professor will ask about further thoughts or clarifications about your posts or your classmates’ posts. Title your post with SMART goal to differentiate this from the analysis. You don’t have to use the same student who you did the analysis on, but you can. Help out your classmates.

This thread will prepare you for the homework this week. Immerse yourself, and have fun!





Week 4



Costs and Benefits of Training (graded)

In this thread, we are going to only look at the costs and benefits of different types of training. We will start with one sample training need, and your professor will bring in one or two more during the week, depending on how quickly the class moves through the material. As a group, let’s compile all of the costs and benefits we can think of for each training event or process. Then, as a team, we’ll come up with a cost-benefit analysis or return on investment proposal for each training event. Assumptions of dollar figures will have to be made.

Training Event 1: You are the library director of a large public law school’s library. Over 300 students use the library on any given week, and you also service local attorneys (who pay a monthly fee of $45 for the right to use the library). The library fee for students is set by the school’s board of directors, and it is $450 per student per year. The school has 900 students (about 350 first-year, 300 second-year, and 250 third-year students). There are 250 local attorneys currently paying library fees, but a market of 8,000 lawyers exist in the area who are potential future customers.

A new service is being rolled out to lawyers and law students called BriefLaw. This service is a brief database of all appellate court cases and briefs that have been used in all appellate courts throughout the country. Access to the database is in pilot form and is only available through select law schools. This is a government service. Only one law school per state will have access to BriefLaw for the first year, and then it will slowly roll out to other schools and eventually onto WestLaw and Lexis (planned for about 3 years from now if things go well.)

Training for librarians on how to use the service will cost about $1,250 per librarian for the class itself. Travel from the university to the training location in Washington D.C. will cost about $2,500 per librarian, including airfare, food, hotels, and other travel costs. Training will last 1 week (5 days) and is only offered once. You are trying to determine all of the costs of the training, as well as the return on investment. The library is supported by the law school but also has to pay for many of its own expenses through income from book fines and student and attorney fees. You estimate that next year’s budget will be about 25% from your income, and you are hoping this new service will entice more attorneys to sign up for the service. You are considering a bifurcated fee where attorneys who want just the library services continue to pay $45 per month but those who want both services will pay $75 per month.

From what you can tell, the training for using BriefLaw has a steep learning curve. It is really complicated to set a proper query to get briefs to pull up on topics. The technology itself has many steps. It is likely you are going to have to devote at least two full-time librarians to training students and attorneys on how to use BriefLaw, as well as helping them with the service.

You have 15 full-time librarians on staff, 22 part-time librarians, and 20 student assistants. Discuss in your first post, or respond to a classmate, about the following.

  1. The costs of training, both explicit and implicit
  2. The benefits of training, both explicit and implicit
  3. The opportunity potential of doing this training
  4. The opportunity costs of not doing this training

Your instructor will bring in more questions throughout the week.





Employee Development (graded)

Download the individual development plan template from Doc Sharing and begin thinking about how you would fill it out if you were going to submit it to your boss at work, your boss at your last job, or your boss at a job you would like to have in the future. Start filling it out, because it will help you start thinking about why employees fill these out and how complicated it might be to have a discussion with an employee about this form.

For your first post, think about three things that an employee would need to have available to him or her in order to complete the IDP. These could be information about self, about future jobs, and so forth. Think about some questions you would want to ask your supervisor before having to submit a completed IDP form. Also think about some concerns you would have about putting information down on this form.

In your first post, provide information about the following.

  1. Which section of the form do you feel you would need more information about to fill it in? What information do you need?
  2. What are your two top questions you want to ask your supervisor before filling out this form?
  3. What are your two top concerns you have about filling out this form?

For your second post, reply to one classmate with a very brief e-mail providing him or her with answers to his or her questions and providing reasons why he or she should not be concerned about filling out the form. Assume you are your classmate’s supervisor. (For organizational purposes, pick the person who posted directly above you to reply to. If you are first, you get to reply to anyone.)

Your instructor will have more questions for you throughout the week.




Week 5

Traditional Training Methods (graded)

Traditional learning methods include lectures, hands-on, on-the-job training, self-directed learning, apprenticeship, case studies, business games, role plays, behavior modeling, group building, cross and team training, and so forth. Your textbook covers these methods in detail in Chapter 7. For your first post, please consider some kind of training you have taken that falls into one of the types discussed in Chapter 7 (not Chapter 8, which comes in the other discussion).

Briefly describe the training and explain the method that was used. If you knew what the learning outcomes were for the training, provide those. If not, come up with one or two that you felt were probably the learning outcomes and provide them. Explain whether the training did or didn’t meet the learning outcomes. In other words, did you learn what it seemed like you were supposed to learn from the training? Did you feel this method of training worked for the training you were involved in? Your professor will follow up with more questions.

Please feel free to ask your classmates questions about their training as well. (If you have never had training at work, talk about some other kind of training you have had—sports related, the arts, etc.). Be sure not to use a technology-based training in this thread, because that is what we will discuss in the other thread. Only discuss traditional training, such as is covered in Chapter 7.


Technology-Based Training Methods (graded)

Taking the topic you discussed in the other thread to start, explain how you would morph the traditional training you described, taking into account a technology-based training. Describe what technology method you would consider using as an alternative way to deliver the training you took and discussed in the other thread (perhaps this would be some hybrid of traditional and technology).

Do you feel that your new technology-styled training would have worked better or worse than the traditional training you took? Why? Do you think it would have been more or less cost effective to do the training in that way? Name at least one principle you would follow to create a positive technical learning experience in this technical training, and reply to your classmates’ ideas with other positive learning experiences that could occur in their trainings. Your professor will bring in more questions throughout the week. Return often!

Week 6

Kirkpatrick’s Levels and Transfer of Training (graded)

Review the information in Table 6.1, page 239. This shows the correlation between Kirkpatrick’s framework for training outcomes and how they can be measured. In the second discussion this week, we will discuss specific instruments you may use for measuring training. In this thread, we will talk about evaluation itself: the why, where, how, when, and so forth.

To begin, please provide a synopsis of the Kirkpatrick theory for categorizing training outcomes and how the different levels of evaluation are measured and ultimately used. How does Kirkpatrick’s theory help us to know whether our training created transfer of training? In your answer give your view of what transfer of training is. Examples to assist our understanding of your post are appropriate. Be sure to read the textbook and lecture to assist you with this. Do not simply copy and paste; this should be a synthesis of what you learned or understand from your readings. Your instructor will bring in follow-up questions to move this forward through the week.


Instruments of Evaluation (graded)

Instruments of evaluation are used at all of the levels of Kirkpatrick’s (and Phillips’s) framework of evaluating outcomes. These instruments come in many forms but include questionnaires, interviews, monitoring with checklists, surveys, tests, benchmarking, and scorecards. Return on investment measurements are the fifth level of evaluation, and we have already discussed those.

This week, we will look at different instruments, discuss which level of evaluation they pertain to, and also discuss evaluation practices and designs. To start, let’s look back at last week’s training in the lecture on the decision tree tutorial. If you were going to design an evaluation method for that training, what method would you use? Include in your answer (a) the level of Kirkpatrick’s framework you would utilize and why (but not ROI), (b) which evaluation design type you would use and why (i.e., posttest, pre- or posttest, prepost with comparison, Solomon four-group, time series.), and (c) what instrument or instruments you would use.

Your instructor will return with other questions.





Week 7




Employee Development, Improvement, and Gaps (graded)

Let’s consider the company of ABCs & 123s, Inc., a manufacturer learning toys for elementary schools. Angel and Bob work for Ms. Missy in the human resource IT department. Angel and Bob have worked in the department for 15 years each and were part of the company’s original HRIS department. Angel was the supervisor and Bob her one employee until last year. Last year, as part of a revamping of HR, the department was placed under Group Vice President of HR Services, Martin Shorter, and Angel was demoted to HR specialist, from manager. This demotion was a result of a new company requirement that all HR employees at manager level and higher must have either a PHR, SPHR, or GPHR designation (or California equivalent). Angel did not have this designation, and refused to sit for the exam, and thus, Ms. Missy was hired as the new manager of the team. Martin Shorter has all HR departments under him; Ms. Missy’s team is his smallest team of employees.

Ms. Missy’s team is in charge of just one thing: an in-house created benchmarking, metrics, scorecard, and performance and talent management IT product called “HR By The Numbers” (or HRBTN as it’s known in HR circles). All other HRIS is handled by outside vendors, including but not limited to benefits, disability issues, and payroll. Along with being used by ABCs & 123s, Inc., HRBTN is vendor-serviced out to other organizations, and it has won two awards for innovation in the last few years. This product has actually turned the entire HR Department from an expense side of the company, into a significant income producing portion of the company (which justified the creation of the group vice president position.) Martin believes that HRBTN is whyABCs & 123s, doing so well in the industry—because they are able to quickly and efficiently pinpoint the highest producing employees, products, as well as the problem areas, which allows the company to quickly ramp up or lower support for each area. Productivity of the company has increased 85% since the invention of HRBTN.

Angel and Bob invented HRBTN together and are responsible for debugging and updates to clients and to the company. Both have significant IT certifications, are degreed computer programmers, and highly efficient workers. Neither have HR backgrounds, except that today, they are both considered as HR metrics seminal engineering experts, as their product can be tailored to each company’s benchmarking needs in a highly unique and patented way (the company owns the patent). Martin Shorter is old-school HR and received his SPHR designation in 1982, before education or experience requirements were standard process. He is a very hands-off department leader, with a golf handicap of two. Until now, this has worked well for Martin.

Ms. Missy recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business, with an HRM concentration. She has worked in the HR field for five years and took and passed the PHR exam three months before being hired to manage this team. She has no computer programming experience, but she did own her own consulting firm for two years, and utilized QuickBooks to run her business, so she feels she has enough computer software experience to understand the ramifications of her department employees’ needs. When Martin hired her, he said, “Look, this department runs itself. Just let it do so, and keep things flowing smoothly.”

Since Angel’s demotion, problems have arisen. The updates to the vendor serviced accounts have been requiring two-to-three attempts to push and download on their customers’ side. Further, bugs in the updates have caused two of their customers’ systems to require extensive network analysis and repairs. Last year, Bob decided to allow the bugs in their customers’ systems to create metrics for solutions, and he decided (once Angel was no longer his supervisor) to start using the learning from those problems to impact when and how he did updates to ABCs & 123s, Inc. in-house systems. In the past, the company handled updates and changes in the opposite way—testing them in their own company first, cleaning up bugs, and then pushing them out to the customers.

Angel would never have approved the change in process, but because Ms. Missy was new, and didn’t understand the ramifications or technical jargon Bob used when explaining this, she approved the change. Angel immediately realized what was going to happen but, still stinging from her demotion, Angel said nothing.

In the past few weeks, the customer complaints from HRBTN have created havoc in the company. Because this product is an outlier to the core business, there are no systems in place to handle such complaints (which is the main reason Angel had used the company as the update guinea pig, instead of the clients.) Ms. Missy is trying to handle the complaints on her own, as they are being pushed to her from Martin. Because Ms. Missy took over sales from Angel when she was hired, and her time is being spent dealing with complaints, sales of HRBTN are down for the first time since it was invented. Martin is at a loss because in the past, the company handled bugs beforethe customers got the updates (he doesn’t know of the process change.)

Bob explains (deceptively) to Ms. Missy that the problem stems from companies who have upgraded to Windows 8. Angel sits on the sidelines silently, knowing that has nothing to do with the problem. Ms. Missy tells Martin the problem is Windows 8, not her team, and Martin (who had to give up this week’s golf game as a result of this issue) sets up a meeting with the customers to discuss them moving back to Windows 7 until this can be resolved. At the meeting, he finds out that none of the customers with the problem are using Windows 8, and Ms. Missy can’t assist as she sits dumbfounded and silent. After the meeting, Ms. Missy meets with Martin and says, “I am starting to think Angel is sabotaging the work in this department. All she does is sit around, code, and cry. I have had it with her. I need you to talk to her. I think Bob is helping her because they are mad I am the new supervisor.”

Before doing anything, Martin pulls out the performance appraisals on Angel and Bob, which just occurred two months ago. Bob’s performance metrics for this year were based on the company’s slowdowns from bugs, not customers’ complaints, so within the first year of Ms. Missy’s arrival, Bob’s performance numbers skyrocketed. Angel’s new performance metrics were simply based on her coding speed, so her last performance review was “exceeds expectations” although due to her demotion, she did not get a raise (but she also didn’t get a pay cut.) Ms. Missy also earned “exceeds” because of the income level of the department as well as a sign-on bonus of $2,500 when she joined the company, and 5% raise after her first year.

Martin calls Angel into his office privately, and she spills the beans on the entire problem while crying. She then quits and says, “I used to wake up andrun to work every day. Since my demotion, I can’t stop crying. I can’t work here anymore,” and she runs out of the room, gets her things from her desk, and leaves.

Think about what you have learned this term about needs assessment, gap analysis, person analysis, training and development, mentoring, coaching, PIPS, and the IDP processes. Write a very short analysis of some short- and long-term root causes of this problem. Feel free to use a SWOT to assist you in this task. Pick only one or two focus points for your first post, and then as a class, we will work through some learning concepts from this scenario. In the event you feel that anyone in this scenario would be benefited by training or a PIP, you can use that as a second post and create that plan. Finally, we will talk about solutions together during the week.

Who wants to start?





Review for Final Exam (graded)

This term, we have covered eight Terminal Course Objectives and focused on learning concepts for each objective in your discussions, homework, papers, and projects. Here are those eight learning objectives.

  1. Given that human capital’s capabilities drive organizational success, identify core competencies in the organization, and examine methods to train and develop employees towards those core competencies.
  2. Given that training and development must align with the strategic goals of an organization, assess the organization’s training needs by creating a gap analysis using current HRM approved methods, including needs assessment, task analysis, SWOT analysis, and environmental scanning.
  3. Given the need to create assessment metrics for training adult learners, select SMART goals for training, and construct training objectives to align with the goals which conform to current adult learning (andragogy) theories.
  4. Given the economic reality that training return on investment will be a significant measure of training effectiveness, assess the financial costs and benefits of training activities, establish or work within a training budget, and evaluate the benefit of training through established ROI measurement methods.
  5. Given that HR trainers will need to understand how to create valid training plans and modules, describe experiential learning, identify learning methods and activities, and select and/or design the appropriate training activities.
  6. Given the importance of transfer of training, use valid and reliable evaluation methods to assess transfer of training.
  7. Given that employee development and employee training have both similar and different qualities, differentiate between the two HR functions and create a plan for employee development which includes employee training, career planning, and individual development planning.
  8. Given that ADDIE-based training and development should address contemporary issues relevant to all employees, incorporate timely themes into training and development programs, included but not limited to the prevention of sexual and racial harassment, diversity, legal issues as they arise, wellness, safety, customer service, management, leadership, and team skills.

For your first post, select one of the above Terminal Course Objectives, and apply the learning you have received about that objective to a workplace concern or problem that you have experienced at some time in your working life (or the work history of a friend or family member.) How has your learning from that TCO changed (a) your reaction to a workplace event, (b) your understanding of why something was done that way at work, or (c) your desire to do something differently at work? Explain the concern or problem, which TCO you are discussing, how it applies, and your analysis of either (a), (b), or (c) above. Respond to your classmates. Let’s try to cover all of the TCOs this week to assist with reviewing for the Final Exam! Your professor will assist.