The results obtained from the surveyed oil and gas companies provide a rich source of qualitative data and insights into the companies’ perspectives on training and development. This chapter contains recommendations of the T&D systems components, determinants and successful training & development approaches as they may apply to firms (??) in the Yemen oil industry. This chapter also presents the conclusions review and concludes with suggested recommendations for future research.
Conclusion & Implication:
In conclusion, it appears that oil & gas companies, as represented by Yemen, are found to be committed to training & developing their workforces. They are more or less implementing the training & development process along with modern T&D theory and practice. They have sufficient budgets allocated for their training & development activates and many are in the process of reassessing and systematically improving their approaches to advanced and long term skill and competency development. The great majority of companies recognizes that the skill levels of their employees are fundamental to the success of the business, and that they need to invest and develop these skills in the same way that they maintained improve their infrastructure.
While most companies are aware of the training & development functions and processes, they aren’t much familiar with many of the specific components’ details and structure of what constitutes a training & development system.
Although the companies aim to have a well-trained staff and are, in general terms, aware of the functions and process stages of training & development, they don’t attach great importance to systematic training and development structures and they aren’t aware of the specific components of the T&D system framework. For example, the organizational determinants that impact training & development activities, such as â€¦andâ€¦ are never considered. Although most of the T&D process stages are followed two phases of the T&D process are highly deficient, namely, the training needs assessment and program evaluation phases. Ad hoc needs assessments and evaluation practices may have served in the past but the new economic and social realities of Yemen, make these practices vulnerable.
The researcher believes that this is partially due to the fact that the training focus has more or less linearly followed the short term planning of the the day-to-day needs and operations of the businesses, and that it served the direct needs only to ensure that the Oil & Gas companies would remain sustainable in the Oil & Gas industry. In fact, the training has so far been mainly reactive, where existing employees were trained as identified specific needs arise.
Not having clear T&D objectives, nor defining or stating specifically the required outcomes has caused some frustrations among the Human Resources or Training Specialists in the oil companies. In some cases their objectives were to only demonstrate to the Ministry of Oil that they are spending significant amounts of money in training and developing their Yemeni workforce. In spite of this, most companies claim that the currently applied T&D systems are satisfactory. I believe this satisfaction is mainly due to the sufficient amounts of T&D budgets they are currently spending and to the fact that they have an expatriate workforce ready to intervene whenever a Yemeni employee isn’t performing as per required standards. So, the effectiveness of their T&D activities isn’t really a major problem till so far.
Companies often consider training as a “stand alone” process with no ties or links to the major features of their business strategy nor to other parts of the total training & development system, such as the surrounding environment of its different components, methods selection procedures (?), or the various burdens affecting employee training. Linking employee Training & Development activities with other activities (e.g. career pathing, performance appraisal and reward systems and management by objectives) would put training in a perspective and give the trainee an incentive to learn and apply learned norms.
While there is evidence that a considerable amount of existing employee Training & Development is undertaken by the Oil & Gas companies and their commitment to the continuous training & development of their staff at all levels of the workplace (Sentence is not clear). The companies’ approach to the continuous training & development of their existing workforce is unsystematic and dependent on the initiation and enthusiasm of employees and on the government requirements. Training opportunities, both formal and less formal, are open to all staff, but the company does not put pressure on employees to engage in training and development. When companies don’t have T&D qualified specialists as found by at least two companies, they (= higher management?) rely on the personality, and existing skills and knowledge of its workforce to address these issues.
Due to the absence of awareness for restructuring their T&D activities in a systematic manner, it is expected that long term development and career plans may not be possible in the Oil & Gas companies.. Short-term plans (1-3 years), however that focus on the next promotion may be possible (Muna, 1987).
This research has led the researcher to conclude that the Yemen Oil & Gas sector is not fully aware of the importance of having a systematic training & development system. However, external (Yeminization) and internal (call for promotions) pressure forces the companies to reassess the present practice and to introduce T&D systems to link the modern and complex Oil & Gas infrastructure with a highly qualified workforce. The potential is there.
The findings of this study shed light on the training & development structures and practices in the oil & gas industry in Yemen; and the issues raised in this research may be of value to practitioners in other industries and multinational companies operating in Yemen. On the basis of the result findings and conclusions of this research the following recommendations are made.
General company recommendations
The findings regarding the considerable amount of existing employee Training & Development suggest a growing commitment to employee training in the Yemen oil industry. However, the deficient in not considering the organizational factors that impact the effectiveness of the T&D activities needs to be reconsidered. Similarly, T&D needs assessment and evaluation systems need to be remedied. It is important that a link is made between the application of systematic T&D approaches with proper selection criteria and the required T&D outcomes including effective Yemenization. Only through effectively and continuously developing and training their employees are the companies in the Oil industry able to acquire the core competencies needed to sustain their operations and to be flexible or ready to cope with changes.
Training & Development that is built around action rather than theory and characterized by encouraging a work habit of reflection and learning and self-development is what companies in the Oil & Gas industry in Yemen in particular and in all industries in general should be looking at.
It is suggested that systematic thinking should guide the planning, analysis, implementation and follow-up of employee development efforts in these companies. Perhaps the clearest messages from this study is with serious effort on their part these companies may be able to define the T&D (input & output) determinants that have most impacts on the outputs they value most.
The cooperation between HR or training departments and all units in the company will enhance the training efficiency in planning and developing employee T&D programs. HR, training and all units in the respective companies can work together to find out more about why each one approaches rules the way they do, and work out some compromises. People in various departments should understand what is really required and HR and training should also translate needs in training programmes and figure out how legitimate exceptions can be made to make things work for company’s business.
The research findings suggest that department managers who are not aligned with HR and training often fail to communicate or implement critical policies that help improve employee engagement. Without cooperation between HR and the various units in the company, both spend too much energy putting out fires, like recruiting new people because the good people leave the company. When HR and other departments leaders work together effectively, the results often include:
Clear business roles that ensure the right people are doing the right jobs
Performance management processes that relate the core competencies of each departments roles and enable ongoing development of employees
Incentive plans that pay for performance and align with business strategy.
Previous research (Schimel, 1979) has emphasized the importance of dual roles to be played simultaneously by management of companies and the government, namely, passivity and support. The acquiescence of Yemeni nevertheless at the managerial level and their willingness to permit experimentation and failure is a good approach for the success of Yemeni development (Comment: What do you want to say here? Is the management lenient to the support of the Government?). Moreover, the findings suggest increasing the role of the top management and government involvement in setting the training & development strategies, objectives, proper budget allocation of what is spent on training which is short-term and more spending on development which ensures continuity of operations once the international oil companies leave Yemen.
Company specific recommendations
To enhance training and development effectiveness, it is suggested that the following feature be incorporated in the five Oil & Gas companies Training & Development functions:
Supported by key strategies, objectives, systems, structures, policies, and practices: to ensure a true return on companies T&D investments, it is suggested that Training & Development in the five companies are aligned with and directly supported by key areas such as organizational structures, lines of authority, decision making, values, planning, budgeting, career development, performance management, rewards and recognition, staffing, recruiting, and succession planning. Specifically, the T&D strategies in all five companies should be aimed at knowledge retention and transfer to the workplace, enabling employees to be more effective and to acquire more skills. In addition, there should be explicit alignment between programs, learning objectives, and business objectives. These direct links will help to both set boundaries and reinforce desired results. Best companies now realize that many Training and Development initiatives take years to fully achieve their goals. Consequently, the last suggestion in this point would be that companies identify these timeframes up front, where possible, and the T&D programs evaluated at those points.
Companies must seek mutual benefit that is reflected, on the one hand through the employee in the development of his career and achieving personal goals, and , on the other hand, through the leader of these companies in achieving the set of business goals and a more effective management of his subordinate employees. In this way, appropriate staff will be trained and able to contribute to the success of the company.
Driven through many Methods and Approaches: companies are encouraged to further investigate and utilize multiple modalities such as the classroom, workplace, blended learning, eLearning, technology support tools, however in a systematic manner to ensure that people get the right skills at the right time, in the right way, and at the right cost to succeed. Modalities are suggested to be selected to match specific learning styles, business issues, budgets, and required training & development outputs. Employees are usually keen to participate in programs that add to their current and future work effectiveness and that will contribute to their company’s success. Therefore, Training & Development programs should be relevant to both the company and to the employees work requirements.
All selected Oil & Gas companies, and in particular (Companies 3 and 4), are encouraged to train their employees through real tasks and/or assignments in their international branches rather than teaching theory, so that after training employees are able to apply what they have learned in their own work. Also training in projects type of work, is suggested, however, because of the value placed on job rotation discussed in the literature review, the Yemeni government should encourage Oil and Gas companies to establish permanent training slots in major departments, ensuring ongoing exposure of Yemeni employees to new tasks and responsibilities, nevertheless at the management level.(Comment: reword sentence) Yemeni employees identified for management positions may be given the opportunity to test his or her skills in a number of different roles (positions?) such as in finance, operations, and exploration, before settling on a full-time management role within the company.
Additionally, companies should encourage their employees to identify their own needs, create individual learning plans, and to seek learning opportunities. Relevant software packages that facilitate such employee interaction was only found in company 2 and therefore the other four companies are strongly recommended to use similar T&D information systems. (Comments: but should also be given the opportunity to follow the programs as was mentioned in chapter 4)
Participative approach in the application of their T&D Processes: Training & Development is best when conducted by line managers supported by the T&D specialists experience and employee feedback. Line managers set performance objectives, and also perform evaluations. Even where the training is designed and delivered by (= for?) a specific function or department, T&D programs should respond not only to organizational needs, but also to individual needs as identified through appraisals, counseling meetings, assessments, and career development plans. One of the most important elements of best practice training and development is that it should be easily transferred back to the workplace. The five Companies can achieve this through the timing of the training, the quality of the content, and the quality and appropriateness of the delivery method. Another crucial element to this transferability is the role of line managers (effective management of subordinate employees) in the maintenance of the new skill or knowledge once training has been completed. All companies should remember that skills and knowledge that are not used constantly will quickly atrophy (= disappear? forgotten?). Consequently, to bring about lasting change in behaviors and habits, all Companies are encouraged to have a continuous learning process. To achieve this, the Companies should ensure that learning occurs before, during, and after scheduled T&D events. The process of doing, reflecting, learning, and doing again should never cease.
Another way to achieve this transferability is in the 2nd T&D process phase, when designing the training materials. Companies could consider the Performance-Based Training Design method which teaches employees job performance that enables them to go back to work and do the job, not just know how to do the job.
It is no longer feasible to address the complex needs and requirements of Training and Development activities in the contemporary organization in a less than comprehensive approach. Today, the five selected Companies are operating in a surrounding organizational environment where several Input, Process & Output indicators impact the quality of the organizational Training and Development function. It is suggested (= recommended?) that all of the five companies T&D systems’ are structured based on the T&D basic systems framework as used in this research; such that:
Clear T&D objectives and strategies
Sufficient budget and resources
Strong support from companies’ management: Management support is empirical to the success of training programs for resources and support, including time, money and motivation. When the company’s top management does not take responsibility for T&D policy rather imposed by the HR or training department, can lead to potentially spread the gap between training & development and organizational requirements.
Clear support from government, through establishing laws and regulations that monitor and sets minimum T&D activities that are required to be implemented.
T&D Process: To ensure a successful Training and Development system, Oil & Gas companies need to effectively go through the entire Training and Development process, such that there is:
Assessment: assessing the needs for training and the area of improvement, setting training objectives, and determining the budget. In addition, keep track of available inventory of skills and competencies that will assist in proper planning of gaps.
Involvement: participation of individual, departments, HR and top management should be involved in designing or selection of the training programs, including the training topics, training methods, place, and the trainers.
Personalized: using real world issues and ease studies
Interactive: employee training programs will involve open dialogue, role-playing and small-group sessions to increase team building and excitement.
Evaluation and Control: the shallow reactive mode governing the program evaluation process should be replaced by a comprehensive evaluation system which focuses on the results of training and transference of knowledge to the workplace. This recommendation is consistent with the suggestions of Kirkpatrick (Kirkpatrick, 1979) who stated that the best evaluation system focused on the effects of the application of information and learned concepts on the organization. Establish follow up procedure that properly measures the T&D effectiveness, Employee change and satisfaction, etc.
T&D Output: Have clear training and development outcomes that include:
It isn’t enough to evaluate what employees have learned rather what learning have they applied on the job:
Standard measurement of productivity and profitability:
Yemenization: is an important aspect that requires proper planning, measurement and regular monitoring.
Correlation between training & development determinants: The literature (Al-Khayyat, et al., 1997) shows that for each output indicator there is a unique set of input and process indicators that have significant effects over it. For example, the adequacy of resources allocated for Training and Development have significant effect on all output indicators such as (application of learning, performance improvement, productivity & profitability). Similarly, clearly stated long-term policies of HRD have a significant effect on productivity and profitability. The logical inference of this is that companies should clearly identify and focus on the set of (input and process) indicators that are related to the output they value most, or the desired output in a given time. The view of output-related indicators is much differentiated; each has a somewhat unique path to achieve.
Finally, Both the literature review for this research and the data analyzed from the surveyed companies informed ( = contributed to?) the development of a comprehensive T&D Determinants model that includes: all relevant T&D determinant indicators as well as the full T&D process cycle. This improved model is depicted in the following figure that gives an overall picture or model that is suggested to be followed:
Comprehensiveness of HRD Perspectives
Senior Management & Gov. Support and
Employee and Customer Satisfaction
Productivity & Profitability
Productivity Work output
Input Process Output
Evaluation & Control
T&D Model – Oil & Gas Companies
One of the particularly admirable features of the industry is the way that, once a person is accepted into the these surveyed companies industry, the educational sector from which the person emerged fades into insignificance as companies take care of developing their own people.
Several directions for further research
There are several directions for future research to consider, these include:
The degree of agreement between the various oil companies needs to be investigated further. The future studies analysis should be at the organizational level (analysing the data for each organization separately) instead of doing it at the aggregate level (all subjects working in different companies together, as was done in this study).
The issue of the differences between effective and less effective companies should be explored further. The analysis should be at the organizational level, that is, identify specific effective and less effective companies and then explore the differences between them with respect to input and process indicators. Identify the elements which contribute to successful training in the Oil & Gas companies and factors that influence implementation of training and learning in the workplace (Ridoutt et al. 2002). And how do firms measure the success of their training practices
Nonetheless, the ‘major determinats’ uncovered are significant and gave an indication of the broad brush of what impacts training and skill development in the Yemen oil & gas industry. It would be beneficial to test these determinants in other industries.
Maybe a statement about making further study on ways the Government could speed up the Yemenization process using T&D system.
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