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Introduction of the case study

Discuss about the Case Study Of Blitzen Engineering.

Blitzen Engineering is a supplier which deals in the automotive parts manufactured as per the specifications advised by the car manufacturers of the area.  It is famous for its delivery of high quality components within shorter time periods. The human resources play an important role in maintaining the current business contracts and winning the new ones by the company. The knowledge and skills of the engineers working behind the scenes have contributed a lot to making the company successful and highly competitive in the phase of rising competition.

But recently, it is facing some serious issues which are hampering its growth and developmental activities. It has been found that the average age of engineers is 53 and there are no younger engineers recruited in the company. Moreover, the skilled and senior employees have left the job so there is an uneven distribution of skills and expertise in the organization. The HR Manager and MD are in constant consultation with each other regarding the strategies to be adopted by the company with more focus on areas such as workforce capability and production flexibility. So, in this report, several issues confronted by the company along with the possible barriers which the company might face in future while creating a learning culture would be analyzed. Furthermore, recommendations and suggestions to improve the situation would be advised to the HR Manager.

There are certain issues confronted by the company. It has been investigated that the average age of engineers working at the company is 53 years and it has not appointed any workforce below the age of 30 years. There are no younger employees working for the firm. The employee turnover ratio is high and the new recruitments are being compensated by the two recent retirements and loss of one senior engineer to the competitor firms.  

As a result, there is an uneven distribution of skills, expertise and knowledge in the firm. To add on to the misery, one of the important clients of the company has decided to end the supply contract with the firm as the latter was unable to win the contract this year which was held by it from the last five years. It had failed to win the contract as it was outperformed by its competitors this time. This has increased resentment and hatred amongst the employees and they blame the managements for not predicting the possible threat posed to the firm.

Analysis of the issues confronted by the company

The MD along with the consultation with the workplace council has concluded that the policy of the company to compete with the firms of the Far East and Eastern Europe due to low production costs can impend its goodwill. So, the company has decided to invest to develop a learning culture amongst the employees. It has decided to develop its skill base so that a proactive partnership with its clients can be enhanced as a result of continuous development in the processes and the end product.


As per the MD and HR Manager of the organization, there are various benefits to the employees if the company invests in developing their skills and expertise. By investing in the development of their skills and knowledge, the company can achieve a higher rate of employee retention as they would feel supported, satisfied and contented with their current profiles. It would also help in creating a positive and favorable working culture in the company which can greatly impact its success.

If the opportunities for growth and development are provided in the organization, it will automatically generate a positive work environment and growth amongst the employees. By investing in the skill development program of the company, the employees would be trained and hence their success would directly impact the success of the company.

However, there are some negative impacts of training and development programs conducted by the company. Firstly, the costs associated with the employment of full time trainers might be heavy for the organization to bear. There are chances of the training to become outdated unless the methods and materials for training are being updated constantly (Mueller, 2014).

Secondly, if many employees are sent for training at a time, there might be a burden for the existing workforce to accomplish the tasks at the workplace. Thirdly, if the training is imparted through video conferencing techniques then there is a possibility of the material becoming outdated. Furthermore, it only focuses on scheduling the training sessions rather than on the interaction with the employees (Mavrikios et al., 2013).

As per Ahmady, Nikooravesh and Mehrpour (2016), some of the barriers confronted by the management in implementing and executing the learning culture in the organization can be stubbornness and resistance to change amongst the employees. It can be experienced at every stage of implementation of the learning culture, ranging from making technological transformations to changes in the leadership or shift in the methods of performing the routine tasks. The resistance to change must be overcome by the company so that it can survive in the competitive world.

Analysis of the applicability of ‘one –size-fit-all ‘approach to human resource development at Blitzen Engineering

Another hindrance is the lack of direct leadership in the company. In order to enable the organization to learn and adapt to its fluctuating surroundings, it must have leaders which are involved in the procedures of performance improvement and learning. Some of the leaders lack the awareness of being involved with the team mates and their training processes and the techniques and software which help the individuals in accomplishing their tasks. The leaders must not passive rather they should actively participate in assessing and reviewing the performance of their teams and departments.

The other hindrance might be lack of focus on teams rather sometimes the whole focus is being diverted towards enhancing individual performance. They lack the sense of team spirit and unity so as a result, the teamwork is viewed as a means to the end and it is not valued in itself.

The last issue being confronted by the management is the lack of skilled competence in the company. Often it has been observed that the managers try to ignore the threatening interactions and blame others for the failure of their departments. So, these were some of the problems being confronted by the management in implementing the learning culture in the company.

The one-size-fit-all approach implies that the organization treats the employees as individuals not as part of the team or group and it is one of the most crucial long term trends in the human resource department. But in the current scenario, this concept does not work at all. So, the organization needs to develop itself into a self-managed team. Blitzen Engineering needs to employ a flexible workforce. It should address the specific necessities of each of the employees. It will help the people to flourish in which would ultimately contribute to the success of the company (Liao et al., 2012).

In the current scenario, the recruitments for standard trainees and specified jobs are taken over by the trend of employing people who fit according to the culture and purpose of the company. It is followed by appointing suitable individuals whose skills and expertise align with these opportunities. The company should build profiles of less fixed jobs and more diverse teams along with individuals with additional capabilities so that they can be appointed o various profiles with challenging opportunities (Cunningham, 2017).

Another ideology protesting against the concept of one –size-fit-all approach is performance consulting. It requires a very individualistic approach and its benefits are very specific and have a tailored feedback. With regards to the issues related to relations with the employees, the approach of one size fits all does not fit as just providing them with the documentation will not be appreciated by them at all (Day, 2013).

There is a need to enhance the workforce capability and production capacity of the organization. The skills, knowledge and expertise of the employees should be developed because it represents a  key factor in maintaining the existing business and wining new contracts by the company. The employees should become independent thinkers so that they can participate in the effective decision making process. They should have the competencies which are required for possessing skills and expertise to perform their jobs well (Chen, 2014).

They should have analytical skills and must be adaptable to the fluctuating situations. They should be action oriented and must possess the knowledge and skills of the industry they are working in. They should have a customer centric approach and communicate with the clients in an effective way to satisfy their queries. They should have effective fiscal management skills and must possess innovative and interpersonal skills (Gamrat et al., 2014).

They should be able to manage the risks and hazards posed by the industry they are working in and have leadership skills. They should be result oriented and well versed with the latest technology. They should be able to analyze their skills gap which affects the competitiveness of the business. There is a need to develop the communication skills of the employees. The analytical and research skills define the ability of the employees to assess different scenarios and resolve the issues in shorter time spans. The employees of the organization lack this skill so there is a need to develop it (Bell and MacDougall, 2013).

The employees can be recruited by participating in the recruitment process through social media, mobile marketing, monitoring third party employee review sites and appointing a recruitment agency to hire appropriate candidates for the company. The employers should be able to match it with the expectations of the candidates if he wants to win over the target group for himself (Havercroft, 2018).

One of the methods of training is instructor led classroom training. It can be imparted through black or white board. It is effective when trainees are invited to write their feedbacks on the board. It can also be imparted through an overhead projector, video portions, power point presentations and explaining the case studies by storytelling. It can be an effective methodology when a large group of employees is addressed (Barr, 2013).

Another type of training which can be useful for the employees of Blitzen Engineering is Stimulated Training. It is an imitation of the real life problems. The model contains the important characteristics of the procedures it is attempting to stimulate. It teaches the trainees to perform a complicated, hazardous and critical job. Simulation training is of two types. Functional simulation targets the training for a particular business requirement. Total Enterprise Simulation targets the overall development of the workers (Phillips, 2012).

Management Training programs can also be used to train the employees. They help the team leaders to build expertise for creating new opportunities and organizational values amongst the teammates. They also assist the employees by providing a fresh perspective on certain issues which help them to recognize various game changing moves in the market (Tannenbaum, Weschle and Massarik, 2013).

Another type of training is providing on the job experience to the newly appointed candidates because actual learning takes place only when they learn with their practical experiences in the job. There are several methods of on the job training. First is job rotation. It comprises of the movement of the candidates form one job position to another so that they can gain knowledge and expertise from various job assignments .The other methods of training suitable for the employees of Blitzen engineering are action learning, apprentice training, diversity training, competency based training, traineeships and supervisory and management training (Fenwick, 2012).

Performance evaluation techniques comprise of methods such as 360 Degree Feedback systems. It is a mechanism through which the employee receives the feedback from the people working around him in a confidential manner. It includes a group of eight to ten people consisting of manager and peers. Another system is balance scorecard. It is a performance metric which is used for recognizing and improving various internal components of the business and their external impacts. It is used for evaluating and providing feedback to the company. It focuses on four major areas viz. business processes, consumers, finance and learning and growth (Hladchenko, 2015).

So, in this context, it is the responsibility of the managers to recognize the opportunities for improvement and proper to this, it is essential for them to attain the experience and knowledge about the industry in which the company is operating in. They should keenly observe and inspect the operations of the company viz. safety, quality, productivity, cost and delivery. These measures convey the message to the management about the performance of the company. The managers should be developed, communicated and recorded by the employees working in a particular area. As it is said that “whatever gets measured gets managed”, so it is the responsibility of the managers and team leaders to set the targets or expectations which shall provide the clarity of ways and measures to accomplish their goals in the company(Ryan et al.,2013).  

With the help of collection and displaying the key measures, the employees gain a sense of performance over a timespan. The trends should be recognized and comparisons made. There can be positive, negative or neutral correlation amongst the two parameters set for accomplishing the goals of the organization. The managers are also accountable for analyzing the performance because the efforts for improvements in continuous learning takes place when an understanding is gained regarding the performance of the employees in relation to the targets. The last step is to classify the problems and resolving them followed by reviewing of the performances of the employees (Michailova and Minbaeva, 2012).

The progress of the development of the learning culture in the organization can be assessed by observing and inspecting the vision of the company so that the manager can gain a better sense of the present learning culture of the company. In order to analyze this, three areas should be focused. Learning practices should be focused on the managerial and operating practices which encourage and create hindrances in the learning process. Learning climate should target on the work culture and its impact on learning. Knowledge Base should target on the strengthens and weaknesses of the knowledge base of the company and the areas of knowledge should be reinforced (Fullan, 2014).

The manager should begin by analyzing the learning cycles of the organization. He should assess the intensity of awareness of the need for learning and must possess a common understanding of the entire situation. He should also reflect the whole learning process (Baldwin, 2016).

In order to inculcate the learning culture in the company, the manager must focus on the analyzing the skills and expertise of the individuals and groups and design of the support structures for the ongoing learners. He must also assess the attitude of the entire organization towards learning.

In terms of assessing the knowledge base, the manger should map the entire business process of the whole organization with regards to generation and utilization of knowledge (Schmitza et al.,2014).

Conclusion

This report can be concluded by stating that for creating a learning culture in the company, the managers should foster the attitude of curiosity and inquiry amongst the staff. It would inculcate the learning behaviors naturally in them. The employees should be able to ask questions regarding ‘what if’ and about what the consumers think about the products supplied by the company. The employees should adopt a holistic approach towards the whole problem and recognize the conflicts and errors pertaining to it. Only then they would be able to resolve the various issues related to workforce productivity and production capability confronted by the management.

References

Ahmady , G.A., Nikooravesh , A. and Mehrpour, M.(2016)  Effect of organizational culture on knowledge management based on Denison model. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 230 ( 2016 ) ,pp.387 – 395.

Baldwin, M.(2016) Critical reflection: Opportunities and threats to professional learning and service development in social work organizations. In Social work, critical reflection and the learning organization . Routledge.

Barr, H.( 2013) Toward a theoretical framework for interprofessional education. Journal of interprofessional care. 27(1), pp.4-9.

Bell, M. and MacDougall, K.(2013) Adapting online learning for Canada's Northern public health workforce. International journal of circumpolar health. 72(1), p.21345.

Chen, J.C.(2014) Teaching nontraditional adult students: Adult learning theories in practice. Teaching in Higher Education.19(4), pp.406-418.

Cunningham, I.( 2017) The wisdom of strategic learning: The self managed learning solution. Routledge.

Day, C.( 2013) The changing learning needs of heads: Building and sustaining effectiveness. In Effective leadership for school improvement . Routledge.

Fenwick, T.(2012) Older professional workers and continuous learning in new capitalism. Human Relations. 65(8), pp.1001-1020.

Fullan, M.(2014) Leading in a culture of change personal action guide and workbook. John Wiley & Sons.

Gamrat, C., Zimmerman, H.T., Dudek, J. and Peck, K.( 2014) Personalized workplace learning: An exploratory study on digital badging within a teacher professional development program. British journal of educational technology.45(6), pp.1136-1148.

Havercroft, M. (2018) Recruiting In the Digital Age: What's It All About? [online] Available from https://www.digitalistmag.com/future-of-work/2017/07/20/recruiting-in-digital-age-whats-it-all-about-05225019 [Accessed 13th   July, 2018].

Hladchenko , M. (2015) Balanced Scorecard – a strategic management system of the higher education institution. International Journal of Educational Management.29 (2), pp. 167 – 176.

Liao, S.H., Chang, W.J., Hu, D.C. and Yueh, Y.L.(2012) Relationships among organizational culture, knowledge acquisition, organizational learning, and organizational innovation in Taiwan's banking and insurance industries. The International Journal of Human Resource Management. 23(1), pp.52-70.

Mavrikios, D., Papakostas, N., Mourtzis, D. and Chryssolouris, G.( 2013)On industrial learning and training for the factories of the future: a conceptual, cognitive and technology framework. Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing. 24(3), pp.473-485.

Michailova, S. and Minbaeva, D.B.(2012) Organizational values and knowledge sharing in multinational corporations: The Danisco case. International Business Review.21(1), pp.59-70.

Mueller, J.( 2014) A specific knowledge culture: Cultural antecedents for knowledge sharing between project teams. European Management Journal. 32(2), pp.190-202.

Phillips, J.J.( 2012) Handbook of training evaluation and measurement methods. Routledge.

Ryan, S., Scott, B., Freeman, H. and Patel, D.( 2013) The virtual university: The internet and resource-based learning. Routledge.

Schmitza, S., Rebelo,T. , Graciac, F.J.and Tomás, I.(2014)   Learning culture and knowledge management processes: To what extent are they effectively related? Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. 30 (2014), pp. 113-121.

Tannenbaum, R., Weschler, I. and Massarik, F.( 2013) Leadership and Organization (RLE: Organizations): A Behavioural Science Approach. Routledge.

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