‘The People’s Credit Union’ is an Edmonton based credit union that provides different types of banking services such as Co-operative, Commercial, Community development and others. The company has both a physical and an online presence. Credit Union assumes that it provides a high-level customer service; however, facts are different than what is being assumed. It is because there are complaints being raised against their customer service agents. Customers have claimed that service agents in call centers are rude over the phone and do not appropriately provide any assistance on their day-to-day banking queries.
In addition, the training and development policy in the ‘Credit Union’ is of a sub-optimal level. The training process is not even aligned with the organizational goal and objectives. These scenarios just suggest that the training policy in ‘The People’s Credit Union’ needs to be realigned with the organizational goal to provide exceptional customer service. However, the needs could only be identified only after performing ‘A Needs Analysis’ of the ‘Credit Union’.
2. Gaps between the current and the desired state
The desired state of ‘The People’s Credit Union’ is to provide an exceptional customer service. However, it is not being able to deliver even a satisfactory service. Customers have raised complaints against the level of customer service. Customers are not receiving a proper answer whenever they have their day-to-day banking queries. Call center agents are expected to deliver the highest standard of customer service (Nguyen et al., 2014). Despite the fact, service agents working for the ‘Credit Union’ have performed averagely. There is an evident gap between the desired and the current state for the ‘Credit Union’.
3. Training as an answer to the gap
As opined by Dhar, (2015), there is a strong relationship between employee training and the quality of services offered to customers. It means that a well-organized training positively impacts the performance. As argued by Saini et al., (2017), customer-oriented organizations are most likely to meet their organizational goal of attaining customer satisfaction. However, the ‘Credit Union’ being also a customer-oriented company does not seem like making it. They have rather been in troubles for their quality of service.
Kum, Cowden and Karodia, (2014) suggest that training and development is not alone a solution to an affected quality of service. There are rather more areas that need to be improved along with focusing on training and development. Those areas include working conditions, the provision for feedback for employees and the management support. Kum, Cowden and Karodia also say that a lack of resources affects the training outcomes.
As opined by Obi-Anike and Ekwe, (2014), effective training is an investment that management do to attain both immediate and long-range returns. However, authors feel that only a mere investment will not yield the expected result but an effectively planned and organized training. Authors recommend that the training and development program should be conducted on a regular basis. Additionally, it should not just focus the skills development but also cover a wider area like the quality of customer service.
These all articles more or less revolves around the similar thing such as that training and development is like a tool that influences the quality of service and employee performance. It also means that training is conducted to repair the gaps provided that it is well managed and supported from the management.
4. Finding gaps and determining solutions at each ‘level of analysis’
4.1 Organizational Analysis
Gaps at the organizational level can be related to many business functions such as customer service, leadership, working conditions and TechRepublic resources. This report is just confined to gaps in the level of customer service in the case study firm the ‘Credit Union’.
A gap at the organizational level such as in customer service can be identified by doing a survey. The survey will produce the result and indicate how much customers are satisfied. Moreover, the survey will produce the data, which could be compared against competitors. Hence, by comparing with competitors, the gap could be identified. This will create the necessity to close the gap by setting up a higher target level (Vatanartiran & Karadeniz, 2015).
The possible solution will be to improve the customer service, which would require a plan to be made to do the repairing work. The new plan will have clear objectives, which will be aligned with the organizational policy for the training. The management will have a role to play to make the training a successful event. It needs to be ensured that training is held on a regular basis. Additionally, everything related to a training needs to be appropriately planned to avoid wastage of investment (Vatanartiran & Karadeniz, 2015).
4.2 Task Analysis
A gap in tasks can be analyzed in a number of ways such as by interviewing high performing employees and subject matter experts (SMEs). They will deliver a good overview of the level of tasks and its feasibility with the organizational capability. Interviewing the supervisors and managers will also produce the valuable set of data. Job descriptions and occupational information need also be checked to analyze an understanding of the level of needs and understanding employees require to perform their tasks (Bishop et al., 2015). Few important questions could also be posed to conduct a task analysis. These questions are (Bishop et al., 2015):
- What kinds of tasks are normally performed?
- How often are these tasks performed?
- What difficulties you normally face?
- What set of knowledge is required to perform the task?
- What training means are available to treat these challenges?
The gap can be reduced and future targets of providing the feasible tasks only could also be attained provided that a model is being developed to guide and support the development of training programs and a curriculum for tasks. The training will be designed in such a way that it aligns with job tasks. Hence, training will become easier for trainees.
4.3 Person Analysis
This can be done by interviewing the chosen person or employee. The interview will have a set of questions ranging from the job satisfaction to challenges being faced. This will produce ample data regarding various thing. They are (Arslan & Coskun, 2014):
- How is the working condition?
- Do you enjoy working here or else?
- What do you like the most about your work?
- Do you have any challenges working here in this company?
- What those challenges are?
- Do you feel that the management is supportive if not what else you would suggest as an improvement?
- What opportunities you have working for the company?
- Where do you see yourself five years down the line?
These are a few questions, which will produce a variety of data regarding the various thing. The data will not be taken as evidence for any issue until and unless the managers and supervisors are also interviewed. In some cases, it is also advisable to have a brief talk with the person's colleagues. This will shed more light on the various thing because colleagues will know that person much better than anybody else can. Whatever be the data is that the person needs to be given a proper care such as an effective mentoring. In addition, managers and supervisors should also be approached to let them understand the situation and request for their support given to that person.
5. Obstacles in conducting a thorough needs analysis
There are numerous obstacles, which the team conducting ‘a needs analysis’ faces. One of the biggest obstacles is the implementation. Recommendations are generally delayed due to the unavailability of the adequate budget. It happens because a few members of the management team do not find these recommendations as valuable things to continue with. Organizational factors do also pose the challenge as some of the factors tend to stay with the existing performance levels. It becomes very difficult then to make them convinced with the plan. These factors are actually the resisting forces available within the organization.
Another major block is applying a process, which is systematic and is also able to align learning solutions with business outcomes. Determining the organizational goals is another obstacle to ‘a needs analysis’. If there is no determined goal, how a gap could then be identified. It is also challenging to identify the level of individual performance, which is actually necessary to meet the organizational goal. Perhaps, the most vital part of ‘a needs assessment’ is to align the business goal and objectives with the organizational mission (Esmaeili, 2016).
In summary, this can be concluded that ‘The People’s Credit Union’ has a gap at the organizational level. The quality of service is being affected due to the uncompetitive and less motivated employees. ‘A needs analysis’ finds that there is a gap between the current state of the company and its desired state. Customer service will only improve if the organizational goal and objectives are aligned with the practice. Hence, there is a need to align training practices with the organizational goal to provide exceptional customer service to its customers.
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Bishop, C., Brazier, J., Cree, J., & Turner, A. (2015). A needs analysis and testing battery for field hockey. Professional Strength & Conditioning, 36, 15-26.
Dhar, R. L. (2015). Service quality and the training of employees: The mediating role of organizational commitment. Tourism Management, 46, 419-430.
Esmaeili, A. (2016). Needs Analysis in EAP of Computer and Mechanical Engineering English Courses The Case of Islamic Azad university of Shiraz. International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences, 10(5), 513-522.
Kum, F. D., Cowden, R., & Karodia, A. M. (2014). The impact of training and development on employee performance: A case study of ESCON Consulting. Singaporean Journal of Business Economics and Management Studies, 3(3), 72-105.
Nguyen, H., Groth, M., Walsh, G., & Hennig?Thurau, T. (2014). The impact of service scripts on customer citizenship behavior and the moderating role of employee customer orientation. Psychology & Marketing, 31(12), 1096-1109.
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