EXAMINATION OF THE STRATEGIC ROLE IN ASSESSING WORKERS’ TRAINING NEED IN NIGER MILLS PLC AND UNITED CEMENT COMPANY, CALABAR.
1.1 Background of the study
Investing in human resources through training and management development improves individual employee capabilities and organizational performance. Training of workers is a very essential tool for human resource development, but this can only become relevant after a workers’ training need assessment has been conducted. Training needs assessment is define as an ongoing process of gathering data to determine what training needs exist so that training can be developed to help the organization accomplish its objectives. The training needs assessment is a critical activity for the training and development function.
Gent, and Gregory (1989) asserted that, conducting training needs assessment is fundamental to the success of a training program. Often, organizations will develop and implement training without first conducting a needs analysis. Goldstein (1991) noted that these organizations run the risk of overdoing training, doing too little training or missing the point completely.
The purpose of a workers training needs assessment is to identify areas that are deficient in performance within an organization in order to help direct resources to the areas of greatest need, those that closely relate to fulfilling the organizational goals and objectives, improving productivity and providing quality products and services. The results of the needs assessment allows the training manager to set the training objectives by answering two very basic questions: who, if anyone, needs training and what training is needed? Sometimes training is not the solution. Some performance gaps can be reduced or eliminated through other management solutions such as communicating expectations, providing a supportive work environment, arranging consequences, removing obstacles and checking job fit.
Gupta, (1999) opined that, designing a training and development program involves a sequence of steps that can be grouped into five phases: needs assessment, instructional objectives, design, implementation and evaluation. However, Organizational analysis examines where training is needed in the organization and under what conditions the training will be conducted. It identifies the knowledge, skills, and abilities that employees will need for the future, as the organization and their jobs evolves or changes.
In this context, Training Needs Assessment (TNA) processes have a strategic role because they provide clear guidelines as to which professional skill deficiencies must be remedied and what the profile of future trainees should be. For Al-Khayyat, (1998). training needs come from underdeveloped skills, insufficient knowledge or inappropriate worker attitudes. Aguinis & Kraiger, (2009). define training needs as identified differences between the employees’ current performance and the performance that the organization expects of them.
In view of this therefore, the study attempts to examined the strategic role in assessing workers’ training needs in selected large scale organizations in Cross River State with particular attention on Niger mills plc and United Cement company (UNICEM) PLC, Calabar, as a case study.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Investments in training and development of employees can make organizations more productive or more effective. Gupta,(1999) Identified some unresolved issues such as new workplace demands and requirements are causing major changes in activities and operations within the organization which requires a regular update of workers skills to meet up with the expectations of this new workplace demands. Similarly, the rapid pace of technological changes in the information society, the increasing operational procedures required for production, the reduction in the product life cycle, and rapidly changing production processes are quite revealing issues which is seeking for urgent response in the area of workers’ training and regular updating of skills. Therefore, in response to these growing pressures in the workplace there is need for workers’ to be fully equipped, but this can be achievable through continuous training programs arising from training need assessment in every organization that will want to succeed by attaining its set goals.
Rosner, (1999) noted that, despite the strategic role of worker training need assessment, research shows that training needs diagnoses have been done in an unsystematic manner in organizational settings. There is still relatively little theoretical and empirical research on training need assessment (Supino & Richardson 1999). Addressing and resolving this issues has however, prompted the desire of the researcher to conduct an examination of the strategic role of assessing workers’ training needs in selected large scale organizations of Cross River State, Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The main objective of this study is to examine the strategic role in assessing workers’ training need in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, Calabar. To achieve this broad objective, the following specific objectives have been taken into consideration:
(i) To examine the strategic role of workers training need assessment on employee training in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, (UNICEM) Calabar
(ii) To determine the impact of training needs assessment on New workplace demands in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company,(UNICEM) Calabar.
(iii) To evaluate the strategic role of training needs assessment on workers’ skills in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, (UNICEM) Calabar.
(iv) To underscore the strategic role of training needs assessment on organizational success in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, (UNICEM) Calabar
1.4 Research questions
(i) How does the strategic role of training needs assessment influence organization goals in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, (UNICEM) Calabar?
(ii) How does training needs assessment impact on employee productivity in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, (UNICEM) Calabar?
(iii) To what extent does workers training need assessment impact on organization effectiveness in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, (UNICEM) Calabar?
(iv) To what extent does training needs assessment impact on organizations performance in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, (UNICEM) Calabar?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
(i) There is no significant relationship between training needs assessment and organizational success in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, (UNICEM) Calabar
(ii) There is no significant relationship between workers’ training needs assessment and organization’s competitive advantage in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, (UNICEM) Calabar
(iii) There is no significant relationship between training needs assessment and employee job satisfaction in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, (UNICEM) Calabar
(iv) There is no significant relationship between training needs assessment and organization’s goals in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, (UNICEM) Calabar
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
In terms of coverage, this study focuses on examination of the strategic role in assessing workers’ training need in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, Calabar. This means that issues relating to training needs assessment will be explained. In view of the technicalities involved, it would be unrealistic to assume that all necessary facts will be gathered in the process of the study. Information is limited to those accesses and made available by the respondents and also have gathered from end users. More so, since large scale organizations have many forms, the study will only be limited to Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, Calabar.
Some of the constraints are:-
- Time constraints
The researcher finds it difficult to go round all the departments in Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, Calabar due to limited time availability, as a result of this, the data were only collected from few staff randomly.
- Inadequate data
training need assessment is a recent developed system in which not all large scale organizations have embraced, those that have embraced it were able to give their information to the researcher and those that have not fully embraced it were unable to give accurate data to researcher.
- Lack of funds
Due to the nature of this work, the researcher find it difficult to raise the funds needed to carry out the research appropriately, as a result of this, Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, were selected based on the available finance to enable researcher get the needed information.
1.7 Significance of the Study
This study will be of immense benefits to public and private organizations especially Niger Mills PLC and United Cement Company, Calabar to understand the strategic role of training needs assessment in organizational success. It will also help them to understand the steps to follow in designing and implementing training need assessment programme. The research if conducted will equally be significant to both state and federal government in making policies that will encourage regular training need assessment to update its worker with latest relevant skills that will enhance productivity. It will also serve as a valuable tool for students, academician, institutions and individuals that wants to know more about the strategic role of training needs assessment.
1.8 Historical background of the organizations studied
(i) United Cement Company (UNICEM)
The United Cement Company of Nigeria Ltd (UNICEM) is formed as a private limited liability company under Nigerian law with registered office in Nigeria by Holcim Trading S.A. and Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc. In Nigeria, the name, UNICEM stands for advanced technology, quality product and the leading supplier of cement in the South-South and South-East regions. As the second largest cement plant in Nigeria, their core activities are the manufacture and sale of Ordinary Portland Cement.
UNICEM has its head office based in Calabar and all cement manufacturing operations have been consolidated at the 2.5million tons per annum Mfamosing plant, north-east of Calabar.
Their mission statement indicates a strive to be one of the most socially responsible cement companies in Nigeria. In achieving this they operate on the basis of best practices in accordance with shareholder, lender and local Nigerian legal and regulatory requirements so far as corporate governance, good corporate citizenship and sustainable practices.
UNICEM acquired the assets of Calcemco, a state owned cement company sold by the Nigerian Government after liquidation. The CALCEMCO plant was planned and constructed by Salzgitter Industriebau GmbH (SEG); Germany in the 1970’s to meet the high demand for cement in Nigeria (UNICEM Bulletin, 2006).
(ii) Niger Mills plc
Niger Mills Company Limited is a flour milling company that has been managed by Flour Mills since the 70s. It is located in Calabar, approximately 6 kilometers from the port and the mill has a total capacity of approximately 750MT of wheat per day.
The company has recently completed a modernization program by commissioning a new state-of-the-art PLC controlled flour mill which accounts for over two-thirds of its total capacity. The new mill is currently running 6 days per week and has achieved an operating efficiency of nearly 90% which has led to a 40% growth in sales.
Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN) is one of the largest and most successful industrial conglomerates in Nigeria.The Company’s activities span flour milling, pasta manufacturing, port operations, cement trade & manufacturing, fertilizer blending, bags & other packaging materials manufacturing and agricultural business.
Since its incorporation in 1960, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc has not only survived all macroeconomic challenges but also grown into a market leader with popular and highly recognizable brands, an extensive distribution network, a turnover in excess of N90 billion (USD 700 million), strong profitability, healthy Balance Sheet and a highly skilled workforce.
Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc has been listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange since 1978. With a broad ownership base of approximately 67,000 shareholders, it is constantly ranked amongst the top 25 companies in terms of market capitalization. In 2005 the Company successfully completed a N5.24 billion (US$40.7 million) rights issue which was oversubscribed by 8%.
Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc group employs approximately 5,200 staff with diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds who work harmoniously together to deliver superior value to Nigerian consumers nationwide
1.9 Definition of terms
In order for the researcher to achieve the objectives of the proposed research, the following terminologies will be useful to guide the study:
Needs assessment:- This is a systematic process for determining and addressing needs, or "gaps" between current conditions and desired conditions or wants (Rosner,1999).
Training:- Referes to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies (Storey ,1992).
Large scale organization: Is a company which has large manufacturing plants around the world and attends to a large amount of employees (Gupta,1999).