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Creating Disciples

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“Creating Disciples: The Transformation of Employees into Trainers”

By Harry J. Martin* and Mary W. Hrivnak

Elena Rozkov
Human Resources Training and Development
April 12, 2012
MGMT 3060

CREATING DISCIPLES: THE TRANSFORMATION OF EMPLOYEES INTO TRAINERS 1

After our class discussion and reading article “Creating Disciples” again, I have a better understanding of the process and importance of the training program, which is designed for developing and supporting employee trainers, but I still cannot completely agree with the authors’ model. Martin & Hrivnak (pg.614) are talking about turning novice employees into trainers if this employee feels strongly enough about the idea to volunteer to teach other employees. But they are not talking about rewards, recognitions or promotions.
According to Martin & Hrivnak (2009) an organization has to follow the “why” and “how” approach, and needs to understand the benefits and disadvantages between hiring an insider or an outsider to train others. Deciding which trainer to choose depends on the objectives of the program and how valuable they will be for an organization. By turning employees into disciple trainers will benefit the company in many ways. The insiders are cost-effective for the company. Also, training process can be easier because trainers will be accepted by their peers, which will lead to a comfortable work environment. Trainers can relate to other employees because they are already in the culture, they already went through the learning process and will be able to teach and train. They have organizational specific knowledge, tacit knowledge, and skills. And in addition, they will be available to help trainees with any questions at all the time.
On another hand, the outsiders in the article are professional trainers or “wizards” and they are identified as a company’s consultants. They have particular tools and concrete skills to teach if trainee must have the in-depth understanding of a program. (Martin & Hrivnak, 2009)

CREATING DISCIPLES: THE TRANSFORMATION OF EMPLOYEES INTO TRAINERS 2

Hiring professional trainers can be helpful to the company, because consultants always depend on their knowledge.
When you compare professional consultants and novice trainers you can see that outsiders don’t have that tacit knowledge which novice trainers possess and also, they don’t understand the culture and may not be accepted by employees. Another negative side of having outsiders as trainers is that they can be very costly to the organization. The company doesn’t know if it will have any return on their investment, and definitely the continuity will be missing as far as a follow ups. I agree that in the long run, an organization will benefit from training their employees. Those employees will learn new skills and will be assigned to a specific role within an organization, so they can continually grow and practice those skills. And then, the company can use those skilled employees for training others. The longer we keep employees the cheaper they become for the company because now they have not only their tacit knowledge, but institutional knowledge as well.
According to Martin & Hrivnak (2009) if company is planning to transform employees into trainers, they have to make sure that the proper training structure is well developed to bring new employees in and training them. So, authors came up with six steps model. A model for developing and supporting employee trainers gives us a breakdown on how to do it.
The first step is a clear goal, which explains to us that senior managers are the ones who must have and deliver a vision through the designed change effort. Second step is having good tools, which means, they must have comprehensive training program, where skills to be learned.
CREATING DISCIPLES: THE TRANSFORMATION OF EMPLOYEES INTO TRAINERS 3

Third step is the support from above, which means senior management must be involved and show their support to the employees.
In the fourth step, we learn about committed disciples who are devoted to the organization and change. Selection begins with recruiting of highly committed people, the ones who want their work to make a vital contribution. During the orientation company informs disciples about the training program. The instructor preparation process begins with indoctrination by training the trainer. Disciples experiencing first-hand complete training program. When the preparation is completed, immersion begins, which helps disciples in practicing the training routine. Post-training practice would be the next step for disciples to demonstrate the skills they have learned in the training program, followed by an in-seminar support. At this point disciples will be observed by their consultants before they will have to move to step number five. Impassioned delivery includes the scheduling, guidance and encouragement. In scheduling process disciples return to their normal job duties and they should be still committed to their mission. By getting guidance and beneficial suggestions from managers, disciples get encouragement by other trainers, co-workers and relatives. The sixth step brings us back to regular service which includes feedbacks and follow-ups, pointing out the champions.
I can somewhat relate this six step model to a workflow model that we use in class. The first three steps would be inputs in organization. The fourth step would be people with their tacit knowledge, skills and capabilities, where five and six would be behaviors or activities and the sixth step would be an output.

CREATING DISCIPLES: THE TRANSFORMATION OF EMPLOYEES INTO TRAINERS 4

In Martin & Hrivnak (2009) article, authors were trying to show us a different solution for how to avoid lay-offs, and spending less money. As we already know, the training program is a progressive level of development and an organization needs to train in the order to develop employees’ strengths. The tactic they came up with is to lower the cost of training by using employee training another employee. That is the solution they are proposing to their problem.
As managers, we need to look at the solution and be a judge of it. I think, in theory, this model will work, but when we try to implement it into the organization, it can create a problem. And there are few reasons for it.
When you assign employee to train another employee, you are changing their job description. You don’t know if this employee has any desire to train others or can fit as a trainer. Are they qualified? Do they have enough knowledge, skills and capabilities? What will happen if this trainer fails, and what it will do to this trainer’s self-esteem and reputation if they fail?
I experienced this model on myself when I was working for a medical office. When I was hired I had just a basic training from our team leader and only after few short months I was very good at my job. With my past experience, my skills, my education and knowledge, I was progressively advancing and was getting more and more assignments, that weren’t part of my job description. When doctors and our manager realized that I can perform well and can finish any task given to me, and I have skills and now institutional knowledge, they decided to use me for training new employees.
Of course, my company was saving money by using me as a trainer, but they weren’t giving anything in return to acknowledge that. When we are training employees we are not just
CREATING DISCIPLES: THE TRANSFORMATION OF EMPLOYEES INTO TRAINERS 5

training them for the job, but we are training them for the future. (Nonaka, 1999) That is why performance management is important and fits in the training and development as well performance evaluation and goal setting. And in my case, I didn’t see any progression or growth and after five years I just left the company.
Overall, the article was somewhat helpful to understand what an organization needs to do with the selection process of choosing the right person for the training program. When a company focuses on “why” and “how” approach, how it will help with choosing the insiders or outsiders. And by following those six steps from the model it might help the company to develop a properly trained employee. But personally for me, if I would have to choose, I would go with SECI model, because it’s more structured and gives the employee an opportunity to grow.

References

Donovan-Wright, Mary Anne (2002) “How Teaching Employees to be Trainers Pays Off.”

Eisaguirre, Lynne (2008) “Using Current Employee as a Powerful Recruiting Tool: The TEAM Approach.”

Erven, Bernard (2006) “Training New Employees.”

Martin, H. & Hrivnak, M. (2009) “Creating Disciples: The Transformation of Employees into Trainers”

Nonaka, Ikujiro (1999) “The Knowledge-Creating Company”

Narlock, Dennis (2009) “New Employee Training on Continuous Process Improvement – Strategies and Methods to Touch Every Employee.”

Nornberg, Vanessa (2012) “New-Hire Training: 5 Foolproof Steps.”

Self Assessment

I feel that I deserve an A because I believe that I have a clear understanding of the message the authors were trying to deliver to the reader. I understand what steps and procedures a company should follow to develop disciple trainers.
I deserve an A because of the hard work and dedication I put into writing both papers. I believe I have used proper transition words to connect ideas and I used minimum of 3 sentences, and maximum of 5. I also proofread my article to see if I made any grammar errors and I have properly cited information. And overall, I think I did a great job in writing both of papers, since English is my second language.

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