Globalization, differences in tastes/preferences and competition in business environments have called for companies to implement policies that makes them competitive. Organizations, whether in service, products, public or private entities, need physical and human resources; scholars in strategic business management have agreed that human resources are the greatest asset that an organization can have; without which no business transaction can take place.
Just like physical assets like machinery need repairs, human resources skills need to be sharpened developed and new skills acquired. Personnel managers of an organization has the task of ensuring their company has an effective team always; they do this through training, mentoring, coaching, and counseling of employees of different levels within the organization.
Leaders have the main role of mentoring and coaching their juniors; however, they also need to be trained, sharpened and given new skills. It is through an elaborate, responsive and effective human resources development via training that an organization can tap intellectualism in its human capital (Meinolf Ariane and Ikujiro 1-23).
The fashion (appeals) industry is competitive, with both domestic and international players; second hand clothes in some countries also threaten it. A company in such an industry should ensure it has an effective human capital that can keep rejuvenating the company to boost its competitiveness at any one point.
Zappos is an online shoes and apparel company with its head quarters situated at Henderson, Nevada, USA; it is barely twelve years old; Nick Swinmurn founded it in 1999. To remain competitive and venture in more places with its products, the company has implemented training programs for its human capital (Zappos Official Website).
Quarterly per year, Zappos human resources managers with the assistance of line and top managers conduct employees appraisal to establish the contribution that the employee has had in the past period under review. It is through the appraisals that training needs of employees are established (Zappos Official Website). This paper analyzes training program for worker and manger at Zappos Company.
Brief history of the company
Zappos is an online shoes and apparel company with its head quarters situated at Henderson, Nevada, USA; it is barely twelve years old; Nick Swinmurn founded it in 1999. Swinmurn got the idea to invest in the company after he searched for his favorite brown pair of shoes in vain; he pondered over the idea and he saw an opportunity in the market to invest in the sector.
In the same year that he had missed his favorite pair of shoes, Swinmurn approached Tony Hsieh and Alfred Lin, and they jointly started an online footwear shop that they named as “ShoeSite to Zappos”. One year down the line, the company merged with Venture Frogs, which added an additional capital to the growing capital base of the company and jointly they adopted the name Zappos.
According to the company’s audited financial statement of 2009, the company was worth $1.2 billion in 2009. To venture and adopt better online selling skills, the company sold some of its shares to Amazon.com in 2008; currently the company’s chief execute officer and chief finance officer are Tony Hsieh and Chris Nielsen respectively (Zappos Official Website)
Training Programs for workers and managers
After a successful recruitment and section process, the expertise, knowledge and skills of employees need to be grown within the company. Personnel development offers a company some human capitals that have skills to develop strategies and policies responsive to the needs of the market at any one time. Human resources management teams with the assistance of line and top managers have the role of maintaining the right employees in quality and quantity teams.
Generally, to have a winning team, organizations should put in place elaborate programs for hiring, training/learning, development, retaining, and redeployment of its staff. Training, learning and development ensure that human resources expertise and talents have been tapped effectively. Human resources intellectualism, creativity, and innovativeness are developed via an elaborate training process; when these attributes have been developed, they offer a company a competitive advantage (Milkovich and Newman 34).
Generally, there are three approaches to training of human capital, they are:
Training: training is a planned occasion thing that a company employs from time to time to improve the professionalism and experience of an employee. Other than improving the skills of employees, the method is used when giving employees new skills and changed strategies, it may be periodical or sometimes a continuous process depending with the needs of the company.
Mentoring: leaders within an organization has the main role of mentoring their subordinates’; it takes day-to-day operations of a firm where leaders guide their subordinates on the right way to operate and do staffs; this is so in the move to attain organizational goals and objectives
Coaching: coaching approach is mostly on a certain field or areas that management feel they need to equip their employees better, they feel the urge of improving the expertise in that field, for example incase a company has adopted a new system, it may coach its employees on how to use the system.
Identification of the need for training programs
Identifying the training needs within an organization is one of the trickiest things facing management; however, a company with good leadership will not have the problem since the leaders are on the ground with the employees. There are different approaches to determine the areas that need to be trained they include:
Performance level analysis: this is where the management compares the actual performance in an organization and the set goals and objectives, when doing this the potential of the business should be well understood; if there is a deficit, then it means that somewhere has a problem from this angle then the management can start diagnosing the problem. Where is training needed, the focus should be on areas and departments that require some training.
Industry rate approach: Within an industry, there is an average rate of production that the industry is expected to operate at; if the current company finds itself operating below this set level then an alarm should be raised, the most important parameter when using this approach is to consider the industries employees ratio production. If the company finds that the employees are doing lower than the expected rate, then it means the employees needs some training.
Appraisal approach: this follows usual appraisal method where the human resources are assisted by supervisors and line managers to establish the areas that employees needs further training. Supervisors should even recommend training for some members of their staffs other than the whole team.
Change and different policies implementation approach: Some changes within an organization calls for training of staffs, when such changes have been implemented, then the company has to acquire the needed new skills; this is one of the most common and easy approach of recognizing the areas that needs approach. For example, a company that did not have a computerized system, then after implementing such a strategy, then there is need for training among the team members (Kleiman 67).
Evaluation of the Training Programs
Evaluation of a training program t of takes different forms depending with the nature of training that has been taking place. At Zappos the role of evaluating the success of a training program is placed on supervisors and line managers as well as human resources team.
After a successful training, the management should assess the success of the process; assessment may be at the point of end of training in the form of exams (if the training was formalized and required exams), in normal appraisals, the training is expected to have an improved performance.
The outcomes of the employees after a training process is a sure indication whether the training they underwent was successful or not; in the case the performance remains the same, then the training is believed not to have been a success; when there is a change, then the organization should find the program effective.
The main training that are undertaken by Zappos are those that involve the development of new products and new marketing approaches; a programs is said to be successful if a certain implemented design yields to an increased revenue for the company in the form of reduced cost of production or an increase in sales. The management believes that a training well-undertaken lays a foundation to further training in other areas thus training is continuous and evaluation is continuous.
After a successful training process, an organization should undertake massive research on areas that need further training; on the other hand, if need be trained employees are considered for promotions and more responsibility allocation.
Systems of performance appraisal of employees
Zappos human resources managers have developed an effective staff appraisal and development policies; the company adopts a balanced score card approach where the performance of an employee is not only gauged by the contribution he has had in the organization but also by the attitude, perception and the innovativeness of the person.
To enable employees perform their duties effectively, continuous training system and employee’s appraisal is important. It helps management establish areas that needs improvement. Some organizations have employees training as a continuous process to ensure that employees are up-to-date with the changes in the industry.
Motivational measures should be put in place to ensure that employees are loyal to the organization and they work efficiently. This ranges from attractive salaries or/and benefits, to developing a good working environment. This ensures that employees are retained as assets in the organization the following is the main stages that the company undertakes when appraising the performance of its staffs:
Identifying and describing essential job functions
The company has job descriptions for every position in the company; the contract is signed by the employee and used as the basis of evaluating the progress after a certain period; the company has is quarterly appraisals with the main one happening at the end of the year and used to adjust salaries. Appraisal of staffs is done with collaboration of supervisors, human resources officer and the staff evaluated is involved
Developing appropriate performance standards
The standards that an employee should have are set by the corporate structure and organizational goals, some of the policies that the company looks into are ethical business in the organization, upholding to the company philosophy and having a positive attitude towards different issues in the company.
Performance management and rewards
An appraisal system is expected to come up with two sets of areas that need address, those people to be rewarded and those areas that need training. The areas are known from the joint appraisal, which the manager and the staff have to agree and sign.
Monitoring and assessing performance
Other than knowing/gauging the performance rate of an employee, appraisals are expected to offer management platforms of performances that they should maintain with an employee. It is the policy of Zappos management that an employee’s last appraisal result be considered when gauging him in the current stage.
Giving and receiving feedback about performance
An appraisal model is expected to offer some feedback to the management on the success of the implemented policies and the support that management has accorded to the company. As employees are appraised, it is the policy of Zappos human resources management to ask the employee to write an advice note to the management detailing what they think should be improved to make them perform better.
Planning education and development opportunities for staff to improve work performance
As illustrated earlier, Zappos appraisal system aims at establishing the areas that needs improvement; after the areas have been established, the next step is putting on measures to improve the performances in those areas.
Generate solutions to performance management issues
Employees advices on what they feel should be done to improve their performance is considered by the management and if there is anything that the management feel should be done to improve the working condition, then strategies to that effect are implemented.
Appraisal of employees is taken as normal human resources tasks, the management looks at the outcomes as part of the staffs input to the managerial decision making. They are taken with the strength and seriousness they deserve (Henderson 12-45)
Systems of payment of wages and salaries for the employees
Employees sell their man power to their organization; Zappos management appreciate the efforts put by its employees in ensuring that things have been done within the organization; they reward their employees in different ways with wages and salaries being the most obvious ways of employees rewarding.
According to international labor laws, organizations are expected to have good pays for their employees, although the laws do not dictate on the company on the amount of wage or salary they should pay, they are expected to have an effective payment strategy.
Zappos pays its employees on monthly basis and ensures that at no one point do employees go without the amount they were promised by their Zapoos. After an appraisal or a promotion, staffs salaries are raised using a rate that has been adopted and developed by the human resources managing team.
When the company is employing new staffs, it has divided the human resources into different grades, in every grade, there is a minimum wage and a maximum wage that an employee in that grade should be paid. At entry, it really depends with the bargaining power of the employee and the situation at hand to set the wage/salary rate.
For example, when the company is doing mass employment, it does not offer an employee a chance to negotiate for wage rate, however it offers them a predetermined rate but promises to increase the salary depending with the rate of performance that the employee has.
Other than the cash wages that an employee gets from the company, the management has other non cash benefits that accrues to an employee; they include sick leaves, medical schemes, retirement schemes, education policies, employees share ownership schemes and the company accepts to be a guarantor to employees when they are taking loans.
At the close of the year, the company undertakes its financial calculations as well as analysis, when it has attained corporate goals and objectives, it is the norm of the company to give its employees some bonus pay.
Bonus is pegged on the performance of the employee, those employees who have had an extra ordinary performance during a certain period under review are offered a high return than those who have failed to make their ends meet. During festive seasons, the company offers its employees some amounts to go and have fun with; they include Christmas bonuses, Lama-than bonus, Easter bonus and paid leave bonus; the bonuses are given regardless of the religion of the employee.
Zappos human resources team with the guidance of top management reviews the company’s salaries and wage structure with time; the adjustments are aimed at ensuring that the company has high rate of pay that can attract talents and people with record of accomplishment in the industry.
It is important to note that the apparels industry is one of the most volatile, it needs employees who can predict the future and analyze the trend in fashion with precision, and this will assist the company to develop products that are responsive to market needs. To attract such expertise, the company attracts these experienced people by their salary package as well as other motivational policies adopted.
One of the major role that human resources department plays is to ensure that the company has a wage rate slightly higher than that offered by similar companies in the industry; this helps in motivating employees and keeping them with high spirit and morale to come up with better ways of handling business in the organization (Schilling and Kluge 337-360)
Experienced and well-trained personnel are assets to an organization; they are an edge of competitive advantage, it is the role of human resources management assisted by supervisors, line and top managers develop an orchestrate team. Human capital within an organization should be appraised periodically to gauge the level at which employees are contributing to the welfare of the company, and reward them of their efforts appropriately.
Other than gauging the level of performance and rewarding employees accordingly, Zappos Company uses appraisal results to develop effective learning and training programs; the success of the young company in the apparels industry has been attributed to continually train human capital that innovates new processes or products that either increase the company’s sales or reduces its cost of operation.
Henderson, Richard. Compensation Management in a Knowledge-Based World. 9th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall,2003.print.
Kleiman, Lawrence. Human Resource Management: A Tool for Competitive Advantage. Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing,2000.Print.
Meinolf, Dierkes, Ariane Berthoin, and Ikujiro Nonaka. Handbook of Organisational Learning and Knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2003.Print.
Milkovich, George, and Newman Jerry. Compensation. New York: McGraw-Hill,2006.Print.
Schilling, John, and Kluge Annette. “Barriers to organizational learning: An integration of theory and research”. International Journal of Management Reviews, 11.3(2009): 337–360. Print.
Zappos Official Website. Zappos. 2011. Web. 23rd April. 2011.