Training Across Multiple Locations

Developing a System That Works

Stephen Krempl (Author) | R. Wayne Pace (Author)

Publication date: 04/13/2001

Training Across Multiple Locations
  • Provides practical solutions to the business problem of distributing training to multiple locations
  • Introduces a new and practical way to use assessment to create a sustainable training and development function
  • Shows how those involved with training and development can make bottom line contributions to the company
  • Provides a model for calculating return on investment (ROI) for technology based programs
  • Provides practical solutions to the business problem of distributing training to multiple locations
  • Introduces a new and practical way to use assessment to create a sustainable training and development function
  • Shows how those involved with training and development can make bottom line contributions to the company
  • Provides a model for calculating return on investment (ROI) for technology based programs

In this era of rapid globalization, human resource development professionals in every type of organization face the problem of managing training and development across many different, often widely dispersed, sites. Training Across Multiple Locations offers a comprehensive, proven model for designing, building and assessing every aspect of a multiple location training and development (T&D) system. Stephen Krempl and R. Wayne Pace detail how to integrate training from multiple locations into a comprehensive organizational strategy, and how corporate training can align those multiple locations with a single corporate vision.

Training Across Multiple Locations draws from numerous real-life examples to show how distance learning technology-including intra-nets, web-based training, and computer-based training-is being used to manage multi-point training at companies like Motorola, Ford, Boeing, Kinko's, Hewlett-Packard, and others. With technology, the authors reveal, training organizations are able to extend their reach and distribute training over a far wider audience in ways that may make current approaches to training less relevant and even obsolete. And perhaps most importantly, they provide a model for calculating return on investment (ROI) for these technology-based programs.

Krempl and Pace present a detailed review process for evaluating the effectiveness of multiple location training and development systems and provide specific advice on how to conduct the review and how to share data to enhance unit effectiveness. They also include a unique questionnaire that helps teams assess how well they are carrying out their T&D responsibilities and how well they are integrating their activities into the corporate business plan.

Training and development functions survive by maintaining relationships with critical decision-makers at all levels in the organization. This process is often described in terms of politics and power-but Training Across Multiple Locations treats the issue simply in terms of how to get the job done. The unique process described in this book will encourage better preparation and more informed discussions and decisions, allowing managers to better anticipate problems and stay on top of key issues.

  • Provides practical solutions to the business problem of distributing training to multiple locations
  • Introduces a new and practical way to use assessment to create a sustainable training and development function
  • Shows how those involved with training and development can make bottom line contributions to the company
  • Provides a model for calculating return on investment (ROI) for technology based programs

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Overview

  • Provides practical solutions to the business problem of distributing training to multiple locations
  • Introduces a new and practical way to use assessment to create a sustainable training and development function
  • Shows how those involved with training and development can make bottom line contributions to the company
  • Provides a model for calculating return on investment (ROI) for technology based programs
  • Provides practical solutions to the business problem of distributing training to multiple locations
  • Introduces a new and practical way to use assessment to create a sustainable training and development function
  • Shows how those involved with training and development can make bottom line contributions to the company
  • Provides a model for calculating return on investment (ROI) for technology based programs

In this era of rapid globalization, human resource development professionals in every type of organization face the problem of managing training and development across many different, often widely dispersed, sites. Training Across Multiple Locations offers a comprehensive, proven model for designing, building and assessing every aspect of a multiple location training and development (T&D) system. Stephen Krempl and R. Wayne Pace detail how to integrate training from multiple locations into a comprehensive organizational strategy, and how corporate training can align those multiple locations with a single corporate vision.

Training Across Multiple Locations draws from numerous real-life examples to show how distance learning technology-including intra-nets, web-based training, and computer-based training-is being used to manage multi-point training at companies like Motorola, Ford, Boeing, Kinko's, Hewlett-Packard, and others. With technology, the authors reveal, training organizations are able to extend their reach and distribute training over a far wider audience in ways that may make current approaches to training less relevant and even obsolete. And perhaps most importantly, they provide a model for calculating return on investment (ROI) for these technology-based programs.

Krempl and Pace present a detailed review process for evaluating the effectiveness of multiple location training and development systems and provide specific advice on how to conduct the review and how to share data to enhance unit effectiveness. They also include a unique questionnaire that helps teams assess how well they are carrying out their T&D responsibilities and how well they are integrating their activities into the corporate business plan.

Training and development functions survive by maintaining relationships with critical decision-makers at all levels in the organization. This process is often described in terms of politics and power-but Training Across Multiple Locations treats the issue simply in terms of how to get the job done. The unique process described in this book will encourage better preparation and more informed discussions and decisions, allowing managers to better anticipate problems and stay on top of key issues.

  • Provides practical solutions to the business problem of distributing training to multiple locations
  • Introduces a new and practical way to use assessment to create a sustainable training and development function
  • Shows how those involved with training and development can make bottom line contributions to the company
  • Provides a model for calculating return on investment (ROI) for technology based programs

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Meet the Authors


Visit Author Page - Stephen Krempl


Stephen Krempl is an HRD professional with over fifteen years experience in the field. He is Vice President of People Capability for Tricon Restaurants International in Dallas, Texas, and also serves as vice president of the Asian Regional Training and Development Organization.



Visit Author Page - R. Wayne Pace

R. Wayne Pace is Professor Emeritus of Organizational Leadership in the Marriott School of Management, Brigham Young University and adjunct professor in the School of Social and Workplace Development, Southern Cross University, NSW, Australia. He is also a senior partner at STS International, Burlington, North Carolina, a consulting firm that bases its processes on systems thinking, continuous learning, and stewardship.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Nature of Multiple Locations Systems

Chapter 2: A Model for Creating a Multiple Location System

Chapter 3: Using Business Functions as a Frame of Reference

Chapter 4: The Role of Technology in the System

Chapter 5: Regional Centers with the System

Chapter 6: How to Assess Performance

Chapter 7: How to Ensure Survival

Chapter 8: How to Build Organizational Capability

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Excerpt

Training Across Multiple Locations

CHAPTER 1

THE NATURE OF MULTIPLE - LOCATION T&D SYSTEMS

In general, we can say that the larger the system becomes, the more the parts interact, the more difficult it is to understand environmental constraints, the more obscure becomes the problem of what resources should be made available, and deepest of all, the more difficult becomes the problem of the legitimate values of the system.

C. WEST CHURCHMAN

Vast business opportunities in Asia, South America, Africa, and other parts of the world have enticed many companies to expand their marketing and manufacturing capabilities worldwide. Truly, we are in a global age. Organizations all over the world are rushing to develop global operations. Odenwald (1993) has noted that “corporate human resource executives are setting up training management teams in regions around the world” (p. 160). This global expansion requires multinational corporations to examine how they manage the increased complexity of training and development (T&D) operations that involve multiple locations. Thus, we will begin by discussing the goals and impact of globalization on a multiple-location training organization and the three dilemmas that every training manager in this environment must face. How do we balance the desire for autonomy with the need for some central control and standardization? Do we position training and development near the power centers or near the people they serve? Do we want our professional staff seen as business managers or learning specialists?

GLOBAL BUSINESS

Doing business globally is a tremendous undertaking for a company’s internal business functions. Expanding beyond a company’s primary market into new areas of the world involves dealing with diverse ethnic groups, multiple cultures, varied languages, and different business practices. These variables, coupled with local laws and restrictions, can make it difficult to establish effective work systems and processes. Developing and maintaining effective workers and business operations in this environment may be one of the most challenging opportunities that the new global economy provides. It can be a recipe for disaster.

To support employees dispersed worldwide, some companies are establishing regional support centers, which often include services for more than one company or product. For example, when PepsiCo managed Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut restaurants, its major regions (Asia, Europe, and South America) each had only one regional center. However, that regional center served all three companies. These support facilities ensured that PepsiCo consistently and efficiently delivered high-quality training, regardless of the company or region.

The T&D function must consider various distribution systems for delivering its products and services to multiple locations. Figure 1.1, which illustrates some typical distribution systems, assumes a corporate headquarters that disseminates general policies/information to distant offices. Five distribution channels are represented in Figure 1.1. A multinational or multilocation corporation could utilize any or all of these channels to distribute services, products, or information. Communication may occur as indicated by channel A, directly from corporate headquarters to employees; channel B, from corporate headquarters to divisional or regional centers and then to employees; or channel C, from corporate headquarters to markets, then to specific product outlets/stores and on to employees. D portrays a system in which policy/information is distributed from headquarters to a regional center, on to divisional sites, then market locations, then to employees, and finally to customers/users. E is a similar system but shows training being distributed from divisions to licensees, on to franchisees, dealer/distributors, and finally their employees. The dotted line emphasizes that these units are not legally part of the parent organization. In fact, as employees of a distributor or franchisee, they may not even be employees of the corporation. Nevertheless, they are a vital component in the distribution of training.

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FIGURE 1.1 A Multiple-Location Distribution System

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FIGURE 1.2 Asia Region

The key intermediate point in the B and D lines is the “‘region’.” There is no universally accepted definition of the term region. Nye (1968) explains, “There are no absolute or naturally determined regions. Relevant geographical boundaries vary with different purposes; for example, a relevant region for security may not be one for economic integration” (p. 75). Nevertheless, a region is one important unit in many multiple-location training distribution systems.

For the purpose of clarity, we will think of a region as a geographic area defined by distinct business activity. Regions usually encompass more than one state or country. We may refer to the Asian Region (Figure 1.2) or the Latin American Region. For instance, an Italian manufacturer may classify the entire United States as a region. Thus, a region often consists of business units operating under a single corporate headquarters within a definable geographical area in which the company conducts business.

GOALS OF A MULTIPLE-LOCATION T&D SYSTEM

The T&D function has mission-critical goals. Among them are (1) to manage knowledge distribution, (2) to establish/support a culture that spans national and local organizations and connects them to the corporate culture, and (3) to enhance individual performance and organizational capability.

Distribute and Manage Knowledge

The primary goal of any T&D organization is to manage the flow of knowledge within the corporation. This goal represents a greater challenge in a multilocation system. The challenge lies in trying to capture this knowledge from the far reaches of the corporation. Doing so requires a systematic way of identifying, capturing, encoding, and disseminating the information. This is already a significant task and will become more important over time.

Knowledge management deals with the way in which information is distributed and used in an organization (Herling & Provo, 2000). In general, information represents the sounds and movements people make and the electrical impulses of machines before we respond to them. It is the impersonal sounds, actions, and impulses directed our way, intentionally or not. For example, when we answer the telephone, we respond to information, in this case sounds, and then make sense out of them. When we make sense out of information, it becomes knowledge. Knowledge is generally defined as having direct awareness of something, making sense of information. It is a particularly human activity.

Managing knowledge means that someone directs, regulates, maintains, and influences the sense that is made of public information—that is, information that is available to all parties. Thus, if you manage knowledge, you have the ability to influence what information employees use to make decisions and guide actions. Since the T&D function directs what information is available and influences how employees translate that information into knowledge, they have a tremendous impact on knowledge flow.

If we understand that a person’s perceptions are a function of the personal knowledge they have, then we can understand the immense responsibility we have for what people think and how they act. Every program, every contact that the T&D staff have with employees represents an opportunity to influence knowledge flow, which then influences individual performance and corporate capability.

Support or Enhance Culture

The second goal of the T&D function is to establish a culture that spans national and local organizations and connects them to the corporate culture. National culture consists of common perceptions and actions in a particular country. The most apparent aspects of a national culture are language, attitude toward time, use of space, and dominant religion.

Corporate culture is a system of shared beliefs and values that guide decisions and actions. T&D influences cultural issues as an outgrowth of knowledge transfer. As information enters our consciousness and sense making occurs, we store in our minds private knowledge, our special meanings. When we talk to others, private knowledge becomes public knowledge. Public knowledge about an organization—what we should do and how we should act— is the fabric of corporate culture. Since T&D distributes public knowledge, it follows that it is concerned with the culture of the organization. Thus, the T&D function must cultivate and maintain the culture, if the culture is to support the T&D function.

An organization’s culture emerges from the collective experience of its members as they share symbols, rites, and rituals. Bolman and Deal (1991) refer to this as the “symbolic frame” and compare the organization to a theater in which each person takes a role. The costumes, stage setting, and acting (ways of talking and behaving) convey the meaning of the play (the organization) to both the actors and the audience.

Like a play, an organization has a story line that articulates what is important in the culture. Business attire and uniforms become costumes. The daily enactment of the script reveals the story, and the symbols reveal those things that are stable and enduring. The ultimate expression of the theatrical metaphor is manifest at Disney theme parks, where employees are “on stage” at all times. Although Disney locations have elaborate stage settings, costumes, and scripts, each is a real business, similar to other successful businesses. Indeed, Southwest Airlines and Merrill Lynch have their own cultures that are also fully consistent with the theatrical metaphor. You may want to examine your corporate culture in terms of what its stage, costumes, and scripts say.

A strong organizational culture cuts two ways. First, unique, shared values develop a vigorous corporate identity, enhance employee commitment, reduce the need for formal controls, and create a stable social system. However, it may become rigid and thus project a narrow perspective and create a restrictive environment. If dramatic changes need to be made in the organization, a strong culture may offer strong resistance to that change, making innovation and adaptation nearly impossible.

A strong and clearly defined culture can provide a distinct advantage for multiple-location systems. Many organizations want to present a common “face” to the customer. That “face” represents the culture and values of the organization. Giving everyone the same “face” requires training—employee training, business partner training, distributor training. Strong cultures may underlie some other paradoxes in managing the T&D function in multiple locations. So, how do you bridge the gap between a strong corporate culture and the distinct local or national cultures? What strategies would ensure that the best outcomes are reached? Organizations expect T&D to gather input and provide leadership in achieving this delicate balance.

Enhance Individual Performance and Organizational Capability

The third goal of the T&D function in multiple-location systems is to develop a baseline of common knowledge and skill that spans regions and is consistent with corporate expectations. Individual performance improvement is an important goal of any T&D function, but doing that within a system of dispersed multiple locations is a great challenge. Without regularly updated information, reinforced and refined, individuals in distant locations have a tendency to evolve personalized and idiosyncratic interpretations that affect their decisions and actions.

A multitude of distortions, errors, and biases may emerge from distributing information through human systems, all of which may affect the performance and ability of individuals and groups. Quality, relevance, time-liness, and amount of information are critical variables affecting how employees do their work. Without the best knowledge, employees cannot execute their work competently. However, competence is not enough.

Herling and Provo (2000) explain that

“having a competent workforce allows the organization to maintain its competitive position. To move the organization forward and grow requires highly knowledgeable and skilled individuals capable of solving progressively more difficult and unique situational problems. In short, sustained organizational success requires employee expertise, not just employee competence.” (p. 5)

The ability of the T&D function to help employees access the knowledge necessary to enhance their existing abilities and develop expertise may determine the long-range success of the organization. In establishing a multiple-location system, T&D leaders may encounter common paradoxes that directly impact on the strategy they choose for their day-to-day operations.

PARADOXES IN MANAGING MULTIPLE-LOCATION T&D SYSTEMS

The nature of a multiple-location system lends itself to contradiction and paradox. The system has roots in a centralized organization such as corporate headquarters but must function in a local environment far removed and vastly different from the central unit. This paradigm gives rise to several questions. Where should T&D reside, and what criteria should be used to make that decision? Are T&D professionals primarily educators/trainers, or are they business thinkers whose venue is adult education and training? Who should control which aspects of the T&D function—corporate or regional? These issues must be explored as a multilocation system is designed.

Paradox 1: Business Managers versus Learning Specialists

Managers located in business units or operational units sometimes argue that T&D staff do not understand business or operational issues. They are educators. Thus, the operations function often establishes its own training unit charged with business, technical operations, or sales training. T&D, then, handles only management development, a nonbusiness responsibility. One way to address this paradox is for T&D staff to be fully informed about business issues. This allows the function to be based where it can achieve its goals most effectively, engage in the most effective knowledge management, develop the most appropriate organizational culture, and improve the performance and capability of both individuals and the organization.

Paradox 2: Power versus Proximity

As a general principle, the T&D function should be located where it has the most positional influence. If human resources is an established function that carries the right budget and political influence, then T&D should be located there. However, if operations is the strongest unit, it should be located with operations. Making the decision based on positional influence also means that T&D could report directly to the chief executive officer.

Always, however, T&D should be closely connected with the people so that it can work effectively on knowledge management, organizational culture, and performance and capability improvement. It needs to be “out there” in the field where the work is performed. But the centers of power are usually not in the field. How does T&D maintain a close connection with the power base and still be near the people? The means to this end are simple and inexpensive. The keys are communication and visibility. T&D must have constant contact with the centers of power and keep those in powerful positions well informed about what is happening in the function. By conscientious use of the regular communication channels such as written reports or status update meetings, T&D maintains a presence with upper management. A more sophisticated approach would be to draft an advisory council or advisory board from among internal and external stakeholders or request the opportunity to present your plans and progress at a senior management meeting. The goal is to ensure that all parts of the corporation understand what T&D is doing and its impact.

Paradox 3: Central Control versus Regional Autonomy

In widely dispersed, multiple-location organizations, the issue of who controls the creation and distribution of T&D materials can become a difficult question. The dimensions of this issue are portrayed in Figure 1.3. The x-axis shows types of information to be developed and distributed as part of T&D functions; the y-axis identifies the location or level at which development and distribution could occur. As you can see, corporate headquarters (y-axis) has control over core operating standards (x-axis). This represents the most closely held issue at the center of the multilocation system. However, note that the units and markets exercise little control over core operating standards. As you travel farther from this central issue, both organizationally and geographically, you begin to see how control of information shifts toward the regional level, with divisions and regions exercising greater control over product information and functional development. By the time you reach the market and unit levels, there is almost no control over core operating standards or product information, but extreme control over individual development issues. Thus, it may be inferred that in a multiple-location system there is both autonomy and control at work, but the issues over which each location exercises that control vary greatly, with corporate having more control over issues affecting the entire enterprise and units/markets dominating more individual and professional development. This makes sense as you look at the stakeholders in each area. As you study the chart, attempt to locate your situation in the matrix. You can then decide whether T&D materials should be handled somewhat differently in your organization.

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FIGURE 1.3 Control versus Autonomy Paradox

The solid line running from left to right diagonally across the figure divides responsibilities of control and standardization from those of autonomy and customization. The dotted, arching lines indicate a zone of flexibility in which the decision to give up some control and provide more autonomy to subordinate units may happen. Corporate headquarters clearly controls the development and dissemination of core operating standards—little flexibility is evident here. However, as the chart shows, headquarters may relinquish control on such issues as product information, functional development, professional development, and individual development.

The issue of control versus autonomy in all forms of decision making permeates the relationship between headquarters staff and all others. The question becomes, To what extent can and should the multiple locations carry out their responsibilities independent of corporate headquarters? The answer to this question depends heavily on reporting relationships. In a multiple-location system that includes both domestic and international regions, the issue of who reports to whom and why is often critical.

Like the cycle of all things within organizations, the question will eventually be asked, “Why is the T&D function reporting to …?” Or, when a realignment is announced, the question becomes “Where should the T&D function report?” Still, these questions are still better than asking, “Should the T&D function be eliminated or outsourced? If you’ve done your job, downsizing or eliminating the department and outsourcing the entire function should never happen. It is better for managers to argue about where it should report than to disregard it as it silently disappears.

Questions about where a department should report reflect concerns about control and efficiency. In some organizations, the T&D function reports to the operations groups; in some organizations, it reports to human resources. Technical trainers often report to operations, while management development specialists may report to human resources. In some cases, a third organization—a corporate training function, such as that at Motorola—is also responsible for training. This third group may have its own separate organization and facilities. In such cases, at least two, maybe three, training organizations exist at one time—a corporate university, a regional center, and a local business unit.

In a multiple-location system, the T&D function should ideally have corporate, regional, market, and unit representation that mirrors their organizations’ structures. Such an arrangement helps resolve the control-versus-autonomy paradox by means of the division of activities between the corporate, region, market, and unit staffs. How responsibilities are divided may be analyzed by using the ADDIE model for instructional design (Gagne & Medsker, 1996; Swanson, 1996). Who does the needs analysis? Who does the instructional design? Who is responsible for courseware development? Program implementation? Who handles evaluation of T&D programs?

Are clear guidelines already established that spell out the nature of relationships among these different levels and among the tasks to be performed? If guidelines are in place and followed, changes may not be needed. If no policy guidelines exist, they must be created. Policy development can be organized around the types of programs to be offered. For example, corporate headquarters staff can develop leadership training programs; the region can develop managerial programs; the markets can develop supervisory programs. Or, development can be divided according to predetermined guidelines associated with the ADDIE tasks. For example, the analysis of training needs can be shared as corporate headquarters determines the kinds of information to be collected while regional staff actual collects the data. Headquarters can determine the scope of the analysis and regional staff can conduct the actual fieldwork. The data can then be consolidated at headquarters and disseminated to distant locations. An alternative would be to complete the analysis for any particular program at the market level, supervised by divisional/regional staff. Decisions concerning the other elements of ADDIE—design, development, implementation, and evaluation—should also be included in the policy statement as they provide a basis for decision making and allow each level to determine how it can contribute to goal achievement. The key here is the creation of a clear policy statement. Multiple-location systems must rely more on policy statements in the areas of ADDIE responsibilities to manage the widely distributed locations.

Any discussion of the control-versus-autonomy paradox must include a consideration of the extent to which T&D is centralized at the corporate level. Control is needed, but the three T&D goals are affected by how much and how it is administered. Too much control may negatively impact individual performance, splinter organizational culture, or cripple knowledge management. Nevertheless, the regional/divisional function must operate somewhat autonomously from the headquarters function, with headquarters supervision. The region/division should maintain supervisory control over ADDIE activities at the market and local levels. The primary objective of this control is to guard against duplication of effort and allow for identification of clear roles and responsibilities for all training units. An effective way to achieve this balance is to create a model that defines what remains centralized and what will be left to the autonomy of the locations.

CONCLUSION

The globalization of business has given rise to unparalleled opportunity tempered only by the risk inherent in failing to manage the people and processes needed to fully utilize that opportunity. For the training and development function, the risk lies in failing to reach the mission-critical goals of managing knowledge in multiple locations, supporting diverse cultures, and enhancing performance across geographic and national boundaries. But the very nature of a multiple-location system embodies paradoxes that challenge even the best management talent. Are we seen as business managers or learning specialists? Do we position ourselves closer to the people or closer to the power? How do we attain the most effective balance between control and autonomy? The answer lies in adherence to a system encompassing all aspects of the training and development process. Toward that goal, the traditional training model, ADDIE, can be applied in a larger way to create and manage a multiple-location system. Chapter 2 will expand on this theme and discuss in detail how ADDIE can be used as part of the framework for building the multiple-location system.

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Endorsements

"As a learning impact researcher, I often hear comments similar to this, 'Our training can't possibly have 100% impact because our company is multi-national. We have offices all over the world with many different languages and cultures.' Those who believe this statement should read Training Across Multiple Locations. Rarely have I read a book that has so many good ideas and useable suggestions for enhancing learning across multiple locations."

-- Brent D. Peterson, Ph.D., Vice President, Research, Franklin Covey Company

"Globalization dumps huge challenges on those responsible for developing the workforce. Now, at last, here is a practical guide through that jungle. It poses all of the questions. Better yet, it gives you many of the answers. "

-- Jack Zenger, Vice Chairman, Provant

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