In modern business, developing a rapidly changing and knowledgable workforce to meet business pressures is crucial for company success, and central to this employee development is workplace learning. A study of the Spanish wine industry examined the types of rewards linked to employee training in the workplace, and the how these rewards differed by job categories and job functions. The findings indicated that multiple types of reward are used by companies in incentivising training, with financial rewards being less common than non-financial rewards. The study also found that training related rewards did not differ based on job type.
Key Topics: Training; Rewards; Learning culture
Title of Reviewed Article: Rewards for continuous training: a learning organisation perspective
Researchers: Alfonso J. Gil and Mara Mataveli (University of La Rioja).
Publication: Industrial and Commercial Training, 2016, Vol. 48 No. 5, pp. 257 – 264.
Setting the Scene
While there is some debate by researchers on the definition of workplace learning, broadly three learning processes have been identified, namely, informal, formal and accidental learning (Marsick & Watkins, 1990). Formal workplace learning involves planned learning activities, informal learning refers to learning that happens in situations not specifically intended for learning, while accidental learning occurs as unintentional learning such as through trial and error.
Learning culture, which involves the values and practices that encourage knowledge and competence development, has been shown to be closely tied to learning outcomes. Expectancy theory suggests that employees will work harder to meet training objectives, and engage in a learning culture, if they feel they will be adequately rewarded (Orpen, 1999), and are more likely to feel their company supports professional development if training programmes are effective and rewarding to employees (Dhar, 2015). Such learning rewards are a key element in the exchange relationship between company and employee (Armstrong, 2010).
Companies often determine training needs of their employees by referring to the company hierarchy, and so senior managers may have different training available to them than more junior employees (Ashton, 2004). There are limited studies on the types of rewards tied to employee training, and whether they differ by job, which the current research looks to examine further by determining if there are differences in training rewards across job category and job function of employees.
In the learning context two broad categories of reward are identified as monetary and psychological reward, such as job security (Hofmans et al., 2013). For the purpose of this study, the researchers expand these reward types to include a category relating to the availability of flexible working to perform training, including training within normal working hours.
The researchers proposed the following research hypotheses:
Hypothesis 1 – “No significant differences between setting rewards to training and job category.”
Hypothesis 2 – “No significant differences between setting rewards to training and job functions.”
How the research was conducted
230 participants took part in this study, all of whom were employees at one of 58 companies in the Spanish wine industry.
Participants completed a survey which was developed by the researchers to collect information on the types of training rewards available to employees in the sample companies.
Participants specified which job function and job category they were a member of. Job functions included ‘Direct work in warehouse’, Technical specialist, Administrative, Agricultural, and Senior management. Job categories included Managers, Department heads, Section manager, and General employees.
Key Research Findings
The results found the following to be the most prevalent types of rewards given for training: ‘time flexibility for training’ (37%), ‘training in working hours’ (34%), ‘job security’ (34%), ‘overtime pay’ (13%), and ‘salary increase’ (14%).
The results found no significant difference between job function and rewards for training, which fully supports Hypothesis 2.
The results found no significant difference between job category and rewards for training, with the exception of ‘time flexibility for training’, which partially supports Hypothesis 1.
The results found that the most frequent types of reward for training were workplace organization related, and financial rewards were found to be less prevalent. These findings suggest that training is often seen by companies as part of job activity that is performed during allocated work time, although the impact of the lack of financial rewards is unclear from the current research.
Results also indicated that job type did not generally relate to training level, aside from training being performed during normal working hours. The researchers suggest that this may be due to lower level employees in the study sample working on productions lines that could mean they have less flexibility regarding when to partake in training due to the nature of their work.
Organizational and Reward Implications
The finding that monetary rewards for partaking in training are less frequent than non-financial rewards is something that companies should consider. The inference from this study is that successful training can be implemented without additional monetary reward costs being incurred, if there is adequate focus on the non-monetary rewards in developing a successful learning environment, such as working arrangements which allow time to partake in training.
This study highlights the interplay of financial and non-financial rewards in developing a successful learning culture within companies. Given that the current study uses Spanish wine industry participants, it would be interesting to see future similar research conducted in different industries and countries to build on this study’s findings.
Source Article: Gil, A. J., & Mataveli, M. (2016). Rewards for continuous training: A learning organisation perspective. Industrial and Commercial Training, 48(5), 257-264.
Published by: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Armstrong, M. (2010). Armstrong’s Handbook of Reward Management Practice: Improving Performance Through Reward. Philadelphia, PA: Kogan Page Limited.
Ashton, D. N. (2004). The impact of organisational structure and practices on learning in the workplace. International Journal of Training and Development, 8(1), 43-53.
Dhar, R. L. (2015). Service quality and the training of employees: the mediating role of organizational commitment. Tourism Management, 46(2), 419-30.
Hofmans, J., De Gieter, S. & Pepermans, R. (2013). Individual differences in the relationship between satisfaction with job rewards and job satisfaction. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 82(1), 1-9.
Marsick, V.J. and Watkins, K.E. (1990), Informal and Incidental Learning in the Workplace. London and New York, NY: Routledge.
Orpen, C. (1999). The influence of the training environment on trainee motivation and perceived training quality. International Journal of Training and Development, 3(1), 34-43.
Santa, M. (2015). Learning organisation review – a ‘good’ theory perspective. The Learning Organization, 22(5), 242-70.
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