National anthemsOn 1 May 2000 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Isit a big, wide world out there or just a global village? Alison Thomas askssome overseas institutes to sum up the state of training and development intheir regionAUSTRALIARichardRawlingNational president, Australian Human Resources Institute and chief of HR& strategy for North Western Health in MelbourneTheAustralian economy is experiencing solid growth, which is flushing out skillsshortages, especially in the IT and services sectors. We are also going througha period of significant change as blue chip companies undertake majorrestructuring to cater for the new imperatives of e-commerce and networking.Bestpractice organisations are focusing increasingly on learning and access toknowledge in their bid to drive change. In-housetraining departments have been reshaped accordingly and in many casesoutsourced completely. Theemphasis in vocational training is shifting to priority labour market skillswhile in-house efforts centre on cultural change, designed to add value andenable companies to achieve strategic goals.Theuse of intranets is spreading as a cost-effective way of getting training intothe workplace and delivering information to remote workforces – a key issuehere, where population centres are many kilometres apart. The knock-on effectfor training consultants has been a demand for superior skills as the newtechnologies drive a push for excellence in instructional design and delivery.HONGKONGVirginiaChoiVice-president, Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management andchairwoman of training and development committee, HKIHRM, director of globaltraining consultancy Forum AsiaAlthoughunemployment stands at around 5.6 per cent our economy is recovering from thecurrency crisis and the figures for the first quarter of this year showeconomic growth of 10.8 per cent. Aftera period of major restructuring, companies are investing in human capital toequip people for the 21st century.Arecent IHRM survey of 74 companies, large and small, reveals that globalisationand IT are high on the agenda of HR and T&D directors. Oneof their priorities is to enhance the IT skills of supervisors and frontlinestaff. Another is to improve English language comprehension at all levels, asthey believe language skills are crucial if we are to compete in the globalmarket. This view is shared by the Hong Kong governor, who is investing heavilyin what we call the “workplace English campaign”.Inthe same survey last year, change management emerged as a major preoccupation,as companies grappled with the consequences of mergers and acquisitions. Whatjumps out this year is a new emphasis on creativity for middle to seniormanagement – in other words taking an innovative approach to business problems.USAMarkVan BurenDirector of research, American Society for Training and DevelopmentOneof the things we have observed in the United States over the last five to 10years is an increasing emphasis on the importance of developing people. This isborne out by our latest “state of the industry” report, which shows thatexpenditure on human capital has grown for three years in succession and thesigns are that this will continue.Thatis important because in the past training has often been subject to closecost-cutting measures. Itis particularly encouraging to note a shift towards investing in internal trainingresources. This represents a significant cost and suggests long-term commitmentas opposed to the short-term solution of turning to external providers.Unfortunately,although most companies believe that the training they do makes a difference,few have developed consistent methodologies to measure the pay off. However,our research into publicly traded organisations demonstrates a clear linkbetween investment in people and financial returns. Andwhile there is still a substantial gap between leading edge companies and otherbusinesses, the trend across the board is towards an enhanced emphasis ontraining as a critical factor in an organisation’s success.GERMANYUteGrafHead of membership, HR managers’ network and international affairs,Deutsche Gesellschaft für Personalführung (the German Association for PersonnelManagement)TheGerman economy is picking up again and for the first time the upturn isextending to East Germany. However, unemployment remains a key issue.Theaverage rate is around 11 per cent, but it varies widely from region to regionand in some places it is over 20 per cent. This presents a major challenge andvarious projects have been launched to equip people with the skills they needfor the modern working environment. Theshortage of jobs for young people is particularly acute and is being addressedby a variety of initiatives to encourage companies to increase the number ofapprenticeships they offer.Newtechnology presents another challenge. We used to be at the forefront of changeand we are struggling to maintain that edge. Specialist expertise is beingbrought in from abroad to make sure we not only jump on the train but travelwith it.Economicconstraints have led to companies targeting their training more carefully. Measurementand evaluation are taken seriously to ensure that training initiatives fulfiltheir objectives and bring tangible benefits to business. Trainingand development is seen as an investment but employers want value for money –which is only natural.