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Human resource management (HRM) is a combination of systems, practices, and policies that affect employees’ attitudes, behavior, and performance. Sound HRM practices contribute towards maximization of employees’ productivity and ultimately the company’s profitability. HRM core practices include HR planning, recruiting, selection, compensation, training and development, performance management and promoting employee relations. This paper will focus on the training and development functions of HR department at FedEx.
FedEx Training and Development Functions
Fredrick Smith founded FedEx in 1971. It was originally known as Federal Express, and it is involved in the delivery of overnight documents, parcels, packages, and heavy freight. This nature of business depends on FedEx’s ability to meet its clients’ expectations; therefore, there is a need for all employees to work together to ensure that all the operations run smoothly. As a result, FedEx requires the corporate vice president for HR to set HR objectives in line with those of the CEO to ensure consistency. The HR manager also sits in the strategic management committee.
FedEx strongly believes in training because it improves an employee’s performance and productivity, which in turn influences the service quality, retention efforts, and profitability. The company started training its employees over 30 years ago, FedEx found that training improved performance and, subsequently, the company’s competitive advantage in the business. The company is committed to the slogan of P-S-P (people-service-profit), and the slogan is always at the centre of its training initiatives.
Training needs analysis enables companies to identify areas that need to be improved to avoid allocating resources on unnecessary training. The first step in FedEx training needs analysis is to interview those individuals concerned with supervising and delivering the task that is deemed unproductive (Noe, 2004). The company hires an external consultant to assess the need for training employees on a given task. The next step is to conduct a pretest, which is undertaken by all individuals who are supposed to undertake the training and if majorities of the participants pass, it may be safe to assume that the specific training need proposed may not be the solution to the problem. If the pretest depicts deficiency, the company plans full training in the proposed area. A post-test follows the training to measure the usefulness of training, and outstanding performance means that the training met its objectives.
It is extremely vital for FedEx to offer on-the-job training to employees who deal with the shipment of extremely dangerous goods, as it is a federal government requirement. FedEx offers this kind of training onsite to its employees to make sure they remain safe when handling these kinds of shipment (FedEx, 2012). New employees also undergo on-the-job training to equip them with adequate skills to perform their duties effectively. FedEx also uses coaching and mentoring training programs to increase employee performance. Experienced professionals guide their protégés, and FedEx has established measures to sustain this program because it gives the trainee an opportunity to learn so much from his trainer. Group discussion training is another training method employed by FedEx because it enables participants to raise their concerns, as well as save on time that would be used for one-on-one training. The company also uses interactive video training methods, majority of employees undertake this training to the end, and they conduct job skills tests to assess their understanding of the video.
The company’s success depends on the competence of its employees, therefore, it has invested in a Digital Assessment Management system, which enables the company to keep track of training guides for all its employees across the globe. The system finds new training guides, categorizes, and organizes them. This system has helped the company stay updated on recent training modules, in the integration of graphic image updates, and it has improved service quality and productivity of training materials (Extensis, 2012). The company uses consultancy services to establish training needs, sometimes to conduct the actual training and to evaluate the effectiveness of the training by conducting post-tests. For instance, the company used Business Model of Intercultural Assessment (BMIA) by Universal Consensus to determine the how the Chinese market works, what they buy, and how the Chinese make their purchases choices. The consulting company identified the need to train FedEx sales force in Southern California, and it conducted a BMIA pilot training for FedEx dubbed ‘selling to China’. This training increased customer retention, reduced the sales force turnover, the salespeople were able to meet their quota targets, and there was a reduction in the sales cycle (Universal Consensus, 2012).
FedEx has established online training programs to educate its employees about harassment at work and the possible consequences of engaging in the behavior. This became necessary after a male employee was charged with harassing a female co-worker at FedEx in 2004 (Shilling, 2009). The company provides long orientation training programs to equip the employees with job specific skills for productivity (Noe, 2004). FedEx values people and their diversity, and it has won numerous awards for treating minorities in the organization with respect. The company trains its employees how to relate with each other without discrimination, and it trains minorities how to fit in the organization.
The company offers intensive training to individuals who handle hazardous shipment as part of safety and regulation requirements by the federal government. FedEx has a Leadership Training Institute (LDI) that is responsible for formulating and providing training to those in managerial positions (O'Hair & Dixon, 2008). The company also uses mentoring activities to provide personal training to employees who require exceptional sets of skills such as those in aviation and shipment of hazardous goods. It also uses interactive media, and employees who use these sources are rewarded to encourage them to continue using it and to act as an incentive to use the medium.
In France, FedEx has a DIF training scheme, which means that every employee is entitled to training. The company has invested in the DIF scheme by more than three times the minimum requirement. The company also spends colossal amounts of funds for its employees to advance their studies in order to develop other skills. Furthermore, the company has a culture of filling most of its positions internally, which gives its employees opportunities to develop themselves.
FedEx uses interactive videos to provide some form of training, and the participants are encouraged to take a test at the end of the training, which enables the company to evaluate the success of this form of training on a given employee and on cost-reduction. Interactive video training reduced training hours from 32 to 8 hours (Aamodt & Aamodt, 2010). There are also post-test exams from consultancy services meant to evaluate the usefulness of training methods. The company also undertakes an employee evaluation process every six months to assess the level of employees’ skills and knowledge sets. The findings are recorded in an online system referred to as Personal Records Information System (PRISM) and comparisons are made with the previous score to assess how much the employee has learnt from training activities. The company also uses a Survey-Feedback Action process to evaluate the performance of middle-level managers; subordinates undertake this survey. FedEx also uses a performance management system to check the performance of all employees.
Florida Theme Park is an example of an organization that managed to use training and development to bring a manager on board who helped to bring the company to profitability. In an industry where finding individuals with the right set of skills required in performing a job is difficult, Florida Theme Park uses training and development to mould its managerial team (Jones & Haven-Tang, 2005). FedEx is another successful company and this success can be partly attributed to its strong HRM practices. The company provides leadership training for all its managers at its Memphis institute, and this has enabled the company to retain its best talent.
Training and development is an essential function of HR departments because it empowers employees to be productive, and this has a direct impact on the service quality and profitability of an organization. FedEx has shown its commitment to training and development since it has invested heavily in the process, and it has made this a continuous process. The company understands that treating its employees with respect, training, and developing them are the only ways it can achieve outstanding performance. The company’s slogan reads ‘People-service-profit’, and this shows that the company values its people. As a result, the company has managed to defend its position in courier delivery services.