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Productivity benefits of employer-sponsored training: A study of the Australia transport and logistics industry

Prem Chhetri ( RMIT University , Melbourne, Australia)
Victor Gekara (Business IT and Logistics, RMIT University , Melbourne, Australia)
Alex Manzoni (Faculty of Higher Education, William Angliss Institute of TAFE, Melbourne, Australia)
Alan Montague (Business IT and Logistics, RMIT University , Melbourne, Australia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 3 October 2018

Issue publication date: 8 October 2018

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1065

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of employer-sponsored workforce training on employee productivity in the Australian transport and logistics industry. It challenges the quantitative notion of the ratio of input–output per labour hour as the single most important measure of productivity.

Design/methodology/approach

The study utilised a mixed-method approach, involving online and on-site survey questionnaires and on-site semi-structured interviews of employers, employees and students within the industry. Survey questionnaires were administered to Vocational Education and Training (VET) learners to determine the dimensions of productivity gains, while qualitative interviews were conducted specifically to capture employers’ perceptions and expectations of the benefits of training.

Findings

Results show that the relationship between employer-sponsored training and workforce productivity is multi-dimensional where, ideally, all essential dimensions must be fulfilled to effectively achieve sustainable productivity level. One dimension is the quantitative measure of increased performance as an outcome of enhanced knowledge, skills and competencies. Another relates to the increased self-confidence, job satisfaction and pride. The third dimension is the cost savings that come with increasing employees’ overall awareness and appreciation of occupational health and safety. The results show that, aside from the dominant theories on training and labour productivity, the perception of the benefits of training on workplace productivity is not merely limited to the conventional understanding of productivity as a simplistic relationship between resource inputs and tangible outputs.

Practical implications

Firms should consider redefining the benefits of training to include employee well-being and individual contribution to common team and organisational goals. Organisations therefore should broaden the notion of productivity to incorporate intangible benefits.

Originality/value

The use of multi-method approach to investigate the views and perceptions of employees, employers and trainers about the productivity benefits of training and key concerns and challenges for the industry.

Keywords

Citation

Chhetri, P., Gekara, V., Manzoni, A. and Montague, A. (2018), "Productivity benefits of employer-sponsored training: A study of the Australia transport and logistics industry", Education + Training, Vol. 60 No. 9, pp. 1009-1025. https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-02-2017-0029

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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