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The Bellwood assembly plant, of Borg-Warner Automotive Inc., administered the Career Ability Placement Survey (CAPS) to measure job success and identify work-related areas that need improvement. The CAPS measures eight cognitive dimensions: Mechanical Reasoning, Spatial Relations, Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Ability, Language Usage, Word Knowledge, Perceptual Speed and Accuracy, and Manual Speed and Dexterity.
Employees in most industries are required to adapt to new technology and must be trained in a variety of tasks that may extend outside their formal role, or job description. For this purpose, the CAPS functions as an efficient and comprehensive training and development tool for Human Resources.
The Life Skills program was developed to provide employees with help in basic skill attainment, such that a strong foundation could be established in order to increase their capacity to learn new skills more quickly. This was seen as a critical component of the company’s strategic learning initiative, designed to increase their ability to adapt to changing market conditions by leveraging their human resource capabilities.
All employees who were eligible for a promotion take the CAPS. Reading and basic math skills were emphasized because the trainers believed that improvement in these areas would positively influence performance related outcomes, as well as improve trainees’ personal lives.
The program was designed to last for up to two hundred hours; however, some employees were in the program for as few as forty hours before they met or exceeded their individual training goals. The CAPS has shown that it can be used in a variety of employment and industry settings.
The training needs assessment is an important part of any training program in an organization. Only when knowledge and skill gaps have been identified can a time efficient learning strategy be developed that is linked to an organization’s strategic plan. As such, executive leadership is able to better leverage their human resource capabilities to accomplish long term goals. Additionally, the availability of professional learning and development opportunities communicate an organization’s willingness to promote employee well-being by investing in programs that are designed to aid both employee and employer.