Training And Development In Alton Tower Resort

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Question :

Exploring role of training and development in enhancing service capabilities in hospitality industry: case study of Alton Tower Resort 

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Answer :


Training and Development of the capabilities of the existing work personnel are the two most crucial aspects of enhancing performance of any service sector organisation such as the hospitality industry of which the Alton Towers resort is a one segment. Such responsibility comes within the purview of the Human Resource Management authority. The creation of extensive organisational structures to ensure effective training impartation to the selected staff personnel of any business entity such as the Alton Towers resort is the primary functioning of the Human Resource Management department within any organisation. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the efficacy of the Human Resource Management practices prevalent in the Alton Towers resort to deduce the scope and prospect of improvement. The main objectives of the study is to identify, analyse and explore the status and necessity of training of the Alton Tower resort personnel and the role of the HRM service in managing the training and development programme, to understand all the issues associated with workforce training and development of potential and to formulate greater recommendations for Alton Tower resort to evolve the processes for better training and development of service delivery potential of its workers. The researcher here deploys different theories, approach processes, research methods   and models such as Herzberg’s theory of motivation, Reactive Approach, Proactive Approach, Active learning approach, Inductive and Deductive research approach with the application of Explanatory, Exploratory and Descriptive Research designs. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are used to collect the data from different sources. The researcher used 35 working staff and 4 managers of Alton Towers resort to collect the primary data. For the secondary data, the researcher uses books, journals, magazines, websites etc. All these techniques will help the researcher to increase the relevance of the research topic. Quantitative and qualitative both types of data are collected by the researcher to analyse the topic in a detail manner. The researcher uses Stratified sampling for the staff members and cluster sampling for the managers.


Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Introduction 

Training and development are the key principles for an organization in order to develop and improve management system so that the organization can reach the top in its marketplace. In this aspect, managers of certain organizations have to be very careful while leading management systems. In order to do so, managers first have to be careful about human resources of a particular organization. Accordingly, in Alton Tower resort, staffs and employees’ training objectives are much cared by the management of this organization. Training and development are included respectively in human resources of Alton Towers resort. Therefore, employees of this tower are trained significantly in order to serve its customers respectively.

1.2 Background of the topic

 The research of training and development of Alton Tower resort must be evident in order to grow its reputation and development in the recent marketplace of organizations (Uzzo, 2013, p.73). In this aspect, employees and staffs should be trained decently so that they can serve their customers more significantly and respectively (Wang, 2016, p.106). In order to do so, it is important to follow the technological, legal, social and economic environment of recent organizations as by following these environmental backgrounds, Alton tower management can go further to make plans and to produce ideas about training and development so that service of this resort towards its customer becomes pleasant and peaceful (Dimmock and Cummins, 2013, p.14).

1.3 Background of the organization

 Alton Towers resort has been invented in Staffordshire, England. There has been included a water park, theme park and hotel complex respectively ( Merlin Entertainments Group basically operates this resort from the beginning. However, a theme park of this resort has been opened first on 4th April, 1980. The hotel complex has been begun from 1996. This is the most attracted resort of England in most recent days. This is to be mentioned that these parks of Alton Towers have a particular time to visit for the customers.

1.4 Problem statement

 In order to gain trust and to provide pleasant service to the customers, Alton Tower resort provides many human resources policies including training and development of employees. The newly recruited employees must be trained significantly so that not a single customer feel unpleasant environment within this resort. Therefore, management must be careful about HRM activities as well as they have to provide extra HRM practices in order to develop its customers as well as market value in most recent days. 

1.5 Aim of the study

 The chief aim of Alton Tower resort is to provide its customers perfect hospitality regarding pleasant and caring services to them. In this aspect, the management system of this tower is providing developed training procedures for employees and staffs those who are recruited newly. Therefore, the management has to be much careful about the human resource management of Alton Tower resort respectively so that the customers of this particular resort get perfect services they want specifically. In this aspect, the principle focus must be on training and development system of Alton Towers and this can provide this organization with some modern pleasant environment for the customers those who usually visit there and also for new customers.

1.6 Objectives 

1. To analyze present status and training needs for the employees of Alton Tower resort

2. To find role of HRM on training and development program  

3. To explore effects of training and development of employees

4. To understand issues related to training and development in Alton Tower resort

5. To recommend effective strategies for Alton tower resort in terms of training and development 

1.7 Research question 

1. What are the present status and training needs for the employees of Alton Tower resort?

2. What is the role of HRM on training and development program?

3. What are the issues of training and development in Alton Tower resort?

4. What are the effects of training and development to be explored on employees?

5. What recommendations can be made for Alton Tower Resort for training and development programs?

1.8 Rationale of the study 

Alton Towers resort in England always tries hard to provide great service. There are two topics of researching this study of training and development (Poell and Van Der Krogt, 2014, p.1044). 

What is the issue? Though this resort has a good reputation in the most recent marketplace of such organizations, yet they face some grievous problems regarding their service to the customers (Pandy and Rogerson, 2014, p.185). This is happening because of the tough business condition in England. In this aspect, management of this particular resort is also trying to develop its management system in order to produce modern training and development program for employees in Alton Towers.

Why is it an issue? If service and expectations of customers are not fulfilled properly by the management, then those customers can leave this resort and can go to some other organizations in order to fulfil their expectations and basic needs (Coetzer et al. 2012, p.165). But they are trying hard to provide pleasant service to its customers by allowing debit cards, credit cards, inventing different themes inside the resort like a water park, theme park, hotel complex and much more. Management is trying to invent many interesting themes which can attract many customers respectively. 

1.9 Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study on training and development of Alton Towers is mainly to produce new as well as fruitful procedures to train newly recruited customers and other customers so that they can provide pleasant and caring services towards the customers respectively. If employees do not get proper and effective training regarding their job prospect, then it is impossible for them to serve their customers in caring manner. Therefore, human resource management of Alton Towers has to produce modified training and ideas in order to train newly recruited employees and other employees respectively. In this aspect, trainees also need to focus on their learning subjects in order to learn the concepts of services which they have to provide to all customers or clients.

1.10 Structure of the dissertation

Regarding research on training and development program in Alton Towers, researcher has defined this study in 5 chapters respectively. After that, those chapters are described in detail by the researcher. In order to get those chapters in short glance, a structure of the dissertation has been shown below: 

Figure 1: Structure of dissertation

(Source: Created by researcher)

1.11 Summary: In order to summarise this chapter, it is mentioned that this study on training and development in Alton Towers specifies development and improvement of this organization in its recent marketplace. Although marketplace of such organizations is in the toughest situation, this developed training system helps all the employees of this resort to learn about their service which they serve towards their customers. 

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

Human resource management is an essential segment for any kind of organisation and in order to retain efficient performance, it is necessary to maximize the contribution of employed professionals in order to meet organisational goals. Therefore, training and development seems to be the key prospect of human resource. It is quite undoubted that without having proper guidelines and work-prospects a respective employee cannot provide optimum efforts. All of these requisites have engaged countless experts to make researches and analysis in order to find a proper way of training having a fruitful outcome. This chapter has discussed concept of training and development, organisational needs for effective activities of Alton Tower resort, evaluation of the needs of training, effectiveness of HRM for maximising training and development.

2.2 Conceptual Framework

With the help of conceptual framework classification of different models and theories is easier to interpret the case study in a standardised way. By interpreting the theories and models the researcher can explain the methods of HRM of providing training and development programmes to the employees. 

Figure 2: Conceptual framework

(Source: Created by researcher)

2.3 Concept of HRM

Human resource management has came into greater fame in the mid of 1980s. The key function of HRM is to optimize the performance of the employees by providing them standardised training and development programme. Organisational success mainly relies on the well trained and developed employees. 

As Armstrong and Taylor (2014, p.132) has defined Human resources are the most important and dynamic resources of an organisation and therefore there is a need of attention towards the employees from the management of organisation whether the workers understand the full perspective of their performance. 

Activities like training and development of human resource rely upon the strategies and policies of the organisation. An organisation with proper development and training programme that is systematic training programme there is a requirement of description of job and working environment of the workers. The functions of HRM department include the training, recruiting, development programme, grievance, appraisal, maintenance of human resources. As opined by Ehnert, Harry and Zink (2014, p.30), the HRM department of an organisation is concerned about the skill, knowledge of employees and ability of the employees to work their job effectively and efficiently.

2.4 Concept of training and development need

The training and development programme in Alton Tower resort has strategic positioning and it continued with achieving the organisational objectives and goals. Training programme of a company is an effort to facilitate workers learning of the work related competencies. Wilson (2014, p.74) has commented that the process of obtaining and transferring of skills, abilities and knowledge through the training and development is a specific task of a company. In order to meet the present and future challenges of organisation there will be a need for training to the employees to improve their skills. As opined by Storey (2016, p.87), this activity also focus on the growth opportunity and career development of the workers in the business by expanding effectiveness of individual as well as team work. According to McKenzie and Woodruff (2014, p.129), a comprehensive development and training programme can also create the competitive advantage. Training and development activity plays an important role towards the success and growth of the organisation. Developing the employee's performance level appropriate training should be provided to the workers for the fulfilment of the organisational goals. Hopkins (2014, p.147) has suggested that proper training and development plans and policies can increase the productivity and quality of work by providing accurate working environment. The purpose of training and development programme is mainly enhancement of a company’s ability for the adoption of new technology in the company and building of efficient and effective working group.

2.5 Theories and models of HRM

Different theories and models of HRM are discussed as follows-

Maslow’s Hierarchy of need theory- This theory has been introduced by Abraham Maslow based on the motivation of people by 5 universal needs. First psychological needs include food, shelter, clothing the basic needs of an individual. An employee working in an organisation also has the basic needs. The employee has to fulfil his psychological needs according to his expectation. Psychological needs of a worker include appropriate working environment for the employee. 

According to Maslow (2013, p.87), safety needs in this theory consist of security and shelter. A desire of stability, security, protection and freedom in the working environment mainly the safety needs of an employee. A minimum level of employment security should be provided to the worker.

Social needs of a worker based on this theory include love and belongingness. In the organisation this need of an employee can be fulfil by coordinating and collaborating with co workers.

Esteem needs include self respect, self esteem. In the workplace worker expects a level of respects from the other workers and management team of the organisation. 

As opined by Nuttin (2014, p.168), self actualisation needs include continuous self development. Working in an organisation employee expects continuous growth opportunity and career development by the training and development programme conducting by the HRM.

Figure 3: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need Theory

(Source: Nuttin, 2014, p.168)

Herzberg’s theory of motivation- Frederick Herzberg had proposed this theory of motivation which is known as two factor theory or motivator-hygiene theory. Herzberg explained that there are factors regarding to the job satisfaction and dissatisfaction. 

Motivational factors- Motivational factors can create positive satisfaction. Motivational factors can lead to superior and appropriate performance of the employees. These factors can be regarded as rewarded factors to the workers. Hoseyni et al. (2014, p.1042) The factors include in these part are recognition, sense of achievement, responsibility, growth and opportunities and meaningfulness of the work. The need of training and development of workers is to contribute to their growth and opportunities for fulfilling their job to achieve organisational goals.

Hygiene factors- For retaining motivation at the workplace hygiene factors play an important role. If there is no existence of hygiene factors in an organisation then there is a chance of possibility of dissatisfaction. The hygiene factors are pay, fringe benefits, physical working conditions, company policies and administrative policies, status, interpersonal relations and job security. Providing training and development to the workers also include the workers should be informed about the administrative and company policies. It is the duty of the HRM to provide job security during the training and development programme. 

Figure 4: Herzberg’s Theory of Motivation

(Source: Hoseyni et al. 2014, p.1042)

2.6 Role of HRM in training and development programme

In training and development programme the role and responsibilities of human resource management in an organisation has to be evaluated properly for the effectiveness of the programme. An organisation cannot create a good team of workers and professionals without the human resources. 

Recruitment and training- Role of HRM in case of Alton Tower Resort have to include mainly recruitment and training. The human resource department has the responsibility to arrange the training and learning programme for the workers. Designing of particular job criteria according to the plans and strategies of the organisation it is the duty of the HR department to allocate jobs according to the matching criteria. 

Maintenance of work atmosphere- As suggested by Kaur (2015, p.650), this is the responsibility of the HRM of maintaining the work environment. A good, clean, healthy working environment can create benefit for the workers for the fulfilment of their job effectively and efficiently. Cooperation, collaboration and friendly atmosphere in the organisation can provide job satisfaction to the employees. Training and development programme also provide job satisfaction to the workers.

Performance appraisals- In the training programme the HRM provides suggestions and recommendations and also pointed out the workers weaknesses that can be improved by the development and training programme. As defined by Mansoor et al. (p.787) HR department communicate with staffs regarding the job description and allocation of tasks should be done according to the learning programme of workers. 

Need of organisational changes, regular and continuous personal, professional and staffs development and provision of equal job opportunities to the staffs can be pointed as the roles and responsibilities of human resource management in training and development of workers in Alton Tower Resort.

2.7 Training and model approach

Regarding the training and development programme in Alton Tower resort, 3 approaches can be followed by the organisation.

Reactive Approach- In training and development programme the approaches of training is a reactionary term. Delivery of technical and other skills should be provided to workers.

Proactive Approach- All the learning activities and tasks are included in proactive approach. Competitive advantage, corporate and business level strategies should be aligned in this approach for the training and development of the employees. 

Active learning approach- In active learning approach management team and trainees of organisation play an important role for improvement and development of skills and knowledge of employees. According to the statement of Burke and Noumair (2015, p.128), the organisation in our case study Alton Tower resort need to make sure that the employees continue their learning programme to increase the demands for jobs and the company can achieve competitive advantage.

2.8 Effectiveness of HRM for maximising development and training 400

Human Resource management manages organizations in order to improve services provided by employees. Accordingly, HRM of Alton Towers has to be effective in order to provide training and development program so that the employees get proper and fruitful training about their service towards the clients or customers. In other words, people must say that HRM is the chief support in every organization including Alton Towers resort. As cited by Burke and Noumair (2015, p.128), HRM of this organization has huge duties in order to maximise this training and development program of this organization. Prayag and Hosany (2015, p.250) have classified various managements, HRM needs to manage in order to manage the organization respectively. Those managements include talent management, performance management, knowledge management and so on.

Talent management: In this management, it is to be mentioned specifically, talented and capable employees are recruited respectively. As opined by Noe et al. (2015, p.170) the chief duty of HRM of this organization is to select most talented employees in order to train those workers effective training so that they can serve their best to the customers or clients of this resort in near future. Therefore, HRM is effective in maximising training and development program in Alton Towers.

Performance management: This is another field in order to develop training process of employees and new recruiters of Alton Towers resort. In this field, the employers have to look over the employees under training. As opined by Jehanzeb, K. and Bashir (2013, p.157), they have to examine those employees about their training development. They have to examine whether they have learnt proper job prospect or not and how they are performing their job prospect. If there is any fault in their learning outcome, then it is again a chief duty of human resource management to train them properly regarding their job prospect. Therefore, performance management is remarkable for HRM of this Alton Towers resort.

Knowledge management: Knowledge management refers to the knowledge of newly recruited employees and other employees. As cited by Law (2015, 150), with the help of this management, HRM can look over the employees how much knowledge they have regarding their job prospect. After recruiting some employees, management has to identify some employees while training period, those who have effective and fruitful knowledge regarding their job strategies. Torres (2013, p.655) has stated that management must gain some added knowledge from those employees which help them to serve their customers in a decent manner. Therefore, HRM includes this knowledge management in developing training program of Alton Towers resort. 

2.9 The literature gap

There are different issues that the researcher has faced while gathering resources and conducting the research. Practically, theories of HRM and training needs are varied according to different business scenario. Besides that, the reliability and quality standard of literature review have been marginalised by limited time period. Credibility of a research is directly related to secondary sources and quality research studies. Therefore, gaps of literature review are still prevailing. 

2.10 Summary

In the above discussion, researcher has reflected an overview of literary resources regarding training and development need especially for hospitality sector. Different theories and models are established to gather support training programs and development needs in workplace. The researcher has also provided a conceptual framework along with possible gaps faced while conducting the research. However, such quality resources have greatly helped the researcher to conduct entire effort. 

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction 

Formulating a well structured method before conducting any kind of research is essential. It reduces the complexities of the project under taken and makes working easier. Research Methodology is basically the procedures and methods which will be followed during the entire project to conduct the research. There are a few very common research methodology models other than that a researcher can formulate one of his own. Here the researcher justifies the method adopted and why the philosophies relating to it and tools to be used during the researcher. Here in this case we will be using the methods of qualitative and quantitative analysis using primary data. Descriptive statistics will be used as a tool. 

3.2 Method outline

Method outline indicates of the research philosophies, approaches taken to conduct the research, Data resources, the places from where the data relevant to the project is to be collected or has been collected, and data collection analysis  is how it to be collected and what are the outcomes to it. In this project it has been decided that post positivism would be used as the research philosophy with deductive a descriptive approach as research design. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are used to collect data from different sources. Here it has been decided that a sample of 35 employees and 4 human resource professionals of Alton Tower Project would be interviewed to draw the desired data and be used as the sample population. This would help in increasing the relevance of the project.

3.3 Research Onion

Figure 5: Research onion

(Created by the researcher)

3.4 Research Philosophy

Selection of research philosophy is essential as it helps the reader understand the project properly. The choice of the philosophy depends entirely on the nature of the project and best suited to the case scenario. The different philosophies have its own advantages and disadvantages (Knobe and Nichols, 2013, p.89).The different research philosophies are Positivism, Post positivism, and Realism. As mentioned earlier Post positivism has been used as the choice research philosophy in this case (Eriksson and Kovalainen, 2015, p.124). 

3.4.1 Justification of research philosophy

Post positivism has been chosen as the preferred research philosophy as it will enable the researcher to make analysis of the research topic in a standardised manner. Post positivism also ensures that the hidden aspects of the topic are included in the research. This philosophy also enables in reducing research time and the deadline is near it is an apt policy to follow. Moreover the chosen research philosophy enables in minimisation of error.

3.5 Research Approach

Research approach enables the researcher to formulate a structure or format for the study. It enables in making a flowchart or schematic functional diagram of the procedures to be followed one by one. It enables in reaching fast outcomes (Smith, 2015, p.136). The research can be completed with deductive or inductive approach. According to the availability of data or information the researcher selects the research approach. Here in this case deductive and descriptive approach has been chosen. The deductive approach relates to the practical application of theories and models in research (Kingsman, 2014, p.107). The researcher uses this method to gain detailed and practical information regarding the topic.

Figure 6: Research approach

(Source: Smith, 2015, p.136

3.5.1 Justification for Research approach

Deductive approach works in a wide spectrum in the field of research. Providing and analysing a general overview or providing analyses to theme specific problem. As the researcher is unable to go for observation and build new models the researcher has chosen for this specific topic. Deductive approach allows helps the researcher to complete the process within time limitation.

3.6 Research Design

Research design refers to a overall study that the researcher would like to incorporate in a coherent and a logical way. Ensuring that the research problem is properly addressed (Kingsman, 2014, p.98). There are three types of research design which could be put to use and those are like Explanatory, Exploratory, and Descriptive research design.

Figure 7: Research design

(Source: Kingsman, 2014, p.98)

Descriptive Research: This is the process which enables in designing and identification of the research issue properly. It enables in interpreting and describing gathered data properly.

Explanatory Research: Explanatory research is the kind of research which focuses on explaining the prevalent situation and the outcomes as a result of it. It finds out the cause rather than providing solution to it.

Exploratory research: It expedites ways and possible measures in providing outcomes to solving the problem. It is used mainly when the issue is not properly defined. These projects require innovation and inventions to address the research problem. This form opens scope for further research 

3.6.1 Justification for Research design

The research topic chosen here is descriptive research. As the data and information is available from within the organisation and there is no scope of gathering it from outside. The specific form of research is able to provide answers to the problems and questions raised by the research. Descriptive research also enables the researcher to understand the topic properly and ensures that proper standards of research are also maintained.

3.7 Data collection method

Data collection can be of two types’ qualitative data and quantitative data here in this case we would use both the methods quantitative and qualitative data. 

Quantitative Data: Refers to numerical data on which mathematical tools could be analysed to provide mathematical, statistical, intuitive analysis.

Qualitative Data: These data are collected from case studies, historical researches, book and journal reviews, and interviews. The data are descriptive in nature and provide detail information regarding the topic (Silverman, 2016, p.58). Here the research contains interview of 4 managers and questions have been made in a semi structured. 

3.7.1 Data Source

The source can be of two types’ primary data and secondary data. Primary data is collected directly from the field and from the targeted group in hand whereas secondary data is collected by statistical and research organisations. These data are basically processed unbiased and error free can be readily put to use. Primary data other hand is not processed and may be biased. Inferences made on the basis of primary data might not be accurate. Here the data used is primary use as there is no other way to gather secondary data.

3.7.2 Data analysis

This is the part where researcher needs to analyse the undertaken data with the help of various analysing tools and this will help the reader to understand and decipher the topic better and will help in explaining the research problem lucidly. Conclusions and recommendations are also made on the basis of this data analysis. 

3.8 Sampling method

Sampling method is method of choosing the space from where the data is to be collected from. Statically sampling can be of various types, simple random sampling with or without replacement. Stratified sampling, cluster sampling etc (Flick, 2015, p.108). Non sampling methods can also be used in this respect. Here in this case we would be using simple random sampling of 35 employees within the organisation without replacement. 

3.9 Population and Sample Size

Population is the entire amount of individual living in area, working in an institution, or the total number of people involved in an activity whereas the sample population is a selected few or an individual who are considered for the opinion within the population space. Here in this case a sample population of 35 is chosen among the entire population of the company. Sample population has to be carefully chosen so that the bias can be more or less reduced. 

3.10 Accessibility Issue

Accessibility issue is the issue of having proper access to the data, which is the researcher is able to get the information he or she needs according to the need of the project. It often occurs that during a project information is not available due to inaccessibility. Such issues might happen because of various reasons such as classified data, sources beyond reach. Besides that, the researcher has interacted with a selected sample from a particular business scenario and in that concern, there is a possibility that responses may differ according to geographical location and business scenario. Finally, it is also possible that responses of staffs and managers can be biased due to organisational norms and ethics. 

3.11 Ethical Consideration

Ethical considerations in this research have been highly maintained and gathered data have been used only for conducting the research and not for any commercial use. Besides that, the data has not been exposed for the respective organisation’s policies and procedures. Selected sample i.e. managers and staffs are not forcefully included in the conversation, but it has been managed as a voluntary participation.  

3.12 Research Limitation

There are different limitations prevailed while caonducting the research and most of the obstacles are faced regarding limited time and allotted fund. In order to make a wider research, it is important to manage enough time and fund. Besides that, the researcher cannot assure that all of the provided data are valid and carry realistic approach.  

3.13 Time table for Research 

ActivitiesFirst WeekSecond WeekThird WeekFourth  WeekFifth WeekSixth WeekSeventh Week
Selection of the topic        
Collection of data  (secondary sources)ü   

Literature review             
Research technique selection                
Collection of primary data    

Data analysis and interpretation     
Developing Conclusion     
Formation of draft     
Submission of final work                  

Figure 8: Timetable of the research

(Source: Created by researcher)

3.14 Summary

In the chapter of research methodology, the researcher has specified the techniques as well as tools used while conducting the research. It has also been analysed that different kinds of research need different techniques and approaches. Therefore, a justification for each chosen technique has been provided.