MIDLANDS STATE UNIVERSITY
FACULTY OF COMMERCE
DEPARTMENT OF MARKETING MANAGEMENT
The role and importance of graduate trainee programs on enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry in Zimbabwe
Research Project Submitted to the Midlands State University (MSU) Faculty of Commerce, Department of Marketing Management in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Commerce in Marketing Strategy degree.
APPROVAL FORMThe undersigned certify that they have read and recommended to Midlands State University for acceptance, a dissertation entitled:
“The role and importance of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry in Zimbabwe”
Submitted by PAIDAMOYO MANDIZVIDZA in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Commerce in Marketing Strategy Degree (MCOM Strategy)
DECLARATIONI, Mandizvidza Paidamoyo do hereby declare that this project is the result of my own assessment and research except to the extent indicated in the acknowledgements and references. This project has not been submitted in part or in full for any other degree or for consideration by any other University. As such, no part of this research in any form, electronic or photocopy may be reproduced for any other purposes other than academic without permission from the undersigned. I further declare that this research was approved by the Department of Marketing Management at Midlands State University.
Supervisor Signature______________________ Date________________________________
DEDICATIONThis project is dedicated to my beloved and caring parents, Mr. W and Mrs. I Mandizvidza, who not only mentored the attribute of hard working and perseverance, but also provided the financial and emotional support. I also dedicate this project to my sister who supported me to the end. I love you all.
RELEASE FORMNAME OF AUTHOR:PAIDAMOYO MANDIZVIDZA
TITLE OF PROJECT:The role and importance of graduate trainee programs on enhancing employee performance in tourism and hospitality industry in Zimbabwe.
PROGRAMME FOR WHICHMaster of Commerce in Marketing Strategy Degree
PROJECT WAS PRESENTED:(MCOM Strategy)
Permission is hereby granted to the Midlands State University Library to produce single copies of this project and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves other publication rights, and neither the project nor extensive extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author’s written permission.
PERMANENT ADRESS:2438 BoterekwaMaronderaDATE:APRIL 2018
ABSTRACTThis study focused on investigating the role and importance of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry in Zimbabwe. The specific objectives of this study were to:To examine the role of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry, to analyse the effectiveness of graduate trainee programs in the hospitality industry, to criticize the importance of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry, to find whether there is a significant difference between graduates who trained and those that did not in terms of employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry. Qualitative research methodology following a descriptive research design was used. A questionnaire was constructed to collect data and the target population for the employees in the group of hotels under study. So non-probability sampling was used to come up with sample size of 120. The major findings of the study depicted that graduate trainee programs plays a pivotal role and is important are enhancing employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry in Zimbabwe. The study recommends that GTPs should be done consistently and recruitment should be just. It also urges the Government to prioritize training of recent graduates to equip them with necessary skills to enter the industry and become more competitive in various industries.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI wish to acknowledge the following for the various roles they played in the fulfilment of this study:
My supervisor, Mr. T. Sibanda of Midlands State University for his dedication, encouragement and unwavering support.
To my lecturers for the entire master’s programme, I appreciate all the efforts you put in, in our quest for knowledge.
To my family, friends and professional colleagues, thank you for the support and understanding.
Special mention and gratitude to the most high GOD through whom all things are made possible.
Table of Contents
TOC o “1-3” h z u APPROVAL FORM PAGEREF _Toc511694019 h 2DECLARATION PAGEREF _Toc511694020 h 3DEDICATION PAGEREF _Toc511694021 h 4RELEASE FORM PAGEREF _Toc511694022 h 5ABSTRACT PAGEREF _Toc511694023 h 6ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS PAGEREF _Toc511694024 h 7INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc511694025 h 111.1Introduction PAGEREF _Toc511694026 h 111.2Background to the Study PAGEREF _Toc511694027 h 111.3Problem Statement PAGEREF _Toc511694028 h 121.4Research Objectives PAGEREF _Toc511694029 h 121.4.1Main objective PAGEREF _Toc511694030 h 131.4.2Specific objectives PAGEREF _Toc511694031 h 131.5Research questions PAGEREF _Toc511694032 h 131.6Significance of the Study PAGEREF _Toc511694033 h 131.6.1To the theory PAGEREF _Toc511694034 h 131.6.2To practice PAGEREF _Toc511694035 h 131.7Delimitations PAGEREF _Toc511694036 h 141.8Assumptions PAGEREF _Toc511694037 h 141.9Definition of terms PAGEREF _Toc511694038 h 151.10List of acronyms PAGEREF _Toc511694039 h 15UK – United Kingdom PAGEREF _Toc511694040 h 151.11Chapter Summary PAGEREF _Toc511694041 h 152LITERATURE REVIEW PAGEREF _Toc511694042 h 172.1Introduction PAGEREF _Toc511694043 h 172.2Graduate trainee programs PAGEREF _Toc511694044 h 172.3Benefits of graduate trainee programs to graduates PAGEREF _Toc511694045 h 202.4Benefits to the employer PAGEREF _Toc511694046 h 222.5Challenges associated with graduate trainee programs PAGEREF _Toc511694047 h 252.6Graduate trainee programs in Western countries PAGEREF _Toc511694048 h 252.7Employee performance PAGEREF _Toc511694049 h 262.8Chapter Summary PAGEREF _Toc511694050 h 30CHAPTER THREE PAGEREF _Toc511694051 h 313RESEARCH METHODOLOGY PAGEREF _Toc511694052 h 313.1Introduction PAGEREF _Toc511694053 h 313.2Research philosophy PAGEREF _Toc511694054 h 313.3Research design PAGEREF _Toc511694055 h 323.3.1Descriptive Design PAGEREF _Toc511694056 h 323.4Target population and sample size PAGEREF _Toc511694057 h 323.4.1Population PAGEREF _Toc511694058 h 323.5Sampling Methods & Techniques PAGEREF _Toc511694059 h 333.5.1Sampling Frame PAGEREF _Toc511694060 h 333.5.2Sampling Procedure PAGEREF _Toc511694061 h 333.5.3Sample Size Determination PAGEREF _Toc511694062 h 333.6Data sources PAGEREF _Toc511694063 h 343.6.1Secondary data PAGEREF _Toc511694064 h 343.6.2Primary Data PAGEREF _Toc511694065 h 343.7Research Instruments PAGEREF _Toc511694066 h 343.7.1Questionnaires PAGEREF _Toc511694067 h 343.7.2Interviews PAGEREF _Toc511694068 h 353.8Data collection and administering PAGEREF _Toc511694069 h 353.9Data presentation and analysis tools PAGEREF _Toc511694070 h 363.10Chapter Summary PAGEREF _Toc511694071 h 36CHAPTER FOUR PAGEREF _Toc511694072 h 374ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH FINDINGS PAGEREF _Toc511694073 h 374.1Introduction PAGEREF _Toc511694074 h 374.2Response Rate PAGEREF _Toc511694075 h 374.2.1Questionnaire response rate PAGEREF _Toc511694076 h 374.3Demographics PAGEREF _Toc511694077 h 384.3.1Gender, level of education and job position of respondents PAGEREF _Toc511694078 h 384.4Findings and Discussion PAGEREF _Toc511694079 h 404.5THE ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF GRADUATE TRAINEE PROGRAMS PAGEREF _Toc511694080 h 414.6The effectiveness of graduate trainee programs in the hospitality industry PAGEREF _Toc511694081 h 424.7Methods used to enhance employee performance and most effective one. PAGEREF _Toc511694082 h 444.8Significance between graduates who trained and those that did not in terms of employee performance in the hospitality industry. PAGEREF _Toc511694083 h 444.9Challenges associated with Graduate Trainee Programs PAGEREF _Toc511694084 h 454.10Chapter Summary PAGEREF _Toc511694085 h 46CHAPTER FIVE PAGEREF _Toc511694086 h 475SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS PAGEREF _Toc511694087 h 475.1Introduction PAGEREF _Toc511694088 h 475.2Summary PAGEREF _Toc511694089 h 475.3Findings of the study PAGEREF _Toc511694090 h 485.4Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc511694091 h 495.5Recommendations PAGEREF _Toc511694092 h 495.6Areas of Further Studies PAGEREF _Toc511694093 h 50REFERENCES PAGEREF _Toc511694094 h 51
INTRODUCTIONIntroductionThis chapter begins with an overview and a background of the research on “The role and importance of graduate trainee programs in the hospitality industry in Zimbabwe: A Case Study of Rainbow Tourism Group of hotel (RTG) and African Sun hotels. This chapter gives a general introduction to the research project. It starts by highlighting the background of the study, statement of the research problem, main and specific objectives and research questions that sought to be answered by the project. The chapter goes further to highlight the research assumptions, significance of the study, delimitations of the study, and limitations that inhibited the researcher during the course of the project, theoretical framework, major definition of terms and a summary of the chapter.
Background to the StudyIn recent years, there has been rapid expansion of higher education in UK. This has had important and deep effects on labour markets in the hospitality industry because employers need today highly educated and trained employees.
Graduate Trainee Programs (GTPs) are there to provide practical experience in which a recent graduate has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what she or he would have learnt throughout the experience. Doing GTPs provide opportunities for students to gain work experience and companies help them to get a job in the future. GTPs introduce graduates to the world of work and allow them to gain business experience, skills and knowledge that are necessary to succeed in today’s labour market. They allow recent graduates to connect their experience from the workplace, with the theoretical knowledge that they have explored during university.
Hospitality schools and industry professionals have been working together to provide GTP experiences that introduce students to different sectors of the hospitality industry, as well as expose them to the corporate culture and skills required by different companies. The industry ‘s professionals and hospitality graduates are to leverage one another’s abilities and resources for a successful internship experience, understanding underlying desires and motivations is key.
Today’s hospitality students pursue GTPs in order to test the waters of an industry segment for which they are interested in working post-graduation. For example, Oliver Tang, recent Cornell Hospitality graduate and now analyst at Horwath HTL in Atlanta, knew the company presented an ideal internship opportunity for him and credited to his interests in feasibility and development planning. According to Meredyth Thomas, Director of Career Services and External Relations at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration, students also seek GTPs for brand exposure. For example, a recent hospitality graduate from Boston University was exposure to the GTP and was empowered in guest-facing roles to make decisions without consulting a manager. She was also empowered to make judgement calls at the Front Desk so that she never had to leave when a guest was in front of her. Making on-the-spot decisions isn’t easy to replicate in the classroom, and was certainly paramount to her learning. Developing skills in multiple hotel departments has been noted as an important consideration when evaluating prospective GTP opportunities.
A study by Walter (2014), illustrates that the continuous growth in and expansion of the hospitality industry has led to exponential growth in positions that require certain technical skills. Hence, finding workers with the requisite skills remains a major challenge for employers in countries like Ghana and Nigeria. Employers have expressed concerns about the lack of adequately trained graduates and feel that educational institutions are not producing graduates with skills that match these industries’ needs hence the need to come up with graduate trainee programs to develop the graduates so that they match with the industry’s demands. In Zimbabwe the concept has been adopted but research however still lags behind on the role and importance GTPs in the hospitality sector in Zimbabwe.
Problem StatementAccording to Career Services Centre, the benefits of going through a GTP is to gain a better perspective of post-graduation employment by applying the principles and theories learnt during the course of the university. Also students can develop a personal work ethic and be able to investigate their career interests and prospective career goals. This program alleviates the development of professional contacts, which can help a graduate in the future for reference another company. By doing a GTP can develop a series of skills and knowledge that help graduates to choose from a wide range of possibilities about their future career. (Careers Services Centre, 2015-2017). However, in most countries across the African continent, particularly in Zimbabwe very few graduates go through GTPs and this is resulting in few skilled labour which matches the industry’s demand.
Research ObjectivesThis study was guided by the following research objectives:
Main objectiveThe primary aim of the study is to investigate the role and importance of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry in Zimbabwe.
Specific objectivesTo examine the roleof graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry
To analyse the effectiveness of graduate trainee programs in the hospitality industry.
To criticize the importance of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry.
To find whether there is a significant difference between graduates who trained and those that did not in terms of employee performance in the hospitality industry.
Research questionsThe study seeks to answer the following questions:
How do graduate trainee programs enhance to employee performance?
Are there significant gaps between graduates who went through GTPs and those that did not?
How effective are graduate trainee programs?
How can the hospitality industry create value in graduate trainee programs?
How to increase employee performance in the hospitality industry?
Significance of the StudyTo the theoryThe research will help to see how the theory can be applied and if at all it can bridge the gaps the researcher is trying to close. The research may also bring up areas that other students or researchers can research further and add on new data in the area of study. This study might therefore bring new insight in the area thereby contributing to the body of knowledge on the role and importance of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry in Zimbabwe.
To practiceOver the decades the debate about the role graduate trainee programs can have on employee performance has grown in importance and significance (Carroll 1999; Carroll and Shabana 2010; Lee 2008).Due to stiff competition in hospitality industry, the players in the industry tend to use all means possible to snatch customers from each other through having skilled competent staff. In Zimbabwe very few hotels are doing GTPs, hence due to that, this study will show how relevant graduate trainee programs are in enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry in Zimbabwe.
The period that was considered was from 2014-2017.
The research will be conducted in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe where the head offices and main offices of RTG and African Sun hotels are located.
The study aims to examine literature on shared value from a broader conceptual framework then review how this concept is applied within the hospitality sector from a global, regional and national perspective.
The conceptual framework is essential in the formulation of research objective of the current study. The conceptual framework has been formulated following the dictates of the research variables of the study. The research variables are graduate trainee program and employee performance. These two variables have been dissected as illustrated below
Various individuals in the hospitality industry in Harare will be interviewed. Interviews shall be conducted in and around Harare using open ended as well as closed questions interview guides. Both open and closed ended questionnaire shall be used to conduct the research. Since the area of study is somehow new exploratory research will be ideal so as to get insights on the area of interest and descriptive research will also be ideal so as to better explain the role and importance of enhancing employee performance.
AssumptionsRespondents are assumed to truthfully answer to all questions asked
The researcher will be able to draw a meaningful conclusion from the study
Respondents are assumed to answer to all questions willingly without any other influence except their willingness to participate
The sample size selected will be a true representative of the Zimbabwean market
Definition of terms
Graduate trainee- this is an individual taking part in a trainee program within a company after having graduated from university or college.
Graduate trainee program- this is when most large companies employing graduates have graduate training schemes in place. These companies tend to invest thousands in recruiting graduates who have demonstrated impressive academic ability but who have little or no experience in the world of work.
Employee performance-this is whether a person executes their job duties and responsibilities well. Many companies assess their employee’s performance on an annual or quarterly basis in order to define certain areas that need improvement.
List of acronymsUK – United KingdomGTP- Graduate Trainee Program
RTG- Rainbow Tourism Group of HotelsChapter SummaryThe introductory chapter focused on the background to the study that gave way to the development of the statement of the problem. The conceptual framework has been outlined as it led to the formulation of research objectives and research questions. The current research has been justified on the basis of its theoretical, practical and methodological contributions that are meant to make immense contributions to the body of knowledge where graduate trainee programs are concerned. In this section of the report assumptions of the study, delimitations and limitations of the study were also outlined. The following chapter will critically review related literature on graduate trainee programs and employee performance in line with the conceptual framework set out in this chapter.
CHAPTER 2LITERATURE REVIEW
IntroductionThis chapter presents the r?vi?w?d literature pertaining to the role and importance of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry in Zimbabwe. According to Shuttl?worth (2015), literature review is a critical analysis of a segment of a published body of knowledge through summary, classification and comparison of prior research studies, reviews of literature and theoretical studies. This chapter covers the definitions of graduate trainee programs and employee performance, the origin, forms and graduate trainee programs as well as advantages and disadvantages that they bring to employee performance. In this study the r?s?arch?r also r?vi?w?d the promotion of graduate trainee programs in both African and Western countries and the impact that it has on employee performance in Zimbabwe.
Graduate trainee programsMost large companies employing graduates have graduate training programmes in place. These companies tend to invest thousands in recruiting graduates who have demonstrated impressive academic ability but who have little or no experience in the world of work (Baum, 2015). A graduate training programme is a way of bridging the gap and graduate training programmes ease candidates into the world of work and give them the skills necessary to become part of the larger team. Busby (2016), argues that they tend to last either one or two years and some will offer students the opportunity to experience several different areas of business before choosing a final career path within the company. Employers’ websites and or recruitment brochures give details of these.
Chen (2015), asserts that graduate programs give candidates the opportunity to go around and experience the various departments of the company. These rotations allow candidates to find where their true interest lies within the different areas if they are still undecided when entering the program.During graduate programs, candidates will find that it offers plenty of support to help you adjust to the workplace and transition into the working life. Many workplaces would assign you to a buddy or mentor who could offer you more support and career guidance that would also help you work out your day-to-day responsibilities.
Researchers like Chi et.al (2015) reviewed that hospitality schools and industry professionals have been working together to provide Graduate programs give candidates the opportunity to go around and experience the various departments of the company. These rotations allow candidates to find where their true interest lies within the different areas if they are still undecided when entering the program,it’s the experiences that introduce students to different sectors of the hospitality industry, as well as expose students to the corporate culture and skills required by companies the student could eventually work with post-graduation. But if industry professionals and students are to leverage one another’s abilities and resources for a successful internship experience, understanding underlying desires and motivations is key.
However, Cook et.al (2014) argues that managers and front office executives in the hospitality industry seek adventurous, self-driven interns through engaging graduates in training programs. According to Dr. Peter Ricci, former consultant at Forbes Hamilton Management Company, (2016) and current Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program at Florida Atlantic University, when he was a consultant, their favourite interns were those with a sense of exploration combined with a can-do attitude.
Often-times overlooked yet necessary intern skills are soft skills surrounding communication, Ricci, (2016) asserts that recently at an internship strategy meeting at a resort in Boca Raton, Florida where industry experts agreed on this critical issue. He further postulates that the same soft skills that have been important for the past two decades, the ability to play well with others in the sandbox, the ability to empathize, and the truly hospitable attitude. Hence, the graduate trainee programs serve to close the soft skills gap that most recent graduate fail to close on their own.
The UK’s leading employers began the 2015-2016 recruitment season with ambitious targets for their 2016 graduate intake. The increasingly buoyant mood in the graduate job market in 2014-2015 had intensified the competition to recruit the best graduates and a number of high-profile employers struggled to fill all their vacancies in 2015. Despite these difficulties, the country’s top employers planned to hire over 2,000 additional new graduates in 2016, compared with the numbers hired in 2015. At the mid-season assessment of graduate vacancies in January 2016, although employers’ targets had been reduced, recruiters were expecting that the annual rise in recruitment would be at least 7%.
In July 2016, the final estimate concluded the annual growth in graduate jobs would be 8.4%, taking recruitment well beyond its pre-recession peak. However, the latest research shows that a total of 19,658 graduates actually started work with the organisations featured in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers – considerably fewer than had been expected. Whilst this still represented an increase on the number of graduates recruited in 2015, the modest annual rise of just 1.6% was substantially less than had been expected. It is clear that for the second year running, a significant number of graduate vacancies in key sectors were left unfilled, either because graduates turned down employers’ job offers or because they reneged on offers that they had previously accepted earlier in the recruitment season.
In Hergert et.al (2016) he stated that for some organisations, a lack of applicants for certain harder-to-fill vacancies made recruitment more challenging and at several employers, late increases to recruitment targets made it impossible to source additional graduates in time. In all, more than 800 graduate vacancies were left unfilled in 2016 and a total of thirty organisations reported having graduate positions that they were unable to recruit for.
A further fourteen employers took on fewer graduates than had been predicted in July 2016. Employers in the public sector and accounting ; professional services reported the biggest shortfalls in recruitment, with over 500 graduate vacancies remaining unfilled at the end of the recruiting cycle. This all is illustrated in the charts below.
Benefits of graduate trainee programs to graduatesAccording to Green and Chuang (2015), searching for early as GTPs can attract thousands of graduates annually. Having previous experience such as work experience or an internship can give one’s application the edge compared to other graduates. Deuster and Dickerson (2017), highlights that in the event that they are not successful there are other options and one include many employers recruiting graduates straight into positions and train them on the job. Smaller companies tend to attract fewer applications so their entry requirements aren’t as stringent but this does not mean the work is any less prestigious. The opportunities exist if one is willing.
Also students can develop a personal work ethic and be able to investigate their career interests and prospective career goals. An internship alleviates the development of professional contacts, which can help a student in the future for reference another company. By doing an internship you can develop a series of skills and knowledge that help students to choose from a wide range of possibilities about their future career. (Careers Services Centre, 2015-2017)
Graduate labour market offers information to students about any jobs available on the market, what recent graduates have done, average earnings that graduates can expect and also graduate recruitment trends. It is helpful to understand what a job in a real life is and identifies student’s options for future career developments (Wildes and Mount, 2016).
University of Wolverhampton (2015) states that the graduate labour market today is much more complex. Developments such as increased global competition and advances in technology mean that the workforce needs to be more highly skilled. This has led to many changes such as the importance of a degree when applying for a job, higher education is expanding and for today’s market there are many students with a degree, which they increase competition within popular sectors.
According to Birchall’s latest research (2016), people without any experience had little or no chance of being offered a place on their graduate training programmes. Even more strikingly, almost three-quarters of graduate vacancies advertised at investment banks and half the training contracts offered by major law firms this year are likely to be filled by former interns. Also, companies tend to recruit candidates who already have worked for them.
However, a research by Hunter and Hyland (2016) argues that employers expect graduates to have the discipline, knowledge and technical competence in order to demonstrate a broad range of skills and attributes that include critical thinking, team working, communication skills and problem solving. GTPs help students to develop these skills that enable them to find the desired job, to progress in their work and therefore to facilitate the success of the companies that they work for and contribute to society and the economy.
Good GTPs are specifically designed for university leavers and are structured to help provide valuable support and skills needed to build their confidence in the workplace. They also often provide the opportunity to study for further professional qualifications through on the job training (Hunter and Hyland, 2016). This means that not only do they the get the chance to put the skills they already learnt through their degree into practice, but can also develop and channel them with further qualifications to suit the particular career path they would have chosen.
The graduate schemes offered by the tourism and hospitality industry are just as valuable and can some cases can provide even more development opportunities. Working in a smaller environment often provides the chance to gain more experience and to be given more responsibility. According to a research done by Walo (2015) shows that many graduates are drawn to a company because of its culture just as much as the career opportunity itself. People want to work where they will be happy, supported, rewarded and motivated. A good way to gauge what a company may be like to work for is to look for any accolades which show they have a proven commitment to their staff, such as Investors in People or Best Employer awards.
Graduate schemes have a fixed schedule, and with that comes the security of a few years of work. If one undergoes training at a reputable company which is highly recognised they become more marketable to the industry they are in (McNeilly, 2016). For example, a hospitality graduate can be enrolled at RTG, the name recognition will look good on their CV. This will naturally increase the chance of landing different roles in the tourism and hospitality industry if they have a reputable reference.
Benefits to the employerGraduates earn lower salaries than experienced hires, but have huge potential therefore, it becomes affordable to do a GTP at any tourism and hospitality institution. The graduates usually have great ideas and skills that can make a huge difference an organisation. Graduates contribute approximately £1 billion of added value an economy of a country on an annual basis, according to research by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), 2016.
Studying helps students develop core transferable skills such as written and oral communication, problem-solving, presentation, organisation and data analysis (Montgomery and Van Dyke, 2016). Technical graduates will also have up-to-date specialist or technical skills gained from studies. Many will have experience of applying academic knowledge through work placements, maybe whilst at a competitor firm. This therefore bring in solid business skills in the organisation thus making it more competitive.
Richardson (2017), argues that graduates can inject new ideas and apply critical thinking from academia and recruiting them can also increase diversity within the work team and add new perspective in doing things. The graduate usually learns more quickly and provide more immediate financial returns and are more enthusiastic and willing to take on challenges Littlejohn and Watson, (2015) further postulates that they also understand and have the ability to adapt to change.
Cook et.al (2014) asserts that providing a career path for a graduate and enables them to reach management level within the firm and this helps to solve succession planning concerns. As they are new in the industry and based on their experience level they are less expensive than the professional experienced ones in terms of giving them remuneration. This becomes a cost effective factor for the organisation.
The graduates have not been to the old and repeated industry before or gain much exposure to it, hence it is chance for them be trained to give the organisation brilliant new ideas. Their view perspective will be from a different angle, different from those ideas and views than those previous had and this will be surely beneficial. Hunter and Hyland (2006), argues that once the graduates start being part of the organisation, they can also point out previous mistakes which were not paid attention in the past and new ways and new things can be implemented in the organization.
Graduates are new to their work which is the initial point or starting off their career, so that is why they tend to get very serious with their job and pay more attention to their work. The old employees or experienced one take it easy because of their past experience. According to Kent (2015) this may result in a slow work and lazy result. But the fresh ones are always serious and are willing to do overtime and take more projects to grab the attention of the people around them and to let them know of their talent and skills. This is the reason the work done will be ampler.
Raybould and Wilkins (2015) states that the new generation or the new people are very skilled in handling new software or technologies. That is why these people are more efficient than the old employees who are just following the old methods. The new graduates are more interested in getting information about new updates and making the work easier. They are very stealthy in the desktop and mobile chores and can add a new effect or twist to the work given to them. They are always willing to do good and new things which are beneficial to the organization that will be training them.
As the graduates are new to the place they are ready to learn and adapt accordingly and they are very enthusiastic about learning and knowing new things (Singh and Dutta, (2015). They won’t complain much and will work harder to prove how eligible they are for this job. These qualities of the graduate will help the company to grow in a new and better way. Utilizing these things will be beneficial for you.
McNeilly (2016), asserts that the graduates are just out from their respective colleges their minds are filled with good administrative and diplomatic skill. They are good in handling new software and have great computer skills. So having them as an employee will help to get more updates and news about the things which can make your work better and perfect. The old employees have a stereotype nature and believe that there working is the finest way and should be always considered to be the best additionally, they would not accept any changes. But the newcomers have the capacity or ability to change and this is very beneficial as they are always up to date with technology and what is happening in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Usually new people in the organisation are a good pack of listeners, because they rarely question on what should be done (LeMasitre and Pare, 2014). Instead they would do practically anything to gain experience from the industry, so it is quite easy to make them do anything. From a small assignment project to bigger one, they are the determined bunch of people who are enthusiastic and energetic to learn, hence hiring them would be profitable.
A study by Millar et.al (2017), that nothing can beat a learner at any stage, if a person wants to learn and do things differently than others, then success comes easily for the company. Recent graduates are still undergoing the learning stage., so there are practically a lot of things that can be taught to them and in return get amazing results for the company. If fresh graduates are handled properly, they will work practically more than the experienced ones. And they are the most eager people to learn about anything and everything.
Challenges associated with graduate trainee programsGTPs in the tourism and hospitality industry allows the graduates to rotate and familiarise with every department in the hotel, so that they become aware of their new working environment. Therefore, relationship building could also be a problem. This is so because once they are being rotated from department to department, there are less chances getting to know more people. This is a particularly big issue on generic business management schemes.
During a GTP one is more likely to do more shadowing while the training will be more wholesome, one would be given little opportunity to get stuck in and fail or succeed for themselves.
According to Aldi’s graduate careers page 2015, they hire 150-200 area managers every year and the year after, this creates reeks of an over-saturation of staff. There seems to be a general consensus that graduate schemes are either broad but not deep (too much rotation), or too restricting them on focusing on one area that they are good at. Unless the graduate specifically requests a transfer to another department or a plan for their training program they could end up getting stuck in that particular department.
Due to the hyper-organised nature of large companies, one is likely be restricted to a specific department, working on a specific set of tasks. This can cause motivational issues as well if the line of work is not interesting (Raybould and Wilkins, 2015). Usually after the completion of the training program there is no guarantee that they will be hired back as the organisation will highly likely to hire more graduates as they regard them as cheap labour.
According to Zopiatis (2017), there are two facets to GTPs thus, the first is that a number of graduates have complained about the amount of unnecessary training sessions they are forced to do. It seems that some graduate schemes treat these graduates like they know nothing about being a worker. Secondly, they are treated as a rookie for longer, for example, one can be on a two-year graduate scheme and even if they feel like they are ready for the next step and have proven their worth their program will not be altered till the end.
Graduate trainee programs in Western countriesToday’s hospitality students pursue internships to test the waters of an industry segment for which they are interested in working post-graduation (Walo, 2015). For example, Oliver Tang, recent Cornell Hospitality graduate and now analyst at Horwath HTL in Atlanta, knew the company presented an ideal internship opportunity for him, thanks to his interests in feasibility and development planning.
Oliver, 2017 asserts that he had recognized his strengths and interests in development planning while taking a feasibility class at Cornell and that before he connected with Horwath HTL he had an idea that this was something he wanted to do. Fortunately, he had the opportunity to live as an industry professional in development planning through assisting in feasibility studies.
Yoshihiro Kanno, recent graduate of Florida International University and now analyst with HVS in Tokyo, also pursued the internship to test the waters of his field of interest- consulting and valuation services. Yoshihiro also noted his ability to grasp the corporate culture at HVS while interning. The HVS culture attracts intelligent and motivated individuals and this challenged him every day, and the environment is extremely supportive because everyone was always willing to help.
According to Meredyth Thomas, Director of Career Services and External Relations at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (2017), students also seek internships for brand exposure. “Students want to work with as many brands as possible to experience the culture and cultivate skills the brands value that are difficult to learn in the classroom. For example, Kimpton values empowering employees in ‘guest-facing’ roles to make decisions without consulting a manager. A student who had interned with Kimpton noted she was empowered to make judgement calls at the Front Desk so that she never had to leave when a guest was in front of her. Making on-the-spot decisions isn’t easy to replicate in the classroom, and was certainly paramount to her learning.”
Developing skills in multiple hotel departments has been noted as an important consideration when evaluating prospective internship opportunities. Douglas Leff, recent graduate of Penn State University’s (PSU) School of Hospitality Management and now full-time Manager in Development at the Trump SoHo New York noted exposure to various departments as an essential aspect of his program.
Employee performanceThis refers to how employee conduct themselves at their work places and also how they adapt to their working environment. Employees don’t perform in a vacuum, there are a variety of factors, personal, company-based and external that affect their performance. Identifying these factors can help improve recruitment, retention and organizational results (Bannister and Balkin,2015).
The causes for dwindling productivity of employees could be a result of any of the factors to be discussed and these factors are to be considered before an employee is evaluated, (Campbell, 2015). K?rsl?y ?t al, 2015 asserts that if employees do not have the necessary capability, skill or knowledge to do the job, their performance suffers and they need to accomplish at the end of the day. Ambiguity about roles could be another reason for a drop in their performance.
Researchers like Campbell, 2015 articulates that unhealthy work environment is another factor that affects performance of employees and that a positive workplace culture boosts employee morale, creates a work environment that is enjoyable and contributes to increased productivity. He further adds that employees do not have the enthusiasm to work and are disinterested in the job, it would have an impact on their performance. Therefore, there is need to have right tools, equipment and resources in order to perform well and absence of these resources also could contribute to a dip in performance level.
Once the manager identifies the reasons for reduced productivity in his organization, he can take corrective action (Borman and Motowidlo, 2016, W?rn?r 2014). In cases where productivity suffers due to lack of right tools and resources, the manager will have to consider upgrading his set up. Training will be an option when it has been firmly established that inadequate knowledge or skill set is impairing employees’ performance.
Werner, 2014 furthers asserts that in such a scenario, employees need to upgrade their skills or knowledge using either traditional instructor-led programs, blended learning or eLearning. eLearning programs have a quick development time and can be launched across the organization within a short duration. They can be customized to suit the specific requirements of their employees. eLearning courses also offer employees the flexibility to upgrade their knowledge and skills at a time that is convenient to them.
Employees must be qualified to perform a job in order to meet expectations. The best fit for a job is identified by skills, knowledge and attitude towards the work. If an employee is in the wrong job for any of these reasons, results will suffer (Vayuvegula, 2017).Employees can bring skills to a position but there are likely to be internal, company- or industry-specific activities that will require additional training. If a process requires a new software package it’s unrealistic to expect employees to just figure it out; they should receive adequate training.
Borman and Motowidlo (2016), highlights that when everyone understands the targets and expected outcomes, it is easier to take steps to get there and measure performance along the way. Organizations without clear goals are more likely to spend time on tasks that do not impact results. Campbell (2015), argues also that employees must have the tools and equipment necessary for their specific jobs. This includes physical tools, supplies, software and information and outdated equipment, or none at all, has a detrimental effect on the bottom line.
Morale and company culture are both difficult to define but employees will be able to report when they are poor or positive. Poor morale exists when there is significant whining, complaining and people just don’t want to come to work. On the positive end, the workplace is energized by a sense of purpose and teams that genuinely want to work together (Vayuvegula, 2017).
Despite these factors their performance is evaluated inorder to see if they are worth keeping or not. A performance evaluation system is used to assess them and it is done in a systematic way to examine how well an employee is performing in his or her job.
The word systematic implies the performance evaluation process should be a planned system that allows feedback to be given in a formal way as opposed to informal way (Mazin, 2017). Performance evaluations can also be called performance appraisals, performance assessments, or employee appraisals.
According to Lawrie (2017), there are four reasons why a systematic performance evaluation system should be implemented. First, the evaluation process should encourage positive performance and behavior. Second, it is a way to satisfy employee curiosity as to how well they are performing in their job. All this can also be used as a tool to develop employees. Lastly, it can provide a basis for pay raises, promotions, and legal disciplinary actions.
The amended Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 set new standards for performance evaluation and it included appraisal systems. Derven (2016), appraisal systems would encourage employee participation in establishing the performance standards they will be rated against. He further asserts that these evaluations should always be based on the actual job description.
There are a number of things to consider before designing or revising an existing performance appraisal system. Some researchers suggest that the performance appraisal system is perhaps one of the most important parts of the organization (Lawrie, 2017), while others suggest that performance appraisal systems are ultimately flawed (Derven, 2016), making them worthless. For the purpose of this research, the researcher assumed that a performance appraisal system was created to provide value to the organization and the employee.
The first step according to (Bannister & Balkin, 2015), in the process is to determine how often performance appraisals should be given. Bearing in mind that that managers should constantly be giving feedback to employees, and this process is a more formal way of doing so. Some organizations choose to give performance evaluations once per year, while others give them twice per year, or more. Field and Holley, (2017) supports the above and asserts that the advantage to giving an evaluation twice per year, of course, is more feedback and opportunity for employee development. The downside is the time it takes for the manager to write the evaluation and discuss it with the employee. If done well, it could take several hours for just one employee. Depending on your organization’s structure, you may choose one or the other.
For example, if most of your managers have five or ten people to manage (this is called span of control), it might be worthwhile to give performance evaluations more than once per year, since the time cost isn’t high. If most of your managers have twenty or more employees, it may not be feasible to perform this process more than once per year. To determine costs of your performance evaluations, see Table 11.1 “Estimating the Costs of Performance Evaluations”. Asking for feedback from managers and employees is also a good way to determine how often performance evaluations should be given.
Table 11.1 Estimating the Costs of Performance Evaluations
Narrow Span of Control
Average span of control 8
Average time to complete one written review 1 hour
Average time to discuss with employee 1 hour
Administrative time to set up meetings with employees 1/2 hour
8 employees × 2 hours per employee + 1/2 hour administrative time to set up times to meet with employees = 16.5 hours of time for one manager to complete all performance reviews
Wider Span of Control
Average span of control 25
Average time to complete one written review 1 hour
Average time to discuss with employee 1 hour
Administrative time to set up meetings with employees 1 hour
25 employees × 2 hours per employee + 1-hour administrative time to set up times to meet with employees = 51 hours
Once you have the number of hours it takes, you can multiply that by your manager’s hourly pay to get an estimated cost to the organization. However, a 360-degree performance appraisal method is a way to appraise performance by using several sources to measure the employee’s effectiveness (Kent, 2015).
Chapter SummaryThis chapter primarily reviewed literature on definitions of graduate trainee programs and employee performance. Concepts and elements of graduate trainee programs and employee performance were also looked at and a brief visit to recent researches on graduate trainee in different industries and countries was done under empirical literature review. This then gave the researcher an overview on other authors who had written about the area in study and the researcher managed to get help to notice the gaps concerning research under investigation. Chapter 3 will concentrate on the methodology applied in the research.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGYIntroductionThis section shows the methods and procedures applied in the study to understand the role and importance of graduate trainee programs on employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry in Zimbabwe. With also research methodology which is the way used to systematically solve research problems as the researcher study various steps that are generally adopted in studying the research problem along with logic behind them. It answers questions concerning the research philosophy, research design, target population, sampling criteria, data collection tools techniques. Lastly, the section will also outline issues to do with validity and reliability of the study, ethical issues and how date is going to be analysed and presented.
Research philosophyThe need to confirm if there are relationships between the identified variables hence this was noted as the origin and the effects of the analysis. There are main researches that are usually used in researches use are either positivism, or the interpretivism or the pragmatic philosophy. The researcher, therefore used pragmatic philosophy due to the mixed method approach of this design.
According to Sekaran and Bougie (2013), the pragmatic philosophy concerns thinking that choosing between one position and the other is somewhat unrealistic in practice; and it also argued that the most important determinant of which position to adopt are the research questions. The study will use pragmatic approach as it helps with the in-depth understanding of the study. This theory uses both qualitative and quantitative methods. The mixed method approach research inquiry employs both qualitative and quantitative approaches in a research work for the purposes of breadth and depth of understanding and which then provide an understanding that is much better of the research area than the use of one method.
The philosophy is chosen mainly because of its use of quantitative date as well as qualitative data thus allowing the researcher to get more information. It also allows flexibility in selecting the research methods to best answer the research questions. Research designIn the research, the researcher made use of the survey, which helped to come up with more information about the study being the how graduate trainee programs can impact on employee performance in the tourism and hospitality sector. Research design worked as the blueprint for conducting a study with maximum control over factors that may interfere with the validity of the findings. It also facilitated in the gathering of data as well as receiving responds for the questions in the research as well as having a design of the research that is appropriate regarding the required data.
Descriptive DesignThe descriptive design is going to use both the qualitative and quantitative data so as to find the solution to whatever is being studied. This approach was used to answer the research topic that is, the role and importance of graduate trainee programs on employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry in Zimbabwe. Though descriptive study cannot conclusively ascertain answers as it only addresses the, who, what, when, where, and how associated with a research problem.
The choice of this design was because it will enable the researcher to make fair conclusions on the role and importance of graduate trainee programs on employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry in Zimbabwe. The design which is going to be used is suitable to find out the position of qualitative and the quantitative in regard to whether graduate trainee programs are important or not in the tourism and hospitality industry. It will also assist the researcher to understand as well as be able to describe some elements noted from the population which is understudy.
Target population and sample sizePopulationAs mentioned in the title of the research, the researcher will mainly focus on the tourism and hospitality industry in Zimbabwe. According to Cooper and Schindler, (2017) population is a total element needed by the researcher in making some interference with. The target population therefore includes participants’ tourism and hospitality industry. This includes various stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality sector ranging from employees, management as well as relevant players in the industry.
Some of the few notable hotel in the industry include those in the table that follows.
Table 2.1 Some hotels and number of employee in tourism and hospitality industry
Hotel Group Hotel Location No. of employees
RTG Rainbow Towers Hotel Harare 152
New Ambassador Harare, CBD 50
Legacy Hotels Crown Plaza Hotel Harare 100
African Sun Holiday Inn Harare 98
Source: Secondary data (2017)
The total target population is 400 employees.
Sampling Methods & TechniquesSampling is a shortcut process used to investigate the population as data was gathered from a small portion of the targeted population or the sample frame hence it is used to give an overview of the rest of the population.
Sampling FrameThe study is going to use the convenience sampling technique. The technique is non-probability sampling technique where respondents were selected because of their convenient accessibility and proximity to the researcher. The researcher used a sample of managers and staff of the Marketing and Front Office Department as well the Human Resources Department.
Sampling ProcedureThe main sampling methods are non-probability and probability sampling. Since the study is based on the pragmatic philosophy and the researcher use non-probability sampling. In non-probability sampling, the samples are gathered in a process that does not give all the individuals in the population equal chances of being selected.
There are four basic types of sampling procedures associated with non-probability samples. These include convenience sampling, consecutive sampling, quota sampling, judgmental sampling and snowball sampling. The researcher used convenience sampling as the samples were selected because they were accessible to the researcher. Respondents were chosen simply because they were easy to recruit.
Sample Size DeterminationThe sample is lesser, nonetheless the optimistically representative compilation of the components from the target population which was used to establish the truth regarding the population, (Field, 2015, Krejcie &Morgan (2016), the researcher may target 30% (0.3) of a population of the study.
The sample population was 400 employees and 120 employees which are the 30% of the sample size were used.
Data sourcesThe research made use of both primary and secondary sources to collect data for the study. Secondary data sources are datasets that are already in existence, such as employee database. The key data, that is primary then helped the researcher to get specific and current data that helped to address the problem in the study meanwhile the secondary data gave an in-depth close look into the problem being researched on.
Secondary dataThe data that will be collected for the research being conducted can be accessed quickly and at a low cost. The researcher will make use of the empirical evidence as it helps the researcher to come up with required information regarding the role and importance of graduate trainee programs on employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Primary DataThe research will use interviews and questionnaires for the main primary data collection method and will be composed mainly of closed questions. Interviews will be used since they allow the collection of detailed information regarding the respondents’ perspective on the subject and they were used for executives and managers. The questionnaires will also be used mainly because it was the convenient method to collect the quantitative data and in addition it also saved time and resources since they were self-administered, allowing for collection of data from different respondents at the same time. The questionnaires will also be used for the staff members in the targeted departments.
Research InstrumentsThe research will use two methods for collection of primary data which are questionnaire and interviews as the data collection techniques. The researcher will use questionnaires and interview so as to overcome the weaknesses and biases which arise from the use of only one method.
QuestionnairesA questionnaire is a data collection instrument consists of a series of questions and other prompts which their purpose is to gather information from respondents (Maliki 2014). As a measuring instrument, the questionnaire asks individuals to answer a set of questions. Questionnaires can be administered by an interviewer or answered by the respondents themselves (self-administered).
Self-administered questionnaires can be mailed or given in person to the respondents. They are feasible in a literate population if the questions are short and simple. The researcher will make use of the Likert Scale and nominal scale as it indicates the degree of agreement and disagreement with a certain statement, this type of structured questionnaire is going to be used as it makes it easy for the researcher to analyse results because it is universal method of collecting data therefore it is easy to understand. The questionnaire will also comprise of closed questions to enhance uniformity.
InterviewsThe interview consists of the interviewer, who runs with the process of the interaction that asks the questions and the interviewee then respond. These interviews can be done on the phone or face to face and the use of internet as a tool for interview. The researcher made semi structured interview questions which the used as already determined questions and in their own words the interviewee respond. The semi structured interviews are handy where there is need to gather in-depth data in a systematic way from a number of participants.
Data collection and administeringAccording to Impact Centre for Evaluation and Research (2015) pilot testing is basically finding out if your survey, key informant guide or observation form will work in a practical ?nvironm?nt by trying out firstly on a few sample group. Therefore, as a way to come up with improved research instruments,the questionnaire will be pr?-t?st?d on 10 respondents before the actual data collection.
After the pilot study, the researcher will seek approvals from the targeted hotels and provide a letter of introduction on all questionnaires and consent form is provided. The researcher will make appointments with managers and employees of the targeted departments in the companies to conduct interviews and this can either telephone interview or face to face interview. The researcher will also distribute questionnaires physically and via email.
The researcher will go through the questionnaire with the respondents for clarifications and will urge the respondents to complete all questions to ensure collection of all required data. The respondent will then submit the completed questionnaire to the researcher at an agreed time. Data presentation and analysis toolsThe quantitative data will be fed into SPSS software and presented data in tables and graphs. This will enable to have clear illustrations of trends, cohesions and disparities of the survey respondents. Percentages will be used thus enabling the study to illustrate the proportion of respondents giving a certain response.
Chapter SummaryThe chapter explained on research design, target population, sample design and sampling. The methodology used to collect data was discussed with the use of both exploratory and descriptive designs were used as well as the self-administered questionnaire and interviews were also used to collect data. Selection of sample was done using convenience sampling. The fourth chapter analysed the findings from the collected data using statistical analysis and interpretations were made.
CHAPTER FOURANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH FINDINGSIntroductionThe previous chapter was the methodology of the study explaining methods such as data collection and analysis plan to be used in this study. This chapter provides an analysis and discussion of the study findings. The discussion was done parallel to the literature review checking whether it was in line or contrary to the study findings.
Response RateQuestionnaire response rate TOC h z c “Figure” Table 4.0. showing the response rate
Respondents Questionnaires Distributed Questionnaires Responded Questionnaires not returned Response rate
Rainbow Towers 45 40 5 88.9%
New Ambassador 15 11 4 73.3%
Crown Plaza35 29 6 82.8%
Holiday Inn Harare 25 20 5 80%
TOTAL 120 100 20 83.3%
Source: Primary data (2018)
A total of 120 questionnaires were distributed as highlighted in the above table. The response rate from each of the organization are also represented in the table. The total response rate for the questionnaires was 83.3%. According to Bryman and Bell (2017), a response rate of 60% is good enough to warrant validity and reliability of the study findings.
DemographicsThis section provides an analysis of the demographic data which was collected during this study and they assist in establishing the appropriateness of the study sample. The demographics characteristics used to profile the respondents in this study included age, gender, level of education, job position and years in current post. The resultant statistics are as shown in Tables and Figures below;
Bar graph showing age of employees
TOC h z c “Figure” Fig4.0.
Figure 4.0 above shows that 55% of the respondents were aged between 21 and 30 years, 30% between 31 and 40 years, 15% 40years and above, 3% greater than 50 years and 25% less than 25 years. This distribution is in line with ages of the working populations in the country.
Gender, level of education and job position of respondentsFig 4.1 and Table 4.1 below will show the gender, level of education and job position of respondents:
Fig 4.1 shows that the tourism and hospitality has more women than men as the respondents were 65% females and 35% males respectively. This therefore might mean that women have dominated the industry more than men hence, more men should be employed so as to achieve gender balance and better decision making process. Table 4.1 showing the working position and years in the same post
N=100 Years in current post
Manager More than 6years 2 2
Department Supervisor 2-4 years 1 8
Graduate Trainee Less than 2years
Permanent employees 4-6years
More than 6years 6
Total 35 65
TOC h z c “Figure” Table4.1.
Table 4.1 shows the working position and years of experience in the same post of the respondents. The employee base of the group of hotels under study is mainly comprised of graduate trainees as they have the highest number of employees compared to other positions. It can be denoted from the table above that 57% of the graduate trainees have been employed for less than 2years and only 7% have been employed for 2-4years.
This therefore, reveal that they were very few were promoted to become an employee of that hotel there were doing their training at or they moved and got employment elsewhere as shown by the few number in terms of permanent employees.Findings and DiscussionAs a pre-test of the participant’s understanding of the subject matter, the respondent was required to explain in brief his or her understanding of project selection and prioritisation process. In this respect, 46% managed to explicitly define/describe project selection and prioritisation, 28% gave good answers, 23.1% satisfactory explanations and 2.9% did not answer the question. These responses assisted in triangulation of data for validity and reliability purposes.
These responses are in line with submissions by Vargas (2016), who asserted that traditional project selection and prioritisation is based on a cost-benefit relationship of each project; resulting in perceived economic viability, whereby projects with higher benefits to cost ratio have a higher priority.
Fig 4.2: Understanding of project selection and prioritisation process
TOC h z c “Figure” Fig 4.2.
Therefore, findings of the current study will be organised on the basis of the research objectives.
THE ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF GRADUATE TRAINEE PROGRAMSUnder the above heading, the researcher meant to better understand the role and importance of graduate trainee programs in the tourism and hospitality industry mainly focusing on RTG and African Sun hotels. The researcher used both secondary and primary data in interrogating this research objective. Through questionnaires as the source of primary data the researcher was able to get better insights supported by the secondary data on the research area from various sources such as (Neves 2016). The researcher also used the authors of the concept, Kramer and Porter (2017) to better understand the role and importance of graduate trainee programs on employee performance.
93% of the respondents highlighted that there were familiar with the term graduate trainee and only 7% did not know what a graduate trainee was. From the data collected it can be denoted only 89% of the respondents who knew what a GT was, went through the GTP and got employed after finishing the program and 11% came through from external adverts. This therefore reveals that the employees prefer those employees who did a training program with them before becoming permanent or contract employees. This is supported by a comment which stated that,
“…my knowledge of a graduate trainee program came once I was enrolled in the program which took 2years of training…”
It was also revealed that the training program goes on for a maximum of 2years unless the employer decides to extend it. However, through this program a student can develop a personal work ethic and be able to investigate their career interests and prospective career goals. This program helps to alleviate the development of professional contacts, which can help a student in the future for reference another company. They can also develop a series of skills and knowledge that help students to choose from a wide range of possibilities about their future career. (Careers Services Centre, 2015-2017).
The effectiveness of graduate trainee programs in the hospitality industryAmong the employees who responded to the questionnaires, 72% were supporting the point that a GTP is important and 28% were against the notion. This is due to their differences in analyzing and experiencing the program. 95% of the managers who responded to the questionnaires agreed that there is need for recent graduates to go through a graduate trainee program before becoming industry pioneers.
A questionnaire from one of the hotel managers highlighted the following:
“… through the Graduate Trainee Program I was able to be equipped and my position now is being attributed to the program…”
On the basis of the above transcript of events with regards to the effectiveness of graduate trainee programs it appears that the GTP is an effective tool of recruiting employees as they will be equipped with life skills that they will use to enhance their performance in their workplaces.
McNeilly, (2016) asserts that if one undergoes training at a reputable company which is highly recognized they become more marketable to the industry they are in. For example, a hospitality graduate can be enrolled at RTG, the name recognition will look good on their CV. This will naturally increase the chance of landing different roles in the tourism and hospitality industry if they have a reputable reference.
He further postulates that these graduate schemes have a fixed schedule, and with that comes the security of a few years of work. This is evidenced by the comment of the manager above as she has served more than 6years with the same hotel.
However, a research by Hunter and Hyland (2016) supports the comment above articulating that employers expect graduates to have the discipline, knowledge and technical competence in order to demonstrate a broad range of skills and attributes that include critical thinking, team working, communication skills and problem solving. GTPs help students to develop these skills that enable them to find the desired job, to progress in their work and therefore to facilitate the success of the companies that they work for and contribute to society and the economy and become better people. Thus enhancing their performance during their working period.
However, 5% of the managers agreed to a lesser extent and highlighted the following:
“…I am product of on-job training, a graduate trainee program proved to be a waste of time and resources…”
The above comment shows that one can become an effective and production employee if they are dedicated to their job and are determined to reach great heights. Hence, a GTP is said to be of less importance. According to Aldi’s graduate careers page 2015, they hire 150-200 managers every year and the year after, this creates reeks of an over-saturation of staff. There seems to be a general consensus that graduate schemes are either broad but not deep (too much rotation), or too restricting them on focusing on one area that they are good at. Unless the graduate specifically requests a transfer to another department or a plan for their training program they could end up getting stuck in that particular department.
In Aldi’s article he further asserts that during a GTP one is more likely to do more shadowing while the training will be more wholesome. One would be given little opportunity to get stuck in and fail or succeed for themselves and some usually leave before the end of the training program for reasons best known to them. This supports the comment by one of the managers that a GTP is a waste time and resources.
Methods used to enhance employee performance and most effective one.Majority of the respondents revealed that their organisations use methods of performance enhancement in the workplace as 90% agreed that there were in existence and 10% were ignorant to them. The methods include, performance appraisals, employee of the month award ceremony, bonuses, commission for reached targets, incentives, salary raise, workshops among others.
According to Lawrie (2017), these methods help to track productivity in terms of reaching set targets, exceeding output expectations set out for their department, making a large contribution to the overall success of their department through excellent productivity. It also includes consistently falling below others on the team regarding work output.
Derven, (2016) also supports Lawrie when he denoted that these methods also help to track attendance in terms of punctuality, communication skills and cooperation in terms of delegating tasks to others when overwhelmed and having the ability to come up with new solutions for problems when old ways of thinking are ineffective.
Significance between graduates who trained and those that did not in terms of employee performance in the hospitality industry.From the data collected, 95% of the respondents revealed that there is a very big difference between, employees that went through a graduate trainee program and those that did not and 5% thought otherwise. This is seen through the difference performance levels and dedication to their work.
According to Kent, (2015) graduates are new to their work which is the initial point or starting off their career, so that is why they tend to get very serious with their job and pay more attention to their work. The old employees or experienced one take it easy because of their past experience. this may result in a slow work and lazy result. But the fresh ones are always serious and are willing to do overtime and take more projects to grab the attention of the people around them and to let them know of their talent and skills. This is the reason the work done will be ampler.
When these graduates finish their training program they would be have been equipped with the necessary tactics they need to manoeuvre and make their names in the industry. This therefore makes them more competitive in the market especially if they are trained with 3-5star rated hotels.
This is supported by a comment on one of the questionnaires which highlighted the following:
“…many employers around the country began to turn heads offering me different career opportunities because of my skills that I had obtained, through my graduate training program…”
Challenges associated with Graduate Trainee ProgramsThe data collected showed that there are challenges which both the employers and graduates face during the course of the graduate training program. During a GTP the graduate is more likely to do more shadowing while the training will be more wholesome, one would be given little opportunity to get stuck in and fail or succeed for themselves. In most cases unless the graduate specifically requests a transfer to another department or a plan for their training program they could end up getting stuck in that particular department.
Due to the hyper-organised nature of large companies, one is likely be restricted to a specific department, working on a specific set of tasks. This can cause motivational issues as well if the line of work is not interesting (Raybould and Wilkins, 2015). Usually after the completion of the training program there is no guarantee that they will be hired back as the organisation will highly likely to hire more graduates as they regard them as cheap labour. The employer has the liberty to manipulate the graduate since there are recently coming from school and in need for a job and can choose not pay them or give them any motivation to come to go through the training period.
According to Zopiatis (2017), there are two facets to GTPs thus, the first is that a number of graduates have complained about the amount of unnecessary training sessions they are forced to do. It seems that some graduate schemes treat these graduates like they know nothing about being a worker. Secondly, they are treated as a rookie for longer, for example, one can be on a two-year graduate scheme and even if they feel like they are ready for the next step and have proven their worth their program will not be altered till the end.
However, these challenges can be overcome if both the graduates under the program work together with their employers. Whilst on the other hand, the employers treat them as any other employee of the company as they work as team. This will help reduce the number of graduates that leave the program before its fulfilment.
Chapter SummaryThis section of the research focused on data presentation, analysis and discussion of findings in line with research objectives. These themes include socio-demographic characteristics, role and importance of GTPs, effectiveness of GTPs as well as the challenges associated with the GTP. The findings were presented according to objectives of the study. The next chapter makes discusses conclusions, recommendations and areas of further study.
CHAPTER FIVESUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONSIntroductionThis chapter concludes the research report. This chapter restates the research objectives and discusses their achievement and justification. It also highlights the conclusions from this research based on the findings and make recommendations to management employees and the rest of the tourism and hospitality industry pioneers in Zimbabwe.
SummaryThe main objective of the study was to investigate the role and importance of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry in Zimbabwe.
The specific objectives of this study were:
To examine the role of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry
To analyse the effectiveness of graduate trainee programs in the tourism and hospitality industry.
To criticize the importance of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry.
To find whether there is a significant difference between graduates who trained and those that did not in terms of employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Chapter one gave the introduction, background of the study and the problem statement. The chapter went on to provide the research objectives and research questions of the study and justification of the methodology which was used and justified the need to carry out the study. The chapter covered assumptions, delimitations and limitations of the study as well as definition of key terms and the project summary.
Chapter two presented the reviewed literature pertaining to the role and importance of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry in Zimbabwe. It also covered the definition of graduate trainee, employee performance the origin, GTPs in other countries as well as benefits and challenges associated with GTPs. In this study the researcher also reviewed the relationship between graduate trainee programs and employee performance.
Chapter three dealt with the research methodology. It used the interpretivism research philosophy and descriptive statistics. For the purpose of this study, the researcher used non-probability sampling techniques to determine the sample size. For the data collection a questionnaire was used to examine the role of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry.
The fourth chapter presented the data collected using the pragmatic approach and a few descriptive statistics.
The research managed to achieve all the three objectives of the study.
Findings of the studyThe major findings of the study were:
Objective 1-To examine the role of graduate trainee programs in enhancing employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry.
This objective was achieved as most of the managers that completed the questionnaires were in tandem to the fact that GTP are important and that they play a significant role in enhancing employee performance.
Objective 2- To analyse the effectiveness of graduate trainee programs in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Basing on a comment passed on by one of the managers of the hotel groups under study graduate trainee programs are very effective as it appears that the GTP is an effective tool of recruiting employees as they will be equipped with life skills that they will use to enhance their performance in their workplaces. It helped the majority of the managers to become better leaders who have people heart.
Objective3-To find whether there is a significant difference between graduates who trained and those that did not in terms of employee performance in the hospitality industry.
From the data collected, 95% of the respondents revealed that there is a very big difference between, employees that went through a graduate trainee program and those that did not and 5% thought otherwise. This is seen through the difference performance levels and dedication to their work. Employees that are employed through a GTP tend to have more appreciation of their work and do it with passion than the others.
There are also challenges they could be faced by both graduates going through the training program and the employers. These include:
Absenteeism from work
Absconding training before the period ends
Low or no pay at all
Extra unnecessary working hours
Regarded as cheap labour
However, these challenges can be resolved if the employers work together with graduates and help to mentor and build them as future leaders and not as slaves.
ConclusionThe researcher concluded that graduate trainee programs have a role to play and are important in enhancing employee performance. The researcher also concludes that some methods of performance enhancement like workshops, commission, incentives, performance appraisals among others have a significant impact on enhancing employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry in Zimbabwe.
However, graduate trainee programs are important to a lesser extent as one can be employed with the same zeal and determination like that of the employee under a GTP and can perform more or as equally as them. Hence, all employees should strive to perform well regardless their working background.
RecommendationsIn view of the findings and conclusions in this study, it is recommended that:
GTPs should be done consistently and recruitment should be just.
The Government is urged to prioritize training of recent graduates to equip them with necessary skills to enter the industry and become more competitive.
Graduate trainees should be treated like any other employee at the organisation.
GTs should not be regarded as cheap labour.
All employees should be treated equally whether they went through a GTP or not.
Areas of Further StudiesThe current research focused on the role and importance of graduate trainee programs on employee performance in the tourism and hospitality industry in Zimbabwe. Based on these findings feasibility studies should be done on other small hotels across the country.
REFERENCESBannister, B. and David Balkin 2015, “Performance Evaluation and Compensation Feedback Messages: An Integrated Model,” Journal of Occupational Psychology 63 (June 1990): 97–111.
Baum, T. (2015). Ireland: Toward a New Definition of Hotel Management. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 20(2), 36–40.
Busby, G. (2016). Tourism Degree Internships: A Longitudinal Study. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 55(3), 319–334.
Chen G. (2015). Opting Out of Internship: Perceptions of Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management Postgraduates at a British University. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Education, 10(1), 106–113.
Chi, T., Airey, D., & Tribe, J. (2015). An International Handbook of Tourism Education. San Diego, CA: Elsevier
Cook, S., Parker, R., & Pettijohn, C. (2014). The Perceptions of Graduates: A Longitudinal Case Study. Journal of Education for Business, 79(3), 179– 186.
Derven, M., “The Paradox of Performance Appraisals,” Personnel Journal 69 (February 2016): 107–11.
Deuster, D., Dickerson, J. P. (2017). The Realistic Preview May Not Yield Career Satisfaction. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 28(2), 297– 299.
Field, H. and William Holley, “The Relationship of Performance Appraisal System Characteristics to Verdicts in Selected Employment Discrimination Cases,” Academy of Management Journal 25, no. 2 (2017): 392–406.
Green, G., Chuang, N. K. (2015). Job-related Barriers and Coping Behaviors in the Career Development of the Hospitality Postgraduates. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, 10(1), 14–31.
Halogen Software, accessed March 22, 2011, http://www.halogensoftware.com.
Hergert, R., Henry, J. S., Rehwaldt, S. S., & Vineyard, G. M. (2016). Congruency between Student Interns and Worksite Supervisors regarding Critical Elements of An Internship Experience. Information Technology, Learning, and Performance Journal, 19(1), 31–41.
Hunter, T., Hyland, T. (2016). Vocationalism, Work and the Future of Higher Education. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 53(4), 677–684.
Kent, R., (2015) Korean Students’ Perceptions of the Effectiveness of their Graduate Trainee Experiences in the Hospitality Industry in Korea. Asia-Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 3(1), 37–44.
Kent, R., “Why You Should Think Twice about 360 Performance Reviews,” ManagerWise, accessed March 22, 2015, http://www.managerwise.com/article.phtml?id=128.
Kok, R. M. (2017). Outside the Box: Creating Your Own Internship Opportunities. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education, 12(3), 21–23.
Lawrie, J., “Prepare for a Performance Appraisal,” Personnel Journal 69 (April 2017): 132–36.
LeMasitre, C., & Pare, A. (2014). Learning in Two Communities: The Challenge for Universities and Workplaces. Journal of Workplace Learning, 16(1), 44–52. Leslie, D. (2011). TQM and Student Work Experience. Quality Assurance in Education, 2(3), 26–32 Lock, M.,
Littlejohn, D., & Watson, S. (2015). Developing Graduate Managers for Hospitality and Tourism. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 16(7), 408–414.
McNeilly, R. A. (2016). To Start a Hospitality Student Investment Club at Schenectady County Community College. Retrieved from..http://digitalcommons.library.unlv.edu/thesesdissertations/1155.
Millar, M., Mao, Z., & Moreo, P. (2017) Hospitality & tourism educators vs. the industry: A competency assessment. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education, 22(2), 38-50.
Montgomery, R. J., & Van Dyke, T. (2016). An Experiential Learning Activity for a Conference and Meeting Planning Course. Hospitality & Tourism Educator, 5(4), 63–64.
Patterson, V. (2017). The Employers’ Guide: Successful Intern/Co-op Programs. Journal of Career Planning & Employment, 57(2), 30–34.
Raybould, M., & Wilkins, H. (2015). Over qualified and under experienced. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 17, 203-216. doi:10.1108/09596110510591891
Richardson, S. A. (2017). Postgraduate Tourism and Hospitality Students’ Attitudes Toward a Career in the Industry: A Preliminary Investigation. Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism, 8(1), 23–46.
Santariano J., (2017). Internships: Stepping-Stones to Employment. Career World, 33(2), 22–23. Schmidt, T., Shortt, G. (2006). Education and Training for the Indonesian Tourism Industry. Hospitality and Tourism Educator, 5(1), 79.
Simons, R., Raybould, M., & Wilkins, H. (2015). Generic Skills for Hospitality Management. A Comparative Study of Management Expectations and Student Perceptions. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 13(2), 177–188.
Singh, A., & Dutta, K. (2015). Hospitality Graduate Trainee Placements: Analysis for United Kingdom and India. Journal of Services Research, 10(1), 85–99. Toncar, M. F., & Cudmore, B. V. (2008). The Overseas Internship Experience. Journal of Marketing Education, 22(1), 54–63.
Walo, M. (2015). Assessing the Contribution of Graduate Trainee Programs in Developing Australia Tourism and Hospitality Students’ Management Competencies. Asia Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 2(2), 12 28.
Wildes, V. J., & Mount, D. J. (2016). The Effect of Structure on Hospitality Graduate Programs. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education, 9(4), 43– 45.
Zopiatis, A. (2017). Hospitality Internships in Cyprus: A Genuine Academic Experience or a Continuing Frustration? International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 19(1), 65–77