Training and Development

Training and development typically refers to an organization’s educational activities to increase and improve the skills, knowledge and capabilities of its employees. For many organizations, the Human Resources organization is responsible for developing, tracking and implementing employee and leadership training and development. However, some organizations have a dedicated Training and Development organization/department in-house. Still other organizations employ outside training programs and institutions for specific courses and/or certifications, as a means of supplementing their internal training programs, or in lieu of an in-house department. Training and development varies depending upon the organization, business and industry. Some companies require formal, consistent and on-going employee training, while others make training voluntary among employees. However, studies show that job-related training increases the efficiency, accuracy and career satisfaction of employees. It is primarily the responsibility of leaders to ensure that their employees have the time and resources to complete training. Employee development, on the other hand, should be viewed as the responsibility of both employees and leaders. For example, organizational leaders may recognize the need for certain skill sets or behaviors to ensure the future success of the organization; in this case, it is their role to proactively secure training for their employees. Also, from a retention perspective, it is imperative that employees feel empowered to gain new skills that position them for growth within an organization. As employees seek new challenges and opportunities, they should take ownership of their development, seeking and suggesting programs to ensure they continue to be valuable to the organization now and in the future. Many organizations implement a formal employee development process. This typically includes a detailed plan created collaboratively by the employee and his/her leader, manager or supervisor. A successful employee development plan will include a detailed job description; specific responsibilities and deliverables for daily activities as well as long-term projects; measurable and realistic goals for the year; behavioral assessments such as communication skills; and a description of the training and development activities in which the employee will participate. Employees and their leaders usually discuss the development plan at six-month or yearly intervals, and both parties agree to the plan. A development plan is an important tool for assessing and measuring an employee’s achievement and any skills or knowledge gaps. Training and development is powerful for organizations, leaders and employees alike. In particular, developing its people enables organizations to plan for the future, ensuring it has the skills and resources to adapt to trends and remain competitive. Employees also remain competitive when they participate in training and development, and studies show that development increases an employee’s job/career satisfaction.