What is human resource development?
So, what is HRD? Human resource development is the integrated use of training and career development efforts to improve the performance of the individual or group as well as overall organizational effectiveness. It develops the competencies that employees need to perform their current jobs and prepares them for future roles through planned learning activities. HRD focuses on matching the needs of the individual and the organization.
While choosing the right person for the job and then retaining them has always been the focus of the HR department, the emphasis of HRD is on motivating and developing employees. This requires HR departments to create policies and programs that lead to the development of the workforce and contribute to the development of the organization.
Why you need HRD
A human resource development program can improve company productivity and profitability while increasing employee satisfaction. HRD is actually one of the most significant opportunities that employees look for when they’re considering taking a new position. It helps employees feel that their company is invested in them, which creates a more loyal workforce and also makes them more accepting of change when they’re regularly exposed to new skills, information and practices.
Here are some benefits of HRD:
- Development of new skills and knowledge
- Increased trust and respect
- Greater commitment to jobs
- Increased acceptance of change, as employees find themselves better equipped with problem-solving capabilities
- Improved team spirit and overall growth of employees
- Greater organizational effectiveness and a culture of efficiency
- Improved employee participation
- Better human resources (HR) planning for collecting useful and objective data on employee policies and programs
HR development challenges
It’s important to familiarize yourself with the challenges of HR development to better avoid them. Some issues you might face include:
- Budgetary constraints that limit training options
- Lack of leadership support
- Changing regulations and laws that can make your development program outdated
- Unmotivated employees
- Lack of expert resources for some obscure topics
- Meeting the varied needs of all employees, who may be at different competency levels or need to learn different skills
Where to begin with HRD
Creating or refreshing an HRD program requires a lot of research and planning up front, but that work makes the program run smoothly once it’s implemented. Here are some steps you can take to develop or improve HRD within your organization:
- Evaluate your current training options and development opportunities. Determine how well they meet your employees’ needs and what’s lacking.
- Look at duties, responsibilities and skills needed by different roles, departments and teams within your company. Use this information to identify learning and development needs.
- Determine a budget for your HRD program.
- Identify the types of learning you want to offer your employees. Use your budget as a guide to decide which options are affordable right now. You can also note learning opportunities you want to add later if the budget won’t accommodate everything now.
- Expand on each option to identify how you’ll implement it, who’ll participate, what tools you need and other key details.
- Write HRD policies to inform your employees about the opportunities available.
- Review your programs regularly to make sure they’re still working for your organization.
Types of learning
HRD refers to employee training, career development, performance development, mentoring, coaching, tuition assistance and other activities related to developing a workforce. It’s considered the key to higher and better productivity because it helps employees develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes their employer wants. It can also increase job satisfaction for employees and open lines of communication among team members.
You have two options for human resource development: formal or informal training. Both types have a place in the office, and a mix of different types of training can help you create a well-rounded program.
Formal training might include in-class training, planned organizational changes or college courses that potentially add value to your company. Some of the most common workplace training topics include:
- Sexual harassment and discrimination prevention: Discrimination as well as sexual harassment prevention training has increased in popularity in recent years.
- Safety and risk management: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employees, including temporary workers, receive safety orientation training.
- Equal employment opportunity and diversity training programs: To reduce legal risks and meet business goals, it’s beneficial to provide a strong supervisor training program that addresses how to motivate a diverse workforce.
- Supervisor training: Consider training both new and seasoned supervisors on topics like hiring and promoting, performance evaluations, discipline and termination.
HRD can include informal training as well, such as internal training and development classes taught by a consultant or company team member. It could also include employee coaching or mentoring by a manager or more senior staff.
Internal management training is critical to helping employees develop their strengths and contribute to an organization. This type of HRD training could be provided through book clubs at work, coaching from the manager’s supervisor or more challenging work assignments. It could also include self-study, classes, internal work assignments and field trips. The key to success in these programs is that the information, discussion, training topics and shared reading is educational and helps build the team.
Best practices for HRD
Simply offering educational opportunities doesn’t guarantee the outcomes you want. You need a well-planned program with high-quality, ongoing learning opportunities for your employees. Below are some best practices for human resource development and training:
- Create manageable amounts of information: Instead of trying to cram lots of learning into a full day or week of training, break it up into smaller, more manageable chunks. This gives your employees a chance to absorb the knowledge and apply it to their work before they learn more.
- Collect consistent feedback: Regularly request feedback from employees to improve upon your program. This allows you to make small changes to the program to improve its efficacy.
- Keep learning styles in mind: Keep in mind that employees have different learning styles, including visual, auditory and kinesthetic. While some may find spoken information beneficial, other employees—kinesthetic learners—may need to practice the new skills on the job before they can retain them. Consider approaching training in a layered style that accommodates all learning types, such as discussion, lectures and case study practice.
- Use positive reinforcement: Consider using verbal reaffirmation, a digital badge or a certificate to reward employees who show progress and encourage them to be continual learners.
Frequently asked questions about HRD
Do all companies need a human resource development program?
Any company with employees can benefit from having an HR development program. If your company only has a few employees, it can give those workers new skills they didn’t previously have. This can allow your employees to take on new responsibilities without you having to hire a new staff member. HRD can also help you stay competitive, no matter what size company you run. Plus, all companies need to conduct several common training types each year to keep their staff safe and informed and remain compliant with requirements.
What’s the difference between HRD and HRM?
While both human resource management (HRM) and HRD are related to a company’s human resources, there are key differences:
- HRM is maintenance-oriented and focused on administrative tasks like payroll and managing employee files, while HRD is learning-oriented and focused on improving employee performance.
- HRM aims to improve employee efficiency, while HRD is about developing the employees for the benefit of the organization as a whole.
- The responsibility for HRM is assigned to the HR department, while the responsibility for HRD is given to all managers.
- HRM motivates employees through rewards and financial incentives, while HRD is focused on motivating employees by making them feel valued and meeting other higher-order needs.
Who is involved in HR development?
The HR department often coordinates the human resource development program, including creating, preparing and conducting many of the training sessions. HR also handles learning-related benefits, such as tuition reimbursement. However, all employees play a role in HRD. Managers may conduct the training, give HR feedback on what their team needs and ensure their employees complete required training programs. Board members or company executives might be responsible for deciding what components will go into the program as well as approving budgets for the learning opportunities. All other employees can help the program by participating actively, completing training in a timely manner and making suggestions for additional development opportunities that might help them.