Virtual HR Department

Training and Development

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In order to compete in the domestic or global marketplace, organizations require a workforce with the capability and capacity to respond quickly to changes in the market as well as to process and technology. If the skills and knowledge of employees do not keep pace with the industry as it evolves, the organization risks being left behind in the marketplace, losing its competitive advantage and then potentially its ability to compete at all.

'Training and development' is often used as a single term, however it really refers to two specific sets of activities. 'Training' usually refers to those planned activities that are related to providing skills and knowledge related to an employee's current job. When these activities go beyond the current job requirements and start to focus on preparing employees for future growth and responsibilities, it is called 'development.' 
The benefits to the organization of having effective training and development programs include increased job satisfaction and motivation among employees; increased productivity; improved safety; increased innovation and creativity; increased employee retention; an ability to promote from within; and the development of a competitive advantage over those organizations that do not place any importance on this area.
Employee training and development may be achieved through a variety of methods, including:

There are specific situations when training is essential. These include when employees are hired, when new technology or a change in technology occurs, and when existing employees are shifted into another job. Law also requires some training, such as safety-related programming.
An organization should invest in training when new employees are hired to ensure that they have the knowledge and ability to perform their tasks successfully. New-hire training can include orientation to familiarize them with the company, job shadowing to have an experienced worker 'show them the ropes,' computer-assisted training or manuals as permanent resources that can be referred to at any time, and group training and seminars to help staff learn together.
A change in technology or the adoption of new technology also requires employee training and development to ensure that all employees using the technology are doing so correctly and safely. Group seminars and workshops are effective and allow a group of employees to learn and ask questions. Presentations by the technology provider can also help employees become familiar with the technology and learn how to use it correctly. 
Any decision to implement a training program usually starts with a needs analysis or needs assessment to determine what training should be provided and who should participate. Further information on needs assessment is available in this section of the website.
Finally, it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of any training. Calculating the return on investment (ROI) of training activities can be difficult. Included in this section of the website is a calculating-ROI-of-training process that will assist you to perform this evaluation.
Preparing employees for future growth requires development to ensure that they have the skills and abilities needed to be able to take on increased or different responsibilities and be successful in their next position. This development could include coaching, mentoring, completing university or college courses, or attending seminars put on by accredited organizations or associations. Often, these programs are initially paid for by employees and reimbursed through a tuition-reimbursement program, an example of which can be found in this section of the website.
Often, employees that are viewed as having the potential to take on increased responsibility in the future are groomed for promotion through developmental activities and structured succession-planning and personal-development-planning programs, which are explored further in this section of the website.