Within many organizations, there are several disciplines or areas that comprise the human resources function: recruitment and talent acquisition; employee relations and labor relations; benefits and compensation; and training and development.
A training and development section can be an essential component of your organization's human resources function. It provides your workforce with the necessary tools for success. This will inevitably benefit the organization as well.
Employee Orientation and Beyond
Your employees' first exposure to the company's training and development area is likely during orientation. Where there is a formal orientation process, the human resources team provides training related to the company's mission and vision, and in some cases, the core values and principles of the organization.
New employees also learn company rules, processes and practices, such as how much paid time off they earn, when and how they receive their paychecks and what to do in the event they are injured on the job.
A comprehensive orientation program can prepare an employee for her new role with the company.
But employee training and development doesn't have to stop with new-employee orientation. Employees will appreciate ongoing training and development to ensure they maintain job competency, and to convey the message that you are investing in them.
Training and Development in Company Business Strategy
Your most valuable asset is your workforce. It's unrealistic to think that your company can survive with talented workers with skills that aren't periodically upgraded.
Investing in their knowledge base and professional development is no only critical to their success. This type of investment also underlies the company's strategic goal of creating a world-class workforce.
Ensuring that your employees are equipped to perform at high levels – and, to sustain high performance – is a training and development goal. In addition, providing skills building and professional development opportunities to employees can greatly enhance their job satisfaction and engagement.
In his March 2017 article for Talent LMS, Nikos Andriotis says employees want more. He suggests that an employee who reaches a top performance level often is motivated to achieve more, and an employer that provides training can help employees reach their professional goals. Employers that provide ongoing training, Andriotis says, demonstrate that they care about, and that they value, their employees.
Employees that feel valued are more likely to be more productive and engaged.
Practical Implications of Training and Development
Besides the strategic importance of a training and development area within HR, there are practical implications as well. With a designated training and development function, employees know exactly where to go for information about improving their skills or how to position themselves for a promotion.
A well-developed training and development function within HR might include specialists whose expertise includes designing workshop curriculum, identifying external training and development resources (e.g., off-site classes, seminars or professional development associations).
In addition, these specialists may have an excellent grasp on how to budget for employee training and development, as well as the return on investment for such efforts can bring. This means your departmental managers or supervisors are not deluged with employee training requests, so they can focus solely on managing employee performance, task oversight and interdepartmental functions such as productivity and employee supervision.
Training and Development = Fierce Competitor
Employee skills-building and training and professional development is a two-pronged approach to positioning your company as an industry competitor.
First, your business reputation as an employer that invests in your employees' success is an excellent way to attract the best and brightest applicants who have identified professional goals they want to achieve. As an employer who offers these kinds of opportunities to employees, it raises your stock among job seekers who are looking for employers who invest in their workforce.
Secondly, providing training and development opportunities for your employees means you are continually improving your workforce, which positions you as a competitor in terms of maintaining a workforce that stays on the cutting edge of industry advancement and technology to advance and progress your business goals.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.