What Is Human Resource Development?

Definition and Examples of Human Resource Development

Employees seated in a circle clap during a training exercise.
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Human Resource Development is the framework for helping employees develop their skills, knowledge, and abilities, which in turn improves an organization's effectiveness.

Find out what types of activities are part of human resource development and the benefits it can have for an organization.

What Is Human Resource Development?

Human resource development helps organizations develop their workforce through employee training and career development. This training and development improves organizational effectiveness and improves performance.

Human resource development may include many different opportunities, activities, and employee benefits, such as:

The focus of all aspects of Human Resource Development is on developing a superior workforce so that the organization and its individual employees can accomplish their work goals in service to customers.

  • Acronym: HRD

How Does Human Resource Development Work?

Organizations have many opportunities for human resource development, both within and outside of the workplace. Human resource development can be formal or informal, and it can begin as soon as you onboard new employees.

Informal learning could include:

  • Coaching by managers
  • Mentoring by more experienced employees
  • Collaborating with highly trained colleagues

Formal development might include:

  • In-classroom training
  • College courses
  • Planned organizational change
  • Internal training provided by staff or a paid consultant or facilitator

Healthy organizations understand the power of human resource development and cover all of these bases.

To illustrate how human resource development can work, imagine a new sales rep has been hired by your company. They receive formal training by staff as part of the onboarding process, and regular informal coaching by managers as they learn the ropes.

As they continue their career with you, more opportunities arise for formal internal training, which is then implemented on a regular schedule. Perhaps you assign this new employee a mentor, who can help them navigate any difficulties and even work to identify their special strengths, so that they can be directed toward a path of advancement tailored to their unique abilities and desires.

Finally, as the employee gains more experience, knowledge, and training, they may be tapped for a leadership role, which could then involve more specialized management training.

During this time, the employee, thanks to the organization's focus on human resource development, has improved their effectiveness and productivity, boosting your company's bottom line and overall success.

Tips for Internal Training

internal management development
The Balance.

By providing internal management training, you help develop your employees' strengths as well as their ability to contribute to your organization.

Management training might include internally supplied, customized management development sessions. You can also provide internal management development through book clubs at work, challenging work assignments, and coaching from the manager's boss. Other options include classes, internal work assignments, field trips, and self-study. Many options for management training can be identified through the performance management planning process.

One way to offer developmental sessions is to have a facilitator or presenter meet with employees in a group once a week for a two-hour training session. These sessions can recur for several years, although you will want to limit their frequency over time.

The key to successful training sessions is that all the different elements—the time together, the discussion, the training topics, the new information, the shared reading—both educate and build the team.

With a facilitator who is attuned to the language and culture of your organization, these training sessions provide an effective approach to employee development.

Additionally, the learning comes in bites small enough that participants are not overwhelmed with information and have an opportunity to practice what they have learned. They also have the chance to discuss the lessons they applied in the workplace and what worked for them during the next training session.

Benefits of Human Resource Development

Applied effectively, human resource development is a key way to attract and retain talent to your organization.

Ongoing learning is one of the opportunities that employees seek when they consider an employer. Providing the ability and encouragement for employees to continue to develop their skills will help retain and motivate staff. When employees feel they have received proper training and support, they're more likely to remain loyal to the organization and experience higher job satisfaction.

Human resource development also provides the means to identify and prepare employees for advancement, so that your company's leadership is experienced and well trained.

Lastly, a highly trained workforce performs better, and when employees perform well, the business performs well. As such, human resource development also ensures the improved effectiveness of an organization, helping it to achieve its goals.

Key Takeaways

  • Human resource development is the training and development of a company's workforce.
  • Human resource development may be conducted formally, through trainings and education, or informally, through mentorship and coaching.
  • Human resource development is important for cultivating an engaged and motivated workforce and leads to superior business results.

Article Sources

  1. International Institute for Innovative Instruction. "Human Resource Development for Learning and Performance Improvement." Accessed July 1, 2020.