Achieving Competitive Advantage through Human Resource Development

Human resource development is defined as the framework for helping employees develops their personal and organizational skills, knowledge and abilities. Human resource development involves using a range of learning and training techniques and strategies to change the work related behavior and attitudes of an employee and it also engages in performance management in other to ensure that people can do things well or do new and better things.

Human resource development is concerned with enhancing organizational performance through effective development and deployment of organizational members. To enhance performance, a human resource developer has to ensure that the individuals in the organization has the knowledge, expertise and the right attitudes to execute their work, also human resource development aims at ensuring that the organization has the skilled, committed and well-motivated employee it needs to sustain competitive advantage by focusing on processes that develop skills, knowledge and the attitude of the employee, such as training, developing, learning, educating and mentoring the employee, and also by identifying and improving the skills and motivation of employees.

In order to ensure that the organization as the right people to sustain competitive advantage, Human resource development engage in activities such as training, learning, development of the individual and mentoring. But before the Human resource manger makes a decision on how to train, develop, teach or mentor the employee, they need to have a knowledge on performance management to see how training and development will improve the effectiveness of the employee and to know what aspect in the performance of the employee needs to be trained in other to meet the goals and values of the organization.

Performance Management

Performance involves what an employee does in carrying out their duty. Before performance is managed the performance needed by the organization should be identified in other to achieve their goals which in most organization is linked to the mission statement of the organization so that the performance can be managed in line with the organizational values and some organization will manage the performance in line with the business strategy of the organization that are required in the business context to be competitive. Performance management is defined as a systematic process for improving organization by developing the performance of individuals and teams. Performance management establishing a frame work in which the performance by individual can be directed, monitored, motivated and rewarded and whereby the links in the cycle can be audited. Human resource development is a means to an end. That end is usually acknowledged to be getting better results from the organization, teams and individuals by understanding and managing performance within an agreed framework of planned goals, objectives and standards.

Every organization wants an employee that performs well in their duty it is believed that an effective performance management scheme can make the likely of good performance to occur. Performance management goes beyond the ability and motivation of the individual it involves how goals are clearly identified in enabling the employee to understand what is expected of them in the area of their job and to set their priorities. Performance management scheme involves processes that can be used to encourage, motivate, evaluate, reward and identify the performance of the employee. Performance management develops the capacity of the employee to meet, exceed and to achieve their full potential for the benefit of the organization as well as themselves, it can also serve as the basis for self development and ensure that the support and the guidance need by the employee to develop and improve is available.

Performance management is what employees and managers do at work, that the way they act and interact is crucial to the success of the organization and in doing this it will raise the profile and value of training as a strategy for achieving competitive advantage.


Staffs are important resources to an organization in other to achieve economic and effective performance, in other to ensure that an organization has staffs that are capable of career advancement into the role of a specialist or a manager an organization needs to engage in adequate training. Training is defined as learning and development undertaken for the purpose of supporting development and maintenance of operational capability in employment: skills for work and in work, on-job or off-job, to enable effective performance in a job or role.

Training involves modifying skills, knowledge and abilities through learning to achieve effective performance. It is believed that training makes an individual become effective managers as a result of their techniques having impact on inherent abilities, competence and skills. Training makes the employees believe that the organization is committed to them and in securing their future in the organization which motivates the employees to Work harder and better, and it also develops the expertise of the individual in other to increase their performance in the organization. Training and development is equipping the employee with the right skills, knowledge and competence to maximize performance. Also, training improves the level of the organization as well as the individual competence and it’s also a key element in improving organizational performance. Competence is defined as the combination of awareness, skills, knowledge and abilities that enables an individual to perform a job to the standards required for successful job performance. Competence is more than learned knowledge, skills and abilities but involves motives, traits, values and self concept of the individual. Training competence however expanded the focus on skills and knowledge which includes personality traits, increasing the number of variables that could explain and promote job performance as well as shifting emphasis from enabling adequate performance to producing superior ones.

However, competence is based on skills rather than knowledge, in other word; competence training will convince employees of the need to give time and commitment to learning new skill in other to increase their performance and to see their role as accepting these challenges for change. Having a well designed and structured competence based training and development program; the organization can work towards ensuring that they have the right skills and the right people to achieve their organizational goals and sustain competitive advantage which can only be achieved by having employees that can effectively and efficiently perform their job.

Training is believed to improve the knowledge and the skills of the employee as well as change their attitudes toward work which can lead to benefits such as the increase in the confidence, motivation and the commitment of staffs, broaden the opportunity for career progression, give a feeling of personal achievement and satisfaction and help to improve the availability and quality of staffs. Training can be a source of motivation development for the employee if it is carried out as a form of support for the employee and in the process of training the employees learns what is expected of them in doing their job and what they need to do better.


One of the functions of Human Resource development is to assist the organization by creating an environment suitable for learning which is required to help develop staffs to meet agreed objectives. Learning is defined as a change in an individual’s level of knowledge, skills or attitudes. Learning is believed to be the individual’s ability to cope with change which can be acquired either through formal education or training or through informal experiences. As much as organizations are interested in ensuring they utilize the knowledge and skills of all their employees it is believed that little is gained through training provided at work but it is believed that most learning acquired by the individual is through their interaction with colleagues, clients which is said to be learning acquired through experience.

It is believed that learning and development has helped develop employee’s skills in organizations which have prompted employee’s performance and lead to organizational success. Learning is believed to be linked to behavioral outcomes in other words learning does not only involve what is being taught but making sense of experiences and by doing that learning new skills. Learning at work can be said to be learning for work and it is believed that what people learn will be applied to work in other to support current and future work requirement, also, as learning at work increases the ability of the individual at work so does learning outside work increase the individuals work performance.

Learning can be beneficial to an organization as well as the individual in the organization by increasing the capacity and the ability of everyone to contribute to the growth of the organization, by developing the individuals skill’s and potentials and enabling them to be able to meet the demand of change, also, it provides a solution to organizational issues, enables the organization to meet its goals and produce a wider range of solutions to organizational issues.


Development is believed to be a form of learning and training which changes the individual intellectually and not just changing their work skill or knowledge but the individual as a whole and it also helps the individual to grow in their career and also in all aspect of life. Development is said to involve preparing the individual in the organization for expected changes in their job or for a future job or a role. Development involves the growth of an individual’s ability through learning which can be conscious or unconscious. Development occurs when a gain in experience is effectively combined with the conceptual understanding that can illuminate it, giving increased confidence both to act and to perceive how such actions relates to its context.

Employee development involves attitude which includes concepts like growth, expansion, improvement and education, and also gives the employee opportunity to develop their skills, abilities, realize their potential and to advance their career in or outside the organization, and to change their attitude as a result of going through the process of motivational development. Development involves the acquisition of skills which is derived from learning.Employee development as wide impact on the individual and not just on the individual but also on the organization and the community in which the organization works.


Mentoring is a relationship in which experienced managers aid individuals in the earlier stage of their career and such relationship provides an environment for convening technical, interpersonal and organizational skills from the more experienced to the less experienced. Mentoring is seen as a variable in the achievement of success for both the individual and the organization who seek to manage the development of their employees who are the future leaders to engage in order to grow and to develop to senior managers. It is believed that mentoring is a form of support in enabling women to progress up the career ladder particular in the area of professions and management. Effective mentors will not only encourage individuals to reflect upon their career goals, thereby promoting a sense of purpose and control they will also help individuals acquire the skills necessary to operate within a less hierarchical structure.

The skills, approaches and the general behavior of the mentor have an important effect on the employee’s willingness to learn and also on the commitment shown by the employees towards the learning process. Also, mentors can serve as a source of motivation for the individual in a way of support in the early stage of their career. Motivation can be used to aid the employee to give their best to their job or increase their performance in the area of their job or work according to set standards, also, it is believed that people tend to work better if they understand the nature of their job and how they are suppose to carry it out and why they are suppose to carry it out in that particular way.

Case Study of Walt Disney: Sustaining Competitive Advantage through Human Resource Development

Human resource development is viewed as an important necessity to Walt Disney because to them training is seen as an important investment in the success of their company, while some organizations see training as necessary but expensive, Walt Disney make it top priority. Walt Disney believe so strongly in a company’s responsibility for training its employees, and they believe that it is the talent, enthusiasm and the dedication of their employee that has sustained them over the years, they believe that in other for their employees to perform excellently and not embarrass themselves they need to go through a training program and also need to practice whatever they have been trained on.

Before starting in their new job their employees go through training program that is based on their profession and what their job entails, in other to develop their skills. They believe that everyone that works with them from the senior to the junior employer has a right to learn, develop and to grow. According to them, training, learning and practicing has important roles to play in the in the development of their employees talent and in other for them to perform well they need to be thoroughly trained and also they need to rehearse their roles which lead to the establishment of the Disney university.

Disney University is believed to be a training process and Walt Disney makes sure that every new employee goes through a training process before starting in their new job and the training process is directed towards imparting knowledge about specific job skills, competencies and also ensures that the employee has a good understanding of the company’s culture and tradition. Their training is based on developing the professional ability and the performance of their employee and they believe that the employees should be able to develop themselves and in turn develop others in the process.

At the Disney University student receive complete orientation called Traditions, which includes an explanation of the company’s values and traditions, on-the-job training, and procedures for advancement. Their employees are also provided with teachers who serve as mentors who has more experience and who can show the employees what should be done and what not to do. The implementation of training in Walt Disney was to train their employees in other to develop their skills, knowledge and their ability and as a result, get the performance needed to be competitive and to sustain a competitive advantage by having the right employees. Walt Disney sees training as the bases for Human resource and as a way of developing their business, their workers and also themselves.

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