Training and Development – Meaning, Definition and Need

Meaning of Training and Development

Training typically involves providing the employees the knowledge and skills needed to do a particular task or a job through attitude change. It is concerned with imparting and developing specific skills for a particular purpose. For example, Flippo has defined training as “the act of increasing the skills of an employee for doing a particular job”. Thus, training is a process of learning a sequence of programmed behavior. This behavior, being programmed, is relevant to a specific phenomenon, that is, a job.

Training and Development

The term development refers broadly to the nature and direction of change induced in employees, particularly managerial personnel through the process of training and educative process.

National Industrial Conference Board has defined development as “Managerial Development is all those activities and programmes when recognized and controlled, have substantial influence in changing the capacity of the individual to perform his assignment better and in doing so are likely in increase his potential for future assignments”.

Thus managerial development is not merely training or a combination of various training programmes, though some kind of training is necessary; it is the overall development of the competency of managerial personnel in the light of the present requirement as well as the future requirement. Development has a long term focus on preparing for future work responsibilities, while also increasing the capacities of employees to perform their current jobs.

Training and Development — A Comparison

Thus, training and development differ from each other in terms of their objectives and consequently in terms of their contents.

Steinmetz has differentiated the two concepts as: “Training is a short-term process utilizing a systematic and organized procedure by which non-management personnel learn technical knowledge and skills for a definite purpose. Development is a long-term educational process utilizing a systematic and organized procedure by which managerial personnel learn conceptual and theoretical knowledge for general purpose.”

Four ‘W’s bring out the differences between training and development as follows:

WHO?Non-managerial personnelManagerial personnel
WHAT?Technical skillsConceptual skills
WHY?For specific task/jobFor multiple professions

Training and development is considered as a continuum. Training-development continuum has manual training at the one end and philosophy at the other end. The training-development continuum contains the following stages:

  • Manual Skills
  • Specific job techniques
  • Techniques
  • Concepts
  • Philosophy

The manual skills training is given to operatives for performing specific jobs. As it progresses, we find more emphasis on other points of the continuum. Managerial personnel have greater needs for conceptual and human relations skills as compared to job-related skills. Therefore, their need for training does not remain confined to the development of skills needed for specific jobs. They require skills and competence for future managerial jobs besides their present of contents rather than on account of process involved.

Need for Training and Development

There is continuous pressure for efficiency and if the organization does not respond to this pressure, it may find itself rapidly losing its market. Training imparts skills and knowledge to employees in order that they contribute to the organization’s efficiency and be able to cope up with the pressures of changing business environment. The viability of an organization depends to a considerable extent on the skills of different employees, especially that of managerial cadre, to relate the organization with its environment. Therefore, in any organization, there is no question of whether to train its employees or not, the only choice is that of following a particular training and development method. Three factors which necessitate continuous training in an organization are technological advances, organizational complexity and human relations. All these factors are related to each other.

Training and development can play the following role in an organization.

  1. Increases Efficiency. Training and development increases skills for doing a job in better way. This is more important in the context of changing technology because the old method of working may not be relevant. As such, training is required even to maintain minimum level of output.
  2. Increases Morale. Training and development increases morale of employees. High morale is evidenced by employee enthusiasm. Training increases employee morale by relating their skills with their job requirements. Possession of skills necessary to perform a job well often tends to meet human needs such as security and ego satisfaction. Trained employees can see the jobs in more meaningful way.
  3. Better Human Relations. Training increases the quality of human relations in an organization. Growing complexity of organizations has led to various human problems like inter-personal and inter-group problems. These problems can be overcome by suitable human relation training.
  4. Reduced Supervision. Trained employees require less supervision. Autonomy and freedom can be given if the employees are trained properly to handle their jobs without the help of supervision. With reduced supervision, a manager can increase his span of control in the organization which saves cost to the organization.
  5. Increased Organizational Viability and Flexibility. There is no greater organizational asset than trained personnel, because these people can turn the other assets into productive whole. Viability relates to survival of the organization during bad days and flexibility relates to sustain its effectiveness despite the loss of its key personnel and making short-term adjustment with the existing personnel. Such adjustment is possible if the organization has trained people who can occupy the positions vacated by key personnel. The organization, which does not prepare a second line of personnel who can ultimately take the charge of key personnel, may not be successful in the absence of such key personnel for whatever the reason.

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