What are Training and development and how to make Training effective ?

Training  and development may be understood as any attempt to improve current or future employee performance by increasing an employee’s ability to perform through learning, usually by changing the employee’s attitude or increasing his or her skills and knowledge. The need for training and development is determined by the employee’s performance deficiency, as computed as follows:

Training and development need = standard performance – Actual performance

Training refers to the process of imparting specific skills.

Development refers to the learning opportunities designed to help employees grow.

How to make Training effective

Action on the following lines needs to be initiated to make training effective:

1.      Ensure that management commits itself to allocate major resource and adequate time training. This is what high performance organizations. For example, Xerox Corporation, in the US invests about $300 million annually, or about 2.5 % of its revenue on training. Similarly, Hewlett Packard spends about 5% of its annual revenue to train its 87000 workers.

2.      Ensure that training contributes to competitive strategies of the firm. Different strategies need different HR skills for implementation. Let training help employees at all levels acquire the needed skills.

3.      Ensure that a comprehensive and systematic approach to training exits, and training and retraining are done at all levels on a continuous and ongoing basis.

4.      Make learning one of the fundamental values of the company. Let this philosophy percolate down to all employees in the company.

5.      Ensure that there is proper linkage among organizational, operational and individual training needs.

6.      Create a system to evaluate the effectiveness of training.


Inputs in Training and Development

Any training and development program must contain inputs which enable the participants to gain skills, learn theoretical concepts and help acquire vision to look into the distant future. In addition to these, there is a need to impart ethical orientation, emphasis on attitudinal changes and stress upon decision making and problem solving abilities.


Training, as was stated earlier, is imparting skills to employees. A worker needs skills to operate machines, and use other equipment with least damage and scrap. This is a basic skill without which the operator will not be able to function. There is also the need for motor skills. Motor skill (or psychomotor skills, as they are sometimes called) refer to performance of specific physical actives. These skills involve learning to move various parts of one’s body in response to certain external and internal stimuli. Common motor skills include walking, riding a bicycle, tying a shoelace, throwing a ball, and driving a car. Motor skills are needed walking, riding a bicycle, tying a shoelace, throwing a ball, and driving a car. Motor skills are needed for all employees from the janitor to the general manager. Employees, particularly supervisors and executives, need interpersonal skills popularly known as the people skills. Interpersonal skills are needed to understand oneself and others better, and act accordingly.


The purpose of education is to teach theoretical concepts and develop a sense of reasoning and judgment. That any training and development programme must contain an element of education is well understood by HR specialists. Any such programme has university professors as resource persons to enlighten participants about theoretical knowledge of the topics proposed to be discussed. In fact organizations depute or encourage employees to do course on a part time basis. CEO are known to attend refresher course conducted by business schools. Education is more important for managers and executives than for lower cadre worker.


Another component of a training programme is development which is less skill-oriented but stresses on knowledge. Knowledge about business environment, management principles and techniques, human relations, specific industry analysis and the like is useful for better management of a company.


There is need for imparting greater ethical orientation to a training and development programme. There is no denial of the fact ethics are largely ignored in businesses. Unethical practices abound in marketing, finance and production function in an organization. They are less seen and talked  a about in personnel function. This does not mean that HR manger is absolved of the responsibility. If the production, finance or marketing personnel indulge in unethical practices the fault rests on the HR manager. It is his/her duty to enlighten all the employees in the need for ethical behaviour.

Attitudinal changes

Attitudes represent feelings and beliefs of individuals toward others. Attitudes affect motivation, satisfaction and job commitment. Negative attitudes need to be converted into positive attitudes. Changing negative attitudes is difficult because –

  • Employees refuse to change
  • They have prior commitments
  • Information needed to change attitudes may not be sufficient

Nevertheless attitudes must be changes so that employees feel committed to the organization, are motivated for better performance, and derive satisfaction from their jobs and the work environments.

Decision making and problem solving skills :

Decision making and problem solving skills focus on method and technique for making organizational decisions and solving work related problem. Learning related to decision making and problem solving skills to improve trainees ability to define and structure problems, collect and analyze information generate alternative solutions and make an optimal decision among alternatives. Training of this type is typically prohibited to potential managers, supervisors and professionals.