Human resource development (HRD) is a practice that combines training, organizational development, and career development efforts to encourage improvement of individual, group, and organizational performance. Its purpose is to enhance employee performance and productivity, which leads to employee and customer satisfaction and an increase in the profitability of the organization.
HRD efforts are necessary for any organization so that the employees and managers of the organization are kept abreast of developments in their industry as well as the market forces at work that may present opportunities or threats. Organizations that implement HRD are referred to as learning organizations.
Training and Development is Imperative
With the vibrant nature of knowledge today, it is almost impossible for any organization to be competitive if it does not incorporate training and development into its structure of operations. Training and development is imperative for any organization so that the members and the leaders of the organization are kept abreast of developments in their industry as well as the market forces at work that may provide them with opportunities for growth or threaten their profitability.
Ensuring a Competitive Advantage
The importance of developing a learning organization is rooted in the nature of the organization itself and the way that it redefines itself in view of developments in understanding market and environmental forces. Knowledge can become the organization’s instrument in ensuring that it has a competitive advantage.
Partnerships Within and Without
In establishing a learning organization, partnerships should be established within and without the organization. When the people in the organization come together with a collective vision and they start working together, they are able to draw upon the strengths of the group process. With their collective ideas and attitudes toward work, they can help generate knowledge and contribute to the learning process.
Support from Leadership
The group process will not be complete and effective if there is no support from leadership. Transformational leadership, particularly, is very effective in establishing and implementing a learning organization. This brand of leadership enables subordinates to be empowered so that they can contribute to the success of the organization and help establish a learning organization.
Viewing the Organization as a Whole System
Another important step in establishing a learning organization is viewing the organization as a whole system instead of fragmented or individual units. When the organization comes together to work as one, difficulties and problems are seen in the light of the overall situation of the organization instead of being confined in one single department or unit. This view leads to the creation of shared tools and knowledge within the organization. In order for this to be effective, common language, definitions, understandings and tools shall be promoted and used throughout the organization, making it easier for people to share knowledge and understand each other.
Together with HRD efforts, employees and managers contribute to the success of a learning organization through shared vision, coaching, innovation, problem-solving, and teamwork. Empowered employees empower organizations.
By Shirley J. Caruso, M.A., Human Resource Development