Ultimate Guide to Human Resource Development (HRD)

By Tressa Shepard - Last Updated on April 3, 2020
Human Resource Development Guide

What is Human Resources Development (HRD)

Human Resources Development (HRD) is defined as a division of human resources management that improves the skill sets of employees through training and education by increasing knowledge, abilities, and skills of employees.

What HRD means to an organization is to have the most knowledgeable and highly skilled workforce which leads to improved communication, productivity, and ultimately in furthering the organization’s goals.  What it means to an employee is that the employer is invested in the growth of their employees.

The result is a stronger employee-employer relationship, a more cohesive work environment, which fosters more cooperation across the organization and ultimately, leads to higher productivity and results.

The goal of Human Resource Development is to build a relationship between employer and employee by each investing in the other. Additional results are improved communication, competency enhancement, motivation, and in doing so, a corporate culture of trust has created an environment that is conducive for the success of the individual and the employer’s goals.

The Evolution of HRD

While traditional HRD was once thought of as skills training and safety education, the reality is that this area of human resources is far more impactful to both employers and employees.

Since industrialization, training has been prevalent in American businesses. But it was in 1969 that Leonard Nadler(1) introduced the idea of human resources development at a professional conference with the idea of changing employee behavior through learning experiences in the work environment. Other HR professionals have come along since then and have expanded the definition further.

What is imperative to understand today is that HRD is a value add for recruiters and talent acquisition professionals in encouraging candidates to join an organization because having a strong HRD  is a great benefit to many potential employees.

Further, a strong HRD program is a strong indicator that the company culture is healthy as the company sees value in the growth of their employees assists in meeting company goals and achieving a more ideal work environment which also fosters better communication and a more cohesive team.

What is the Difference Between HRM and HRD? 

Human Resource Management or HRM is the entirety of the role of human resource responsibilities, whereas, Human Resource Development (HRD) is the training and development piece of HRM.

  • Human Resources Management (HRM) is a comprehensive talent management process that has five key stages: recruitment & selection, compensation & benefits, performance management, culture & engagement, and training & development.
  • Human Resources Development (HRD) is a piece of the Human Resource Management (HRM) Process.

(Also Read: 6 Steps for Strategic Human Resource Development)

Advantages of Human Resources Development 

  • At its core, human resources development advantages are found by developing employees to expand their skills, knowledge, and education through proper training and educations channels whereby the workforce is better suited to attain or exceed company goals.
  • HRD is a tool for recruiters to entice potential candidates to submit their applications
  • Leadership Development improves, instructs, and guides from within an organization
  • Teams are more cooperative teams
  • Optimal work done by skilled professionals
  • Creates a healthy company culture which leads to easier management of an organization as less time is spent correcting misbehavior and communication disputes.

Challenges of HRD

  • Legal Compliance and Regulation

    The one legal constant is that regulations are always changing. Staying on top of these changes presents a challenge to all Human Resources Functions.

  • Leadership Changes

    As an organization’s leadership changes, often so do its priorities. Ensuring that development remains a top priority to leadership is essential.

  • Financial Limitations

    Budgets and developmental needs do not always align.

  • Innovation

    Particularly in jobs in the technology sector, innovation changes the educational and skills needs of engineers, developers and the like.  This means the career roadmap change  and staying aware of advancement is critical responsibility for HRD.

Process of Human Resource Development 

  1. Organizational Analysis

    Review the organization as a whole for training and development needs. Then, analyze job tasks, and finally, determine the employee’s developmental needs.

  1. Design HRD Policies and HRD Plans

    Based on organizational objectives, create ideal training methods for the different job tasks, department, teams, or individuals.

  1. Implement Policies and Plan

    Use employer branding and communications plans to actively communicate the HRD Plan, programs associated, procedures to participate, exclusions, and dates of import.

  1. Assess and Reassess

    Determine if the HRD Plan reached the assigned goals, reevaluate to improve results or meet new criteria/goals for HRD within the organization.

Divisions of HRD 

HRD is an essential part of human resource management and is essential in various departments across an organization.

  • Planning, Recruitment, and Retention

    In human resources development planning is the process that organizations use to ensure that employees skills and talents align for the betterment of the organization.

  • Succession Planning and Talent Management

    Succession planning is essentially grooming internal employees into ideal candidates for future opportunities within the organization. The organization benefits as they do not have to waste time and money backfilling positions because the individual has been groomed for their next role.

    Talent Management is a similar concept; however, rather than grooming the employee for a specific role, the idea is to improve skills and knowledge with an eye to both the organization’s needs as well as the professional growth of the individual.

  • Performance Management

    Performance Management is both informal and formal channels used to align employees, resources, and systems with the goal of an ideal workflow.  This encompasses all of the planning, organizing, leading, and controlling of employees. Performance Management Systems are an essential piece of the performance management puzzle.

  • Policies and Procedures

    Regarding HRD, having the appropriate policies and procedures in place sets boundaries which ensures that the employer and the employee both understand expectations before, during, and following developmental training at the organization’s expense.

  • Job Evaluation and Grading

    Building on performance management, Job Evaluation is the hierarchy of the jobs within an organization and highlights the value that each job brings. Job Grading is the grouping of similar skill and salary jobs to add further value to the hierarch of job evaluation.

  • Compensation and Benefits

    Compensation includes all the ways that employees receive monetary payment for work performed. Benefits are the additional offerings outside of monetary payment that is used to entice potential employees and retain existing employees. In an HRD context, this is valuable for recruitment and retention.

    As employees improve skill sets and achieve performance management goals, they often move up a job grade and advance within the corporate hierarchy which has a multitude of advantages. The benefit to the employee in this example is employee sponsored personal and professional growth.

  • Employer Engagement

    Employer engagement in HRD is the outcome of employers investing in their organization and workforce that establishes a relationship over time that benefits both parties. An easy way that employer engagement can be improved is through employer branded communications that reinforce the message that the employer wants to invest in its employees.

    Another way would be engaging with local universities or online universities to partner in bringing learning and career roadmaps for employee advancement.

Final Thoughts

Human Resource Development touches all departments and all employees within an organization. The proper utilization of HRD improves the skills and knowledge base of an organization. This knowledge leads to innovation and organizational goal attainment.

With 83% of employers facing challenges to attract and retain employees, it is easy to understand why HRD is no longer a feature found within Human Resources. It is a mutually beneficial process that leads goals achievement, attracting and keeping employees, and ultimately, driving a business forward.

Tressa Shepard | Tressa Shepard is the Human Resources Manager at Bython Media, a global digital publishing and B2B marketing company that specializes in data-driven, fully integrated solutions. Previously, she was Talent Acquisition Manager at Cisco Systems.

Tressa Shepard | Tressa Shepard is the Human Resources Manager at Bython Media, a global digital publishing and B2B marketing company that specializes in data-drive...


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