July 26, 2022

Human Resource Development: What Is It? HRD vs HRM

By B&SC Blog Team

Human Resource Development: What Is It? HRD vs HRM

Human resources (HR) is a vast field that encompasses many aspects of organizational change, performance and development. It determines how the many talented and hardworking people who make up the modern workforce function, beginning with recruitment and extending through the entirety of the employee experience.

This concept is vast by nature, so it takes many types of employees to execute the wide array of tasks that modern HR departments are asked to handle. Despite this, HR management (HRM) plays a central role in many employees’ understanding of human resources in general. In reality, another side of HR is equally important: human resource development (HRD).

HRD doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves, but this concept is essential in not only individual career development and job satisfaction, but also wide scale organizational performance. In this guide, we clarify HRD – including its benefits, its distinction from HRM and the importance of targeted training for aspiring HRD professionals.

What is Human Resource Development?

Dr. Leonard Nadler is often credited with coining the term “human resource development” and helping shape the concept in its early days. Under this model, HRD consisted of three main components: training, education and development.

Over the years, definitions of HRD have evolved, but generally speaking, this practice strives to capture the full potential of each employee. Through targeted training, organizations can provide valuable information for recent hires and experienced employees alike. This can touch on everything from technical concerns to company culture. Human resource development formalizes this effort, so business leaders can feel confident that every hire has the necessary base level of knowledge.

Human resource development may encompass numerous types of training designed to get employees in the loop. These typically fall under one of two main categories: formal and informal. Both are equally important – and both are described in detail below.

Formal Training

Formal training provides a high-level overview of employee and organizational expectations, touching on compliance, company culture and ethics. These training initiatives often delve into concerns such as equal employment opportunity, diversity and inclusion, workplace safety and harassment prevention. Training sessions should be scheduled regularly and conducted by highly knowledgeable, authoritative professionals. Formal training may also encompass offsite seminars or even tuition for relevant college courses.

Informal Training

Informal training is just as vital to HRD as the formal efforts outlined above. Despite the use of the term ‘informal,’ these initiatives are, in fact, carefully planned to ensure maximum impact. Over time, they help employees identify and hone much-needed skills while also boosting job satisfaction. Examples include:

  • Career mentoring: Ambitious employees who hope to rise through the ranks may benefit from career mentoring programs in which they are paired with senior professionals. Through regular, meaningful interactions, employees can build strong relationships with their mentors who provide a great deal of motivation and may informally pass on qualities such as empathy. Mentoring also confers significant benefits upon the mentor who enjoys providing insights but may also gain exposure to intriguing new ideas from recent hires.
  • Book clubs: Valuable for both new employees and those with many years of experience, book clubs foster strong connections while exposing employees to a wide body of relevant work. When implementing a book club, it is the HRD professional’s responsibility to determine which publications are most likely to interest and inspire participants. From there, HRD leaders can form the framework for these clubs, determining how often participants will meet, how much they’ll be expected to read and how discussions will be structured.

Benefits of Human Resource Development

As mentioned previously, human resource development maximizes the value of each hire by ensuring that applicants and newly onboarded employees understand exactly what it takes to succeed in their new workplace. HRD also benefits long-term employees, who find it easier to work with new hires when they feel confident these professionals can hold their own. Additional benefits of HRD include:

  • Employee retention: Recruiting managers hope that their efforts will produce talented team members who stick around for the long haul. Without a strategic approach to HRD, however, organizations risk onboarding employees who ultimately don’t feel satisfied enough with their jobs – or optimistic enough about their career path – to remain on staff as long as desired. Poor retention, in turn, damages workplace morale, limits productivity and increases the costs associated with recruitment, hiring and onboarding.
  • Internal mobility: Organizations should give employees the skills and knowledge they need to pursue a career path they find compelling. Human resource development gets them on track by providing access to the training resources, mentors and other essentials that these employees will need to prepare for promotions. Effective HRD can also help employees identify where their strengths, weaknesses and passions lie, enabling them to prepare, if desired, for lateral moves.
  • Adaptability: Employees at all levels need to be capable of adapting to an ever-changing workplace. Career development can help them build the problem-solving and communication skills they need to overcome a variety of challenges. This will allow them to adapt with ease, but that’s only the beginning. Employees who are properly trained and supported will actually thrive in – and take satisfaction from – an evolving environment that provides achievable challenges.

Differences between HRD and HRM

The term “human resource development” is often used interchangeably with “human resources management,” but these two concepts address different concerns. HRM largely focuses on how employees are recruited and compensated. It emphasizes practical organization-wide concerns, such as payroll or benefits. Furthermore, HRM touches on optimization, with the goal of making both employees and the broader organization as efficient and productive as possible.

Conversely, HRD’s clear focus is on long-term employee growth. This begins with training new hires and continues as employees find their unique place within the modern workforce. Employee coaching takes center stage, with HRD professionals focused on how they can make training initiatives more effective at both the personal level and for boosting organizational creativity and morale.

Differences between HRD and HRM abound, but there are definite similarities worth considering as well. Both areas call for an in-depth understanding of organizational behavior and culture. Additionally, employees in both roles need to possess strong interpersonal skills, such as verbal communication, collaboration, conflict resolution and empathy.

Training in both niches can often be found within the same program, as seen with the Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources Management. Students enrolled in this program take a wide array of college courses that touch on everything from labor relations to the transfer of learning in employee training.

Start Your Journey Today

Interested in pursuing a career in human resource development? A bright future awaits, but you need high-quality training first. Not only will the right degree help you impress potential employers, it will enable you to have a powerful impact once you find your dream job in HRD.

You’ll find the exceptional training you need at Bryant & Stratton, where you can obtain your Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources Management. Many of this program’s foundational courses delve into organizational development, thereby providing excellent training for a successful career in HRD. In-depth analysis will help you develop an intimate understanding of behavioral science theory, while our hands-on approach allows you to apply newly gained knowledge.

Ready to get started? Reach out today to learn more about the many exciting opportunities we provide.

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