Most organizations invest a great deal of time and resources into their training programs, giving employees the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for their roles. H owever, many companies focus heavily on training without realizing the advantages of employee development. Understanding the role of development in conjunction with training will greatly increase the chances of employee and company success.

Simply put, training provides new and tenured employees with the resources they need to excel in their current roles. Periodic retraining also keeps staff updated about the latest policies, procedures and tools as organizational needs change. Development, on the other hand, is a form of proactive training, where the employee obtains new skills intended for a future position. For example, a worker interested in progressing to management may assist or shadow senior staff to learn the basics of their desired job. This process can include things like training new hires, administrative duties or other miscellaneous tasks that are normally above the person’s scope of support. In some cases, the employee may be given more authority to help them understand the decision- making processes faced by their superiors.

One advantage to employee development is its reduction in turnover. Hiring externally is risky, because a candidate who interviews well may not be competent. Even internal hiring can backfire if the applicant is not fully aware of his or her duties and expectations.  Development eliminates both of these complications, since the worker knows what the new job entails while gaining valuable experience in the process.

Managers sometimes use the terms “working interview” or “walking interview,” which quite accurately describes workplace development. While conventional recruitment involves one or two meetings, development plans allow for consistent monitoring, coaching and evaluation. Once the employee’s experience, improvements and successes are documented, the mentor can confidently recommend a promotion with minimal chance of turnover.

No business practice can be implemented without considering the bottom line; d evelopment reduces labor cost, since the employee in question receives their normal salary while performing tasks assigned to a higher pay grade. There is also no need to invest in a comprehensive training program for the position, because senior management is perfectly capable of sharing their knowledge and experience. In short, organizations can assign formal training to new hires while selectively investing in those who seek advancement.

Development also has a positive effect on workplace cohesion.  Individuals under development are tenured, therefore they have established relationships with their co-workers.  These positive connections continue after the employee advances, resulting in a healthy interactions between managers and junior staff.

Employees also personally benefit from development.  Adding increased challenge or responsibility is a proven way to improve job satisfaction.  In turn, worker productivity increases while turnover and absenteeism decreases.  An ambitious employee will feel much better knowing that he or she is steadily working toward a better position within the company.

Utilizing both training and development saves money, improves morale and almost guarantees that the right candidates are placed in the appropriate roles. Considering the importance of having well-trained and well-equipped senior staff, development is practice that no savvy company should ignore.

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