After 30+ years training and developing leaders – around the world – one of the great mistakes I see being made is the lack of understanding of the difference between “training” and “development”.
Not understanding the difference can lead to wasted time, effort, money and credibility of the decision-makers.
For our purposes, Training is a structured learning process for employees for the purpose of enhancing skills, competencies or capabilities needed to be successful in the job. The goal is to improve some combination of company job desires such as: productivity, performance, safety, quality, or flexibility. We typically look at training for addresses present or immediate needs in the organization. The goal of training is to improve on-the-job performance while increasing the employees ability to adapt and flex to changing demands.
Development is about helping individual employees learn and grow and often will include self-reflection, self-assessments, and/or 360 degree assessments. Topics are chosen based on the idea the investment in time and energy ought to increase the employee’s potential and/or help them become more effective. The goal of development is to help employees be more successful today while they prepare to be successful again tomorrow – in a changed world.
To simplify, I will often say: “Training is about improving efficiency while Development is about improving effectiveness”.
Truthfully most company investments ought to have a combination of both “training” and “development”. The question is how much of each is required for the employees participating in any on-the-job, one-on-one, on-line, or in-the-classroom activity.
Recently I’ve been appointed to the Advisory Committee for McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business – Executive Education. What I value is this organization understands the difference and is very much participant centre. In a world, where most universities simply want to through a raft of brochures at you, DeGroote will take the time to listen to understand thereby have a real conversation.
As an instructor, facilitator, coach and mentor, I appreciate DeGroote’s high standards. You will too. When your organization needs training and development do take the time to connect with one of the professionals at DeGroote.
I should point out that the label “training” is being used less frequently and be replaced by the word “learning”. The reason behind the shift has to do with “who” has the responsibility to ensure an employee is both efficient and effective in their current role. At the end of the day people have to acquire the skills and competencies needed to be productive and efficient – they need training!
As I write this article we are seeing lower unemployment levels and a demographic mix which shows there will be a tremendous number of people – with lots of experience – “retiring” (so-to-speak). Those entering the workforce and those who remain value an organization who is prepared to invest in them. In a war for talent, training and development is not a nice to do, it is a must do.
Sid Ridgley, CSP