Why employee training is different from employee development
Word choice matters. Labels matter. This is why it’s important to distinguish the difference between “training” your employees and “developing” your employees. Too often these words are used interchangeably to the detriment of your employees and your organization.
Training is an event. This event may last an hour or several days, but it is an event. It has a specific set of objectives and a beginning and end. As I said in my last piece, Creating a Development Culture, development is an on-going journey. There is no end to it. We do not complete a final test or paper and say, “I’m done, I’m not going to learn or grow any more!”
Training is a part of your employees’ developmental journey and therefore, providing training should be part of your culture. But, mistaking them for the same thing severely limits your opportunities to create a culture of development and to recruit and retain high performing, engaged employees.
When you say that training is development you miss other developmental opportunities like coaching, mentoring, stretch-assignments, learning circles, resource libraries, special projects, professional organizations, peer sharing, cross-departmental collaboration and feedback. When you talk in terms of developing your employees and providing developmental opportunities, an array of possibilities open up to you and the idea of creating a culture of development seems much more doable.
In my next article, I’ll discuss how to take these possibilities and create a developmental plan.
About the Author
Margaret Uhrich’s approach to life is a combination of “anything’s possible” and “let’s see what happens when we do this”, making her the ideal leader for the Talent Development function at MEA. As a consultant and leader, her creative solutions and “can do” attitude inspire others to take action and bring about the changes they wish to see.