Human Resource Development is an organization’s framework for improving and developing their human capital. This framework includes any training, career development, evaluation feedback, or tuition assistance that facilitates the continual improvement of employees; all of these development efforts can be as formal as classroom training or as informal as constant communication and coaching between supervisor and subordinate.
The intended purpose of Human Resource Development efforts is to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace through a superior workforce. An organization’s workforce is the most influential and valuable asset toward achieving a company’s short-term and long-term goals.
Human Resource Development focuses on improving employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities. Methods of HRD can focus on teaching the necessary knowledge to succeed on the job, more specific abilities that help to accomplish any task or responsibility or personal and organizational skills that improve communication and efficiency of the organization.
The most common methods of Human Resource Development are training and development, performance evaluations, organization development, and career development. According to Robert Rouda and Mitchell Kusy Jr., co-authors of "Development of Human Resources: Beyond Training," training and development methods include any activities that aid employees in “acquiring knowledge, developing competencies and skills, and adopting behaviors that improve performance in current jobs”. Performance evaluations attempt to judge employee efforts objectively and provide useful feedback aimed at improvement. Organization development methods include team-building activities, programs to improve the quality of work life, organizational restructuring and/or reward system improvements. Career development consists of any activities or programs intended for career planning between employees, managers and the organization, such as tuition assistance.
The implementation process for Human Resource Development activities and efforts needs to be carefully mapped out. The first stage of this process is assessing the organization’s needs from its employees and what areas their employees could use development in to better serve the company’s needs. The next step is designing the Human Resource Development program with the intended benefits, such as learning objectives, behavioral changes and performance improvements in mind. The final aspect of implementing the Human Resource Development program is the ongoing research, monitoring and evaluation of the employee and development program.
Human Resource Development has taken on a greater role in today’s business environment due to the current marketplace’s ever-changing nature. Organizations need their employees to adapt to these changes – whether they are global economy changes, technology changes, cultural changes or demographic changes – by learning new skills and developing new abilities.