How to Structure a Training and Development Department

by Ruth Mayhew; Updated September 26, 2017

Training and employee development are typically functions of the human resources department. Large organizations with thousands of employees may have a separate, dedicated training and development department; however, many smaller companies rely on human resources staff to support the training needs of the entire organization. Creating a training and development structure depends on a variety of factors, such as your business and training goals, employee performance, IT capabilities and human resources staff expertise.

Step 1

Conduct an assessment to determine your organization's training needs. This can be done by reviewing employee skills and qualifications, obtaining input from supervisors and managers about employee performance or reviewing your company's succession plan. Succession planning identifies employees who demonstrate aptitude and capabilities for future leadership roles within the company.

Step 2

Evaluate human resources staff expertise. Successful trainers have expertise in adult learning and developing curriculum for topics that range from new employee orientation to time management. You may have in-house expertise capable of developing training on workplace policies and procedures; however, advanced learning objectives may be handled more effectively by outside consultants. These training consultants offer a degree of objectivity that in-house training and development staff may be unable to guarantee.

Step 3

Compare the expense of employing professional trainers as full-time employees or outsourcing your training and development needs. According to a survey of more than 300 employers, The American Society for Training & Development reported that employers spend more than one-quarter of their training budget on outside training experts. The survey results state: "Outsourcing -- which includes spending on consultants and outside providers of workshops and training sessions -- is on the rise. It accounted for roughly 27 percent of total learning spending in 2009."

Step 4

Discuss human resources strategy with your company's executives and financial experts. Obtain information about budget allocations based on yearly projections or budgeted amounts based on the amount of training expense per employee. Training budgets are typically structured according to an average amount per employee. This illustrates an organization's equal distribution of training resources and factors into cost-per-hire calculations.

Step 5

Consider structuring a blended training and development function for your company. Assign routine training to in-house training specialists. Routine training includes topics such as workplace safety, new employee orientation and performance management training for newly-hired or promoted supervisors and managers.

Step 6

Engage the services of outside training consultants for management and executive-level training, professional development and specialized skills training. Training for specialized skills -- for example, IT-related certifications -- will almost certainly have to be outsourced if you don't have vast in-house resources to provide technology-oriented seminars and workshops.

Step 7

Experiment with computer-based training for self-paced learning. This type of training can minimize costs and expand accessibility for employees who need flexibility. Offering remote, online training can maximize the reach of your training and development, as well as improve the availability and convenience of company-provided training.

About the Author

Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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