Managers want competent and successful employees, and training is vital to achieving a successful team of employees. The terms “training” and “development” are two words managers hear regularly, and the difference between them is crucial to developing a solid and reliable workforce that is competitive and prepared to do its jobs.

Why Train and Develop?

Training and development are important not only for company success, but they are also important parts of maintaining employee satisfaction. They demonstrate that the company invests in employees’ abilities and potential. Training and development show that the company values employees as individuals and as professionals. When employees feel valued, they are more likely to want to stay in their jobs. This decreases the rate of turnover and the costs it requires to recruit and hire a new employee.


Managers identify gaps in their employees’ knowledge and experience when they hire them. They can do this through observation or testing. Gaps in knowledge and experience affect how well an employee does her job. Training helps an employee do her job better right now. Training on procedures and policies is essential to integrating the new employee into the workplace.


Development is education that focuses on the future. An employee’s developmental plan focuses on what he doesn’t know that he will need to know for a future promotion. Development helps round out an employee’s skills in his current job -- perhaps through cross training -- and prepares him for a different job in the future. It can include classes in management, working with a mentor in another department or another form of preparation for a new position.


Employees want to do their jobs well. Managers’ jobs include enabling them to do so. Training and development are key components to employees handling their responsibilities with confidence. When employees feel prepared to do their jobs, they are more effective and can serve customers more efficiently. Employees who are not trained well feel lost on the job and do not want to do their jobs well because management has not demonstrated an interest in expanding and promoting their skills.