Employee development is a human resource function in which employees are encouraged to increase their basic skills and obtain additional career development training. This development is often used to increase job satisfaction and retention. Employee development is commonly offered as an employee benefit and is generally used to recruit and retain highly skilled workers. While all of these aspects of employee development are vital to the human resource strategy, it is essential to consider each as a tool for overall organizational development.


In a rapidly changing world, employees and organizations alike must take steps to remain competitive. Employees must develop marketable skills to give themselves an edge in the job market, while organizations must develop employees to compete with other organizations within the same industry. Employee development is a fundamental duty of the effective manager. Managers and supervisors must encourage employees to pursue both personal career development goals and those learning goals identified by organizational leaders.


While employee development is an essential element of the human resource strategy, it is important for a company’s development programs to be in alignment with the organization’s overall strategy. Organizational strategy generally originates at the executive level as an abstract strategy for aligning the day-to-day activities of the organization with the company’s mission statement. Executives set specific and measurable goals which must be met by managers and supervisors at the functional level. It is vital for HR leaders to link human resource strategy to the overall organizational strategy to ensure employee development also promotes organizational development.



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Before organizational leaders can set development goals, they must first assess the organization’s core competencies to determine which skills are most important to the development of the organization as a whole. They must also determine where skills are lacking. For example, if the organization appears to be lacking strong leadership, then one goal might be to implement leadership development training. If managers identify issues with team dynamics, they may choose to implement team building programs to encourage employees to work together more effectively.

Return on Investment

Effective employee development strategies generate a positive return on investment, which is a common bottom-line goal of any organizational development strategy. The retention of highly skilled employees saves the organization a great deal of money which would otherwise be lost to high turnover. Highly developed employees also contribute to the overall effectiveness of the organization to compete with others within its industry. Additionally, organizations are better able to implement organizational developments when workers maintain the skills necessary to implement change.