Human Development

By Ghous | ghous | 11 Jun 2021

Organizational growth and development is largely depended on competent workforce which thinks strategically, and is not shy of learning new skills and competencies in order to achieve personal and organizational goals. To assure this, organizations have to implement an effective human resource development (HRD) programme as part of their strategic human resource management (SHRM). Human resource development is a set of planned activities, designed by organizations, to provide their members with the opportunities to learn necessary skills and knowledge with an aim of meeting current and future work demands. As part of managing people, HRD seeks to develop people’s knowledge, expertise, productivity and satisfaction, whether for personal or organization’s objectives [10]. From a range of HRD approaches, developmental humanistic approach based on Maslow’s fifth level of needs is the most appealing as it is truly focused on human development regardless to output [9]. The work of the human resource development practitioner is continuously evolving and any HRD program has to be made considering the current and future needs of the organization. Human resource development is expected to make a strategic level contribution to individual and organizational effectiveness. Linkages between the operating areas of HRM suggest that if we have weakness in any one of those areas, it undermines the good work done in other areas. One of those areas is learning and development which effectively falls under the HRD strategy of the organization.

This academic essay will analyse the requirements for an effective HRD strategy. It will use literature to relate to some basic concepts that must be kept in mind while implementing HRD. Relevant frameworks that can streamline HRD implementation will also be elaborated on. Then, the need of ethical considerations in HRD activities and the current level of development at Qatar Airways along with some recommendations will also be discussed. Lastly, the essay will conclude by reiterating the key points and conveying some final thoughts.


2.0 Analysis

Implementation starts with two basic question i.e. why is HRD required and how does it align with the organizational objectives. Once these questions are answered, HRD practitioners can work towards gaining management support. Effectivity of HRD strategy is largely dependent on the attitude and support of management toward the proposed HRD strategy. Managers have to understand the important contribution that the employees make to the company [13]. When managers get involved in employee welfare and show clearly that they value the employees; this elicits key motivation among employees [13]. On the other hand, when employees are seen as cost to an organization, the commitment towards their training and development becomes negligible [4]. Similarly identification of target audience and their support towards the HRD plan is equally important as training programs are usually a two way street where trainers and trainees gain mutually. Learning organization is referred to as the one that facilitates the learning of all its members and continually transforms itself [11]. HR strategy has to follow the philosophy of a learning organization and aim to develop a HRD program that improves the performance of workforce and results in an efficient and productive organization. Once the organizational requirements are known, training to cater to those requirements can start.

Any effective HRD strategy needs to have a systematic training model that identifies and addresses the performance and skill gaps while being cost effective [1]. The practicality and availability of off-the-job training options is to be measured against the available resources and organizational goal. This training

model is to be implemented in a systemic approach that is in line with overall strategy of the organization [1]. This systemic implementation of HRD requires interdependencies between different operational areas in an organization [1], and for this human resource development practitioners are required to have good people skills, to be able to network and build relationships within the organization to gain support, resources, information, and knowledge. Such a systematic and well-designed HRD Program can contribute in development of skilled and competent work force and ultimately enhance organizational effectiveness. To assess the effectivity of HRD an evaluation mechanism is also required [1]. HRD practitioners need to select a framework that best suits the organizational requirement in order to effectively implement a development program that is also strategically aligned. Kolb’s learning circle [7] and Jeff Gold’s models [1] are good example of such frame works. Let’s further analyze the requirements of effective HRD program by utilizing Jeff’s model that has more of a sequential nature and can better act as a reference for HRD practitioners.


2.1 Identify Needs

The first thing to be done is to identify training or learning needs and prioritizing them according to their contribution to the overall Organizational Strategy [1]. This stage assesses the requirement and the environment of the organization along with understanding the role and performance of potential trainees. More importantly, the gap between the current and desired state of skills and competencies is gauged by measuring the performance of an organization and its workforce [1]. Then, the difference between the current and desired performance will act as an input for gap analysis which in turn can identify the needs, purpose, and objectives.


2.2 Design Requirements

The design requirements of an effective HRD program is all about integrating it will the overall business strategy [1]. Once the training needs are clear, the second stage is focused on designing the training program by developing training content and planning a delivery method. With the clear objective a lesson plan is to be developed and trainer or leader is to be selected to deliver the training based on planned method and timings. The development of technology in recent year plays a major role in design as many of trainings have become largely technology dependent. HRD practitioners and trainers need to be well versed on related tech to effectively propose a training design.


2.3 Deliver Requirements

The third phase is about actually providing training as per the plan and hence is called “deliver requirements” [1]. Based on the requirement of the organization, the HRD program is to be implemented by delivering most appropriate training sessions that create a productive learning environment for on- going improvement in the employees. This way, it enables the workforce to perform efficiently towards company goals and objectives. Implementation can be carried out either by having a shared service provision with HR, a dedicated department that caters to all the organizational training or a strategic third party business partner that provides internal and external trainings [1].

As the name of the stage suggests, a variety of delivery methods can be selected to deliver the training and they can be on-the-job or off-the-job. Off the job training could include work related long or short term courses, there could be in house courses developed in corporation with the HR and sometimes might require relocation or traveling [1]. On-the-job training (OJT) is when workforce is expected to learn while

performing the assigned tasks and is one of the most commonly adopted method for employee development [1]. Staff is usually coached directly by their line manager where they perform on job activities based on Line manager’s advice and guidance in order to attain new skills or develop existing ones [14]. Mentoring is also a growing form of OJT where senior employees assume a role model position as someone willing to share their knowledge, skill and expertise to give help and advice for the long term benefit of the mentee, and the entire company [8]. Another form of OJT could be in the form of peer relationship where the workforce learns by sharing information and providing moral support and feedbacks as and when required [1].

All these training modes and many more are available for HRD practitioners to select from when implementing an effective HRD program. The main thing to consider during implementation is that HRD has to align with in the organizational strategy with interdependencies between key business areas to assure smooth operations and sustainability.


2.4 Evaluate Activities

Finally in evaluate activities, evaluation criteria is selected on the basis of which the success of the program is assessed [1]. The results are interpreted and act as input for future HRD programs. The effectiveness of the HRD program can be measured by evaluating the skills of the employee before training, during training and after training sessions [1]. The main purpose of Evaluation is to analyze to what extend information is being transferred to intended audience and if it is not up to the mark, what is causing that. Kirkpatrick provided a model for evaluating HRD programs that can be used to measure the level to which the training programs have influenced the staff [5].


2.4.1 Level 1 – Reaction

Level one is all about what trainees think of the training program and its effectiveness [5]. If the trainees like the program and have positive reactions about it, it will encourage them to attend more trainings in future and word of mouth marketing can inspire more relevant audience to attend in future. The main limitation of evaluating HRD programs at the reaction level is that this information cannot indicate whether the program met its objective beyond ensuring participant satisfaction.


2.4.2 Level 2 – Learning

This is probably the most important aspect of a training program that HRD practitioners need to fulfill. The question here is weather the trainees learnt what the HRD objectives said they should learn? [5] If learning is happening as per training model, the next level of evaluation should show it.


2.4.3 Level 3 – Job Behavior

At this level of evaluation, the practitioners need to see if the trainees are using the skills learned in their daily jobs or assigned activities [5]. If the transfer or learning and knowledge is not happening, the training effort cannot have an impact on the employee’s or organization’s effectiveness. Observing trainees on the job can tell us if training and knowledge has actually transferred to the job by measuring their behavior and comparing it with past performance errors.


2.4.4 Level 4 – Results

The final step of evaluation is to assess the results of the training programs that are being carried out as part of the HRD efforts [5]. The questions to ask here are how has the HRD program improved the organization’s effectiveness? Is the organization more efficient, more profitable as a result of the training program? Meeting this criterion is considered to be the most challenging level to evaluate, given the limitations of employee performance, how training has had an effect on the bottom line is important to know [5]. Typically at this level, economic and operating data are collected and analyzed [5].

There are always critiques of any model and for the training model described above Eugene Donnelly in his article The Training Model: Time for a Change? Argues that we need to consider the fact that there are real life constraints that needs to be considered like budget, the abilities and attitude of trainees and the overall culture of the organization [3]. The evaluation has to be carried out at all stages independently to assure that the training model stays relevant and practical [3]. While planning for an effective HRD strategy, the implementers need to consider to what extend organization is willing to adapt to this learning culture.


2.5 Ethical Considerations

There is always an element of ethics involved in every aspect of business and same applies to HRD. Implementing an effective HRD program requires lots of decision making and many of those decisions have some sort of ethical dimension to them. If the organizational culture is not right, managers may be biased towards recommending friends or favorite employees for development packages and ignoring the deserving candidates. Additionally, reporting results and the actual conduct of the evaluation by the same people who implement HRD can raise ethical questions like that of confidentiality and biasness. Many of post training questionnaires ask participants about their or others’ job performance, answers to many of such inquiries might be embarrassing or lead to adverse treatment by others if they are made public. Also supervisors dislike being rated by their subordinates on performance aspects and rater’s bias can creep in. Halo effect [12], recency effect [2] are other potential biases that can creep in. there is a need that evaluation studies should be conducted or audited by independent review boards to assure there is no conflict of interest and the results are unbiased.



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