What Is Human Resource Development? A Complete Guide

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Effective training can help new recruits perform effectively in their new roles. With human resource development, you can explain job requirements and make your team members feel welcomed in the company. Human resource development is different from other HR functions, which is why it is important to know what it entails and ways it can benefit a company. In this article, we examine 'What is human resource development?', discuss its functions, importance and benefits, explain how it works and answer some frequently asked questions on this topic.

What is human resource development?

The answer to the question, 'What is human resource development?' is that it is a collection of training programmes for new employees, with a goal to help them adjust to their new roles and learn more about the organisation and its culture. Unlike other resources, human resources have unlimited potential capabilities. HRD is the framework helping employees develop their personal and organisational skills, knowledge and abilities. HRD also includes opportunities such as employee training, employee career development, performance management and development, coaching, mentoring, succession planning, key employee identification, tuition assistance and organisation development.

The focus of human resource development is on developing a superior workforce through which the organisation and individual employees can accomplish their professional goals. HRD can be formal such as in-classroom training, a college course or organisational restructuring. It can also be informal like employee coaching programmes or modules that experts in the industry or managers oversee.

Related: Human Resource Planning: Meaning, Importance And Key Steps

How does HRD work?

Human resource development involves developing skills, knowledge and competencies of people and an organisation's people-oriented policies. It is a process in which the employees of an organisation acquire and develop technical, managerial and behavioural knowledge. It improves their skills, abilities and imparts the values, beliefs and attitudes necessary to perform present and future roles by realising the highest human potential. HRD focuses on contributing positively to organisational, group, individual and social goals. It focuses mainly on two aspects:

  • Helping and motivating factors: Employees of an organisation receive motivation to acquire, develop and influence various aspects of human resources to contribute to organisational, group, individual and social goals.

  • Techniques and methods: These techniques pertain to performance appraisal, potential appraisal, career planning and development, training, management development, organisational development, social and cultural programmes and workers' participation in management.

Why do companies require HRD?

HRD is necessary for any organisation that wants to be dynamic and growth-oriented to succeed in a fast-changing business environment. Organisations can become dynamic and grow through the efforts and competencies of their human resources. Employees can acquire, improve and use their professional capabilities consistently to benefit an organisation. To achieve this, an enabling organisational culture is essential.

When employees use their initiative, take risks, experiment, innovate and make things happen, the organisation may have an enabling organisational culture. Even an organisation that has reached its limit of growth may periodically adapt to changes in its business environment. Almost all organisations require human resource development processes to ensure sustained success.

Related: Why Is Human Resources Important To Every Organisation?

What is the importance of HRD?

HRD is important because it:

  • Facilitates learning: The very purpose of HRD is to enable employees to acquire knowledge, learn new concepts and develop their skills. HRD aims to enhance the quality of the workforce by creating an environment that fosters constant learning.

  • Helps employees with their career development: HRD helps in the career development of individuals by matching employee characteristics with job requirements. Organisations can achieve their goals by facilitating the growth and development of individual employees.

  • Improves the overall performance of a business operation: HRD significantly improves employee performance. Training programmes enhance the capabilities of employees and improve their productivity over time and the overall productivity of an organisation.

  • Facilitates organisational development: HRD aims to facilitate the development of an organisation as a whole. Organisations can introduce positive changes in work culture, work processes and organisational structure to develop and grow their business.

  • Helps make long-term changes: The results of HRD may start manifesting only after it becomes a fully functional process in an organisation. It benefits the employee and the organisation for an extended period of time.

  • Makes it easier to implement change: Introducing change in the organisation through HRD can ease apprehension about new policies or procedures. Employees can better understand the purpose and benefits of the change, which can help them grow accustomed to the innovations more smoothly.

  • Focuses on employee welfare: An organisation attempts to provide facilities that are vital for the physical and mental well-being of employees. Companies provide benefits to their employees, like subsidised meals, medical insurance policies and retirement plans as part of employee welfare initiatives.

  • Inculcates team spirit: HRD creates a conducive environment for building team spirit and coordinating among various employee groups and departments. Team spirit is necessary for fostering loyalty among professionals.

What are the functions of HRD?

The important functions of human resource development are:

  • performance appraisal

  • employee training

  • executive development

  • career planning and development

  • organisational change and development

  • involvement in social and religious organisations

  • involvement in professional circles

What are the possible outcomes of human resource development?

The potential outcomes of HRD provide the ground rules to build an organisation with efficient professionals, processes, products and sustainable profits. These are some potential outcomes of HRD:

  • Training makes professionals more competent. They develop new skills, knowledge and attitudes.

  • There is greater clarity of norms and standards. Professionals become aware of the skills required for a job role and the expectations which other members set for them.

  • Individuals become more committed to their jobs because there is greater objectivity in the administration of rewards. A data-based appraisal system reduces subjectivity to a minimum.

  • Individuals engaging in HRD become more proactive in taking initiatives.

  • Professionals develop trust and respect for each other.

  • There is increased scope for collaboration and teamwork which produces a synergic effect.

  • There is greater readiness on the part of employees to accept change. They find themselves better equipped with problem-solving capabilities.

  • Useful and objective data on employees facilitates human resources planning.

  • Participation develops a sense of achievement and pride among employees.

What is the difference between HRD and HRM?

HRD and Human resource management (HRM) are concepts pertaining to business management specifically focusing on the human resources that organisations maintain. These are some of the differences between HRD and HRM:

  • Human resource management focuses on maintenance, while human resource development focuses on development.

  • Human resources management involves an independent structure, whereas human resource development aims to incorporate an organisational structure that comprises interdependent entities.

  • Human resource management typically improves the efficiency and productivity of professionals, while HRD focuses more on holistic organisational development and growth.

  • Human resource development relies on the services of skilled personnel, while the responsibility of HRM lies with managers and administrators.

  • HRM motivates employees through reward schemes, promotions and monetary incentives. Human resource development focuses on the professional development and growth of individual employees.

Related: How To Become An HR Manager (Duties, Salary And Skills)

What are HR developers and what do they do?

HR developers are crucial to an HR team, as they supervise many domains within the human resources department of an organisation. These areas include organisational learning, human performance technology, executive and leadership development, employee development and training. Typically, HR developers develop and design systems to attract, engage, train and retain talent, and often plan organisational development activities like team-building exercises and workshops.

Formal educational qualifications in the domain of HRD can provide specialised training for general HR positions, system design and programme development. For example, professionals experienced in employee training may design materials like digital instructional modules and training documents for developing the skills of new recruits. They may use surveys to assess and identify the needs of professionals working in a domain and help evaluate the efficacy of training programmes. Training and development managers typically focus their energies on the overall training goals of an organisation. They may oversee training programmes and budgets and supervise specialists whenever it is necessary.

How much do professionals in human resources make?

The average salaries of a few prominent roles in human resources are as follows:

  • The average base salary of a human resources specialist is ₹15,327 per month.

  • The average base salary of a human resources manager is ₹27,085 per month.

  • The average base salary of a human resources assistant is ₹14,696 per month.

  • The average base salary of a human resources coordinator is ₹17,610 per month.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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