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Differences Between Training and Development

What is Training?

Training in HRM is a crucial component of an organization’s professional development. It aims at teaching the employees specific knowledge, skills, and competencies needed for their job. In addition, these programs aim at bridging the knowledge gap and enhancing employee performance and productivity. Training can take various forms, like classroom instruction, on-the-job coaching, or e-learning platforms. Training sessions are usually held for a short duration of time. However, it plays a crucial role in ensuring employees have all the necessary skills and expertise to perform a task successfully. Therefore, by investing in training, organizations can improve employee performance and the firm’s overall productivity.

What is Development?

Development in HRM is defined as a continuous process of personal and professional growth of individuals by improving their skills and capabilities beyond their current job role. This usually involves developing the individual’s leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills. Unlike training, development usually has a broader scope and lasts longer. It includes mentorship programs, job rotation, and workshops. It aims at building the individual’s overall competencies and a mindset of continuous learning. Investing in development programs helps organizations attract and retain top talent, promote employee satisfaction, and cultivate a culture of growth and innovation.

Training vs Development: Differences

Organizations often need a well-defined strategy to differentiate between training and development programs. This is because they often overlap to create a comprehensive learning program for the employees. But they have a few key differences, which are discussed below:


Main PointTrainingDevelopment
DefinitionSpecific knowledge and skills for the current job role.An ongoing process of personal and professional growth.
Aim of activityBridge the skill gap and enhance job performance.Holistic growth for future roles.
Implementation methodsClassroom instructions, coaching, e-learning, and workshops.Mentorship programs, job rotations, self-learning.
PrinciplesPrimary focus on immediate job role.Broad growth for future roles.
ChallengesEnsure the relevance and practicality of the program.Identify diverse opportunities and resources.


1. Definition


Training can be defined as improving employees’ knowledge, skills, and competencies to enhance their job performance and achieve organizational objectives. It includes various methods that help impart employees’ specific skills and expertise.

Training is the process of teaching employees’ basic skills and knowledge required for their present jobs and increasing their abilities to be prepared for more demanding future jobs.

-Edward B. Filippo

The quote highlights that training is usually the foundation upon which employees must build different skills and knowledge to prepare for future challenges.


Development can be defined as the continuous process of personal and professional growth, expanding the individual’s skills, knowledge and capabilities that go beyond the current job requirements. It aims to enhance an individual’s competency to prepare them for future roles.

Development means increasing the knowledge, skills, abilities, and aptitudes of an individual for personal growth and career advancement.

-Edward B. Flippo

So, development stresses the importance of continuous learning, skill enhancement, and personal growth for preparing individuals for their future roles. It aims to nurture well-rounded professionals capable of adapting to changing circumstances and embracing new challenges.

2. Aim of Activity


The aim of training can be summarized as follows:

  • Bridge skill gaps: With targeted training programs, organizations can equip the individual with skills and knowledge to help perform their job effectively.
  • Enhance job performance: By acquiring new skills, employees can perform their tasks more efficiently, which leads to higher productivity.
  • Increased efficiency: By providing training on the latest technological tools, organizations can enhance operational efficiency and reduce manual errors.
  • Support organizational goals: If the employee is trained in all the necessary skills and knowledge, they can help leverage the organizational goals.
  • Boost employee morale and engagement: It invests in employees’ growth and improves job satisfaction, morale and engagement as they feel valued.
  • Facilitate adaptability: Necessary training helps employees quickly adapt to changes in the environment and stay updated and agile.


The aim of development can be summarized as follows:

  • Foster personal growth: With opportunities for self-learning and reflection, individuals can expand their knowledge and skills beyond their current job requirements.
  • Prepare for future roles: Improving leadership capabilities, critical decision-making ability, and problem-solving skills helps them navigate through the challenges of the business world.
  • Nurture leadership potential: Mentorship, coaching and exposure to leadership help individuals to sharpen their leadership potential and assist organizations in creating a future leadership pipeline.
  • Cultivate a learning culture: By promoting a growth mindset and providing all the resources for development, organizations can encourage employees to take ownership of their learning and nurture a culture of knowledge sharing and innovation.
  • Support organizational success: Organizations create a skilled, engaged and motivated workforce by investing in the growth and development of employees.

3. Implementation methods


On-the-job training and off-the-job training are the two most common types of training used in organizations:

On-the-Job Training:

  • Coaching and Mentoring: An experienced employee supervises the trainee in doing the regular job with real-time feedback and assistance.
  • Job Rotation: In this, trainees are exposed to various job roles and responsibilities to enhance their skills and gain an overall perspective.
  • Shadowing: Trainees closely follow the experienced employees and observe their daily tasks, gaining insights into their future roles and responsibilities.
  • Internships and Apprenticeships: They provide hands-on training to individuals on the practical skills and knowledge detrimental to the industry or the job role.
  • Simulation exercises: In this, trainees experience simulated scenarios which are replication of real time to practice the skills in a controlled environment.

Off the Job Training:

  • Classroom Training: Traditional classroom training led by instructors helping them gain knowledge and skills and engage in interactive discussions.
  • Workshops and Seminars: Short-term sessions cover the most specific topics and are grouped with interactive discussions, hands-on activities, and expert-led presentations.
  • E-learning and Online courses: Trainees get access to free online lessons, which are easy to access at any time, and they can learn at their own pace and time.
  • External Training Programs: In this, trainees visit professional training programs or conferences conducted by an external professional association to gain insights from industry leaders.


Five prominent implementation methods for developmental initiatives are:

  • Mentoring and Coaching: In mentoring, the trainee is paired with experienced professionals who guide them. Coaching provides one-on-one guidance to help improve skills and professional experience.
  • Leadership development programs: Workshops, seminars and assessments are conducted to analyze individuals’ leadership capabilities, which help employees develop additional skills and organizations prepare a succession plan.
  • Job Rotation: It involves temporarily assigning different job roles and responsibilities to individuals across departments to build their capability.
  • Workshops: Covering topics like communication, time management, and risk handling helps employees gain professional proficiency across multiple roles.
  • Self-directed Learning: In this, individuals take ownership of their learning activities by reading industry books, taking online courses, or engaging in networking activities to support their personal growth.

4. Principles


Hamblin’s Five-level Training Evaluation Model outlines the principles that can help guide the impact and effectiveness of training programs.

  • Level 1: Reactions: Training is designed to create a positive and engaging learning experience. The content should be relevant and aligned with the trainee’s current job requirements.
  • Level 2: Learning: It should encourage hands-on practicing and active exposure to develop skills. They should receive timely feedback to implement necessary changes.
  • Level 3: Job Behavior: It should simulate real-life responses from employees so they can make the desired contribution. Managers should provide constant support in terms of resources, support, and time.
  • Level 4: Organization: Training is to be aligned with organizational goals and strategies in the long term to ensure its effectiveness. Training results should be evaluated and tracked using appropriate metrics and indicators.
  • Level 5: Ultimate Value: Training programs should emphasize societal conditions and promote ethical practices, DEI initiatives and social responsibility of the organization.


Here are the principles of development based on proactive employee development:

  • Anticipate skill needs: Organizations need to anticipate future skill needs, industry trends, and technological advancements to stay ahead of the curve and the competition.
  • Identify learning options: After successfully predicting the skills needed, knowing the learning opportunities is essential. A diverse learning opportunity, including external platforms, online courses, etc., might be the best option.
  • Create growth opportunities: With the help of methods like job rotation, cross-functional projects, and stretch assignments, organizations should create a future growth funnel for their employees.
  • Recognize benefits: Effectively communicate the benefits of this program with the employees by highlighting the benefits like job enhancement and professional growth. It will help to keep the employees engaged and motivated.

5. Challenges


  • Remote Training and Engagement: The increasing prevalence of remote work has rendered it difficult to maintain engagement and collaboration among employees in a remote setting because of an absence of appropriate digital tools.
  • Technology Integration and Digital skills: Most of the employees have an inherent reluctance to adapt to the latest AI tools, thus limiting their remote working competencies.
  • Skill Gaps and Changing Skill Needs: Organizations must actively identify the skill gaps in their workforce and structure training programs to suit the current requirements like in the areas of cyber security, data analytics, etc.
  • Learning Retention and Application: Strictly ensuring that the training translates into positive business results is crucial. This can be done by reinforcement practices like case studies, mentoring, and on the job training.


  • Time and Resource Constraints: Organizations face difficulty in balancing the budget and resource allocation for developmental activities along with the daily business activities. They must carefully invest in only important opportunities for the employees.
  • Measuring and Tracking the Impact: Determining the level of effectiveness of the developmental activities on the business function is quite tricky as it requires robust knowledge of data and metrics.
  • Organizational Support: At times securing support from the top management on the developmental activities can be quite difficult, also ensuring their active participation can be quite tricky.
  • Aligning with Changing Needs: Efficiently adapting with the fast-paced changes in the skill requirement and technological advancement and staying relevant in all the latest activities can seem complicated.

Wrapping it Up

Therefore, training and development are crucial for employee growth, fueling higher business productivity. In addition, organizations can foster a culture of innovation and continuous learning by understanding individual needs. Finally, all this can be streamlined by effectively embracing the latest technological changes, thus helping organizations unlock their true potential.

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