Managing a Training and Development Function

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INTRODUCTION
As competitors strive to win the war for talent, businesses need to become more effective at managing their training and development resources in order to gain competitive advantage within the marketplace (Noe et al, 2005). Senior managers within organisations are now becoming increasingly aware of the importance of training and development as a strategic function and its impact on the future success of the business (Spurling and Trolley, 2000). It is vital for training managers to effectively acquire, manage and develop their internal and external resources in order for the training function to be strategically aligned to business objectives. Training and development is a key activity for an organisation to improve the performance of its employees, thus improving organisational efficiency. Training needs to be recognised and utilised as a management tool which requires training professionals to take full responsibility for the effectiveness and business focus of their activities (Spurling and Trolley, 2000). The alignment of training with strategic business needs is a crucial part in the value adding process of the organisation, which is vital in seeking competitive advantage.

This report will focus on the operations of Lovell Partnerships Ltd (please see appendix one for company overview) and will analyse how training resources are managed both internally and externally within the organisation. Recommendations will then be made.

FINDINGS
Training and development refers to the process of obtaining or transferring knowledge and abilities and improving individual and group performance in an organisational setting (Harrison, 2009). However, the benefits of training and development to both the individual and organisation are much broader than this. In order for training and development to meet current and future business demands the function must encompass a wide range of learning activities, from task based learning and knowledge sharing to self managed learning and personal career development.

STRATEGIC PARTNERING OF TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT FUNCTION
Mabey and Salaman (1995) define training as a strategic priority, providing a catalyst for change within an organisation. They view training and development as a tool through which organisations strategic objectives can be effectively realised, therefore appreciating the close relationship between training and development and organisational performance. However, this relationship will only be effectively forged through both vertical and horizontal integration. Mabey and Salaman (1995) provide a model which demonstrates the link between training and development and business and HR strategy. By having close horizontal integration policies and practices work together, making them more cohesive, therefore the business policies that are taught and published to employees are evident within working culture and operations of an organisation. Effective vertical integration provides a strong link between training and development and both business and HR strategy. The integration of training and development to the business is vital in creating a cohesive working environment. 65% of respondents to the Annual CIPD Learning and Development Survey 2009 anticipated that learning and development activity will become more closely aligned with business strategy in the near future.

Strategic positioning of training and development directly promotes organisational business goals and objectives (CIPD Workbook). In order for strategic aims and objectives to be achieved the right resources are needed to allow their effective introduction. Therefore, people development needs to be considered as a core facet of an organisation’s strategy. The CIPD factsheet on ‘Aligning Learning to the needs of the organisation’ (2009) states that in order for training and development to be aligned with business needs training and development practitioners must work in...
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