Jerry Gillet and Seteven Eggland (2002) identified for managers of HRD an eight-point strategy for designing cost-effective, reputable learning programs that can survive economic crises and internal/external changes affecting the organization.
1. Establish a written HRD philosophy.
There should be a written HRD philosophy that states unequivocally that effective human resource development can improve performance (i.e., change behavior, produce results, increase productivity). This provides a framework for the HRD program. It also provides a common objective for each of the members of the HRD staff on which to focus their efforts. It will serve as a guide for the program’s planning and implementation.
Components of an HRD philosophy should include: (1) an assessment of the employees and an explanation of what each employee needs to contribute to their own growth, (2) a comprehensive statement of the importance of HRD to the organization and its future growth and development, (3) a position statement outlining the HRD staff view of the training-learning process and the instructional strategies the department will use, and (4) a statement on the relationship of the HRD program to the overall organization and essential decision makers and supporters.
2. Establish HRD policy.
A policy statement should answer questions regarding implementation of release time for training, tuition reimbursement, eligibility requirements, and standards of employee participation. An HRD policy should also include a statement regarding the purposes and long-range outcomes of participation. Attainable learning objectives and corresponding time Frames, organizational structure, authority and funding sources, provision periodic review and revision, utilization of needs assessment data, and record keeping procedures need to be addressed as well.
3. Obtain support of top management.
HRD programs can only make a difference if management accepts and encourages the utilization of learning means to increase productivity and improve performance. Top-level management must be involved in planning and implementing HRD learning programs. This support is often difficult to obtain, not so much because of management indifference or lack of concern but because of a lack of awareness of the potential impact that HRD can have on performance and productivity improvements.
4. Integrate HRD into the long-range organizational plan.
HRD programs must become a meaningful part of the organization’s long-range planning. If it is not, then the learning programs and training activities may not be related to the needs of the organization. This will prevent the HRD program from having a positive impact on the organization. As a result, both the organization and HRD will suffer.
5. Conduct extensive needs assessments.
HRD programs must address the needs of the employees as well as the organization. In order for learning programs and training activities to be effective, they must be based on the employees’ needs or the organization’s needs or both. HRD managers must make certain this is the procedure that is followed and that the HRD staff understands this simple but fundamental orientation.
6. Encourage collaboration.
HRD managers should encourage collaborative efforts as a means of obtaining maximum efficiency. This also allows different and divergent perspectives to be incorporated into the HRD program. This will insure that other departments and divisions are properly represented by the HRD department. It will also help build supporters for the programs who can be called upon during periods of economic uncertainty.
7. Establish criteria for participation in HRD programs.
It is important to set selection criteria by which employees are chosen to participate in HRD programs. This accomplishes two objectives. First, it communicates a higher standard of involvement and commitment on the part of the employee. Second, it forces supervisors and line managers to make a greater commitment to conduct employee interviews and performance reviews, to identify performance deficiencies, and to assist employees in developing individual developmental plans. Increased management involvement will mean increased credibility for HRD and a greater return on the organization’s investment.
8. Be introspective but focus on results.
HRD managers must seek feedback from supervisors, line managers, top-level managers, and employees as well as their staff regarding the quality of their programs, the status of their relationship, barriers to effectiveness, and the level of involvement expected of the HRD department. Both positive and negative findings must be reported. This information must be incorporated into future programs. Regardless, the focus of all HRD programs must be on results, and special attention should be given to obtaining such information. It should also be communicated to essential decision makers as a way of advancing the image of HRD.