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The Changing Role of Training Departments

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The Changing Role of Training Departments

Systematic training started during and immediately after the world wars, when industrial growth assumed rapid progression and the demand for skilled workers increased with the demand for the goods produced. Pioneers in the field such as Frederick Taylor, who is considered as the father of the scientific management and efficiency movement tried to make training more systematic and scientific for improved efficiency.

Training was more management-centric with the objective to get workers to produce more in less time and with minimal training costs. The Personnel Department, which was primarily responsible for matters pertaining to employees such as recruitment, payroll, labor relations and welfare, was also responsible for training. Training was essential for blue-collared workers in factories and industries where they needed to handle equipment that was unique and demanded specialist skills. Training for white collared employees was typically on-the-job.

However, in the late 80s, employees were being considered as a resource and gradually what used to be personnel departments have metamorphosed to Human Resources Departments. Their responsibilities were not limited to hiring and firing but assumed a wider scope. Organizations realized that it was in their best interests to develop and train employees. Gradually separate training departments were set up who catered to the training needs of organizations. Along with technical skills, employees were provided training in soft skills such as communication skills, leadership skills, team building skills and so on.

Today, it has become common for large organizations to have Learning and Development Departments which are basically responsible for developing the training content that is relevant to employees of the organizations and helping employees to develop skills that are most relevant to their jobs. It stemmed out of the need to keep pace with increased competition in the business environment. Organizations realized that if they needed to increase the value of their business, they should motivate employees in such a manner that they develop themselves from within to achieve their full potential and have a competitive advantage. Training thus became more learner-centric emphasizing on the learning value it provided to employees.

Thus training departments have transformed into learning and development departments focusing on enriching the learning experience of the employees. This not only benefits the employees on an individual basis but also support organizations to improve their productivity.

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