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<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do Organizational Development and Training Relate to Each Other

February 12, 2005
Dear Discerning:

The renaming of human resources departments has been going on for about five years. Some departments historically known as "compensation" or "benefits" now carry the moniker of rewards. Some human resources departments have developed full-time change-management divisions. Still other organizations have renamed the entire human resources function as organizational development, as opposed to making it a subset of human resources.
It's important to stress that the labels or even the "boxes on the chart" are less relevant than the department's function, service delivery or decision-making capacity. An organizational chart is just a piece of paper. The norms of how teams interact and the culture they share represent the soul of the organization.
In your case, training likely should be one implementation arm of organizational development. Most organizational-development functions include some combination of corporate communication and change management. They usually have some overlap with the teams handling performance management and succession planning, and some overlap with the compensation and benefits/rewards team.
Use organizational development to improve the overall core competency of your company by measuring the strengths and weaknesses of your workforce as they relate to what's required in the business's strategic plan. Reinforce this via a strong performance-management program. Capturing data on employee skills and performance enables you to ensure that the right training programs are in place to bolster areas where you're weak and maintain excellence in stronger areas.
The goal of both functions--training and organizational development--should be to improve skill levels throughout the organization. Adopt a good performance-management program to capture this data, especially electronically. You can also use it to analyze your bench strength or successors for critical roles.
Organizational-development and training departments each play a role in assessing the return on investment of training money. Together, the two departments can determine whether money and resources are being used efficiently.
Don't worry about labels. Just focus on collaboration so that you develop talent in a way that helps the business. If this happens, employees and employers both win.
SOURCE: Matthew Levin, vice president, global operations officer, Hudson Human Capital Solutions Hudson Highland Group, Chicago, Illinois, March 29, 2004.
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.