Training and Development as an HR Practice

In the light of the continuous rise of the role of intangible assets in forming the value of companies, the role of managing and developing such assets becomes increasingly important. In that regard, such assets are concerned, first of all, with human resources, which put great importance on the role of the company in managing such assets (Weatherly, 2003). Human Resource (HR) management is the discipline concerned with performing such tasks, among which responsibilities are “bringing people into the organization… [and] development of talent – creating an environment in which learning is seen as a way of organizational life” (Wilson, 2005, p. 34). The importance of training and development can be seen through the fact that “[c]arefully selecting employees doesn’t guarantee they’ll perform effectively” (Dessler, 2008, p. 264).

Contemporary HR management practices have passed the stage at which their functions were limited by selecting and hiring employees. Now, the functions of HR management include other tasks and responsibilities, concerned with such areas as retention, performance measurement, development, recruitment, and others. The role of training and development as an HR practice might require certain clarifications, considering the relation between the value of a company and its human resource. In that regard, another practice concerned with such relation can be seen through employees’ recruitment.

The present research paper aims to provide an analysis of the importance of training and development, stating that such practice cannot exist in isolation, being connected to recruitment. Although there are differences in the contexts when those practices are applied, both practices are vital. The present paper will provide a literature review on the differences between those practices and their relation to such aspects as motivation and performance.

Literature Review


The importance of motivation in the workplace cannot be underestimated. In that regard, the role of HR practices is vital in developing not only skilled, but also motivated workforce” (Wright, McCormack, Sherman, & McMahan, 1999, p. 552). Motivation is a driving force in making employees perform to what is expected from them. It is not sufficient to just systematically measure and evaluate performance to achieve organizational goals. It is argued that there should be also a process capable of motivating employees to perform to those standards (Wilson, 2005). The role of training and development in increasing motivation can be seen through development-based systems of performance management. Such systems make an assumption that people work best when given a worthwhile job, with the satisfaction coming from the opportunity to develop individual abilities and learning encouragement” (Wilson, 2005). It can be understood that training and development’s role in increasing the motivation of employees is ion those opportunities for learning given.

The link between training and development, and motivation can be seen through the concept of psychological contracts between workers and managers. Psychological contracts are defined as a set an unwritten and unstated set of expectations between the employee and the employer (Wilson, 2005). It is generally argued that the motivation and well-being of employees are linked to the practice of HR management in general, rather than to a single practice in particular. Such practices led to the development of positive psychological contracts, through creating high levels of job satisfaction and motivation among employees (Smith & Smith, 2007, p. 264). In that regard, the inability to identify a single HR management practice responsible for the increased performance of the company can be seen through the fact that “the benefits to organizational performance cannot be realized through the implementation of one or more human resource management practices in isolation” (p.265). The interrelation between selection and training on motivation can be seen through the findings of a study in Wright (1999), where “survey results from HR and operations respondents indicated that appraisal and training were significantly related to workforce skills and that training and compensation were marginally related to workforce motivation”(p.551).

Internal recruitment can be linked to motivation as well, where employees might be perceived the vacancy within the organization as one of the opportunities that develop individual abilities.

Training and Development vs. External Recruitment

Following the argument that a single HR management practice cannot be isolated, there is nevertheless, some interrelation between such practices as recruitment and training. In a general sense, it is argued that neither “praise nor pay can motivate people to perform beyond their means, nor the best training program cannot make a silk purse of a sow’s ear” (Wilson, 2005, p. 171 ). Thus, an integrated model should exist in which the employer should equally concentrate on a vision of recruiting new employees along with concentrating on current employees and their performances. In both cases, the recruitment and training initiatives are derived from a needs analysis. However, the main difference between recruitment and training and development can be seen in that recruitment aims at attracting new employees, as a response to a certain need, while training and development are aimed at making sure that those selected will perform their task effectively. In that regard, both practices are based on a selection process. For selection, there should be no distinction between initial employment or internal movement of employees, wherein in both cases the task is the same (Gatewood, Feild, & Barrick, 2008, p. 4). The link to the company’s performance is vital in such aspect. The decision of training and developing new employees can be based on a measurement of performance which should indicate whether there are problems in such performance, as well as for deciding whether such performance should be fixed, and how (Dessler, 2008). In external recruitment decisions, on the other hand, the company should consider the company’s future human resource supply and demand forecasts, as well as considering the need for diversifying the workforce and bringing new blood into the company’s organizational culture (Wilton, 2010, p. 169).


The relationship between training and development to a firm’s performance is largely apparent. Performance measures can be seen as a reason justifying training and development initiatives as well as an indicator of their success or failure. The link of HR involvement in the performance of a company can be seen through managing employees’ involvement (Wood & Wall, 2007). An example of the influence of training and development on performance is supported in HR management literature. The results of a survey conducted by the American Management Association revealed that “a 10 percent increase in training produced a 3 percent increase in productivity over two years “(Saks, Wright, & Charles, 2000, p. 7). Other cases show that investing in training leads to larger profits, were spending up to 6 percent on training, companies achieve 57 higher sales, 37 percent higher gross profits per employee, and a 20 percent higher ratio in market-to-book values (Saks, et al., 2000).

The relation of recruitment to performance can be seen in a different perspective, where it is argued that training and development is itself a useful tool in recruitment. Accordingly, training and development play a major role in retaining employees as well. Taking recruitment in isolation it can be seen that its relationship to performance can be linked to the company’s strategy. Such strategy is not only linked to increasing the number of employees due to expansion, but also to acquire key skills and knowledge into the organization. Such an aspect can be important in the context of a firm’s attempts at knowledge management, namely in firms whose competitive advantage stems from “‘core competencies, which are based on the distinctive knowledge created within them over time” (Haesli & Boxall, 2005, p. 1955).

Findings and Analysis

Certain themes emerged in the review and which can explain the relationship between recruitment and training and development as HR practices. In a simple sense, recruitment can be seen as the process of buying an asset, while training and development is the process of investing in such an asset. Both processes are directly related to the company’s performance – the main reason for doing business in general business, and the employees’ motivation, the force driving employees to conform to such performance. One of the key differences between the two practices can be seen through the involvement of different factors to consider. Although both practices are based on careful selection of employees, some of the goals might be a little bit different. When the diversity of the human force is an issue, the company needs new blood, requires changes in organizational culture, or dependent on knowledge as a core competency, external recruitment can be seen as a good practice, especially when such practice is connected to the company’s forecasted demand of a workforce. The attractiveness of the company when recruiting new employees is directly related to the company’s training and development initiatives. Training and development, on the other hand, can be seen as related to an existing problem in the performance that can be corrected through training, acquiring new skills, raining qualifications, and positively contributing to the employees’ psychological contracts.

Another area in which both practices can be seen as important is the area of knowledge management. Recruiting employees with knowledge related to key knowledge competencies can be seen as a common task. It can be assumed that depending on the type of knowledge and its significance, the options of either recruit or train might be considered.

Internal recruitment can be related to employees’ career development initiatives as well as a recruitment strategy in the company. In that regard, both practices cannot exist in isolation. Recruitment of employees, either freshly graduated students or experienced staff cannot be managed without training those employees, raising their qualifications, and providing them with development opportunities. At the same time, providing all of the aforementioned without a careful selection and recruitment of employees can be seen as a wasteful investment in unneeded assets.


The present paper analyzed the importance and the relationship between two HR practices, recruitment and training, and development. The analysis was based on a review of literature on both practices showing mutual elements and differences. The research analyzed those practices in the context of employees’ motivation and the company’s performance. The results of the analysis show that both practices despite similarities are largely different. In that regard, it can be concluded that the management of both practices is essential to the success of companies, where none of such HR practices can exist in isolation of the other one. It can be stated that focusing on one practice only without due consideration of the other might prove to be a waste of investments in the company.


Dessler, G. (2008). Human resource management (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Gatewood, R. D., Feild, H. S., & Barrick, M. R. (2008). Human resource selection (6th ed.). Mason, Ohio: Thomson/South-Western.

Haesli, A., & Boxall, P. (2005). When knowledge management meets HR strategy: an exploration of personalization-retention and codification-recruitment configurations. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16(11), 1955-1975. doi: 10.1080/09585190500314680

Saks, A. M., Wright, T., & Charles, W. (2000). Managing Performance Through Training & Development: Nelson Thomson Learning.

Smith, A., & Smith, E. (2007). The role of training in the development of human resource management in Australian organisations. Human Resource Development International, 10(3), 263-279. doi: 10.1080/13678860701515208

Weatherly, L. A. (2003). The value of people: the challenges and opportunities of human capital measurement and reporting. HR Magazine. Web.

Wilson, J. P. (2005). Human resource development : learning & training for individuals & organizations (2nd ed.). London ; Sterling, VA: Kogan Page Limited.

Wilton, N. (2010). An introduction to human resource management. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Wood, S. J., & Wall, T. D. (2007). Work enrichment and employee voice in human resource management-performance studies. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(7), 1335-1372. doi: 10.1080/09585190701394150

Wright, P. M., McCormack, B., Sherman, W. S., & McMahan, G. C. (1999). The role of human resource practices in petro-chemical refinery performance. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 10(4), 551-571. doi: 10.1080/095851999340260

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