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The Difference between Employee Training & Employee Development
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Recruiting & Hiring

The Difference between Employee Training & Employee Development

One Minute Takeaway

  • Employee training and development differ in that training focuses on immediate skills needed for specific job functions, while development prioritizes long-term growth.
  • Training is about “doing,” while development is about “being.”
  • Many organizations often focus development solely on high-level leadership roles, but access to learning and development should be available for every employee.

With the world of work continuing to evolve, many company leaders are taking a deeper look into employee training and development to help with engagement, retention, and hiring.

What many leaders may not fully understand, however, is that there is a significant difference between employee training and employee development.

What’s the difference between employee training and employee development?

Employee training focuses on the short-term.

It helps an employee perform better at their job right now. Its aim is to give employees the skills (often technical) that they need to carry out the functions of their role.

Typically, training has a concrete end goal, such as learning how to use specific software, understanding company processes, or becoming clear on company policies. 

On the other hand, employee development has a much more long-term vision.

Development is more conceptual and focuses less on technical skills and more on helping employees truly grow as individuals. It aims to equip employees with the attitudes and skills required to face future challenges. It focuses on skills that have a longer shelf life—skills that employees will be able to carry throughout their careers and apply to their personal lives as well.

Employee development bridges the gap between doing and being

Employee training is all about doing, and employee development is more about beingEmployee training focuses on developing skillsets, whereas employee development focuses on developing mindsets.

Of course, employee training is crucial to the success of any company. If employees have no idea how to steer the ship, the ship will sink. But what really drives organizational transformation and growth is employee development. Because employee development centers around a long-term vision, its effects run deeper and last longer. It equips employees with a growth mindset, creating a genuine love of learning that employees want to share. 

Research shows that a focus on developing employees’ human skills pays off. A study from Boston College, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan found that human or soft skills training, such as communication and problem-solving, boosts productivity and retention by 12% and delivers a 250% return on investment based on higher productivity and retention.

Unfortunately, many companies aren’t placing enough focus on employee development. Either they are totally overlooking leadership development or reserve it for those already in high-level leadership positions in the form of expensive executive retreats or seminars.

Transformation has to be democratized for real change to happen in the workplace. Access to learning and development of both human and technical skills needs to be available for every member of the organization, not just executives.

How to transform organizations through human-centered leadership

Organizations that combine skillset and mindset development will reap the benefits. This combination defines human-centered leadership.It is focused on improving personal and emotional skills, in addition to more traditional professional skills.

Human-centered leadership is the ability for someone to know themselves, know how to improve themselves, know others, and know how to help others improve.

Focusing on human-centered leadership is the future of learning in the workplace. To help employees reach their full potential, executives need to look at learning and development in a new way that focuses on personal development and professional development.

How to make human-centered leadership a reality

To make such a fundamental switch, organizations need to give employees access to social, experiential learning, focused on developing their human-centered capabilities.

Employers should provide continuous, bite-sized learning opportunities to help employees home in on skills that apply directly to challenges both inside and outside of the workplace.

Paycor can help you establish and deliver personalized, scalable, and engaging learning and development journeys for your frontline leaders and their teams. Paycor Paths enables HR and L&D leaders to create unique, custom development journeys that inspire positive and sustainable behavior change within their frontline leaders and employees.

The proprietary library includes more than 100 hours of micro-learning content on topics such as leading teams, self-awareness, growth mindset, feedback, collaboration, DE&I, and more, to help companies make human-centered leadership a reality.