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What is the purpose of training and development?

What is the purpose of training and development?
Training & Development sign
© Ildo Frazao/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

From the point of view of the individual employee, there are three main aims of training:

  • Improve the individual’s level of awareness
  • Increase an individual’s skill in one or more areas of expertise
  • Increase an individual’s motivation to perform their job well

When we consider the purpose of training from the perspective of the employer, we can add one more objective to this list:

  • Increase overall productivity and performance

We are aware that the modern organisation is forced to operate in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business climate. In this context, it is important that if an organisation is to invest in training, the skills and learning acquired stimulate relevant productivity, so the business maintains a competitive edge in this competitive global market.

The importance of high-quality training is crucial because the cost to the organisation is often significant. The cost of training includes the training course itself, travel expenses, and lost hours from work to attend training. The national average spend on learning and development, per employee per year, is £300 (The Independent 2018).

Training should be top priority to organisations because the benefits to employees are numerous. According to Steptoe-Warren (2013) these benefits include:

  • Reduction in poor quality and defective products and services
  • Reduced waste (eg materials in the process of production)
  • Reduction in absenteeism
  • Reduction in staff turnover
  • Reduction in customer complaints and customer turnover
  • Increased staff loyalty/feelings of obligation (Shore et al. 2006) and motivation (Grant 2008)
  • A more flexible, empowered and adaptable workforce (Pfeffer 1998)
  • Enhanced company image

These benefits are only realised when a comprehensive training programme is implemented.

Your task

Reflecting on the scenario at Dekka Cakes & Bakes, consider the proposed training from the point of view of the organisation and the employees. What do they each want to get out of the training?


Grant, A. M. (2008) ‘Does Intrinsic Motivation Fuel the Prosocial Fire? Motivational Synergy in Predicting Persistence, Performance, and Productivity’. Journal of Applied Psychology [online] 93 (1), 48–58. available from [25 July 2019]

Pfeffer, J. (1998) ‘Seven Practices of Successful Organizations’. California Management Review [online] 40 (2), 96–124. available from [24 July 2019]

Shore, L. M., Tetrick, L. E., Lynch, P., and Barksdale, K. (2006) ‘Social and Economic Exchange: Construct Development and Validation’. Journal of Applied Social Psychology [online] 36 (4), 837–867. available from [24 July 2019]

Steptoe-Warren, G. (2013) Occupational Psychology: An Applied Approach. 1st edn. Harlow: Pearson Education [online] available from [5 August 2019]

The Independent (2018) ‘Why Poor Workplace Training Could Be Costing You Business’. The Independent [online] 30 April. available from [24 July 2019]

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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Training and Development at Work: An Introduction

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