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Question: What Is Human Resource Development (HRD)?


Human Resource Development (HRD) is the framework for helping employees develop their
personal and organizational skills, knowledge, and abilities. Human Resource Development
includes such opportunities as employee training, employee career development, performance
management and development, coaching, mentoring, succession planning, key employee
identification, tuition assistance, and organization development.

The focus of all aspects of Human Resource Development is on developing the most superior
workforce so that the organization and individual employees can accomplish their work goals in
service to customers.

Organizations have many opportunities for human resources or employee development, both
within and outside of the workplace.

Human Resource Development can be formal such as in classroom training, a college course, or
an organizational planned change effort. Or, Human Resource Development can be informal as
in employee coaching by a manager. Healthy organizations believe in Human Resource
Development and cover all of these bases.


Performance appraisals, performance reviews, appraisal forms, whatever you want to call them,
let's call them gone. As a stand-alone, annual assault, a performance appraisal is universally
disliked and avoided. After all, how many people in your organization want to hear that they
were less than perfect last year? How many managers want to face the arguments and diminished
morale that can result from the performance appraisal process?

How many supervisors feel their time is well-spent professionally to document and provide proof
to support their feedback - all year long? Plus, the most important outputs for the performance
appraisal, from each person's job, may not be defined or measurable in your current work

system. Make the appraisal system one step harder to manage and tie the employee's salary
increase to their numeric rating.

If the true goal of the performance appraisal is employee development and organizational
improvement, consider moving to a performance management system. Place the focus on what
you really want to create in your organization - performance management and development. As
part of that system, you will want to use this checklist to guide your participation in the
Performance Management and Development Process. You can also use this checklist to help you
in a more traditional performance appraisal process.

In a recent Human Resources Forum poll, 16 percent of the people responding have no
performance appraisal system at all. Supervisory opinions, provided once a year, are the only
appraisal process for 56 percent of respondents. Another 16 percent described their appraisals as
based solely on supervisor opinions, but administered more than once a year.

If you follow this checklist, I am convinced you will offer a performance management and
development system that will significantly improve the appraisal process you currently manage.
Staff will feel better about participating and the performance management system may even
positively affect - performance.

Preparation and Planning for Performance Management

Much work is invested, on the front end, to improve a traditional employee appraisal process. In
fact, managers can feel as if the new process is too time consuming. Once the foundation of
developmental goals is in place, however, time to administer the system decreases. Each of these
steps is taken with the participation and cooperation of the employee, for best results.

Performance Management and Development in the General Work System

• Define the purpose of the job, job duties, and responsibilities.

• Define performance goals with measurable outcomes.
• Define the priority of each job responsibility and goal.

• Define performance standards for key components of the job.
• Hold interim discussions and provide feedback about employee performance, preferably
daily, summarized and discussed, at least, quarterly. (Provide positive and constructive
• Maintain a record of performance through critical incident reports. (Jot notes about
contributions or problems throughout the quarter, in an employee file.)
• Provide the opportunity for broader feedback. Use a 360 degree performance feedback
system that incorporates feedback from the employee's peers, customers, and people who may
report to him.
• Develop and administer a coaching and improvement plan if the employee is not meeting

Immediate Preparation for the Performance Development Meeting

• Schedule the Performance Development Planning (PDP) meeting and define pre-work
with the staff member to develop the performance development plan (PDP).
• The staff member reviews personal performance, documents “self-assessment” comments
and gathers needed documentation, including 360 degree feedback results, when available.
• The supervisor prepares for the PDP meeting by collecting data including work records,
reports, and input from others familiar with the staff person’s work.
• Both examine how the employee is performing against all criteria, and think about areas
for potential development.
• Develop a plan for the PDP meeting which includes answers to all questions on the
performance development tool with examples, documentation and so on.

The Performance Development Process (PDP) Meeting

• Establish a comfortable, private setting and rapport with the staff person.
• Discuss and agree upon the objective of the meeting, to create a performance
development plan.
• The staff member discusses the achievements and progress he has accomplished during
the quarter.

• The staff member identifies ways in which he would like to further develop his
professional performance, include training, assignments, and new challenges and so on.
• The supervisor discusses performance for the quarter and suggests ways in which the
staff member might further develop his performance.
• Add the supervisor's thoughts to the employee's selected areas of development and
• Discuss areas of agreement and disagreement, and reach consensus.
• Examine job responsibilities for the coming quarter and in general.
• Agree upon standards for performance for the key job responsibilities.
• Set goals for the quarter.
• Discuss how the goals support the accomplishment of the organization's business plan,
the department's objectives and so on.
• Agree upon a measurement for each goal.
• Assuming performance is satisfactory, establish a development plan with the staff person,
that helps him grow professionally in ways important to him.
• If performance is less than satisfactory, develop a written performance improvement
plan, and schedule more frequent feedback meetings. Remind the employee of the
consequences connected with continued poor performance.
• The supervisor and employee discuss employee feedback and constructive suggestions
for the supervisor and the department.
• Discuss anything else the supervisor or employee would like to discuss, hopefully,
maintaining the positive and constructive environment established thus far, during the
• Mutually sign the performance development tool to indicate the discussion has taken
• End the meeting in a positive and supportive manner. The supervisor expresses
confidence that the employee can accomplish the plan and that the supervisor is available for
support and assistance.
• Set a time-frame for formal follow up, generally quarterly.

Following the Performance Development Process Meeting

• If a performance improvement plan was necessary, follow up at the designated times.
• Follow up with performance feedback and discussions regularly throughout the quarter.
(An employee should never be surprised about the content of feedback at the performance
development meeting.)
• The supervisor needs to keep commitments relative to the agreed upon development plan,
including time needed away from the job, payment for courses, agreed upon work
assignments and so on.
• The supervisor needs to act upon the feedback from departmental members and let staff
members know what has changed, based upon their feedback.
• Forward appropriate documentation to the Human Resources office and retain a copy of
the plan for easy access and referral.

COACHING Definition:

The first step in any effort to improve employee performance is counseling or coaching.
Counseling or coaching is part of the day-to-day interaction between a supervisor and an
employee who reports to her, or an HR professional and line managers.

Coaching often provides positive feedback about employee contributions. At the same time,
regular coaching brings performance issues to an employee's attention when they are minor, and
assists the employee to correct them.

The goal of performance coaching is not to make the employee feel badly, or to show how much
the HR professional or supervisor knows. The goal of coaching is to work with the employee to
solve performance problems and improve the work of the employee, the team, and the

Coaching Steps

Use these steps in effective and supportive coaching.

• Show confidence in the employee's ability and willingness to solve the problem. Ask him
or her for help in solving the problem.
• Describe the performance problem. Focus on the problem or behavior that needs
improvement, not the person. Ask for the employee's view of the situation.
• Determine whether issues exist that limit the employee's ability to perform the task or
accomplish the objective. Four common barriers are time, training, tools, and temperment.
Determine how to remove these barriers.
• Discuss potential solutions to the problem or improvement actions to take. Ask the
employee for ideas on how to correct the problem, or prevent it from happening again.
• Agree on a written action plan that lists what the employee, the supervisor, and possibly,
the HR professional, will do to correct the problem or improve the situation.
• Set a date and time for follow-up. Determine if a critical feedback path is needed, so the
supervisor knows how the employee is progressing. Offer positive encouragement. Express
confidence in the employee's ability to improve.


Mentoring is a formal or informal relationship established between an experienced,

knowledgeable employee and an inexperienced or new employee. The purpose of the mentoring
relationship is to help the new employee quickly absorb the organization’s cultural and social
norms. Mentoring also assists an employee, new to a specific job or area of responsibility, to
quickly learn what they need to know to succeed in their job and role.

Mentoring can involve a formal exchange of knowledge and information and can be evaluative
in nature to assess the assimilation of the new employee in his or her new role. Mentoring is
provided in addition to your new employee onboarding process and should have different content
and goals.

The best mentoring relationships involve the exchange of a particular body of knowledge that
helps the new employee quickly come up to speed as a contributor within your organization.
Mentoring helps the employee navigate the learning curve inherent in any new role and

Many organizations assign a mentor as part of their formal employee onboarding process. Other
mentoring relationships develop spontaneously and over time. All mentoring relationships are
encouraged as research indicates that employees who experience mentoring are retained, learn
more quickly, and assimilate into the company culture more effectvely.

A mentoring relationship frequently occurs between an employee and their immediate

supervisor; in fact, this was the normal mentoring relationship in the past. These mentoring
relationships are still encouraged, but it is recommended that employees and organizations
pursue additional mentoring relationships. A mentoring relationship with a supervisor never
loses the evaluation aspects necessary for the employee to succeed within your organization.

Mentoring is a skill and an art that can be developed over time.


Succession planning is a process whereby an organization ensures that employees are recruited
and developed to fill each key role within the company. Through your succession planning
process, you recruit superior employees, develop their knowledge, skills, and abilities, and
prepare them for advancement or promotion into ever more challenging roles.

Actively pursuing succession planning ensures that employees are constantly developed to fill
each needed role. As your organization expands, loses key employees, provides promotional
opportunities, and increases sales, your succession planning guarantees that you have employees
on hand ready and waiting to fill new roles.

Effective, proactive succession planning leaves your organization well prepared for expansion,
the loss of a key employee, filling a new, needed job, employee promotions, and organizational
redesign for opportunities. Successful succession planning builds bench strength.

Develop Employees for Succession Planning

To develop the employees you need for your succession plan, you use such practices as lateral
moves, assignment to special projects, team leadership roles, and both internal and external
training and development opportunities.

Through your succession planning process, you also retain superior employees because they
appreciate the time, attention, and development that you are investing in them. Employees are
motivated and engaged when they can see a career path for their continued growth and
development. To effectively do succession planning in your organization, you must identify the
organization’s long term goals. You must hire superior staff.

You need to identify and understand the developmental needs of your employees. You must
ensure that all key employees understand their career paths and the roles they are being
developed to fill. You need to focus resources on key employee retention. You need to be aware
of employment trends in your area to know the roles you will have a difficult time filling


Tuition assistance is an employer-provided employee benefit that is a win-win for your

workplace. In a tuition assistance program, an employer pays all or part of an employee's cost to
attend college or university classes. Most employers, who offer a tuition assistance program, pay
the full cost of the employee's tuition, lab fees, and books.

In most cases, employers cap the amount of tuition assistance available for employees.
Employers either set a limit in terms of dollars available per employee per year or they establish
the number of classes they will pay for per year per employee.

When tuition assistance is available, the most common method for administering the program is
to require employees to pay for their own tuition and books when they register for classes. The
employee is then reimbursed when he or she submits the receipts and evidence of earning a "C"

or above grade upon completion of the class. Employees most frequently turn in copies of their
transcript to receive their tuition assistance.

In some cases, where extensive funds are spent on tuition assistance, the employer requires that
the employee sign an agreement to pay back the tuition assistance if he or she leaves the
organization within a certain period of time. In these cases, the employer forgives a percentage
of the tuition assistance for every year the employee stays with your organization.

Tuition assistance makes sense for employers because you enable your employees to continue to
grow and develop their knowledge. Your employees stay in the practice of learning and
university attendance fosters an environment at work that supports employee learning.