An extremely important part of human resource management is the training and development of employees. The purpose of both the activities is to enhance the performance, knowledge and efficiency of the employees. However, there are differences between training and development in terms of their objectives and their content.

Training is a short-term process that is developed by the organization with the aim of offering technical knowledge and expertise to its non-managerial employees in accordance with their job requirements. In contrast, development is a long-term process through which those in the managerial post acquire conceptual and theoretical knowledge that helps them achieve overall growth and development.

In this article, we will explain the two terms in detail and present the differences between them.

Definitions and explanations


Training is the process carried out by organizations to impart skills and knowledge to its employees that are needed to carry out their job functions. Training is important for employees as it helps them in comprehending the job requirements and achieving them more efficiently.

Presently, training programs are developed by various organizations for their fresh recruits after they have gone through the recruiting and selection process. This is needed to inform them about the rules, processes and policies of the organization so that they are able to work and behave according to the requirements of the organization.  Training helps in grooming the employees and preparing them to carry out their jobs more efficiently.

Some of the main types of training are: induction training, on-the-job training, promotion training, apprentice training, etc.


Development refers to the training carried out by the top level managers, and is also called management or executive development. This process is on-going and systematic and helps in improving the conceptual and intellectual knowledge of the managers. The objective of development is to increase their efficiency and effectiveness at the workplace.

In contrast to training, development is not pertinent to a particular task; rather it is a holistic process that aims at to bring about personality development on the whole. It tries to bring about overall growth of the individuals so as to enable them to face forthcoming challenges. It helps in altering the attitude and approach of the employees so that they become more competitive. A significant objective of development is to prepare managers to serve as replacements for existing top-level managers or executives.

With the developments in technology, it is important for the managers to update their skills and competencies, which is why development is so important. Development is essentially an educational process that is never-ending. Some of the approaches used for development are counseling, mentoring, coaching, case study, conference training, job rotation, etc.

Difference between training and development

Some points of difference between training and development are listed below:

1. Meaning

Training refers to the learning process undergone by new employees to acquire and develop the skills needed to perform their job. On the other hand, development refers to the training process that is undergone by current employees to achieve growth and development on the whole.

2. Duration

The training process is carried out for a shorter duration, typically three to six months. However, the process of development is continuous and is aimed at preparing employees to deal with challenging tasks in the future. Hence, it is of a long-term nature.

3. Concentrates on

Training concentrates on improving the skills and competencies of an employee for their existing job, while development concentrates on developing knowledge, skills and understanding to face any kind of challenge in the future.

4. Scope

The scope of training is limited as it only focuses on the requirements of a specific job. However, development is of a broader scope because it focuses on an individual’s overall career.

5. Training provided by

An important part is played by a trainer or supervisor in imparting skills and knowledge to employees regarding their particular roles in the organization. However, development is a self-directed process as the employee prepares himself for future opportunities.

6. Aimed at

Training is usually aimed at new employees and those who are not at the managerial level. Development, in contrast, usually refers to the process carried out by those at the managerial and executive level.

7. Attended by

Training programs that are organized by the organization are usually attended collectively by the employees. On the other hand, development is a process of self-evaluation and therefore, a person is responsible for his/her development.

Training vs development – tabular comparison

A comparison of training and development in tabular form is given below:

Training vs Development
Learning process to acquire skills and knowledge required to perform a particular job Training process to achieve overall growth of one’s personality
Short-term Long-term
Concentrates on
Developing skills of employees that are needed to perform their existing jobs Developing skills and knowledge of the managers/executives to face future challenges
Narrow; job-specific Wide; career-oriented
Training provided by
Organization Self
Aimed at
New employees Manager and executives
Attended by
Groups Individual

Conclusion – training vs development

After being recruited in an organization, employees are made to undergo training so as to be able to fulfill the requirements of their job more efficiently and effectively. Through training, employees are able to learn the activities they are supposed to carry out as part of their jobs before actually doing it. A significant outcome of training is that employees learn new skills and knowledge and get to know about the rules and policies of the organization so that they can work accordingly.

On the other hand, growth and development stems from experience. Once employees have become experienced in the organization, they need to undergo further development so as to face different challenges in the future. Development concentrates on not just those activities that enhance the way employees carry out their job-related tasks, but also that bring about an improvement in their overall personality and attitude.

Despite the differences, the ultimate objectives of the two are the same. They both seek to improve the practical knowledge of the employees so as to enable them to enhance their performance. This would eventually lead to achieving the goals of the organization more efficiently and effectively.