Human Resources Development, Still a New Idea?

As I continued my reading this week and began journeying into our text, Productive Workplaces, I was struck by the time frames of when our field came to be.  I suppose I had never truly considered when the concepts of employee happiness, on-boarding, recruitment, retention, engagement, workplace learning, etc. all became important to the local business; but I truly thought the appreciation had older roots than it apparently does.

So I pause to consider growth in the business sector over time, the globalization of our companies and the diversity of our populations; and I find myself wondering if I would be remiss to not think about this as one inherent factor in why the HRM and HRD fields came to be?  And of this same vein I wonder if this growth and diversification is what began opening the minds and support of those leaders that our field needs in order to be successful?  For an open mind is necessary when creating awareness, and awareness regarding the impact of what we can bring to the success of a company is still a work in progress for many.

But again, the ideals of business have much deeper and older roots than the idea of HRD and its importance.  So I can’t help but wonder what may be to come in the field in coming years as more and more understand and appreciate what each of us have already come to know…..

So with apologies for my far-reaching thoughts (hopefully put to words in a coherent way:), I end with a question to others….is HRD still somewhat of a new idea?


About hdjackson

Graduate Student at Virginia Commonwealth University studying the theoretical world of Adult Learning along with its relation to Human Resources Developement. View all posts by hdjackson

5 responses to “Human Resources Development, Still a New Idea?

  • Laurie Niestrath

    Humans, from a geography perspective, certainly count as “capital” as should be considered an investment worth developing, yes? However, I would imagine that if you did a “Jay Leno” on the streets of RVA that you’d find that most individuals consider the HRD nothing more than the insurance/paperwork ladies. That’s a rather sad reflection, I must say. However, I have not benefited from the “development” component for the department. How fortunate to have a component of the adult learning program that asks individuals to consider developing workers and seeing to their needs. Looking forward to “lurking” in on your current class!

  • maryrwaters

    Good food for thought. I’ve been thinking about your question since class last week. I feel that HRD has been occurring at some level throughout time if we consider HRD to be about the idea of individual learning and personal/professional growth. Only recently (since the 80’s) has HRD entered the academic realm. I think HRD research, major publications, and curriculum programs help better define what it is HRD professionals do (and do not do) and helps to solidify the central role it plays when it comes to healthy, thriving organizations. Since the “academic field” (separate from the historical timeline) is still relatively young, I think it will still take time for people to better understand HRD and be able to distinguish it from HRM. In other words, I think the longer the research community is around, it will serve a trickle down effect and give greater notoriety to the field (and provide cooler, newer strategies in the process!)

    • hdjackson

      Thank you for your thoughts Mary, after asking the question in class I couldn’t help but bring it up again as it had dropped like a rock when posed. Your reflection on the idea has definitely gotten me thinking!!

  • anniegao9025

    Hi Holly, I like you thoughts and questions. Also, I am thinking about them, especially after I feel devalued in the career fair. I agree with Mary that learning has been and will always be happening in multiply levels in an organization no matter people realize it or not. The value of HRD is to make people more consciously about learning and effective learning strategies, as well as to develop learning opportunities that benefit organization and individuals in a timely manner. However, the reality is that many leaders have not regarded learning as a core component of success. In the career fair in the School of Business, most employers did not provide HRD position because they thought they were small business so that did not need training, or they decided to only use their existing employees as trainers and do not need training specialists. When I mention organizational culture and leadership development, most people were not interested or did not really know what that meant. From the experience, I do see that there is an urgent need to raise people’s awareness of the importance of HRD and OD. I believe that it will be better in the future.

    • hdjackson

      Oh Annie, I so agree! In a time where organizations are doing more with less, I think their understanding of how important OD and HRD can be is often being overlooked. Lets hope that over time that does indeed change, but in the meantime they should appreciate your attempts to bring it to their attention. It reminds me tremendously of the reflection on page 219 of our text, Productive Workplaces. Do I see a consultant role in your future perhaps in an attempt to spread the word?? 🙂

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