Human Resource Development (HRD) is a discipline that is concerned with the development and implementation of models aimed at helping workers to acquire knowledge and develop a variety of skills and abilities. Therefore, HRD professionals’ role revolves around activities and tasks whose main purpose is to provide employees with new opportunities. Coaching, performance management, skill development, training, mentoring, smart resource distribution and employee identification are only some of the factors / aspects that every HRD professional is required to deal with.
In order to gain a better understanding of the reasons why HRD is extremely beneficial to any organization, suffice to say that thanks to their expertise and competencies, HRD professionals may use a variety of tools to develop the most efficient and competent workforce so that the organization can achieve its strategic goals and enhance its competitiveness, while its workers accomplish their personal objectives and realize their full potential within the company.
While in the past organizations used to employ more rational management practices which did not take into consideration the significant impact that employee satisfaction and motivation can have on long-term success and growth, HRD professionals allow businesses to make the most out of their “human capital”, thus enabling them to distinguish themselves from their competitors and to create long-term value creation, rather than focussing on short-term profitability.
Considering how competitive today’s global economy is, HRD professionals may even be considered as a fundamental asset that every organization should consider having.
As Wilson (2005) pointed out, during the past few decades, HRD professionals’ role within organizations has changed significantly as a result of a number of phenomena, including the advent and development of new technologies, the emergence of new competitive structures, organizations’ growing responsiveness and adaptability to macro environmental changes and, of course, globalization. Consequentially, the global business environment has assigned HRD professionals a pivotal role in developing and maximising organizations’ competitive edge whilst ensuring that employees’ skills and abilities are compatible with the organization’s needs (Wilson, 2005).
Therefore, it follows that in order to perform the numerous tasks associated with their role, HRD professionals are required to possess a number of fundamental competencies.
As Werner and DeSimone (2011) observed, a study by Bernthal et al. revealed that the most important competencies that every HRD professional should develop / possess are program development, research & evaluation, management development, skills training, corporate development, career development, training coordination, safety training and sales training (pp. 16-17). Thanks to these abilities, HRD professionals should be able to provide employees with adequate advice and assistance regarding their career and professional growth, whilst developing effective training programs and helping the company to achieve its strategic goals.
As one of the world’s largest information technology multinational companies, Apple has managed to distinguish itself not only for its ability to combine technology, performance and design, but also for its outstanding customer service. Considering the “premium price” of most of its products, Apple cannot certainly afford to provide its customers with an ordinary retail experience, which is why its employees are trained in such a way to make customers feel welcome, supported and satisfied.
In order to achieve consistency across its stores, Apple’s customer service department consists of employees who have been chosen and prepared with great scrutiny before allowing them to interact with customers. Considering how loyal Apple’s customer base is to the Apple brand and to its founder, Steve Jobs, it is important that the company’s staff members should express and convey a great deal of passion and enthusiasm when speaking to customers. In view of the company’s global following and excellent reputation, it could even be argued that what Steve Jobs has created is much more than a company: it is a religion that embodies specific values and boasts a high number of followers. Therefore, it is crucial that its customer service staff should care about the brand, reflect its values and evangelize its products in order to create value, rather than simply achieving short-term sales.
With regards to the project department, Apple has created a brand which is strongly associated with continuous innovation, efficiency and beauty / design. Therefore, its project department should employ individuals who understand the company’s needs and are capable of combining their creative and innovative thinking with Apple’s strategic objectives and needs (e.g. creating long-term value, meeting shareholders’ expectations, being a step ahead of its domestic and international competitors, the main one being Samsung).
It follows that the company’s HRD professionals should devise effective training programs aimed at strengthening employees’ creative skills and encouraging them to think out of the box. At the same time, they should always keep an eye on the company’s competitors and ensure that the company’s correlation with beauty, sleek design, elegance and innovative technological solutions is sustained throughout the project development process.