Training and Development Policy


Our last Tips and Tools looked at the requirements of a Training and Development Policy and what is involved in creating such a Policy.  This edition considers the Policy further.   



Constructing a Training and Development Policy


This is the next stage in producing your Policy.  You will need to:

·      obtain widespread views on:

-         use and usefulness of a Training and Development Policy

-         areas where improvement is needed

-         areas where things are unclear

-         expectations

·      agree how the final Policy will be published and made available across the organization

·      benchmark any existing Policy against those of similar organizations

·      benchmark any existing Policy against CIPD standards

·      write an outline draft of the Policy Statement (see below for structure)

·      discuss the draft Policy with a range of individuals across the organization

·      involve interested bodies such as Unions

·      adapt draft, incorporating suggestions and comments received

·      identify broadly the resource implications of the draft Policy

·      present to senior management.  Note - this presentation should be face-to-face so that:

-         senior managers’ full understanding of the document and its purpose can be   achieved

-         emphasis can be placed on the absolute need for senior level support of the Policy

-         resource implications can be explored

-         real discussion and evaluation of ideas can take places

·      incorporate any requirements stated by senior management

·      complete next draft of Policy document.  At this stage, incorporate the level of detail needed to fulfil the purpose agreed for the Policy within the organization

·      review current Training and Development initiatives and provision to ensure they comply with the Policy

·      publish and launch the Policy with appropriate publicity.


Monitoring and Reviewing a Training and Development Policy


Once in place and operating, ideally a Training and Development Policy should be reviewed at three or four yearly intervals, more frequently if changes in the organization merit it.  When reviewing the Policy you will need to:

·      identify new and current business or organizational issues which need to be reflected

·      identify any shortfall or gaps

·      review any problems/difficulties experienced in operating the Policy

·      collect opinions on:

-         how well people believe it has been implemented

-         extension or additions seen as necessary

·      review other organizations’ documents as a benchmark

·      check that Policy still complies with any legal or other requirements

·      analyse all Training and Development provision and activity based on the Policy to ensure they are consistent with the Policy

·      identify whether any activity has been needed which was not mentioned in original Policy

·      check with senior managers for information about forthcoming changes/new requirements etc

·      check with Unions or other interested bodies

·      make any necessary amendments to the Policy

·      check that all changes have the support of and are understood by senior management (with any resource implications resulting from additions or changes)

·      circulate a replacement Policy to all holders – drawing attention to any additions

·      publicise new Policy, highlighting changes to everyone

·      review circulation and publicity methods also, to ensure greatest effectiveness.


Structure and Contents of a Training and Development Policy


Every Policy will be different, however, a  typical Policy is structured in this way:

·      A statement of the benefits to the organization of having a Training and Development Policy

·      The purpose of the Policy and how it should be used

·      The reasons why training and development are made available within the organization, emphasising the benefits to staff and to the organization

·      A description of what the organization provides as training and development initiatives and the possibilities of individual staff members attaining formal qualifications

·      A list of Training and Development methods and approaches used in the organization

·      The organization's commitment to current government initiatives and schemes, for example IiP, NVQ or any similar or trade based scheme.

·      Details of the responsibilities of staff members, line management, the HR Function and the whole organization.


The Policy may also include quantifiable statements of the organization's commitment to Training and Development.  It may include:

·      the number of days per year that an individual employee can expect to have devoted to Training and Development

·      the amount of money per head the organization will annually spend on the provision of Training and Development

·      the percentage of payroll costs across the organization that will be devoted to the provision of Training and Development.


Note:  because things change so rapidly many organizations prefer to include such factors as the last three items in an annual training plan rather than in the Policy itself


Responsibilities for a Training and Development Policy


The HR Function are responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Policy  It is vital that there is involvement of both senior management and line management with the Training and Development Policy.


Senior Management will need to resource the agreed Policy and to give it visible and positive support.


Line Management should contribute to:


1.       All phases of creating and implementing the Policy

2.       Ensuring its implementation with their own staff

3.       Monitoring and reviewing the Policy’s usefulness.


This will help to ensure line management's commitment to the benefits of training and development and to the role of HR


Individuals will need to take responsibility for using the policy and its provision for their own benefit and that of the organization.


Even with these levels of  involvement, there remains a possibility of training and development initiatives becoming unacceptable to the 'customer community' of line managers and their staff.  This can occur when practices are introduced that do not align with the Policy.  HR as ‘keeper’ of the Policy will need to take steps to ensure congruence of action and Policy.


The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recommends that any statement of general policy should make reference to:

1.       A corporate commitment to continuous improvement

2.       The interdependence of technical and social systems, strategies and objectives

3.       Self-development as a responsibility of every individual within the organization

4.       The need to understand as much as possible about learning processes

5.       The organization's commitment to acknowledge improved performance and to provide appropriate rewards

6.       The organization's intention to use enhanced skills operational as work opportunities permit

7.        'Who carries responsibility for what' in the identification of learning aims and the promotion of learning activity

8.       Ways in which operational aims and objectives are communicated to those employed

9.       Appraisal and assessment methods

10.   Procedures for career planning

11.   Any facilities provided for learning during work-time, including any policy on paid or unpaid leave for this purpose

12.   The organization's policy on employee involvement, especially that relating to involvement in reviewing education and training facilities and resources.


© DBA 2001