Development of human resources -- Part 1
a perspective on improving organizations
and people in the paper industry
This is the first in a series of articles which originally appeared in Tappi Journal in 1995-96, to introduce methods addressing the development of individuals and organizations through the field of Human Resource Development. (The article has been updated, and is reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.)
To be successful in the current rapidly-changing world, we need to maximize the productivity
of all of our resources -- physical, financial, information, and human.
How are we doing?
- Physical resources: We've made major investments in updating our physical equipment,
so we can compete with state-of-the-art production tools and facilities.
- Financial resources: Sure, we're really capital intensive. But that's the nature of our
production businesses. The money will follow our ideas, our successes, and our
- Information and knowledge resources: That's one of our success stories. The paper
industry is more open and cooperative than other manufacturing industries. Tappi has
been right at the center of this. But we have our work cut out for us -- to continue
attracting capital in competition with other industries, we need to be as good as they are
in accessing the new world of information. It's time to join the Internet. But that's
another story for another time.
- Human resources: This is the leverage point! Here's where we can make significant
differences in our lives, our careers, and our organizations.
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT.
The authors of this series of articles are part of
a rapidly-growing profession called HRD. It's actually been around for some time under many
different names. It's a broad field, encompassing many subject areas. But it's never been
more important, more necessary.
A definition of HRD is "organized learning activities arranged within an organization in
order to improve performance and/or personal growth for the purpose of improving the job,
the individual, and/or the organization" (1). HRD includes the areas of training and
development, career development, and organization development. This is related to Human
Resource Management -- a field which includes HR research and information systems,
union/labor relations, employee assistance, compensation/benefits, selection and staffing,
performance management systems, HR planning, and organization/job design (2).
"THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANG'IN."
Are they ever! And our organizations and jobs will
never be the same. Changes are based on the global economy, on changing technology, on
our changing work force, on cultural and demographic changes, and on the changing nature of
work itself. The changes are different this time. They are permanent, and will permanently
affect the way our work and our lives are structured.
We need to learn new skills and develop new abilities, to respond to these changes in our
lives, our careers, and our organizations. We can deal with these constructively, using
change for our competitive advantage and as opportunities for personal and organizational
growth, or we can be overwhelmed by them.
Who is affected by change -- you are! With all the downsizing, outsourcing and team
building, responsibility and accountability are being downloaded to individuals. So everyone
is now a manager. Everyone will need to acquire and/or increase their skills, knowledge and
abilities to perform their jobs (and now, to perform other people's jobs too!)
The goal of HRD is to improve the performance of our organizations by maximizing the
efficiency and performance of our people. We are going to develop our knowledge and skills,
our actions and standards, our motivation, incentives, attitudes and work environment.
Is training the answer? Yes, partly, sometimes, but certainly not always. In the paper
industry, training has been big with capital projects but often is not continued into operational
improvement. We have often thought training was what was needed (or not needed). But
there are other answers too -- the solution may lie with organization development, career
development, or a combination of these or other strategies.
We plan a series of articles to address the broad scope of HRD, to introduce methods to
address the development of individuals and organizations. Here's what we will discuss
in future issues:
- ASSESSMENT OF NEEDS -- the first step.
This sounds simple, but we are often in too much of a hurry. We implement a solution,
sometimes the correct intervention but not always. But we plan, very carefully and
cautiously, before making most other investments in process changes and in capital and
operating expenditures. We need to do the same for HRD -- implement the appropriate
This needs assessment and planning will lead to several possible ways to improve
performance. (Of course, one of these is to do nothing! -- we may decide to focus on
other activities with greater impact and greater value.)
- PROGRAM DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT & EVALUATION. We need to consider the
benefits of any HRD intervention before we just go and do it: What learning will be
accomplished? What changes in behavior and performance are expected? Will we get
them? And of prime importance -- what is the expected economic cost/benefit of any
- TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT --
acquiring knowledge, developing competencies and
skills, and adopting behaviors that improve performance in current jobs, including: adult
learning theory and applications, instructional systems design, train-the-trainer programs,
and instructional strategies and methods.
- ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT --
the diagnosis and design of systems to assist an
organization with planning change. OD activities include:
change management, team
building, learning organizations, management development, quality of work life,
management by objectives, strategic planning, participative management. organizational
restructuring, job redesign, job enrichment, centralization vs. decentralization, changes in
the organization's reward structure, process consultation, executive development, action
research, third party interventions, and more. We will discuss these in future articles.
- CAREER DEVELOPMENT --
activities and processes for mutual career planning and
management between employees and organizations. Changes in our organizations
(including downsizing, restructuring, and outsourcing) are resulting in more empowerment
for employees. The responsibility for our own career development is downloaded to us.
(Translation: career ladders are gone; career development is now the responsibility of the
individual.) Later in this series we will explore strategies and tactics to survive and
prosper in this new workplace environment.
- ORGANIZATION RESEARCH & PROGRAM EVALUATION -- an exploration of
methods to evaluate, justify, and improve on HRD offerings.
- THE HRD PROFESSION(S) AND PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS -- we plan
to list and briefly describe the principal HRD organizations, their missions and goals, and
their addresses and contacts.
HRD can give you the tools you need to manage and operate your organizations. Everything
-- production, management, marketing, sales, research & development, you-name-it --
everything may be more productive IF your people are sufficiently motivated, trained,
informed, managed, utilized and empowered.
In future articles in this series, we're going to tell you how to do it. Stay tuned.
Tappi has a Training and Development Subcommittee (of the Board's Education Committee.)
Its current tasks include developing a getting-started guide for people newly assigned to
training responsibilities in the pulp and paper industry. Join us -- contact Clare Reagan at Tappi if you would like to get involved.
- Gilley, J.W. & Eggland, S.A., Principles of Human Resource Development, Addison-Wesley,
NY, 1989, p. 5.
- McLagan, Patricia A., "Models for HRD Practice." Training and Development Journal,
September 1989, pages 49-59.
Bob Rouda is a consultant on human resource development and process engineering, and is a research
associate and student of organization development and change management at the University of St. Thomas. He has practiced education and training in the paper industry for 20 years. Mitch Kusy is professor
of organizational learning and development at the University of St. Thomas, and is a practicing organization development consultant.
other articles in this series:
- Human Resource Development: Beyond training - a perspective on improving organizations and people(this article)
- Needs Assessment - the first step
- Organization Development - the management of change
- Career Development - personal career management and planning
- Managing Change with Large-Scale, Real-Time Interventions
- High Performance Training
This page is maintained by Robert Rouda.
CONTACT webmaster for information.
Last update 5/4/96.