What is the definition of staff development?

Written by stuart withers Google
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What is the definition of staff development?
Staff training and development (Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

In any business or organisation it is important to train and mentor staff to improve their performance and increase their skills and capabilities. That’s why many organisations implement carefully planned staff development programs to ensure that employees are motivated to learn and gain new skills, are fully competent in their roles, and are knowledgeable in their fields. Staff development is not a single process. Instead, it can be broken down into several different processes.

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Employees need to keep up to date with the latest developments in their line of work. Therefore, educating staff is an essential business process that often gets overlooked. Through continual education employees can become experts at their job, reducing the risk of making mistakes and underperformance. Education can come in the form of formal qualifications or it can simply be sending selected employees to relevant seminars or lectures.


All staff require training at some time or another, from juniors starting out to senior managers with decades of experience. Training is a necessary aspect of any role, ensuring that employees are fully equipped with the up to date know-how to effectively perform their duties. Many organisations choose to continually train and develop staff, creating better business practices and better qualified employees in the process. It’s especially important for training to be ongoing in fast paced environments where business is constantly evolving.

Setting a program

To oversee the effective implementation of staff education and training, human resources departments usually work with senior managers and other key business figures to devise staff development programs. These programs are often mapped out, setting key milestones in training and development across all departments. Everything from gaining qualifications to attending training days should be pre-planned in a staff development program. These programs help both employees and organisations structure the development path to ensure business goals are achieved.

Personal and professional

The aim of staff development is not just to increase and improve the capabilities and competencies of employees for professional purposes. There is also a lot of personal gain to be had for staff undergoing development programs. Many of the skills acquired during training and development can be applied to all aspects of life. For example, obtaining professional qualifications is always beneficial both personally and professionally. Ultimately, a good staff development program will equip staff with the tools needed to climb the career ladder and further their professional achievements, whilst also improving their personal confidence and morale through gaining new skills. In that respect, staff development can be defined as the ongoing commitment to personal and professional growth through carefully planned education and training.

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