Training vs Development in the Workplace

Training and development in the workplace are crucial and a way of fostering growth and an excellent way to improve team performance. Training usually refers to the process of acquiring new skills or honing existing ones, often about a particular role or job. On the other hand, development focuses on a broader growth perspective and long-term career development which involves nurturing skills and qualities that extend beyond a particular job requirement and helps the employee prepare for future roles.

Both training and development are vital to creating a skilled, adaptable workforce that continues to contribute to the success of the organization. 

Training in the Workplace

Training equips employees with the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs effectively. This is often done through training programs which are designed to address specific objectives and cover a wide range of topics from technical skills, to job-specific procedures, customer service, leadership, DEI and compliance with regulations or legislation.

Although, the objectives of training programs vary depending on the needs of the organization and the needs of the workplace but often include the:

  • Skills development – to enhance technical, operational and interpersonal skills required to do a job
  • Performance improvement – providing knowledge and tools to improve and excel in a role
  • Employee engagement – training often contributes to higher job satisfaction and engagement and provides opportunities for career development.
  • Adaptability – training helps provide employees with the ability to adapt quickly and be more efficient in the workplace.
  • Compliance and risk management – it is crucial employees comply with legal and regulatory requirements to minimize the organization’s exposure to risk or liability.

Training programs can be run by internal training departments, human resources teams or, via external training providers.

Types of Corporate Training

The types of corporate training that occurs varies based on industry and the needs of the organization. Corporate training includes the following:

  • Onboarding and orientation 
  • Soft skills, also known as power skills 
  • Sales, service, customer
  • Compliance training
  • Leadership training
  • Diversity and inclusion training
  • Professional development
  • Team building

Benefits of a Training Program

Training in the workplace brings many benefits for the organization and employees as well.  Some of these benefits include:

  • Improved performance – improving skills and knowledge increases productivity and provides a better quality of work
  • Enhanced satisfaction – demonstrating an investment in an employee fosters a high level of engagement and loyalty helping with employee retention 
  • Increased flexibility – with technological advances, training can help employees adapt to changes in the workplace allowing them them to be more adaptable
  • Reduced errors and risks – poor training leads to mistakes especially when compliance and regulations are involved. Training can reduce legal and regulatory risks, workplace accidents and errors protecting the organization and its employees.
  • Positive culture – a strong commitment creates a positive culture that promotes learning and growth which can be used to attract and retain talent and enhance the organization’s image and reputation.

Professional Development in the Workplace

Professional development in the workplace is aimed at enhancing the skills and knowledge of an individual and improving their personal growth. It often involves training programs, workshops, seminars, mentoring and continuous learning with the goal of expanding capabilities to achieve career goals.

The objectives of professional development in the workplace can vary however common goals include skills enhancement to enhance existing skills in a specific area, career advancement to acquire additional certifications or skills for higher level positions. Professional development also focuses on continuous learning and self-improvement and encourages individuals to broaden their knowledge and perspectives. Networking and relationship building is also an essential aspect of professional development as it can lead to new opportunities, knowledge sharing and career growth.

Types of Development Programs

There are various types of development programs that an organization can implement to support their employees. 

  1. Leadership development – this can include mentoring to cultivate leadership qualities, training and coaching in preparation for leadership roles.
  2. Mentoring programs – these programs pair experienced individuals with less experienced employees to support and guide them. Mentors can offer insight and advice to help mentees navigate their careers, develop specific skills and gain industry knowledge. 
  3. Succession planning – identifying high-potential employees within the organization and providing development opportunities can help prepare individuals for future leadership roles and maintain a pipeline of qualified employees.
  4. Cross-function programs – this type of program helps give employees insight and experience into different areas of the business to develop a holistic understanding of how the organization is run.
  5. Technical or job-specific development –  these programs focus on enhancing the skills and competencies with training, certifications and skills improvement relevant to a specific position.
  6. Diversity and inclusion programs – these help foster an inclusive workplace culture and may include training on how to create an inclusive workplace, unconscious bias and inclusive leadership.
  7. Career development- this path supports employees with their career development and includes goal setting, career planning, and opportunities to acquire new skills.
  8. Personal development – these programs focus on enhancing personal effectiveness and well-being and cover areas such as time management, stress management, emotional intelligence and work-life balance as well as personal goal setting. 

The benefits of a development program range from skill enhancement, career advancement, personal growth and network/relationship building. It can also bring employees other advantages from resilience to navigating new challenges for increased productivity and job satisfaction.

Key Differences between Training and Development

The key differences between training and development lie in their focus, scope and timeframe. 


Training focuses on acquiring new skills and knowledge and aims to enhance and further existing knowledge. Development on the other hand emphasizes a more holistic approach to personal and professional growth by focusing on nurturing skills and qualities that extend beyond immediate job requirements or needs with attention on preparing for future roles and career development.


With scope, training tends to be more job-specific and designed to address an immediate skills gap. Whereas, development has a broader scope and aims to foster growth and potential. Development usually involves a wider range of competencies from leadership and problem solving to strategic thinking. 


Typically, training programs are shorter than development programs and have a more immediate impact. Development is a longer-term process and involves continuous learning, self-reflection and growth. Some development activities can span a whole career as an individual acquires new skills, experiences and knowledge.


The purpose of training is to equip employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform a specific job effectively and help bridge the gap between skills. On the flip side development focuses on preparing individuals for future roles and responsibilities and advancing their career.


Training programs frequently have direct and immediate application in the workplace giving employees practical tools and resources to carry out their role. Development programs influence an individual’s mindset and approach to work which can be applied across various roles and contexts. 

How Training and Development Work Together

While both are essential for the individual and organization and both are connected, training provides the foundation of skills and knowledge and development evolves an individual’s growth and long-term success. Both in tandem help build a skilled, effective and capable workforce.

To deliver effective training and development programs and make them accessible to the workforce, some consideration about the tools and technology is needed to facilitate these programs.

Training and development programs can be delivered across many different channels from e-learning and virtual training platforms to webinars, virtual reality (VR), and interactive learning with gamification and collaboration tools. 

Incorporating technology and tools into training and development enhances the accessibility, engagement and effectiveness of learning experiences. The right technology and tools will enable remote learning and participation with real-time feedback to foster a culture of continuous learning. 

Are you curious to see how OneRoom enables remote participation, real-time feedback and engagement with its learners? Why not experience OneRoom for yourself? We host regular discovery sessions where you can explore and use the tools of an immersive learning environment – OneRoom. Register today and join us in the next demo.

up arrow