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Introduction

Development is very essential for organisations to help them sustain in a competitive and dynamic environment Development of overall skills and performances of individuals and teams within an organisation encourages employee engagement and improves their job performances. In almost every company, individuals within the firm enhance their skills and knowledge through learning from their workplace environment and the training provided. The following report is based on Marks & Spencer which is a multinational firm and a market leader in clothing and retail. This report indicates knowledge, skills and behaviours required by HR professionals and determination of differences between organisational and individual learning. It also discusses how training and development are different. A thorough analysis of importance of continuous learning and professional development is discussed, along with role of high performance work practices that could help the firm build better employee relations and improve their competitive position in the market.

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Differences between organisational and individual learning and training and development

Learning refers to gaining effective knowledge through various methods that contribute in a better understanding of concepts. It is essential that individuals, teams and organizations keep this process ongoing in order to succeed and grow in the marketplace. However, this learning is not same for individuals and organizations and the difference between the two is discussed below:

Individual Learning: This learning is termed as the capability of a single person or individual to gather knowledge through sources of external environment. These individuals gain these knowledge through personal reflection. However, one prominent way for individuals to enhance the knowledge is through interactions with other individuals present in the workplace or outside it. In Marks & Spencer, HR professionals learn certain skills after which they have complete knowledge about it. Even so, that they could generalize these skills in different scenarios.

Organizational Learning: This refers to an ongoing process by which learning is facilitated within a workplace. Concepts are generated, retained and conveyed within the organization. These concepts increases the experience of Marks & Spencer which enhances their performance. HR professionals, through organizational learning retain their employees and build better relationships with them. Moreover they enhance performance of these employees too.

The difference between these two types of learning is as follows:

BASIS

INDIVIDUAL LEARNING

ORGANISATIONAL LEARNING

SCOPE

It has narrow scope as this is aimed to enhance the knowledge of an individual.

It has wider scope as it enhances the knowledge of a whole organization to effectively retain their skilled employees.

RIGIDITY

Individual learning is flexible. It is not limited to specific training and individuals can enhance their knowledge through any source, within or outside the organisation.

Organisational learning is a rigid concept. The materials through which organisations could gain knowledge are provide by the upper management.

TIME

It is an ongoing process throughout a professional career of an individual, therefore, it is free from all time constraints.

There is a specified period which is decided to train employees of an organization decided by the CEO and the managers.

Training: This refers to the process undertaken by individuals to enhance their skills. The aim of training is to improve the performance of individuals of the organization. HR Professionals in Marks & Spencer are required to undergo certain training and development programs so that they could perform better while managing and retaining the human resources of the firm.

Development: An ongoing process of an individual, team and organization which aims at overall development in the workplace and in the market respectively. It could be development in the career of individuals or overall business development of Marks & Spencer. HR professionals in the firm through development, enhances the overall career up of their employees by deploying various methods within the workplace.

Below are the differences between training and development:

BASIS

TRAINING

DEVELOPMENT

ORIENTATION

Training could be determined as a job-oriented process

Development is determined as a career-oriented process.

SKILL

Technical skills of employees which are required to enhance their performances in a certain activity is enhanced by training.

The overall concepts, ideas and performances of employees are enhanced through development.

AIM

Since its a job-oriented process, it is limited to enhancement of performances of employees for a certain job.

This process aims at the overall development of individuals at Marks & Spencer.

SCOPE

It has a narrow scope as it emphasizes on immediate needs of the company.

It has a wider scope as it is not limited to a certain job role and applies a futuristic approach.

Analysis of the need for continuous learning and professional development to drive sustainable business performance

Continuous learning and professional development in an organization is essential for an organization if it wishes to improve its competitiveness and enhance its profitability in the market. Through these two processes, the productivity of employees increases and it enhances the overall business performance of Marks & Spencer.

Continuous Learning: The ongoing process though which the knowledge of individuals and organizations increases through adapting changes in the business environment and coping up with the latest industrial developments is referred to continuous learning. In Marks & Spencer, continuous learning makes organization more competent, which results in reduction in training costs and better commitment from employees towards the organization.

Professional Development: This is the process through which employees enhances their capabilities by accessing various training opportunities within the company as well as outside it. Professional Development in Marks & Spencer improves efficiency and enhances their productivity which encourages them to achieve effective results in the workplace. It also enhances the sustainability of the company.

Marks & Spencer could really enhance their performance in the market by establishing a culture for continuous learning and by giving them opportunities for professional development. These concepts are of vital importance to the organization. The importance of these concepts is discussed below:

  • Improves performance and enhances personal growth: Continuous learning in Marks & Spencer helps the employees to improve their performance. Continuous training is provided to these employees periodically which enhances their knowledge and they get familiar with the procedures required to perform a certain activity. It also increases confidence in the employees and they are automatically motivated to work harder for the firm. Increase in performance enhances personal growth and satisfaction of these employees.
  • Enhances sustainability: In a firm like Marks & Spencer, it is very difficult for employees to sustain their performance levels at the workplace. Continuous learning helps the employees to ensure this sustainability. They could enhance their productivity and workplace performance by developing clarity in the concepts. Continuous learning also enables them to stay competent even in times of pressure.
  • Prepare employee for advancements: These employees, through continuous learning improve their performance at the current job. The result of this improvement makes them subjected to advancements in their career. Through continuous learning, they would develop a better understanding of concepts they are unaware of, which would ease the process of advancements for them.
  • Enrich employees' work experience: Through continuous learning and professional development, employees at Marks & Spencer get motivation from their impressive performance figures and it enables them to gain appreciations from employers as well as colleagues. Such activities enrich their work experience and ensures better commitment and engagement of these employees towards the company.

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