Organizational Wellness

How to Drive Success with Organizational Development and Training

Feb 2, 2023
Last Updated May 21, 2024

Hiring new employees can be a long and arduous process that leaves you breathing a sigh of relief when that perfect candidate accepts the offer. But how can you keep them around once they’ve joined the team?

A whopping 83 percent of organizations agree that leadership development at each level is crucial to improving employee retention and helping your business grow. Quite frankly, change is inevitable, so you have to plan ahead to ensure that you will be ready to meet new opportunities as they come. With the help of organizational development and training, you can provide your employees with the skills they need to learn and adapt — and stick around when things get tough. 

What Is Organizational Development and Training?

Have you ever tried to play a game with your friends and then realized that not everyone uses the same rules? You end up spending most of your time getting everyone on the same page instead of enjoying the game. Similarly, a company wastes valuable time and resources when employees do not share the same understanding of goals and processes. That’s where organizational development comes in. 

Organizational development is work that improves a company’s operations, which can mean tweaking or overhauling business practices like success metrics, internal processes, talent, organizational structure, strategy and more. This can include meeting with management to identify problem areas, setting company and department-specific goals, and implementing a training program for new employees. With a holistic approach, you can improve nearly every aspect of how your business functions, from the strategies you use to the structure of your organization. 

When you combine organizational development with training, you can provide your employees with the tools that they need to not only succeed alongside the business, but flourish.  Organizational development training ensures your employees have the ability to support the company’s direction and achieve its ultimate goals. As a bonus, it can improve your employee retention to boot: 30% of workers identify lack of growth opportunities as a reason for wanting to quit their current position, SHRM reports, and training can help them grow in place.Returning to our board game metaphor, organizational development is the group aligning on a clear definition of how somebody wins the game and writing down a cohesive set of rules about how players can get there. Organizational development training is where you teach that process to somebody who has been playing differently—perhaps they have their own house rules—and run through a few practice rounds so they can get used to the new play style.

The Importance of Organizational Development and Training

Sure, all of that sounds great. But is organizational development and training worth the time and effort it takes? Absolutely! 

Organizational development can help you establish a centralized vision of what your company wants to achieve. This helps your company grow, as growing is easier when everyone is rowing in the same direction. So, whether you are interested in completely revamping the way your organization runs or simply streamlining your processes, a centralized vision clearly distributed will make a world of difference. 

Establishing this unified purpose can also help with employee retention: Research from McKinsey found that, while 70% people say work defines their sense of purpose, 62% say they want more purpose at work. A clear mission helps you deliver that purpose, creating the engaged employee  that drive your company forward faster. When employees can see the difference that their contributions make, they are more likely to stay engaged and want to stick around to see your company succeed. 

As mentioned above, opportunities for growth are also a crucial factor in keeping your employees engaged and motivated. Most people tend to become bored and disinterested doing  tasks that don’t challenge them, so organizational training lets employees strengthen their skills and learn new ones. If you have noticed a lack of motivation, take time to identify new skills that can help your employees advance their careers — ideally within your company! Not only will you be able to keep skilled and knowledgeable employees around, but organizational development and training will make it easier to promote the right people into the roles best suited to them. Organizational training in particular is a great way to help new hires find their footing within your company and ensure that they are involved in its growth from the very beginning. 

Last — but certainly not least — is company culture. Company culture plays a huge role in job satisfaction, and organizational development can help you create a positive culture where employees can thrive. A company that stays in the same place — with no desire or effort to change and improve — will cultivate a workforce that operates the exact same way. On the other hand, company leaders that proactively try to grow and improve will inspire their employees to be agents of change and success: new ideas will emerge, new clients can be secured, and a new sense of urgency and innovation will overtake your business. 

So how exactly can you use organizational development to transform your workplace culture? The answer is simple: be persistent. The process of organizational development requires vigilant analysis and experimentation in workplace strategy. Recognize opportunities for growth, identify employees with big ideas who can be trusted with greater responsibility and actively empower them to make it happen.  

In our fast world, technology, processes, and goals are continually changing. Your organizational development and training can make it easier for you to adapt to those changes as they arise. Instead of taking time to get everyone on the same page, you will already have a system in place to share knowledge and implement new practices.

Training and Organizational Development Best Practices

Now that you understand the benefits of organizational training and development, let’s cover the best ways to incorporate it into your business. 

The first thing to do is identify the specific needs of your company and employees. Even within the same industry, no two companies are completely alike, so you will need to determine exactly what yours needs to succeed. 

Take a look at the positions within your organization and the process of how work gets done. You may notice, for example, a disconnect between two departments that leads to inefficiencies. In this case, it could be that each department is working toward disparate goals, and your company needs to engage in organizational development to clarify its mission. Or maybe goals are aligned, but the communication processes are outdated and you should bring in new tools to streamline the workflow. Or perhaps the solution here is organizational development training, and you need to implement technical training that helps new hires familiarize themselves with the strategies and processes teams are using. The hurdles and needs at your company will be individualized, but not unique — somebody else has likely faced something similar before, and solutions exist!

Once you have identified the needs of both individual employees and your company as a whole, organizational development can help align overarching goals with department’s management goals. If managers of specific teams are uncertain about the overarching goals of the company, they cannot create worthwhile goals for their teams. Aligning the goals of each level leads to long-term success. 

When you focus on organizational training, it is important to offer different formats. Everybody has different learning styles, and some goals lend themselves better to different educational methods, so be sure to incorporate a variety of options. For simple, straightforward training situations, a seminar (or webinar) is a great option to get the information out directly. More involved information, however, may require an online training course that employees can take at their own pace. Books and written instructions are great to have for easy reference later.

Don’t forget to take time to assess the results and adjust accordingly. Organizational development is an ongoing, data-driven process that can be adapted as your company grows and changes, which means it is important to occasionally examine what is working and what isn’t. Training programs should also be regularly assessed and updated based on the needs of your employees to ensure they have the skills and knowledge they need. 

Bringing It All Together

No matter how smooth you think you have things within your company, there is always room for improvement. Keep your employees motivated and actively engaged when you provide them with clear, cohesive goals and the training to help them reach those goals. You can create a company culture that people are excited about and keep your top employees around, all with the help of organizational development and training.

Ready to learn more? Speak with a Wellbeing Specialist today and let us help you improve your organizational development.

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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