elearningindustry.com, May 3, 2022, Ali Knapp
The What And Why Of Learning And Development
Learning and Development (L&D) is a unique task of an organization’s human resources staff. Whether the responsibility is shared throughout an entire department or—in the case of a small company—managed by a single individual, L&D is critical to business success. At its core, L&D is workforce management. Its purpose is to equip staff with the necessary tools and knowledge required to enhance their performance on the job. However, the benefits of the integrated system that L&D can provide can be frequently missed.
Employee training defines the duties and responsibilities of new hires, shares specific guidance on industry and organizational standards, and guarantees compliance and regulatory rules are understood. The L&D team is responsible for training, pinpointing employee skill levels, and designing and utilizing L&D tools to resolve worker skill gaps.
HR professionals desire cost-effective L&D solutions applicable to the demographic and business they operate within while also being easy to use for employees across all skill levels. It’s a lofty goal for an individual to implement, let alone an entire department, but L&D solutions continue to provide essential functionality throughout an organization. CEOs, supervisors, department heads, managers, and employees all have to function in tandem with the organization’s goals and mission. This is where L&D begins.
L&D: Why It Matters
“Learning and Development”: two terms that are often packaged together in the world of employee training. However the two focus on slightly different facets of the employee training process. “Learning” pertains to the training workers obtain to complete their duties efficiently, and to the addition of the brand-new skills required as your company grows. “Development” takes place when managers collaborate with a staff member to chart out their professional growth in alignment with business objectives.
As U.S. employment opportunities reach record levels, hiring managers are seeking new methods to reach and retain talent. Highly sought-after job candidates prefer employers with a track record of committed employee development. A majority of job seekers filter potential employers depending on their L&D programs. Realizing the importance of L&D and cultivating a workplace culture conducive to learning is the launching point to a successfully integrated workforce in today’s job market. Considering this, you may be asking how your organization’s L&D stacks up. Now weigh how these advantages of a strong L&D program can help:
1. Engaged Employees
Engagement in the workplace increases productivity, improves office attendance, and provides a workforce committed to company goals. L&D’s purpose is to cultivate talent. By investing in your employees’ growth through experience and skill development, the company as a whole benefits, with a robust company culture and more loyal employees.
2. Recruiting And Retention
This is one of HRs biggest hurdles. One way to tackle the problem and keep employees satisfied is to offer career development opportunities. The business leaders of tomorrow are in search of positions that will grow and expand their skills. Organizations that offer such benefits will come across more enthusiastic applicants.
3. Promote Budding Talent
L&D programs grant workers the opportunity to grow within your organization and employ the skills and knowledge they build. Examples of development in the workplace include mentoring, manager feedback, and training in specific regulatory and legal requirements. Identifying and preparing employees to take on managerial roles or transition into human resources roles is simplified through L&D.
4. Closing The Skill Gap
The tools professionals use are constantly evolving in today’s business world, and staying up to date is crucial for success. With a strong L&D program, managers can identify skill gaps in their employees and provide accessible training needed to close the gap, increase morale, and demonstrate value in existing employees.
5. Employee Confidence
Workers are more likely to feel engaged and enjoy their work when they feel confident within their position. Imparting the company’s missions during the onboarding process is one sure way of motivating employees and demonstrating how they fit in the larger picture of the company.
A Growing Movement
Designing an L&D lesson plan in line with your organization’s mission and objectives is a crucial step to employee and business success. The curriculum must be accurate, concise, and ultimately relevant to the larger picture of the enterprise and relatable down to the individual employee. A successful program first needs well-defined objectives, a plan to meet those objectives, and a system capable of tracking and analyzing performance and progress. With this foundation in place, your organization can identify the resources, talent, and tools required to identify present and long-term needs.
After you understand what your organization needs, the next step is to form L&D methods which train employees to modern standards and continue to expand their knowledge as the industry evolves. The ideal L&D system balances short- and long-term needs. Additionally, it can help to identify emerging leaders and actively engage them within L&D programs designed to shape their abilities to reinforce the idea that their success is the company’s success too.
Beyond the boundaries of the HR field, L&D is often misunderstood as a reactionary response born from an organization’s desire to handle immediate problems with simple training solutions. However, HR professionals understand that an L&D program can benefit a company within a short timeframe and well into the future. Thoughtfully implemented L&D initiatives consider the future needs of a growing company and align worker-company objectives from the start.