The Role of HR in L&D

Is this an HR issue, or for L&D?” This question is coming up more and more as global spending on L&D continues to grow. The increasing emphasis on learning can lead to confusion in terms of who is responsible for what–making it crucial for organizations to clarify where the boundaries lie.

Cooperation between HR and L&D is essential for the business to run smoothly. It’s a delicate dance, as there are times when they should work hand in hand, and times when one should step back and let the other take the lead. How do companies strike this balance for the most effective results?

HR’s History in the Organization

The concept of human resources began during the industrial revolution, when business leaders started to realize that a healthy, happy workforce is essential for good production. Fast forward to 2022, as HR departments are at the forefront of a new kind of revolution, with concepts like work from home, employee engagement, and skill development becoming imperative.

Key Differences Between HR and L&D

Far from being synonymous, HR and L&D serve many separate needs. The HR department is in charge of employee administration with central functions that include payroll, worker relations, and recruiting.

In contrast, an L&D department is all about professional growth and skill development. L&D handles training, which involves eliminating skill gaps, evaluating high-potential employees, and creating voluntary learning programs.

HR and L&D: Working Together

Still, the basic task of both HR and L&D is to serve the interests of employees, and there is significant overlap between the two departments. Here are just some of the activities that can fall under the purview of both HR and L&D:

When HR and L&D work together smoothly, these activities are performed much more efficiently, as opposed to the confusion and redundancy that can result when each operates independently.

For example, an onboarding process run by the HR department can involve training a new employee about the use of an internal database, which is a skill and so part of L&D. It makes sense for L&D to design and run the relevant learning program as HR coordinates the rest of the onboarding.

How HR Can Enable L&D Programs

The necessary areas of cooperation don’t end there. Identifying and eliminating skills gaps is vital to any organization that wishes to remain competitive. The HR department plays an important role at various stages of skill development program administration; and they would be wise to coordinate with L&D when it comes to tasks such as these:

  • Recognizing skill requirements when filling vacancies
  • Providing an opportunity for internal hiring through reskilling/upskilling
  • Marketing L&D programs within the organization and ensuring the participation of management
  • Aligning programs to eliminate overlaps
  • Setting expectations between skill needs and development programs
  • Participating in conversations between leadership and L&D when HR cooperation is required

In short, sometimes HR takes the lead on an issue with the assistance of L&D, for example, in an onboarding process. At other times, L&D is the main address for an activity, while HR acts in a supporting role.

HR as Organizational L&D Experts

For some companies, there is little difference between HR and L&D departments. Smaller organizations often do not have the need to separate the functions because they have fewer employees who can be handled by a smaller staff.

However, this is becoming a greater challenge. The rapidity with which modern skills are changing means that employees need more courses, more often. In addition, the number of skills required for success is on the rise. The ‘one size fits all’ approach is going by the wayside as each employee needs the training specific for their position, abilities, and motivation.

Whereas small organizations could once make do with workshops and mentorships, they now require personalized development, along with learning professionals in the form of a coach or trainer.

GrowthSpace: The Scalable Solution 

Since its earliest days, HR has been an integral part of effective organizations. Today, with the quick pace of changing skill sets, L&D is becoming just as important to growing companies. But some find it difficult to support an independent L&D team.

GrowthSpace’s L&D platform makes this issue a thing of the past. If you don’t yet have an L&D department, GrowthSpace can enable L&D programs–without a dedicated team–and yield similar results. And, for those organizations with existing L&D departments, GrowthSpace makes the creation and implementation of growth initiatives all the more effective. This ability is due to GrowthSpace technology, which permits scalable, employee-specific skill enhancement for companies of any size.