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What is Learning & Development? HR’s Role in Employee Growth

Nate Winkelman May 20, 2022 3:52:48 PM

A 2022 Linkedin workplace report found that 94% of surveyed employees responded that they would stay longer if their company invested in helping them learn and grow. Yet a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study found that organizations with 100 to 500 employees gave just 6 minutes of training every 6 months!  With employee retention a key objective for every organization’s HR department, it's curious why companies are not investing more in learning and development.

What is Learning and Development?

Learning and development, also known as L&D, training, and development, is usually a function of HR. The goal is to upskill and impart new knowledge to employees to increase business performance among other impactful benefits. 

The responsibility for developing and implementing a company’s L&D strategy falls on HR. HR departments look to develop employees, improve performance and efficiency, cultivate a learning environment, and improve employee retention. These initiatives can be accomplished through well-developed earning and development programs. 

Learning and development programs are critical for companies to be successful:

  • Prospective employees are looking and focusing on companies that provide learning and growth opportunities. They want to be at a company that develops their skillset and puts them on a path for career advancement. This becomes a competitive advantage when trying to attract new talents. 
  • Employees that are engaged and developing tend to stay longer. Employee retention saves money for companies because it is very expensive to hire and onboard new employees. On average it costs 33% of an employee’s annu­al wage to replace them according to SHRM. On the flip side, com­pa­nies with good reten­tion rates have quadru­pled their profit because of these cost savings.
  • Well-trained employees are also impactful to a company's bottom line. Learning and development programs help employees become more productive by filling in knowledge gaps and upskilling. Building new skills translate to great productivity.

Learning and Development Strategies

Designing and implementing a learning and development program can be done whether you are a startup or the HR/L&D manager at a well-established company through a few basic steps: 

  1. Assess the company’s skill levels. Before trying to develop an l&d strategy, you’ll need to identify and evaluate the competencies and skills the employees need most. Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you evaluate different L&D programs— such as how does this program aligns with our business goals or does this program impact employee performance.
  2. Create a budget. L&D programs aren’t free, so recommending a budget on how much money your company is willing to set aside for the training and career development process is essential before starting the process of reaching out to providers or designing programs.
  3. Find a training program. Having identified skill gaps, defined your company’s KPIs and your training budget, it’s time to start researching L&D providers who can help develop your employees in these areas. There are different types of training programs depending on your needs and budget.
    • Workshops - Workshops allow for the introduction of new concepts, spurring employees to investigate them further on their own, or demonstrate and encourage the practice of actual methods. These programs can teach new hands-on skills because safe situations and spaces for participants to learn by trying out new methods and failing until success is learned. 
    • Coaching - Personalized one-on-one coaching helps employees focus on targeted skills gaps, build resilience, and achieve performance for the business and their personal lives. The personalized nature of coaching, allows businesses to achieve a greater impact on their employees and the business's bottom line.
    • Webinars - Online learning events allow learners to obtain information or expertise on a topic and comment or ask questions in real-time. Webinars have the flexibility to be done cost-efficiently for a small audience but can also be a great tool for large audiences.
    • Experiential Learning - Learn by doing. Experiential learning allows employees a hands-on approach to reskilling (teaching employees new skills to tackle a new job or assignment) and upskilling (capitalizing on and extending workers’ existing skills). Experiential learning as an L&D program gives employees concrete experiences followed by reflection and the ability to practice what they've learned.
  1. Implement the L&D program. You have decided on the type of training program, now it's time to implement it. Let employees know about the programs you’re executing. Schedule any date-based training throughout the year to avoid significant crunch weeks for any particular team. Build up employee engagement and buy-in for the programs by sending reminders and checking in.
  2. Measure and review. During and after the program, be gathering employee feedback to understand what is working and not working for employees about the training program. In addition, evaluate the program against the company KPIs. Getting feedback is crucial to achieving success in learning and development.

HR’s Role in Learning and Development

As employee engagement plays a crucial role for companies looking to retain and grow their employees, the role of the HR team becomes even more critical to the company’s success. More and more employees have greater opportunities to leave organizations that do not make employee engagement a priority. On the flip side, bad or ineffective training and development doesn't always fit the organizational needs. A Harvard Business Review stated that although organizations spend more than $350 billion globally on training, they are not spending their money effectively.

HR’s role can help offset these challenges for companies by taking stock of organization and employee needs and thoroughly vetting appropriate, effective L&D programs. HR teams have different tools and solutions in their back pocket that can help to build effective L&D programs. When creating these programs, HR departments should focus on the following: 

  • Develop and implement learning strategies and programs that meet business needs
  • Evaluate organizational as well as individual employee development needs
  • Ensure alignment of learning & development department with business goals
  • Optimize training processes to improve ROI
  • Manage and procure L&D technologies to facilitate learning and management of learning initiatives
  • Design eLearning courses, interactive group training, and other training content
  • Implementing effective training methods
  • Manage personnel within the learning & development department
  • Maintain the learning & development budget within an organization
  • Champion and market training programs to get managerial buy-in as well as employee commitment

How Valor can Help

HR teams are not alone in their efforts to develop and build successful L & D programs for their companies. Valor Performance can help through the entire process, from defining the organizational goals to uncovering employee skills gaps with individual 360 assessments for each employee. Valor builds the groundwork for closing employee skills gaps that help achieve the targeted goal by matching employees with a coach in personalized 1-on-1 sessions designed around their needs and skill areas for work. 

Employees work with their coaches in and out of sessions with live consultations and coursework in the online platform to progress towards closing the skills gaps. With each session, coaches will have employees apply new skills, tactics, and exercises to their roles in an effort to build on their current skillset.

Throughout this program, Valor provides insightful data analytics and metrics (including benchmarking against comparable companies) that help HR departments understand the team’s engagement, mindset, motivations, and the impact our coaching and mentorship programs are having on their performance.

Valor Performance can help organizations and HR teams simplify the L&D process with our online digital coaching platform. To learn how Valor can help your organization with L&D, schedule a demo today.



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