Developing a Learning Culture

Does Your Organization Need HR or L&D?

Some might mistakenly believe that HR and L&D are a straight-across trade. After all, both oversee onboarding and training, right? But it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario, and while they may seem the same on the outside, the inner workings of HR and a dedicated L&D department are vastly different.

Not all training is created equally, and the function for which you rely on HR may not pan out for all methods. Instead, understanding the key differences between the two is your first step in deciding just what your business (and your employees) need.

Human Resources at Work

When you think about human resources, chances are that you think of stuff like paperwork and training videos. Human resources can act as a liaison between management and employees: It teachers new hires what is expected of them and how to succeed from day one. Human resources might oversee anything from compliance training to holiday pay.

But a clear pattern emerges when examining just how HR functions: All of the tasks that HR oversees can be compared to items of a list. They need to be “checked off” precisely for HR to be doing its job effectively. Every employee or role undergoes the same training to ensure that they’re properly prepped, which may include mandatory certification, software training, or departmental training.

Human resources doesn’t always allow a lot of room for the individual, since it’s primarily concerned with mandatory functions. There really aren’t any overarching topics or training opportunities past what must be done.

The Value of L&D

Contrast HR’s function with the design of a dedicated L&D department. Instead of must-do checklists, L&D is tasked with better aligning training with an organization’s mission while catering to the individual. In order to be effective, L&D must trigger a cultural shift within the organization: Not just items on a checklist, learning opportunities should be a daily occurrence for those who want to be successful.

Instead of a mandatory compliance training, L&D might be something like assigned in-office mentors, a voluntary weekend conference, online course opportunities, and even using social media as a medium for information-sharing. Rather than being on a departmental level, L&D is a general consensus for all employees, offering more than just basic training; it’s extracurricular.

Human resource-based training makes sense when employees must fulfill specific requirements to keep their jobs. It’s easy to track and check off when finished. Learning and development, on the other hand, should be much more organic than HR functions. It’s an evolving process and should be seen as a journey, rather than a destination. Transitioning from HR to L&D is very doable as well.

So, what’s best for your organization? It depends entirely on the type of training necessary for your employees to succeed. A combination of HR functions and a dedicated CLO or L&D department might be the best combination of both compliance and individual talent management. Use HR and L&D together and you’ll get the benefits of highly trained employees who strive for way more than just a paycheck.