Satya Mati in Human Resources, Human Resources Professionals Mar 16, 2020 · 1 min read · 3.6K

What Is Learning and Development (L&D)?

What Is Learning and Development (L&D)?

A specialized HR function, learning and development (L&D) is defined as the process of empowering employees with specific skills to drive better business performance. They may be upskilled to perform better in their existing roles or reskilled to take on new roles in the organization and fill the skills gap that is becoming common in the workplace these days.

Performance is just one of the intended outcomes of L&D – it also has several other benefits, such as employee satisfaction, future-proofing your business, enhanced employee experience, and increased retention. Typically, L&D is categorized as part of a company’s overall talent management strategy, where learning is used as a means to acquire, nurture, maximize, and retain talent.

Learning and development was Deloitte’s top human capital trend in 2019. 86% of respondents to Deloitte’s survey said that improving their L&D capabilities was an “important” or “very important issue.”

How does learning and development work?

The L&D process can be broken down into five key steps:

1. Talent gap analysis: An assessment of your existing talent landscape to identify skills shortage, improvement areas, and possible opportunities in line with current/future business objectives.

2. L&D strategy formulation: The selection of different L&D components that will make up the learning experience (e.g., hands-on training, executive coaching, mentorships, etc.).

3. Procurement: Partnerships with L&D providers – internal and external – and onboarding them into the organization (could include consultants, coaching organizations, L&D technologies, etc.)

4. Execution: The implementation of your L&D strategy via the learning partners and technologies selected, either in groups of employees or individually.

5. Measurement and review: Measurement of the success of your L&D program against the talent gap analysis initially conducted after program completion.

This five-step process encapsulates how most L&D strategies progress. This process can be perfectly aligned with your business priorities, keeping in mind the budgets and timelines allocated for talent development at your company.

The last step is probably the most critical, as it reveals valuable insights into which key performance indicators (KPIs) were met and which ones fell short of the desired target. This will help you realign L&D component selection and investment in the next learning cycle.

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