Learning and Development: Guide for Organizations

How to develop leadership competencies

Learning and Development (L&D) is one of the fundamental facets of HRM. In this post, we will provide you with a thorough overview of learning and development. We will start by defining what learning and development are, give you their roles, the strategies that can be used for learning and development, the process, the learning and development professionals, the benefits of learning and development, learning and development examples, and lastly learning and development for new employees.

What is Learning and Development?

What is Learning and Development?

A company’s learning and development (L&D) department is in charge of fostering employee development and enhancing their knowledge, abilities, and skills in order to improve corporate performance. The task may be centrally organized, either separately or under human resources (HR); dispersed across several business divisions, or hybrid (sometimes referred to as federated) organization.

Learning and Development is a systematic process to improve an employee’s skills, knowledge, and competencies for better performance at work. Learning is primarily focused on the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Understanding is expanded and deepened in accordance with one’s development objectives.

Any professional development that a company offers to its employees is included under the umbrella phrase “learning and development.” It is sometimes referred to as training and development, learning and performance, or talent development, and is seen as a crucial component of human resources management. A learning and development team or department may offer initiatives like onboarding and new recruit programs, ongoing training, corporate universities, leadership development programs, skills training, personnel planning and management, and compulsory courses like compliance training.

Learning and development aims to improve or alter the behavior of individuals or groups by imparting information and insights that help them perform their jobs more effectively or by cultivating attitudes that enhance performance (Lievens, 2011).

Role of Learning and Development

Role of Learning and Development

Stimulate employees to develop their capabilities 

This is the most conventional learning and development role and responsibility of the L&D department, assisting people in acquiring the skills required for their work through training programs and even preparing them for promotion later on. 

Motivate and engage employees in training programs

The second learning and development role is motivating and engaging employees in training programs. Motivating employees can be enhanced by boosting engagement in training programs as it results in better productivity and less absence. When engagement surveys become more usual, the capacity to keep employees motivated and measure their prospects also becomes more vital.

What may help with employee motivation and engagement can have nothing to do with direct job performance. In the case of L&D practitioners, motivating employees with highly produced videos can feel more like “edutainment” than true talent development. But, it’s essential to bear in mind that engagement still has an ROI in and of itself, independent of skills performance.

Assist to build the organisation’s brand

Assist to build the organisation's brand
Business people having lunch outdoors

The third learning and development role is assisting organizations to build their brands in the eyes of employees. If you haven’t known it yet, employee experience is regarded as the holy grail of HR departments.

When more than 40% of workers are considering leaving their jobs, but 94% of employees say they would stay longer with their employers if they invested in their employees’ development, It’s clear to see the tie between excellent talent development programs, the quality of an employer brand, and the financial investment employers have for building upskilling programs.

Help to create a values-based culture

The fourth learning and development role is to assist in creating a values-based culture. Often, the L&D department has the most significant volume of interactions with employees compared to any other human resources department. 

Therefore, this puts L&D in a unique position to define and reinforce an organization’s culture. They need to take key parts of the values of a company and incorporate them into L&D programs, such as onboarding programs, training programs, etc. This enables employees to quickly immerse themselves into the values of a business.

Whether or not these values are written out and hung on the office walls or internalized in the minds of employees. Therefore, no team is in a better place to influence the corporate culture than the L&D team

Learning and Development Strategies

The corporate world today is dynamic, demanding, and fast-paced. Global general management leaders can’t rely on chance to develop into effective leaders because they need the ability to handle constantly changing circumstances. Senior executive training is a key component of a successful learning and development strategy since it helps them maintain their leadership abilities.

Senior executives understand that the talent pipeline is secure in a company with a clear and successful learning and development strategy because team members have acquired the proper management skills training to carry out their specific tasks and because the management succession plan is sound.

broader corporate strategy

7 essential factors to keep in mind when developing a learning and development strategy are:

1. Alignment with the broader corporate strategy

Because the learning and development requirements of your organization are distinct, be sure that your learning and development plan is in line with an overall business strategy. Make sure to include marketing courses in your L&D strategy, for instance, if your company has prioritized brand marketing strategy. Your organizational growth plan must be well-coordinated and based on your long-term business goal.

2. Priorities of the organization

Make your organization’s learning and development strategy a top focus. Senior officers should be given sufficient funding, resources, and support to advance their professional growth. Examples of such officers include corporate learning officers and education executives. One of the top priorities must be the senior management officials’ career development.

3. Resource utilization considerations are the third factor

To produce effective corporate training materials and leadership development programs, incorporate resource utilization concerns into your learning and development plan.

Think about if you can make better strategic use of resources by enrolling in business classes at prestigious business schools or if you will benefit more from internal management training seminars and courses. The former may have benefits like team cohesion and rapid program delivery; the latter lets you access cutting-edge business knowledge. The most effective L&D approach can be a combination of the two.

4. Assessing internal stakeholders

Assessing internal stakeholders

Identify the various stakeholders by doing an internal stakeholder evaluation. To determine the different stakeholders and learn what they need from your learning and development strategy, conduct an internal stakeholder evaluation. Make them a part of the staff development and training process to gain support. Consider the aforementioned priority for marketing and branding, and consult the marketing team to learn about and take into account their demands for learning and development.

5. The availability of corporate learning tools and approaches

With regard to your learning and development strategy, take into account the greatest corporate learning tools and techniques. Leadership exercises, leadership coaching, guided case study analysis, flexibly balanced distance and campus learning, and real-world learning in international business hotspots are some of the best tools available today for integrative corporate learning.

6. Employee recruitment and retention rates

Don’t forget that learning and development programs should support employee recruitment and retention as part of your value proposition to staff members. Make sure your learning and development strategy outlines the anticipated impact on recruitment and retention.

7. Future needs

Think about how your learning and development plan will evolve. Your L&D plan should adapt to the changing needs of learning and development as well as management training tools and resources. Include the targets for management improvement and development in your learning and development plan.

Learning and development Process

A process in which one iteratively progresses through these four phases is the foundation of an effective learning and development plan. Let’s look at each one separately.

A process in which one iteratively progresses through these four phases is the foundation of an effective learning and development plan. Let's look at each one separately.

1. Study of training requirements

Analyzing the beginning circumstances and existing knowledge is the first step in determining training needs. Employee learning should not be done merely for the sake of learning. If not, we’d be pleased to enroll them in a pottery class. Instead, we want workers to learn new things related to their (potential) function—knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Learning can be used to develop new business skills in this way.

In other words, learning serves a purpose and is a means to that purpose. Examples of objectives include enhancing analytical skills to increase business value through analytics, developing digital capabilities in an analog company that needs to convert, or just ensuring that everyone receives their required certifications in a timely manner so they can keep working. To determine the learning objective, you must consider the direction the organization wishes to go and the skills required to get there. There are three stages to this.

Organizational research: The organization’s short-term and long-term goals are examined in this phase. The aim is to identify the training requirements that will aid the corporation in achieving its corporate objectives. To be successful over time, these objectives must be in line with the culture of the firm. For instance, assertiveness training may not be helpful and may even be harmful in a highly hierarchical workplace where personal initiative is not valued.

It’s vital to consider a function or task level in addition to the established organizational need. What qualifications and abilities are necessary for career success? Here, the objective is to determine which knowledge, skills, and attitudes are most crucial for workers to have in order to succeed at their employment, as well as which of these are the simplest to pick up.

Personal evaluation: The analysis in this paragraph rates employee performance. Levels of performance, knowledge, and skill that exist now are indicated. The employee’s performance evaluation is frequently the primary source for this study. The analysis’s findings are used to define the training requirements.

Training objectives can be established using these three analyses. But it’s crucial to make sure the program has sponsorship and support within the company.

Gaining support can occasionally be simple, especially when organizational learning and development is urgently needed. This makes constructing support simple. Other times, you’ll have to work much harder to make the case for learning in order to free up funds and guarantee that staff members have to time off for learning.

2. The articulation of learning goals

Learning objectives must be developed from the training requirements. Thus the training’s content and methodology design are based on these aims. A training target, according to Lievens (2011), consists of three components:

  1. The capacity to accomplish particular goals: For instance, “I need to be able to recognize a manager’s strategic people needs as an HR business partner.”
  2. The circumstances necessary for effective behavior: For instance, “I need to be able to identify managers’ strategic people needs during the 30-minute check-in with managers and be able to summarise them to them to check if I detected these needs accurately.”
  3. A clear, measurable training objective: For instance, “I have double-checked everything after every check-in with a manager,”

3. The approach and training materials’ design

The learning approach and teaching content are chosen during this stage. Here, decisions are made regarding the instruction strategy, learning activities, and training materials. This is frequently carried out in collaboration with an outside trainer or training provider, ideally also involving the trainee. Determined variables include learning strategies, approaches, pace, environment, and many others.

Training can either be oriented toward the teacher or the trainee. Seminars, presentations, lectures, keynote addresses, and lessons are examples of trainer-centered strategies. Case studies, role-playing, self-directed lessons, on-the-job training, simulation, games, and other interactive techniques are all part of trainee-centered methodologies. Most effective training programs use a combination of techniques.

4. Monitoring and assessment

Monitoring and assessment make up the final stage of the learning process. The learning objectives are assessed during this phase, along with the efficiency of the instruction. As we will discuss further in this essay, Bloom’s taxonomy is a very helpful tool for assessing the efficacy of learning.

Additionally, feedback from students is gathered, examined, and improved for upcoming learning interventions. When the training is considered successful, a change in behavior ought to follow. This implies that the organization’s knowledge and starting conditions will alter for the upcoming learning design.

Learning and Development Professionals

Learning and Development Professionals

There are different job roles that are part of the learning and development team. Please note that the exact responsibility per role will differ between organizations. Typical learning and development jobs include:

 L&D Specialists

The training and development professional, often known as the L&D specialist, frequently plays an operational role. Designing, carrying out, and arranging training programs are their primary learning and development duties and responsibilities. These initiatives support increased employee performance and guarantee corporate productivity.

An L&D specialist is excellent at determining the organization’s present and future skill needs. Their goal is to provide adaptable learning interventions to satisfy the various needs of the workforce, whether through digital or other channels.

As a learning and development expert, you can anticipate participating in the following roles and duties:

  • Conducting capacity evaluations throughout the organisation and designing educational programs that will maximize employee growth by employing digital.
  • Making flexible and creative learning programs using digital tools and facilitating a variety of learning initiatives, such as leadership, behavioral, and technical programs
  • Fostering an environment of ongoing professional development (CPD) fostering a coaching culture inside the company.
  • Monitoring the efficiency with which knowledge has been conveyed to workers.
  • According to PayScale, the typical L&D specialist income in the US is $60,000 per year. The pay for L&D specialists is often less in the UK. PayScale reports that the typical learning and development specialist’s income is frequently less than 30,000 GBP, or $41,000.

 L&D Manager

L&D manager plays a critical role in an organization’s daily learning and development activities. Their learning and development roles and responsibilities include:

  • Coordinate all L&D activities
  • Partner with business managers, other members of the L&D department, and the human resources department.
  • Track budgets and negotiate contracts with third-party training providers.
  • Report to the director of L&D – or the head of HR – and act as the go-to person within the organization for anyone who has questions about L&D programs of the company.

Key skills required include:

  • A strong ability to collaborate and communicate
  • Budgeting skills and an understanding of corporate finance
  • Being able to analyze and handle problems 
  • Management skills

In terms of salary, an L&D manager’s salary will depend on their duties, level of seniority, company size, and location. In the US, an entry-level L&D manager can expect to earn around $62,000 while someone mid-career will earn around $73,000, according to GetSmarter. 

In the UK, and also according to GetSmarter, the average salary of an entry-level L&D manager is around 36,000 GBP and he can expect to touch 40,000 GBP mid-career. 

Director of L&D

The director of L&D does an analysis of the organizational needs for development in this strategic role. Thier functions and duties in learning and development include:

  • L&D efforts should be in line with organizational strategy
  • Drafting the L&D strategy
  • Ensuring that there is sufficient funding to carry out this plan

The director of learning and development also serves in a leadership capacity for the L&D division. They must oversee all departmental activities and determine what the organization needs to grow.

This position also involves a lot of data, such as performing research or developing new databases and management system recommendations. On the other hand, this position also includes keeping track of training records, creating dashboard reports for all business levels, and determining the organization’s training requirements.

Strong communication skills, a solid foundation in analytical abilities, leadership abilities, and experience in creating L&D programs are among the essential qualifications.

An L&D director’s pay will vary depending on the location and size of the business. The average pay for an L&D director in the US is $115,000, according to LinkedIn. On the other hand, according to Glassdoor, an L&D director in the UK has average compensation of little under 120,000 GBP.

An L&D director makes little under 120,000 GBP annually, according to an L&D consultant.

In their capacity as consultants, learning and development specialists carry out the aforementioned duties. These actions might be tactical or strategic, depending on the consultant’s position and level of experience.

L& D Consultant

The learning and development roles and responsibilities of a consultant include supporting a company’s learning and development strategies and programs. They can be crucial in analyzing the training requirements of a business and developing its L&D strategy. Important abilities needed include:

  • Powerful communication skills
  • The capacity to optimize financial resources and manage them
  • Having extensive understanding of the disciplines of education and training
  • Being able to direct and organize others.

According to Indeed, the typical salary for an L&D consultant in the US is $64,000 per year. However, this will depend on your responsibilities, the size of your business, and the setting.

Benefits of Learning and Development

Employee Retention Rates are Increased by Learning and Development

Opportunities for learning and development have a significant impact on employee retention rates. In fact, according to one survey, 94% of workers would continue working for a company longer if it supported their professional growth. Additionally, increasing staff retention rates aids in cost savings for firms. The cost of hiring a new employee is typically five times higher than the cost of maintaining an existing employee.

Training Your Staff Increases Productivity

As trained personnel are far more productive than those who do not receive training, providing staff with learning and development opportunities can have a direct influence on your company’s bottom line. For instance, a study by IBM indicated that teams with training saw a 10% improvement in production. The fact that staff obtains the training and information necessary to consistently use best practices contributes to the rise in productivity.

Learning and growth are now expected as a norm

According to research from Gallup, today’s workforce has grown to regard training and development opportunities as a given. According to the poll, 87% of millennials said that possibilities for learning and growth are a very important consideration when determining whether to accept a new job. By 2025, millennials are expected to account for 50% of the workforce, thus it is critical that firms offer learning and development opportunities to accommodate the new majority.

Decreased risk at work

Workplace accidents are more likely to occur when personnel is not properly instructed on how to utilize equipment and behave. For employees to be aware of how to be safe at work, HR departments must develop a clear, thorough compliance training program.

An increase in job satisfaction

Thinqi.com research reveals that employees who have access to learning and development opportunities have much greater levels of job satisfaction than those who do not. This is so that staff members can acquire the information and abilities necessary to succeed in their roles through learning and development programs. This may contribute to improving workplace morale and fostering a more favorable work environment.

Improved connections with customers

After receiving training, your staff members are more prepared to deal with clients. When your employees are competent at responding to all of a customer’s questions, you may offer outstanding customer service. Your consumers will gain from favorable interactions with your customer service personnel since learning and development boost work satisfaction. This upbeat attitude will be observed by your consumers because happy, engaged employees are more loyal to their employers.

Creates Potential Leaders

In order to build a company for expansion and evolution, it can be crucial to target people with the aptitude for future leadership. It is possible to find leadership talent through new recruits or by choosing current employees to be managerial candidates. Professional development programs, according to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), ensure that an organization is focused on future business goals by training promotable people.

Learning and Development Examples

In many cases, the idea of developing an L&D program from scratch is daunting. Luckily, you can use industry leaders as a guide, following their example to create a robust solution that aligns with your company’s specific needs.

The onboarding process at Amazon involves a lot of training. Every new hire participates in a month-long trip that helps them get acclimated to the organization, gain confidence, and develop their skills.

1. Amazon

Amazon introduced the Career Choice program in 2012, enabling hourly workers to acquire educational perks after just one year of employment. With Career Choice, you can get up to 95% of your textbook costs reimbursed. As long as participants are enrolling in courses in in-demand specialties, they can access up to $12,000 while pursuing a certificate or associate degree.

Amazon promised to invest in its workforce in 2019 and has committed over $700 million to retrain 100,000 team members. The objective was to increase the workforce’s skill level, giving nontechnical employees access to technical skill development. For instance, the Amazon Technical Academy enables staff members to develop their skills and make the move to employment in software engineering.

By enabling individuals to follow their professional aspirations and enabling the retail behemoth to fill talent gaps, the initiatives produce a win-win situation. Participants are also gaining certificates that they can take with them, improving their worth if they apply for jobs elsewhere, in addition to opening up prospects for internal promotion.

2. AT&T

There are two ways that AT&T gives its employees access to development opportunities. First, the business offers a comprehensive tuition support program that helps make college more affordable for its employees. Second, it offers internal training and development opportunities for staff members, enabling them to expand their skill sets and possibly advance in their careers.

Employees can take part in a training program offered by executives at AT&T University that focuses on topics like management and leadership. The telecom firm collaborated with Udacity to produce online, self-paced coursework in addition to providing in-person learning opportunities. This gave its staff access to non-degree programs in fields like data analytics and mobile development that might further their careers.

But the business also has further achievements in the field of education. AT&T contributed to the development of the first online Master of Science in Computer Science degree in collaboration with Georgia Tech and Udacity. This helps both the employees and anyone else seeking an online way to advance their career in technology.

3. SAS

Learning and Development

When it comes to L&D possibilities, SAS, a well-known industry pioneer in business analytics solutions that are routinely included among the world’s “best places to work,” excels. Its internship programs emphasize fostering professional development and preparing undergraduate students for the next stage of their lives. It creates a well-rounded approach to educating the future generation by integrating formal education with on-the-job training and experience.

SAS also provides a variety of entry-level programs. The company assists recent graduates with their transition into the profession through its paid “academy roles.” Newly minted professionals can develop their skills at the corporate office through the Sales, Customer Advisory, Technical Enablement, and Marketing Rotational programs, providing they have the resources necessary to succeed.

Employees have access to a program that was created especially to support developing leaders in addition to the possibilities mentioned above. The objective of that service is to develop individuals who can advance into management positions, advance the careers of their team, and provide a solid path for succession planning on their own.

The business, though, goes beyond. Newly graduated sales and technical professionals, often those who have recently graduated from college, receive a complete onboarding and preparation experience through the SAS Academics program. Each new hire has access to classroom instruction and on-the-job training, ensuring they acquire the necessary skills before formally taking on their permanent roles.

4. Etsy

Etsy places a strong emphasis on adopting a comprehensive strategy for staff training and development. The services incorporate tried-and-true techniques from fields including organizational psychology, adult learning theory, and sociology. Employees can receive mentoring, retreats, and online tools in addition to regular learning opportunities.

Employees at Etsy not only learn, but also instruct. Participants at “Etsy School” have access to a wide range of learning opportunities, including courses geared toward developing both hard and soft skills. Along the way, teachers develop important abilities including perseverance, leadership, and organization.

The Etsy L&D staff also facilitates choosing a path. They assist workers in finding options that will move their careers in the right direction, creating doors for development and promotion.

5. Captain Flying J

In their employee training and development programs, Pilot Flying J places a high premium on assisting employees in achieving their objective of moving into management. Participants in its management training work with senior leaders while learning everything from the intricacies of the POS system to how to understand financial reports.

After the first program is over, participants continue to get support and opportunities for growth. Following assignments to a site, workers receive continual training to help them develop new skills, adjust to organizational changes, and get ready for emerging technology.

A tuition reimbursement program is also available to full-time workers. Team members can access up to $18,000 through this initiative to help with important educational costs.


Within your organization, there is no one best approach to organizing roles for learning and development. Depending on the circumstances, each organization may adopt a different L&D strategy. This blog attempts to offer you a sense of the learning and development roles and responsibilities you might wish to consider to support your company’s L&D initiatives.

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