In what I think was one of my first blog posts, I wrote about the need for L&D to be a separate entity in a business to HR, with a different reporting structure and hierarchy into the senior exec team. Oh my how times have changed. That was almost two years ago I made that assertion. I think there are some in the L&D world who would still strongly agree with this assertion too.
But this is nothing more than a measure of who provides the better perceived value. In times gone by, training was either a function of the Operations team, or provided on an ad hoc basis by experienced people in a business who knew this learning needed to be shared with others. Learning theories and development theories have been around for decades, and influenced much of how schools developed curriculums, and how we understood the types of parenting skills many of us use today. Think about simple acts such as praise and recognition of efforts in children. Although an intuitive positive act to make, there are tangible differences you can see in children who receive praise, and those who do not.
And in times gone by, what was the old personnel department, with stereotypes around being the people who listened and helped staff, this progressed to the multi-faceted discipline we see today. Long gone are the days that HR was seen as a safe, non disruptive part of the business. Now management degrees focus on the need to understand HR and its processes and how important they are in guiding the development and growth of a business.
So have I changed my thinking on this? Do I now believe that L&D should report into HR and just zip up? Well, here’s the thing. Being an L&Der means I have to know my craft. And if I’m doing a training session on Interviewing Skills, or Assessing Competence, or Understanding Diversity, as part of all that I have to know about elements of employment law, legislation on discrimination and company policies and procedures. If I’m training on leadership/management training, I have to be able to advise on techniques that are appropriate for the business and in line with our practices.
Equally, if HR needs to advise someone on development or coaching, they have to understand some skills that L&D practise regularly – coaching/feedback/mentoring. And if they are running a workshop, or presenting, they need help and development on facilitation techniques, and presentation techniques.
There are plenty of places we can look at to make a call of differences. And they will all be valid. But, for better appreciation of skills, and for a better focus on people development in all regards, there are far more opportunities than there are challenges. Which is why you should come along to the next #ConnectingHR unconference on Thursday 20 October, at the Spring in Vauxhall, London. People from the complete spectrum of HR (Hr generalists, HRDs, L&D, Coaches, Facilitators, Business leaders, and more) come along to discuss and help each other understand what needs to be better, and how we can make it happen together. If you’re on Twitter, follow the hashtag. There are daily tweets/events/blogs happening that include the hashtag and help to spread the word. If you’re interest is really peaked, check out the connectinghr.org site and sign up to be able to interact with this ever growing, ever inclusive group of people.
And about that L&D/HR divide? We’re all afraid of what we don’t know. Some of us get excited by what we don’t know. I, for one, am driven to have an ever more, ever successful collaborative approach in L&D and the business.