What should an L&Der do?

The role of an L&Der has advanced a lot in the last decade or so. And of course there are many roles that an L&D team is likely to have. Gone are the days it was mainly facilitation, mainly administration / coordination, mainly instructional design or mainly team leadership stuff.

This isn’t an exhaustive list – it’s written to provide insight.

Understand the tech landscape. Your LMS is one part of the tech landscape. People are using MS Teams, Outlook, MS Office, Slack, Zoom, Salesforce, and any other number of technologies. That’s the tech landscape. You’re not just focused on helping people access learning content, you’re helping people use their technology better. That doesn’t mean you have to be a tech whizz in all those technologies – you’re an L&Der so you know how to help people access good quality learning resources and content that helps them do their job well. Work with SMEs using those tech systems to develop resources and job aids that will help people use their tech better. Honestly, you’ll be enabling the business and that’s going to win a lot of brownie points.

Arrange regular talks with senior managers and leaders. We all want to talk with the executives, but executives focus is always more strategic and pan-organisation. Senior managers/leaders are in the weeds. Their teams are delivering the products and services of the business. Get in and understand the team ethos, ways of working, and their deliverables. The team will be developing workarounds and doing everything they can to achieve their objectives. Help teams figure out what they need.

Market and shout about your L&D products and services better. Just because L&D exists, doesn’t mean people will flock to the calendar, or access the content. I learned long ago that if you don’t tell people what you have to offer, they will make their own (often wrong) assumptions and then be surprised when they learn of what L&D can really offer. Use all the skills available. Posters, internal newsletters, course campaigns, advocacy from senior leaders, open sharing via HRBPs. It’s all good stuff. The more you can let people know what you’re doing, the more you’ll become a natural point of discussion in the minds of leaders.

Understand performance data and metrics. What products and services does the business deliver? What does the annual report say about financials? What is the CEO saying about performance? What is the COO wanting to focus on? What did the CFO say about budgets? Which products are selling incredibly well? Where is their potential growth? What products are likely to be put to bed? It’s not an option to not understand these things. You’re more than likely in a position of authority and power as an L&Der. That makes you a business leader, and as such you’re part of the businesses success. If you’re not talking the language of the business, the business won’t talk the language of L&D.

Develop yourself. We got so caught in the delivery of L&D solutions we forget to pay attention to other forms of solutions, or new ways of working, or developing our own skill set. L&D isn’t a linear path. You don’t go from being a facilitator to master facilitator to strategic facilitator. Or from an ID to a senior ID to L&D Lead. Pick your things where you have strength. Build on those. For the other things, reach a level of competence that means you can get stuck into varied work. If you only focus on one or two things, you’ve already made yourself redundant.

There is so much more I could talk about. Product management, performance consultancy, design thinking, tech stacks, and so much else. The key thing, I’m hoping you get from above, is that L&D is many things.

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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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