Does L&D belong in HR?
That was the topic of last week’s Learning Cafe in Sydney.
In short, my esteemed peers and I agreed on “yes”, but that’s not the end of the story. Allow me to explain…
According to one school of thought, L&D belongs in HR because that’s how you achieve scale. The fundamental learning and development needs in the organisation (eg leadership, culture and change) are enterprise-wide. So it makes sense to centralise their management.
According to another school of thought, however, the needs of the business are so diverse and unique that a central L&D team could never hope to keep abreast of them all – let alone address them effectively. So it makes sense to embed L&D professionals into the teams to manage the learning in its context.
Of course, both POVs are right. Whether L&D should be centralised in HR or distributed throughout the business is not a binary proposition. A true learning organisation needs both.
Having said that, how the organisation implements the two is important. There’s no point having an ivory tower bestowing empty training interventions upon the masses; and conversely, there’s no point having an army of hermits toiling away in isolation.
What’s required is a partnership: L&D people across the organisation consulting and collaborating with each other – and with the business – to generate the right solutions for everyone.