Who is responsible for Learning and Development activities?
earning and Development is a process which requires shared support and responsibility from a number of sources. Depending on the size and structure of an organisation, the following are usually responsible for the learning and development activities and outcomes within an organisation:
- The organisation: Support at board level for learning and development activities is crucial to the success of any learning and development program and should be tied in with the businesses strategic objectives. Related to this the organisation’s vision, culture and willingness to invest (by way of time and financial resources) in the continuous development of staff to better face future challenges and remain competitive.
- Line managers: Line managers play a pivotal role in the success of learning and development activities in that they are not only accountability for the performance of their teams, but are in an advantageous position to observe and identify the knowledge, skill and ability gaps of their subordinates better than anyone else. Adding to this, line managers are furthermore able to monitor employees’ improvement following learning and development activities.
- HR Department: Some larger organisations may have a dedicated Learning and Development team within their overall HR Function, however if this is not the case, the HR Manager will be responsible for coordinating learning and development activities. The HR Department is responsible for the effective analysis of training needs, overall design, structure and delivery of training programs as well as demonstrating return on investment of all learning and development activities.
- Included in this category are also the training facilitators / instructors themselves. Whether learning and development be offered in-house as a part of a structured organisational development program, or offered out-of-house from a specialist trainer, the impact upon the overall training success largely hinges on how effectively material is communicated.
- Employees: Whilst the most obvious participant in learning and development activities within an organisation it is often overlooked just how important an employee’s level of commitment to training and development is to the success of such programs. Through promotion by line managers and the HR department, employees should be able to easily identify the benefits training activities will have on their ability to perform their jobs more efficiently in the future. Aside from the organisational context, employees need to take ownership of learning and development opportunities to better equip themselves with the necessary skills, knowledge and abilities to remain competitive in today’s changing business environment and to keep up with those around them if they are to progress career-wise.
As with many HR activities, learning and development is a process of collaboration and cannot be viewed in isolation from all other activities. Who is exactly in the learning and development process will depend on the size of an organisation, and in particular, the level of dedicated HR personnel to manage the learning and development function. Whilst it is quite common for larger organisations to have a dedicated learning and development team within the HR Department, smaller organisations may only have one manager who is responsible for all staff and need to manage the learning and development activities of everyone within their business. Regardless of size restraints however, in all circumstances the two main roles responsible for learning and development are the direct managers and individual employees.