Learning and Development is seen as the role of HR through which skills of the workforce is built. As the name suggests, L&D focuses on increasing the learning and thereby leading to development of the individual leading to the overall development of the organisation.
A common goal among all companies, regardless of industry, is to increase performance levels of employees. The rationale makes complete sense – higher performance means better outcomes which directly leads to higher profits. Keeping this in mind, managing performance and constantly scouting for ways of improving it is a perpetual function, usually attributed to HR. The more the gap between desired and actual outcomes are, the more is the profit being lost out on and the more is the need for efficient performance management.
One can note that in perspective, the goals of learning and development is actively seen in performance management. Developing the skills and improving knowledge is the outcome of learning and development. This is done with the aim of improving performance and bridging the gap between desired and actual results, which is the outcome of performance management.
Learning and development focuses through different mediums and techniques to build certain skills in employees. These mediums could be done during the course of the job, for instance, through coaching, mentoring, and customised assignments among others. They could also be done outside the usual course of the job through the mediums of training programmes, lectures, role-plays, etc.
However, it is necessary to note that for any of these L&D ventures, it is important to know exactly what skills one is aiming at improving. A recent trend in learning and development is that of ‘Development Maps’ for each role that provide an idea of the kinds of developmental activities and skill building a person would require to move higher in the levels of job performance.
To understand what skills need to be built, and what kind of learning the employee requires, performance management activities come in handy. During the process of assessing current gaps in performance, one also identifies the skills that need to be worked on. So, while L&D activities lead to better performance management, a fair amount of performance management activities set the base for L&D.
It is vital to note that these skills may not be directly linked to the job or what may be conceived as the ‘technical skills’ required for the job. Even with high levels of these skills, one may not be able to perform the job well because of lacking in other, ‘softer’ skills. These would be what differentiate an average performer from an excellent one. A widely used method of building soft skills is through L&D workshops.
While training programmes can be helpful in building certain skills, using that as the solution for all skill-gap issues would lead to failure and probably even loss. According to the 70-20-10 rule by Center for Creative Leadership, people learn 70% of their jobs through experience. Keeping this in mind, high-performance companies are finding more ways of making L&D engaging. Measures to integrate learning into work has also increased. To effectively do this, one requires to specifically know the skills that need to be built and performance management plays a role here.
With successful L&D implementation, performance can be drastically improved. And for this, one needs to employ thought leaders in the field. Organisations like Skillwise that make use of L&D experts are able to analyse and effectively use solutions that helps bridge performance level gaps with ease.