People Management

Organisations look to L&D to help create a people-centric culture, report finds

Experts say HR’s growing influence has prompted the need to have employees at the centre of global companies, and L&D is critical in achieving that by Elizabeth Howlett 5 May 2023

Four fifths (83 per cent) of global organisations are looking to create a more people-centric culture, and, in response, 81 per cent of global L&D departments are helping this to be realised, according to a new report. 

LinkedIn Learning’s latest Workplace Learning Report found that the top four focus areas for L&D this year are: aligning learning programmes to business goals; upskilling employees;   creating a culture of learning; and improving employee retention. 

As a result, 77 per cent of the 1,579 global HR and L&D professionals surveyed said their role became more cross functional in the past year. 

The report found the percentage of L&D professionals working ‘more closely’ with HR has increased by 5 percentage points to 44 per cent this year (from 39 per cent in 2022). 

Dionne Denbraber, people and learning officer at PAM Group, said people-centric culture was important as it ensures “employees are engaged and motivated” to do their work, and HR is central to this. “The need for people-centric cultures is a direct result of HR’s influence on an organisation, as the profession [requires] managers to get to know their employees and build positive working relationships,” said Denbraber. 

HR guides managers to be “better” and build a positive culture in their team “which results in a positive culture throughout the business”, she added.

This correlates with LinkedIn’s report, which found 82 per cent of global leaders agree that the HR function is more critical now than it has ever been. 

Lisa Tomlinson, chief executive of Limelite HR, said the rate at which employees needed to learn was growing “faster than ever” to keep pace with the external environment. “Just think about the speed that AI is currently changing the workplace,” said Tomlinson. 

L&D must be a critical part of workforce planning, as those organisations that “get their learning culture right will be poised to embrace growth and innovation, and HR’s role in that alignment is critical”, she added.

Additionally, the report revealed that L&D collaboration with executive leadership increased by seven percentage points to 50 per cent this year (compared to 43 per cent in 2022). 

L&D professionals also noted their work with the following departments increased: talent management (56 per cent), employee engagement (56 per cent), EDI (53 per cent), department heads (48 per cent) and talent acquisition (47 per cent). 

Jenni Miller, head of operations at Inspirational Coaching, said having a people-centric culture that promotes L&D across all departments showed a “commitment” to self development, which should be role modelled from the top down. “This will help attract a higher quality of candidates when you are recruiting as well as significantly improving retention figures,” said Miller, who added that improvements in the workforce’s abilities would “drive business performance and efficiency”. 

Considering the future of work, 89 per cent of L&D professionals agreed that proactively building employee skills would help navigate the evolving future of work. At the same time, 93 per cent said they were concerned about employee retention – but when asked how to improve retention, providing learning opportunities was the ‘top’ solution for organisations. 

Tomlinson added that good management and leadership training could “reduce issues for HR, improve attraction and retention and ensure great HR practices are embedded in every level of the organisation – the two are symbiotic”.