I’d really appreciate some help from the LSG Members on this question . . . .


Often you hear and see the terms L&D, L&D professional, Learning and Development etc.  What I’d really like to know is what actually constitutes L&D?  Is a performance appraisal system part of L&D, is talent management part of L&D, what about leadership development?  Where does HR stop and L&D start (or vice versa)?


I’d appreciate hearing from as many members as possible on what you (or your organisation) think L&D actually is.


Thanks in advance.



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If the business sees HR as solely about risk avoidance, I would submit that this is a business which probably has very little interest in organisational development anyway.

I assume the contributors to this discussion are more likely to be involved with more mature broader thinking businesses where both HR and L&D are expected to contribute their skills equally. So the debate should be more about where are the synergies, not the differences. And certainly not about boundaries.

I am another L&D Professional that is embedded within a particular team - we are part of the IT team and deal with Learning and Development relating to IT issues only. The HR team is completely separate and I feel that it works really well. As someone else has already said 'we are one of them'. This has resulted in increased co-operation within our team. For example, if we hold any training for the IT team, the attendance rate is exceptionally high compared to other areas of the business where HR organise training. We have respect for the IT team and they have respect for us. It also helps that we work with them day in, day out, as we learn about their issues and can get involved at an early stage. This significantly improved the amount of recognition and voice that we get. Previously, when IT training was part of HR, L&D would be an afterthought, but now we have developed to a point where we are involved in all the initial project meetings so we can 'add our two cents' before the project plans are produced. I guess we are lucky enough to have the budget to have a separate L&D team.


On a side note, I am starting the CIPD L&D Certificate next month and reading through the provided materials, I am disappointed by how much they seem to relate issues to HR only, and do not seem to recognise that non-HR people are involved in Learning and Development too. If our Professional body do not recognise that, what hope do we have?

Hi Katie,


Thanks for your post.  You mentioned something which I believe goes to the heart of this debate; respect.  Without respect, all of us, HR and L&D can shout from the rooftops without impact.  Respect gives us that impact and allows us to deliver real vale, so thank you so much for bringing this to the fore.


On a side note, it's interesting that you're finding that the CIPD L&D Certificate is rather HR centric.  I checked the CIPD online communities today and to be honest, there wasn't that much focus on L&D so perhaps it's hardly surprising that your course has the focus you mention.  It's a real shame but in the 'professional' world there seems to be a real need to build knowledge of L&D before we can build respect.


Best wishes.



You're absolutely right, Jonathon; and I would extend the argument to include effective collaboration. 


Large organisations have a tendency (N.B. I'm not saying all organisations) towards bureaucracy and functional focus that leads to sub-optimisation and the failure of collaboration, open communication, and trust. The core issue is that, in the 21st Century, the "silos" that were so prevalent in past management thinking, really don't have a place in most organisations (in both the private and public sector) in which a totally different form of "command and control" is emerging.


Enabling a "work smarter" (my view of L&D's core value-add) environment requires collaboration and trust; but you can't just "bolt that on" to an existing culture; well, actually you can try but it rarely works!


Finally, I guess this isn't the time or place to debate the roles of CIPD versus the IITT!




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