We are better together

I read this post recently, by my friend Sukh Pabial on whether Learning and Development should be part of “HR”, or should be a stand alone function. It is a debate that raises its head on a regular basis and plays out in both L&D and Recruitment and Resourcing. With Brexit like certainty, the proponents promise abundant riches if only we were able to stand alone.

The first issue with the argument is that it never clearly defines, “HR” and instead homogenises everything else into a faceless mass that is responsible for all ills. Are we talking about employee relations, recruitment, succession planning, compensation and benefits? What exactly do they mean by “HR”?

The second issue is that it ignores the interconnectivity that is critical to successful people management in organisations. There are fundamental connections and interplay between L&D and resourcing and reward. There are issues that are raised through employee relations cases that directly inform the learning and development agenda.

Finally, it fundamentally limits the value of the L&D function by diminishing the influence, reach and resonance. In the same way that the UK risks diluting its international influence through separation from the EU, the fragmentation of the people function would fundamentally do the same.

The key in all of these issues is building better understanding, closer alliances that act in the interests of all parties and a united front that acts in the best interests of the people that we are there to serve, our employees. Not silly little tittle tattle arguments of importance that are better off left in the playground.

A chain of thought

It seems a a week can’t pass without someone warning of the risk to business of the ageing workforce and a resultant skills gap.

I also repeatedly hear arguments to fragment the function by separating out Resourcing, Learning and Development, Talent (repeat and replace with whichever specialism the complaining person works in) from the evil HR.

And I sigh and try not to resort to my wearied protestations of idiocy.

I don’t know of any other area of business where we would fragment the management of the supply chain and believe that it would result in a better performance.

Internal capability, succession, resourcing, talent, skills, development and education need to be seamless and integrated, not fragmented and disparate. We need to unite, not divide.

Instead of assuaging our fragile egos, let’s think about the challenges that face us and how we might raise our game to meet them.

Complex problems, require complex solutions. Not simplistic thinking and vacuous soundbites.