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Want to boost retention? Bring in your L&D team

August 8, 2022, 2:01 PM UTC
Group of business people concentrate during training class
New research suggests L&D leaders should play a larger role in talent strategy.
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Good morning and welcome back to CHRO Daily!

This week, the HR research and consulting firm The Josh Bersin Company will release its latest report on the state of learning and development (L&D). A key finding: It’s time to bring L&D leaders into the decision room to help map out career paths for employees. Or as Bersin more bluntly puts it, “Pull your L&D leader out of the bowels of training.”

L&D leaders have long been seen as the purveyors of onboarding and mandatory compliance trainings. But amid a taut labor market, companies that fail to leverage L&D leaders’ expertise in cultivating and upskilling talent are doing themselves a disservice and placing their talent strategy at a disadvantage.

The data says as much.

Almost 85% of surveyed corporate training departments feel ill-equipped to create new career paths for their employees, according to research from the consulting firm. But when supported, L&D leaders can be instrumental in identifying career planning opportunities for employees and engagement strategies that boost retention.

CHROs should keep a few guiding principles in mind when redeploying an L&D team, Bersin tells Fortune.

Don’t throw out your old L&D strategy. Add to it. One of the biggest findings from the data is that traditional training and learning tools are still important to an organization. But teams should also put equal focus on career growth, leadership development, mobility, and understanding adjacent capabilities. That way, when an employee wants to shift roles, employers can suss out the next position for them internally.

Include L&D heads in more conversations with leaders across the company, so they can be active players in creating talent strategy. L&D leaders should be deeply embedded within HR, business, IT, and data architecture teams.

Reconsider who owns career management and mobility within the organization. “The research is basically showing the chief learning officer, or the training function, is the most appropriate place to work on career planning than anywhere else,” Bersin says. Often, the L&D team is the most aware of the skill gaps within an organization. Tap into their knowledge and give them the tools needed to experiment and bring employees up to speed.  

Put it in Practice

Luckily, if you haven’t expanded your L&D efforts already, Bersin says you don’t have to train the entire organization at once. As you decide how to allocate your budget, especially in this economy, ask yourself the following:

  • What teams or departments are underperforming? Start there first. 
  • What are the most critical business goals your company must master in the next two years? Focus your training around those business initiatives. 
  • Have you just gone through a merger or acquisition? Devote your training dollars to support that transition.

I want to hear from you! What are the biggest HR challenges and priorities today? Reach out to me at I’m hosting 15-minute desksides with HR and DEI executives. You could see your response in a future newsletter.

Amber Burton

Reporter's Notebook

The most compelling data, quotes and insights from the field.

There was a lot to digest in the economy last week. While the U.S. added more jobs than expected, markets remained mixed and the Nasdaq wavered on Friday. Here’s a round-up of what’s happening in the economy right now and what it means for companies. 

- The good news: The U.S. added 528,000 jobs and unemployment fell to 3.5%, from 3.6% in June—its lowest rate since February 2020. Fortune

- The wonky news: Jobs are back, but not all jobs. Even though the number of jobs added in July far exceeded expectations, the number of people working remains lower than in early 2020. The imbalance suggests the pandemic continues to be a challenge for the talent market and, for some, their old jobs have not returned. Wall Street Journal

- The “we’re still biting our fingernails” news: Economists warn that the Fed may still raise interest rates to combat inflation, despite the sunny jobs report. If anything, the report puts more pressure on the Fed to raise rates when it meets in September as job gains accelerate, and employment reaches a record high. Reuters

- The markets news: The markets didn’t quite know what to make of the July jobs report. Stocks closed mixed on Friday, reflecting concern in the market that the Fed will increase its tightening of monetary policy. Barron’s

- The upside news: Things probably won’t be that bad. Just ask former Federal Reserve governor Randall Kroszner. Fortune

Around the Table

- TikTok is dialing back its pandemic-era perks in an effort to bring people back to the office. But there's a slight issue; it doesn't have enough space for all the employees it's trying to lure back. Wall Street Journal

- The latest workplace scam to look out for: Employees hiring their own employees to outsource their work. Yes, you read that correctly. Evidently, the rise of remote work also fueled a rise in employee and job candidate fraud. Business Insider 

- As monkeypox cases creep up in the U.S., the EEOC is reminding employers to abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In accordance with the ADA, employers must keep employee medical information confidential. All medical information, including asking about symptoms or vaccination, is subject to the ADA confidentiality provision, says Sharon Rennert, a senior attorney advisor at the EEOC. SHRM


Everything you need to know from Fortune. 

Caring for caregivers. Caregivers must often choose between their jobs and caring for loved ones. One caregiving benefits company is working to change that. Family First partners with companies to offer benefits that allow workers to receive support from an expert caregiver on demand. —Alexa Mikhail 

Amazon walkout. For the first time, Amazon workers in the U.K. staged a walkout to protest low pay amid a cost-of-living crisis. Employees filed out of a distribution center in southeast England after they were told their pay increase would amount to 43 cents an hour. —Alice Hearing

Executive pay day. Sustainability and social metrics might soon be more regularly linked to executive pay. The practice is most common in Europe, according to a new survey by Corporate Secretary. Sixty percent of survey respondents in Europe say their board ties ESG goals to executive pay, compared with 37% of respondents in North America. —Lila MacLellan

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