Friday 20 January 2012

Battle of the People Functions: Learning vs HR – the gloves come off! (then back on again)


   The other key event that I’ll be presenting at next week will be Learning Technologies (with Learning and Skills, and Learning without Frontiers) at the Olympia in London on Thursday.

In the red corner, Paul Jagger at IBM will be arguing that L&D needs to break free of HR in order to take its rightful place at the heart of organisational strategy.

In the blue corner, I’ll be arguing the reverse – that HR and L&D need to be brought further together to integrate both activities and outcomes and maximise the impacts of these (key themes from my chapter in the Executive Guide to Integrated Talent Management).

It should be a good, if potentially rather bloody, bout!


I’ll be attending, and therefore probably blogging from, a couple of other sessions from day 2 of the conference as well.

It’s interesting to see the conversational aspect of the HR Directors Business Summit unconference being brought into Learning Technologies, though in a rather different form - through Learning eXchanges: discussion sessions with some of the speakers:

“It is the first time that experts who are speaking at the conference will be involved in conversations as part of the exhibition. Throughout the day, eXchanges will consider a range of practical questions to promote learning excellence. Attendees can book to take part in small group face-to-face conversations with the speakers directly or can take part live via social media channels. - see the growing list of speakers who are participating below.”


I won’t be doing one of these however as I suspect that by then I’ll be rather conversationed-out!  However, I am looking forward to some more informal conversations with some of the conference delegates and exhibition visitors – so if you’re going to be around, do let me know.


And – if you fancy a bit of HR / L&D integration, come along to the ConnectingHR (including L&D) tweet-up in central London on Thursday evening – you can sign up for this here.  (See Learning Technologies conference chairman, Don Taylor’s perspectives on an earlier Connecting HR tweet-up here).

And and – for even more conversation after next week’s two events, come along to Connecting HR’s next proper unconference in May.


Picture credit: Cpl. Megan L. Stiner (please note I chose the colours of the corners before I picked the photo – sorry Paul).


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  1. Hi Jon,
    Excellent post.
    Sorry I cant be at the event - would love to see the 'battle'.
    My own experience is that while HR & L&D in theory should be much closer aligned and together then two things often happen; 1) the departments gets too big and therefore bureaucratic and 2) two very different types of people - don't always work together. That withstanding - I firmly believe like you that they should much much closer.

  2. Hi Morten, thanks for the comment, and I mentioned your point about different people, which I think is a good one, as part of the Q&A. Thinking this through, although current transactional HR (stereotype = paying and firing people) and L&D people (delivering courses) may be very different, the future of both sub-professions may start to look more similar?


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