Feature

Putting the pieces together


Linking your L&D and talent management strategies could benefit both

Words by Beckett Frith | Design by Matt Bonnar

Words by Beckett Frith


Design by Matt Bonnar

HR is a broad umbrella of disciplines. From payroll to L&D, culture to recruitment, it can sometimes be difficult to draw clear lines between them.

However, many organisations are finding that taking a holistic approach towards their people strategy – seeing each individual area of HR’s purview as a piece from the same jigsaw – can lead to a more cohesive HR strategy.

And one such connection can be made between a firm’s learning and retention strategies. Mazars, a leading accountancy firm, is using learning as both an engagement and retention tool as a way to boost skills. “Our HR system is designed around employability,” Laurent Choain, Chief People Officer at Mazars, told HR Grapevine. “Firstly, we hire over and above the requirements of the job. That’s how we enable ourselves to offer good people fast promotion. Then we increase our people’s already high employability through expanded education, which qualifies them for promotion without delay.”

This highly visible form of investment in people and clear path to the next stage of their career causes them to stick with their employer for longer, Choain argues. “The better the education you give your people, the greater their employability and their wish to stay a bit longer,” he added.

However, Jo Taylor, Managing Director of Let’s Talk Talent, said it has proven difficult for many firms to adopt this approach due to their archaic mindsets towards HR. “[Some] businesses are operating as they are still set up like 19th century factors models, rather than more agile and holistic innovation labs,” she explained. “While budgets sit in HR for learning and retention is controlled in this way, then unfortunately it is unlikely to change.”

But some firms are starting to see the benefits of a combined approach. Steve Preston, Managing Director of Heat Recruitment, told HR Grapevine they have linked their L&D and retention strategies to great effect. “We decided to invest a lot of time planning learning and development - we moved one of our managers over to lead and focus conclusively on it,” he said. “Once we had a team in place, we created a comprehensive competency framework for each position within the business, so we were clear on the skills that we wanted each person to have. We then ran a series of Training Needs Analysis surveys across the business in order to see where we were strong as a team and where we needed to improve. This data could then be broken down into individuals, roles, teams or just company-wide results.”

The restructure resulted in a confidence boost for staff, which inevitably led to more efficient client relationships. “This translated directly to sales, particularly in regard to new-starter trainee billings, which saw a huge increase from 2017,” Preston said.

“Most importantly, we have seen an improvement in engagement and responsiveness to the training from our employees. We also offer intensive training programmes aimed to progress people through to more senior positions. Interest in these has grown substantially, which is very promising.

“We also believe this has aided the improvement in our retention rate, which has increased by 17% in the past year alone.”

“My advice for any businesses trying to bring this together is think about what your ultimate question you are trying to solve - is it retention, is it engagement etc,” Taylor added. “Then, you can work back and look at all aspects of the employee journey and think about the touchpoints carefully and thoughtfully so you can ensure there are linkages first and foremost.”


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