Blue Eskimo, e-learning, training and L&D recruitment specialist, believes that the traditional approach of separate departments and strategies for human resources, recruitment and learning doesn’t serve the best interests of an organisation.
According to Blue Eskimo director Nick Bate, this has the potential to create duplicate effort and costs and not make best use of the resources at the organisation’s disposal. “These departments are essentially solving the same issues,” says Bate, “but they approach them in a different way, with different remits and therefore often deliver different outcomes.”
Simply put, the role of HR is to hire and fire (with some management in-between) while the role of the training (or L&D) department is to up-skill people. Both are fine – but could provide better results for the organisation if they worked together more closely.
“Sometimes, a person leaves and the natural reaction is to hire a replacement,” says Bate. “And yes, sometimes that’s what’s needed. But it could be that a natural replacement already sits in the organisation somewhere – and information about that person is sat on the LMS. Unless the LMS and talent management system are linked – or are the same system – these islands of information deliver firewalled benefits. But it’s not just a technical issue – at a strategic level, these departments can provide greater benefits if they work within a single strategy.”
Blue Eskimo believes that organisations should be thinking about skills issues, not headcount issues. “It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the issue,” says Bate. “Some organisations suffer substantial employee churn because people perceive there aren’t enough routes internally to progress their careers. Yet the same organisation is recruiting people at a higher level, to fill vacancies, when someone internally could do the job. And, to be fair, the opposite can happen – training can be allocated to a role for which hiring an external candidate could be a far more cost-effective solution.”
Not everyone works in this way, says Blue Eskimo. They estimate “roughly 20% of companies, usually the biggest ones, have good joined-up thinking.”
The issue isn’t always restricted to the organisation itself. When working with third parties, Blue Eskimo says that solutions become less connected to the organisation’s talent management/workforce planning strategy. “Understandably, outside suppliers work to their own goals,” says Bate. “Which might be to sell more training, place a contractor, outsource a project – or whatever. So, not only does the organisation benefit from internal departments working to a single strategy, the same applies to outside suppliers – procurement teams have to be open about considering options other than the services of the supplier they normally work with.”
It’s not an easy trick to pull off, admits Bate. “Organisations get used to working in one way, it’s not a small thing to change that – especially if you’re looking at changing it in a big way. But the benefits are well worth it,” he concludes.
Read more in this article on Blue Eskimo’s website, Linking learning strategy to recruitment.