An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Learning and Development

What is Learning and Development?

Employee learning and development (L&D) is such a vital function of every company. It is a systematic process to enhance employees’ skills, knowledge, and competency, resulting in better work performance. L&D is a core HR function and a significant part of an organization’s overall people development strategy. It plays a key role in attracting and retaining talent, enriching company culture, and engaging employees.

Learning vs. Development

Both learning and development are key to helping employees grow and succeed in the workplace. However, they each have their specific purpose and meaning. 

Learning: Learning is concerned with the acquisition of knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes that lead to improved job performance. The process of learning takes place through various activities, such as seminars, conferences, hands-on experimentation, and reading articles or books.

Development: Development is the broadening and deepening of knowledge in line with one’s individual long-term professional goals. It aims to grow job-related abilities to expand one’s potential for new opportunities in the future. For example, development activities can include leadership training, mentoring, coaching, job shadowing, and stretch assignments. Typically, development is a choice an employee makes rather than something they are required to do.

Importance of learning and development

  1. Attracting and retaining employees: People want to work for organizations where they can lean into their present and future interests. Many employees expect their employers to offer career-enhancing growth and development.
  2. Boosting employee experience and engagement: Employees gain confidence in their performance and skills and feel inspired to take more initiative and pursue their career aspirations. This means higher morale, job satisfaction, and engagement.
  3. Bridging skills gaps: Organizations must keep up with ever-changing technological advancements and frequent shifts in business concepts. Reskilling and upskilling individuals for specialized technical roles and developing their soft skills prepares the workforce to adapt, foster innovation, and meet the organization’s future labor needs.

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