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Should L&D Professional be Considered as Business Partner?

Akshay Birje
• January 23, 2024

(10 min read)

In most enterprises, the L&D team provides essential support for the company’s aims. It creates a culture of continuous learning and skill development among professionals. These days, businesses deal with multiple challenges to succeed in their industry.

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This is where L&D plays a pivotal role in addressing these business challenges by implementing a clear action plan. 
Let’s see why L&D should be considered a strategic business partner.

Benefits of L&D Being a Business Partner

When companies see L&D as a key partner for their business strategy, it brings numerous benefits to businesses including

  • Improves Employee Performance: Learning and Development (L&D) improves employee performance by providing targeted training sessions.

    When L&D is included in the organization, it delivers customized training that helps employees learn job-specific skills. 

  • Builds a learning culture: L&D creates an environment where employees are encouraged to keep learning constantly. It provides essential knowledge and skills to stay up to date with the latest industry developments.

    Regular training sessions and guidance maintain a culture of continuous learning within the company.

  • Increases Employee Satisfaction and Retention: Learning and Development (L&D) is important for enhancing employee satisfaction and retention.

    As a business partner, L&D helps employees thrive in their respective roles, which makes them more likely to stay with the company. It also allows employees to advance in their careers. 

  • Helps achieve Organizational Goals: L&D helps companies reach their goals by figuring out the necessary skills and knowledge required in the workplace.

    It creates a detailed training program for employees which helps the company succeed in the future.

  • Encourages Creativity: L&D helps increase creativity and innovation within the workplace. It accomplishes this by providing employees with various training opportunities and integrating them with innovative concepts.

    Learning and development sessions teach employees to be innovative to grow in their positions and careers.

  • Expedites Onboarding: Integrating learning and development into the business plan ensures that onboarding processes align with organizational goals.

    L&D ensures new employees can quickly acquire the skills and knowledge required for their roles. This makes the onboarding process simple and easy.

Potential Challenges in Making L&D a Business Partner

While there are several benefits, there are also some challenges that arise when considering L&D as a business partner. Here are some of the common ones:

  • Resistance to Change: One of the primary challenges is that some business leaders tend to not be as enthusiastic about L&D and might be resistant to change.

    Effective communication and showcasing the benefits of the new strategy can help overcome this resistance eventually and make L&D a valued business partner.  

  • Limitations on Resources: L&D teams might not always have the resources required to collaborate with the company effectively. Transforming L&D into a strategic function often requires additional resources.

    Some resource limitations that haunt L&D currently include a lack of qualified leaders, a limited budget, and outdated technology.

  • Limited Leadership Support: Strong leadership support is crucial for L&D to be an effective business partner. However, often leaders provide reluctant and partial support towards L&D programs.

    Not many leaders acknowledge the importance of L&D  in the growth of their business. 

  • Employee Engagement: Employee engagement is key to learning and development success because engaged employees show more interest in learning new concepts.

    Getting employees excited and involved in L&D activities can be quite challenging.

    Employee resistance is a common challenge that most companies face, where any innovation or change in their traditional ways of learning is met with refusal or reluctance. 

  • Misalignment with Business Goals: If L&D experts do not have a good understanding of business goals and their challenges, then it will become challenging to create relevant and impactful training programs.

    L&D professionals may have different goals and priorities than business leaders. For example, L&D professionals may focus on employee satisfaction, while business leaders may focus on revenues.

    Subsequently, this situation could result in a conflict and affect collaboration.

  • Lack of Measurable Outcomes: Some organizations can find it difficult to measure the results and the impact of L&D. It becomes difficult to show the value of L&D as a business partner without clear metrics.

    Organizations need to focus on developing robust measurement systems to highlight the actual contributions of L&D in driving success and achieving strategic objectives.

  • Balancing Short-Term and Long-Term Goals: Managing immediate skill gaps with long-term strategic goals can be difficult. Sometimes companies only focus on addressing urgent needs and goals.

    They usually fail to create long-term plans. Eventually, maintaining a balanced and sustainable approach for L&D becomes a challenge. 

Tips to Overcome These Challenges 

The following tips will help you overcome the challenges we just discussed:

  • Building Relationships: L&D professionals should build strong relationships with business leaders and understand their needs and priorities.

    They need to show how learning and development can benefit businesses in the future. It can be done by showing success stories and case studies. 

  • Focusing on Business Performance: L&D experts must collaborate closely with business managers to identify necessary business goals and needs.

    This makes it easy to design an L&D program aligned with specific business purposes. 

  • Embracing flexibility: L&D training sessions should be flexible and adaptable to industry developments. This allows for learning that is effortless, relevant, and aligned with business needs.

  • Measurement and Assessment: Learning and Development (L&D) requires detailed analysis to understand the overall performance of a training program.

    You have to set clear goals and targets to measure the success of the training program. 

  • Investing in Resources: L&D professionals must invest in the best resources to make learning and development programs effective and successful. This can include technology, qualified trainers, and other relevant materials.

    Investing in resources ensures employees receive practical training to become proficient in their roles.

  • Designing engaging L&D Programs: Organizations must design training programs that are not only informative but also engaging and interactive.

    Add real-world scenarios, case studies, and practical tasks to the L&D program to make learning more relatable and interesting. 

Most Commonly Used Metrics to Measure the Success of L&D

Several metrics are used to measure the success of the Learning and Development (L&D) program. 

These metrics help organizations assess the effectiveness of training programs, and their impact on employee performance, engagement, and overall business goals.

According to the 2023 Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn Learning, 89% of L&D professionals think that supporting employees to improve their skills is vital for businesses in the future.

Here are some of the key metrics to use:

  • Training Completion Rates: Training completion rates show the percentage of participants who successfully finish a training program or course. It gives an idea of how actively learners participated in the completion of the training program.

    Ignoring course completion rates could force you to miss out on data such as engagement, relevancy of materials, and content delivery process.

  • Engagement Level: Monitoring engagement levels is important to understand the learner’s involvement in the training session. It gives an overview of how learners interact with the training materials.

    It is important to check whether the learners participated in discussions, quizzes, and other interactive elements.

    By measuring engagement levels, companies will know whether the training content is interesting and relevant. Also, they will know areas where they need improvements.

  • Retention Rates: This is essential in reducing costs for the company. If the retention rate is high, it indicates that the standardized training program was effective and valuable to the learners.

    Based on various surveys and studies, the average employee retention rate in the United States is generally between 80% and 85%. Furthermore, 87 percent of HR leaders consider L&D to be a critical component of their employee retention strategy.

  • ROI (Return on Investment): ROI calculation is very important for L&D programs because it shows how much value they add to the business. It helps assess the cost-effectiveness of  L&D programs.

    Upon understanding the outcome of training programs, companies can make informed decisions about subsequent training and the budget allocated to them.

    Evaluating the ROI of L&D programs enables companies to optimize their training strategies. 

  • Speed of Acquiring Skill: This metric enables companies to track how long it takes for employees to reach a certain level of skill after they finish a training program.

    If learners acquire knowledge in a short period, it means that they are ready to use their newly learned skills in their daily work more quickly.

    Tracking this metric allows companies to see how quickly employees apply their newly acquired skills to perform their best in the workplace.


Considering L&D as a business partner will, no doubt, provide value to the organization. In today’s fast-changing world, Learning and Development (L&D) has become even more important in providing employees with all the right skills and training required to keep them updated with industry trends, handle day-to-day challenges effectively, and help the company achieve its goals. 

Here's how Airmeet Facilitates Learning and Development


Yes, an L&D program can help minimize expenses by ensuring focused training, addressing specific talent, and maximizing resources efficiently.

L&D can leverage technologies such as e-learning platforms, virtual classrooms, and mobile learning apps to give personalized learning experiences. 

Companies can collect feedback from employees through surveys, feedback forms, and one-on-one or group discussions. 

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