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Trainer’s Tip: Guidelines for L&D Policy


Graham O'Connell offers this advice for drawing up a learning and development policy.

I have seen quite a few different policies, strategies and plans, and there certainly isn't a single definitive formula.

For my part I think a policy is what gives licence and defines the character of Learning and Development (L&D) in an organisation. I tend to think of it as quite short, general and relatively timeless. You might consider including some of the following:

  • The purpose and drivers of L&D.

  • The fundamental principles that underpin your approach to L&D.

  • How needs are identified and how L&D relates to corporate success.

  • The resources needed to implement the policy.

  • The sorts of programmes, events and services to be delivered.

  • The roles (eg L&D staff, line mangers, learners, top management).

  • The means whereby decisions about L&D will be made.

More detail goes in a strategy - with probably a short (six months or year) view and a longer term view - this will also set out the objectives that L&D will achieve. The plan (quarterly or annual) would set out what is there for who, how often, how (re)sourced, the cost, the success measures and so on.

If you are embarking on this for the first time you might consider just one document with the plan as an annex. Whether you call it a policy or a strategy is up to you.


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