Employees are a company’s best asset – do your HR and L&D functions serve them well?

Many businesses could be failing their employees when it comes to L&D and HR. According to research, only 40% of companies say that their learning strategy is aligned with business goals. Of those, only 24% of L&D professionals know how long it takes employees to become competent in their core job roles. 83% of employers believe attracting and retaining talent is a growing challenge within HR, whilst 76% of HR leaders say employee on-boarding practices are underutilised within their organisation.

But where has HR and L&D come from?

Looking back over the past 25 years, HR and L&D are almost unrecognisable. HR, or the ‘personnel’ department, was hidden away behind stacks of paper files and hand drawn spreadsheets – only called out from behind the piles if there was an issue to solve. Similarly, L&D would only be called upon when they needed to stand at the front of a room and deliver training to employees. Both professions were arguably an after-thought of the business, an aid when they were needed but largely brushed aside otherwise.

What direction are HR and L&D headed in?

For HR and L&D professionals, times have changed, and both professions are now seen in very different light – they each play a pivotal role in any business. HR is in place to look after the business and the people within it, with L&D there to nurture people within the business and develop their careers. With both functions adding true business value, employees will feel recognised, nurtured and motivated by having measures in place which allow them to get the best out of their workplace and their career – 75% of employees would stay longer at an organisation that listens to and addresses their concerns.

It’s not all plain sailing, though…

In recent years, both professions have seen major changes and conscientiously tried to evolve to meet the needs of those in their care – where management allows.  HR and L&D can often be faced with challenges or stumbling blocks along the way. As such a pivotal part of a business, HR personnel deal with highly emotional and sensitive challenges on a day to day basis. For this reason, when an outcome doesn’t favour the employee, HR often finds itself branded as the bad guy, a tool for businesses to avoid legal issues and rumours – and sadly this is sometimes true. We only have to look back to 2017 and Uber, dubbed an organisation of ‘chaos and rampant sexism’ by one employee, to see examples of HR abused rather than applauded.

Scandal aside, what are the main challenges facing HR and L&D?

  • Management Changes

Priorities vary from leader to leader. As a business grows and new leaders come in, strategies, structure and internal processes become vulnerable to change. When this occurs business owners can often experience a decrease in productivity and morale.

Communication is key in this situation, with HR and L&D offering a listening ear and guidance through these periods. With effective HR and L&D in place, employees will be able to understand the why, how and when of the change.

  • Leadership Development

Leadership Development is an on-going challenge which businesses face. For a company to function well, leaders should be open and transparent with their teams and have a clear awareness of the aims and direction of the business. There should be minimal gaps in perception between a leader and their team. To ensure this, HR should work to recruit well-rounded leaders who show that they have a flair for nurturing teams as well as doing the job in hand. L&D can then ensure that the right training is in place for both leaders and the team to make sure that everyone is aligned.

  • Adapting to innovation

Technology is developing faster than most of us can keep up with, but for a business this is vital. For employees, it is essential that L&D provides training and guidance on any new technology or system deployed with the business – setting clear goals to motivate them to get comfortable with change. But for HR and L&D themselves, technology plays a huge part in their roles and implementing new software could reduce time spent on admin and menial tasks, freeing them up to do what is most important – look after the business and its people.

  • Incentives

Good employees give a lot to the business that they work for, turning up day in day out and working hard to grow and develop the company. It is therefore key that a business shows its appreciation. HR and L&D are vital in this, both being able to create a system that rewards employees and continues to aid their development and career progression. Be it a bonus scheme, a progression route or a reward, by demonstrating a need for these to be in place, HR and L&D can help businesses have happy and engaged teams.

  • Onboarding and retaining talent

 Competition for talent is fierce and employee turnover at companies that don’t demonstrate a genuine desire to help their employees develop is high. From the beginning of an employee’s journey it is vital that you demonstrate that a clear HR and L&D process is in place. Offering a structured on-boarding process and clear progression routes is a key way of doing this. From the start, employees should feel that they are in a company that has their interests at heart, not just the profits. If a talented applicant has an offer from another company, why would they choose you?

How can PCS help?

Our tool was developed for those working within HR and L&D. It was created to help businesses, HR managers and L&D providers to diagnose team climate and leadership effectiveness and find gaps in perception between leaders and their teams.  PCS serves to better the climate, culture, productivity and profits of those organisations. Through anonymous, in-depth surveys, based on 30 years of research, employees and leaders are given the opportunity to be transparent, voicing any concerns that they have and where they feel the company could better support them and those around them.

If you feel you could benefit from implementing a PCS campaign, or if you’d like more information, get in touch today – call: 01395 233 040 or email:

Zac's Challenges:

Zac’s tech business is growing rapidly. He’s gone from being a developer with a good idea to now overseeing an ever-expanding team. Zac knows that in order for the business to grow successfully, it needs to stay true to its founding values and his staff need to feel valued and engaged. Zac wants to understand if he and his team are on the same page and he needs to do it quickly and cost effectively.

Zac's PCS Solution

Zac decides to use PCS Lite to get a quick temperature check of how his team are performing and what they think about the business. The PCS Lite report quickly surfaces the fact that his team have lost sight of the organisation’s purpose and goals. Zac realises that he needs to improve his on-boarding processes and help orientate the new team members better in the company culture and vision. 6 months later, Zac uses PCS Lite to check his new onboarding process is working; concludes that the growing team are much better aligned to his vision and are generally operating in a more positive working environment.

Annabel's Challenges:

It’s Annabel’s job to help the Partners in the firm manage their clients and ensure they’re consistently adding value. Recently, Annabel has been asked by one of the Partners to find a tool or framework that the consultants can use to benchmark new clients looking for team and leadership improvement programmes. It needs to be cost-effective, established and reputable and able to be branded with the firm’s own logo.

Annabel's PCS Solution

Annabel recommends PCS Pro to the Senior Partners as it provides an objective measurement of team and leadership climate against which the consultants can build performance improvement programmes. PCS has a good track record, academic validation, excellent training and customer service, so she’s confident that it’s the right tool for the firm’s consultants to use.

Sarah's Challenges:

Sarah has to keep across the multiple training and development needs in the organisation and do it within a tight budget. Recently, Sarah’s been asked to design a L&D programme that improves the staff retention rate and helps staff feel more engaged with the changes happening in the organisation, not least the shift to more flexible working.

Sarah's PCS Solution

Sarah uses PCS to measure how different teams across the organisation are performing and look at any patterns which suggest the need for organisation-wide, leader or team training. Sarah notices that all teams and leaders have a low climate score in the Processes segment. Sarah knows that allocating budget in this area will improve performance. She works with the Senior Management Team to review the organisation’s processes as they transition to more flexible working and designs a training programme to support staff in the transition. She’s helped staff to feel supported, acknowledged and engaged which ultimately drives performance. 

Jim's Challenges:

Jim’s client has a team that’s not performing as well other teams in the organisation. The team has a high staff turnover, sickness and the lack of cohesion is impacting the team’s wellbeing and performance. Jim needs to get to the bottom of why this is happening and design effective coaching interventions which can generate tangible results for his client.

Jim's PCS Solution

Jim uses PCS Pro to measure / benchmark how the team and leader are performing across the 6 segments critical to team performance – Goals, Roles, Processes, Adaptability, Connection and Resilience. He can immediately see the disparity in Goals, Processes and Connection between the leader’s perception and those of her team. He uses this information to build a coaching programme designed align team and leader. After 6 months, the team seems to be more settled and productive. Jim remeasures using PCS Pro – the results show the client the effectiveness of his coaching intervention.