Developing an L&D policy


Rachel Burnham, Burnham Learning & Development Limited Last Published  29 April 2015

This tool will guide you through the process of developing an effective L&D policy. It will also be useful if you need to review an existing L&D policy. It focuses on the overall L&D policy setting out the organisation’s broad approach to L&D, rather than on more specific policies covering particular details of L&D activity (eg approach to mentoring).

A well written L&D policy can help all those within an organisation understand the approach the organisation has to L&D. Both the process of producing a policy and the finished article can be an aid to communication, enabling diverse groups of stakeholders to work together effectively. This is particularly important because L&D is not an activity that it is the responsibility or interest only of L&D professionals; it concerns everyone in the organisation. So an L&D policy can guide decision-making, serve as a check point when taking action and be used to review processes and activities for all these stakeholders.

As organisations vary in so many ways – sector, size, purpose, culture, structure and the external factors affecting them – it is important to recognise that L&D policy needs to vary too, so that it is aligned to the needs of the organisation.

This tool will make use of a range of information about your organisation gathered using the guidance in Understanding Your Organisation and the Context of L&D, Assessing the Impact of Internal and External Factors and Using Analytical Techniques to Assess the L&D Context. It would be useful to have looked at these tools before working through this tool in detail.

You may also wish to have a look at the tool Communicating, Implementing and Maintaining an L&D Policy so that you can start to think about how you can communicate about the policy as you develop it. One of the best ways of ensuring a policy is effectively implemented is to involve people in developing it.

Who this tool is for:
This tool is particularly aimed at those who are new to L&D and training or who have not previously developed or reviewed L&D policies and practices

This tool will help you to:
  • Use your research and analysis into your organisation, plus the internal and external factors affecting it
  • Identify the components of an L&D policy
  • Develop an L&D policy that is appropriate for your organisation.

Unit: Understanding the Context of L&D (5CLD)

This tool maps to the following learning outcomes:
  • Discuss the process of developing L&D policy and practice.
  • Formulate L&D policies and practices to respond to the impact of relevant influencing factors.