what does a director of learning and development do?

  • job profiles
  • September 04, 2020

With the rise of remote work and widespread skills gaps across industries, the importance of ongoing learning and development (L&D) has never been so critical as it is today. Enter the director of learning and development. It may be a relatively new role at many organizations, but it’s also one that’s viewed as a key differentiator by employees and potential new hires alike. For example, nearly half of all companies currently have plans to upskill or reskill their existing workforces to address talent scarcities, according to Randstad’s latest research, and who do you think will be the driving force behind those efforts?

Eager to join the ranks of these learning leaders? Brush up on some of the most critical priorities for directors of learning and development, which include:

  • planning and executing on the organization’s overall L&D strategy for leaders as well as employees
  • evangelizing a culture of lifelong learning
  • introducing new L&D programs on an ongoing basis to support changing strategic objectives
  • anticipating (and eliminating) future skills gaps through incisive new L&D programming
  • building relationships with third-party resources, vendors and partners to roll out innovative and experiential learning models
  • creating customized development plans
  • offering hands-on coaching and guidance to leaders as a recognized L&D subject matter expert (SME)
  • collaborating with HR leaders to implement effective deployment and redeployment strategies
  • contributing to regularly scheduled performance management processes
  • identifying new tools to enhance human capital capabilities across the organization

how do you become a director of learning and development?

This is a relatively new role at many organizations, which means, naturally, the core requirements are continually evolving. That said, you’ll see the following requirements in most job postings right now:

  • bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (master’s degree often preferred)
  • anywhere from five to 10 years of experience spearheading L&D initiatives
  • proven success at the helm of the L&D function
  • familiarity with experiential learning, gamification and emerging trends in L&D
  • working knowledge of L&D best practices, tools, methodologies and more
  • experience leveraging digital tools to drive measurable benefits
  • knowledge of key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to the L&D function
  • virtual learning expertise

Think you need to brush up on your qualifications, based on the above? No sweat — you’ll certainly enhance your candidacy by doing so. Plus, there are a ton of resources you can take advantage of online today. Check out all of the different learning and development courses targeting HR professionals on Udemy, our learning partner,if you aren’t sure where to get started.

what are the key skills of a director of learning and development?

As a director of learning and development, you’re going to be pretty busy these days, especially as L&D becomes more and more of a priority and focus area for organizations across the board. And when you’re just trying to get your foot in the door — and to get noticed amidst a sea of applicants — highlighting the right soft skills can make all the difference.

Yet, you may be asking, which soft skills are going to matter the most? Keep the following top of mind as you tailor your resume:

  • interpersonal and communication skills
  • lifelong learning
  • mindful leadership
  • empathy and emotional intelligence
  • active listening
  • flexibility
  • resilience
  • agility

Think you can convince a prospective employer that you've got some of these traits locked down? In that case, the job should be all yours!

what is the salary of a director of learning and development?

After analyzing the latest compensation data, it looks like average salaries for these indispensable assistants can be grouped into three tiers — low range, mid range and high range — depending on factors such as your location and level of expertise. Those tiers are as follows:

  • low range $123,039-$166,385
  • mid range $131,359-$177,635
  • high range $140,127-$189,492

Searching for compensation information that’s a little bit more exact or specific to your market and location? That’s easy. Just head on over to our salary comparison tool. It’s free, easy to use — and it’ll give you insights about compensation for director of learning and development roles in your market (and in other markets, too).

key takeaways

We've spelled out in no uncertain terms all of the key elements of this in-demand role, including:

  • what a director of learning and development does
  • training, experience and core requirements frequently associated with the role
  • essential skills for success
  • salary expectations for recruiters
  • … and a whole lot more!

Ready to get started? Explore director of learning and development opportunities right now.