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GE HR director: HR must 'embed' L&D into business culture

HR has a "critical" role to play in ensuring CEOs and senior leaders understand the importance of Learning and Development (L&D), according to GE HR director Sameena Bashey.

Bashey called for all employees from the bottom to the top of an organisation to take ownership of L&D, and said HR must make sure it's "embedded" into the culture of the business.

Bashey was speaking yesterday at the World of Learning Conference in Birmingham on Leading a global organisation through L&D, using examples of her past 10 years with GE.

She said it's important to have an environment where employees can challenge decisions made by senior leaders, however big the company.

"Today's leaders must listen a lot more, they must get feedback from all levels of the organisation, respect all the different cultures and be more a lot more humble," said Bashey.

"L&D is critical to organisational success but it needs commitment from the very top. It needs to be embedded within the company's culture and be part of the business strategy."

Bashey added that GE wouldn't have been successful for 130 years without L&D. "It's absolutely fundamental to the organisation, there's no debating it," she said.

"No matter what organisation you're working in, HR plays a critical role in influencing our leaders to understand the importance of L&D, so get behind it, make your CEO see the value it can add."

Bashey said GE has learnt to listen to the most extreme ideas from their employees, and encouraged HR to showcase those ideas, tell stories about them and then share the success.

"HR needs to be bolder and take a risk with ideas that could add value to the business," she said. "Employees must be in an environment where they can challenge senior leaders. I want my senior management team to continually learn and listen to their staff understand no idea is a 'sacred cow'."