How to Get Senior Managers to Support Your Learning and Development Initiative
Today’s workforce has very different career expectations compared to previous generations. Millennials in particular are enthusiastic about career growth opportunities, with 87 percent prioritizing professional development over other workplace benefits.
High-level company decision-makers often need more convincing of L&D’s importance before they will release the funds. Let’s dive into the situation:
Redefining Your L&D Roadmap
According to Deloitte research, the majority of organizations are trading static career progression for “flexible, open career models” that give employees more power over their professional lives.
In this new model, L&D should no longer be reserved for those employees being groomed for promotion. Rather, it should be universal, offered to everyone in the business. Senior management will have to play a crucial role in driving widespread adoption, encouraging all employees to take part in the training programs available to them.
However, getting senior management on board with new L&D programs is easier said than done, and many of my business partners have asked me how to get support from them top.
The first step toward successful L&D investment is identifying what the business really wants to achieve. This requires working closely with management across all departments to understand the organization’s overall aims and objectives.
Next, draw up an L&D roadmap which aligns learning investment decisions with your company’s strategic goals. Pay particular attention to areas where there are current skills gaps and areas where L&D may not be as necessary. This will help you allocate L&D investments most effectively. You should absolutely encourage senior management to offer feedback on your roadmap and adjust the plan accordingly.
All About the Figures
Getting senior management to financially support your plan is not the end; you need to continue making the business case for long-term L&D investment.
According to CIPD, 37 percent of companies measure the satisfaction of those taking part in L&D programs but fail to evaluate the program’s impact on the wider business. To convince company leaders that L&D investment is worth it, you need to avoid falling into this trap. Instead, focus on measuring the program’s concrete ROI.
For example, say some employees in the accounting department struggle with complex Excel formulas. You can craft an L&D program that targets this issue, and then compare post-training task completion times to pre-training times.
Say employees spent an average of nine hours a week on Excel pre-training, but after training this became 4.5 hours a week. This shows an overall reduction of 50 percent, so productivity has effectively doubled. You could take this a step further and convert the time saved into monetary figures, which should further convince senior management of L&D’s value.
That said, you do need to be careful when putting a financial value on training. Remember, education is not always a clearly measurable variable, and training impacts employees in different ways. You may be better off measuring factors such as increased employee morale instead.
Think for the Future
In order to keep up with rapidly advancing technology, today’s organizations need to foster creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial workplace cultures. In keeping with our digitally oriented reality, organizations should be sure to offer L&D programs that meet employees where they are.
A classroom scenario or a two-day training course outside the office is not enough to cut it for today’s employees. While such traditional L&D offerings are still popular, courses should fit into employees’ lifestyles while addressing their professional needs. For example, parents may need to fit their training in around childcare responsibilities. Digital L&D offerings ensure that all employees can access the training they need when they need it.
L&D is a key force behind the success of today’s businesses. Workers are looking for organizations that encourage learning and development. Now is the time to get senior buy-in to implement an L&D program that creates value for employees and the organization alike.
Fredrik Söderlindh is CEO of Findcourses.co.uk.