A key success factor in training & development (T&D) is support from senior leaders: you need funding, you need their buy-in and support, you need their time and help. The problem is that many business leaders don’t understand the value of training. And everyone has been to crappy workshops.
Here is a little introduction to making the case for T&D—some good places to start.
This blog will be especially helpful for managers who are building a new T&D department, or starting a new T&D push.
Find a few inspirational quotes on leadership and include them in your emails—as part of your signature. Use one at a time; maybe for a month; and then pick another one. Try to keep this up for at least a year. Some examples here.
Stats / Research:
Find a few important stats and use them in your meetings to help people see the impact of T&D on the business. Citing third party research can lend credibility and educate leaders on what is possible, measurable, and actionable. Some examples here.
Get leaders to make the case:
It is not enough to tell leaders how valuable T&D is. It is far more powerful to get them to make the case for themselves—i.e., engage them in discussing the value of training and development. I have designed a great little process for doing this: Instructions here.
Additional benefit: This process can be used to make the case and generate metrics for leadership development, core competencies, core values…and all of your complex and qualitative projects.
Make a clear case for each program:
Make a clear case for each of your programs. “What is it for; what problem does it solve; what impact do you want it to have; what do you want your people to learn how to do and achieve; how good do you need them to be; what will success look like?”
Clear objectives and metrics will make a huge difference to program design and delivery. If you know what you want, you have a much better chance of getting it. See this blog on using both behavioral and quantitative metrics.
Report back on program results:
Report back to your boss and the leadership team on the results of your programs. “Are participants doing anything differently; are they doing it well; and what is the impact of their efforts?”
To do this well, you have to follow up on your program; support transfer of trainer (hold participants accountable for action and coach them on implementation); and pay attention to the impact your program is having on the ground.
Don’t be shy to ask the participants themselves what kind of support they need and how you can do a better job of delivering your program. Workshop participants are crucial stakeholders to your training and firsthand witnesses to your methodology. Workshop follow up practices.
Engage leaders in T&D:
Engage senior leaders in identifying training needs and measures of success; making the case; championing programs; auditing program results; etc. Lots of ways to engage senior leaders.
Long term considerations:
See this blog for a list of questions you can ask yourself (i) when building a case, (ii) for thinking more strategically about your work, and (iii) for engaging business leaders more deeply in addressing your organization’s HR challenges and opportunities.
Making the case is not a one-off event or sales pitch. It involves a long term commitment to educating leaders and supporting the needs of the organization.
In a future blog, I will share a couple of my favorite tactics for making the case: pre-selling and solution selling.
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