As a learning leader, you’ve seen the payoff of a solid training program. From general benefits like culture improvement to specific gains like increased task efficiency, there are countless reasons why training dramatically enhances team performance. In order for your new initiative to be a success, however, you need to communicate these benefits to the rest of the organization. Without employee buy-in, the training is starting at a disadvantage. Trepidation can hinder a team member’s willingness to be fully receptive to your solution, so it’s crucial to take steps to build excitement. Here are four ways you can move toward full employee buy-in for your training program.
1. Be Transparent About the “Why.”
Is your new training initiative reactive, proactive or preventative? Are you trying to innovate and improve specific functions of the organization, or are you looking to plug some existing holes?
Without knowing why you’re starting a new training initiative, employees have no reason to be on board with the approach you present. Make sure that the reasons for the training are laid out clearly and communicated effectively. One way is to create a short video to email to employees outlining your thoughts on why training can help the organization. From here, you can start a dialogue about these reasons and what specific training objectives are tied to them.
2. Explain the Process and the Reasons Behind It.
Every training initiative has a different process behind it. When employees know exactly what the training entails, they’re more likely to jump in enthusiastically. After all, achieving buy-in requires that participants know what it is that they’re buying into.
To achieve optimal buy-in, make sure to outline the modalities, timing, location and justification behind your given approach. This way, participants will feel more prepared for the training when it finally begins. This is another great opportunity to communicate with participants and hear their feedback around your approach. Maybe they’ll have some ideas you hadn’t thought of before or insights that you overlooked.
3. Emphasize Ideal Outcomes.
It’s one thing to understand why and how training is going to happen, but there’s no point to the training unless there are a set of ideal outcomes to measure progress against. Learners want to know that your training is going to end up benefitting their team, or it could feel like a tremendous waste of time. Are you trying to increase employee retention? Communicate the specific benefits of increased retention, such as increased morale, cost effectiveness and higher team performance. Are you looking to develop potential leaders within the organization? Let them know that you recognize their potential and want to help set them up for future career success.
One way to communicate ideal outcomes is to develop them with the participants themselves. This approach can be a great opportunity to discover where employees see room for improvement and whether or not your proposed goals align with the day-to-day functions of the organization.
4. Seek Feedback.
The most important step in achieving training buy-in is to seek feedback from participants. Understanding their needs and preferences is crucial to developing the best plan of action and is all but impossible unless you have a deep understanding of what they go through every day.
Make sure to schedule periodic meetings before and after training sessions where you ask specific questions about the effectiveness of the training. Do learners feel engaged and interested in the content? Are the chosen modalities working as well as you had envisioned? Come prepared with a list of questions, and leave room for them to speak their minds.