In today’s dynamic and competitive business environment, employee training has become an essential component for the success and stability of any organization. According to the 2023 Workplace Learning Report by LinkedIn; 83% of organizations want to build people-centric culture and 81% of learning and development (L&D) departments are helping to achieve this. The figure might look encouraging and hopeful that organizations are seeing the need for employee training. However, one should not be too quick to conclude as such, since there is still about 29% of organizations that are not in this circle. Also, it’s worth noting that, recognizing and speaking about something does not equate to adopting, implementing or championing it.
There is a great number of organizations whose leadership/executives are not convinced about the need for training. It is common knowledge that, training is often the “target for sacrifice” during uncertain economic times. One of the greatest challenges of the training manager, therefore, is to get a seat at the decision-making table of their organization.
Convincing executives about the value of training though difficult, is crucial for the successful implementation and sustainability of your programs.
Speak the Language of the Business
To successfully convince executives about the need for L&D, training leads must first identify the current standing of the organization. Where is the organization in terms of training? Where did it come from and where does it want to go? Take some time to research and learn about the organization’s history, growth, successes, challenges, and goals especially on and around issues pertaining to training. Talk to relevant employees across levels and roles to identify major skills gaps and challenges. Executives need to know about the major gaps, shortfalls and its resultant losses to the organization due to the absence of training.
Thus, it’s key to make executives aware of the organizational impact training can have through a compelling story of growth and progression. In other words, you need to “speak the language of the business” to showcase training’s value to the bottom line.
In addition, learning leaders need to be familiar with industry training trends and evidence of performance successes of learning organizations. This information together with data-driven metrics such as increased sales figures or improved customer satisfaction scores, compared with the current organization’s performance, could be presented as a solid case for a seat at the table. In recent times, organizations are battling with high employee turnover rates, thereby heightening the need to hire and retain top talent.
By offering relevant, comprehensive training programs, organizations can position themselves as desirable employers and consequently, increase employee satisfaction and loyalty. One cannot dispute the fact that the success of an organization depends largely on the efficiency and productivity of employees. Thus, the provision of requisite skills and knowledge to enable employees to deliver high-quality work and contribute toward organizational goals depends largely on training.
Finally, in most organizations, one of the reasons for not prioritizing training at the executive level is alluded to the high costs of comprehensive training programs. This is increasingly becoming common in organizations as a result of the current recession leading to global budget cuts.
Prioritizing Your Own Skills Development
In today’s uncertain business environment, training professionals must strive to develop their professional skills widely across diverse areas required to deliver holistic training solutions. A good command of the training function as well as in-depth knowledge of training processes and tools — including learning management systems (LMSs) and other technologies, instructional content design and creation, needs assessment and the ability to strategically align training needs with organizational goals and directions, will promote the relevance of the role as a major asset to the organization.
In conclusion, showing the value of training to executives requires a strategic approach to emphasize its importance and impacts on organizational performance, employee retention, and staying ahead in a fast-paced and dynamic business landscape. By communicating the benefits of training through evidence-based arguments and projected results, executives might recognize the importance of investing in, as well as championing, employee development. Thus, gaining you a seat at the table.
If executives are not willing to give training a seat at the table, then training professionals must walk up to the table and pull up a chair.