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4 Strategies To Get Buy-In For Training From Senior Leadership

Getting buy-in from senior leadership for training initiatives is important for organizations wanting to move forward with new training programs. While “getting the boss to buy-in” is no easy feat, we’re here to help by providing 4 strategies to help you succeed. 

Check out 4 strategies to get buy-in from senior leadership for corporate training:

  1. Identify gaps with current training
  2. Outline benefits of the new training program
  3. Acknowledge challenges that may occur and plan solutions
  4. Determine the training return on investment (ROI)

63% of learning and development (L&D) professionals have a seat at the C-suite table, emphasizing the growing significance of employee training programs in the eyes of executive leadership. 

Getting buy-in from senior leadership for a new training initiative is no easy task. It takes comprehensive planning, researching, and collaboration with others. Luckily, we’re here to help by providing 4 strategies you can use to gain senior leader buy-in for your next training initiative. 

At Roundtable Learning, we help organizations accomplish their training goals by developing innovative training solutions that meet their learners’ needs. We know what it takes to gain senior leader buy-in and have outlined several steps to help you succeed. 

This article will explore the importance of gaining buy-in from senior leadership and provide 4 strategies to get buy-in for corporate training. 

The Importance Of Gaining Senior Leadership Buy-In

While it can be challenging, gaining senior leadership buy-in is a critical step in a corporate training program’s journey. Gaining buy-in from senior leaders is important for the following 3 reasons:

  1. Senior leadership buy-in is required for organizations to move forward with new training initiatives. 
  2. Large training projects need an executive sponsor to vouch for the program.
  3. Once buy-in occurs, senior leaders will promote the continued upskilling and reskilling of employees. 

Without buy-in, L&D Program Managers, Training Managers, L&D Administrators, and other key L&D personnel won’t be able to push new training initiatives forward that would largely benefit their organization. Employees in these roles typically work directly with the proposed training solution and advocate for its implementation, but their process of gaining buy-in isn’t always easy. 

The Top 2 Problems When Gaining Senior Leadership Buy-In

  1. Determining return on investment (ROI) — Perhaps the biggest challenge when gaining senior leadership buy-in is proving training ROI, which indicates whether or not the program’s benefits outweigh costs. ROI may be quantifiable or more observable through improvements in employees’ behavior, productivity, or engagement. 
  2. Budget and time constraints — When implementing any training program, it’s likely that budget and time concerns will arise. From completing background research to presenting the final proposal for new training, it may be difficult for L&D professionals to fit within the budget and meet deadlines. 

Read More: 4 Benefits Of A Custom Training Program

4 Strategies To Get Buy-In From Senior Leadership

  1. Identify Gaps with Current Training

An effective way to start planning a new training program is to take a step back and examine your existing program’s strengths and weaknesses. By identifying gaps in training, your organization can better align your new training initiatives with your desired performance outcomes. 

Internal L&D personnel can identify gaps in current training by completing any of the following steps:

  • Gather and analyze feedback from user groups — User groups are made up of learners who’ve completed existing training and can provide insight into the training’s successes and downfalls. 
  • Conduct surveys — Post-training surveys are an effective way to receive direct feedback from learners regarding their thoughts on the training (e.g. the program’s value, satisfaction ratings, highlights of training, etc.) 
  • Complete a training needs analysis — A training needs analysis provides a comprehensive analysis of the gaps between employees’ existing skills and desired outcomes. 

Perhaps your existing gaps revolve around content that learners struggle to identify with or maybe the content itself is outdated. Once you recognize gaps in your existing training, you can ensure your new training meets the needs of learners and achieves your goals. 

  1. Outline Benefits of the New Training Program

Once you’ve recognized the needs of your future training program, you should outline the benefits that the new training will bring. Depending on the specific training topic of your program, training benefits could include:

  • Creates a risk-free learning environment
  • Increases employee confidence, engagement, and productivity
  • Improves consistency across the organization

Perhaps your organization plans to implement a new training initiative that utilizes immersive reality technology, such as augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR). You’ll want to be sure to thoroughly research these modalities beforehand and make the case for the benefits that come with this technology. 

Regardless of what modality you choose, it’s critical to clearly outline the benefits of the new program so senior leaders can understand the positive changes the program will bring. 

  1. Acknowledge Challenges That May Occur and Plan Solutions

Before pitching a new training program to senior leadership, you should list out potential challenges that may occur during the new initiative’s implementation. Potential challenges when implementing new training initiatives may include:

  • Technology not working as it should (e.g. glitches and hardware issues)
  • Learners aren’t engaged with the content and get easily distracted
  • Problems with tracking software (learning management system (LMS) or extended reality system (XRS))

Identifying challenges that may occur during your program’s implementation creates an honest, upfront conversation about expected issues and can help you prepare quick solutions if these issues arise. 

  1. Determine the Training Return on Investment (ROI)

Perhaps one of the most difficult strategies for gaining buy-in from leadership is determining return on investment (ROI). ROI is a key performance indicator that determines the profitability of an investment in training and is typically a top priority for senior leaders. It’s important to remember that there is no one formula to calculate ROI, though, as measuring ROI is dependent on the training topic at hand. 

For example, a technical training ROI may be measured by examining the reduction in safety incidents vs. the cost per incident. On the other hand, a soft skills training program, like leadership training or diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), may be harder to measure because the results are less quantifiable. 

When determining your training ROI, you should understand your training topic and identify where learners are at now vs. where you want them to be. 

Are You Ready To Get Buy-In From Senior Leaders?

This article has covered the importance of getting senior leadership buy-in and 4 strategies to gain buy-in from senior leadership. We hope that moving forward, you feel more confident when attaining buy-in from C-level executives at your organization. 
Ready to learn more about training opportunities for your employees? Check out our past work to see how we’ve helped clients achieve their training goals or feel free to book a meeting with one of our L&D experts today!

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