You may have a top-class workplace training programme, but is that enough on its own? Research has highlighted the importance of engaging your organisation’s managers and senior managers at every stage of the process in order to get real and lasting results. Here’s why business leaders are the key to effective L&D, and how to get them on board.
The importance of engaging leaders in your workplace learning strategy
A recent survey found that support from senior leaders was seen as paramount to encouraging a culture of learning. This support can take a number of forms, but it mustn’t stop as soon as the budget has been signed off. From initial buy-in to analysing the long-term impact, involve your senior leaders at every step of the way.
The key, according to the report, is to ensure that support from leadership is ‘meaningful and overt’. This is backed up by the finding that almost three quarters (72%) of companies with poor learning cultures state their top management could value L&D more or do not value it at all.
How to pitch your workplace learning programme to business leaders
When pitching your learning and development strategy to directors and senior managers within your business, you’re going to need some hard facts. What is staff turnover costing your organisation? Is customer dissatisfaction affecting your bottom line? Is a skill gap within your business leaving you vulnerable to competition? Are there health and safety risks that could cost you dearly? Whatever the main challenges to your organisation’s continued success and growth, quantify them and propose how training could help you overcome them.
There has been much research around the fact that workplace training can have a positive impact on business growth. Demonstrating this to your leadership team will enable them to envisage how training could help keep stakeholders and/or shareholders happy.
Once you’ve demonstrated what success looks like, explain how you will go about measuring the outcomes. Having clear targets will instil greater confidence in your proposed strategy.
The role of line managers in effective workplace training
In their book Transfer of Training, Broad and Newstrom propose that supervisors are the most important factor influencing the efficacy of L&D. There are many ways in which managers can play a key role in helping employees retain and apply their knowledge, and it starts before the training has even been given. If managers are engaged, enthusiastic and positive about a training programme, employees are likely to mirror this attitude from the outset.
Line managers can also ensure that the learning has been put into practice, help measure the outcomes and reward the application of knowledge.
Train your business leaders
63% of companies whose cash turnover increased last year placed leadership and management development as their number one priority. One US study also found that 63% of millennials feel their leadership skills are not being fully developed by their employers. As a result, 71% of these people seek to leave their job after just two years. As their more mature colleagues head towards retirement, we could be sitting on a leadership skill-gap time-bomb.
Delivering top-class training to your managers, senior managers and directors will help them see first-hand the positive impact of your L&D strategy. What you could end up with is an army of influencers at the very top of your organisation who can help propagate a culture of learning.
How we can help
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