3 Ways to Prepare Your Management & Leadership Teams for Effective L&D Programs

We’re reaching the end of our Designing Learning & Development Programs for Impact – Best Practices, Tips, & Tricks Blog Series, friends! This week, now that you understand the impact potential, foundation building, and pilot program participant selection, we’re moving on to one of the most important factors: Management buy-in. 

Nearly 80% of L&D professionals say that it’s more cost-effective to reskill an existing employee than hire a new one. With that staggering statistic in mind, nearly half of organizations are increasing their L&D budgets for the future growth of their teams. But, when making that investment, the number one most important factor is backing and support from the leadership team and people managers.

As of today, only 59% of L&D professionals say that their CEOs are supportive of their efforts. That number needs to be closer to 100%. Without management walking the walk and talking the talk, there won’t be strong engagement on the employee’s side. Managers and leadership must be open about the program, excited about the potential, understanding of the time investment, and that must be filtered down throughout the organization. 

Now, there are a few ways to do that. Here are just a handful we’ve helped our clients deploy for effective L&D program launches:

Create an Open Line of Communication

At the beginning of an L&D program launch, there are typically concerns about things like manpower, time, money, and bandwidth. The only way to overcome these concerns is to talk through them and strategize a way to rise above them so the L&D program can be effective. 

All leadership team members, managers, and employees participating need to have a clear picture of what’s required in terms of schedules, timelines, and program goals right off the bat. This way, managers understand where they may need to pick up some slack or re-delegate for a specific period of time if a significant time investment is required. So, with the support required, a participant can really dive in and reap the benefits. From there, all programs should include manager check-ins to talk about progress, goals, and re-integration with new skills. 

When concerns can be voiced openly, they can be addressed rather than buried. This allows plans of action to be created to ensure things like manpower, time, and money aren’t an issue once the programs get rolling. This helps avoid missed deadlines and deliverables because work is reallocated understanding time investments.

Give L&D a Management Team Spot

In order for there to be real buy-in and organization-wide deployment of learning and development programs, the Talent Development leaders must have a spot at the leadership table. 

This way, they can be present for all decision-making, reporting, and strategizing how training objectives can be woven into the fabric of company culture at every level and in every department. Oftentimes, these programs are deployed without management team engagement, and that’s when programs tend to fail. When an individual responsible for these goals is present at every management meeting, it will keep these goals front of mind with accountability leading to progress.

Clearly Outline the Potential Benefits

When cultivating a new learning and development program, a lot of management teams are weary. Due to outdated training models that are self-led and taken by everyone at all levels of the organization, regardless of use case, that’s fair.

But when learning and development programs are done correctly, with personalized assessments and attention, the potential benefits are immense. When employees are empowered to work through challenges in real-time, adopting soft skills they were never taught in school, big shifts happen. Here are just a few stats about companies with strong learning cultures from Harvard Business Review

  • They’re 56% more likely to go to market first with a new product.
  • They are 52% more productive.
  • Their engagement and employee retention rates are 30-50% higher.
  • They’re 17% more profitable than companies without strong learning cultures.
  • Finally, they are 92% more likely to develop novel products and processes.

Proof points like these, plus a solid strategy and KPIs to indicate your program ROI, will show your management team just how beneficial learning and development program launches can be.

The VP of Talent at LinkedIn, Linda Cai, says it well, “The responsibility of learning has always been to help organizations navigate uncertainty and chaos in the world.” There are so many business challenges when it comes to hiring and retaining top talent today, and effective L&D can help you overcome and outlast your competition. Once management embraces that, the sky’s the limit.

NimblyWise Can Help Cultivate Your Management Team’s L&D Buy In

The management and leadership teams at your organization are the experts in what you do. And NimblyWise is the expert in what we do: Personalizing employee development. We’ve helped many teams implement customized learning and development programs that utilize our Real-Time Learning Framework to teach the soft skills that will be necessary to succeed in the new world of work. That said, we’ve also prepped and shifted the mindsets of many management team members who were originally not on board. How? By showing the results. 

Let us show your management team the possibilities L&D will unlock for your organization. Let’s schedule a time!

Next week is the final installment of our Designing Learning & Development Programs for Impact – Best Practices, Tips, & Tricks Blog Series! We will be sharing a checklist for you to guide you through the L&D program development process. Stay tuned…