The CGC 2016 Enterprise Learning Report of senior L&D executives showed that, ‘obtaining the necessary budget, time and people’, to implement L&D was their top challenge.
This shows that stakeholder management and the act of courting budget holders, influencers and sceptics and getting them united behind your L&D programme is crucial to success.
Even so, the study found that senior L&D executives were on the whole not engaging with the right stakeholders.
For example, less than 18% of sales and technical business leads are involved in learning programmes.
Also, the customer experience lead is involved in just 41% of large organisation’s learning decisions, and just 16% of programmes in smaller organisations.
This brings us nicely to the first recommendation to gain stakeholder which is to turn key influencers (technical and sales leads), into ambassadors by involving them early on in decisions and securing their own participation in rewarding learning events.
Also, meeting regularly with influencers by getting out into the business areas to liaise with business unit leaders is vital.
It will help to keep your L&D offering fresh, relevant and timely and engaging, rather than stagnant, helping enhance your employee’s commitment to the program.
Thirdly, the report confirmed what we had suspected which was that a main reason for staff not being able to attend training is work overload.
And so engaging with project managers and resource planners to ensure that training time is ‘allowed for’ in work schedules should lead to increased learner attendance and engagement.
The next point has to be to build a blended learning programme that incorporates more flexible and on-demand e-learning alongside traditional class-room block learning.
It’s far less disruptive to working schedules as flexible e-learning can exploit the natural but unpredictable gaps that occur within even the busiest work schedules.
And the fifth and final point has to be to start using data to build more compelling business cases for L&D investment.
Research from Berson by Deloitte shows that HR teams are four times more likely to be respected by their counterparts for data-driven decision-making, giving data-driven L&D professionals much greater power to influence senior executives.
Replacing feelings with statistically quantified problems, solutions and ROI is perhaps the most effective way to obtain senior stakeholder buy-in this data-driven corporate climate.
Sean is the CEO of Skillshub. He’s a published author and has been featured on CNN, BBC and ITV as a leading authority in the learning and development industry. Sean is responsible for the vision and strategy at Skillshub, helping to ensure innovation within the company.