We recently surveyed 100 US-based L&D leaders to find out what’s on their minds for digital learning in 2017 and found some interesting trends based on their plans for the upcoming year. But while we learned a lot about trending topics, we stumbled across some interesting findings regarding the number one factor in L&D success. No, it’s not a huge a budget or better technology: its leadership buy-in.
We’ve talked about how the corporate landscape can look a little like a high school cafeteria and how reaching across clique lines can be beneficial for learning and culture. But if you’re an L&D or HR pro, you might be intimidated by the idea of getting leadership on board with your initiative. If you want to increase buy-in, however, you’ll need to do more to make sure leadership supports and champions your training. Break out of your shell and try these tips for hanging it with “it” crowd.
1. Get Social
Leadership buy-in is hugely important to your learning initiative success. If you want to connect with leadership at work, you’ll need to make the effort. Ask for an in-person meeting or even connect after hours at a company event on a social level. Creating connections with leadership can only benefit your team and results in the long run. Getting outside of your comfort zone and attending events where you get to know leaders will definitely help you build those connections. Whether it’s an after-work happy hour, a team-building session, or even a group lunch, as you build connections with leadership, it becomes easier to pitch your ideas and have them be more amenable to changes.
2. Make it Easy
Sometimes it’s not that leaders don’t buy in, it’s just that their plates are already full with everything else. So, help them along by creating the communication and content for them. Want leadership to send out an email blast inviting everyone to train? Write it up yourself and have leaders send the completed communication. Not only will it save them time so they’re more likely to do it, but they’ll also get the glory with little work on their end.
3. Try Communication Training
If you’re still having trouble communicating with other leaders, consider some L&D yourself. While you might not be the most outgoing member of the team, you shouldn’t feel intimidated by leadership. By taking your own communication course, you can learn how to effectively persuade and get your point across so that execs are more likely to buy into your training initiatives.
By aligning your training with company goals, you can effectively show leadership just how your planned training will work to their benefit. Then, they do the work for you in spreading the word and encouraging employees to take part.
Hey, leadership is in control of your budget and your department, so it’s best if they’re also on your side. While they may seem like the cool kids, there’s definitely a way to get leadership to see it your way. Instead of being intimidated, use your unique skills to get leadership on board and help push your L&D initiatives forward.