Why Buy-In Is Important
If you’re trying to get an eLearning program off the ground, what are some typical first steps? Maybe you’re thinking of content curation or evaluation, but what about leadership buy-in? It’s a sometimes overlooked, but incredibly important step. In order to get a program off the ground, professionals need a budgeting strategy. L&D costs money and usually needs to be financially backed by leadership buy-in. Business leaders also mold the organization’s culture and goals, so their guidance can help you design a more relevant program. If you want the right L&D program for your company and the funds that go with it, then you need to secure leadership buy-in.
How to Get Buy-In
Often, programs fail to get buy-in because developers and leaders aren’t on the same page. For example, let’s say that you’ve discovered that onboarding training would be more effective with the use of Performance Support Tools (PSTs). With that in mind, you plan to revamp your company’s PST strategy to ensure that employees are actually reaping the rewards. So, how do you get business leaders to get behind your idea? Well, you need to speak their language.
You could start off by assuring them that your priorities are their priorities. Your ultimate goal isn’t to just create better learning platforms, it’s to help the company by developing smarter and more efficient employees. Show your leaders that you considered how the company will benefit from your program. It needs to be cost-effective, while also showing evidence that it will increase the company’s bottom line.
Aligning your L&D vision with business needs can be challenging. Getting on the exact same page as your leaders without collaboration is difficult. This is why you want to try and get them on board as early into your process as possible. If you can collaborate on the L&D vision before the process has even begun, then you can almost guarantee buy-in. Make the process something you’re creating together to better the company, not a pitch you’re trying to sell them. Collaborating also makes the building process smoother. Since leaders know the things they want to see in the company and any eLearning program, you’ll remove the burden of having to figure that out yourself.
If you’re unable to directly work with your business leaders, then try to run point with someone else. Try to find the highest-ranking person in your company who has a stake in the needs you’re trying to meet. So, since you want to revamp those PSTs to improve onboarding, this person might be the Onboarding Specialist. That way, you can work with someone who has deep knowledge of what the needs are and can also help stress their importance to business leaders.
What to Take Away
Leadership buy-in is critical to getting your L&D program off the ground. All programs need funding and your business leaders decide if that’s happening or not. Remember that the best way to get them on board is to match your strategy with the company’s goals. If you’re designing a program that revamps PSTs, tell the leaders that the goal is to improve worker competence and to boost profits. They need to see that you thought about the financial cost of your program. And you need to make them believe that their investment will pay off in the future. Working alongside them before and during the process is the best way to make sure that you’re doing just that.
It’s important to remember that companies want employees to be more competent and perform at a higher level. So, leaders usually want your strategy to succeed. Many professionals have great ideas for L&D, but some fall on the wayside. Get your leaders to buy-in to your strategy early on and set yourself up to create a great program.