Every corporate training professional can cite a dozen things that can derail even the best laid plans for employee training. But knowing what they are doesn’t always make them easy to foresee. In an effort to help corporate trainers minimize the likelihood of these pitfalls, here are the top 5 keys to succeeding in your corporate training mission.
1. Secure buy-in from all executive stakeholders
If you don’t have the support of every department head whom your training touches, you are bound to fall victim to resistance from someone who didn’t get enough of an opportunity to be heard and understood. It could be a sales leader that doesn’t feel your program supports their team in the right way. It may be an HR executive that feels your program is infringing on their territory. You won’t know where the descent will come from until it is too late. Head off any trouble makers by engaging in one-on-one meetings where you can present you plan, make a case for its value, and then hear each person’s concerns and requests for improvement. Then, you have to make your own concessions to incorporate their ideas and gain their buy-in. By making each person feel their concerns are addressed, you will have a much higher chance of success.
2. Align your training program with C-suite’s initiatives
By designing your training to support the broad initiatives of the executive leadership, you ensure your program will be supported financially and organizationally. The real key here is aligning with your president or CEO’s vision for growth. If you can be seen as an ally for achieving leadership’s goals, you stand a much greater chance of support for your programs. Remember, your President or CEO needs to be able to demonstrate progress. If you can craft a way for your training program to support their need to show progress toward goals, you are ensured to have support from the very top.
3. Select a training solutions partner, not a just a software provider
Most training professionals don’t have the luxury of a full in-house staff to support our corporate training programs. They have to rely on outside agencies and solutions providers to augment internal resources. The selection of these partners is critical to your success. Look for a partner in your success, not a transactional sale. When you get stuck and need help fast, you need a partner that’s willing to stop what they are doing to help get things back on track. This level of support can only be found from a company that provides customized solutions. Not a one size fits all SaaS (Software as a Service) LMS platform. If you are stuck with a SaaS platform right now, start shopping for a new partner that can bring about the change you envision and start laying the groundwork for the change internally with your stakeholders.
4. Design training programs that focus on practical skills
As a training leader, it is natural to strive to raise the conceptual level of those we service. Educators often fall victim to a desire to speak at a higher intellectual level than their audience can tolerate. The most successful training programs will speak the language of the audience. This means you often have to simplify your approach and use smaller words and simpler concepts. The shorter and more direct your training, the better. Stay focused on professional skills that can be immediately applied to the roles and needs that exist in your organization now. Avoid spending resources preparing people for things that might be needed in the future. Focus on what is needed today.
5. Demonstrate the economic value of your training
Even in training, it’s all about the money. The most amazing training program can be disregarded as a waste of time and money if you can’t prove it’s impact on the bottom line. This is often the most difficult challenge for trainers; proving the affects their programs have on increased sales, improved productivity, and talent retention. To achieve this, reporting and analytics solutions are your best friends. Make sure your LMS solutions has advanced analytics to help you make your case. You’ll need to consult with the executive leaders to see what they would view as proof of your program’s value, and ensure you can show those results. Ask them what percentage or numeric increases would be viewed as success. The key to this is capturing data before your program’s launch, then comparing that data to after launch. For example: Average sales per salesperson prior to your new program vs. after. The time required to onboard and train new employees before vs. after your new program, communicated in dollars-per-day of regained productivity. The amount of employee churn before your talent development programs vs. after, communicated in reduction of lost investments in employees.
Employ these 5 keys to success in your corporate training and talent development programs and you are sure to achieve your goals, prove your value, and grow your career.