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Come up with training results

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The future of the training industry is an ecosystem

Q: Why not business leaders understand the value and impact of learning by business results?

Answer: because we never tell them!

How could we expect executives and stakeholders to recognize and appreciate the contribution that training makes to business when we so rarely offer any evidence to justify these claims? Do they have to go out and look for evidence? Should they collect their own data to show that the training “worked”? Should they collect comprehensive case studies to show that they have achieved a positive return on their large investment in training? The answer is no – this is our job as training and development (L&D) professionals!

Prove that L&D is a money-maker

If you worked in technology, you had just developed and implemented new software, and you wanted to demonstrate to your CEO the value it adds to the business, you would clearly explain, in great detail, its benefits: revenue, cost savings and / or or improving the user experience. Then they would understand. Then they will see your value. Then they would invest more money in your department.

If you worked in marketing, you just launched a new advertising campaign or commercial, and you wanted to show your CEO the value he added to the business, you would clearly explain, in great detail, its benefits: revenue, cost savings and / or improve the user experience. Then they would understand. Then they will see your value. Then they would invest more money in your department.

When working in learning and development, you have to do the same! You have to assemble a business case; prove it; and clearly explain, in great detail, all of its remarkable benefits: revenue generation, cost savings, and improved user experience.

It’s that simple. If you want to sit at table C, you have to prove that you are making money, not taking money. As we have traditionally and so markedly lost these opportunities to present powerful business learning outcomes, we have silently helped to foster the notion that learning is a budget-driven function. It is up to us, as specialists in the field of training, to blow up this idea and start showing this training growing everyone’s budget.

What you need

The good news is that transforming our image from those who take money to those who make money does not require much effort. It doesn’t take decades of business cases and research to turn the imagination or enlighten skeptics. It only takes a few good case studies with a few focused curricula for your stakeholders to see the world. In fact, I conducted this research for some organizations and found that in just a few months, through one or two prominent case studies, a group of otherwise dubious business leaders made sure that the training would come to a profit. Once you start telling them the impact story, with each program it gets easier and simpler. After a while you will see that your business leaders and stakeholders care about these great results.

CEOs and stakeholders are reluctant to be skeptical; we made them like that! Not showing them any evidence and not being in the room to brag about it tangible business results that we produce (like many other features do it effectively), we put ourselves in a corner where we are always on the defensive, striking back when we need to stay alive. When we are asked about our effectiveness, we stutter and demand to convince leaders that one way or another our learning initiatives lead to positive business results.

If you don’t go great now and start measuring your results and showing your value, you will always look over your shoulder or make your way around the corner. Meet them in the center of the ring with your head held high. Look them straight in the eye and then impress them with your data and results. I promise they won’t see you as an opponent trying to strike; they will embrace you and see in you a powerful ally they want on their side.

What are you waiting for? Here’s the call!

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