Investing in learning and development programs can be immensely helpful to an organization, but at its heart, it is an investment – which means you need to convince the executives to back you before you do anything.
The first step in persuading your executive team to start a L&D program is to think about how it fits into their goals. Easy example: From your perspective, sales training would help your sales team hit their numbers; from the executive’s perspective, it fits into their goal of growing sales by 10%.
Some Common Objections Are:
- Monetary cost – Any new program will use up precious budget, including outright and overhead costs.
- Human cost – Training programs require employees’ time from organizing and marketing the classes to taking employees away from their day-to-day tasks to attend the course.
- Inefficiency – Training naysayers may point to the forgetting curve as evidence that training courses aren’t as effective as you claim they will be.
Long Term Benefits of Training
Many of these objections can be thwarted by demonstrating the long-term benefits of training, such as:
- Better-trained staff do their jobs more efficiently – Training sets up new employees for success by bringing them up to competency. It also keeps current employees at the top of their game and gives them new ideas to rejuvenate their roles, leading to a healthier organization.
- Higher employee retention rates – For the same reasons as above, employees are more likely to succeed with training. More importantly, The Towards Maturity Benchmark found that employees prioritize job productivity and career development. When their company provides that training, they feel that their employer is investing in them as well as fulfilling their needs, making them more likely to stick around.
- Improved stock prices – The flashiest reason of all is a study by Laurie Bassi in 2004 showing firms that invested in training performed better on the stock market the next year.
You should also walk into the meeting with some research on the kind of training program you want to offer. Gone are the days of solely face-to-face training; these days, you can and should offer training in a number of formats to meet each employee’s learning style. Research blended solutions and companies you can partner with to help you distribute training content virtually so that you understand the costs associated with a virtual classroom.