Join Ajay Pangarkar for an in-depth discussion in this video Addressing operational primary needs, part of Gaining Internal Buy-In for Elearning Training.
- Operational managers plan and organize many business activities and are responsible for overseeing a variety of departments. If you watch closely, you can see the demands and challenges they face daily. This leadership group requires your training interventions the most. But they are also the most resistant. Before proposing any type of training, even if they approach you, take into account these six points.
First, respect their time. Training requires time and these leaders have little to waste. They're under pressure to operationalize and meet their bosses business expectations. Make sure you develop learning interventions that are brief and impactful. Technology provides training practitioners many opportunities to deliver real-time non-intrusive learning activities. Using elearning, microlearning, on-demand learning, and help desks are some examples that will reduce training time and significantly reduce the time employees are away from their jobs.
Target specific areas. One thing operational managers despise is generic learning. Their staff faces many demands. Your training effort must target areas that first deliver the most value and second, correlate the specific operational objectives. For example, one of our technology clients wanted to become a customer service leader. Rather than simply providing training in generic customer service techniques, we identified the areas customers weren't well supported.
Within these areas, we further identified and addressed the skills employees lacked. Over time, the company became recognized as a customer service leader. Become part of their budget. Never surprise these managers with a training proposal. They'll either immediately reject it or simply say come back next fiscal year. These managers plan ahead and have a significant influence planning budgets and allocating resources.
Getting their approval requires approaching them months ahead of their next fiscal planning period. This is good news since you'll know ahead of time what they need to accomplish, allowing you to identify specific developmental areas. Get to know their performance expectations. These managers are accountable for and held to preset performance objectives set by senior leaders. Performance objectives, also called KPIs, are set within a performance framework and encompass many operational requirements.
You should focus training solutions around those KPIs. For example, let's say a company produces a new laptop computer. Senior leaders want sales to increase by 25% with a quality at 95%. The production manager must meet these KPIs. Your job is to assess the skills required to meet the production increase and the quality level. Make it applicable and show results.
Because of their operational demands, your training solution should get employees to quickly adopt and apply new skills and demonstrate immediate results. In the previous production example, rather than taking employees off the line, it would be more efficient to train and coach them on the job. This gets them to immediately apply the skills and show managers a positive change. Follow through and follow up on training.
Now this sounds obvious, but it's often where training falls apart. Completing a training is not the end of training. Operational managers expect you to address challenges employees encounter post training and provide continuous support to ensure the new skills stick. Operational managers are your primary customers. They're paying for your training solution from a limited budget and sacrificing other resources for a promise you made.
Fulfilling this promise guarantees their buy in. Exceeding their expectations obtains their endorsement to others. So strive to become an operational business partner and own their performance needs.
- Defining learning as a business activity
- Identifying the three primary stakeholders
- Answering questions from stakeholders
- Addressing operational concerns
- Leveraging RADAR to support elearning
- Overcoming challenges