Join Ajay Pangarkar for an in-depth discussion in this video Answering the performance expectations, part of Gaining Internal Buy-In for Elearning Training.
- For leaders, training is about improving performance. Here are four ways to address this. First, focus on improving performance rather than financial outcomes of training. Leaders see training as a cost center, just like marketing, production, HR, and finance. For example, leaders manufacture products to sell them to customers. In this case, the production department is responsible for making products but not actually selling them.
Without products, there would be no sales. Likewise, training's role is to prepare and develop people to become better in their roles, ideally leading to better financial outcomes. Your leaders are more concerned about how you use the money to improve performance. Their expectation is that the improvements will contribute to increased profitability. Second, recognize training is one of many factors driving a business.
Many trainers assume they need to be held solely responsible for improvements in a business activity. Doing so puts you in a difficult position for two reasons. First, training is one of many elements required to solve a business issue. Taking credit invalidates the contribution others make and also shows that you don't really understand how the business functions. Second, if you take credit when something goes well, then you also need to prepare yourself to take credit when it doesn't deliver.
You can't have one without the other. Third, start working with your leader's forecasted expectations. Business leaders prepare various possible future outcomes. You're probably asking, how's this relevant to training? It's relevant if you expect leaders to see training as a proactive business activity. Forecasting is not budgeting. Budgeting is how you'll use the money, whereas forecasting describes various possible business scenarios.
Leaders develop forecasts to manipulate aspects within their control and to manage external elements not in their control. They do this to prepare for unforeseen events or to capitalize on opportunities. By getting involved with the forecasting process, you'll be able to identify precise expectations to address employee knowledge needs, evaluate your future training financial requirements, and prepare to quickly adapt to and address unforeseen outcomes.
Fourth, drive tangible value within the organization's performance framework. Most organizations implement a performance framework, such as a balanced scorecard to define and achieve specific performance targets. Leaders refer to these targets as key performance indicators or KPIs. Every KPI correlates to operational activities and tasks, and within these activities, leaders expect training to play a prominent role, improving performance toward achieving these KPIs.
A client asks their production team to increase product output. The sales team forecasted a sales increase of 20% in the next 12 months, translating to a production increase of 15%. After assessing the production staff's current skills, we discovered we needed to train the team to better organize the flow of raw materials. This training allowed the business to meet the increased production KPI, preparing for the projected increase in sales.
Leaders expect to deliver positive financial results, but they also recognize that achieving these results requires focusing on performance. This is where training gets to shine. When training connects to improving business performance, then your leaders will see it delivering value to achieving bigger business objectives.
- 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