When the pandemic initially broke out in March of 2020, many of our scheduled training programs had to fall off because our clients’ training budgets had been slashed to make way for the crisis relief plans.
Usually, the training budget is cut first whenever an organization is undergoing budget constraints and this is an unfortunate practice in many organizations. This makes one wonder – is the Training function not critical enough to survive the chopping board?
The three common reasons why executives find it easy to cut down on training budgets are:
1. Failure to align training interventions to business objectives,
One of the reasons that make the L&D function to be deemed less critical is the failure of those responsible for this function (the L&D practitioners) to align training interventions to business objectives. If you do not design your training plans with the end in mind, you will find it hard to align with the ultimate business objectives.
Training is not about events or ticking the box activities – you have to know what problems your training programs are solving. When you talk of effective interventions you talk of result-oriented programs that are aligned to your strategy and goals.
2. Not communicating the value of the training interventions
If you have ever wondered why your Learning budgets get cut first or why it is difficult to get sufficient budget allocation then another challenge you might be struggling with is the failure to communicate the value of the Learning function.
Many L&D practitioners don’t realize that they are salespersons. The success of your Learning function lies in your ability to sell your training interventions to different stakeholders and you can only get buy-in when people see the value of what you are offering.
Now, value means different things to different people. For instance, the line manager wants to understand how the training will improve the employee’s capabilities in their department. The finance manager wants to understand the return on investment of that training. The employee who will be undergoing the training wants to know how participating in that training will contribute to their career progression and professional development.
Overall, the organization wants to understand how that training ultimately improves business performance e.g. increase in customer satisfaction, sales improvement, or impact on the bottom line. Unless you communicate the value of your training interventions, it will be difficult to get buy-in from any of your stakeholders.
3. Lack of data that proves the value of the Learning Function
Communicating the value of your training interventions requires data. When you intentionally measure the impact of your training programs you can factually prove how relevant, strategic and valuable the Learning function is within the organization.
Data-driven learning analytics and reporting help you (the L&D practitioner) link training performance to essential business results. This is the quality of information that is needed for your L&D unit to be considered a critical strategic partner to all business units.
Several learning metrics can be used to measure learning for instance those that measure Learner experience, Learner engagement etc. However, coupling learning metrics with business metrics will help you prove your learning interventions’ strategic value.
More than ever, now is the time to prove the criticalness of the L&D function. The new normal demands new capabilities thus the Learning function is expected to drive the necessary change within the organization. At such a time as this, the L&D function cannot afford to have an inadequate budget.
So if you want to survive the budget chopping board prioritize these 3 things:
1.Know your organizational Vision and objectives and align your training interventions to those business objectives,
2.Make sure you measure the impact of all your learning interventions, collect as much data as you can from other business units and functions that are impacted by the employees you have trained.
3.Communicate the value of your training interventions to all stakeholders.
Set your organization on a journey of result oriented, lifelong learning and promote learning agility in your organization. Need help with drafting your learning strategy? Contact one of our consultants today.