It is important to understand that the realities faced by learning executives and other training professionals can be daunting:
Learning is not seen as a bottom-line-producing investment. Senior business executives and other top decision makers often do not know how to link learning to organizational success. It becomes your job to make that link for them.
Training executives are not often invited to participate in budget discussions because they are perceived as lacking enterprise knowledge, a strategic mind-set, ever-changing organizational knowledge, business skills, communication skills, or understanding the need to be proactive.
Solid metrics to measure the true value of learning have not been clearly defined and tracked. Consequently, top management does not see the value.
Training courses, events, and activities are often scheduled as a reaction to assessed gaps in performance, resulting in training being seen as reactive rather than proactive. From this perspective, management often sees training as a cost and a possible drain on resources, rather than as a strategic value- added investment to achieve its goals. Ask yourself: How often are your individual development plans (IDPs) linked to the business plan and the strategic goals?
Along with these challenges, there are additional factors, which I call failure factors, that left unaddressed will lead to major problems in establishing the value of learning with decision makers in the organization.
Limited or no knowledge of the enterprise strategic plan
Limited business acumen among learning professionals
Training courses or events that have no tie-in to enterprise strategy
Weak business relationships with senior decision makers
Workforce development team members who do not attend enterprise strategy sessions
Little or no alignment with the training needs of every part of the enterprise
No workforce development plan with evaluation and metrics tied to ROI
Doing things the same way because that’s what has been done before
Failure to communicate the value and impact of learning to the bottom line
Lack of effective persuasion and presentation skills
No buy-in from senior leaders for workforce development plan
Lack of effective planning, evaluation, and measurement impact to the bottom line