The research is clear: investing in employee learning and development is essential to improving business metrics such as productivity, engagement and retention.
Yet, generating stakeholder support for training initiatives remains a challenge. More than 1 in 3 L&D teams still don’t have the engagement they need from stakeholders in order to achieve their goals, and obtaining the necessary budget and resources to implement training continues to be the top challenge among senior executives.
But, it doesn’t have to be. Read on to find out how to get stakeholder buy-in for your training software at all levels of the organization, and ensure its long term success.
Take a look at the other blogs in this series:
- Why is Technology Important in the Workplace?
- 5 Things to Consider When Investing in New Workplace Technology
- How to Successfully Introduce New Technology into the Workplace
- How to Measure the ROI of Your Training
Why is stakeholder buy-in important?
Getting buy-in from stakeholders when looking to introduce new training software is, of course, key to obtaining the right budget. Without proving the value the training will bring to your company and the impact it will have on key business metrics, you’re unlikely to get the sign off you need to proceed.
However, garnering stakeholder support is also essential to a project’s success. Engaged stakeholders are able to offer advice and feedback throughout the selection and implementation process, and ensure you get the right support to make your dream training setup a reality.
Getting buy-in from senior stakeholders is particularly important - if a C-Suite level executive is seen championing your training and recommending it as a solution to your business’ pain points, you’re more likely to drive high adoption and therefore maximize ROI.
How to get stakeholder buy-in for your training software
1. Identify your stakeholders
The first step is to identify exactly which stakeholders you need to involve in your project, and what you need to do in order to win their support.
Stakeholder personas usually fall into three categories:
- End users - the people who will be using your training software day-to-day.
- Project team - the individuals who will be helping you to set up the new training, whether that’s by providing technical support or helping you coordinate the launch via internal communications.
- Leadership - the senior stakeholders who’ll be approving the software purchase.
Each of these groups will have different priorities when it comes to training, and it’s important to factor this into your strategy. Whereas end users are likely to be more interested in how easy the software is to use and how much time will be taken out of their day to complete training, leadership will probably be more concerned about top level factors such as business impact and ROI.
Take some time to define your stakeholders, prioritize them according to the influence they will have on the success of your training, and think about the best ways to appeal to each group. You may want to conduct some interviews with various stakeholders to get a better idea of what each group is looking for from a training software and understand any concerns they may have.
2. Engage stakeholders early
Getting stakeholders involved in your project right from the beginning means they’re more likely to be invested in its success, and also gives you greater insight as you build out your plans.
Create champions early on in the process by sharing the objectives of your training program, and ensuring that you give them an incentive to get involved. If they’re an operations manager, your training may help them to increase productivity and streamline processes. If they’re a frontline worker, they’ll be able to use your training to keep up to date with the latest product information and feel more confident serving customers. And if they’re CRO, they’ll be delighted to hear that your training can drive revenue and reduce spending.
You can do this by holding various run-through sessions, leveraging internal communications, or even by sending out materials which clearly explain the desired outcomes of the project and how specific teams can support you in making it a success. Let them know what’s in it for them, and how they can help make it a reality.
3. Create a clear proposal
Next, it’s time to put together a clear proposal for your training software. Senior management is especially limited on time, so it’s important to immediately demonstrate the value of the training.
Make sure to communicate which pain points the software will be addressing - e.g. low sales numbers, high employee turnover, or poor compliance - and outline exactly how these pain points will be addressed. Using the low sales pain point as an example, you can describe how your training will provide associates with relevant and effective sales techniques, keep them updated on the latest product and discount information, and allow them to roleplay common scenarios.
It’s also essential to provide proof - research shows that HR teams are four times more likely to be respected by their counterparts for data-driven decision-making. If you’ve already selected a training software, share some case studies detailing how other businesses have utilized the platform and the results that they’ve seen.
You could also survey the potential end users of your training and ask whether they would benefit from the training, and which formats or topics they would prefer. Presenting this data to stakeholders will strengthen your business case and clearly demonstrate the need for training.
4. Manage expectations
While communicating the benefits of your training will certainly help you get more buy-in from stakeholders, you should also be upfront about the potential risks.
Showing that you’ve considered all aspects of the project - both positive and negative - and are aware of any issues or barriers which may arise will be important, especially for more senior stakeholders.
You don’t want to focus too much on the risks, but a project that seems too good to be true is unlikely to create champions. Make sure that when you do present the potential challenges, you are able to explain how these will be managed and how they have been factored into your strategy.
5. Communicate progress
Make sure to keep senior stakeholders engaged in the process by holding regular meetings and updating them on the progress of your project. This is also an opportunity to get continuous feedback and support as you build out your implementation strategy and training content.
For end users, you can generate excitement around the new training by organizing kick off sessions in the lead up to launch day. In these sessions you can present testimonials from users who’ve already tested the training (and even learners from other companies’ case studies), invite champions to share how easy the software is to use and give their top tips for getting started, and signpost users to where they can find information and support.
Maintaining a consistent level of communication throughout the process will ensure that stakeholders remain engaged and informed about the new training, and drive maximum adoption of the tool once it’s readily available.
6. Keep up the momentum
The work to keep stakeholders engaged isn’t over once the training software has launched. There are a number of post-training strategies you can leverage to ensure that you maintain buy-in from key stakeholders and justify its ongoing use.
Gather immediate feedback from end users on the quality and usefulness of the training with pulse surveys - a brief survey inserted at the end of a training course which can give you real-time insight into how your training is performing, and how learners are responding to it. This data, combined with qualitative feedback which you can collect in post-training interviews, will help to prove the value of your training for end users and its overall effectiveness.
You’ll also want to monitor how the training impacts (or hopefully improves) your KPIs. To prove that any upticks in retention, productivity or quality are a result of your training, we recommend creating a control group and performing an A/B test. This allows you to compare the data for those who did complete the new training against those who didn’t, and gives you clear evidence of the success of your training which you can present to stakeholders.
The final piece of the puzzle is to prove training ROI. Senior stakeholders in particular will be keen to know how much your training software has impacted the company’s bottom line, whether that’s through eliminated costs or increased revenue as a result of better training. Clearly present the final numbers, and use these to calculate the ROI of ongoing use or maybe even expansion.
The key to getting stakeholder buy-in for your training software purchase is to solve a problem. Communicate how your training will help to solve an issue your business is facing, gather feedback and advice from stakeholders to engage them in your solution, and demonstrate the final impact and ROI.
A clear, well-thought out strategy backed up by data will make it far easier to engage stakeholders throughout the implementation process, and convince them that your solution is the right one.
Are you looking to upgrade your business’ training processes, but not sure where to start? It can be difficult to introduce new software, especially in a siloed organization, but eduMe is here to help.
We integrate seamlessly into the tools you already use, driving better adoption of new training and increasing learner engagement by up to 300%. Our Learning Consultancy team is also on hand to help you create a training strategy that’s right for your business, ensuring that you achieve your business objectives and enabling you to prove impact and ROI to your internal stakeholders.
Book a demo with us now to see how we can work together 👇