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May 31, 2019

How to Get Executive Buy-In for New LMS Technology

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As a hiring manager, you know a good learning management system fulfills compliance obligations, develops skills, enforces best practices and may even be a solution to the engagement and retention dilemma. But those tangible benefits aren't always apparent to those removed from training program development. Even if your learning and development department has its own budget, you'll need to craft a convincing proposal that builds the business case for new technology. It's the best way to gain executive buy-in and win their budget approval. Here are four critical steps to ensure senior leadership invests in your learning vision.

Gather internal insight

Executives won't endorse a program that doesn't solve a problem or isn't easily adopted by your employees. Start building your business case by aligning your appeals to department heads with the types of training they need most for their teams. At the same time, poll managers to discover how their respective teams learn best. LinkedIn's 2018 Workplace Learning & Development Report found the second-biggest challenge for HR professionals is involving managers in employee learning. Their input and insights at the start of the process will help you address this issue later on.

Future-proof personnel skills

Deloitte's "2019 Global Human Capital Trends" report noted that the greatest workforce concern faced by executives was "transitioning to the future of work." As every industry innovates and your company evolves, employees will require the right training to keep up. In fact, the World Economic Forum's "The Future of Jobs Report 2018" found that today's employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling in just three years. Gather information about marketplace and industry talent trends from trade magazines and other publications. What are the skills that employees in your industry should definitely have, and what skills would be nice to have? Create a list of prioritized trainings based on your research, and make sure your new LMS can implement these trainings.

Use data & hard numbers

There's power in numbers, and adding concrete data to your proposal can make it easier to get executive buy-in. For example, the Deloitte report found that 76% of C-suite executives leaned more toward training existing staff than hiring new talent, and 84% were increasing their investment in LMS programs. Make sure your C-suite understands how important it is not to fall behind these trends in supporting employee learning. The average age of workers is also increasing: By 2024, one in four workers will be older than 55, compared to one in 10 workers in 1994, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated. Skill investments can create a level of employee productivity and loyalty that may intrigue your C-suite. Present hard numbers to the C-suite to demonstrate that not investing in training may have consequences, including turnover. According to IBM, employees who believe that they cannot fulfill their career goals are 12 times more likely to leave their current organization. Employee Benefit News reported that it costs employers 33% of a worker's annual salary to replace them. A lost employee who earned $60,000, for example, could represent a $20,000 hit to the organization's bottom line, plus the salary that gets paid to the replacement employee. No C-suite member, especially a CFO, wants to hear that dollars were unnecessarily lost. Leveraging hard data in your proposal to prove the value of an LMS program will help persuade leadership that it's a good business decision to invest.

Provide an action & rollout plan

Now that you've established why a new L&D program is valuable, create a plan for implementation. Identify the major challenges the program solves—as well as the costs the challenges present if not unaddressed. For any financial savings, you can even suggest how to reallocate saved money or resources. Detail how you will deploy the program from the initial stage to conclusion, including a post-rollout assessment date. Also determine how you will handle post-deployment training on an ongoing basis. The HR and management teams will need to dive into LMS analytics to identify whether trainings are producing the desired behavior changes and skill mastery. Measurable performance indicators are crucial to determining success. Your action plan must articulate the benefits each stakeholder group will receive, so executives, managers and employees must be collectively aligned on the important role learning plays in organizational success. Getting executive buy-in on a new L&D program can be a challenge without understanding the value—both financial and professional—for the executives and C-suite who will need to sign off. Build the business case for LMS technology by acknowledging your company's goals and demonstrating how the program can move each department into the future. Your employees will stay happy and engaged, and you'll have prepared your company for modern workplace challenges from the top down. [skyword_tracking /]