The Learning & Development (L&D) function is on the rise in many organizations. Executives and leaders are increasingly recognizing the value of training in driving productivity, closing skills gaps and improving employee retention. Still, only 50% of L&D professionals report that they are working closely with executive leadership.
While this statistic is trending upward from 2022, there is plenty of room to grow the department’s influence, especially when 82% of global leaders believe that Human Resources is more important than ever before. These evolving attitudes can serve as a rallying to design a learning culture that propels employees and the business forward. To reposition the importance of L&D in any company, I recommend starting with four tactics that will encourage other executives to recognize and embrace the advantages that come from a focus on growth and development.
#1 – Create the Vision
Training professionals have the potential to effect so much change within individuals, teams and the corporation at large. Their programs and actions can enhance growth and performance, hiring and retention as well as engagement and culture. To make sure that executives remember the value that can come from training, craft and share a compelling vision statement for the L&D department.
Make connections between the work of the team and the core objectives of the business. Use sensory terms that describe what the function will help the company achieve and paint the picture of what the experience will look like and feel like for employees. Depicting an inspiring future state will help leaders recognize how training and growth experiences contribute to the big picture.
#2 – Delve into the Data and Trends
In addition to being capable trainers, talent developers have a chance to make an impact by serving as data sources. First, consider the trends impacting the enterprise and its ability to achieve its goals. One timely example that comes to mind is the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace. Proactive training professionals can tap into these trends and educate staff on how to use AI to improve their work and more efficiently reach their key performance indicators. By staying ahead of the curve and translating new concepts into action, learning leaders will demonstrate expertise.
It’s also important to consider the trends and analytics inside companies. Set up systems to measure employee skills gaps, interests and opportunities as well as the success and impact of the training initiatives. By regularly providing information that reveals departmental needs as well as the return on investment, L&D staff can reinforce the bottom-line benefits of development-focused programming.
#3 – Strengthen Cross-Functional Relationships
When others in the organization feel connected to the talent development department, it allows new possibilities to unfold. Cultivate relationships with executives, functional leaders and individual contributors. Actively reach out to get their inputs, understand their challenges and brainstorm opportunities where training could support the shifts they want to make in the workplace.
Be sure to think about external partnerships as well. It’s not possible for one team to be an expert in every type of growth or skill-building experience. Be mindful of training offerings and potential providers in your industry and region, who can provide insights and support to further the enterprise’s goals.
#4 – Map a Realistic Plan
It’s vital to create a plan to activate L&D’s full capabilities to support the needs of the organization. Clearly defined objectives, tactics and timelines will empower the talent development staff to stay focused on achieving their goals, while also helping others in the business to understand the impact and initiatives of the unit.
When building the plan, be sure to get input from internal stakeholders to increase buy-in. It can also be useful to implement pilot programs so that new initiatives can be tested and proven before they are rolled out on a larger scale. And one more tip, keep adaptability in mind. Priorities will change and successful plans are designed to respond to the shifts needed to support industry and internal analytics.
Training professionals have an opportunity to reshape the workforce and position their enterprises for continued growth. That potential will only expand when executives see L&D as essential to the organization. Using the steps above, any Learning & Development team will be well on its way to becoming a true strategic partner.
If you’re looking for a collaborator to amplify your Learning & Development offerings, Emergenetics International is here to help. Download our Buyer’s Guide to learn more about how we can enhance your training initiatives.
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