What do executives expect from their training departments? They know each of their departments are spending their money and so they expect something in return for that investment. The training department is no different. As the leader/manager/director you've got a responsibility to not only make sure training is happening, but reporting the financial and productivity impacts to the business. Therein lies the key to your success: "Business Impact".
This is quite obvious for most readers of this blog. Defining business impact is the real issue. And it becomes problematic when expectations around priorities are not aligned. Traditional training professionals believe in their ability to create the "best" training to improve performance, but often do so with long time lines, requests for increased development budgets, and little care for how their training events impact the business. The frustration executives feel towards this approach is often misunderstood by training professionals, and dismissed as "they just don't understand learning". The reality is that it's not their job to understand learning. It's your job to understand the business.
Management & Leadership Development
Management & leadership development consistently ranks high in the minds of execs. I have no data to quote for you, but I've seen enough data over the years to know it's important. Not only is it important, but more established, mature, businesses have enough legacy having experienced first hand what happens when leadership is under prepared, or under skilled in their role.
Most training professionals, even CLOs, are not capable of running these programs on their own when they are also responsible for the other items listed below. If management/leadership development is important enough, then it's worth spending budget on experts in this realm.
It's important to remember that there should be very little training involved in this type of program. Young leaders may still require training in certain areas, but your senior leaders should not require training. Development. Absolutely. But not training.
There are plenty of executive development firms to choose from. And in my experience I've seen leadership teams completely transformed from fully dysfunctional to fully successful over time. This is not an easy accomplishment. It requires long term commitment which is why it's called development and not training.
There really isn't much to say here. Executives need you to make sure this is covered because it's a liability to the business. Purchasing pre-developed compliance courses is without question the most effective solution. It's fast to implement because it requires no development resources and keeps the business running.
Be sure to understand the compliance needs in all areas of the business. Don't expect high level management to know everything that requires compliance. It's your responsibility to meet with sales, manufacturing, HR, IT, legal, and any other departments to understand their compliance requirements.
When the regulatory agencies come knocking, it's your neck that's on the line.
New Hire On-boarding
This is probably one of the most misunderstood and frustrating elements for your new employees. All they want to do is get to work, and yet they end up sitting in meetings for days and even weeks before actually starting their jobs. In some cases this is made clear to everyone. In others, management will get around it and so certain hires will not attend because it is seen as a waste of time.
You can hire a management/leadership consultant. You can buy pre-development compliance training programs. But this program is unique. There is no off-the-shelf, turn-key solution. It's yours to create, design, develop, and deliver with your own personal touch. It should be your foundational, crowning achievement. This is where you have the most influence to apply your knowledge of adult learning theory, and instructional design skills. All other training events and online learning experiences will be extensions of this foundational program. It's the first impression new hires have of their new company. Whether or not employees stay with your company can often be traced back to how well you on-boarded them. So don't take this lightly.
The ideal on-boarding program is customized for all levels of the company. One size does not fit all. Some content is required by all employees. But don't waste people's time just because it's easier on you and your team. Know what is required at each level and develop the program accordingly. Everyone in the company will thank you!
Continuing Professional Development
Professional Development (PD) comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of it is specific to an employee's role. Other training programs are specific to the business and help develop an employees skills related to the company culture. And other PD programs simply give employees the ability to explore other skills that may interest them.
Enterprise licenses to online training like Lynda.com are popular for many employees. Free access to their extensive library of videos for learning new topics is seen as a valuable benefit. Buying library bundles of PD content is an easy way to provide value to your employees.
However, there are other PD opportunities you can create that are unique to the business. Your company will have a few highly experienced professionals on staff. Some of them are even rockstars in their respective fields. Capturing their knowledge and experience is an extremely valuable project that should be part of any training department strategy. Executives know these experts are valuable and often worry about what will happen when they leave the company. Give them comfort in knowing you've got a plan to ease their troubled minds.
Do you have any thoughts on a 5th training topic important to your company's executives? Tell us about it with the hashtag #TellLitmos @Litmos.