Getting Approval for E-Learning Plans and Training Strategies – What Decision Makers Really Want to Know
To move forward with your e-learning plans and general training strategy, you need to get approval from decision-makers. This could be a senior executive or your CEO, for example. What are decision-makers really looking for, though, when it comes to approving training budgets?
Do they care about the method of delivery, whether it is in-person training or e-learning? Do they care about the detail of the course content? How can your training strategy help them directly with the issues they are dealing with in the business?
The Traditional Approach
The traditional approach to getting approval from decision-makers included:
- Explaining the activities that you plan to take, i.e. the e-learning courses you will develop
- Outlining the targets you hope to achieve such as the number of people completing the course, average assessment results, etc
At the end of the cycle, you would then report back on the activities delivered and the training results achieve. You may even do a calculation to give a return on investment figure.
Decision Makers Want More
In the modern world, senior executives and other decision-makers in business hubs like Dubai want to know they are getting value from their training investments. This means they are moving away from the above traditional, and now outdated, approach.
In other words, the decision-makers in your company are likely to want more than simply details of what you plan to do, and the training results you hope to achieve. Instead, they want to know how the e-learning training will positively impact the business.
They want to know about outcomes for the business, not the activities you plan to take.
For you to be successful in winning support for your e-learning strategy and wider training plan, you need to talk about business outcomes too.
You need to talk about the things that decision-makers really care about.
Switching Your Focus to Business Outcomes
Senior decision-makers don’t necessarily care about the number of people who achieve 80 percent or above on an e-learning course. They do, however, care about whether or not there are the right skills in the business to deliver on customer expectations and to fulfil current and future client commitments
HR is another example – decision-makers don’t care anywhere near as much about learner satisfaction rates with an e-learning module as they do about staff turnover in the business, the HR cost implications of that turnover rate, and the effect it is having on business performance.
So, how do you switch your focus to business outcomes? Here are some examples:
The Sales Example
The old way of presenting your sales training strategy for approval and then reporting on its success would involve:
- The number of people who have completed the training
- Results from assessments of product knowledge
- Training satisfaction reports from those who completed the courses
Focusing on business outcomes, however, requires a different set of objectives. Examples include:
- Increasing the number of clients and/or sales won by the business
- Increasing average order values
- Improving sales of the most profitable products or services
- Reducing the average lead-in times for sales
- Streamlining the sales funnel
- Increasing overall revenue for the business
A senior executive or CEO is much more likely to care about the second list than the first one.
The Leadership Training Example
What about leadership training for managers and supervisors? Using the traditional approach, objectives and measures of success would include:
- The number of managers who engage with the training programme
- The number of modules in the training library completed
- The completion rate per manager
- Average assessment results
- Reported satisfaction levels
However, when decision-makers are thinking about leadership training, the business outcomes they really care about include:
- Improvements in KPIs like the generation of leads or sales, or the improved productivity of teams the manager is responsible for
- Reduced staff turnover as this is an indicator of improved people management capabilities
- Increases in the number of current team members who are ready for promotion or who can take on enhanced responsibilities. This, again, is an indicator that managers are performing better than before, i.e. they are better at developing the individuals on their teams according to the needs of the business
- Increased numbers of managers who are themselves suitable for promotion
Again, your company’s CEO is much more likely to be concerned about the points in the second list than the first. Therefore, demonstrating how your training strategy will improve these business outcomes is much more likely to win decision maker support.
The Onboarding Example
Training for new staff during the onboarding process is our last example. The traditional approach with this area of training would be to outline the various courses you plan to create then report on things like:
- The number of new starts who have completed the course
- The results they achieve on assessments
- Their general opinions of the training
The things your boss is more likely to care about include:
- Reducing the time it takes for new employees to get to the required competency level to operate independently or achieve a satisfactory level of productivity
- Reducing the number of new starts who have their employment terminated during probation, or who have their probation period extended
- Reducing employee turnover, particularly in relation to people who have been in the business for a short period of time
Switching Your Focus to Outcomes
From the perspective of the decision-makers in your business, training, and e-learning’s role in your training strategy, is not about content, admin, and training results. Instead, it’s about business outcomes. This is what you should focus on when seeking approval for your plans.