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Learning and Development

How to get leadership buy-in for your L&D programs

Leadership buy-in

If you’re responsible for learning and development (L&D) programs, you’re likely focused on how to secure budget and get that all important leadership buy-in. Convincing senior leaders to spend money on new initiatives can be tricky. This is especially true in areas like training where the immediate ROI or benefit to the business can be hard to demonstrate. Here are three ways to make a strong business case and get leadership team buy-in from the start.

1. Involve (relevant) senior stakeholders from the beginning

The best way to get started is by involving the C-Suite from the beginning. Don’t come to an executive, board, or people planning meeting with a fully formed strategy. Instead, ensure you raise the need for a program overhaul before you get started.

  • Outline your reasons why (use data to highlight skills gaps and other areas you feel are lacking)
  • Set project goals in an early conversation
  • Ensure you’re asking for input from the relevant C-level roles. This isn’t just the obvious ones like Chief People Officer. Often COOs and CEOs are useful stakeholders for L&D projects.

2. Make business goals the center of your strategy

A great L&D program centers business goals and aligns with overarching business strategy. Make sure it’s clear from the outset how your L&D program will be integral to achieving your business goals by getting your people performing at their best to support your company’s success. 

For each idea or initiative, link it to a company objective when you first present it, and in all subsequent project plans. This clarifies your vision for senior stakeholders and makes it more likely they will buy into the initiative.  

3. Demonstrate ROI

It may be easier said than done, but the best way to gain senior leadership buy-in is with numbers. While it may not always be immediately obvious how investing in L&D drives ROI, some areas are easier to quantify than others:

Reduction in employee turnover

If your business is focused on reducing headcount loss, it’s easy to show the financial benefit of your initiative. 94% of employees will stay longer in a business they feel is investing in their development, and you can use an online calculator to demonstrate exactly what the annual cost saving of higher retention looks like for your organization.

Reduced litigation costs 

For industries where compliance and/or litigation are major concerns, it should be straightforward to demonstrate where enhanced training could have prevented previous litigation costs, whether within your organization or by using case studies and news stories from your peers.

The impact of high performance

Investing in strategic development initiatives, like coaching, has a direct impact on output and productivity. In organizations where coaching is widely available, 70% of employees’ day to day performance improves, boosting company-wide productivity.

Gaining C-Suite buy-in for your L&D programs is vital to securing budget and getting sign-off. Remember to involve the right people early, use data to support your strategy, and focus on ROI for maximum success.

Find out all about the latest L&D trends and start building a world-class strategy today.