It takes a team to design a top-notch training program that meets employee needs and accomplishes learning goals. Everyone involved must accept the procedure and do their responsibilities to make it work. And as an L&D Manager, it is your job to ace stakeholder management and gets everyone involved in the projects.
So who are these people, and how can you ensure that you are creating a training environment facilitating all of them and building stakeholder relationships? We will briefly review the stakeholders and introduce the most effective techniques to catch their attention quickly.
- Which key stakeholders should you take into account?
- Here are the steps to catch stakeholders’ attention with ease
Which key stakeholders should you take into account?
Every stakeholder must accept the procedure and do their responsibilities to make your plan work. However, you must first understand these people and how they fit into the overall L&D plan and build stakeholder relationships. There is an essential list that we can start with to identify all relevant stakeholders:
- Business leaders and line managers from relevant departments: human resources, sales, operations, customer services (support, training), finance and admin, product, technology, marketing
- Employee representatives from the relevant departments
- L&D department
- Corporate learners
Before moving on with the stakeholder management plan, you should always identify every important stakeholder for the initiatives. After completing this stage, you can use a stakeholder analysis tool to determine the influence and motivation of each stakeholder.
Stakeholders are categorized separately and compared to each other in this grid. Their assigned position informs the management approach to be employed with a stakeholder.
Remember, most stakeholders, especially business leaders, are driven by results. They’re looking for L&D that directly impacts their KPIs and focuses on productivity and revenue improvement.
Here are the steps to catch stakeholders’ attention with ease
1. Get clear on L&D’s value
The L&D department is usually perceived as discrete from the workplace. The influence on the broader organization of L&D is limited and therefore impacts employees less than other departments. If the L&D Manager does nothing to change the image, the department can fail to fulfill its critical function in the worst case.
One of the best moves for L&D Managers is “selling” the team to the organization and clarifying its actual value. The value shows how the department is relevant and integral to the company’s growth and stakeholder relationship-building. L&D Managers should focus on marketing and branding within the organization.
2. Identify your stakeholders’ characteristics and needs
To improve stakeholder management, L&D Managers should be aware of the traits and needs of each stakeholder after completing the list of stakeholders. The following are some needs and features of stakeholders:
- Business leaders:
Results usually drive business leaders. They look for how L&D goals and performance directly affect their KPIs. Remember that these leaders are primarily concerned with enhancing efficiency and performance to generate more income.
Business leaders want to retain and realize the full potential of their staff. To achieve this, they need a learning curriculum closely aligned with business strategy, fully contextualized within working practices, and close to business goals.
- Line managers
It is crucial to cooperate with line managers as they can play a dual role in L&D training. They are the ones who work closely with staff and have perfect insight into staff performance, skills, and what needs to be trained. That information is valuable input for L&D Managers to craft and innovate course materials. Moreover, line managers also serve as training advocates for their subordinates.
Line managers need to be convinced that the training program will have desired outcomes and it will bridge crucial skill gaps. The training has to encourage sharing knowledge amongst their teams and across projects. Furthermore, training should boost team working and collaboration.
- L&D department:
The whole L&D is among the key stakeholders interested in learning programs since they are involved in key training. The entire team must cooperate with the L&D Manager to arrange basic and advanced training such as orientation for new staff or technical training.
L&D Managers are expected to provide effective training for new hires, foundation skills, and career pathways for existing employees. It might require even more innovative training, such as building leadership programs that establish a pipeline of future senior managers.
- Corporate learners
Finally, don’t forget your learners – the top stakeholders of a training course. After all, your staff wants to use the final product to develop their skills and enhance work performance. Learners require directly relevant learning opportunities, empowering and tailored to their needs. They want the related information available right where and when they need it. To meet their demand, L&D Managers should identify their request to deliver personalized, learner-centered sessions encouraging engagement.
3. Think like a marketer
Learners and stakeholders need to know two things: why the training is taking place and what’s in it for them. Everyone wants to be involved when they have the right reason to join a course, such as leading to better performance at work. This is where marketing comes in to promote and deliver the meaning of the course.
There are 2 things you can do:
- Present a proposal
By preparing and presenting a clear, well-researched proposal, L&D professionals can demonstrate the value of the training and gain buy-in from stakeholders. A proposal is particularly important and even indispensable if you need a stakeholder to release funds for the training program to go ahead.
We recommend adding the following parts to your proposal to convince your “clients” – stakeholders and make stakeholder management easier:
- Findings of recent polls or other research on employee engagement, including business KPIs
- Dates, providing any details about the test group and the day calculating ROI
- A high-level summary of the training material, including delivery methods
- Information on relevant, successful programs
- Resources that are required, such as risk evaluations
- Total expenses, broken down in the detail
- Calculated ROI
- Create a pre-training pack
The pre-training pack allows instructors to provide key information and content before stakeholders interact with the real course material. It is useful to lessen the cognitive load and increase engagement. As a class or course progresses, this step aids students in developing more sophisticated thinking skills.
Keeping managers informed and encouraging them to get involved with training development can help foster a positive attitude towards the program that employees will pick up on. Many things in a pre-training pack can be taken from the initial proposal, such as KPI data and training content overview. You can add into the pack how the management team can support employees so that they see the best possible results.
Besides thinking like a marketer, you can bring excitement and boost engagement for training via multiple methods. Some methods most used and recommended are:
- Sending email invites
- Sharing details in company bulletins and newsletters
- Circulating pre-course videos, podcasts, and interviews
- Creating pre-course quizzes
- Displaying posters
4. Understand stakeholders’ priorities
Stakeholder management is challenging as every stakeholder has different priorities. However, if you can cater to them individually, you may create a learning environment that impacts the entire organization. Stakeholders can then serve as L&D ambassadors.
Working with business managers allows L&D to align business and learning goals, promoting training relevance. The training created based on business goals also improves learner engagement and ultimately results in enhanced performance. Learning becomes a key to achieving strategic business goals.
Partnering with line managers, L&D Managers should understand that they prioritize establishing and fostering a learning culture. Again, you can use them as a source of evidence-based feedback to identify gaps in learning and performance. Hence, they have the authority to promote and reward a culture of learning and knowledge sharing.
L&D Managers and HR teams can consult with each other and combine existing resources. Collaboration promotes a positive work environment and boosts an organization’s capacity for change because good ideas have a way of getting through a business. HR is interested in promoting learning as a career development activity which L&D. Meanwhile can further assist; L&D has the statistics and data of staff to create a strategic and appropriate course. The training can be seen as a continuous and lifelong benefit, not confined to the classroom or an eLearning course.
5. Don’t forget the center of the course: Learners
Many organizations overlook this integral role. However, learners are the most essential stakeholder in stakeholder management. After all, every support from other stakeholders is to help learners feel at the center of training initiatives. This can be achieved by analyzing learners’ views to create a learning cycle that increasingly delivers more relevant and effective training.
To upgrade training, allowing learners to share information informally creates a pool of knowledge and boosts team working. A simple way to bring this idea to real life is to identify expertise among experienced employees and use these employees as mentors and Subject Matter Experts. Overall, L&D needs to support corporate learners by repositioning itself in the workflow at the point of need. This is how L&D demonstrates its influence, value, and success.
Get curious and spend time identifying needs if you want L&D to be truly valued by the organization. Keep comprehending the organization and prove why L&D is crucial to the success of the organization if you have a clearer understanding of the larger picture.
It’s time to be curious, try new things, work with others, draw conclusions from your findings, and create true success for yourself, stakeholders, and the entire organization.