Monthly Archives: July 2014

L&D Secret Ingredient: Executive Endorsement

Why do some learning and development initiatives flourish while others founder and fail? Why do some generate monstrous ROI while others are a waste of time and money? There can be many reasons, but a common one is executive endorsement and follow-through, or lack of it. The boss sets the tone and focuses energy on priorities. Training is one of those things that will get the attention it deserves or not based on leadership urgency.

At a recent conference, members of the Learning Dynamics team took part in conversations with training managers and other learning and development professionals from around the country. When the topic of conversation came around to obstacles to effective training, lack of leadership’s commitment was a too-common comment.

With that in mind, what can an organization do to not just eliminate executive roadblocks, but engage and energize the most senior managers to make training outcomes a top priority? Here are some ideas.

Get executive buy-in early. Senior leaders need to understand the need for training and what they can expect from the effort and expense. What is the ROI? Paint the picture of better financial and customer service results and anything else that is important to the organization.

Ask for support. Learning and development advocates must enlist support. A conversation starting with, “If this training investment is going to make sense, we will need your help with…” Fill in the blanks by asking for specific support on key messages and expectations of behavioral change.

Take a stand on outcomes. Do your learning and development advocates have skin in the game? Are they willing to commit to some level of performance improvement? If they don’t believe in it, the top people likely will not either.

Celebrate success along the way. If the training initiative is important, it deserves internal publicity. Recruit an executive champion (cheerleader, perhaps?) to give it the air time and attention it deserves. Celebrate incremental improvements that can be tied back to the L&D effort.

Document the effort. After your training program is complete and the results are in, recap the results. Prepare a concise executive summary to explain the outcomes of the training. Can you show causality from the training to the performance improvements? Take nothing for granted. Document it.

What ideas do you have to get executive endorsement? We would love to hear them. Share your ideas here.


Learning Dynamics can help your company create a comprehensive learning and development program that includes executive tools to reinforce the effort and improve its effectiveness. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Onboarding Investment

The quality of your onboarding experience affects retention and results. We heard this message from several participants at last week’s Bank Trainers Conference (for which Learning Dynamics was a Platinum Sponsor) in New Orleans. Credit unions and banks sent their top training leaders for three days of idea and best practice sharing from learning and development experts, including our own VP Wilbur Pike.

Now, possibly more than any time in the last six years, is a great time to review your onboarding program. Why? With recent improvements in the job market, even entry-level employees have more career options to consider. If they don’t get what they need to feel included, if they feel their jobs are unimportant, they will not stay. Opportunities for more fulfilling work are more plentiful with each passing day.

Here are some things to look at as you examine your initial learning and development program:

Is your onboarding experience interesting and fun? As in many other settings, you will only get one chance to make a great first impression with your newest employees. If they don’t engage quickly, they will get fade. Onboarding becomes boring, and that’s never good.

Do your latest hires understand why their work is important? This is a basic concept in the langauge of employee engagement. Everyone needs to understand how they fit into the organization. They want to know the big picture. Job shadowing and messages directly from top executives (yes, the CEO can visit an onboarding class) can help make this point.

Do your new people have the opportunity to enjoy early success? Success breeds success, so build early opportunities to shine into your onboarding experience. Provide plenty of feedback to create momentum and energy.

A professionally developed learning and development program might seem like a large investment. Compared to costs and time to recruit, hire and train replacements, though, it is a wise one. If your company isn’t ready for more demand-side competition in the labor market, others will win. Let Learning Dynamics know if we can help.