Getting a Leadership Buy-In For Your #LMS

As an L&D professional, you probably know that Learning Management Systems can truly diversify your eLearning system.

If you already have employee profiles handy, focus points of the program ready, content topics worked out and even a prospective LMS, congratulations! You’re off to a great start. (If not, then don’t worry. You can find out how to do it step-by-step here)

You’re probably very enthusiastic about your brand new training initiative and can’t wait to implement it. So, what’s the next step?

Getting a leadership buy-in, of course.

However, convincing your decision makers on investing in a new learning technology is not a walk in the park. If you think that you have it covered with your list of ‘reasons why the initiative is important’ and ‘how it will boost productivity of all employees’, then Stop.

You may not have realized it, but you have been focusing solely on how to sellthe initiative.

Have you ever come across salespeople who are fast-talking and pushy. Salespeople who are so engrossed in the merits of their product that they completely forget to listen to what the customer wants and answer his/her questions. These customers may feel that the salesperson is trying to force them into giving in to the product.

You don’t want to be that salesperson and jeopordize your initiative do you?

Take a step back and put yourself in the shoes of the customer — or victim — of a hard sell. You would probably be left thinking:

“Instead of talking, listen to what I need first. Find out what my pain points are. Then we can start talking about how you could help me.”

Now that you know what you are doing wrong, let’s focus on how to do it right by focusing on these key steps:

  1. Listen

It’s not that difficult to figure out what your leaders want. Check your company’s website, your CEO’s tweets, press releases, company newsletters, and internal memos. Do your leaders want to cut down costs? Or perhaps transform the company culture? Maybe, they want to expand into new markets? Or maybe, they have multiple goals in mind.

If your LMS powered initiative directly addresses one or more of these goals, that’s great. Move on to step 2. If your training does not directly address a stated company goal, search for a connect that shows how your training can indirectly compliment a goal.

For example, if your CEO wants to cut down costs and your LMS is capable of improving customer service, do some research into how improved customer service results in reduced costs of handling customer complaints.

  1. Look for a Champion

Search for a senior leader outside of your department to champion the initiative. The mere presence of an influencer on your side would boost your credibility and chances of getting a funding. It would also bridge the gap between the senior management and your L&D department.

  1. Ask Questions

Once you’ve selected your potential champion, discuss your training initiative with her. Be on the lookout for any pain points that she mentions. Ask her about the obstacles she sees to implementing your initiative, any changes she could suggest etc.

  1. Build a Team

Reach out to HR professionals, IT professionals, procurement professionals etc to help evaluate and select the best LMS for your initiative. Having multiple votes on your side always helps in the long run.

  1. Identify Key Metrics

Even though the main focus of your strategy is to gain a buy-in for your initiative, it is vital to prepare for what happens once your initiative has been accepted and put into effect. Your leaders will want to see a clear return on their investment and it’s your job to figure out a way to measure it. To do this, define metrics for your success prior to implementing it. You can use metrics such as cost savings, increase in sales, reduction in training costs, improvement in customer satisfaction etc.

  1. Develop a Change Management Strategy

Introducing a new technology always requires some level of change management. For eg, in some organizations, the introduction of an LMS involves moving away from paper-based training to eLearning. With a decent change management strategy in place, your decision makers will be more willing to accept the introduction of a new learning technology into the organization.

Change management for an LMS implementation begins with pulling two teams together — your IT team and your LMS administrator team.

IT Team

Work with your LMS vendor to ensure that your IT team knows the in and outs of the new LMS. Including aspects like integration, troubleshooting, implementation, data transfer, user transfer, content transfer etc.

Admins

Your LMS administrators will most likely come from your HR /Training department. These guys would be on the front line of your training initiative. Arrange multiple demos of multiple LMSes with all admins to know which LMS suits them best. You need to make sure that they know how to operate the LMS perfectly as they would be the ones training content authors, trainers, HRs, managers and end users.

Delivering Your Case

Now that all of this is done, approach your executives with the help of your champion(s) and present your case for your LMS powered training initiative.

If you receive the green flag for your initiative, good job! Inculcate the habit of reporting to your champion and to the leadership team at timely intervals.

Even if your plan was not approved, keep your seniors informed about changes in the organization which may suggest that it’s time to give your LMS a shot again.

Guest Author, Mahati Vanka, is a Business Development Manager at LearnBee, which enables companies to train their workforce with the help of cloud-based learning solutions. Drop a line to me at mahati@learnbee.co if you are want to inculcate a culture of learning in your team.

The article was originally published on Nectar, where LearnBee’s top team contributes actively to Enterprise Learning.