How to get buy-in for L&D programmes

A recent LinkedIn Learning Blog spoke to several experts to find out more about how...


The world of work has endured a wealth of challenges in the last year – including getting access to talent, skills, and attracting the right type of applications. With a clear dearth, at least in some industries, of the right type of candidate, some employers will be turning to L&D to help upskill and reskill their existing workforce to meet this need. In fact, recent stats show this is happening, at least in perception of the value L&D can add. LinkedIn Learning’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report found that 64% of L&D practitioners agreed that L&D programmes have gone from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘need to have’ in 2021.

With employers increasingly up against it on this challenging backdrop – in which skills and talent shortages continue to be difficult – it could help create the perfect business case for L&D teams to get buy-in from those at the top. Whatever the reason for this L&D need though, building and maintaining relationships with executives will help to drive returns to L&D programmes. To help with this, a recent LinkedIn Learning Blog spoke to several experts to find out how L&D teams can build supportive relationships across the C-Suite.

Read a summary of the main points below.

“Learning may just be our biggest catalyst for organisational change”

Know your audience

With many aspects of HR, leaders often shy away from adopting a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, acknowledging that the same methods or learning styles don’t suit everyone. This is a mantra that Naphitali Bryant, Director, Learning & Organisation Development at Netflix, pointed towards in a recent LinkedIn Learning blog post, particularly when it comes to getting senior leaders engaged with learning. Bryant said: "To get execs engaged, don't do a one-size-fits-all approach, do a one-size-fits-one approach.” What this means, in essence, is that the approach should be tailored to the person. Finding out what drives them, and showing them in personalised ways that L&D can help them reach their goals, can help with this.


Show the difference you can make

With any new business initiative or policy, it is crucial to be able to demonstrate its value. So, if there are occasions that a team benefits from a particular L&D programme – whether this has closed a skills gap or achieved something else that is beneficial – this is a good opportunity for HR or L&D teams to highlight these wins to those at the top, as well as demonstrate the value that you and your department can add to the business.

Leena Nair, the CHRO at Unilever, was quoted in a LinkedIn Learning Blog post and said: “This is the time to ask those big questions and create change — and to disrupt and pioneer and take risks. You need to have that confidence. You need to have that swagger that says, ‘I know my function and I can make that difference.’” Having this mindset could really help showcase the benefit of learning and development in an organisation.

“To get execs engaged, don't do a one-size-fits-all approach, do a one-size-fits-one approach”

Keep it top of mind

With employers currently experiencing skills and talent shortages, professional learning continues to be an important part of a business strategy but it often needs leadership buy-in. A recent LinkedIn blog noted that it is key to involve the CEO in learning initiatives and work alongside them to make course recommendations. Showcasing the importance of L&D – and keeping it a top agenda item – will likely mean greater wins for the function, it said.

Learning-related campaigns can help L&D remain at the front and centre of everyone’s mind. As quoted in a LinkedIn Learning Blog post, Renita Jefferson, Senior HR Manager at Avient, said that they had a positive experience with their “month of learning”. Jefferson continued: "We were excited that our leadership team took such a prominent role in this effort, and empowered us to do what we were already doing behind the scenes and bring it to the forefront.”

Speak their language

When pitching any new idea to a team or the CEO, it is important that it is clear, concise and is conveyed in a way that is of interest to your audience. In the case of the CEO, a recent LinkedIn Learning Blog post recommended that you should consider how these plans will align and relate to overarching business goals as this is something that will be of interest to those at the top.

Read the full article 'Be a C-Suite Player: 5 Tips for Learning Leaders

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