guest post by Rachel Kay
One of the biggest challenges you face as a leader when attempting to implement a learning and development (L&D) initiative within your company is convincing the decision-makers that it will benefit the company as a whole. When they can’t see a clear projected return on their investment, they may balk at backing you, so it’s your job to assure them that it’s not going to be a waste of time, money, and resources; in other words, you must have their trust.
According to the Thales Learning & Development guide that focuses on this subject, L&D should “impact your bottom line and help your business move in the direction you want.” Otherwise, what’s the point? Aligning the specific programs offered to the business’s objectives and goals will often be the most effective way of achieving success, but you’ve got to state your case to directors and other senior figures to get started.
How, then, can L&D positively impact the bottom line? Which areas will it improve, how will it save money, and what are its overall benefits?
The level of employee productivity, in addition to the general quality of work, is one of the most important things to impact upon a company, and it’s one of the things that learning and development can help to improve. As employees develop other skills, their productivity naturally increases. This enables the company to achieve its goals more quickly and to grow.
Higher engagement levels
If a staff member is not engaged, this is a problem that has to be addressed as soon as possible. The person will not be particularly productive and the quality of their work may be lower than it should be. This naturally damages the company, both financially and operationally, but L&D can rectify the issue. A desire by the company to educate and develop employees helps to give them a sense of purpose and importance, in addition to increasing their skills and confidence in their abilities.
Being able to demonstrate a strong track record of developing talent over the years can be a major selling point when it comes to hiring new staff. If they have the raw skills but need a bit of refinement, being able to show that you can improve their skills and increase their future employability will help to convince them that your business is one that they want to be a part of.
According to HR Review, it can cost over £30,000 to replace an employee, which can obviously eat up a budget very quickly if there is a high level of staff turnover within the business. The knock-on effect of the point about L&D ensuring a higher level of engagement amongst team members is that it motivates them to remain with the company, where they feel valued and know that they can develop themselves (both professionally and personally). This is good for the company, which can retain its most talented members. Each party is now invested in the other, benefiting them both.
Rachel Kay is the Managing Director of Thales Learning & Development. She is responsible for developing Thales Learning & Development into a leading edge L&D solutions provider. Rachel is a regular contributor to Enhance – The Magazine for Learning and Development.
Bob Vanourek and Gregg Vanourek are leadership practitioners, teachers, trainers, and award-winning authors. They are co-authors of Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations, a winner of the International Book Awards, and called “the best book on leadership since Good to Great.” Take their Leadership Derailers Assessment or sign up for their newsletter. If you found value in this, please forward it to a friend. Every little bit helps!