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by Robert Hoffman | March 10, 2009

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The challenge of securing senior management's commitment to training can be more laborious than completing the actual learning experiences. The key to getting top management to champion training initiatives is to provide a clear picture of expected results.

The first step is answering the question: Is the training worth the investment? Show that it will produce tangible bottom-line results. Document the link between delivery of the training agenda and organizational performance.

If it's not in the overall business plan, reconsider. Enhancing the probability of approval is the direct correlation of training agendas with overall business objectives. Coordinate with other organizational systems to bind together training, incentive compensation, financial results and company performance.

Applying the Skills

Document opportunities for learners to apply the skills in the workplace. Show how the learning will be applied in the workplace when the training has ended. Employees should be able to demonstrate a need to acquire the skill to enhance their job performance.

After documenting the need, an opportunity to apply the skills must be provided by leadership. Delivery of training without practice opportunities is equivalent to watching a magic show and calling yourself a magician. You cannot successfully command the skills learned, without practicing on the job.

Incorporate learning with performance objectives - relate training to individual results. The easiest way to accomplish this objective is by incorporating the skills acquisition into the overall performance matrix of employees. If you can conclusively link the attainment of skills from training with tangible returns, the probability of approval is greatly enhanced.

You must convey an understanding of organizational readiness - the most appropriate training agendas can be a disaster if the timing is wrong! Be sure that the evolution of the organization is compatible with the training offering. For example, don't offer career planning training the day before a layoff.

Use Cost-Effective Methods

Even if you have a valid proposal that meets budgetary requirements, use the most cost-effective delivery mechanism. Computer and web based training, self-instruction, mentoring and new internal work opportunities should all be considered as developmental alternatives to traditional class room instruction.

As an evolutionary acquisition of skills and knowledge, training is designed to enhance both the individual and the organization. Dedicating effort during the planning stages is a preamble to achieving ongoing impact. Unless all layers of the company believe training is a process and not a singular learning event, success cannot be guaranteed.

Take the Training Compatibility Quiz (TCQ) below to assess your company's readiness for training initiatives.

Robert Hoffman is principal/CEO of HRAdvice.com. He can be reached at www.hradvice.com or 877-854-0469.

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