Five Tangible Ways L&D Can Garner Influence with the C-Suite
For the last decade, L&D has spent time earning a seat at the executive table, but despite a rising focus on L&D for employee growth and retention, many L&D directors seem passive when it comes to impacting agendas and budgets for employee learning. These tips will help ensure your best ideas are heard and acted upon at your organization.
Tips to Help Influence the C-Suite
- Understand your audience. Make sure your L&D programs are aligned with the overall business strategy — what goals need to be achieved to drive it? What are the goals for 12 months out? 3 years? 5 years? Equally important, discover the personal priorities and passion projects of your CEO and be able to show the contribution learning will have toward those.
- Learn the lingo. The C-suite is constantly jumping from one thing to the next, so time is incredibly valuable to them. Don’t focus too much on the vast amount of detail, but on the digestibility of the information you need to get across. Keep pitches short and sweet, high-level, and centered on priorities, performance, and profits.
- Highlight the ROI. The CEO and CFO are highly concerned with net profit and how each new initiative will affect it. Take every opportunity you can to showcase how learning and development positively contribute to the bottom line.
- Be intentional with your partnerships. With each skills gap you close, you open the door to recruiting another senior advocate. Measure your progress and be sure it’s visible; this will come in handy when you start promoting internally and externally. Build your network across but also beyond your organization.
- Cultivate a learning culture. In order for your organization to experience continuous learning and upskilling, you need a culture that supports it. And that cultural tone is set from the top — the CEO. Involve your CEO in flagship learning initiatives and help gain L&D greater interest and attention from corporate leaders.
L&D is more important than ever today, in a world of hybrid and remote work, and in terms of retaining top high-performing and high-potential talent. Ultimately, the C-suite wants to know that L&D is aligned with organizational strategy and adds significant value. It is the job of L&D leaders to make sure their executive teams understand the value it brings to the company.