Workspace Series: 3 Steps for Building Bulletproof Business Cases

Evaluating your training and development options? Build a bulletproof business case with best practices on the critical pillars of customized digital learning success.

Evaluate Your Training and Development Options

You’ve evaluated all your training and development options and decided that a customized eLearning solution fits the bill. Now it’s time to convince management that this investment is worthwhile. Having worked with a number of learning managers facing this challenge, there is one thing we know for certain:

Buying off-the-shelf courses isn’t going to help.

Most companies lack the organizational alignment and processes required to yield exceptional results from learning and development (L&D) functions alone. Not to mention, most off-the-shelf products assume you’ve got your people and processes nailed-down, and also assume it’s a matter of identifying your performance bottlenecks and tweaking the learning management systems (LMS).

Keeping all of this in mind, here are some best and promising practices for building a business case and embracing a culture of performance-based learning.

Building a Business Case

In today’s world of budget cuts and scrutiny, the best way to ensure your own success is with a bulletproof business case. And you need to be willing to stand behind it.

Training organizations are now competing in a new world, where the learner has more control than ever. Effective training programs that nurture the learner, ensure their engagement, and measure results, are quickly becoming table stakes in almost every industry.

Here are some steps to keep in mind as you build your case and show your executive team how customized digital learning can ultimately help your business see performance improvements.

New Rules of Engagement

The first step is to recognize that the modern rules of engagement in the L&D world are rapidly changing.

Due to digital transformations, we are now living in an age of customized, learner-centric corporate training. This also reflects itself in the needs of learners.

Today’s learner is extremely busy and has a preference for bite-sized content that is delivered to them over time. As education is gradually taken out of the hands of standardized models and frameworks, learners now have more opportunities to control and shape their learning experiences.

Organizational Alignment Imperative

The second step of customized digital learning is strategic alignment between L&D and the business units L&D serves to support. This list is non-exhaustive and includes departments such as HR, Operations, Supply Chain, Production, Sales, and Marketing.

For example, what are the primary objectives of your L&D function? How will any of those business units support these objectives?

Achieving alignment between L&D and those units is the largest opportunity for improving business performance today. Aligning L&D and supporting business units around a single revenue cycle, is advantageous for creating dramatic improvements in performance, productivity, and top-line growth.

Ask yourself: Is your operations team looking to reduce the number of errors or the annual incident rate? Is your sales team looking to expand into new markets or to dig deeper into existing accounts? The L&D efforts and tactics needed to support these two business issues are completely different, and won’t be accounted for by off-the-shelf learning solutions. As with any business case, you’ll need documented buy-in from all stakeholders to align everyone’s objectives.

Discuss and Resolve Issues

The next step is to discuss and resolve any issues that might arise from a new set of processes, systems, and interventions. Before you can make a case for customized digital learning solutions, for example, you’ll need agreement on what a learning-ready team is, and how to manage teams and business units across the enterprise.

Again, without a clear understanding of these issues, how will you ever get the results you want?

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