Influencing Stakeholders and Addressing Objections When Pitching E-learning

BY Candy Osborne

If you’re thinking of bringing an e-learning solution to your organization, you’ll want to get a consensus from stakeholders. Here are some common stakeholders and ideas for how you might help them understand how e-learning can benefit their respective areas.

HR

>>  When employees have learning resources readily available, onboarding takes place at a faster pace.

>> Skills and knowledge gains from a top-notch learning program will lessen the gaps new hires will be facing and help with career progression over time.

>> Having a skilled workforce will encourage positive employee engagement and reduce turnover for the organization.

>> Offering a learning solution that is mobile and bite-sized will ensure that it’s conveniently available anytime, anywhere.

L&D

>> With a successful learning program, performance improvements will take place across business units with the potential to make the company money (e.g., increased sales, better customer service, etc.) or save the company money (e.g., increased product quality, decreased cycle time, etc.).to be viewed as a business improvement unit and not just a “training center.” This perception will influence future business and learning opportunities and decisions.

I.T.

>> There is ease of integration with third-party platforms, such as talent management systems.

>> The threat of complexity with multiple learning vendors would be significantly reduced by selecting a vendor that is all-encompassing.

>> Cloud-based learning solutions reduce maintenance and support efforts.

Business unit leaders

>> When skill gaps are identified and addressed through learning, the individual will perform better, and so will the team.

>> When a team is operating efficiently, business outcomes improve and organizational goals are met.

Procurement

>> Bringing in an off-the-shelf solution is more cost effective than internally developing training or sending employees away to costly offsite training.

>> Not only is e-learning more cost-effective, it has been shown to have higher application rates to the job, thereby increasing the potential to move the needle more effectively than other types of learning programs.

Four Objections

When meeting with stake-holders, don’t be surprised by resistance you may experience; inevitably, with change comes objections. Here are four common objections you might face and ideas for how you might handle them.

>> Objection 1 –  “Employees don’t have time to learn.”

Response – Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, once said, “The only sustainable competitive advantage is to learn faster than your competition and to be able to act on what you have learned.” Learning is simply not an option in today’s highly competitive, agile, global environment.

>> Objection 2 – “E-learn- ing isn’t effective.”

Response – Not only is e- learning highly effective, but it has also demonstrated better transference rates than traditional classroom training. Ask your prospective e-learning provider to disclose its typical transference rates.

>> Objection 3 – “Learning must be customized.”

Response – Your stakeholders may tell you that off-the-shelf learning is not as effective as custom, proprietary learning. As a general rule of thumb, half of all learning within any organization is generic — meaning that the same general content and learning objectives apply across the industry, while the remaining half is unique to the personality of that organization and needs to be custom- developed either internally or externally.

>> Objection 4 – “The value learning brings to workforce improvement or business gains is highly questionable and hard to measure.”

Response – A great learning partner will be able to guide you through a measurement process to determine the impact to the business. The Center for Talent Reporting (www. centerfortalentreporting.org) is one of several organizations that defines standard practices for measuring learning’s efficiency.

Arrange a meeting with your stakeholders to see common goals for themselves, and address any objections that occur. Influencing them to be on the same page will help to enable a stronger, more unified stance to bring an e-learning program to your organization.

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