5 Steps To A Successful Corporate Learning Program
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The Road Map To A Successful Corporate Learning Program

How do you navigate development of a successful corporate learning program?

  • Step 1: Go to www.google.com.
  • Step 2: Search "Top Corporate Learning Providers".
  • Step 3: Scroll through the first 20 pages and come to no conclusion because everything looks exactly the same.
  • Step 4: Close your laptop.
  • Step 5: Try again tomorrow...

Does this sound like you? Countless searches, demos, and presentations of the latest and greatest learning programs/systems that, each time, claim to provide higher engagement, develop leaders, or even increase sales? If this was the case, why did the Salesman have to call you? Wouldn't you already be throwing your money at him?

There are hundreds of corporate learning providers with more springing up each day. How do you even begin to differentiate them, find what is best for your company and, most importantly, your money? I’ve put together some very simple steps you can take before you get to your first presentation to ensure that you are getting what your company really needs. I have had the privilege of consulting with many businesses in all stages of this process, and they have all benefited from these steps tremendously. Let us have a look.

1. Needs Assessment

A Needs Assessment is much like a home with a solid foundation. It will last through the strongest storms and remain standing tall. An Internal Needs Assessment is key before taking any steps in your learning journey. Survey your entire company, ask about learning styles, how they currently learn, how they would like to learn, what time is most suitable for this to happen or even if they are open to mobile learning. Gather as much data as you can as it will only benefit you down the road.

2. Know Your Audience

Once your Needs Assessment is done, compile all of your data. You now have a complete breakdown of your entire company. You are now able to uncover trends and insights you may not have been aware of. For instance, maybe the Sales team learns best in the afternoon when prospects are at lunch and they enjoy watching a video on negotiation on their smartphone. As opposed to the Engineering team, who learn best in the evening when things slow down and they enjoy an interactive session regarding team collaboration on their laptop. This is a valuable insight that will allow you to partner with the most suitable provider.

3. Budget, Budget, Budget

This is the make it or break it moment. If you run a Learning and development department is the budget coming from your area or is it coming from Sales for sales training or IT for IT training, etc.? Know where the money is coming from, whom you need to get the correct approvals from and when you want to launch a successful corporate learning program. This is extremely important as you can then back into the launch date to ensure you have adequate time for the previous steps, and not rush the process to get a budget approved. In some cases this may be your first corporate learning purchase if you can develop and put into place a buying process; it will benefit you and your company greatly!

4. Get The IT Department Involved Early

This is also a key part of this process. You are going to be looking to integrate a corporate learning program which will most likely have to involve IT to some extent. If you get them involved early and often, they will be able to help with questions around integration, system requirements, feasibility, timing, etc. This will become of great value when you begin product demos and in early conversations with vendors.

5. Finding Your Best Fit

You now essentially have every step you need to begin meeting with vendors; most importantly, you know your needs as a company and are able to communicate this to help eliminate vendors who don't fit your needs and eliminate solutions that don't match up. My last piece of advice is to start small and look to scale up as time goes on. There is nothing wrong with running a test group in the Sales department and then building this out as you become comfortable with a vendor.

Final Word

As I mentioned earlier, these steps act as the foundation for the future success of your learning program. With the new year approaching, it is extremely important to spend your budget where it will benefit you and your staff the most. Feel free to add more steps to this process, because the better you are prepared internally for vendor conversations, you greatly increase your success rate and ultimately guarantee a higher return on your investment!

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