Published on

November 17, 2022

Reasons and strategies to promote leadership involvement in corporate learning

Jannik Weichert photo

Jannik Weichert

Managing Director


Learning Hub

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Corporate learning is a crucial part of any organization's success, and involving leadership in this process is key to its effectiveness. This blog will discuss why it is important to involve leadership in corporate learning and how to implement it effectively in your organization. We will explore the benefits of integrating leadership into your learning programs and provide strategies for making it a seamless part of your corporate culture.

There are many challenges to achieving your organizational learning goals. These include the use of one-size-fits-all learning content that is not a good fit for everyone. Employees also don’t know where to start and what to learn, resulting in high drop-off rates and low learner engagement rates. This is accompanied by the fact that a lot of employees don’t even see learning as a high priority.

One important key component that helps you to address these complications effectively is the involvement of your organizational leadership in the learning process. Leadership takes a vital role in a learning organization where the leader motivates the individuals towards a shared vision, changes how learning is viewed, and fosters an environment of learning.

What does leadership involvement entail?

Leadership involvement in corporate learning means that leaders within an organization are actively engaged and invested in the learning and development of their employees. This can take many forms, such as providing resources, setting aside time for learning, promoting a culture of continuous learning, and participating in learning activities themselves.

By involving leadership in corporate learning, organizations can ensure that learning and development are viewed as a priority and that employees have the support and resources they need to succeed. Leadership involvement can also help to align learning and development efforts with the goals and strategies of the organization, as leaders have a broad understanding of the company's overall direction. A direct link adds to the organization's perceived value of the learning and development outcomes.

Three reasons why you should promote leadership involvement in corporate learning

1. Managerial knowledge is key to your success

The long-term success of your organization will depend heavily on whether you are able to identify the relevant skill gaps and address them respectively. And no one knows current skill levels, needed future skills, and the resulting skill gaps better than the functional leaders of your organization. They have detailed knowledge about the current skill set of their direct reports and typically also have a good overview of your company’s (skill) development needs.

Tapping into this knowledge pool can help you design your learning programs and determine which employees to upskill or re-skill in a particular area.

2. Managers are a key driver of employee satisfaction and motivation

Two motivated managers

Leaders have a huge impact on employee motivation.

If your leadership does not value learning and development, why should your staff?

Managers have a huge impact on employees. This also applies to learning efforts within your company. Around two-thirds of employees would be more motivated to learn if their direct manager was involved. Let managers become advocates for your learning programs and communicate the value of employee growth within your company through them.

Additionally, managers taking (e-)learning classes themselves can have a positive influence on your team and company culture. They are no longer seen as never failing and all-knowing but rather as a person that wants to develop for the good of the company and themselves.

Another big motivation can be involving c-level managers in the corporate learning strategy. The manager could, for example, film a short video addressing the whole company to show that the c-level is also participating. The manager could additionally challenge all employees by setting up rewards to be earned when reaching specific goals.

3. Managers can ensure that knowledge gained is put into practice

New skills gained during e-learning or offline training classes will not stick very long if your employees don’t get the opportunity to apply them in practice.

Ideally, you should try to create practice opportunities in a safe environment where it is acceptable to fail and improve in the process. Your managers could create such opportunities. If they are involved in the training process, they will know which employee is learning specific new skills. Thus, they could plan department projects and assign employee responsibilities based on their newly gained knowledge.

Three steps to boost your leadership involvement

You will need more than simply knowing the importance of leadership involvement to actually achieve it. It is hard to get everyone on board, especially in a large company, where every manager is very busy with their day-to-day tasks. So here are our top three strategic tips for driving leadership involvement.

1. Make learning mandatory

You could make sure that leadership involvement is mandatory for every single people manager within your company. This could include making learning and development goal-setting a non-negotiable item in feedback meetings and a mandatory element in the employee evaluation process.

Additionally, you could make it mandatory that employees are granted the necessary time for learning. This is a step towards ensuring that learning becomes a priority and is not overlooked due to all the other short-term and, thus, seemingly more relevant tasks.

2. Show the involvement of the leadership

Let your leadership walk the talk.

Set examples and show your employees that their leadership is actively taking part in learning offerings themselves. You could create an internal learning and development newsletter that integrates posts from managers writing about what they have been learning during the last couple of weeks. Also propose to your CEO to film a short video or arrange a podcast emphasizing the value of learning within your company. You can become as creative as you want to be as long as the main message of “learning is important and valued” comes across.

3. Make learning rewarding

Developing team members is one of the tasks that a manager can have the greatest impact in for your company. However, only rarely are functional leads actually rewarded for that task. You could think of ways to change that. Try to set incentives for becoming part of your learning and development programs. Examples include setting a prize or trophy for the best internal development program or making it part of a 360-degree feedback survey. You can think of many other creative ways specific to your company.

Get started boosting learner engagement now

Now that you have learned how to boost leadership involvement in corporate learning and which impact it can have on the engagement of employees, it is important to focus further on your learners. Keeping them motivated and focused on their learning goals is essential to make the shift from jobs to skills. But what are effective techniques to boost learner engagement, and which tips are easy to implement for a successful strategy?

Read our guide for more details.

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