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Four ways to get manager buy-in to training


Manager buy-in is critical to the succesful development of the workforce. Elva Ainsworth provides some tips to get managers on board.

No matter how innovative or revolutionary the content, and despite using the latest digital tools to deliver and engage, when it comes to corporate training programmes that deliver positive organisational change and boost performance, there needs to be a level of commitment from those involved.

The question is, how can trainers ensure that they have the commitment of those in front of them, and how can training executives within organisations be sure that the people being developed are actually committed to bringing the new concepts and ideas back into the workforce?

"A clear, tangible vision for the future must be outlined and this same vision must be adopted and shared by all involved." 

Clearly, one of the biggest challenges that HR departments face on a daily basis is getting line manager buy-in to new initiatives and projects. But unfortunately, without that all-important level of commitment in a workforce, it’s extremely difficult to drive positive change and meet objectives – if not impossible.

It is worth remembering that everyone is 100% committed to something. For example, there’s a good chance that the finance director within your business is committed to cutting costs wherever possible, and that the marketing director is totally committed to generating new ways to promote the company.

In an ideal world, every single team member would be 100% on board with new HR initiatives and training objectives, but in reality – people’s individual commitment can lie in different areas. The key is to identify where this commitment is lurking and try to positively boost and align the commitment of all parties involved. Commitment from line managers is essential for the success of any learning and development venture.

With that in mind, here are four strategies to gain the all-important commitment levels:

1. Sell, sell, sell

A good salesperson will make people like and want to buy their products. Similarly, to gain commitment from others, you must effectively sell your concept to them. Selling an idea involves a clear and focussed communication of the benefits. To achieve full commitment to training from all parties, you need to confidently put across the reasons why a total buy-in on their part is essential for success.

2. Mirror

Metaphorically speaking, you need to hold a mirror up to your organisation. Show a workforce what is happening right now, help them to see a current situation in its reality and help them to acknowledge present circumstances. It can be hugely transformational to allow people to see where they are today and discuss whether that’s the right place to be going forward.

3. Possibility and belief

To garner 100% commitment from all parties, both you and them need to truly believe the desired outcome is achievable. There is no way you can fully engage with a concept or a strategy if you think it will fail. A clear, tangible vision for the future must be outlined and this same vision must be adopted and shared by all involved.

4. Engage and involve

Proactively engage all the individuals concerned. Make them intrinsically involved and ensure their contributions are valued. If people are involved in the finer details, they’ll inevitably become concerned and connected to the outcome. This is about creating total buy-in from start to finish.

These are just a few ways that training programmes can deliver the change and shifts in thinking that they intend. It is the final piece of the jigsaw, and sadly the one that all too often is missed.

Elva Ainsworth is the managing director at coaching and 360 degree experts Talent Innovations. Download the latest whitepaper on commitment by clicking on

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