3 Talking Points to Get Leadership Buy-In for Online Education

Andrew Brown ·

Sep 20, 2021

Research shows that 70% of all organizational change efforts fail. One of the primary drivers of this troubling statistic is that there’s no leadership buy-in.

“We made it this far without it. Why do we need it now?” is a common rebuttal.

If you’re dealing with any hesitation, sit down with the leadership team and talk about these three things.

“Buy-in is critical to making any large organizational change happen. Unless you win support for your ideas, from people at all levels of your organization, big ideas never seem to take hold or have the impact you want.” — John Kotter

1. Show Them That Online Education is a Win-win Situation

Historically, learning and leadership teams’ haven’t always been on the same page, especially when it comes to the ROI and business impact of education. Case and point, a study found that more than 60% of organizations offer training with no connection to strategic business objectives. Likewise, 49% of learning professionals said they struggle to get their managers to prioritize their team.

Clearly, some learning teams struggle to prove the value of learning enough to merit buy-in from the top. This is why you need to approach leadership with conviction and paint an irrefutable picture that eLearning can impact the bottom line.

10 Real-World Benefits of Online Education

  • Reduced churn (Customer Education)
  • Better CSAT scores (Customer Education)
  • Improved retention (Customer Education)
  • Quicker sales (Customer Education)
  • Increased product usage and adoption (Customer Education)
  • Lower turnover (employee education)
  • More workplace efficiency (employee education)
  • Improved employee satisfaction (employee education)
  • More compliance (partner training)
  • New revenue streams (partner training)

RELATED READING: How To: Design a Learner-first Program That Drives Business Outcomes

2. Let Leadership Know That They’re More Than the Pen Signing the Dotted Line

When trying to gain buy-in, the last thing you want is the team thinking you’re only looping them in to get budget approval. Yes, the leadership team will ultimately support or disapprove of your plan, but that’s not the only reason you need them. It’s your goal to let them know that. 

The trick? Involve them well before you etch anything in stone and make it clear that you need (and want) their partnership.

Ask the leadership team and use their responses to craft a program that aligns with them:

  • How do you measure success and company health?
  • Where do you see the company in the next 1, 3, 5 and 10 years?
  • Where do you think the best place is to apply customer education?
  • What learning-related metrics are you interested in?
  • How do you want to be involved moving forward?

Think about it this way: Don’t approach leadership with your plan’s “final” version. Instead, present your plan and ask if they have any suggestions to make it better. Then, keep them in the loop and seek their feedback. By doing this, you’re making it clear that you want them to be a part of the process and not just the pen that signs the dotted line.

3. Focus on the “Why,” Not the “What” of Online Education

Focusing on the “why” instead of the “what” is more philosophical than the above points. But it still has the potential to sway the leadership team in your favor. You’re going to do this with Simon Simek’s Golden Circle. If you’re not familiar with it, see below.

If you’re wondering how this will help your leadership team buy into online education, hear me out.

The short answer: It puts people (employees, customers, partners, etc.) first.

The long (but not super long) answer: Today, people should come before profit — there’s too much competition and too many choices to do anything less. Said another way, if you don’t make it clear that they’re at the heart of everything you do, they could find an alternative who puts them first. Whether you’re using online education to educate employees, customers, partners, or someone else vital to your company, put them in the driver’s seat.

By addressing the Golden Circle, you’re signaling that online education will keep people in control, giving them the knowledge and resources they need to succeed. The same ones that’ll keep them happy and keep them around. That should be music to any leadership team’s ears. 

The Closing Act: Show Them How Easy Online Education Can Be with an LMS

There’s a misconception that starting anything new (and building it up) costs tons of time and money. This holds true with online education. From the leadership team’s perspective, they’re listening to you and thinking, “who’s going to lead this?”, “how much time is it going to take?” and “won’t it be expensive?” are all valid questions. So expect them, but have this response in your back pocket: “We can use an LMS.”

What Can an LMS Do?

  • Create: Build content, courses and learning paths quickly and easily.
  • Manage: Centralize all learning resources and data in one location.
  • Scale: Grow the online education program as the company onboards new customers without sacrificing performance or the learning experience.

    Ready to see how an LMS can enhance your online education program? Reach out and a Norhpassian will be in touch.

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About the Author

Andrew Brown

Andrew is a Content Marketing Manager, helping position Northpass as the utmost thought leader in the industry. When he's not creating content, you can find him watching the Buffalo Sabres, obsessing about Scandinavia (he's learning Danish!), or exploring NYC.

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