How to Get Senior Leadership Buy-In for Employee Training Programs

Designing Digitally


How to Get Senior Leadership Buy-In for Employee Training Programs

Please note this blog was updated on 1/7/2021.

Decision-makers have hundreds of items on their to-do lists every week. Add to that list a couple of employee training program proposals, and it might be too much to handle. But one thing is clear: a successful business caters to the growth of its employees. Thus, leadership support for training programs is paramount. When employees grow, so do companies. This is what Stephen Covey calls a 'win-win situation.'

But, getting top management to agree to an employee training buy-in can be difficult. First off, there are tons of businesses out there with similar services. Every day executives get bombarded with proposals from all directions. There is tremendous pressure on high-level managers and executives to make the right choice. Get the support of these decision makers by overshadowing all other competitors for the leadership buy-in throne. We suggest a few ways to do this below.

Second, there's no one-size-fits-all training program. So, you need to do the right background research. You'll have to know the business' exact needs. And, you'll want to prepare a polished pitch. Otherwise, chances are that high-end executive will gloss right over your proposal.

You might have the best training program. But, if you can't convince others of its value you'll have a tough time getting leadership support for training programs. Below are some key strategy points to think about before your presentation.

Know Your Audience

This is the part where you do your homework! Before making an appointment, make sure you know who you'll be addressing, figure out what the company needs are, and what specific problem you can solve for them. It could be that leadership support for training programs already exists. That means you'll need to sell your idea to mid-management. Finding the entry point is a very important first step. Still, you'll need in-depth knowledge of the company to achieve leadership buy-in.

Create a Structured Pitch

It's time to write up that amazing pitch. Nothing spells professionalism like a mind-blowing presentation. Based on what you know about your audience, you might use slides, charts, graphs, or other types of imagery. An interactive presentation might work well for some. For others, low-key whiteboard and markers might be a surprisingly effective tool. It all depends on the format they prefer. If the audience is a lively one you can include them in the pitch to help you prove a point. Often, a short presentation will be more effective than a long drawn-out game of numbers.

Still, keep the presentation light. Too much data can be a turn-off. You can link the main points to longer documents for individuals to peruse if they feel the need for more info. Focus on the problems or opportunities that will be addressed and how your training program will add value to the business.

Give a Clear Outline of the Benefits

When talking about benefits make sure to connect each of them to a company goal. This will show your audience that you know what you're talking about. It will also tell them that you know how to solve their problems. Link their company's growth strategy to your training program and you'll gain their approval. This is where your thoroughly-done research will shine through.

Despite your amazing presentation, are executives and managers still unsure whether to buy-in? Knowing why they're apprehensive is just as important as knowing why they would buy. Make sure to insert some factual proof of what can happen if leadership buy-in falls through. It's important for them to know what they'll be missing out on.

Read also: How to Get Your Chief Learning Officer to Buy-In for Training Ideas

Define How Your Program Will Impact Their Growth

The most important part of your presentation will be about the return on investment. Leaders will want to know what they are getting for their money. You'll need to be clear about how your training will impact the company goals and long-term strategy. You'll also have to present a plan for measuring results.

Present your strategy for how the training process will unfold. Show what metrics can be measured straight away. Things like employee performance, increased productivity, and other immediately measurable metrics will be more visible. Other results will have a time dependency. Predicting the long-term impact can be more difficult.

One way to bypass this issue is to provide clear results from similar companies that adopted your training program. Case studies are your best bet for proving that your employee training program works. Also, having a system in place for gauging employee satisfaction throughout the training can help optimize the process.

Be Transparent About the Bottom Line and Calculated Risks Involved

Do not be vague about the costs involved. No one likes unclear price tags, so make sure to have a breakdown of costs and where the money will be going. Presenting yourself as an expert in the field will go a long way in building trust. This will justify your fees since they'll be getting an expert with many years in the field. Make sure to also talk about the costs they will cut if they decide to go with your program.

There are two types of risks: reckless and calculated. Executives and top-level managers will want to see a calculated risk strategy from you. A good risk management strategy will show your buyers that you master your field, you have a backup strategy, and know when to quit.


All things considered, it comes down to having confidence in yourself and in the value of your training program. Leadership buy-in can come easy if you know which buttons to push. Make sure to inspire professionalism, be a master of your industry, and keep your pitch clear and concise- backed by real-life data.

Designing Digitally specializes in creating custom training strategies that are designed to address your unique business needs and create positive behavior changes in your employees. To learn more about our innovative learning solutions that are sure to impress the leaders at your company, book a free consultation with our team today!

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