Published on 2012/02/28

Removing Barriers To Stakeholder Engagement

Removing Barriers To Stakeholder Engagement
To help students get past learning barriers, corporate education leaders must emphasize competency evaluation and measurement. Photo by New York City Department of Transportation.

One of the biggest hurdles to gaining stakeholder buy-in includes the ability to create a plan for employer engagement in pre-learning and post-learning activities.  While there are a number of organizational leaders that demonstrate a high level of interaction, others see little need to be involved in the process.  It is this lack of involvement that places stakeholder performance at risk.

Why Clear the Hurdle?

Leader engagement is required to drive learning performance and improve individual and collective skills.  One of the first steps in overcoming the engagement hurdle includes identifying gaps in performance and new competencies required for the job.  Once gaps and new competencies have been identified, the learning organization will formulate a training plan that outlines stakeholder involvement. To be successful with the development of new learning initiatives and continuing education programs, employer involvement is a critical role in defining desired learning outcomes.

For increased participation, partner with leaders and other key stakeholders to identify skills that employees should demonstrate by the end of learning activities.  Leaders should also attend employee-training sessions.  Contributions to expected behaviors and improved awareness creates greater ownership!  After all, though employees are responsible for demonstrating skills, leaders are accountable for continued reinforcement of desired behaviors

A Plan for Clearance

Another step in clearing the hurdle involves partnership with senior leaders to gain agreement on developmental activities is critical.  This group of leaders within the organization has a distinct advantage in setting learning expectations.  To extend this partnership, learning leaders must be prepared to demonstrate a return on time invested in development activities.  Clearly defined training strategies that articulate the link between business driven organizational objectives and development activities will tremendous benefits including the following:

  • More engaged stakeholders
  • Improved responsiveness
  • Greater efficiencies
  • Increased organizational partnership
  • Increased employee retention

Maintaining Stamina

Now that you have designed a plan for success, know that authentic engagement extends beyond the superficial request for training.  You know the requests that reflect a “hands off” mindset for stakeholder involvement!  Resist temptation to just let the training organization do the all of the work.  The level of effort demonstrated by all stakeholders will define future success.  It takes a village to maintain progress toward organizational development and desired outcomes!  A considerable amount of work on the behalf of the employer and learning organization is essential to the creation of workplace training programs.

Collaboration of efforts between the employer and learning organization is critical to performance development success so keep everyone involved.  Schedule regular (and meaningful) collaborative meetings to monitor progress and identify emergent performance themes.  Help leaders realize their strengths through performance coaching sessions.  This action will build confidence in the leaders ability to provide post-learning coaching and improve stakeholder engagement.

Organizational Impacts

As training has evolved significantly over the past decade, it is critical to the success of the organizational development function to redefine its structural framework.   A component of this process includes identifying new ways to involve stakeholders.  Refining stakeholder team accountabilities and support provided by the learning organization is a major step in achieving this milestone.

Learning organizations may consider exploring the initial transfer of learning through a variety of media, frequency of employee coaching and assess which platform of learning reinforcement may be used to remedy skill gaps.  Use of learning tools created for stakeholders will offer immediate access to self-development resources designed to boost performance.  Such tools include content available within learning management systems, on-line libraries and peer-development.  Cross-functional organization teamwork is an important part of the engagement equation, as the learning group is not commonly staffed to exclusively solve for all skill gaps.

To improve organizational learning engagement success, corporate education leaders must emphasize competency evaluation and measurement at all levels of the organization.  Information extracted from this process will yield valuable data, offer insight to cultivate an appropriate diagnosis and formulate a plan to connect stakeholders in activity designed to clear the training engagement hurdle.

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