How to Develop a Process for Prioritizing Training Initiatives

prioritizing training requests

Hooray! You launched your training intake system. Requests are piling in, and you and the team are thrilled with the response rate and degree of interest in this new system.

However, there’s one big problem: you’re overwhelmed with training requests.

While being bombarded with requests at launch is understandable, continuing to experience high volumes could be a sign that your training intake form is not challenging enough.

To ensure that only the most viable and promising requests get made, consider adjusting the form so that requesters are required to think about the deeper, business impact that that requested course would have on the organization.

As such, the form might include questions or demands such as:

  • What specific situation, challenge, or need is prompting this request?
  • Type of training required
  • Desired business outcome from training
  • What skills or competencies will be learned?
  • Preferred format for training
  • Approximately how many learners will take this training?
  • Does this training already exist within the organization, in some format?
  • What do you expect learners to be able to do after this training?
  • How will you measure the effectiveness of this training?
  • Do you have documents or other resources that can be used as content for this training?

These questions are not meant to alienate requesters. Instead, deeper and complex questions should be required for prioritizing training initiatives for two reasons:

  1. It engages business partners by making them think long and hard about the training they’re requesting. If they’re committed to skills development or knowledge acquisition for their team, then they’ll answer as many questions as necessary on the form.
  2. It gives the L&D team a headstart in building the course. Deeper, richer responses lower risk and speed up the Analysis phase of instructional design. Casual requests made via a sticky note or instant message can’t possibly accomplish this.

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However, even with the most streamlined training intake system, you might STILL be feeling overwhelmed with the number of requests.

What to do? How will you prioritize?

You and your team will need to establish a process for assessing and prioritizing each training request to ensure that your attention is focused on training opportunities that will have the most impact on the organization. 

Prioritizing Training Initiatives Will Help You Be Choosier

Here is a training request process flow chart that you can use to create your training intake workflow for maximum efficiency and impact.

You can also download this flow chart.

Reasons for declining a training request, or for giving it a lower priority, might include the following:

The training can be developed better/faster/cheaper externally

Ready-made, off-the-shelf learning developed by third-party education providers is always an alternative. Such outsourced learning could be your best bet when you realize that the training request is for a course that would be too costly or time-consuming to produce in-house.

With bundles, volume pricing, and discounts, off-the-shelf courses could end up costing much less than building a similar course in-house. Further, with enterprise-level access to such platforms, the employee’s managers and the L&D team can track the usage and progress of learners, usually via a single dashboard view.

Not a training issue

While training delivers workplace competencies and skills, it’s not a remedy for all issues related to employee performance.

The right training intake system and process for evaluation might uncover that training is not really what is needed at all. Indeed, poor employee performance might instead be related to motivation, personal issues, compensation, conduct, supervision, or other issues.

If this is the case, L&D can find these red flags and bring in HR if necessary.

Final Thoughts

Your training team has limited capacity, and simply can’t do it all. A robust training intake system also requires rules or scoring for prioritizing training initiatives so that your team isn’t pursuing projects that won’t have much of an impact, will be impossible to complete in an efficient manner, or are better provided by external resources.

An evaluation system will help you plan better, reduce strain on you and your team, increase productivity, and will lead to better outcomes for all.

Take control of your training intake process with a strategic approach to managing and prioritizing training requests:

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How to Develop a Process for Prioritizing Training Initiatives