Strategic training intake is more than just accepting or rejecting whatever training requests may come your way.
The expectations on L&D to produce training that aligns with organizational goals and contributes to bottom-line results have been growing. In lots of ways, it’s a good thing. Budgets are higher and executive management is buying into the value provided by L&D. But it also serves to highlight process cracks that, up until now, have been papered over with unruly spreadsheets, time-consuming email exchanges, and meetings about meetings.
To overcome the challenges of processing and prioritizing training requests, L&D teams need a strategic approach and solid processes.
Each request for training/support you receive as an L&D team is important. But if you’re like many organizations we work with, the capacity of your L&D department has constraints. So prioritization of training requests is necessary to ensure you’re maximizing the value you provide your organization, without overworking your team. The following tips will help you assess and prioritize training requests for strategic wins.
Assess against a scorecard
There are multiple considerations when prioritizing or approving a training request. To facilitate these decisions and ensure they are made strategically, quickly and consistently, we recommend the use of an assessment scorecard. See the example below of how a typical Training Request Assessment Scorecard is structured.
Create a standardized process for training requests
The right tools and processes can dramatically streamline your intake process and ensure you are capturing the information you need during the initial request. This, in turn, will allow you to make strategic decisions when prioritizing requests as well as facilitating a smoother process into course design.
A big part of strategic training intake is using the right training request form. Download this free training intake form template to help you get started!
Reflect your L&D strategy
Your strategy is the foundation of your training request prioritization. How robust it is will depend on your organization, but at a minimum, it should include goals and tactics aligned to your organization’s strategy and budget.
Keep agility in mind
Though an L&D strategy is critical, it shouldn’t always rigidly dictate your L&D activities. Our world is ever-changing and adaptability is critical. Your Sales, Operations, and Marketing departments have learned to stay agile and adapt quickly to market disruptors and new opportunities. So too should L&D. Providing employees with the knowledge, skills, and support they need to deliver on organizational goals is how L&D provides value to stakeholders.
The Training Request Assessment Scorecard
Demonstrating L&D’s strategic value to the organization can mean balancing between delivering on expectations and a realistic division of your resources. To maintain this balance, your approach to training requests must be based on a framework that takes the merits of each individual request into account. Each request can be quickly assessed and prioritized by using an assessment scorecard and evaluation continuum. The first step is to assess each request against a scorecard to determine the number of quadrants that apply to the individual request.
The evaluation continuum applies an action to the value of the request as determined by the scorecard. That action may be to move forward immediately with fulfilling the training request or to await further discussion with the requester or the wider L&D team. The number of quadrants from the scorecard that apply to the request is a strong indication to either move forward or discuss the request further.
By ensuring that your team’s process for assessing training requests is aligned to both your L&D strategy and the business needs that will drive your organization’s success, L&D can position itself as a group that provides invaluable consultation and support, and contributes to bottom-line success.
Staying Flexible With Requests
Having a process like this in place shouldn’t hamper L&D’s ability to stay agile with your approach to prioritizing requests.
It’s important to note that while a project which meets 4/4 of your criteria should likely be prioritized, a project that meets 1/4 should not be immediately dismissed. That’s because at times the weight on one quadrant could be so strong that it supersedes other criteria. For example, your project may only meet “high stakeholder commitment/motivation”, but if it is your CEO who is the stakeholder in question, it is likely that you will move forward.
Top tip: Make your scorecard transparent! It will help you explain to your stakeholders why their request has been prioritized or de-prioritized.
Request prioritization processes = strategic success
To enable the process outlined above, you need a standardized approach to training request intake that will provide you with the information you need to make your strategic assessment.
Proving your department’s value to the organization means demonstrating your contribution to achieving strategic business goals. Prioritizing training requests accordingly (like in the scorecard provided) means you can be sure your L&D team is creating training solutions that drive performance and the realization of these goals.
Want to learn more about the tools and processes that can help with managing & prioritizing training requests? Download this free ebook!