Rolling out new L&D programs - how to build excitement and how to make them stick?

In rolling out a new L&D program, what are some ways you have built up excitement for the program to get people interested in participating? And how have you helped people to continue practicing what they have learned from the program?

Treat it like any other initiative, it requires proper marketing. Brand it, get swag, build hype, make it exclusive etc.

Plan for and schedule regular reinforcement and discussions post training and set that expectation at the outset.

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Branding and swag is HUGE. Even just getting branded pens with the program logo and name will go a long way. Make sure you’ve also branded your L&D function too!

To build excitement and participation, I also recommend you get buy in and support from whoever will be the well-known toughest critic. For me, it’s the manager that has been with the company for a long time and is resistant to change. If I can buy them in, and ask them to be a partner/promoter, I know it’ll be a success. You need your program to go ‘viral!’ so think about who your key influencers are.

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I’ve found the most powerful thing you can do is not be the one talking about it.

Don’t frame it as a new L&D program - have the most senior leader you can (ideally CEO) be the one introducing it as a new company-wide program.

You can follow with the details and specifics, but have them be the one who first puts it on employees’ radar, as well as sharing why they’re excited about, why it’s being adopted, and how it’s going to help the company move forward to achieve its business objectives.

Then, capitalize on momentum. Once you kick off the first session/round/workshop, use one of those participants to be the advocate to share what they learned and why it’s valuable.

Lastly, bring everyone back together. You’ll likely have a series of separate classes, so find time to bring that entire cohort back together and engage them in follow-on discussions that holds them accountable to share how they’ve put the learnings into practice, what works, what is still challenging, etc. This creates a nice peer learning opportunity, too.

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I think it’s especially important to communication how what your employees are going to learn in the program is related to their job performance. If employees can see the explicit connection and understand how it can help them grow, they are more likely to be interested in it, rather than view it as another program that doesn’t really help them move toward their goals.

In terms of practicing what they’ve learned, I would make sure that managers and leaders are prepared to support employees once they have received their training. Research has shown that a lot of times our employees don’t continue what they’ve learned on a training because their work environment doesn’t support practice and/or managers aren’t providing feedback on their performance.

I hope this helps! Would love to hear more about your L&D program!

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