5 Signs Your Training Intake System Isn’t Working

training intake system

You and your team worked so hard to roll out a training intake system to streamline and measure the entire scope of requested learning across your organization.

But is it working?

We’ve compiled 5 signs that can tell you whether your training intake system might not be working as optimally as it can be. Some of these signs might be obvious, but some not so much. Let’s take a look.

1. You are receiving too many requests.

Wait, what?

How could receiving too many requests be a sign that there is an issue with the training intake system?

You might be bombarded with requests at launch, which is understandable, as business partners might be excited to try out the shiny new object.

However, if you continue to experience high volumes, then it might be a sign that the training intake form is not challenging enough.

To prevent business partners from just requesting anything under the sun, whenever the mood strikes them, adjust the form so that requesters need to think long and hard about their training request and the deeper, business impact that training would have on the organization.

As such, the form might include such questions as:

  • What skills or competencies will be learned?
  • How long before you are able to apply this learning to your daily work?
  • What are the quantifiable, desired business outcomes of this training?
  • How will you and your manager measure the effectiveness of this training? 

You can even take some cues from this downloadable training request form. While this information is extremely valuable for L&D, this information might be difficult for the requester to articulate. If these questions prove to be obstacles, then they will think twice before submitting a request.

Chances are, if you are bombarded with frivolous training requests, your form could use a makeover.

2. You are not receiving enough requests.

Now, this is perhaps the #1 reason you might have been expecting as a telltale sign of a training intake fail.

If the system isn’t receiving enough requests, it is probably not so much a function of the system but rather of the promotion of the system.

As with any new system, discovery and adoption might be a challenge, especially in large organizations. Put your marketing hat on, and get more managers on board with L&D and your training intake system, so that they can make more use of it.

If you aren’t doing this, you aren’t alone. According to LinkedIn Learning’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report, L&D pros only spend 9% of their time expressing the importance of learning programs to executives.

“Spend more time communicating with executives, and get them to champion employee learning,” advise the authors of the LinkedIn Learning report.

3. You discover managers and employees are creating training on their own.

This should not come as a shock. It’s hard to determine whether training created and carried out independently of the L&D department is a sign that the training intake system is not working.

For one, some training is simply delivered as casual, on-the-job interactions among peers, teammates, and managers. Further, many departments decide to just do this themselves, without L&D’s input.

In its 2019 Global Human Capital Trends report, Deloitte found that organizations are moving towards a “joint ownership, joint accountability” model of workforce learning. In such scenarios, L&D and the business share responsibility for developing learning—even if that learning is short and built into daily workflows.

It also depends on the type of training that is being developed and executed. If you notice that “professional” style training is being delivered at the department level, and that the team circumvented L&D, you might wish to determine exactly why. Rather than a sign of a training intake fail, perhaps that department felt that there was too much friction with your processes, or the development time would have been too long.

Rather than see this as an obstacle, it can spark discussions as to how to improve L&D’s overall processes. For example, maybe your request prioritization framework needs some love, as discussed in this free training intake ebook.

4. Managers and business partners come to you directly with “special requests.”

Another sign of a training intake fail is when managers and employees can’t be bothered with using the proper system and simply make “special requests.”

These no doubt can get annoying. They are a drain on your time, and you have to be “that guy” who has to go back to that individual and explain that an email or Post-It note is not going to cut it anymore.

This isn’t a sign that the system isn’t working as much as a sign of growing pains: as with any new process or system, there’s bound to be those who are resistant at first. Create documentation, provide samples of “good” requests, and publish some tutorials to help users navigate the new system.

Be patient: you will most likely be able to convert them and who knows, these resisters might become your biggest training intake system champions.

5. The system is not in sync with your capacity planning.

As we’ve indicated previously, by strengthening the training intake process, learning leaders place themselves in a much better position to manage and allocate their resources more strategically. Indeed, there is a strong link between your training intake system and your capacity planning.

If your training intake system doesn’t help you and your team understand the resources needed to develop a learning project, then the training intake form needs to be adjusted.

While the learner cannot possibly know the amount of time needed to build a course, the learner certainly does have an idea of the depth of the topic requested and can help L&D to understand that up front. This sets the chain in motion so L&D can immediately consider the resources available.

As more L&D teams are adopting capacity planning to better understand the resources they can put towards a project, the potential project’s needs and complexity need to be determined ASAP to prevent the greenlighting of a project that doesn’t match available resources, leading to failure.

training intake for training projects

In sum, a training intake fail can be due to several factors. As with any new process, it may not necessarily be due to the system itself but rather to awareness and adoption. When more users are on board, you will have sufficient feedback—and data—to make adjustments where needed.

Iteration is key, and learning leaders need to be evaluating all factors from the get-go. With the right adjustments, your training intake system will be a success.

Want to learn more about what training intake processes can do for your learning organization? Check out this free ebook:
Training Intake to the Rescue! How to Make L&D the Superheroes of Your Organization

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