Aligning Training Project Intake to Business Strategy

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With any employee being able to initiate a request for training project intake, the L&D department can quickly become overwhelmed.

Nowadays, every employee feels empowered and enabled to seek training in order to do his or her job better. Knowing that L&D is considered a strategic resource within an organization, more employees and managers are leaning on training as a way to increase not only job satisfaction but also productivity.

However, standardizing the training intake process does more than just reduce the avalanche of requests: it ensures that training project intake aligns with overall business strategy.

Let’s have a look at how a streamlined, strategic, and sensible approach to training intake furthers the initiatives of the business.

training project intake meeting

1. Incorporate strategy as early as possible

While instructional design principles have long been used in the development of courses—based on proven strategies that align with the employee’s learning profile–the actual intake process has oddly enough never kept to proven strategies. 

Casual mentions during a coffee break, Post-It’s left on a colleague’s desk, or an email sent to a generic HR inbox were the norm when requesting training.

Such informal, arbitrary requests could not possibly be taken seriously; the importance or relevance of the request would not be fully known at the onset.

A training intake process assures employees and managers that the initial request for training is something to be taken seriously, and is a strategic component of the L&D team’s decision to add particular training to its backlog.

“We need to be in the initial conversation if we re really going to add value. When requests come to us later in the process,
there is no room for us to consult or to verify that the solution is addressing the real issue.”

Joanne, L&D Senior Manager

2. Encourage employees to think about the business

When you notify employees and managers about a formal intake process, they will think about training in more strategic ways.

A training intake process requires a lot of thinking on the part of the L&D team. The form will be web-based, but what information to gather? The L&D team should spend a significant amount of time carefully framing questions on the training request form in order to fully analyze the request and decide if a course would have a bottom-line impact.

When employees have to provide answers to questions covering not only the basics (Who is the training for? Are there resources that currently exist?) but also the impact to the business (What will be the business outcome of this training? How will you measure the effectiveness of this training?), they will be more strategic in their requests. This, of course, helps L&D do its job better, saving time having to seek answers later on.

We’ve done all the work for you with this free
downloadable training request form. Check it out!

3. Decisions, decisions: which ones to select?

A training request process also has strategic decision-making built in: it must serve as a framework for assessing and prioritizing training requests against the organization’s goals and current business needs.

This is where a combination of automation and human intervention is in order. Requests can be automatically rejected because they are incomplete or do not meet specific criteria. Additionally, a course request can be rejected because it too closely matches an existing course on the LMS.

Implementing a scorecard or rating system of some sort to rank the requests in order of relevance or importance means the (human) members of the L&D team can decide which requests to further and fully consider.

training intake processes

4. Connect to other “people” analytics

The beauty of a formal, standardized training intake process is that it produces more insights—and data—about the organization’s employees. (Do you hear that, data scientists?)

In a final step to align training intake processes to overall business strategy, even though all requests will not become fully-fleshed out courses, L&D can deliver yet another key level of insights to the human resources function. Data about training project intake requests can certainly be integrated into an organization’s “people” analytics—perhaps even integrated into the ATS.

Training intake can signal to the HR function and even the C-suite whether there are skill gaps needing attention. This can serve as a highly effective way to address any shortfalls before they become problems. In a way, training intake can serve as a source of opportunity for the organization to stay several steps ahead.

analyzing training requests

Interested in learning more about the strategic value of
overhauling your training intake processes? Check out this free ebook!

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