April 25, 2011 11:33 AM
At Innovative Learning Group we did an informal poll a while back and asked leaders inside corporate learning functions what they do to market their departments. The response we received was, "not much." "Not much?" I thought to myself ... if you don't market your training department, who will?!
It's not enough for a training department to simply put courses on the LMS (Learning Management System) and hope people come. Employees throughout your company need to know about your department and why you exist.
Why Is This Important?
The first and most important reason to market your training department is because you're doing good stuff. You're doing things that are improving skills and knowledge, you're improving performance, and you're helping the organization reach its business goals. By sharing this important work you'll be seen as a credible and critical part of the company, not just as a support function. And, over time, you'll be able to gradually educate leaders and others about the crucial linkage between training and performance and results.
What Should You Be Sharing?
There's certainly a lot to share. Get the word out by sharing:
- Upcoming course offerings
- Learning paths by role
- Skills needed for the future
- Research indicates that companies which place a higher value on learning have higher stock prices
- Success stories
- Awards your department and staff have received
- Business results you've helped achieve through learning and performance solutions
- Simple tips to improve performance without training
- Speaking engagements you and your staff have completed
- Conferences in which you've participated and what you learned from them
- The difference you're making by playing leadership roles in professional associations
How Do You Do This?
There are many options from simple conversations in the hallways to formal company-wide communications that will help you spread the goods news about your learning function. Try some of the following techniques and see what works best:
- Post highlights to your company's intranet
- Publish a newsletter (print or digital)
- Create a blog written by your CLO (Chief Learning Officer)
- Conduct a learning expo, where people can drop by for a few minutes or stay for the day, that showcases some of the work you're doing
- Implement a Learning Management System
- Weave your learning accomplishments into every meeting or forum you attend
- Bring in a guest speaker who validates that the things you're doing are the best practices in the industry
- Equip your team to serve as ambassadors of learning and performance everywhere they go
- Keep your department leaders up-to-date on the various projects, so he/she can talk about accomplishments during his/her executive meetings
- Partner with the corporate communications department to ensure your "news" is shared within the company and externally, when appropriate
The most effective approach will be to use a mix of these options. The more you can share the better.
There's no better time than now to reach out and let your organization know about the contributions that learning and performance professionals make to the bottom line every day.
I'd love to hear what you're doing inside your organization to get the word out.