The importance of senior management buy-in to maximise the impact of training

When it comes to making the most of training budgets, there is one, huge, avoidable mistake that could be costing your business £1000s. In brief, that mistake is to assume that the value of training all comes from what is delivered in the classroom.  In fact, what the trainer delivers is only part of the story. 

It's not just what's delivered in the classroom

It’s not just what’s delivered in the classroom

One group within the business, in particular, have a major contribution to make. I’m talking, of course, about The Senior Management Team (SMT).

The quality of interest and support the SMT gives to training contributes a great deal to the success (or otherwise) of the training process. One of the first questions I am asked when running Stress Management training is “Are the senior managers attending this course too?”.

If they are, the delegates are more reassured that there is value and significance to the training.  If they are not, it is very difficult to explain why delegates should invest their time and energy in the training, when the senior managers are not doing the same.

Yet too often the SMT are not involved, and without suitable senior management support, training can so easily be perceived as just a tick-box exercise.  The result: delegates dis-engage because they feel they are being “processed” without any real value to them or the business.

This lack of engagement in training can become part of a larger picture of dis-engagement in general. And as you are aware, this is a huge issue for employers: lack of engagement leading to low productivity and higher staff turnover.

Senior Managers’ contribution to delegate engagement is key to your business bottom line. In ideal circumstances, someone from the senior management team would be actively involved with the training development (or the person/team responsible for it), keeping their SMT colleagues up to speed.

Senior management support is crucial for success

Senior management support is crucial for success

Alternatively, the manager in charge must keep the senior managers informed of what is happening, and ideally, secure their active support for the project.

So what might this active support involve?

By discussing the training in team meetings (for example), senior managers provide the context and can explain the value to the organisation of investing in these specific skills.

Attending the training themselves is the most valuable thing they can do, giving the whole training project value and credibility.

Even demonstrating an interest informally, will have a positive impact:  I once worked for a very large organisation. The senior managers I dealt with always knew what stage of training I was at, and showed an interest in my progress.

This was very inspiring and motivating, demonstrating that the training had significance to the business, and my progress was valuable.

Yes, senior managers have many claims on their time. However, a little time and attention spent promoting, supporting and attending training would:

Make time for staff and listen!

Informal communication is important

  • improve the outcomes significantly
  • increase the return on investment
  • lead to better employee engagement in training, and, in general

Active Senior Management Team support is one of the keys to ensuring your business gets maximum return from training investment.

Because of this, at CLAssociates we take the engagement of senior management seriously.  We can help – for example by meeting your senior management team to discuss your training project, and specifically what they can do to influence the outcomes.

To discuss how CLAssociates can help your business, please contact Charlie on 0771 559 6487 or

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