Training for finance and insurance: How do we get the the board to buy-in?

Adriann Haney | 03/19/2013

Training for finance and insurance is important, but it’s not urgent. Not for the hard-nosed business leaders sitting in the boardrooms of today’s fastest moving financial institutions.

Keeping pace with change in emerging markets, optimising profits within rigorous new compliance frameworks, managing risk and keeping shareholders happy: these are the issues that really stoke boardroom debate. Trouble is, the majority of board members don’t think these are the issues their training department is there to help with.

Being held in low esteem is never fun, so it’s understandable when the learning experts who fail to get an audience with the board  go on the defensive. Apparently blind to all the benefits that training for finance and insurance can deliver, boards are criticised by L&D leaders for their short-term approach to problem solving and their simplistic understanding of the contribution  that  employees can make to the bottom line.

But who’s really responsible for the image problem that training for finance and insurance has in so many boardrooms? L&D professionals are renowned for their ability to empathise and gain buy-in from the employees who must complete training courses, and from the experts who must participate and share their know-how across the company learnscape. So why is the board so immune to their well-honed ability to convince and motivate?

Training for finance and insurance: L&D must learn how to engage with the boardMore often than not, L&D experts do have the tools and resources they need to talk tough in the boardroom, they just don’t know how to calibrate their output for the directorial debate.

Advanced Learning Management Systems like Absorb are capable of tracking staff development, and spotting knowledge gaps, but with a little thought and lateral thinking, they’re just as capable of delivering the statistical evidence you need to demonstrate genuine ROI, efficiencies and financial saving within the training mix.

Social learning tools like Bloomfire are heralded for their powerful knowledge transfer abilities yet in a trading environment where good decisions mean profit, we fail to connect the improvements we’ve achieved in information sharing with the amount of good, profitable decisions financial executives are able to make during their working day.

With a little effort, advanced authoring tools like Storyline can be calibrated to deliver completion and success statistics that highlight not just company talent, but the financial difference that the best talent delivers to the bottom line.

L&D prides itself on its ability to communicate effectively right across the organisation. We have the talent to engage, the systems to convince and the infrastructure to inspire change. But what we still need to learn is how to use the L&D resources we have now, to win us a place at the top table today.