How to Build a Business Case for Workforce Readiness Technology
Measuring the impact of learning and readiness initiatives on revenue is the billion-dollar question. In today’s uncertain environment, the answer is even more important. Rapidly changing markets, disrupted supply chains, and increasingly knowledgeable customers mean that companies must upskill employees to compete. But the ability to optimize learning—and maximize productivity—takes deep insight into how employees think, learn, and perform, insight which many companies lack.
Today, there’s a new breed of platform that combines learning, communication, and collaboration tools with analytics for a holistic view of learning and development’s impact on results. Workforce readiness technology allows organizations to move beyond assessments and scores to understand how to target activities that move the needle.
As a CLO, VP, or training director, you know this kind of insight is essential to remain competitive. But a growing number of companies are reducing staff, slashing compensation, or cutting spending to preserve cash in this volatile climate. Getting approval for an investment in a new approach can be challenging, unless you can prove the rewards will far outweigh the time, resources, and energy to make the move.
With some tactical best practices, you can build a business case for investing in workforce readiness technology and win over your board, CEO, CFO, CRO, or other executive decision-maker.
6 Benefits of Workforce Readiness Technology
Understanding the benefits of any new platform is critical to selling it internally. Workforce readiness technology combines content, communication, and collaboration tools with analytics in a single platform. These capabilities empower L&D professionals in two ways. First, they’re able to deliver more impactful and personalized learning solutions to employees. Second, they can understand how individuals and teams engage with learning content to drive behavior change across the organization.
When you combine engagement data with competency data, you see a consolidated view of every learning interaction that leads to a successful outcome. Instead of drowning in a sea of siloed information, you gain real-time insight into how learning tactics and content influence specific learners, so you can maximize your budget and create relevant and personalized experiences that drive results.
Here are six benefits of readiness platforms that combine mobile, video, and peer-to-peer networking:
- Access: Deliver critical information to employees in an engaging, intuitive format that’s accessible in the flow of work and allow learners to generate relevant content.
- Speed: Disseminate key knowledge quickly throughout the entire organization without requiring meetings and ramp up content creation.
- Engagement: Drive maximum engagement and reinforce training on complex products and services without disrupting existing processes.
- Collaboration: Establish best practice channels for employees to share observations and foster innovation.
- Insight: Increase insight into individual, team, and company-wide competencies and skills gaps to drive targeted training.
- Scalability: Use AI to deploy, manage, and scale training across the organization to achieve consistent results and improve productivity.
Convincing the Bean Counters
In addition to the six benefits described above, organizations that implement a workforce readiness solution also gain the ability to cut costs, improve productivity, and reduce effort. When measuring training impact, many of us have spent countless hours building spreadsheets, extracting data from our LMS, CMS and other sources, adding and manipulating the information, and creating charts or reports to share up and down the ladder. All this to prove that every dollar spent on training is generating more revenue than the original dollar invested.
But there’s another side to the coin. What if you were also able to reduce costs by not spending on initiatives that are not driving results? Or even better, what if you could reallocate budget to high-performing efforts to boost revenue even higher?
CFOs are focused on ROI. They are responsible for increasing profit and are intent on two things: maximizing revenue and minimizing costs. To make the case for workforce readiness technology, you need to convince your executive team of the value of your investment and demonstrate how spending that money will either increase revenue and/or reduce spend elsewhere.
When preparing your business case, follow these steps:
- Describe the need
- List objectives
- Present benefits of adoption
- List risks of failure to adopt
- Calculate costs and ROI
- Outline implementation and timeline
The Future With Workforce Readiness Technology
CFOs understand the difficulty of proving the correlation between training and results. They want you to be able to show that L&D initiatives make a contribution to revenue. Any new approach will need to provide evidence that it can surpass the current status quo. L&D, traditionally seen as an expense, will always be under scrutiny.
One approach is to frame your investment in terms of existing revenue. Because workforce readiness technology produces actionable data, it creates a predictable ROI model so you can estimate your return in advance of implementation.
According to Forrester, the typical outcome of implementing a readiness platform is a 666% ROI. The following ROI example assumes a conservative 10% lift in sales based on a company with $50MM in revenue. Even so, this sample calculation shows a substantial ROI.
Sample ROI Calculation
After Implementing Workforce Readiness
|10% Incremental Lift||$5,000,000|
(Net gain/technology costs)
Everyone knows that ROI only predicts what happens if things go as hoped. As such, your board, CEO, CFO, or CRO will each have their own angle on your proposal. Try to anticipate their concerns, either by putting yourself in their shoes or by asking them directly in one-on-one meetings.
Key questions to consider:
- Does this tool integrate with our existing technologies?
- Do we have the people and processes in place to support it?
- What period of onboarding/training can we expect?
- What ongoing resources (time, people, money) are required to implement?
- Does this replace or make redundant anything we already have?
- Where will this fit in our existing technology stack?
Most vendors offer documentation and case studies around the ROI that customers have demonstrated with their solution; apply those numbers to your own situation to your best ability and explain your reasoning in your business case.
Making a Strategic Investment
Workforce readiness is much more than just measuring videos viewed or tests completed. It’s about ensuring that your organization is prepared to compete and measuring the impact on revenue. When L&D and training professionals can do this, you’re able to make important, strategic investments for your company. Change isn’t easy, but using the points outlined in this article will help you build a strong business case for workforce readiness technology.
Download our ebook Your Ultimate ROI: How to Master Growth with Sales Readiness Success to see how to accelerate revenue growth, cut costs, reduce risk, and quantify the ROI of your sales learning and enablement efforts.