According to LinkedIn Learning Report 2022, 72% L&D leaders agree that L&D has become a more strategic function at their organization.1 However, this doesn’t imply that a leadership development program is always successful. In fact, human resource executives know that there are several challenges that organizations face while implementing these programs. These challenges occur at different stages from planning and coordination to execution and evaluation. Companies that are committed and growth-oriented will take strategic steps to ensure program success.

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Lack of support across the organization

Does your operations leadership development program have the required sign-off from all concerned stakeholders? Any disconnect or disunity in program acceptance can greatly affect its implementation. The top and middle management need to consistently communicate with each other, especially while setting program objectives and developing key messages. In some cases, it may be easier to get support from middle management rather than senior leadership. However, even if the top management is not involved in a hands-on manner, they need to be invested in the training process.

The dilemma of multigenerational workforces

An effective leadership development program should factor in the reality of a workforce that spans different generations. While such a scenario keeps things interesting, there are various differences in conduct, communication styles, career aspirations, beliefs and values, and even expectations, that can impact a training program.A report published by Deloitte shows that only 6% of employees who undertook the survey believe that their managers were equipped to handle a multigenerational workforce.2 It is important that a leadership program gets everyone on the same page in accordance with the company’s vision, mission and corporate culture.

Difficulty in attracting and retaining top talent

Another growing challenge lies in encouraging talented candidates to join and be loyal to the organization. A robust leadership development program can help in this regard as employees want to feel valued. One of the key reasons for attrition is the fact that employees have found greater professional development opportunities elsewhere. This has led to job-hopping as they may prefer to accept an offer that gives them greater room for growth in the long run. Therefore, companies need to intelligently invest in programs that will not only retain top talent but encourage others to join.

Lack of accountability for application

An operations leadership development program will impart new knowledge and skills which need to be applied on-the-job. However, herein lies the challenge. It is, sometimes, easier to limit training to theory and neglect to identify whether it has been implemented on a day-to-day level. Ideally, a training program should have a feature of in-built accountability by having measurable short-term or long-term goals. This will give learners a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that they have achieved pre-set training objectives. It will also encourage the management to continue investing in such programs.

Limited or constrained budget

With growing competition, legal regulations, market dynamics, rising overheads, budgeting for a program for leadership development may seem like a last priority! And there’s no denying the fact that training programs can be expensive. However, it doesn’t have to be if you’re willing to think out-of-the box. For instance, virtual learning has significantly cut costs as employees don’t have to be physically present at the training venue. On the other hand, e-programs can be accessed anywhere and at any time. Therefore, even smaller businesses with limited budgets can reap the benefits of a leadership training program. E-learning also helps to make programs more standardized and scalable. Interactive virtual classrooms, online exercises and training videos can come in handy when physical classroom setups are not feasible.

Off-the-rack content

Are your managers learning from outdated material which was relevant decades ago? Course content needs to change with the times. Today, training techniques, technology and tools have changed the way learners receive and remember information. Content has become interesting, engaging, immersive and interactive. Thanks to the power of technology, there is an unlimited scope for creativity through video content, animation, graphics and superior customizability. Generic training content will only lead to mediocre leaders as it won’t challenge them to be their best.

Smart organizations will experiment with different techniques and strategies to offset these challenges. For instance, adopting blended learning or introducing microlearning initiatives could be creative ways of enhancing program acceptance and success. Look for ways to leverage technology as it can make a tremendous impact at a much lower cost.

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