L&D professionals today are adapting to the times by supporting new learning habits, including workplace learning led by managers and employees. Acting as a support team and facilitating learners through the training process has shown to be a successful technique.

But despite its success, many employees continue to cringe at the topic of training. Many employees still link the “T” word to dated traditional learning practices in a classroom setting and not the positive, valuable learning opportunity that it is.

By applying basic marketing principles, L&D professionals can try a new approach and shine a new light on the learning department and convince employees that training is in their best interest.

Three time-tested principles

Marketers use positioning, branding and generating demand to influence attitudes and behaviors. Applying these principles can help employees see the importance of L&D to the organization and their own skill development.

1. Positioning

Step inside your employee’s mind. What rung of the ladder for important resources does the L&D department occupy? The unfortunate bottom rung? In marketing and L&D alike, positioning matters. The L&D department can gain advantageous positioning by first meeting objectives and clearly articulating how it can help employees. It sounds obvious, but unfortunately this doesn’t happen: every learning program should clearly communicate the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) for learners.  With courses bloated by a subject matter expert’s agenda, the true relevancy and practicality sometimes gets lost and the training department unfortunately gets positioned and correlated with “boring” and “compliance.”

2. Branding

Having a solid brand adds clarity and credibility to your L&D department. One rule of thumb for successful branding is to focus on consistent communication. It’s important that every piece of communication, from the welcome letter to the advertisements, adheres to the core essence (or brand) of your L&D department.

3. Generating demand

Demand-generation builds excitement and creates engagement between employees, management and the L&D department. Your team can generate demand by announcing new learning tools or acknowledging participants who’ve successfully completed the course. Whenever possible, release good news and positive messages regarding the program and others will shift their focus toward the L&D department.

A different approach with numerous benefits

For many L&D professionals, it’s not always easy to engage employees with the learning experience. But marketing uses timeless principles that are beneficial to L&D as well. Positioning, branding and generating demand will help give your L&D department the positive recognition it deserves and ensure effectiveness