Feel like you're doing great work but your organisation just doesn’t get it?
I’ve been there too, friend.
L&D teams and their work are fundamental to any organisation’s growth and reaching its goals (they should be, anyway). However, often their contributions are overlooked, and their impact remains unnoticed. You can improve this situation by building a brand for your team.
In a time where economic conditions are sending shockwaves through organisations across the globe. It’s never been more important for L&D teams to be at the forefront of showcasing their impact.
Building a brand for your L&D team means creating a strong identity and messaging which clearly highlights the team's objectives and impact. Yes, it’s about blowing your own trumpet, but if you don’t, who will?
Think about it. If you’re not telling people what you’re working on and what you’ve deployed, how can they use and get value from it? This is a time to build obvious connections with your audience.
The A-Z brand building guide for L&D
Ok, to get your good work seen, people need to know who you are and what you do.
Definition: Team Branding
Team branding is the process of shaping the perception others have of your team. It follows a similar arc to all brand management processes. You start with defining your team brand, which is really just how you want your team to be perceived based on collective skills, strengths, weaknesses, and personalities. Crafting this definition should be a collaborative effort to ensure an honest and aligned point of view.
Here’s 6 steps you can take to craft a brand that puts you, your team and your work in the best position to succeed.
1. Define your objectives
Before embarking on any branding exercise, it is essential to define the objectives of the L&D team.
- What are the goals of the team?
- How do they contribute to the organisation's success?
Once these objectives are defined, you can create targeted messaging that highlights its impact. These are the things you want to share with all departments and senior leaders. Of course, in a non-obvious way 😉.
2. Establish an identity
A strong identity can help L&D teams stand out.
Your people can’t be successful if they don’t know what’s available on the learning and performance front, that starts with knowing you exist.
A few questions to consider:
- How do you want others teams to view your team?
- What’s your 60-second elevator pitch?
- How can you celebrate success with the organisation?
Your team’s identity is entrenched in what people see and hear about your work.
It’s wise to spend time on your messaging so you’re precise in what the organisation should know about you. Keep to this messaging, and you’ll soon have a solid identity.
3. Leverage internal channels
Collaboration platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams are often where people connect.
You can use these spaces to your advantage. What better way to connect with people than where they already are? So, don't be shy about sharing what your team is working on, promoting deployed content and sharing success stories.
Don’t forget about the ever-present king of communication - email.
We all receive too many emails as it is. The key to getting your work noticed is in sharing it with the right people. Yes, this means not hitting “send to all” on every update. Be intentional with who is best placed to receive your content.
|👉 A tailored message to 20 of the right people far outweighs a mediocre one to 2000.|
4. Collaborate with other departments
An easy way to build a positive brand and be visible is to make friends with as many departments as possible.
When I want to build a new relationship with a fellow department, I put my detective hat on to do some research. I canvass my internal network to discover the department's current pain points or blockers. I use this intel to provide potential solutions when I do my first outreach.
As an example, here’s something I wrote to a Tech Infrastructure Director at a previous organisation:
“Hey x, by quick way of an intro, I’ve just joined x to lead the L&D team.
As you can imagine, I’m excited to get to know our business a little better. This brings me to your inbox today!
I’ve been speaking to members of your leadership team and they tell me that the department has blockers in these areas:
- Blocker 1
- Blocker 2
- Blocker 3
We have some great resources and experiences in our team that’ll help you navigate these. I’ve shared the content below so you can check it out.
Hope these help.
I’d love to get some time to learn more about you and the team over the next few weeks as I build our strategy.
This works because it is more than an intro.
I tell the recipient who I am, what I do and immediately show them how I can add value. We remember those that help us the most. I can't think of a better way to kick off a relationship.
You can deepen these relationships by co-creating key projects. For example, partnering with your local marketing department can help create compelling case studies and success stories that can be shared with stakeholders.
5. Measure and showcase your impact
Measuring the impact of L&D work is essential to showcase the team's value.
This is a sticky point for many fellow L&D pros, I get it. I’m not here to debate the right and wrongs of measurement (we’ll leave that chunky topic for another day). Instead, let’s focus on what could be most useful for your audience.
Metrics that showcase engagement, performance and contribution to retention rates are going to catch the eyes of your senior leaders.
You can easily collate data on generic engagement with content and experience with any good learning system. Measuring performance and retention are a little trickier, but can be done. My advice here is to leverage data from employee surveys and team health checks (if you do them) to connect the dots with this data.
6. Stay up-to-date with industry trends
Keeping your thinking and skills fresh with the industry is essential for everyone.
L&D team or not, it pays to keep updated. Here are some ideas to keep ahead of the game:
- Attend conferences and workshops related to L&D industry trends (Donald Taylor is one to watch in this space)
- Subscribe to relevant industry publications and newsletters to stay informed.
- Join online groups related to L&D industry trends and participate in discussions.
- Follow thought leaders in the L&D industry on social media.
- Attend webinars and online training sessions.
- Connect with other L&D professionals in the industry through networking events and social media.
- Partner with industry experts or consultants to gain insights and knowledge on emerging trends.
- Set up regular team meetings or brainstorming sessions to discuss industry trends and how they can be applied to your organisation.