Remember the last time you organised training for your team? If you’re like most businesses, there was probably some tipping point that led you to hire a trainer or send staff to a workshop.
Whether it’s due to client feedback or concerns about staff productivity, a common scenario is a small ‘niggle’ that festers and grows until someone decides they’ve had enough and it’s time to throw some money at it in the hope the situation will improve. There may also be more than a little wishful thinking in the mix because the problem’s now shared with a third party who might just have a magical solution.
Unfortunately there is no magic wand! However, here are some ideas you can use next time to ensure you’re spending your learning-and-development dollar wisely.
1. Identify outcomes
You’ve briefed a trainer and organised the venue, catering and participants. Great! Now, before the session, you should spend at least as much time deciding how you will know if the training has been effective.What are your measures of success? What’s the goal you’d like to achieve?
Think about the appropriate targets that you can measure both before and after the session. For a time-management workshop in a professional service business, for example, this may be the number of client calls, completed tasks or new proposals in a given time period. Once you’ve determined your measures, record your starting figures.
2. Have the right people in the room
It may seem obvious to you which staff need to attend the training, but don’t be afraid to think laterally.
In the time-management example above, it makes sense to broaden your scope to other team members who will impact the staff you want to train. Despite all the best information and intentions, your training attendee won’t have a hope of managing their time better if they are continually interrupted by their peers or even by a micromanaging boss (which does happen). Do other staff need to be in the room too?
3. Monitor and measure
Most businesses do a great job of collecting participant feedback at the end of a training session. This is useful information, but nowhere near as important as what happens when the post-workshop enthusiasm wanes and reality hits. Then it’s time to pull out your targets from the first step above and decide on the time frames for measuring performance against the targets. You will then have the data you need for making decisions not only about the return on investment, but also about future training and coaching needs.
Smaller businesses don’t typically assess the effectiveness of training. It’s not because they don’t care about getting value for money — it’s because they haven’t thought through how it could be done. With these ideas for getting ROI on your training dollar, you can make it a priority for your next training program.