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Return on training investment — prime concern for training and development in organisations

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There is a tendency by some organisations to use training as an incentive for those employees who perform exceptionally well. This approach can motivate employees in the short term, but in the long term it is not the best option to invest training funds. There is need develop a training plan that links the skills that need to be developed the organisation’s strategic plan. The participants to the training session need to be aware why the skills being learnt matter to the organisation. This will ultimately ensure the participant has the chance to be more focused and will treat the training as a serious business activity and not holiday away from work.

Visionary leaders and organisations recognise the value that comes with training as a valuable tool for personal and professional development and therefore set an annual budget training budget.
Most people talk about having attended excellent training away from their usual environment, but unless the training experiences fit with what they do back at work it may not really necessary. The best equation would be to pick great training, ensure that what is acquired would apply in the work situation and the result would be a tremendous return on the investment for the funs spent on training. Most organisations, however, do not take stock of their training initiatives to see whether they are realising any return on their investment. Their approach is usually that of training for the sake of satisfying the needs of auditors at the end of the day.

What then do organisations need in order to increase return on their training investment? There is need for them to look beyond the training event alone but take responsibility for what will take place after the training event. The following are some the ways in which organisations can increase their return on training investment.

Align training investment with business needs — There is a tendency by some organisations to use training as an incentive for those employees who perform exceptionally well. This approach can motivate employees in the short term, but in the long term it is not the best option to invest training funds. There is need develop a training plan that links the skills that need to be developed the organisation’s strategic plan. The participants to the training session need to be aware why the skills being learnt matter to the organisation. This will ultimately ensure the participant has the chance to be more focused and will treat the training as a serious business activity and not holiday away from work.

Invest in good training — Once a decision to spend money on training has been made, it definitely has to be spent on good stuff. There is need to be very critical of the kind of training to determine whether it focuses on relevant skills and delivers those skills in an effective way. This might mean training in smaller groups which allows for more interaction and reinforcement trough repeated practice and therefore at a higher cost. In training, you get what you pay for just like what happens in many other things in life. The cost element is not significant when compared to the possible improvement in service delivery to be realised after training.

Facilitate pre-training briefing and set post-training expectations — As a line manager, you job does not end when you identify training needs, and schedule the training, it is just the beginning. There is need for you to a pre-training briefing meeting with those who are going to attend training and discuss areas that could valuable to them and to the organisation. Have them think about their goals for the training. It may not easy at first, but with time, they are going understand where you are coming form. It is also important to schedule a post-training briefing where a review of what has been learnt is discussed while giving them an assurance that you are ready to support them in reaching their goal(s).

Have a follow-up meeting — During the post-training briefing, there is need to have a follow-up meeting where the line manager sit down with the employee and assists him/her in coming up with a specific action plan for trying and/using what they learned. The meeting should end with a defined plan with a timeline. This will ensure that whatever has been learned will be transferred into the work situation.

The steps that we have discussed above do not require any additional monetary investment. The only investment required is time, thought and energy. These activities will ultimately transform the dollars spent into real organisational improvement.

Paul Nyausaru is a training and development practitioner. He can be contacted on email pnyausaru@yahoo.co.uk, pnyausaru@gmail.com.

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