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Get a Bigger Bang for Your Training Investment

If you want senior leaders in your organization to respect training, you need to make sure it delivers on its promise.

You’ve been told that you need to invest in your employees, right?

Here’s the thing, if you are like me, you don’t toss around your money without a reason to do so. When it comes to training dollars, you do it because you want to change behaviors that will ultimately create better results for your organization.

Those results have value. You can measure them.

You can also measure the costs: Trainer + Travel+ Participant Labor Costs + Donuts + Anything else you can identify that you spent money on to conduct the training.

Divide the value of the expected change in results by the training costs and you will discover your return.

Training ROI
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Now we’re ready to get to the point; helping you get a bigger return on your training investment. There are two specific things you can do that will help.

1. Identify the connection between behaviors and results.

You may not be able to prove the exact relationship, but you can certainly come close enough to determine whether your training is making a difference.

Let’s suppose the problem is employee turnover. Through exit interviews you’ve learned that people are bolting because they don’t feel appreciated.

Drilling down a bit, you discover three factors that contribute to the problem:

  1. Employees don’t receive enough feedback from their managers.
  2. When managers do provide feedback, it’s too heavily weighted on the negatives.
  3. Managers don’t say thank you enough.

Now you know what you want your managers to do. You can develop and deliver development activities that will positively change those three behaviors.

This helps you maximize your investment by ensuring the development¬†is focused and directly related to your behavioral objectives. You’re not paying for a lot of extra time and effort on things you haven’t identified as a concern.

And if you got the right answers during your research, those behavioral changes should produce better results (i.e., lower turnover).

2. Talk to employees before and after the training

I’m shocked at the number of times that employees don’t know what a training session is about prior to me introducing the topic.

They know where and when they’re required to show up. They usually know how long it’s scheduled to last. Keeping your employees in the dark about training and the objectives doesn’t help your cause.

Talk to them, preferably one-on-one. Tell them why you want them to be in the training. Tell them the skills you want them to learn and why those skills are important in the workplace. Make sure they understand the objectives you are trying to meet.

After the session, ask them what they learned and how they plan to make the desired behavior changes. Offer your support and provide ongoing reinforcement.

If you want to increase the ROI, your employees will need to make the effort. This only happens when they know what the goal is in the first place.

Make sure your training investment produces results

It’s not enough to schedule a training. Start by being specific about why you need it in the first place. Identify the behaviors you are trying to change. And finally, let your employees in on the plan. Ask them to help you meet the goal and offer to help them as well.

Your employees produce your results. Invest in them so that they can help you reach your goals.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

By Tom LaForce

Tom LaForce is a speaker, consultant, writer, facilitator and coach. Since 1996 he's helped workplace teams improve performance.