Returns on Training Investments Aren’t Automatic…2

People-development converts payroll costs to asset-investment

2015-09-18 07.36.45Post 2: Returning to convince Brenda to release training funds and allow his supervisors to strengthen their coaching skills, Dan cleared his throat before beginning.

“I understand your skepticism regarding the return on training investments. Every training group I’ve worked with has struggled with measuring those returns. They are difficult to measure because the results are often intangible or represented by data that no one is quantifying: time saved by confident leadership decisions, improved judgement calls, reduced absenteeism, reduced rework, engagement fueled by improvement, energy generated by encouragement… the list is long.

“But you are right, the simple measure of improved results would be confirmation enough if we all lived in a laboratory that maintained a level playing field. But instead of working to a standard cadence and pristine environment, we work with people who are impacted by personal lives; we work with employees who are hired into and ushered out of our experiment; we work with leaders who tweak those performance measures routinely; we work with technologies, market trends, regulations, and culture changes out of our control. And most of those changes drive performance dips that are cost-prohibitive to calculate and convert into ROI equations.

“Wait, Brenda, I’m not making excuses, but these realities are considered by many to be excuses offered by the training groups I’ve worked with. So several years ago, I decided to take control of all training my teams are exposed to.” Dan took a breath, wondering how many of his 20 minutes were gone.

Brenda gave a sly smile, “I know you don’t conduct all trainings yourself, because I remember your leaders were originally budgeted to travel to this training.”

“You’re right, but by partnering with the trainers on how I can influence success, I take strategic actions that help ensure my employees actually learn fast enough to apply the training and make a difference that can be measured. Can I take a few minutes to share those actions with you?”

Brenda sat back; this sounded different. “Take the time you need, but I am not a soft-sell.”

“I’m shocked.” Smiling, Dan transitioned into the coaching tone he used with his supervisors. “One group told me that 90% of their training participants never know why they are sent to class, so their buy-in to learn is limited from the start just because their boss didn’t tell them how important it is. So my first step is preparation:

  • I first review the objectives and sometimes the content, ask the trainer any questions about the application expectations they have for my team, and offer any input to help them apply the content to my teams’ actual jobs. If I don’t have the expertise or time for this preparation, I delegate it to one of my leaders & get feedback.
  • Before their employees take the training, I ensure that my supervisors have either attended the training or have gained the knowledge some other way.
  • Most critically, I ensure every person I send to training is prepared with why they need the knowledge and how and when they will be expected to use it.”

Reality: Training classes alone are never enough to drive returns. Operational leaders must partner to ensure returns on the time, funding and change investments required to apply new learning.

FOLLOW US & don’t miss the next PEPPERBOX blog: Will Dan convince Brenda to fund the training for his supervisors? What other actions does he take to ensure the business reaps the value of training expense?

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