Considerations for Training ROI

In many professional development departments, money-wasted offenses are considered especially unnecessary. At the GU Institute, dedicated professionals assess business weakness and provide training solutions. This is one of their stories.

Although inspired by a case study, the following blog post does not depict actual business professionals, companies and/or leadership decisions.

Late one October morning, call center manager Stewart Greene realized he hadn’t used his professional development budget for the year. Tired of being stuck in a middle management position, Stewart decided to search for workshops that might improve his career. Besides, with most of the expenses paid for by the company, Stewart would ask his wife to join him for a few days away from the kids.

He found a suitable conference on “offstage management.” Excited to relax and spend some time in the sun, Stewart processed the PD Request. Upon C-suite approval – no questions asked – Stewart made the necessary travel arrangements.

To his surprise, Stewart left the conference energized to make a difference at work. Among the new skills he learned, he was most excited to:

  • Empower employee teams to problem solve,
  • Coach staff to work independently in reaching unit goals, and
  • Listen and collaborate for success.

Stewart returned to Midwest Widgets eager to share with upper management. Uninterested and oblivious to his renewed engagement, supervisors told Stewart that they had little time for a meeting and instead asked for a brief written report.

Within six months, Stewart left the company for a new position.

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This story illustrates the untapped power of professional development programs. Many companies like Midwest Widgets unknowingly forego a return on training investments. Funds are approved without thought toward:

  • Training needs,
  • Supervisory support,
  • Maximizing efforts following training, and/or
  • Monitoring effectiveness.

According to the American Society for Training and Development, U.S. companies spent $156 billion on employee learning in 2011. In addition, the Society found that by the time an employee returns to work, he has lost 90 percent of what was learned in training. If employees don’t use the skills immediately upon return to the office, the new skills decay and are eventually lost.

Dr. Eduardo Salas, professor of organizational psychology at the University of Central Florida and program director at its Institute for Simulation and Training, said in an October 2012 interview with the Wall Street Journal:

“What happens before and after a training session is just as important as the actual instruction itself.”

In a white paper on “The Strategic Value of Workplace Training and Development,” the e-learning management technologies company Telania lists these seven benefits of effective training:

  1. Increased productivity resulting in reduced labor costs.
  2. Reduce overall costs of operations when proper training teaches how to recognize quality concerns.
  3. Improved employee confidence and employee empowerment often leads to reduced need for close supervision.
  4. Increased employee effectiveness when training aligns workers with the organizational goals and objectives.
  5. Increased teamwork provides greater flexibility and agility within the organization.
  6. Enhanced understanding of specific safety guidelines and proper procedures reduces liability and worker injury.
  7. Ongoing professional development expands employee thought horizons, encourages innovation and allows promotion from within which in turn results in the ability to capitalize on institutional knowledge and intellectual property.

As you consider your training needs for 2013, the GU Institute can help you assess your gaps and develop a plan for increased Return On Training Investment. For information on tailored training, call Executive Barbara Weathers at 816.423.8707.

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