Maximising RoI from training

The UK is emerging from recession, but slowly. The British Chamber of Commerce (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11920548) has just downgraded it’s forecast for 2012 to 1.9%, from the 2.2% forecast in September.

The skills needed at work have also changed dramatically over the past few years. And they are going to change even faster as the wave of green jobs accelerates (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11380865).

So business leaders who want to grow profitably in the coming decade will need to invest in training. Training for high performance in what you are already doing, and for many, training in completely new skills. For example, pharma today needs people skilled in developing and manufacturing mechanical delivery devices, after decades needing only people skilled in pills and potions. So the challenge for 2011 for business leaders is the balance of three imperatives:

  1. Maintain a healthy cashflow now, to insure they’re around next year.
  2. Invest in new equipment and processes to stay ahead of competition.
  3. Train their staff (and themselves).

NPV, RoI etc. are the vital sign monitors business leaders rely on to insure the decisions they take today will lead to long-term business sustainability. Easy to do for the first two items above, but how do you do it for the third?

The Learning Transfer System Inventory developed by Ed Holton and Transferlogix (LTSI, http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/10/prweb4720824.htm) is best tool I’ve seen so far to make learning and development accountable, to have hard data on how it is benefiting the business imperatives, and hard data on what levers you have across your business to maximise RoI in training. 70% of investment in corporate learning and development is wasted. You have the competitive edge you need in 2011 if you can half this to only 35% wasted; if you can get that benefit in half the time; and if you can double the scalability through the organisation.

The fraction of a training that participants use on the job is given by Ability x Motivation x WorkEnvironment.

We find that some very simple interventions double individual motivation. For example, senior management making clear how the company strategy needs the new way of working covered in the training. How it will create job security long-term.

Other simple interventions increase the impact of the work environment. For example, pacing the training according to the overall change programme underway. So that participants immediately use the training on return to the job.

This is the core of tetraLD’s business. Maximising training transfer by first getting the data, and then systemically working with the client to improve the training, participant follow-up and the work environment, increasing the alignment across all three with the business strategy.

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