According to Training magazine's Training Industry Report, individual employees received an average of almost 47 hours of training in 2018. This number is evidence of a strong commitment to investing in employee learning and development. There are many compelling reasons to invest in training and development, including higher engagement and productivity. After all, employees with a strong combination of skills and knowledge use resources more efficiently and can approach their work with more confidence. Investing in training and development can also help to reduce turnover and the costs associated with it. One study found that 51 percent of employees would quit a job that didn’t provide necessary training.
As with any other important investment of company resources, it’s necessary to demonstrate the value of employee training and development. Here are four steps you can take to demonstrate the ROI of any training and development investment.
Define the Goals
Before you can measure the impact of training and development, it’s necessary to first articulate its intended goal. Talking with the leaders whose people will receive training provides a useful guide for developing training goals. Those goals can also inform the metrics you use to measure success later on. Training goals should be specific so that after training is delivered, it will be easier to determine if the training achieved its goal. Examples of training goals can include:
- To create efficiencies in a certain area of the business
- To increase sales and revenue
- To improve customer satisfaction
Get Baseline Data
Setting a clear baseline is necessary for demonstrating the value of employee training and development because without a clear starting point, there is no way to measure progress. By establishing baseline data, you can be sure training activities achieve the intended goal and metrics. Baseline data can include metrics from a broad range of categories, such as:
- Talent management—turnover and absenteeism rates, revenue per employee, performance scores, employee engagement levels
- Customer experience—Net Promoter Score, customer retention rates, customer reviews
- Financial performance—revenue, market share, profitability
Select Training That Delivers Expected Results
With a clear goal and the metrics you will use to measure progress, the next step is to select the training and development programs that will help get you there. At this stage, it’s important to identify training and reinforcement solutions that don’t just impart knowledge to employees but also provide understanding and tools to change employee behavior toward sales, communication, or leadership, depending on the goal of your company’s specific training initiative. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind as you assess your options:
- Training content should be engaging. Training should build a desire in employees to improve. When content inspires and creates conviction in participants, they’re more likely to invest their whole selves in training and use their new skills at work.
- Training should be broadly applicable. Training should appeal to a broad range of learning styles and apply to employees in a range of roles and at various levels.
- Training must be reinforced. Training should be reinforced with opportunities to practice and boost learning, helping to increase learning retention.
Determine the Impact of the Investment
As you measure progress against baseline data, senior leaders will be able to see the clear impact of employee training on the bottom line and on other important performance indicators. For example, an investment in customer centricity training can be expected to show a clear impact on customer satisfaction ratings and sales growth. As the company continues to invest in training and development, a cycle of tangible business results flows from employees’ increased capability across a range of skills.
The value of any investment in employee training and development can be seen in the behaviors of employees, but it can also be shown using clear metrics that tie training activities to positive business results. By following these four steps, you can show company leaders and other stakeholders the full value and impact of employee learning and development.