Each year, American companies invest $50 billion to $60 billion on workplace training. Yet too often, no one is accountable for ensuring that this investment contributes directly or indirectly to business results.
“Based on what I’ve seen over the years in my consulting practice, I’d say that as much as 50% or more of that investment is wasted,” says Diane Valenti, an expert in performance consulting and president of Applied Performance Solutions Inc.
Senior managers often blame training departments when training doesn't work — even though the managers themselves are in the best position to assess effectiveness.
“The rubber meets the road on the job — not in the classroom,” Valenti says. However, training departments, she says, can take proactive steps to avoid being left holding the bag:
1. Focus on ROI. Identify how the training will increase sales, decrease costs, improve productivity, or enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.
2. Identify metrics. Determine which metrics to use to measure a change in business results.
3. Identify risks. Work with management to identify risks and to develop contingency plans to remove them.
4. Get powerful allies. In order to get the necessary support, create a steering committee comprising people who have something to gain if the training succeeds.
5. Measure results. Set up a process to measure whether employees are using what they learned. Then report the results to the steering committee.