Group training has been used extensively by leading organizations for decades. However, justifying the use of training by empirically proving that it results in operational improvements is quite arduous, and directly measuring the financial performance resulting from improved “soft” skills is at best an educated guess. The truth is that training can be profoundly effective, and return dramatic return on investment, as long as certain guidelines are followed.
For organizations that are primarily driven by metrics, 360-degree feedback inventories, performance learning satisfaction evaluation systems and Balanced Scorecard techniques will each provide some telling evidence, either for, or against, the effectiveness of training in an organization. The results of these evaluations should be focused on team productivity and reaching financial targets. Complicating the matter, however, is that it may take 12 months or more to accurately measure the results of “soft” skills training; the acquisition of which cultivates team morale, engagement and retention.
With or without a formal ROI measurement system, it is essential for an organization to identify its skill gaps, and the appropriate audience in order to maximize the investment in training. Beginning with key performance indicators, such as customer retention, it is then possible to reduce these indicators to individual activities and competency requirements for each indicator2. For example, reducing customer loss and dealing with angry customers would be relevant activities and competency requirements for customer retention.
All training initiatives should start with a needs analysis and specific goals regarding what is going to change in the organization as a result of training. The training can then be aligned with an ongoing skills audit. This audit acts as a measure of the success of the training. It is then possible to translate these skills into tangible metrics, which can be measured financially.
Next, participants need to know what the purpose of the training is and buy into the expectations for their performance. They, further, need to be held accountable for measurable changes and supported in implementing the changes in their teams. According to a 2007 study of the transfer of training skills, » Read more: Achieving Positive ROI on Training Investments