Value of training

February 5th, 2014

Someone asked a question “Who values staff training anymore?” and it got me thinking about what value means. Here’s the thing – value is about our perception of worth; worth is not just about cost, even though that is often the way it is seen in finance and business and our perceptions are based on many things, including our beliefs and values.

So, to pose a different question “How do you value staff training?” I saw a presentation recently discussing value of training with a basic ROI calculation. Yes, the return is important, related to the investment. However, both need to be measured not only in £s, also in time and other returns and the changes and improvements are often dependant on many things, not just the training.

What if the target is zero?

As an example, whTargetsen you bring in new training, to reduce or eliminate risks and issues, you can quantify the reduction. Last year we had xx issues which cost us £y’000 and this year we had x issues which cost us £y. Each year after that, the number of issues and costs remains stable – do you keep training the staff? Well, yes, new staff, new processes, new risks which might increase the issues and costs; refresher training to make sure standards don’t slip. Yet, the result of spending more time and money on training is no further increase in costs (and no further reduction either).

How do you measure intangibles?

What about, the value of management skills training, which may be expressed as “staff are more effective”, as well as the more tangible measures such as reducing staff turnover, reducing recruitment and induction costs? These reductions need to have clear targets, over time, so any resources required to achieve this can then be assessed to see whether it was worth it. As well as the tangibles, there are other measures which could be about time saved, ratings on staff surveys, identifying staff for promotion, identifying training needs, measuring the quality of documentation.

As we emerge from recession, there are still many organisations working with reduced resources, in terms of money and staff. Developing the people is at least as critical when business is difficult as when business is going well and it essential that these development activities are clearly targeted to help your organisation now and in the medium to long term – the value to your business, in your environment.

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