Sunday, May 16, 2010

The necessity of proving training ROI

Do we need to prove the ROI of training? Do you need to prove the ROI of buying office supplies or toilet paper or air conditioning in the office? Certainly not. These are necessary business expenses. Do you need to prove the ROI of expanding the headcount in the sales organization or investing in new enterprise workflow automation software or buying new machinery?


So why is it any different for training? Do we need to prove the ROI of a new hire training program or compliance training or training on a new product that is launching in June? No. These are necessary business expenses. On the other hand, if you want to change your existing new hire program from a two week program to a six week program, and it will cost an additional $8,000 per new hire, you better demonstrate why with a return to the organization. If you discover from a needs analysis that the organization could use training on time management or customer service at a cost of $1,250 per employee, you better demonstration the return the organization will earn from that investment. 

So the measuring stick is based on the need. If the training is required, do not waste your limited time worrying about ROI. If the training is not necessary or required, make your case for why you want to do it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Stop putting everything in email

I did something radical this week. I sent an email to everyone in my organization to tell them about a learning snippet I recorded about one of our internal work tools. Here’s the radical part…I did not put a link to the snippet in the email. I just told everyone that I posted the link to it on my wall. Then, I finished the email with this statement:
"Please add comments to my post of any feedback you have. If you have questions, post those as well. Maybe your teammates have the answers."
Obviously, I am trying to move the party to our internal Community…and by party I mean, the conversation. We have excellent enterprise 2.0 tool inside our organization, and they are largely unused. I couldn’t understand why. Then it hit me. If we put everything in an email, people will use email to communicate.
So I started posting internal communications in our Community. The only thing I use email for is to tell people about messages posted in the Community. Yes, I slip…like a on a diet…but I keep at it. My dream is that I will no longer have to send an email telling them that I posted something. Dare to dream, indeed.
Adoption takes persistence and discipline
Are you trying to get more people to adopt new collaboration tools in your organization? Do not under estimate the persistence and discipline it takes to create a new habit. It will take time for people to adopt something new.
Try this technique…the next time someone asks you, “Did you get my email?” you respond, “Email? I check email less and less. Did you post the message (or document or presentation) on (name your organization’s tool)? I spend most of my time communicating there these days!” Say it as if email was as old fashioned as a Sony Walkman.  Repeat. Again and again.
They won’t get it at first. But they will. Eventually.