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?

Absolutely. 

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.