Stephen Covey got it right when he said, “Begin with the end in mind.” When we look into the value of learning, the first thing we should consider is, “What value does training bring to the organization?” The senior management in the organization do not necessarily care about how well the training department is training staff, how many employees have attended training this week, or how many courses were completed by employees last year. However, they do care about the well-being of the company.
One of the many misconceptions in business is that a training department is there to train the organization’s employees. However, the only justifiable reason to have a training department in any organization is to assist the company in attaining its bottom-line goals or critical business goals. So, when we evaluate the contribution training brings to the organization, shouldn’t we look at how it affects the bottom-line numbers rather than how well individual training courses are rated by the participants
Why invest in training
Leading organizations recognize more than ever that success depends on the quality of their people. It is people who set strategy, make critical decisions, bring in business, develop new offerings, manage budgets, and drive change. If your people do their jobs better and faster than the competition, you win. If they do them ineffectively or slowly, you lose. Differences in people’s performance impact your bottom line. Strong performers increase revenue and profit by developing effective ideas and strategies, winning support for them and inspiring others to get them implemented. They cut through bureaucracy, bring ideas to market quickly, meet commitments, and reduce costs. Weak or marginal performers hurt your bottom-line by making poor decisions, working inefficiently, failing to get others support and being slow to change.
Training should offer solutions
“The most important thing any training provider can do is to solve a business problem.” If we agree to this then we should look at the business problem as a means to get to the measurement of training’s effectiveness. Perhaps we should not be doing any training until we can ascertain what it is intended to do for the company in business terms. When you think about it, how can we determine what training we should have until we know what it will make for the company? What is the point of putting together the best leadership training program in the world costing Ksh 1 million if the program is going to only save Ksh750, 000 for the company? Conversely, why are you paying Ksh 2000 for a CD that has a title of “Leadership Training” if you are trying to solve a problem worth Ksh500,000? Should we not be paying Ksh250, 000 to solve this Ksh2, 500, 000 Problem? How do we know how much to spend if we have not done the homework to determine what the program is worth to the business units?