Training is a significant financial investment for any company. Here are several strategies to help you realize the ROI of your learning and development program.
Globally, companies spent $362.2 billionon training (in 2017), up from $359.3 billion the year before. With expenditures on the rise, it becomes even more important to make sure that training delivers a return on investment by creating long-term positive change. Here are six ways to improve the impact of training initiatives.
"For maximum success, employees need to understand the value of training, and that on-going training is needed across the store(s). It's also critical that employees believe how training will benefit them - both now and in the future."
1. Train Everyone
As you determine the scope of training, including all employees often provides for better end-results than training only one set of employees, department or store. Change is difficult enough as it is, but it’s even harder in a vacuum. A small group of employees working to make changes inside a larger organization can meet resistance when others are unaware of these changes or are surprised by new behaviors – or when new behaviors conflict with existing policies. Bottome line: Everyone trained = Everyone working towards a common goal!
2. Content to Fit Your Needs
Training is more likely to stick if the content is customized to the needs of business. Off-the-shelf training is as effective tool, but only goes so far. As you select courses and design learning paths, make sure that you have insights into the needs of the business. It’s helpful to involve the department heads or store managers in conversations to ensure that the training will align with their expectations.
3. Cultivate Learner Buy-In
You can’t teach someone what he or she doesn’t want to learn. When training is assisgned and/or mandatory, but managers don’t generate buy-in, the likely result is resentment and even efforts to undermine the training. For example, if an employee believes that he doesn’t need the mandatory training or that he doesn’t have time for the training, he might look (deliberately or subconsciously) for reasons that the training “didn’t work,” so that he can be “right.”
For maximum success, employees should understand that the training topic is an issue that affects the team, believe that the training will have benefits for them and will want to experience those benefits. There are many ways to uncover attitudes and generate buy-in, including team conversations, a pre-training introduction to the material, and formal or informal needs assessments. TRIFT can discuss and recommend options to make the learning program a success.
4. Managers as Role Models
To head off any employee complaints that the training is not needed, it helps to have managers talk openly about how they could make improvements in the area/issue being addressed. This discussion creates a safe space for employees to admit to their own skills gaps and embrace the learning with an open mind. In the same way, when managers actively participate during the training, they set a positive and open tone for learning to occur. After the training, managers can help make changes stick by creating accountability and modeling those changes.
5. Include Hands-On Practice
All training sessions should give participants the tools they need to start making changes, but if they’re left on their own to implement those tools, they will probably never find the time and, thus, never change.
It’s better if the manager includes a hands-on learning event during a weekly team meeting, so employees are ready to hit the ground running when they’re back on the job. Have employees practice their sales pitch, discuss product differentiation, review merchandising techniques, or use a topic specific to your Organization (like Human Resources, Ethics & Compliance, or Safety to name a few).
6. Examine the Company Culture
Finally, any training will have a bigger impact when its lessons become a part of the organizational culture. Make the language of the training part of the language of the organization, and incorporate TRIFT learning into employee goals and/or performance reviews.
Training may even spur the need for a deeper examination of your work culture. Sometimes, the problems the training is intended to remedy can be symptoms of a culture problem. In that case, training can’t lead to lasting change until the larger culture issues are addressed. For example, the benefits of productivity training will be curtailed if an organization’s culture emphasizes quick responses to all communications. Constant connectivity to communication channels and undistracted thinking time for high-impact work are not compatible. TRIFT can assist you in uncovering these conflicts so they don’t become a barrier to effective training.
Summary: The bottom line is that simply offering training to employees is no guarantee of lasting results. By partnering with TRIFT in following these strategies before, during and after training, you can ensure the desired changes take root and realize maximum return on your training investment.