ROI calculation for training initiatives has been one of the most interesting areas for me – it holds so much potential, but due to complexities involved in calculating ROI for trainings it’s very rarely calculated by the organizations.
So when we institutionalized the internal training process for G-Cube around a year back (before that it was more of adhoc trainings managed at department level), one of the key focus areas for us was to ensure that we capture ROI for all the trainings that were undertaken by our L&D team.
With all the ‘knowledge’ we had about analysing training effectiveness, we thought it would be a rather straightforward and simple job. It turned out to be anything but that!
Our first attempt included –
1. Creating ROI calculation process – need identification -> briefing of learner by supervisor -> pre-assessment -> training -> post-assessment -> post session update by supervisor -> action plan by learner -> monitoring of action plan execution by supervisor -> training effectiveness calculation via objective data captured on the floor -> training re-intervention (if required)
2. Creation of relevant templates to support above process
Once this was done HR team floated this to all people managers, started conducting training sessions and started waiting eagerly for data to pour. Not a single piece of data came back – not even after some follow-ups! Our mistakes were –
a) Not all work can be objectively captured because of limitation of IT systems that can be put in place, or the overhead this exercise can cause – it looks quite commonsensical in retrospective
b) Many a times people attend training sessions just to gain knowledge (because they have some time in hand or there is an extra seat available), and are not really in immediate need of that training – so there is no immediate application of what is learnt in the training
c) Buy-in from people managers was missing – they were part confused how can tangible evaluation be done for soft skill related courses, say communication skills, and moreover they thought this would take lot of time which they didn’t have
Having understood our mistakes within couple of cycles of trainings for each department, we brought following changes on how were trying to capture ROI for trainings –
- Classified trainings at participant level as Knowledge Sessions where there was no immediate need to implement the learning – no follow-up action was required for such participants.
- Senior management and HR team took sessions with people managers to make them understand that without necessary follow-up, most of what is learnt is not retained – which means the problem for which training was given remains unresolved, and organizations precious resources get wasted.
- Before publishing training calendar for the month, a brief session with people managers was conducted where each training was quickly reviewed, and parameters to evaluate its success were discussed and agreed upon. This was done because it was people managers themselves who had raised the training need during TNI and hence were best positioned to evaluate what gap they wanted to improve in their team members and also what was practically possible to observe and capture.
Since now people understood importance of the process, and took part in defining the tracking parameters, the uptake was much better and results were instantly visible. There is still a long way to go in terms of being able to do this consistently and across functions, but the results so far conclusively substantiate that training with proper follow-ups lead to significant tangible benefit – both for hard as well as soft skills.
If you would like to find out more how we are doing ROI analysis, or if you would like us to assist you with your training programs, do feel free to contact us