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  • Corporate Trainers Should Be Held Accountable, Too

    92 out of 96 Fortune 500 CEOs said that they are most interested in learning the business impact of their learning and development programs, but only 8% see that happening at their companies now.

    Salespeople have goals and quotas.

    Marketing departments measure every data point of their advertising campaigns.

    Even cashiers at Walmart have their “rings per minute” tracked, and McDonalds’s counts how long it takes to fill orders.

    All of this accountability makes sense, doesn’t it?  How else will you know how well employees are performing? What other way is there to determine who the superstars are and who needs to improve?

    Return on investment is the name of the game.

    So how does that apply to corporate training?

    I just read in interesting article from Fortune by Gary M. Stern entitled “Company Training Programs: What Are They Really Worth.” Stern asks why aren’t training programs subject to the same ROI analysis as other initiatives, and how can that change?

    Let me mention a few quotes from the article:

    Most trainers are “focused on delivery of learning rather than on improved results,” says Calhoun Wick, co-author of Getting Your Money’s Worth from Training and Development

    With that being the case, there is little incentive to find out how the training that was delivered actually impacts the business. Trainers want to have good training sessions, but how does what the trainees learn affect how they do their jobs going forward? What good is a presentation that everyone feels good about, but never translates into improved business operations?

    Bridging that gap is the job of leadership.

    …92 out of 96 Fortune 500 CEOs said that they are most interested in learning the business impact of their learning and development programs, but only 8% see that happening at their companies now, according to a study recently conducted by the ROI Institute, a Birmingham, Ala.-based research and consulting organization.

    They’re being told by chief learning officers that you can’t measure these things. You have to take it on faith,” says Jack J. Phillips, ROI’s chairman.

    Does that sound like a problem to you? Naturally, CEOs want to know that the time and money being spent to provide training is not wasted. But fewer than one in ten of those surveyed know whether that’s true or not of they’re company.

    Would that be acceptable of any other department?

    “Organizations have traditionally treated training as a cost and expense. When training has a sufficient payback, it can be viewed as an investment, not an expense,” says  John Robak, COO of Greeley and Hansen, a Chicago-based environmental engineering firm.

    Training is valuable, without a doubt, as long as it’s being implemented outside of the training room. It should be seen as an investment rather than an expense.

    My intention isn’t to be harsh toward corporate trainers, but to point out what seems to be a blindspot that exists in the way we approach the issue.

    If trainers are creating improvements in the workplace, they should be valued and rewarded. If they’re consistently coming up short, they need to be held accountable, just like an underperforming salesperson.

    The only way that can happen is to measure.

    You should check out “Company Training Programs: What Are They Really Worth” to learn more about this important subject.

    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Management

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    About the Author: Donnie Bryant is a direct response copywriter and marketing consultant. He specializes in improving businesses' sales and profitability by creating compelling marketing messages and strategies. Find out more about Donnie at http://donnie-bryant.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @donniebryant and connect with him on Google Plus at +donniebryant.

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