Professional Learning: the only investment that has a continuous ROI

Professional Learning: the only investment that has a continuous ROI

Stephen A. Burgess, MBA

Word Count: 385 words
Time to Read: 3-4 minute

In a recent survey by McKinsey1, it was found that despite worries of an economic slowdown in 2008 a whopping 84% of senior executives said they plan to increase or maintain their annual spending on personnel development and training.

Could this be the start of a revolution?

Most executives “talk about” investing in their people and improving their skills and knowledge because it always sounds good to the employees, the Board and the public. But, when it comes time for cost controls it is one of the first areas to be cut. This despite the numerous studies that show that proper training leads to increased productivity, increased employee retention, and increased business success.

The Hurwitz Group Inc., and others, have conducted a number of independent, 12-month ROI studies across a variety of industries using limited variables, most notably employee retention and cost savings. The results speak for themselves.

Industry categories made little difference in their findings. In every case, the cost benefits outweighed the cost of the training programs. Their studies included application training, systems training, technical training, and “soft” training which includes sales, management and other disciplines.

Experience suggests the steps to identify the right training resources are as follows:

  • Identify your training needs e.g. areas where your productivity can be improved
  • Specify the content to be delivered
  • Determine the number of participants
  • Determine the venue
  • Determine the duration of training
  • Identify a professional organization that can adapt to your needs
  • Identify a professional organization that can customize their program if necessary
  • Utilize a measurement system to ensure your ROI
  • Provide a feedback loop for management and participants

In conclusion.

Productive training involves correctly identifying your needs, your participants and, most importantly, the targeted areas for enhancements or improvements. Finding the right training partner and engaging them in the process for your company can make all the difference in its effectiveness.  Be sure they can adapt to your needs and use an objective feedback loop to measure the training effectiveness as well as future programs you may need.

"The problem with everyone trying to get ahead is they have not used the one they already have.”

1 McKinsey survey of business executives in Q4, 2007, reported in January, 2008



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