Author Profile Picture

Shonette Laffy


Deputy Editor

Read more from Shonette Laffy

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Can you really prove training ROI?


Earlier this month, we took part in a Twitter chat run by HRZone, the subject was 'Can you really prove training ROI?'.

We were one of around 15 particpants during the Q&A, and as well as the answers to the questions, there was also a lot of interesting conversation around attitudes to training, challenges for L&D teams, and even how the terms we use can hold us back.

You can catch up on the full discussion here, but we thought we'd pick out a few of our favourite soundbites from the chat and see what you all think too.

Question 1: Is it possible to truthfully track training ROI?

Responses seemed quite unanimous for this question; that it was dependant on what the training was for, as some outcomes are easier to measure than others.

Obviously the value of training needs to be demonstrated in some way to justify money & time being spent, but are we asking the right questions at the outset?

Overall, the consensus seems to be that objectives need to be agreed at the start, whether they be a return in the form of financial value, behaviour, or changes within the business.

Question 2: What mistakes are companies making when tracking ROI?

This question had a more varied response - we expected most answers to centre around how orgs focus on cost when considering ROI, and whilst this was definitely seen as a key issue, trainers also noted that a lack of accurate data analysis (both before and after training interventions) is more problematic. 

Are companies effectively assessing employee and organisational needs before deciding on training, or following up on learners once training has been completed? Not often enough, it seems.

Question 3: How is the need for measurement of ROI holding training back?

Another good mix of answers to this question; our editor Jamie's response around soft skills received a lot of (virtual) nods of agreement from the other chat participants - how do you measure how mindful someone is? Or resilient? Or do we even need to measure these skills at all - should be just be focusing on the end results that these skills feed into?

A side discussion which came out of this question was the lack of tying L&D to business objectives - do we need to rethink what L&D is called within organisations to give greater context to its purpose?

Question 4: How can be better track leadership development?

The problem here mainly seems lie with the term 'leadership development' being so nebulous, and so hard to quantify, which then means that it is hard to get managers enthused about the training in the first place. 

What are the actual skills and objectives that leaders need help with? What are the best methods? Could this come back to the issues of both pre-assessment and naming of departments/courses again?

Should all leadership development be more focused around business objectives rather than individuals?

Question 5: Is there a more effective way to measure the outcomes from soft skills training?

Another cry for a rebrand here - is the term 'soft skills' problematic in itself? What do you think would be a better term, or by renaming it are we missing the opportunity to focus the attention of training & outcomes elsewhere?

Our trainers also agreed that the main issue seems to be organisations neding to look to what long term changes they would like to see across their business, and then allowing L&D to inform on what skills (whether 'soft' or not) can help on that journey.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the issues discussed in the Q&A - let me know what your views & experiences are in the comments below, or see more of the responses in HRZone's recap of the chat.

Author Profile Picture
Shonette Laffy

Deputy Editor

Read more from Shonette Laffy

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!