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Seb Anthony

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Charging for non attendance??


Our business is thinking of putting a charge system in place as to charge the cost centre of the unit they come from if the delegate does not attend. Please can i receive comments from those whom have done this and i would like to receive suggestions from others on how best to approach this.
Katie Tyzack

5 Responses

  1. complications..??
    Hi Katie
    I have worked in organisations that have done this – but to be honest, the impact of £50 on a budget is hardly noticeable.

    What i have found that works is a monthly report to the MD with basic statistics of which departments/ cost centres have participants on training courses and those that have NDA’s (did not arrives). The in the same report I had a financial line showing the cost to my department. In time the MD started putting pressure on cost centres that did not to training to do some and to ensure attendance. Much more effective in the long run!


  2. Cross-Charging
    Hi Katie,

    We have recently just finished cross-charging (New HR Director who does not see the benefit in it) for non-attendance of delegates.

    We found that putting a price against a workshop/1:1 session did create value in the minds of some of our managers in the business.

    When their delegates failed to attend, with excuses of “I forgot” “Something else came up that I had to attend” – we then cross-charged a standard charge to their cost centre (£500 + Admin fees) the managers soon became much more pro-active in ensuring their team members attended and followed through on the back of the training with their team members.

    If it were an external course would they be charged for non-attendance? How would you recoup the lost investment if they failed to attend an external course?

    There are arguments for and against cross-charging, I would also suggest asking some of the heads of departments/managers in your business (who would be affected by the cross-charging) their thoughts and feelings on it.
    kindest regards

  3. Another approach

    I think putting a report to the MD is a practical measure. It is also worth finding out whether it is the individual who decides not to appear or pressure from their department. if it is the individual you could refuse future training requests from that individual or scrutinise these more closely. If it is the department, then all requests from that department could be rejected until a firm commitment is forthcoming from the dept head as to future attendance.

    I don’t like to take punitive measures but sometimes it is an effective way of communicating the level of inconvenience non-attenders cause.

    However, on the issue of charging, commercial trainig providers would charge for non-attendance or cancellations – depending on how close to the event these occur – see no reason why this cost shouldn’t be borne by the perpetrators within your organisation.

    I think the answer maybe depends upon the culture of your organisation and how bad the behaviour is.


  4. Charging for non-attendance
    I have worked with a number of organisations on this very issue. I have found some where about 25% of the budget is effectively wasted because of last minute cancellations and ‘no shows’.
    I have used a range of options from league tables, and poster campaigns through to report backs to the line manager and charging.
    If you do a report to senior management make sure you show the full cost of non attendance (not just the notional or direct costs). This could be anywhere around £100-300 per person per day – if it is coming out at £50 then you are either running a cheap-skate operation or, more likely, you don’t have a full and proper costing mechanism (and if I was a director I’d look on this quite critically). If it is coming out at £500 you are either gold-plating your training or are inefficient (and, guess what, if I was a director I’d look on this quite critically too). So, firstly, make sure you get your sums right.
    I am a great advocate for charging a cancellation fee but others are right to suggest you do some sounding out to check that this will fit with the culture and that the charging mechanisms are not too problematic.
    In practice, if you make a full cost charge for non attendance (with exemptions for illness etc.) you may find that people value training a little more, and that attendance goes up making you more effective and more cost efficient, and with luck you will get more learning out to those who need it.
    One final thought, how about charging for attendance but giving a full refund to anyone who can demonstrate that they have applied the learning and made a difference to the organisation. This acts more of a reward than a penalty, and it focuses less on attendance (anyone can just turn up) and more on application of learning and performance.
    Whatever you do, it would be interesting if you would post an update so we can all learn how it goes.
    Best of luck

  5. Charging can work
    In the past I’ve worked for large consulting firms. We’ve had a policy of charging for non-attendance or late cancellation. This would either be to a project budget or cost centre. It makes a manager think twice about removing someone because of workload etc.

    Sometimes it doesn’t change the behaviour, but at least training don’t bear the cost.


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