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Number of training days and costs?


I have been asked to put together a rough budget for training for the next year in our organisation. In order to do so I was hoping that some of you out there could give me guidance regarding best practice in terms of the number of days each person should have allocated to training and roughly how much we should spend...

If any one has a breakdown by category of employee so much the better.

We are a contact centre and the broad range of jobs are:
Operations Manager
Team Leader
Customer Care
Credit Control
Account Manager
Field Sales
HR Manager
Training Manager

Any help would be gratefully received.


Nik Kellingley

11 Responses

  1. Ask your staff
    In a large organisation it is almost impossible for an individual to predict the training needs of the entire workforce. The result of trying is normally a certain amount of duplication and waste.

    Instead of trying to guess what someone else needs why not ask the people that you want to train what training they need, then create the budget around their needs.
    Not only will the training be appropriate but you will also get massive buy in from the workforce?

  2. Meaningful CPD
    Couldn’t agree more about asking employees. I’ve come from the public sector (education)where budgets are limited. As well as asking “what”, ask what they would hope to bring to the organisation as a result of any training. That way you’ve got a purposeful approach to any courses attended and staff will have to reflect on their role within the organisation in order to identify their needs. We have a proforma for feedback to the rest of the staff following any course/event attended.

  3. Maybe I misphrased
    We have conducted a wide ranging TNA and asked our employees what they want out of training. What I’m trying to do now is attempt a benchmark of what other businesses consider “reasonable” so that we can decide what we are willing to spend.

    Having never conducted such an exercise before and with no prior training to reference against this still has to be complete within 2 weeks for next years financial forecast.

    I agree that in the ideal world employees would set the amount of spend but it’s not a practical solution at this stage of our business development. So though I take on board the points raised if anyone has a rough idea of how much they give themselves it would be appreciated.

    From our perspective no-one has had formal training within our environment so a lot of people are still uncertain as to what they want.

  4. A great target – 5%
    Good companies who are committed to the training and development of staff tend to aim for a training rate of around 5% (1 day a month) for all levels of staff.

    This may be either external courses, internal courses, or self-directed personal development (reading books, attending conferences for instance).

    What you spend depends very much on what balance of these elements are appropriate in your business.

    the cipd website has a some good articles on costs of training and so forth then look under information resources

  5. Number of training days and costs?

    Bear in mind that the contact centre industry tends to suffer from high levels of staff turnover and has correspondingly high levels of training-related cost. Benchmark figures originating from low staff turnover industries are likely to be unrepresentative of the true challenges that you face.

    Also bear in mind the fact that state regulation imposes its own training burden. If your contact centre provides advice on financial services products, for example, then the FSA obliges you to implement a rigorous and expensive regime that would be over-the-top for a business operating in a non-regulated environment.

    It is also worth considering that the Contact Centre industry is increasingly being subjected to competition from overseas, so your search for benchmark data on training budgets should not be restricted to the UK.

    The Training Foundation monitors developments both in the UK and across Europe.

    In February 2003 Eurostat published the results of the second European survey of continuing vocational training in enterprises. Data is available on eleven EU Member States, Norway, and nine applicant states. According to the survey – which relates to the year 1999 – there is a wide variation in the amount of vocational training being undertaken in enterprises. For all enterprises, course hours per 1,000 working hours varied from 14 in Denmark to 2 in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. Even within EU Member States, there were wide disparities : within small enterprises twelve times the amount of vocational training was taking place in Denmark than in Portugal. The full survey results are available in the Eurostat publication “Statistics in Focus : Population and Social Conditions – Theme 3 1/2003 : Working Time Spent on Continuing Vocational Training in Enterprises in Europe”


    I hope this helps.


  6. Training and development capitation
    I agree that the training should be needs based.
    Nonetheless, my consultancy and research shows that there is a norm that can be used and we have developed grade/skill templates to help guide this.

    So, premium manager/technical grades might expect to spend about 10 days per year on T&D. Other staff more and others less.

    However, initial induction training might be higher and the pattern will vary over the course of the individual’s career. We find that certain career ‘break points’ require additional T&D expenditure.

    Having said that, one must be careful not to be too restrictive in the definition. Training and development should also include all ‘on the job’ development including line manger/supervisor coaching as well as special project assignments. You might be surprised how high this can be and done well can often be better at developing the skills versus conventional training.

    It therefore begs the question as to what your overall development strategy is. If, for example, your goal was to develop team leaders/supervisors/managers as line coaches then this might require a significant initial input to these grades. In a call centre where there is a high turnover of basic grade staff this might be a better way to spend your budget.

    Happy to discuss further.

    Bernard Stewart
    Integrated Performance Development

  7. More info
    Daft stuff first it’ll make you feel better. One thing you need to avoid at all costs is TENOR:
    * Training
    * Everybody for
    * No
    * Obvious
    * Reason

    Seriously though I’ve come across ‘rules of thumb’ ranging from 5 – 10 days per employee for off-job training; 5 is minimum and over 10 is common in organisations which aspire to world-class performance.

    Having said this, ‘training’ need not all be off the job and in my opinion you could think about developing a coaching network and public skills matrix boards as Nissan in Sunderland have done (see Peter D Wickens, The Ascendant Organisation, p 109). Also,read Peter Hunter’s book.

    Kind regards

    Nick McBain FCIPD

  8. Seriously …… the reason for training has to be the business
    Nick’s comment about TENOR may have been made in jest, but I would venture is the key to this whole question. The suggestion that many organisations view training as the right of everybody for no obvious reason is oh so prevalent. If this is how it works in an organisation known to you, alarm bells should be ringing!

    I would suggest you ditch the view that every employee is entitled to X number of days per year.

    Identifying the training needed is not the role of one person in an organisation, but is the responsibility of all managers, and they should all be involved in deciding which are the top priorities here. This may involve some heated discussion, but it is vital that all are agreed on the key training needs to deliver the business goals set.

    This may result in a few people receiving more training than others, but it is important to identify the business reasons for doing so. Once you do this and help other people understand these reasons, surely no-one would argue with the reasons why some people may need more development activity than others?

    By the way – because I mention ‘business’ here, this does not preclude public sector organisations. All organisations should have their development plan and identify the key training priorities needed to ensure their people have the skills to deliver the objectives in the plan.

    The starting point should be the business plan and a clear set of organisation objectives. Each division/department should then develop its own Department Development Plan aimed at delivering the organisation’s objectives, and take responsibility for ensuring their people develop the appropriate skills, knowledge and understanding to deliver the plan.

    Of course, having identified the key training needs to deliver the business goals, you may have sufficient budget left to develop staff over and above the immediate requirements – say for their own career, and many employees will value this. What they will not value is a wishy washy approach to training that ignores business imperatives and ends up ensuring the organisation that employs them is on the fast track to oblivion.

    First and foremost should be the training needs to deliver business goals.

  9. How Much How Little
    Hi Nik,

    I used to work in a division of an organisation that aimed to give all staff 5 days per year. This was not just formal off the job but included the ad hoc events and coaching mentoring etc. We asked the individual to be honest with what they had done and asked their line managers to endorse this. Encourage people to use in house resources that will benefit them. Perhaps set up a small library with back issues of management publications and perhaps access to ICT. Then ask the individuals to record the learning in some way.

    It is an heroic goal but one that will pay dividends.

  10. TN A
    I agree with Christine – training needs to be driven by business need. A Training needs analysis should help – look at:-
    1.Those duties of the post identified by either the individual or their manager where an improvement in performance is required
    2.Those areas of responsibility of the post holder where increased knowledge levels are required
    3.The future movement of staff within the organisation where succession planning is required
    4.New practices, products, services, equipment and/or machinery, which are to be introduced which are outside the present competencies of staff.
    5.New staff entering the organisation or department
    6.Problems/incidents/faults that indicate that a training need exists or where improvement/rectification requires a training intervention.
    7.Training audit or system review results
    8.Review of Statutory Requirements
    10.The implementation of the policy

    Some professional institutes have a requirement of so many days continuing professional development, if any of your staff are members of such institutes that may be something that you will wish to take into consideration. The requirement may not need to be off the job – but could include coaching/mentoring help and/or reading

  11. How much to spend
    Nik, this is probably a bit late for you, but where I used to work, in the insurance industry, staff received the number of days they needed and the budget was a percentage of payroll, which was sufficient for this particular business. The percentage was between 2.5 and 3.0%. Americans tend to spend more.


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