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Helen Green

Quest Leadership

Leadership Collaborator

Read more from Helen Green

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Setting clear goals


What do you hope the outcome of your training programme will be? Are you just going through the motions, ticking the boxes in order to fulfil some kind of internal agenda; or do you see training as the conduit through which your employees become so skilled and energised that they will transform the organisation?

Pessimist or optimist, there are a few rules which you need to follow if you are to avoid the chance of your training programme simply being a drain on company resources. And these rules equally apply whether you are taking new entrants through an induction course, introducing a new telephone system, or working with key people in order to develop their team or leadership skills.

The prime rule is to ensure that evaluation and ROI expectations are built in right from the outset. When you set clear goals, when you know what you want to accomplish and how success or otherwise is to be measured then the outline of your training project is virtually mapped out from the start.

Generating returns on investment in training…

So what do we mean by return on investment expectations? Isn’t ROI more suited to capital projects than to training outcomes? The short answer is no. ROI equally applies to any area of the business in which you expend time or money and quite frankly if you don’t consider what level of return you anticipate at the outset, you might as well simply throw cash out of the window.

However, there is another consideration to be borne in mind when we are talking about ROI and that is what sort of return you are looking for. It’s easy to see ROI purely in terms of cash benefit but when we are training people, particularly if you’re training the leaders of tomorrow, then the business can benefit in all sorts of other ways.

Enhancing individual skills, building teamwork, boosting customer service, increasing reputation; all these and more are perfectly legitimate returns on the investment which you make in training. And don’t forget one of the most important outcomes of investing in training, the retention of employees who feel valued because you have expended time and effort on them.

Evaluating success…

If embarking on training without having a clear ROI goal is a waste of resources, how do you actually evaluate the success or otherwise of the initiative? Quite frankly, handing out a tick box questionnaire at the end of a course is going to tell you very little apart from whether the course leader was a great entertainer.

Effective evaluation depends more on measuring the outcome, identifying changes in behaviour, in the application of skills or in the receipt of ongoing feedback from colleagues and customers. Some courses may result in immediately noticeable changes whilst the outcome of others may need to be observed over time as people grow into their newly acquired skills. As a result, it’s vital that the method of evaluation is not only set at the outset, but is also appropriate for the individual training module.

When you have clear goals, you can measure and evaluate the outcome. More importantly, when you have clear goals and share them with your people then you are already well on the way to boosting engagement and strengthening the ties between your people and the organisation. If you are training without setting ROI and evaluation goals at the outset then maybe it’s time you looked again at the development of those elements which are vital for the success of your organisation, your people.


Author Profile Picture
Helen Green

Leadership Collaborator

Read more from Helen Green

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