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Training days per head


Hi All,

I am looking into the amount of training days per head a company should provide for their employees.

I would be very interested to know how many training days your company does and why? How did you come to that amount? My next question is how do you and your organisation capture training days, what counts as "training/learning?"

I would really appreciate your comments, feedback and opinions.



6 Responses

  1. The answer is 42 (for all you Douglas Adams fans!)

    Hi Sarah,

    I suspect you will get 2 kinds of answers – one will be where a specific number of days is given, and the other where something specifically vague will be said (!)

    I believe my answer falls in to the second category!

    In my last role as a training manager I moved the organisation away from a model which was easy to manage, but frankly did very little to help employees do what they needed to do, more easily, smoothly, quickly, and ultimately, cost-effectively.

    The old regime required employees to undertake 32 hours of formal training activities each year. Each year they achieved this they would go up one level in certification – when they had achieved ‘Level 3’ they were then exempted this annual requirement and could exercise more personal choice about what formal training they did. It was easy to manage – a schedule was put together, covering the 25 clusters of the competence framework, people signed up and the activities were delivered. Evaluation was by happy sheet, with scores out of 4 for delivery etc.

    The schedule was influenced by what employees and managers had ‘agreed’ in the annual appraisal, and the ‘results’ of this process came, in some limited form, to my predecessors approx 6 months after the appraisal discussion had actually taken place. I’ll simply say that this was (is?) a typical approach to delivery of training, repeated nationally and internationally and is one of several big reasons why HR and the training professions curry little credibility with business-oriented managers. And don’t get me started on the competence framework question!

    I instigated a new regime – the appraisal process is ignored as a means of doing any meaningful TNA, to be replaced by frequent discussions with individual employees and line managers. Training & development needs are identified and explicitly linked to business needs first. There is no schedule in the traditional sense – I would visit regional offices regularly to deliver heavily tailored/bespoke activities to 1 person, or a whole team, based on needs identified collectively in the preceeding 8 weeks or so. Common themes from regions would drive common programmes such as leadership & management development, coaching skills, etc. A common framework of models would tie everybody together – simialr concepts and language/jargon used etc. Some people did 0 hours in a year, others did 100+ – it depended on needs and where their part of the business was headed. It was also a much tougher regime to manage. Evaluation was based on business impact using Brinkerhoff’s success case method.

    Why take this approach? Because it’s demonstrably valuable. I experienced almost 0% ‘no shows’ – people came because they could see how it helped them achieve their aims. Was it perfect? No!

    In previous downturns where I had operated in a way similar to the old regime I had been made redundant – this time around I got promoted.

    By all means keep an eye on activity etc, but please, give more thought to demonstrably adding value. It’s really OK if an individual doesn’t need training during a 12 month period, and doesn’t go. It’s really not OK if they don’t need training but still have to do 32 hours a year – that’s waste, and as a share holder I’d be very peeved to know that managers were destroying shareholder value in this way (or any other way, for that matter!)

    Good luck.


    Martin Schmalenbach


  2. Training KPIs

    We are targetted to deliver 40 hours of training per employee.  Obviously, this won’t work out as an exact even split, but we make sure people get what they need, when they need it.  As for how we identify training needs etc, that’s a combination of PDRs, talent reviews, legislation and so on.  But, in a nutshell, 40 hours per employee.

    We count anything which is a learning experience.  So, we have some people going on a site visit to another company soon, that’s classed as a learning event so would count towards the KIP.

    This is the very short answer, if you want more detail give me a shout.

  3. Zero

    My answer would be zero, no days are scheduled per individual unless and until a needs analysis has been performed which demonstrates three things:

    1. A performance gap exists.

    2. There will be identified benefits which will accrues to the organisation as a result of the training.

    3. An exact before and after determination has been made in terms of what will be different as a result of the training.

    Then the number of training days required for the target group are determined.

    I’m incredulous that organisations still stipulates compulsory days of training without first determining they are needed or essential.


  4. Dare2Share


    Do a search for Dare2Share…a BT initiative where they use a 70/20/10 model. I think learning should be embedded in everything we do

    rather than a stand alone activity seperate from our day to day jobs so I think BT have a great system!

    70% of learning is on the job

    20% of learning through collaboration

    10% through formal learning

    I just posted a video on the Q & A page if you want to see how it works.




  5. Quote

    I came across this today, I can’t help but think it applies:


    Make the important measurable, not the measurable important.




  6. Thank you!

    Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond to my question.

    I am really greatful for your insightful thoughts and ideas!




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