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How to prove that your training budget is effective

Is ROI really that important!?!

Measuring ROI allows a business to ensure its investments are sound. It’s not rocket science to know that if expenditure provides no returns, the business can identify this and react accordingly. In an ideal world, a comprehensive financial plan would be put together to predict return on investment allowing managers to justify a case for further spending. As a previous L&D manager I often found the biggest challenge was getting the business to understand that if everyone was working at full capacity, all doing what only they could do, then that was a good starting point! People not being utilised effectively, or staff being unskilled, reduced the potential of any return because the investment was starting with an un-achievable perspective!

The difficulty lies in being able to make the training budget work and knowing how to prove that training is effective. I found the problem occurs when you try to measure L&D benefits in a purely financial model; which got me thinking - instead shouldn't we be looking at other ways of measuring ROI which can be used in the same way for similar benefits? We don’t do an ROI analysis on office furnishing spend, although furnishing an office is often a huge cost. Maybe there are other ways of looking at ROI for topics such as L&D, office infra structure and other similar areas which support the working environment as a whole.  

This lead me to ask the question, "What does ROI actually mean?"

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Tips for great planning ... unintended consequences

The Majorcan Government recently legislated to reduce “unregulated” accommodation to support the regulated hoteliers. An unintended consequence of this has been restaurants & bars losing significant trade during this holiday season.

The Government now has to live with the unintended consequences of its policy including for example less tax revenues & more unemployment.

This had me thinking about the unintended consequences of significantly reducing Training spend during difficult trading times. 

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Making L&D count

Have you been here as well?

I'm sure you have heard of the saying 'If you carry on doing what you are doing, you will keep on getting what you are getting'.

Behind the scenes, L&D folk are masking the resistance, working miracles with slashed budgets, doing more and more internal delivery and covering the cracks of inconsistent internal messages from senior leaders delivered to the grass root business levels.
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Make the training budget work

There is a lot of pressure on us to use L&D spending wisely. In this blog, I will take a look at how, instead of taking it all on ourselves, we can involve staff and suppliers in that process.

We all know that companies feel under pressure to deliver effective training and development interventions. It can sometimes be challenging to do this when there are so many internal and external factors that can influence the process. I promise, this isn't a blog moaning about the economy and the impact it has had on companies, however as the training and learning budget is always one of the things that gets cut first it is still wise for companies to know how to make this budget work for everyone. This got me thinking about how we can create our own best practice approaches to L&D spend to help utilise L&D resources efficiently!

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Getting senior support for your training budget

We hear the same story quite frequently. In tough times marketing and training get cut. We all also know that in tough times smart companies invest in training. What we need is the tools to explain why the right training spend is a good move even in tough times. But the real trick to get backing is to find out what type of R.O.I. the decision makers actually want. It could be straight money saving, or it could be time saving or reduction of turnover or many other factors which are the political hot potato. Once we can get them to explain that to us, and we couch our proposals for budget in those terms, it is difficult for them then to turn down our proposals and we can make the training budget work.

Back in the day I was given responsibility for training technical staff. Being a techy I was caught between loving the technical stuff and wanting to sit on my own solving problems and feeling intelligent, or training others in the darker side of software coding and feeling even more intelligent. I am still the same I guess, flitting between ‘leave me alone I want to work on something’ through to ‘let me sit with you and show you how it’s done’. Both are mini ego trips in their way, and why not, we all need to feel useful !

One thing that has changed since those early days of my career is my approach to ROI, especially for management training. We used to get given budgets and made sure we spent them to get the next inflationary increase. Now it is smarter to be able to discuss investment and returns with senior staff.

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How to ensure a financial return from training

I'm sure you have heard of the saying 'If you carry on doing what you are doing, you will keep on getting what you are getting'.

Behind the scenes, L&D folk are masking the resistance, working miracles with slashed budgets and doing all they can to maximise training return, doing more and more internal delivery and covering the cracks of inconsistent internal messages from senior leaders delivered to the grass root business levels.

If there is a problem, L&D can fix it, if there's no budget, L&D will find a way to make it happen on a shoe string. Need a course delivered by yesterday - L&D will create something bespoke for you! If you are reading this thinking this sounds familiar you are not alone. Plenty of senior L&D folk are having to be more resourceful with budgets, and more creative with their delivery methods to keep everyone happy. How many people do you know would have their budgets cut, double their hours yet still be motivated and driven to get the best from their employees?!

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Choosing the most cost-effective training method

Sometimes it’s good to know what others are doing.

If you are like me then focus on getting stuff done can costumes mean tunnel vision, heavy workload can often mean repeated patterns. So, for this brief article I figured it may be worth seeing what others are doing in the area of training spend.

In researching for this article, I came across a superb report by The Brandon Hall Group (see report here). It provides a fascinating overview of activity in the corporate training in the U.S. If we extrapolate a little, it also gives us some avenues to pursue when choosing the most cost effective training method and helps us to make the training budget work.

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