Realizing a high return on training

Kevin Kussman


The second step is looking at the situation and determining what population needs to be trained. At times, training one person can be very successful. At other times, training an individual without training the workgroup will not yield a positive result. Lean training is a good example. In some cases, training key partners outside of the organization who work with your employees (such as supply chain partners) can yield good results. It is important to view whether management also needs to be included in the training and at what level they need to be included. Management support and coaching for employees on applying the training they received can provide a strong increase in effectiveness. Management reinforcement and coaching are especially important for jobs like sales and first line management.

Third, does the training need to be anchored systematically so it “takes” in the organization? This is where the OD&E professional can help with advice on reinforcement to ensure you see the most from your investment. This isn’t as important for simple skills, but it is definitely important for development that is meant to be transformational in an organization. Anchoring skills within an organization may be as simple as changing reports to include key data points.

Fourth, the issue may not simply be job skills related; there can be interpersonal issues that may require intervention. Additional training such as teambuilding, or positive conflict resolution, may be needed before functional job skills development can be successful.

Fifth, does your training provider have the background in training, business and OD&E to help recommend solutions for your needs? Does the provider have access to a wide variety of training programs? A trainer that is too specialized, or unable to customize programs to meet company specific needs, may not produce the results you are seeking.

Sixth, are you tracking solid financial metrics to determine your return on investment? This is key to showing the impact of the training to your organization. A qualified trainer can help you set up a plan to track your return, but it is normally the organization that needs to gather the data to demonstrate the return. The secondary benefit of this approach is that it serves as an internal measure of success, helping to drive positive behavior – people respect what you inspect.

Selecting a good training partner to plan your program will help you show the return on your employee development initiatives. You can start small, but measure your results. By doing so you should find:

  • A high financial return on your training investment
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Lower employee turnover

Kevin Kussman is the associate vice president of corporate and continued education at Clark College. He can be reached at

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