10 Tips to Measure Training ROI

If you can’t prove a return on your training program — real learning that is adopted and applied — then you run the risk of having it cut back or even losing it. You may think that measuring ROI is hard. However, if you follow these fast, hard rules, you’ll be on your way to proving your learning program has measurable impact.

1) You don’t need to go overboard in calculating ROI. You only need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your program is cost justified.

2) Shift your thinking from a quality mindset to an impact and results mindset. ROI is more than a calculation; it’s a way of thinking.

3) Calculate ROI continuously so you always know how much benefit your program is generating. There are two ways to waste training dollars: train people who don’t need it, or train people who don’t use it. Neither of these things has to happen in your program if you have a handle on what is working and what is not.

4) Build your case for ROI step by step. Make arguments, present facts to support them, and reach a conclusion.

5) The more data points you have, the better.

6) Analyze results that lead to ROI across the following four levels of learning measurement: quality, effectiveness, job impact and business results.

7) Be as conservative as possible in your ROI calculations. Self-reported scores should be factored down to compensate for bias.

8) Know the investment outlay. First, calculate the investment: class cost added to the salary of the learners for the days within class. Then, calculate the return: multiply the average salary by the percent students said their work improved due to training.

9) Communicate the story behind the numbers with stakeholders.

10) Don’t be discouraged by low ROI numbers; they can be improved. Taking a proactive stance and a comprehensive view of job support and other adoption practices will get your ROI numbers where they need to be and ensure the continuation and advancement of your learning programs.

—Source: ESI International. To download the Training ROI research paper: http://request.esi-intl.com/content/US_12May31DefendingPMO

If you can’t prove a return on your training program — real learning that is adopted and applied — then you run the risk of having it cut back or even losing it. You may think that measuring ROI is hard. However, if you follow these fast, hard rules, you’ll be on your way to proving your learning program has measurable impact.

1) You don’t need to go overboard in calculating ROI. You only need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your program is cost justified.

2) Shift your thinking from a quality mindset to an impact and results mindset. ROI is more than a calculation; it’s a way of thinking.

3) Calculate ROI continuously so you always know how much benefit your program is generating. There are two ways to waste training dollars: train people who don’t need it, or train people who don’t use it. Neither of these things has to happen in your program if you have a handle on what is working and what is not.

4) Build your case for ROI step by step. Make arguments, present facts to support them, and reach a conclusion.

5) The more data points you have, the better.

6) Analyze results that lead to ROI across the following four levels of learning measurement: quality, effectiveness, job impact and business results.

7) Be as conservative as possible in your ROI calculations. Self-reported scores should be factored down to compensate for bias.

8) Know the investment outlay. First, calculate the investment: class cost added to the salary of the learners for the days within class. Then, calculate the return: multiply the average salary by the percent students said their work improved due to training.

9) Communicate the story behind the numbers with stakeholders.

10) Don’t be discouraged by low ROI numbers; they can be improved. Taking a proactive stance and a comprehensive view of job support and other adoption practices will get your ROI numbers where they need to be and ensure the continuation and advancement of your learning programs.

—Source: ESI International. To download the Training ROI research paper: http://request.esi-intl.com/content/US_12May31DefendingPMO

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