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Back to Basics: Proving ROI
Consistency is the key
Q: As a training consultant for technology companies in Southern California, I am asked every day to align training with the corporate goals of expediency, efficiency and value. My question, which I struggle to find a concrete answer to, is: How can I prove ROI on training? How can I prove efficiency? What is the model or tool to enable me to represent this to my clients so they will not only hire me but, more importantly, invest in the learning environment I am trying to create for them?
A: Learning leaders have been discussing ROI for decades and, unfortunately, we still don’t have consensus on standardized metrics for training efficiency.
Organizations differ in the way they determine the value of learning and the financial metrics that define the ROI of their training investments, so it is hard to give you one model to use with your clients. I personally believe that if a company executive is asking a CLO for the ROI of training, then that CLO should be looking for another job. If executives have to ask a CLO for “proof” that training is adding value, then those executives don’t value learning in their organization.
That said, I think it is important that all learning professionals understand the models and metrics that can quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate the efficiency of training programs. There are a few specific methods that I have used that I would recommend to you. Jack and Patti Phillips’ ROI Methodology provides specific formulas, models and financial metrics that resonate with global organizations across all industries. I encourage you to participate in one of their workshops and read their books on ROI. Another excellent resource is Robert Brinkerhoff’s Success Case Method, which uses case studies to demonstrate training value and impact. Throughout my career I have used Brinkerhoff’s impact maps to demonstrate the impact learning has on the organization.
Also, in my role as CLO for Qualcomm, I recently purchased Metrics That Matter. It’s a tool from Knowledge Advisors that evaluates specific training program metrics. I highly recommend that you understand the value a tool like this could have.
The Next Generation of HR: What’s Wrong? What’s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
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