Jeff Judy

Jeff's Thoughts - December 18, 2013

Your ROI on Training and Communication

How do you measure your return on your investment in training and communication? In fact, how do you measure your investment, period?

"Training" conjures up a workshop or seminar, typical of the training events I provide across the country. That could be a classroom experience in your bank, or a workshop delivered through, say, your state association. It includes online courses and webinars that you might take advantage of, as well.

But it doesn't stop there. A lot of education occurs in staff meetings, and even through the credit approval process. This is where ongoing communication, along with specific pronouncements on changes in policy or process, plays a key role.

And then there is the ongoing supervisory relationship. Training the daylights out of your staff will never overcome the rewards, punishments, and direction employees receive from their immediate bosses.

As for the product of training and communication, how do you assess that? Oh, it is pretty typical to fill out "evaluation forms" at the end of a seminar or online event, which does give some indication about how well the event conveyed knowledge, explained processes, and enhanced skills. But that's just a first step.

You need to look at the results, in terms of employee behavior and the outcomes they produce, weeks or months later. Sure, your employees have very good intentions about approaching their work differently, with more understanding, skill, and insight, when they complete the training. But do those good intentions translate into good actions in the real world of daily activities back at their desks? Are those good intentions maintained when they step back into their usual work environments?

The point is that Return On Investment is often assessed too simply. Perhaps you look at the cost of the workshop or course and compare that to the satisfaction of the participants with the event. That's way too narrow.

You want to assess your ROI on training and communication by looking at your Total Return on your Total Investment. That Total Return involves looking for lasting enhancements in work performance, weeks or months after a training event, or a meeting to discuss policy, or the distribution of a major memo on process.

And if you are not getting that lasting return, maybe the best way to increase your ROI is to increase your Total Investment. By "investment", I don't necessarily mean dollars. I'm more interested in time and attention given by your own management team.

How are training and communication integrated, and maintained, to ensure lasting results? Do employees return from a workshop at your state association conference and never hear any discussion of what they learned, or how it applies at your bank? Do formal training and communications advocate one way of doing things, only to have the immediate rewards and guidance from their supervisors point them in a different direction?

When you invest in training, especially from outside sources, you expect a return. But the best way to ensure that return is to make sure you are investing adequately in the supporting management practices, systems, and ongoing communication that keep what is learned in training alive and active in your employees' work.

Skimp on the investment of time, energy, and attention within your bank, and no amount of training from external sources will produce the return you seek.