Jeff Judy

Jeff's Thoughts - September 7, 2016

"Sandwich" Training for Better ROIeading

I strive to provide value in the training I deliver, to do my part to ensure that any financial institution or trade association that invests in my services enjoys a solid return on that investment.

But "my part" is only one element in the story. Lasting benefit comes when the trainee's institution invests some effort before and after the training.

The purpose of training is change. The idea is that when employees or members return from training events, they do things a little (or a lot) differently from how they worked before the training.

Unfortunately, returning to their old environment often returns them to their old habits. If their supervisors don't welcome new ideas or suggested practices that come out of the training, all that time in the classroom (real or virtual) may be wasted.

And new ideas and approaches are just as likely to perish from neglect as from opposition. That's why I recommend that participants formally share some of what they learned at, say, a staff meeting. At the very least, trainee and supervisor should have an explicit discussion of how to apply the recent training.

Not only does formally sharing what they have learned help reinforce that learning for the participant, it provides an opportunity for new ideas to benefit the organization.

Even better, "sandwich" the training between two explicit discussions -- one in advance of the training, about expectations, the "why" of the training, and the follow-up conversation or presentation about insights gained through the training.

This doesn't have to take a lot of time to have a lot of impact. Institutions that really want to get the full value of the training they investing will have to find their way to more in-depth discussions than the usual:

"How was the training/conference?"

"Fine."

When employees go off to a training event or a conference, we shouldn't be paying those costs unless we expect them to come back different in some way. It is a poor ROI on training if those differences melt away upon return to their desks.

It is perhaps a decent return when the returning employee sees things differently back on the job, when that staff member's performance improves.

But for a great return on investment in training, expand that investment to include setting expectations beforehand and looking for broader applications afterwards. When an employee comes back and helps others perform better at their work, that's real value for your training money.