As a certified management accountant, I can appreciate the eye rolling from senior stakeholders about how trainers believe they can measure ROI on training initiatives. The problem is that “Training ROI” proponents (and let’s now include the “Training ROE” people) think that they can convince business trained professionals that these theories actually hold water.
It reminds me of my school days as a nerd. The nerd in the school yard aspires to be part of the cool crowd and intently listens to how the speak to each other. Suddenly, the nerd gets a hold of some cool terms like ROI (and ROE) and start using to look equally cool. Without realizing it, the nerd looks even more foolish since he/she is using it inappropriately or just doesn’t understand its meaning.
Training ROI proponents are the nerds in the school yard. We are not in a position to prove a return on investment on training and nor should we! Training is a line expense. Business professionals don’t measure the ROI of expenses. Also, they don’t use “ROI” to measure ROI.
Senior stakeholders asked us to be accountable for our efforts not stupid about it. We undermine an already fragile credibility in the workplace…and no wonder our budgets are often first to be cut .
One participant in a workshop I delivered for Training Magazine last February clearly stated that if the training ROI’s are so good (in excess of the management accepted 30%), then why isn’t the company in the training business rather than the business they are currently in? Good question…if your training is making 50%, 100%, 1000% ROI then why isn’t your company a training company instead of doing what they are doing?
Measure performance and align with leading non-financial measures; be proactive and help business units to meet their performance objectives through target learning interventions.
But please stop this ROI nonsense!!!
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