9 Steps to Stop Wasting Money on Training Courses

Training is expensive, but then, so is ignorance. Some people think face to face training courses are a waste of time and money, and if that’s their experience, they are probably right! Here’s how face to face training wastes money. People are sent on expensive training courses, come back to work and can’t see the relevance to what they really do at work. Then they are told by their manager: “Ignore what they said on the course, just do it the way I tell you.” and “We don’t do things that way here in the real world”. I’m sure you have heard similar stories.

Training StepsFace to face training courses have a vital contribution to make, but not if they’re treated as a side issue, a bolt-on to the business. They need to be embedded in the business as part of a wider strategy, and contribute to the corporate direction of travel. More than that, they have to be seen as relevant by those who attend, supported by managers, and make a difference to productivity. Face to face training should form a vital part of a wider people development programme that is embedded in real business need. It should be part of a complete package designed to deliver exactly what your business and your people need, and give you a measurable return on investment (ROI).

We have found that when it comes to implementation there are at least 9 Steps to take.

Step 1. Analysis: Start with an analysis of what is needed. Use your management information system (MIS) or HR metrics to identify specific indicators of areas for improvement. Gather information from MIS or HR and present it as a problem. Give everyone involved the opportunity to  contribute to what they think is causing, or will be the solution to, the problem. Use this information to identify the outcomes of your programme.

Step 2. Specific Target Group: Identify a specific target group for the programme. They can be identified by a Training Needs Analysis (TNA), a Skills Audit, Staff Survey, outcomes of Performance Reviews etc. This analysis will make sure that learning is a planned activity, supported and grounded in your people’s real experiences and your actual business needs. General training for everyone is unlikely to give anyone what they actually need.

Step 3. Bespoke Design: Create a development programme designed to deliver the specific learning and behavioural outcomes that will make a real difference to the specific target group engaged in the programme. Be clear about the outcomes, and how you will measure real changes in knowledge, skills and attitude or approach.

Step 4. Keep Track of Learning: Generate opportunities throughout the programme to review learning and help people to keep track of it with logs, diaries, reviews, focus groups etc. Arrange for a discussion of learning in regularly planned 1 to 1s.

Step 5. Generate Action: Support your specific target group to make individual plans to translate key learning into specific actions they will take back in the workplace. Make sure they make plans that will contribute directly to their job and lead to productivity improvements.

Step 6. One to one Support: Provide 1 to 1 support though coaching, mentoring, buddying or line management to help individuals think through their learning and take action that will make a real difference, particularly when things start to get complicated.

Step 7. One to Many Support: Create teams in your target group who will take on Application Projects together and support each other to increase results and produce tangible outcomes that make a real difference. Have them challenge and encourage each other and hold each other to account for success.

Step 8. De-briefing: Have a post programme de-briefing and review meeting to consolidate learning, recognise effort as well as results, increase engagement and offer continuing support after the programme is completed, to embed the changes into your business.

Step 9. Bring everything together into an Evaluation Report that will provide evidence of the impact of the programme on your business. Use MIS and HR metrics to demonstrate the ROI of the programme to your senior team.

These 9 Steps will help make sure that you reap the benefits and don’t waste money on training. You can see this process in action in our ACL Team Leadership Development Programme. If you’re not sure where to start, or would like help with Step 1 why not check out our free Organisational Diagnostic Session?