I’m a firm believer in metrics and measurement. There’s a quote I like from Dr. Jac Fitz-enz which says, “If the language of business is dollars, then the alphabet is numbers.” And I think there’s real truth in it.
Especially when it comes to training. There are times when training gets a bad rap because sometimes companies implement training programs for issues that aren’t training problems. Then when they try to measure the results, well they can’t because it wasn’t a training issue in the first place. But instead of admitting the right tool wasn’t used, the whole concept of training is declared ineffective.
I listened to a speaker recently who challenged my thoughts about the importance of calculating return on investment. His thought was alignment and impact of training are more important than ROI. My first reaction was to call bravo sierra on this one but after noodling it over, maybe he’s right.
The function of training and development, like human resources or any other department, should be aligned with the organization. Ultimately, this means training programs need to be aligned to an organizational goal. If they are, then the results should have a positive impact on the business.
In no way does this imply that hard data results will not be available or used to show impact.
If training initiatives truly address training matters and are directly tied to organizational goals, the return on investment calculation falls into place. And a thorough assessment would ensure the data is available because you have to know:
- What is the business need that training will address?
- Where is the metric that shows the current situation?
- What department or position owns that metric?
- How often is the metric calculated?
These answers are a necessary part of a comprehensive training assessment.
My takeaway from the speaker’s presentation: I still believe metrics and measurement are important. But if you put organizational alignment first, then the numbers aren’t the challenge we sometimes make them out to be.0