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Friday, 04 December 2015 06:59

Showing the Value of Training

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This content is from the Method123 weekly email dated 2015.03.15

Use These Four Steps to Show the Value of Training

Many businesses struggle with whether they are getting their money’s worth sending employees to training classes. This question can be applied to project management training as well as any other type of business training. You know the cost side of training too well. But how do you tell what the business value is?

The most common way to determine value today is to ask the employee whether he or she thinks the class was valuable. This is very touchy-feely and doesn’t give you much information to go on, but it is probably the way most companies ask about value.

There is a process to more rigorously determine the value received for your training dollars. These ideas are not for the faint of heart. They take more preparation and they take more of that most precious commodity – time. But see if it makes sense, and whether the results of this process will give you a much better feel for the value that you are receiving from training. You can also start with some of these steps, and try for the rest later.

  1. The employee and their manager meet a few weeks before the training is scheduled to make sure the employee is ready for the class. One of the important parts of the discussion is to identify opportunities where the employee can apply the new skills on their job. This information should be documented so that it can be compared with a post-class assessment done later. If the employee cannot apply the training, it does not mean the time is wasted. There is still new skills learned. However, the business value is reduced if the new skills cannot be applied.  

  2. When the class begins each employee should complete an initial survey where they are asked to rate their specific knowledge level in the class topic.

  3. A week or two after the class, the employee should complete a post-class survey showing their current knowledge level in the subject. This is the same survey from activity #2 above. This is compared to the initial survey to provide a sense for how much the employee learned - at least in their own opinion. If this survey comes out close to the original version, it may show that the training may not have been very effective. You would expect that the post-class survey would show improvement.

  4. Here is the key step. A few months after the class, the employee and their manager meet again for a post-class assessment, which is a follow-up to activity #1 above. In this discussion, the employee and manager discuss whether the employee has been able to apply the new skills. In fact, the training may have been superb, but if there have been no opportunities to apply the new skills, then the business value will be marginal. The employee and manager can then discuss the business value that was gained by applying the new skills on the job.




In most training classes today, the employee completes the class feedback for the benefit of the training company, and then tells his or her manager how good the class was. This superficial feedback is all that is available to gauge business value. However, the real test of business value is whether the class resulted in an increased skill level that can be applied to the job to make a person more productive. This cannot be determined immediately after a class. The only way to determine business value is to determine in the months after the class whether or not the training has actually been applied on the job. If you capture this information on all your classes, you will get a much better and more fact-based view of whether the classes you pay for are providing business value to your company.

At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit or contact us at

Read 3067 times Last modified on Friday, 04 December 2015 07:12
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