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Assessing the ROI of Employee Training

As an employer, there are many questions to be answered when considering to invest in employee training. How much should I budget to train a new employee? How much time should an existing employee spend in training every month? Can I afford to take people away from the job for training? How do I know the training will be effective? If I spend time and money to train them will they leave for a new job?

 

According to the latest study by the Association for Talent Development, the average company spends $1,252 per year per employee on training. This works out to about three hours per month or approximately four days per year. About half of all training is online, and this method is rapidly increasing as employee expectations are forcing employers to offer more digital content.

 employee training

 

Given that your average employee spends less than three hours a week in training, you must provide training that is easy to consume. Less than ten percent of knowledge acquired in formal training events is retained for more than a week. Making your training content short in duration and modular in format will help your employees when they need it most. Your employees are consumers, and like modern consumers, they expect training to be similar to other digital experiences.

 

The traditional online or “eLearning” course was based on PowerPoint slides with handcrafted animations. Over 50% of all Internet access is now from mobile phones. Mobile consumers expect YouTube and Facebook, not animated PowerPoint slides. If you have slide decks or PDFs, including them as supplements can be useful, but please don’t make them the center of the online training.

 

According to Training Magazine, small (54.6 percent) and medium (43.4 percent) sized companies (SMBs) continue to rely on instructor-led delivery methods more so than large companies (37.4 percent). SMBs often struggle with the decision of when and how to dedicate resources to online training. Typically, they reach 100-300 employees before they appoint a dedicated training manager. Part of the reason is that building online employee training is perceived to be time-consuming, difficult and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be.


The key to building employee training that is affordable is to engage everyone in your company to help. That includes your internal experts, leaders, and top performers who carry tacit knowledge. Your employees know about content that can be easily reused, both from inside and outside your organization. You can have your team record videos on their phones. You can include different types of content (video, audio, gifs, articles, links) without being a training expert. You don’t have to rely on specialized personnel anymore to scale your training.



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One of the greatest benefits of moving training online is that employees can access it when they choose. Many recruiting and retention experts point out that the availability of training is a key consideration for millennials when choosing an employer. With the right tools (not PowerPoint, Word or Google docs), building employee training can be easy, quick, and affordable.

Employees love training and you should too! As Richard Branson said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.”


Appointing a training manager has been proven to have a strong return on investment, but only if you enable your entire company to help build the training. You can’t expect one person to do it all. A new generation of tools, such as Synapse, will allow you to build more online training at a cost that every SMB can afford.

 

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