Training programs are an investment in your company, and as such, it’s reasonable to demand measurable ROI on employee training and instruction. 

Sometimes the return on investment for training is easily assessed; if training is intended to improve productivity, measuring productivity before and after training reveals whether or not instruction was successful. Other times, training offers more subtle benefits, such as increased employee safety after an arc flash safety seminar. Employee morale, less voluntary turnover, and an improvement in your bottom line can all indicate training has had a positive effect on your company.

To maximize your training ROI, it’s important to focus on why you’re training, what benefits you expect to see from training, and how to get your employees excited about upcoming training events. Here are five ways to get the largest possible ROI on training and certification courses.

Plan Ahead

Training for the sake of training will never produce significant ROI. For real success you need to plan, determining the benefits you want to see from training and formulating a method of assessment. For instance, training opportunities have been shown to reduce employee turnover rates. Replacing an employee can cost a company anywhere from 40 to 400 percent of their annual salary:

  • Entry-level positions with a salary of $40,000 cost, on average, $16,000 to replace

  • Mid-level positions with average salaries of $80,000, cost $150,000 to replace.

  • Senior positions with salaries of $120,000 can cost $960,000 to replace.

If a company loses one entry-level position a month and three mid-level positions a year, the business could be looking at $642,000 a year in replacement costs.

With pre-training statistics in hand, you can then compare turnover rates to post-training results. If voluntary turnover drops to five entry-level positions and one mid-level position a year, or $230,000 in replacement costs, then it’s reasonable to conclude training has a positive effect on your bottom line.

Leadership Support

Leadership involvement is essential when planning training, identifying whether training complements company goals and values. Prior to the training, leaders should promote training opportunities to employees while resolving scheduling conflicts or other obstacles that may prevent employees from attending seminars and courses.

Don’t underestimate the positive effect generated when leadership attends training programs themselves. Attendance proves management values both the training and the employees being trained, and can significantly influence employee attitudes towards training.

Strategic Communication Plan for Training

For training to be most effective, you need to increase organizational buy-in for upcoming courses and seminars. People are more likely to be excited about training—and more attentive—if you give them time to process the benefits of training.

Show employees the benefits of attending training sessions, emphasizing the rewards for both the individual and the company. Build a sense of anticipation, and employees will be more invested in getting the most out of training sessions.

Refresh and Reinforce

It’s estimated people forget ninety percent of what they learn within two weeks of a training session. That’s a terrible investment.

Fortunately, reinforcing and refreshing information in the weeks and months after training greatly improves both retention and application of newly-learned knowledge. An effective training schedule identifies one to three key points which are reinforced immediately after instruction, preferably by putting new skills into practical use.