In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the mindsets that hinder training measurement and the false belief that measurement is not possible.
In this part, we’ll make the case that training measurement must become a line item in your training budget.
The Typical Training Budget
Traditionally, training budgets center around content and the training process itself. Your budget may cover authoring tools, purchasing content, Learning Management Systems (LMS), or other training delivery costs.
Because too few businesses plan for training measurement (or even believe measurement is possible), little if any money is set aside for this function. In businesses that do attempt measurement, the funds are typically borrowed from other “budget buckets.”
Sometimes the money borrowed is for measurement tools of questionable value. This could be for something like Survey Monkey or similar survey tools. Those tools use surveys to ask what people think of training. (As I’ve explained before, that is useless information when it relates to training impact.) Other times, money will be snagged from funds set aside for “trainer professional development.” This might pay for a one-time class or certification in measurement that is unlikely to yield long-lasting or real results.
Why Training Measurement Budgets Are Becoming Essential
When new technologies hit the scene, budgets for them come from “found” money. Think about cell phones. Twenty years ago, no one planned a cell phone bill as part of their monthly budget. There was no room for it because it wasn’t even an option. Decades ago, cell phones were considered nice-to-have luxuries or as tools to use in emergencies.
Now cell phones are ubiquitous. We can’t imagine daily life without them. Budgets were carved from landline and Internet service costs. Room was made in the budget because they became needed tools required for daily productivity. As the need evolves, so does the budget.
As the awareness of training measurement options increase, a need for a training measurement budget is being created. As businesses and training professionals attempt to solve the measurement challenge, they need resources set aside for measurement and evaluation. The mindset is changing. People are coming to see that training measurement is comparable to quality assurance.
In fact, measurement for the impact (effectiveness) of training programs is your quality assurance program. Without measurement, the only accurate training report you can provide is about training activity and not training quality. Other departments have both the roles and the budget for quality assurance (usually 10 to 20%)!
What Size Should Your Training Measurement Budget Be and What Should It Cover?
Current budgets provide for training development but few account for the real impact training has on the organization. Do you want assurance that your training is doing something? Would you spend another 3 to 5% for the assurance that you are meeting your targets? That is the budget allowance that our customers are setting aside for this crucial information. Instead of focusing on if participants liked the “free lunch” on the day of training, focus on the ability of your programs to enhance productivity. Create the means to set your goals and find out if you are hitting your targets.
Training measurement is possible and businesses are demanding these measures. Are you ready to meet this demand with an adequate training measurement budget? Do you need help explaining this need for the business leaders in your company? eParamus can help. Contact us if you need to know more.
Please follow eParamus on LinkedIn and feel free to connect with me, Laura Paramoure, PhD. I’d love to know more about your training challenges.