Training Measurement — Is It in Your Training Budget? (Part 1)

Training BudgetFor many businesses, now is budget time.

For learning professionals, the budget process reveals much.

This process says a lot about the value your company places on the training role.

It says even more about if your business sees the training function as a business partner or an overhead expense.

At budget time, there are few business functions treated so cavalierly as training. Many businesses view training as a “nice to have” feature. It’s often placed on the chopping block when budgets are squeezed. (See Training Budget Time? 4 Ways to Get and Keep A Bigger Budget.)

Part of this mindset derives directly from lack of training measurement. Without measurement, you have no proof that training adds to your business bottom line.

Many businesses are now insisting (understandably) on an ROI measure for training. The training role, like every other business function, is having to use hard data to prove value to the business.

The obstacle is this: Many businesses—in fact, many learning professionals—believe training measurement is not possible to achieve.

What Beliefs Hinder Training Measurement

I’ve discussed that false belief many times here. Training measurement is not only possible, it’s essential.

Arguments abound that you cannot measure training. This often includes strange arguments that you must remove all other variables that could possibly affect the value of training.

As I say in ROI By Design:

…You will find that the challenge has centered on isolation of the variable to measure. Unfortunately, this means most training professionals have spent their time either working on ways to isolate the impact of training against everything else that may have impacted the metric, or they spend their time explaining why level four [training impact] is not important because it cannot be isolated.”

It is possible and simple to measure training impact — when you understand the process. (I explain how to measure training in ROI By Design, if you want insight into how simple it can be.)

It’s this mindset that continues to hinder both the training profession and training measurement adoption.

Why Training Measurement Matters

If you don’t measure training, how do you know the quality of your programs? How do you know the impact of all your training efforts? How do you know if your training improves productivity and adds to the bottom line revenue of your business?

As I’ve written in ROI By Design:

…Many training professionals find it hard to prove the value of training to an organization. Why? They do not know how to show training success in concrete terms. Measurement is the key to making that link.

We know if our industry ever hopes to be seen as a strategic business partner, we must first understand our own value. Then, we must know how to communicate that value in business terms, as hard proof of achieved goals—as dollars and cents that add to the bottom line.”

Until you show concrete value for training, training will never be viewed as more than an overhead expense.

As you approach budget time, consider the value that you should place on measurement. Be prepared to allocate part of your budget to this crucial need.

In Part 2 of this series, I’ll explain how you can ensure this line item makes it into your budgeting process.

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.