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Putting a value on training

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Putting a value on training

Training programs generate greater value for organizations when the curricula reflect key business performance metrics. Testing real-world outcomes is crucial.
All organizations train their people, and most spend significant sums doing so. Yet they generally don’t have any idea whether they’re getting any business value from training. Beyond teaching new employees the specifics of their jobs, most companies train staff in areas such as leadership, communications, performance management, or lean operations. But they typically measure training’s impact by conducting surveys of attendees or counting how many employees complete courses rather than by assessing whether those employees learned anything that improved business performance.

This approach was, perhaps, acceptable when companies had money to spare. Now, most don’t. Yet more and more, organizations need highly capable employees—90 percent of the respondents to a recent McKinsey Quarterly survey said that building capabilities was a top-ten priority for their organizations. Only a quarter, though, said that their programs are effective at improving performance measurably, and only 8 percent track the programs’ return on investment.

The story of one social-sector group, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), illustrates how organizations can make the most of their outlays for training programs by doing a better job of understanding which of them create business value, and how. The answers are remarkably straightforward and have lessons for retailers, manufacturers, and a range of other organizations as well.

Read the entire article on McKinseyQuarterly.com.

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