Thinking you should evaluate the return on investment of every last one of your learning and development programs? Think again.
Jack Phillips, founder and president of the Chelsea, Ala.-based ROI Institute and author of Return on Investment in Training and Performance Improvement Programs (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1997) suggests you narrow your focus to perhaps one out of 10. According to Phillips, good candidates for the ROI level of evaluation include programs that are:
Focused on an operational issue, such as solving a quality bottleneck.
Targeted to a company-wide strategy, such as enhanced customer service.
Expensive. Some companies find it helpful to develop a decision tree based on a cost factor.
Highly visible. An ROI evaluation may turn critics into advocates.
Of particular interest to management.
Attended by a large audience. Subject some sample of programs every employee attends to ROI analysis, says Phillips, "to see about the value it is adding, but, more important, to learn what is working and what is not working so well."
Permanent. "If you have a program for new supervisors and new team leaders, as long as you have new supervisors and new team leaders you will have this program," he says. "Somewhere along the way, you will need to carve out one or two samples and show value." —K.E.