THE TRAINING BOTTOM-LINE:
LESSONS FROM 10 SOUTH AFRICAN ROI PROJECTS
Opperman, ROI ONLINE
it comes to the field of ROI measurement in training programmes, we often
quote American gurus, American statistics and American case studies. Well,
now is the time to reflect on the state of ROI training measurement in
South Africa. This article provides a brief summary of the lessons learned
from 10 ROI projects in South African companies over the last five years.
ROI measurement is the process of calculating the financial bottom-line
impact of training. We will first highlight some lessons, and provide
guidelines to get you started.
article summarises the lessons from ten ROI case studies in which we have
been personally involved as consultants. These companies embarked on the
process to measure the financial ROI of their training programmes. This
also included the process of building capacity of HRD staff members in
their training departments. Interestingly, four of the organisations are
from the public sector and six from the private sector, showing that the
public sector does not lag behind when it comes to ROI measurement. The
following organisations present the case studies and learning points for
national government department
large clothing retailer
of the world’s top mining companies
bank (one of the big four)
of the largest manufacturing companies (both are global leaders)
– WHAT ARE COMPANIES STRUGGLING WITH
Reflecting on our
learning from these organisations, the following lessons come to the fore:
to quantify the benefits of training: Companies are struggling to get
data for the purpose of ROI measurement.
are running training programmes based on “outcomes” and not
are not asking the right questions: Instead of asking questions about
the impact of training, they are like academics and only pose learning
get A’s for Kirkpatrick Levels 1 and 2, F for 3 and G for 4 or 5:
Companies are doing well when it comes to evaluating reaction and
learning. But they struggle with behaviour and results evaluation.
is an over-emphasis on the role of HRD, but not enough line management
is not well informed about ROI in training.
learners are not well informed about ROI.
are assigning the wrong people to run ROI projects; rather
enthusiastic and competent business partners should drive ROI.
people have a passion for people, but not for measurement.
HRD do not have a passion for line management and business goals, in
fact, they are often ill-informed about the real business of the
proper needs analysis is often neglected.
attempt ROI calculations, yet no strategy for evaluation and
measurement is in place.
think that it is their job to satisfy the SETA and not the CEO.
is not close enough to the business, especially operational level.
is still very much in a comfort zone to get bums on seats.
or limited skills transfer strategies are in place.
problems occur, and it is therefore not surprising that not enough
time is spent on evaluation.
HRD members we now have accreditation from SETAs and ETQAs, but still
limited credibility within our organisations, especially from a line
accountability and measurement culture is lacking.
While the above lessons
present quite a tall order, here are some guidelines to turn things
line management involved as soon as possible.
actively on relationships before you tackle the numbers.
should first go and get their hands dirty – get to know the
line management and the training department, not only training!
a measurement culture – get measures from line.
learners as a key ROI stakeholder so that they can obtain ownership.
the company’s annual report to understand the business better.
training KPAs, put more emphasis on evaluation than on class room
on a more proactive and thorough needs analysis before training.
an integrated evaluation and measurement strategy.
ROI with other business systems and processes such as ABC, IIP, TQM,
SPC, ISO, JIT etc.
the right questions to get the right answers.
for ROI before training, not only after training.
a clear skills transfer strategy to optimise ROI.
some obstacles and challenges in the field of ROI measurement, South
African companies have learned how to make the paradigm shift from
learning to results. The challenge is to work through these lessons and to
embrace the guidelines proposed in this article. These critical success
factors will assist training managers to show the bottom-line impact of
their learning programmes.
Marius Meyer and
Opperman consult for ROI ONLINE,
a training measurement specialist company.
They can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org