We would say that, of course, as we are all about developing people to empower them to flourish, and business to benefit as a result. So we are slightly biased!
But we are also realistic and clear on this: whilst learning can be a lot of fun, all training and development should have a positive impact all round, otherwise it can be a waste of time.
It’s about your people and your business. And each is as important as the other.
For your people: We recommend that you need to be very sure of what it is you need them to learn/develop, how it will help them to achieve their objectives, and the expected impact on them and their teams.
For your business: We recommend that you need to be very sure that the programme you chose is aligned with your business focus, and that it will add to and enhance that, rather than just add to the overhead.
Once these factors are clarified, it’s then a simple case of choosing the most appropriate programme and making the most of it through empowering your people to apply and embed it.
This is how to gain a great ROI:
Have the facilitator use your appropriate process assets as part of the programme materials, and ensure that the provider’s content is relevant to how you want your people to operate in your business. This will help to ensure that any practice sessions will be similar to how the learning will be applied in your working environment, making it simple to use straight away.
Prepare with each participant on a one to one basis, and agree on objectives (ideally linking with their current personal development plan), how they plan to apply the learning afterwards, and where appropriate, how they will share the learning with the wider team.
Take care to manage expectations: for mixed groups, help seniors to understand their wider objectives/role. For example, this could include supporting their team, setting an example, acting as delivery support, to develop ‘train the trainer’ skills. This can help to enhance teamwork, develop internal learning and development capability, especially coaching.
Ensure the training environment is appropriate, in terms of space, lighting, equipment, refreshments etc. It’s a fact with our own participants, that the more suitable the learning space, the more the learning is retained.
Liaise with the participants to offer encouragement and show interest, as this will enhance motivation.
Speak with the facilitator to gain some interim feedback – this can hugely enhance delivery, especially in terms of agreeing on adapting and tailoring focus where needed.
Gain some input from the facilitator on how best to support your people back in the workplace (we are often used as a confidential sounding board).
Debrief with each individual, paying particular attention to their action points, and how they plan to apply the learning. Add these points to their existing personal development plan if they have one in place (usually linked with their appraisal).
Update your process assets to ensure that your infrastructure supports any new activities that you decide would be useful for the wider business, to be applied in a simple, effective and consistent way.
Support the sharing of the learning to the wider team.
The real learning starts only once it is applied in ‘real life’: see for yourself how your people are using the concepts in reality, sharing encouraging and constructive feedback to ensure the skills continue to be developed and honed. This is essential, because people are typically great in practice during a ‘safe’ learning environment; they may need further or a different type of support in the working environment.
Measure and celebrate the ROI.
That’s it; nothing too difficult, just a clear plan, focused encouragement, communication and consistency. Great habits to instil for a great ROI!