How is the alignment of your organization’s training program? What is the training really worth to your employees? Some companies train too much, while others train too little. Determining the level and quality of training to offer your employees is an important decision, impacting not only employee morale and productivity, but also retention.

The training industry is becoming a big business within US companies. Whether it’s building better team workshops, in-depth technology workshops, or actual hands-on experience, training is something many companies are doing on a company-wide level.

In 2009, American businesses actually spend over $125 billion on employee development and learning. Companies often track every advertising campaign in order to learn what works and what doesn’t, but when it comes to training, they never really know what they are getting from the experience.

Some companies collect information on the amount of employees they have, the cost of training and so on, but most do not connect the items learning in the training sessions with the overall goals of increasing sales, productivity, and customer bases.

There are companies that can judge the results of a training session based on new software, but there is no easy way to figure out the actual benefits of the training programs. It is difficult to measure the training’s role in raising the overall revenue within a company. A company probably cannot determine that a social media skills workshop helped generate enough new customers to double the profit intake. Many companies, however, feel that the training is worth the unknown affects. If companies do not train, they do not even have the possibility of increasing their revenues based on the training.

Many company leaders are very interested in finding ways to quantify the training process as well as the learning and development programs that they have in place. Only a small percentage of the companies, however, actually actively try. Human resources departments do not particularly want the technology because if it shows that the training does not help that much, they could see a decrease in their responsibilities and therefore job loss.

Companies that are serious about finding out what training really does may want to establish control groups. Have the employees sign performance contracts and monitor the business performance between the two groups. One group will get all of the training benefits and the other will not. This could help show the company whether or not the training is truly beneficial, though it is not a fail-safe plan. It is possible for the untrained group to simply be made up with highly motivated individuals striving to do their best. This, among many other factors, could skew the results.

Like everything else, the cost of training is rising. Companies need to find a way to gauge whether the detailed training is worth the cost. If the training creates dedicated employees who make money for the company, it may be worth it. If alignment of training is not done right, it is a waste of time, money and energy across the entire organization.

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David Peterson

David G. Peterson is a business consultant and author of Handling the Remedy. He has extensive international experience managing projects and operations for large financial institutions. He has worked in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia skillfully managing business and technical requirements, core systems enhancement and support, merger and acquisition integration's, business process reengineering, off-shoring and outsourcing.