ROI (Return on Investment), ROI, ROI, that is what many training leaders, and managers, hear every day. But what does that mean?
Training is one of the only job functions within an organization that must prove its value over and over, yet, in most cases the budget for it is >1% of the operating budget.
Does anyone ask the marketing department how many paper sheets we print it takes to produce 1 sale? Does any CEO ask what is the ROI of software development? In most cases, no, they do not. Yet training, especially when purchasing a Learning Management System (LMS), is expected to offer an immediate return.
Organizations that sell their training to their end customers, certainly can eventually provide an ROI once an LMS is in place and quality can be measured by the overall satisfaction of the key staff, and reduction of support calls on learning topics. The important factor here is measuring the correct parameters. Can we reduce travel? Maybe and maybe not; but we can improve the overall customer satisfaction with the on-site travel by making the on-site time more about practical examples and not about learning the basics.
So what does this have to do with Learning Organizations? A true learning organization goes beyond just offering training courses. It is a company that realizes the following facts to be true and invests in the infrastructure to accomplish these tasks:
Training is often the black hole of intangible results. As training leaders we can help provide answers when asking the right questions. That only goes so far. Generating buy-in within the organization requires an openness to new ideas, and a willingness to try action research.
Bersin, J. (2012). 5 Keys to Building a Learning Organization. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2012/01/18/5-keys-to-building-a-learning-organization/
Clark, D. (2010). Learning Organization Profile. Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/learnorg.html
Kelly, T. (2012, January 31). Learning Metrics: Speaking the Language of Business [Video file]. Retrieved from GoToWebinar website: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/961615464
Smith, M. K. (2001) 'The learning organization', the encyclopedia of informal education, http://www.infed.org/biblio/learning-organization.htm.
Caryn Morgan, corporate trainer, obtained her Masters Degree in Adult Education and Training