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Who Needs Training Anyway?

According to a recent story in Workforce Management, training budgets are taking a beating during the current recession. I can’t say that I’m surprised by this, as it always seems that training is the first thing to go.

But why is it that something as important as training always gets the shaft? I would suggest that one of the primary reasons for this knee-jerk reaction is because training programs are so poorly evaluated. Most training is evaluated using reaction data from participants. Did you like the training? Do you think you learned anything?

Seldom is the actual transfer of training to the workplace actually measured. Even less seldom is the business impact on the training measured. And, return on investment with regard to training seems to be a pipe dream!

So, it should come as no surprise that when it comes to budget costs, hard data is likely to hold more sway than opinions. When the company sees a huge training budget and wants to know what the company is getting for those costs, what are they supposed to do with a smile from the human resource director and a comment such as, “Well, employees like it!” I’d cut the budget too!

This scenario happens every time the economy takes a downward slide, though the current recession is worse than normal. Perhaps this time, training departments will learn that smile sheets and superficial feedback isn’t going to save the training budget the next time. Perhaps we need to invest in an actual training evaluation program that provides hard data to withstand hard decisions. 

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Matt Grawitch published on February 11, 2009 2:53 PM.

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