Return on your training investment

Like everyone else, I can’t believe it is the beginning of September. As we hurtle towards Q4 - if you are involved in the training department of your organisation, now is usually crunch time. The end-of-the-year panic starts to rear its ugly head and you have to juggle multiple tasks and priorities from that last minute spend of your annual training budget and also producing reports that show what you spent on training in 2017 in order to justify an even bigger budget in 2018.

During the next couple of weeks, the phones at Alusani® will ring off the hook. We get so busy in the run up to the December holidays as people start to realise that they just haven’t managed to get the training done that they had planned, or they realise that they are short CPD points for the year and we get rather panicked phone calls from training managers from across the country.

But before you sign up for training just for training’s sake or to blow your budget please take 5 minutes to read this story.

Mpho was the manager of the order processing department of a large electronics company and she had a serious problem. Her team was not performing. They seemed to take forever to process essential paperwork through the department and orders were not being fulfilled timeously and this was causing a backlog of orders and of course this led to unhappy customers. Mpho spent some time looking at available courses and she decided that an onsite training course that dealt with time management was just the answer.

So, she spent even more time finding a training provider who could come in and present a training course on time management to her team. All 9 people in her team attended. After the training course, Mpho reviewed the report provided by the training provider, it looked like everyone who had attended the course, had enjoyed it and they thought that it was well worth their time.

After the training course, she expected to see a dramatic change in terms of the speed that her team captured and processed paperwork…sadly, this never happened. The work continued at the same rate and in some cases it even got worse. Mpho was horrified, she had spent over R35 000.00 on the course and she was not getting the results she expected. So, what had gone wrong?

She had made a classic business mistake…she did not understand the real problem and she thought that a training course would help; in this case she was wrong! Perplexed, she spent some time observing and talking to her staff and she uncovered that most of them did not understand the computer software and struggled with it and that the forms that they used to input the information were in a completely different order to what was on the computer screen and this is why they took so long to complete the process.

So, the training they actually needed was from a software expert who could answer their actual work questions and who could show them efficient ways of using the computer programme – also the form was redesigned to follow the software and this made all the difference in the world. The order processing department after this increased their productivity by over 200%.

The morale of the story – you need to make sure that you invest in training that is actually needed! Mistakes like Mpho’s are both costly and embarrassing, as they simply have no impact on the problem…and in some extreme cases situations like this only make the problem worse!

Throughout my career and especially over the last 11 years as the MD of Alusani® (gosh I can’t believe it’s been that long already but I suppose time does fly when you are having fun), I have experienced both perspectives (as the client and the training provider) this has helped me gain a clearer understanding of what HR and Training Managers really need, it has allowed me to tailor-make our offering to help you meet the demands of today’s increasingly challenging business environment. We present all of our training solutions in a format that best suits your business needs and meets your budget and time constraints.

I believe that the end result of any training or learning intervention should show a significant return on investment, whether it is increased performance, profitability or efficiencies. And when you think about it in this economic climate, everyone wants value for money and a return on investment – training should not be an exception!

To find out what makes Alusani Skills & Training Network® different from the many other training providers please visit