We had a great conversation with a long-standing client and friend yesterday, and part of it was a fascinating discussion of “new behaviors.” We were discussing some major training initiatives for his organization, and he asked the million dollar question: “How do we make sure we get a great ROI for our investment in training?”
Lots of organizations invest in training, of all kinds, for their employees. If you don’t invest in the development of your employees, you will have trouble keeping your best employees. The best organizations realize this, and are willing to spend the resources. The value to the employee is clear.
And the value to the organization is also clear… IF the organization knows how to leverage the investment. If the organization does not make conscious and correct choices on how to increase their ROI, then their ROI will be low. So let’s cut to the chase… how does an organization do this correctly?
- The organization has to set a model for the expected behaviors. The organization has to communicate something like this: “We have provided this training, and here is what we expect from you going forward.” If not, then no one knows what to strive for.
- There has to be ongoing accountability to meet those expected behaviors. Creating the model is part of the equation. But then the organization has to hold people accountable. The behaviors have to part of the professional development conversation. If not, then no one will see any reason to adopt the new behaviors.
- The new behaviors have to be modeled by senior leadership. Everyone has to be accountable. And when employees see leadership exhibiting the behaviors, then they will try to emulate those behaviors. This is a lot like successful parenting. If your mantra in your household is “do as I say, not as I do,” then your kids will eventually do as they want to, and begin to resent the rules that you yourself ignore. So will your employees.
Training is critical to attracting and keeping talented employees. And training creates better, more productive organizations. But the investment in that training has to be cared for. Otherwise, you are just spinning the organizational wheels, and ultimately wasting your investment.