ASTD study: employee training increases a company's ROI

By David Essex, ITworld.com |  Business

One company's top-level commitment

For all this to happen, companies need standard metrics for evaluating their training
efforts. ASTD provides several such tools at its Website (see href="#resources">Resources), including the benchmark service that gathered the
data in the TSR study. Beware: it takes a lot of heavy lifting to fill out the
questionnaire. You must answer detailed questions in a 51-page measurement kit, but
your reward is a free report comparing your company to others in ASTD's database, Van
Buren says.

One company that scored high in the benchmarking service is Wisconsin Public
Service, (WPS; based in Green Bay, Wis.), which ASTD named a training investment leader
in its 2000 State of the Industry Report. WPS maintains close partnerships with five
nearby technical colleges. "What we have done is create a kind of a branch campus at
our locations," says Frank Quisenberry, a WPS organizational-learning consultant.
Typically, the colleges provide professors who teach WPS managers how to teach. The
professors and the WPS staff also jointly develop online learning systems, the focus of
much of WPS's recent efforts. While the company doesn't yet show training expenditures
in its annual report, the CEO is a training champion and touts the effort publicly.

Quisenberry says the most effective types of training seem to be computer-related or
technical -- say, giving meter readers who would otherwise fall victim to automation a
chance to learn new skills within the company. Retention is such a corporate value that
Quisenberry seems to have little patience with the old-school fear that employee
training will only pay off for your competitors. Says Quisenberry: "If you don't do it,
they're going to walk out the door faster."

Resources

  • American Society for Training and Development: href="http://www.astd.org">http://www.astd.org

  • Brookings Institution's "Unseen Wealth" Report (Executive Summary): href="http://www.brook.edu/es/research/projects/intangibles/tf_exsum.htm">http://www.bro
    ok.edu/es/research/projects/intangibles/tf_exsum.htm

  • Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB): href="http://www.rutgers.edu/Accounting/raw/fasb/index.html">http://www.rutgers.edu/Acco
    unting/raw/fasb/index.html

  • Saba Software: http://www.saba.com

  • US Securities and Exchange Commission: href="http://www.sec.gov/">http://www.sec.gov/

  • Wisconsin Public Service: href="http://www.wpsc.wpsr.com/">http://www.wpsc.wpsr.com/

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