Months of staying away from the workplace, from learning new skills or improving upon the ones already learnt before the outbreak of COVID 19 pandemic have severely impacted organizations’ ability to deliver, and on a more serious note- their bottom lines.
Investing on Learning – a tough call
As slowly workplaces begin to come to term with the reality of resuming work under a new normal of rigorous restrictions, of maintaining social distancing to break the chain of infection, the issue of making investment on learning/training for the workforce has assumed a gargantuan proportion. It is no longer an easy decision to make.
ROI- an important part of business
Then, how to get the workers started post Covid-19 lockdown? How to put them through training sessions never fully sure of the likely returns on investment or ROI, such an important component of a business? In fact, organisations cutting across sectors and geographical boundaries have been busy brainstorming over these vital questions.
Result oriented learning?
Should organisations have let the things go on the way they had been over the last many months, without updating skills or learning processes? The answer to this would be for sure a big ‘NO’. For, an effective and result-oriented learning forms the bulwark of an organisation’s ability to sustain itself and grow in a rapidly transforming business environment with emphasis largely being on digital e-commerce to conduct businesses and ensure regular earnings and, then, PROFIT.
Continuity in learning – a challenge indeed
This brings us to the kernel issue of how to ensure continuity in the learning processes in an organization. This may turn out to be quite a challenge for organisations especially after a prolonged lockdown with little or no income. For many organisations it has become a daily battle for survival.
Learning essential for growth
With no cash-flow or tardy earnings from businesses, organisations have no option but to think twice before investing on workforce’s learning – many of whom are still working from home. But whether you like it or not learning is an essential ingredient for growth and thus has a direct bearing on the organisations’ bottom line as well. That you can do away with it would be rather a wishful thinking and a retrograde move keeping in mind the long term interest of an enterprise. Therefore, focusing on improving the ROI should be the new mantra.
Effective learning strategies
Hammering out effective learning strategies holds the key to improving Return on Investment [RIO] or the bottom line. To undertake any such exercise one first needs to ‘measure’ the ROI of a learning programme. With increased budgetary constraints it is imperative to have an inbuilt system of measuring ROI of a learning module.
- The usefulness of learning programme needs to be established by sufficient amount of data.
- The focus should be on assessing the impact of training not just the quality of training.
- Rather than a one-time process it should be a continuous process of measuring the learning.
- Constant monitoring of learning programme helps justify investment at any given point of time and take corrective measures for the long-term success of the programme.
Learning to bring value to enterprise
It is important to know in what manner one particular learning module is helping to bring value to an enterprise. In other words, it should be good to measure how a particular module has helped the business grow. This growth as a result of the learning should be calculated in percentage terms and compared with the growth before the start of the learning.
Learner’s response to learning
- It is equally important to take into account a learner’s response to a learning programme immediately after its completion.
- This will have to be followed by another similar exercise a few months [60-90 days] later when the learner has got an opportunity to apply his or her knowledge in the organization.
- Managers, supervisors, group leader and various points of contact of the learner can give vital feedback to evaluate the learning module and its effectiveness in driving growing in a business enterprise.
Parameters of judging learning programme
But is the investment on learning is worth it? Should it be calculated in terms of the monetary benefits accrued to the organization from it? That will be a too simplistic way of looking at your ROI.
The learning programme has to be judged on other crucial parameters such as *Impact on business – *Effectiveness – *Behaviour transformation – *Quality of programme – *Work results.
Learner’s personalized data helpful
A personalized data of individual learner such as cost incurred on delivery of learning, travel and lodging if the learning is taking place away from office and home, salary during the absence from work etc is helpful in working out the final investment and likely return from it.
Roadmap for learner and organisation
A better outcome of an ROI more than compensates for the expenditure made on the learning process. But to be able to do so one has to have a clear-cut roadmap for both the learners and organisations. A learning programme made with eyes closed to the imminent pitfalls serves nobody’s purpose, neither the learners’ nor the organisation’s.