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Measures of Training
How to justify training

How many times have you been asked to justify the time, effort and money that has been invested in your training? You and I know that any form of learning is 'a good thing', and that learning justifies itself, but that answer is unlikely to satisfy auditors and accountants. The question cannot be answered objectively without some kind of measurement. Deciding what these measurements should be is a challenging task and this article explores some conventional - and less conventional measures of training.

Training measurements can be divided into four categories:

  • Financial
  • Utilisation
  • Time
  • Process

Quantitative measures

The first three categories are quantitative. They are relatively easy to measure but can be perceived as bureaucratic. Quantitative measures have to be used with caution — e.g. one of the most popular of the time measures is the number of hours of training received by each employee per year. Many companies have a blanket target of 40 hours. Although this is useful as a guide, it is possible to imagine a situation where a highly skilled workforce would need only two hours of training a year. Training should always be related to the need.

Financial measures

Financial measures cover both costs and earnings and expressing these as ratios allows you to compare your costs and earnings with other companies. For example, the training budget can be expressed as a percentage of employment costs or company revenue. The budget can be divided by the number of employees to give the investment per employee. Other cost measures look at how much it costs to provide:
  • a trainer;
  • a day of a training course;
  • a day of training for one student.

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