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Stacking the odds in your favour.

If, like me, you have bought a few shares on the stock-market and/or shares in investment funds over the years you will have probably suffered many ups and downs. It can be quite frustrating when the market crashes and there was nothing you could do about the value of your investment falling. Of course when you talk to your broker they will advise you that ‘the value of your investments can fall as well as rise’.

And therein lies the frustration with many investment options; the return on your investment can often be outside of your control.

But what about investing in your people? Return on investment in training and development has always been a hot topic for businesses and HR people alike.

At Altris, we put a lot of effort into giving our clients the result they are looking for from our work together, whether it is one to one coaching, our Coaching Culture programme or our highly successful High Performing Teams programme. In doing so we have learnt that it is often hard work to develop and track realistic* outcome based success measures with a client.

This week we launch the Altris paper on the ROI of coaching ‘The case for coaching’ which talks about what we do to increase the likelihood of a return in investment when you choose us as coaches to work one to one with your leaders.

But you will note that I say ‘increase the likelihood’ rather than guarantee. All our experience has been built in to what we do to make programmes a success, but as coaches we know that the ultimate success is in the hands of the client, whether that is an individual coachee, a team aspiring to higher performance or a whole organisation looking to change.

So, as we launch our latest paper this week, it seems pertinent to look at what you, the user and the buyer, can do to increase the ROI when you buy development programmes. There is a lot of advice available on how to get a benefit from training. Much of it is aimed at the trainer or the HR/OD department (include pre-work, brief the attendee in advance, conduct need analysis, provide context for the employee etc), but what about the attendee? What ownership does the user have for delivering a return on the development?

Here are a few quick ideas to think about, and if you would like to explore them further we’d be happy to talk to you.

Measure for success: ‘What gets measured gets done’ applies to development as much as anything else, so build success and progress measures into your programmes and ensure that the user knows that they are responsible for reporting their stats (not the coach or the trainer!)

Work for it: People put effort into things that they value. Handing out coaching and personal development ‘on a plate’ may mean that the programme is not highly valued and therefore there is less desire to use the new ideas. Why not ask people to apply for the programme? Make development something to be valued.

Make it worth it: Do you build ROI of development into individual annual appraisal and reward? Many requests come out of annual development planning but how well do we close the loop on the delivery of the resultant training. Why not make the demonstration of ROI on training part of the next year’s bonus?

Managers make it count: Often people go on training courses and the manager doesn’t know much about it. Involve the manager in the expectations of the development programme and give them a role that involves them in the delivery and reporting by the programme attendee.

Partner the provider: We love it when companies want us to work  in partnership with them to build measures that flow from our programmes into their workplace. Of course it takes time and effort to do so, but when you’ve already decided on the development programme why wouldn’t you want to increase success?

There is no doubt that return on investment in people development will continue to be a hot topic for years to come, but why not stack the odds in your favour right from the start?


*That is why many training companies report measures such as course attendance and satisfaction of attendees on the day, neither of which are indicators of whether the attendee does anything with the knowledge!

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