Determining the value or return- on- investment (ROI) for marketing or public relations training is more important than ever these days with such a tight economy.

Spending money to send marketing or public relations professionals to day long training events has to return more than just networking opportunities. There are many ways to measure the impact of training for any level of training and any level of employee.

Reasons to Determine ROI

Return-on-investment, or in some circles it is called return-on-instruction, has been somewhat controversial over the years because of the argument that for some types of training it is difficult to quantify the impact. Because of the controversy and the difficulties involved, many companies have determined that ROI is only needed on training that lasts two or three days and not on the half day or full day training courses.

If the desired goals of the training are set up front even before registering for the course, all types of training can be measured by simply comparing the actual training outcomes to the desired goals. To be most effective, the goals have to be realistic.

If a company wants to improve math skills of employees working on the shop floor and then provide four hours of math training without first doing assessments and then without reinforcement of the training, the goals of the training can never be met.

Nonetheless, don’t readily assume that determining ROI is inappropriate or unattainable. Determining ROI will make everyone including the employees happier in the long and will help save a company hundreds or thousands of dollars in inappropriate training. And, it will save the employees from spending hours or days of sitting through training that is not applicable to their job or their professional development.

Ways to Measure ROI

Measuring ROI can be simple or complex. In its most simplistic form, asking an employee to fill out a questionnaire about the training can be appropriate. Use the form to ask the employee their impression of the training and how they see it benefiting them in the future. Each completed questionnaire can be kept in the employee’s file and discussed during their yearly review.

On the more complicated side of determining ROI, some companies develop training impact metrics that could include measuring an increase in sales by a predefined percentage or by increasing the number of press releases sent.

At the very least, those who have completed a training session should be asked the following five questions.

  1. Was the training focused on the topic publicized?
  2. Were the participants engaged by the instructor in discussions?
  3. Was the topic in alignment with the job duties of the participant?
  4. Was the training the appropriate length in time?
  5. Did the participants leave the class with a complete understanding of how to apply the training in the workplace?

If the most in-depth answer to the five questions above comes out something like, “the food was great at lunch and we had plenty of breaks” the ROI will be quickly evident and on the negative side.

Professional Development is Essential

For marketing and public relations professionals to remain effective and good at their jobs, professional development and training is essential. In the worst of times or even in the best of times, being able to substantiate the need for training can be problematic.

Showing the return-on-instruction and investment can help expedite training requests and make everyone including the trainee feel more as a contributor to a solution versus the cause of an expenditure problem.

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