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What Works in Professional Development: The ROI of Training, Part 3

In my last installment on the ROI of training, I am going to focus on measuring training effectiveness. The reason training is devalued, cut, or not implemented at all is because, as an industry, we aren’t diligent about measuring the effectiveness of our efforts when it comes to training.

In part one of this series, I talked about two key areas: creating learning objectives and baselining performance before initiating training. Often these two areas are not performed, which leads to the inability to measure ROI. So, remember you’ve got to focus on those key areas first to even be able to calculate ROI. Return on learning is a larger methodology focused on a holistic approach to measuring entire programs, not an initiative. For our purposes here, I’ll focus on ROI.

HDI has developed a methodology we use to help organizations more accurately focus on calculating ROI. Our methodology focuses on baselining key performance data including:

  • Average contacts per month
  • Average handle time (minutes)
  • # of business hours for new hire training
  • Average hourly salary: analysts/technicians
  • Average hourly salary: shift team leaders/supervisors
  • Cost Per Contact

Now, if you are unsure of your numbers in any of these areas, you can utilize the HDI Practices & Salary Reports information to give you an industry average (NOT standard) baseline to use. An example for calculating ROI is when we deliver a certification training at the analyst levelour flagship course Support Center Analyst (SCA). We will develop key learning objectives aligned with our standards (based on competencies and knowledge) and baseline key areas: First Contact Resolution (FCR) Rates, Average Speed of Answer, Average Handle Time, Absenteeism. This methodology will then look at post-training metrics to see if we have we increased FCR, for example. Have we experienced efficiency gains in operation and added additional hours of productivity?

  • Increase in FCR rate: Increases in FCR come from implementing procedural best practices in a certified environment, including procedures designed to capture, organize and extract information quickly and efficiently by professionals.
  • Efficiency gain in operations: Includes more efficient contact handling (Average speed of answer, average handle time) and a better understanding of support tools.  A center employing best practices can handle calls 20% more efficiently than the average center.
  • Additional production hours (% to total): A better understanding of their environment, coupled with training designed to increases their knowledge and skill base, increases morale in an operation and reduces the number of sick days taken by professionals.  A support center employing best practices experiences 8% less absenteeism than the average center.

Even a minimal increase in FCR can make a positive contribution to overall ROI. It might be helpful to also baseline customer satisfaction metrics. We typically see a correlation between improvement in FCR and customer satisfaction. In fact, SQM Group reports that for every 1% improvement you make in FCR, you get a 1% improvement in customer satisfaction, too.

The next step is to then calculate the annual savings based on the increase in FCR, efficiency gains in operation, and additional production hours. The final step in the process is to calculate your costs based on investment in training (total cost to produce, create, purchase training) plus the production loss during training. Production losses during training are the combined salaries and benefits costs that will be dedicated to the time spent on training and the time spent out of the support center preparing for training while still at work and during any testing or assessments completed after training. This will help you calculate the final ROI as well as calculate any impact to FCR.

Admittedly, this is a lot to measure, calculate, and justify. But it is a must when investing in a large-scale training program that your entire service and support center will be participating in. Start where you can, and customize this methodology and tools to meet your needs. Don’t be caught without the answer to the ever-dreaded question “Did we get the value out of that training?” Or, “What was our ROI?” Change the mindset and the culture of learning in your organization by investing in and proving the value of training.

To calculate your ROI, factor in the following:

  • SAVINGS = Increased FCR + Efficiency gain in operations + Additional production hours
  • COSTS = Investment in onsite training + Production loss during certification
  • ROI = SAVINGS divided by COSTS
  • New Cost Per Contact = Cost Per Contact – Total Savings per Contact