Learning for Free

Written by James Rosenegk and previously published via Kaizen Training Limited

How would you like your learning to be free? Yes, free!!!

And my guess is that at least 95% of you are already saying “YES!” followed by the next question, “and how?”

Well truth is it’s not really that complicated and here are some ways that you can go about it:

Over the years I’ve saved organisations millions of dollars through the introduction of continuous improvement methodologies such as Kaizen or Lean and helping to implement more effective leadership. My workshops don’t use simulations or theories, the best results occur when we work on the live issues of those attending. By applying the principles and methods as we learn, organisations are immediately reaping return on their investment (ROI) when what has started in the workshop gets completed back in the workplace.

The other way is probably already known by those in the L&D community and for those of you who don’t know of this already or who are reading this from an operations perspective then here’s another way:

We are fans of Kirkpatrick’s model for the evaluation of learning and much of level 1 (reactions) and level 2 (learnings) are immediate results of any course or workshop that you may attend yourself or send your people to. Where many organisations miss the boat is on implementation of Kirkpatrick’s level 3 (Application) and level 4 (Results). You see it’s only when you really make it to level 4 that you can say that learning has really stuck, that the impact on the organisation is real and training has been truly beneficial.

One way to achieve this is to establish work-based projects that relate to the topic of the training in advance of attendance. I recently worked with one client who agreed to set a target for business improvements of £20k per team attending an improvement workshop – we’re not at the end of that programme yet and we expect returns to be even greater than that! I have one public sector client who has been measuring the impact of training and has saved over £300k in the 12 months since implementing Lean. And it doesn’t just fit improvement workshops; our Leadership programmes have ample opportunity to consider projects that give a significant return on investment either as individual outcomes or as team-based projects. I recall a client who at a major European attraction applied some of her new leadership capabilities and had such a massive impact that not only was her infrastructure project delivered on time and within budget (itself a major performance improvement) but the estimates of additional impact in terms of improved meetings, planning and progress had at least another £1M impact to her organisation!

So the range of returns can stretch from achieving at least 100% ROI to many 1000s% ROI. And to do that, involve line managers in the discussion so that projects relate to their real business challenges (and, by the way, you may also like to know that as line managers have the biggest influence over whether learning is transferred to the workplace or not  then by getting them engaged you will get a double whammy!).

So it’s real, it’s possible and not only can you get “learning for free” you may even get more than you bargained for!

Your call to action:

Consider whether a culture of continuous improvement and employee engagement is right for your organisation and talk to us about establishing a programme within your company;

Think about the headline cost of training to your organisation in the last financial year and consider what return on investment you’ve achieved;

Agree that for you next major intervention you will achieve at least 100% ROI and work with line managers to engage them in the objectives and to set the right projects for participants (then make this the way forwards).

Contact us with your thoughts, ideas or to talk more about how you can reap the same rewards in your organisation.