Beyond ROI: Five Ways Universities Create Additional Value for Employers in Corporate LearningAmy Wartham | Director of Corporate Training, UNC Charlotte
Studies and corporate bottom lines show that companies receive many benefits from investing in training for their employees.
Since the ease of the recession, corporate earnings are becoming robust and organizations are beginning to reinvest in their employees again. This is directly impacting learning and development, and employee training is trending up.
Research shows that organizations increased spending in 2014 by as much as 5 to 7 percent across all industries. We expect that trend to continue into 2015, with growth in spending for training services in excess of 5 percent.
More organizations are viewing training from an investment standpoint rather than a cost of doing business. Of course, any time money is spent, organizational executives search for hard business metrics to measure the impact of training.
Return on Investment (ROI) should be considered from a few different perspectives. The first is the obvious correlation to overall results. Ongoing employee training has been proven to improve employee performance, drive company profits, save money through reduced turnover and higher performance, and sharpen a company’s competitive edge. However, a wide range of training providers—from internal learning organizations to universities—can point to these kinds of positive outcomes.
We need to determine how to create extra value for employers, so they look to the university whenever they have demand for employee education. As an external training provider, monitoring many of the metrics related to corporate benefits from training fall outside the realm of our scope. However, when looking at learning outcomes, corporations may also view ROI from the standpoint of their partnership with their training provider.
Here are five ways that we, as universities, can create extra value for employers through engaging in an enriching partnership:
1. Create an experience for the learning and development staff
By making the training process simplified and seamless, this will allow the organization to focus on its core competencies. As a training partner, you can help organizations align their training initiatives with key business objectives, ensuring any and all training efforts support larger company goals.
2. Offer L&D flexibility every step of the way
Each corporate client has special needs, wants and expectations on the training that they’re purchasing, whether it’s the delivery dates, delivery format, customized content, working with SMEs, pre-work, post-work, assessments, evaluations, etc. Allow the corporate client to express their preferences and then develop training that meets those specific guidelines.
3. Help control training costs
When an organization manages training programs internally, it is responsible for both the training activities (content development, delivery, logistics, post-training follow up, etc.), and other—often unseen—training costs. A significant amount of company time and resources may be poured into these programs. An external training provider can help identify and reduce these unseen costs, and will even bear some of the risks associated with the process. This creates maximum value for an organization. In addition, training providers regularly invest in tools and processes to drive further efficiencies.
4. Open access to expertise
When cultivated correctly, an outsourced training partner can help develop new training paths for your organization and further align training spend with business requirements. Hiring an expert to lead a training initiative can also ensure a higher level of learning consistency across the enterprise.
5. Become a trusted advisor
Follow up with a corporate client 30, 60 and 90 days after a training program has been completed to see what results have been observed. Continuously consider ways that you can assist them with their learning needs. It may be something as simple as sending them an article to read on the latest learning trends, etc.
As more and more organizations recognize the importance of employee development, training partners will be needed. Provide your corporate clients with a solid experience that will leave them pleased and willing to come back to you time and again for their learning needs.