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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

How to Measure IT Training ROI and Amplify the Value to Your Business

Training IT staff equips your organization to implement technologies that drive efficiency. Employees also value employers that invest in their career advancement and tend to stay longer at those organizations, resulting in even more cost savings to your business.

The benefits of ongoing employee education are undeniable, especially in the fast-paced world of IT. But measuring and selling the direct business impact of IT training isn’t easy, especially for technical, behind-the-scenes projects that the C-suite never sees.

In fact, only 8 percent of companies track the return on investment of training programs, a study by McKinsey found. Without a clear path to business value, training programs often lose funding or don’t get the budget allocation they deserve.

However, there are concrete ways to measure IT training ROI and prioritize training programs in your organization to reap the benefits.

Obstacles to IT Training

Many roadblocks inhibit organizations from rolling out successful training programs — or offering education opportunities at all. Here are some examples.

Budget and Resources

Budget is a top reason decision-makers push IT training aside. Tracking and communicating IT training ROI can help break through these objections.

Technical training also requires the most significant time investment of any business unit, according to Training magazine. Even when departments receive a training budget, it’s often limited.

Tracking the ROI of IT training also isn’t clear-cut — unlike sales and marketing training, for example. When employees complete sales training, revenue and sales metrics should increase. Tracking the ROI of IT infrastructure training is more obscure.

Fear of Employees Leaving

Many managers also write off IT training because they fear employees will complete the courses and take their skills elsewhere.

But this misconception simply isn’t true.

Training and growth opportunities have been shown to improve employee retention. It's particularly true for millennials, the youngest wave of the workforce. In one study, 87 percent of millennials cited personal development and career growth as significant both when looking for jobs and in their current job roles.

Looking to roll out an IT training program for your organization? See New Horizon’s full list of IT training courses here.

Understanding the ROI of IT Training

The goals of IT training boils down to two things — increase profits and mitigate risk.

IT training enables companies to do more with less. It facilitates strategic thinking, equips teams with new technical capabilities and makes businesses more efficient, increasing profits.

For example, what if your staff could complete rote administration tasks in half the time because they knew how to script them using PowerShell?

IT training also improves security, empowering employees to manage data, networks, users and information to protect your business and reduce risk.

Take virtualization training, for example. If your staff hasn’t learned about hypervisors, compatibility and administration, you could be spending a lot more on hardware infrastructure than you need.

Training also increases the value of your IT department without having to hire more staff. Learning new technology inspires innovation and improves capacity to adopt new processes and solutions.

IT training can also solve old IT headaches. Employees often approach training sessions with their current job in mind. They look for opportunities to apply new skill sets to current challenges and problems.

There are countless benefits on the employee side as well. Employee training increases job satisfaction and morale, boosts motivation and reduces employee turnover. Employees value organizations that are willing to invest in their skills and are less likely to leave.

Calculating IT Training ROI

The best way to overcome IT training obstacles is to demonstrate the ROI of IT training.

To measure IT training ROI, you need to quantify the immediate and future monetary value your organization will see with the newly acquired skills.

Use these steps to assign a value to IT training and calculate ROI.

  1. Determine the goals of IT training. Identify what’s important to your organization and its goals. What metrics do you want to quantify?

    One of the immediate benefits of IT training is preparing your team to address and solve problems. Upgrading skills to utilize new technology better or improve current processes is another immediate area of impact you can measure.

    Here are a few examples of goals you can measure through IT training:
    • Time savings: Will the training result in less time required to perform tasks, less supervision required, better time management or shorter lead time to reach proficiency?
    • Increased productivity: Is the goal to decrease time to resolution, reduce downtime or complete IT projects faster?
    • Personnel performance: Did the training eliminate the need to hire new employees? Improve absenteeism or tardiness?
  2. Take measurements before and after training. Establish the baseline for your goals. Measure your team’s level of expertise with the technology before training and how equipped they are to take on projects afterward.
  3. Calculate the dollar value of the benefits. Assign a dollar value to the criteria you want to measure. For example, if your objective is to successfully migrate to Azure, how much will you save by completing the project in-house versus outsourcing? What additional savings will your organization see? How much more would you have to pay outside talent to obtain these skills?
  4. Calculate the return on investment. Input the metrics into the following formula to gauge ROI:

    ($ dollar value of benefits) – cost of training = IT Training ROI

How to Get the Most Out of Your IT Training

To maximize the ROI of your IT training, you need to choose the right solution. Ask these questions when evaluating training options.

Does the training course:

  • Help with current projects or workloads?
  • Solve specific issues that you couldn’t solve before?
  • Deliver hands-on skills the staff can use immediately?
  • Educate the organization on new technology?
  • Create opportunities to network and collaborate with others?

Not sure where to start? Talk to one of our advisors today to choose the right training program for your team.

Post-Training Follow-Up

It’s not enough to implement training. IT training ROI comes from applying the skills learned in courses.

After your team has completed training, schedule a knowledge sync. First, identify the action items and takeaways. What did they learn? What are the key takeaways they are going to apply? What longer-term projects or ideas do they want to implement? Document any training takeaways and action items and have each team member submit an implementation plan.

It’s easy to complete a training course without consciously following through. Make sure any immediate takeaways are applied and follow up periodically on long-term ideas to make sure employees get the full benefit of the training program.

Ready to Boost Your IT Team with New Horizons IT Training?

At New Horizons, we have IT training courses in everything from SQL Server to Cisco and cybersecurity. Whether you're looking for entry-level networking courses or advanced programming skills, we can help you find the right courses for your organization.

Give us a call today.

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