How to get the best bang for your training buck

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Written by Alice Withers on 8 April 2015

We have previously discussed how to find out if your training programme is leading to a return on investment, so it seemed time to talk about the lessons I’ve learnt from evaluating training on how to make the most of your training programme. There are five key factors that will help you to gain a return on investment from your training programme:

1.Ensure staff know why they are attending the course and what is expected of them

Ideally trainees should meet with their managers before attending the training, to establish and agree what will be expected from them following the course. If staff are engaged with the training from the very beginning they are far more likely to learn something new on the course and then be motivated to put these changes into practise. Conversely, if staff are not sure why the course is relevant to them, or are just not interested, they are unlikely to learn anything or change their behaviour.

2.Get management on board from the start

Managers have a key role to play in learning and development. When implementing a training programme, ensure they are aware of the details of the course so they can actively support their staff to implement learning. One tip is to hold a debrief meeting soon after the training to discuss and agree how what has been learned will be implemented and arrange any support required. This demonstrates to staff that the training is viewed positively and is likely to increase the training’s effectiveness. Managers should plan multiple opportunities for trainees to put their learning into practice implementing their new skills and knowledge on the job, and to observe this occurring.

3.Ensure that any new equipment or software is ready for staff to use

The immediate period following the training course is key in establishing new habits. If any new equipment, software or procedures are needed for training behaviours to be implemented, they need to be ready for participants to use immediately following the training. The longer it takes for these requirements to be put in place, the likelier it is that participants will forget what they have learnt.

4.Ensure the course isn’t just repeating old information

This recommendation is really about ensuring you select the right staff to attend the training programme. You are unlikely to see a return on investment if the trainees are not learning anything new.

5.Offer refresher courses

In a slight contrast to the above recommendation, if the training covers a complicated process or one that the participant won’t use frequently, it can be helpful to offer short refresher courses.


About the author
Alice Withers is a researcher at People 1st. She can be contacted at

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