Do any of these training-related scenarios sound the least bit familiar?

Kim walked into her office one morning and found a note from her supervisor on her desk. It said: “You have been scheduled for the Manager As Coach Seminar tomorrow and Friday, in Room 204 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Plan to attend.”

 § § § §

John attended a 3-day conference and came away with several action items he wanted to implement. But when he got back on the job, he was so busy he simply put his material and ideas on the shelf, and continued doing things the way he had always done them.

 § § § §

 Shelley had really looked forward to attending the 2-day Professional Development program her company offered. But she was extremely frustrated when she was called out of the training seven times for office “emergencies.” The other course participants were also frustrated at the constant disruptions her messages caused.

 § § § §

 Steve returned from his 5-day Leadership Symposium filled with ideas to share with his manager. The day he returned, his manager asked him—in passing—how the conference was. It’s now been two months, and that’s the ONLY time Steve and his manager have mentioned the program.

 § § § §

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, it’s not surprising. They represent actual situations which occur in overwhelming numbers throughout corporate America. A phenomenal amount of money is invested in training every year—ATD 2016 Research found that organizations spend an average of $954,070 just on sales training. The big question is, are you, as a leader in your organization, taking steps to guarantee a healthy return on the investment?

Leaders and meeting planners are challenging trainers and consultants — both internal and external — to justify the dollars spent in training and development, and demonstrate the impact to the bottom line in terms of dollars. However, the potential for true transfer of skills back to the workplace is all too often sabotaged by the very leaders, managers, and team leaders who are demanding results.

How Leaders Can Guarantee a Bigger ROI on Training Dollars—
Before, During, and After the Training Event

As a leader, you hold the secret to successful transfer of training, and as a result a bigger R.O.I. for your training dollars. Here are some guidelines outlining your role in helping employees (and the company) get the most out of any training experience:


  • Meet to discuss why he/she has been scheduled for the training. What specific need(s) were identified that this training will address? Is the program going to focus on current or future needs? Does the content help bridge a skill gap identified, or will it relate to the employee’s professional development?
  • Agree on 2-3 objectives from attendance. What specific issues should the employee focus on throughout the program? What type of action plans will the employee be expected to bring back from the program?



  • Do not interrupt the employee during the training session or conference unless it is an extreme emergency. Your interruptions not only break the continuity for the employee; they disrupt the entire class. If the employee holds a position that requires you to get information from him/her, keep a list of issues you need to discuss and arrange a specific time at lunch or after the sessions to cover critical concerns.
  • If possible, schedule a back-up to cover for the employee while he/she is involved in the training session. This way, the employee can truly focus on the training without worrying about all the work piling up in his/her absence.



  • Meet with the employee to critique the program. What were the 2-3 best ideas received? How was the quality of the instruction and materials? (Feed this information back to your Human Resources Department so they can monitor the quality of training received).
  • Review the objectives you had agreed on and assess if and how they were met. Did the program meet the objectives? What specific action items did the employee bring back to implement on the job? Create a dialogue around any other issues/ideas/learnings that the employee received as a result of attending the program.
  • Create a specific action plan outlining how the employee will implement the ideas. Determine ways you can assist, support and reinforce the developmental efforts. (Click here to download a sample Targeted Development Action Plan).
  • Schedule follow-up meetings to review progress. The first review meeting should be scheduled to occur within 3 weeks, to ensure continued momentum and success. These review meetings can also serve as springboards to discuss on-going problems, next steps and future developmental activities.

By taking your responsibility as a leader seriously, you can dramatically increase the return your company gets on its training dollars. And even more importantly, you will see the results of the training when your employees actually use the skills they spent so much time and money learning!

Be Extraordinary!


Photo Credits, used with permission:
  © Cher Holton with
  © Cher Holton with
  © Cher Holton with



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