the answers on offer at this year’s Training Solutions Conference is the key to
that eternal conundrum – how to measure the return on a training investment. In
this special preview we ask the guru of training evaluation Jack Phillips what
his message to delegates will be, and offer a round-up of the rest of the
event. By Stephanie Sparrow
professionals are in for a treat. As Birmingham gets ready to host the
three-day conference and exhibition that is Training Solutions and the IT
Training Show many delegates will already be sharpening their pencils to take
notes from the acknowledged expert in training evaluation Jack Phillips.
the chairman and CEO of Performance Resources Organisation, is an American who
has a long-standing reputation in human resources accountability programmes,
and occupies a slot on the first day of the conference. He is speaking in an
afternoon that is set aside to cover the subject of Measuring Learning,
Performance and Impact.
title – A rational approach to the ROI dilemma – is reassuring, and will be of
great interest to anyone who has followed the TD2000 campaign run by Training
and The Industrial Society.
definition of ROI, says Phillips, is earnings divided by investment and most
business processes are evaluated using this definition.
of course his use and application are more sophisticated than this basic
our process includes this classical definition of ROI, this is only one measure
we report,” he tells Training magazine. “We refer to the ROI Process as a
methodology that takes a balanced approach to measuring training and
ROI process actually develops a scorecard of six types of measures. Phillips
defines these as:
Reaction and Planned Actions – to measure participant satisfaction with the
programme and captures planned actions.
Learning – to measure changes in knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Application and Implementation – to gauge changes in on-the-job behaviour.
Business Impact – assesses changes in business impact variables.
ROI – compares programme benefits to the costs.
Intangible Benefits – captures the benefits not converted to monetary value
such as job satisfaction, customer satisfaction, teamwork, conflict.
scorecard presents a complete picture of the total value a training programme
brings to an organisation including participant reaction, what they have
learned, how well they have applied their learning, the consequence of the
application, and the actual financial impact,” he says.
is good news for any training professional who can get the hang of this
believes that the current corporate climate has made it into a concept which is
easily assimilated by the rest of the company. It gives trainers the chance to
speak the same language as their colleagues.
in functions outside the training department are quite familiar with this
concept,” he says.
managers use the same financial equation to measure the contribution their
functions bring to the bottom line. Their familiarity with ROI results in a
desire to see the same financial impact training programmes bring to the
want to see from the ROI standpoint the benefit of sending their employees to
training teams must also demonstrate value for money. “In many organisations
training budgets are going up, either because the corporate budget is
increasing or because the training budget is actually being moved to the line,
thereby, increasing their training budget. This increase in budget brings with
it greater visibility and can cause the training function to be a larger target
for criticism by managers. This puts the pressure on the training function to
show true, bottom-line value.”
adds that senior executives are showing an “increased interest in linking all
functions, including training, to the strategic direction of the company. This
brings a greater interest in accountability to the training function”.
seems that ROI can help with all of this. Phillips sees it as a way “to enhance
the training and education function. The ROI Process can show the contribution
of selected programmes; earn the respect of senior management and gain
confidence of [the]client [departments].”
ROI Process can also enhance the training and education process, he says.
not only enhances the post-programme evaluation process, but enhances the
entire training and education process by linking needs and programme objectives
to the levels of evaluation.”
this evaluation, inefficient programmes can be identified and changes can be
made to create more strategically focused programmes.
he is blunt that some training departments might be ready for a clear-out.
“Many programmes may also be found that add no real value to the organisation –
maybe they are leftovers from a previous trend, or the skills developed from
the programme are no longer necessary. These programmes can be completely
eliminated from the curriculum,” he says.
will be taking more than an hour to speak at the conference and his
presentation will build on some of the issues covered in this interview. But he
will also add a further perspective to what he terms “the measurement and
explains, “To create a comprehensive measurement and evaluation process, it
must be built around a solid framework. For instance, years ago, Donald
Kirkpatrick developed the four levels of evaluation. This is a framework to categorise
data. Our ROI Process begins with this and we add a fifth level, ROI.
should also be a process model, one that is easy to understand and practical.
The process model details the steps by which evaluation should be conducted each
time an evaluation takes place,” he says.
goes on to say that next there should be operating standards.
standards ensure that the process can be easily replicated. During the session
we will introduce the guiding principles we have developed as the foundation
for these standards.
is hoping that his British audience will go away inspired and ready to act.
“Organisations should implement the process to its fullest. Many times, we will
learn new methods and processes only to let them sit on the shelf.”
is aware that there can be internal barriers to implementing the process, but
promises that the session will address those barriers and other key
year’s Training Solutions Conference from 4-6 July offers a strong line-up of
speakers who will follow six key themes:
Linking learning and work,
Measuring learning, performance and impact,
Developing senior managers,
Emotional intelligence in practice,
half-day is designed to be a mini conference representing a theme and can be
paid for separately (at £120 + VAT per session) or booked in a series (which
entitles delegates to a discount).
representing academia and industry will take the platform, ensuring a
cross-section of research and company case studies.
example the session on E-learning lessons (6 July) will be explored both from
the a theoretical perspective as Martin Renkis, CEO, Trainersoft.com
Corporation predicts the future and suggests how investments in technology can
best be safeguarded and with some practical examples as specialists from CGU
Insurance, Prudential Portfolio Managers and BT explain how e-learning works
of Training will already be well aware of the TD2000 campaign which the
magazine launched by the magazine last year in conjunction with The Industrial
option for Training Solutions delegates is to attend a special TD2000 event on
the morning of 4 July, and spend the afternoon in the conference, including the
Jack Phillips session.
morning will unveil the results of the TD2000 agenda for change and advise
training professionals how best to achieve top table influence. These themes
are complemented by a visit to the conference in the afternoon where speakers
such as Peter Dixon, director of customer service and training at Thistle
Hotels will look at the correlation between business performance and customer
and employee satisfaction.
day is rounded off with the announcement of the winner of the TD2000 award when
Industrial Society chief executive Will Hutton presents a the trophy.
price of the TD2000 day is £270 plus lunch and awards reception buffet and a 20
per cent discount is available to members of the Industrial Society and readers
of Training and Personnel Today, bringing the cost down to £216 plus VAT.
receive a booking form contact Colin Parris at Brintex on 020-7973 6689 or
e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
visits: the exhibition in cyberspace
too busy to travel to Birmingham, can take advantage of what is claimed to be
the world’s first commercial interactive exhibition in cyberspace.
14 June until the end of July organisers Brintex are running Training Solutions
and the IT Training Show on the Internet. The interactive web site will allow
“e-ttenders” to plan, preview and follow up their visit to the NEC by exploring
3D exhibition halls and stands from the comfort of their home or office by
clicking their mouse.
exhibition itself will feature more than 200 organisations.
it incorporates the IT Training Show, a further conference programme – the IT Training
Conference – is running alongside the other conference sessions, to give
delegates and visitors even more choice.
programme includes themed sessions on e-Business, Learning and Corporate
Performance, Technology for IT Training and End User Training.
include Julia Collins, global leader of knowledge management,
PricewaterhouseCoopers and Riitta Vanska, manager of new learning solutions,
cost £120 + VAT and bookings should be made through the delegate booking form
which is available from Colin Parris on 020-7973 6643 or