Category Archives: ROI

Learning & Development is More than a Class


When our Consultants at Learning Dynamics meet with clients to discuss training initiatives, we always start by asking what the client wants to accomplish. Combined with a thorough understanding of the current conditions within the client’s company, sometimes down to the individual employee, we make recommendations that go beyond training alone. Here is the story of one client engagement that called for much more than instructor-led training.

Our client was a small specialty healthcare organization, and it saw some need to improve performance in its patient contact center. The department was made up of contact center agents and a supervisor tasked with training them, monitoring performance, coaching, and delivering on revenue objectives. Senior management’s opinion was that their people could be doing more.

Learning Dynamics engaged in a detailed review of the workflow, the talent, and obstacles to success. By bringing in a Consultant with contact center management as well as learning and development experience, we were able to identify several opportunities to help. Our proposed solution included instructor-led patient service training, follow-up written training materials (Learning Dynamics Skills Sharpeners), and performance coaching for the supervisor. Significantly, our solution also included developing a call monitoring and evaluation tool so the supervisor had a standard process and criteria to evaluate performance.

The process of creating the call monitoring tool was itself revealing. Our Consultant sat with the supervisor, listened to recorded calls, and identified immediately some opportunities for improvement. One issue – extended and unnecessary hold times – was addressed immediately. The tool continues to be used for agent coaching and has helped produce great results.

This engagement also allowed us to demonstrate flexibility to respond to the client’s needs. Toward the end of the coaching period, a senior manager identified agents’ time management and prioritization skills as needing further development. Knowing that pulling all agents off the phones for a long class was not practical, we created a 45-minute webinar, delivered before the contact center opened for the day, that delivered the essentials of what the agents needed. The feedback has been terrific.

This story is just one example of our ability and willingness to collaborate with our clients to customize a solution that meets your organization’s unique needs. Connect with us today to start the conversation about Investing in People™.

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Three Ways to Explode Training ROI

During the 35 years that Learning Dynamics has been offering training and development solutions, we have seen client companies make significant changes for the better, with comprehensive, coordinated training being a crucial part of the initiatives. We have also seen companies make no changes at all. Our interest, of course, is to see our clients maximize their training budget return on investment (ROI). After all, if we can show that training and development investments pay for themselves, we are likely to be brought back for future engagements (more than 80% of clients invite us back). We are truly partnered with our clients.

The companies we have worked with, and continue to work with, those getting the most out of their training dollars, do all or some of the following. More effort in these three areas can lead to better outcomes.

Big Bang. One of our banking industry clients recognized that they were spending too much time having meetings, and some – maybe more than just some – were ineffective or not as efficient as they could be. Senior leaders decided to make a change and implement it immediately. Learning Dynamics helped with training to enable their managers to make better use of meeting time and to consider other options. By getting involved and making it happen at the highest levels, the organization paid attention. They made a big deal of the change and did it quickly. It got everyone involved in making the changes successful.

Leadership Engagement. Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. We have found the most successful implementations include senior leaders modeling the behaviors they want to see and making the improvements part of their everyday discussions. Rather than just budgeting for training for everyone below them in the organization, these leaders took the time to understand and influence the training initiatives and their content, and supported them by changing their own behavior.

Reinforcement & Refreshers. Another client with a large customer-facing team, one that has a long history of excellent customer service and loyalty, wanted to encourage its people to be more purposeful in understanding customer needs and making recommendations for additional products and services. The goal was to deepen the customer relationship with the company without being too “salesy.” Management did not want to alienate long-time customers or sacrifice its service standards by trying for a hard sell.

Learning Dynamics provided organization-wide training and additional follow-up materials over six months – what we call Skills Sharpeners – to allow company managers and supervisors to continue the training conversation over an extended period. They used the tools to conduct short follow-up training and as a script for one-on-one coaching. The result: customer-facing employees are asking more exploratory questions and generating incremental business. This Learning Dynamics client considers its investment a success, and they’ve agreed to have us back in this year.

Keeping a training initiative alive after the training event is over should be the goal of every organization. By using some or all of the above ideas, your company can boost ROI and make managers at every level of the organization embrace and champion training and development efforts. In the end, employees and customers benefit while sales and profit grow. Isn’t that the point? Ask us how we can help.


Learning Dynamics is proud of its 35-year history of consulting with clients on how Investing in People(TM) can make a big difference in business outcomes. [subscribe2]Contact us today to learn more.

L&D Secret Ingredient: Executive Endorsement

Why do some learning and development initiatives flourish while others founder and fail? Why do some generate monstrous ROI while others are a waste of time and money? There can be many reasons, but a common one is executive endorsement and follow-through, or lack of it. The boss sets the tone and focuses energy on priorities. Training is one of those things that will get the attention it deserves or not based on leadership urgency.

At a recent conference, members of the Learning Dynamics team took part in conversations with training managers and other learning and development professionals from around the country. When the topic of conversation came around to obstacles to effective training, lack of leadership’s commitment was a too-common comment.

With that in mind, what can an organization do to not just eliminate executive roadblocks, but engage and energize the most senior managers to make training outcomes a top priority? Here are some ideas.

Get executive buy-in early. Senior leaders need to understand the need for training and what they can expect from the effort and expense. What is the ROI? Paint the picture of better financial and customer service results and anything else that is important to the organization.

Ask for support. Learning and development advocates must enlist support. A conversation starting with, “If this training investment is going to make sense, we will need your help with…” Fill in the blanks by asking for specific support on key messages and expectations of behavioral change.

Take a stand on outcomes. Do your learning and development advocates have skin in the game? Are they willing to commit to some level of performance improvement? If they don’t believe in it, the top people likely will not either.

Celebrate success along the way. If the training initiative is important, it deserves internal publicity. Recruit an executive champion (cheerleader, perhaps?) to give it the air time and attention it deserves. Celebrate incremental improvements that can be tied back to the L&D effort.

Document the effort. After your training program is complete and the results are in, recap the results. Prepare a concise executive summary to explain the outcomes of the training. Can you show causality from the training to the performance improvements? Take nothing for granted. Document it.

What ideas do you have to get executive endorsement? We would love to hear them. Share your ideas here.


Learning Dynamics can help your company create a comprehensive learning and development program that includes executive tools to reinforce the effort and improve its effectiveness. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Training Delivers More with Goals

training goals resultsGoals that are integrated into leadership training create better outcomes. This is the message of a study published by the Academy of Management Learning & Education in 2012 (abstract here). In this detailed work by Johnson et al., 360-degree surveys were used to measure perceived changes in people who had participated in leadership development training. Some had goals included in the training program, while other leaders did not.

The study showed a strong correlation between goal-setting by the leaders and the changes witnessed by their followers and other stakeholders. The message is clear: goal-setting with action and follow up will deliver better ROI on the effort.

What can your organization do with this knowledge? Think about how training can be aligned with business priorities and the routine activities of those who participate in the training. Ask participants to create goals based on the new skills learned.

Here is an example of what we are talking about.

Training Topic: Better Communication with Direct-Reports

Desired Outcome: Leaders who go through this training will understand how regularly planned check-ins with their team members will improve communication and organizational performance. Leaders will be encouraged to build a routine business rhythm for these sessions.

Goal:  Leaders will change their calendars to allow for one regularly-scheduled 30-minute check in with each direct report each week starting in two weeks.

The next step, of course, is to follow up to see if these things are happening and the impact the meetings – or whatever the targeted action – are having on the organization. If the desired outcome is to build communication between team members and their leaders, check in with those team members to see if it’s happening. Do they see a difference? If so, you win!

Every situation will be different. Your organization’s follow-up and measurement strategy will vary with the training activities and goals. Just remember to build a goal-setting component into your training initiative to improve effectiveness and ROI.


Learning Dynamics has more than 30 years of experience helping clients develop and deliver effective training programs that improve organizational performance. Speak with us today to learn how we can help you as you are Investing in People™.



Maximize Training ROI: 4 Follow Up Steps

train follow up celebrateWhat is your plan to drive continuous change and improvement after training? Arguably, what happens after a training event, program or major initiative is as important as the content of the training itself.

We have seen organizations of every kind, some with a firm commitment to organizational change, and others (unfortunately) that have been less driven. Invariably, the companies in which senior leaders envision cultural changes to create brighter futures realize much great impact and return on their training dollars. Here are four tactics to make training stick with your people so it creates lasting change.

1. LEADERSHIP INVOLVEMENT: Leaders from first-level supervisors up to those who occupy the C-suite can make training more effective by understanding the content and emphasis of the coursework and talking about it whenever possible. As managers walk around, they should be asking questions about the training, reinforcing the messages, and most importantly, catching people doing something right. Positive reinforcement from a supervisor that is earned for implementing new behaviors will have a lasting effect.

2. REPETITION: It has been said that repetition is the mother of learning. Mother or father, repetition works. This can be accomplished with ongoing reinforcement training, check-ins with employees to review the action items from training and the execution of the new skills, and written materials like newsletters, job aids and online refreshers.

3. COACHING: If managers make a habit of asking newly trained employees about how they are integrating their new skills into their routines, it will send the message that the training effort is important and change is expected. Try questions like this: How can you use your new skills to improve your results in this area? What are the things you learned in the training that you could use to do your job better? Allow trainees to think and integrate new skills into their work.

4. WATCH THE SCOREBOARD: What change are you trying to create? How will you know that you have been successful? If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, so create a tool to track effectiveness in the targeted and trained areas. For example, if you are training to improve customer service, measure customer satisfaction. If you train employees to suggest additional products and services, survey customers to see if they are doing it or use mystery shoppers. With some creativity, every training initiative can be evaluated for its effectiveness. Finally, celebrate success. When the numbers move, make a big deal of it! Everyone must know that the training has produced results.

Consistent execution of these steps will send the message to everyone that training is important and behavioral changes are expected. Monitor what happens, reinforce positive behaviors, and celebrate victories. Training with solid follow-up will be far more productive and profitable for any organization.


Learning Dynamics can consult with your company to assess performance gaps and training needs and offer after-training services to maximize success. Talk with one of our Consultants today for information on how we can help you with a custom solution to accelerate change and improve results at your company.



Notes from a Graduation

diplomaSometimes you just have to be there to fully appreciate the difference that training can make in someone’s life. In the case of the dozens of participants in an English language acquisition class – or ESL, if you prefer – it was a moment of pride and excitement.

One of our Connecticut industrial clients realized that their business unit could be more efficient if its very diverse employee population could communicate better. The client looked at options and hired Learning Dynamics to do the training in their facility. We provided expert instructors, customized the content to integrate job, company and industry-specific language, and held classes several times weekly.

Many made huge strides in their English proficiency.

The graduation was like a party, with certificates, music, and family members in attendance. A Well-deserved sense of accomplishment was in abundance. Here are two of the comments (paraphrased) from the graduates:

“I appreciate my company for providing this language training.”

“It’s great that the organization invested in us with this training. It is helping in my job and in my life outside work.”

Learning Dynamics is already deep into the next class schedules, with another large group learning English and preparing to be more effective. More classes are planned.

Yes, this was an intelligent business decision by our client. It offers plenty of ROI. But it is also a reminder of how an innovative organization can help their employees with relevant training. We can only guess as to how this will drive employee engagement and loyalty to new levels. We expect that everyone will be pleased.


Learning Dynamics offers customized ESL training created and delivered by experienced expert instructors. Read more about this employer’s ESL initiative here.

People: Costs, Competitive Advantages or Both?

So which is it? Are your people – or their paychecks, to be accurate – costs to be minimized, competitive assets to be developed and grown, or something in between? Henry Blodget wrote on this subject in a compelling opinion piece on LinkedIn this week. To paraphrase, his view is that looking at people as costs rather than assets is shortsighted and actually hurts in the long-term. The truth is somewhere in between.

Training and development investments need to be made intelligently and must be combined with an effective and consistent performance management process. Here are steps that we recommend you consider when thinking about training investments. Who gets additional training and who doesn’t?

First: All employees get the introductory training that they need to do the jobs for which they have been hired.

Second: Supervisors give them the coaching and feedback that they need to be motivated and make corrections as needed. They also identify employees who can do more.

Third: Strong, high potential employees are identified for advanced training. They are worth the investment. Poor performers are given the chance to improve, but be careful about investing heavily in those who might not give you the return on your training investment.

By creating a process and culture in which people know that advanced training is something to be earned, organizations can create a healthy performance-based environment. An added but less obvious benefit is that your poor performers might get the message when passed over for training opportunities and remove themselves, opening a spot for more suitable and engaged talent.

Your people are much more than costs to be minimized. The right ones can and will grow your business and help you exceed your goals if you invest in them. The key to success is using your resources (i.e., your training budget) wisely so that your team becomes a competitive advantage that justifies your training investment.

Learning Dynamics advises and helps clients develop and train leaders on executing performance management strategies and offers a comprehensive portfolio of employee training programs.    

Training ROI: Include it in Your Plan

When was the last time your company spent money when the question of ROI was not raised? In the 90s? Never? Every manager worth her paycheck needs to consider the benefit of every investment and expense. Training is no exception. Here are some ways to think about the benefits of training and how you will measure it that will satisfy everyone.

Include your ROI calculations from the start. Why are you going to deliver this training? What do you need to change that includes training as part of the solution? Think about what you want to change, how training can assist, and how you will measure it. Getting approvals for this and future training initiatives will require this crucial step.

Where is the organization now (especially compared to your strongest competitor)? Some baseline measurements can be crucial in determining the need for training and the effectiveness of the path that your organization takes. How is your organization performing relative to competitors or other units within your company? Identify a handful of metrics that you want to improve with training as the solution.

What employee behaviors will change with training? Your training focus and goals will always include some behavioral changes in the trainees. How can you measure whether or not that has happened? Think about customer surveys, secret shoppers, risk reporting or new tools that you can create to measure the training’s effectiveness.

Monetize the measurements. Not every metric will easily convert to dollars, but most will. If you make the effort to do it, you can answer the ROI question easily for this and future initiatives. Here are some data points to consider: Customer acquisition costs, sales closing percentages, cost per incident (e.g., safety, HR, complaints). Show the financial improvement that comes from your training initiatives and follow-up.

What are your dashboard items and how can behavioral changes driven by effective training improve results? If you can answer that question, you can not only justify training, but you can articulate the costs of not training. How are you helping your competitors by not investing in staff development?

Learning Dynamics has over 30 years of experience helping its clients maximize their training ROI with its consultative results-based approach. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your organization meet its goals with the help of customized training solutions.