How Organizations Capture Value and ROI and Translate Them Into Support, Improvement, and Funds, The

Value of Learning: How Organizations Capture Value and ROI and Translate Them Into Support, Improvement, and Funds, The

Laff, Michael

The Value of Learning: How Organizations Capture Value and ROI and Translate Them Into Support, Improvement, and Funds By Patricia Pulliam Phillips and Jack J. Phillips (Pfeiffer. 425 pp., $45)

In an age when every dollar spent must yield a return of equal or greater value, training for its own sake is no longer acceptable. Learning departments must prove their worth in raw numbers much like the sales team. Thus the creation of return-on-investment, a financial term now widely used to quantify the value of a very intangible concept: training.

The authors are renowned for their work as advocates the ROI concept in training. They delve into particular detail about how to measure the value of a training regimen. In contrast with peers who offer bulleted lists of truisms, the authors utilize diagrams and questionnaires that pose forceful, strategic questions.

The book is academic in its presentation of analysis. Using a financial model does help to gain clarity prior to initiating training because the investment has a definite end; finishing with more than you started with. Therefore, if turnover is high, market share is low, or customer satisfaction is suffering, organizations might begin asking whether a training regimen is necessary.

With its hard emphasis on methods used to evaluate transactions, the ROI model is not for everyone. If training increases one’s knowledge or changes behavior, the return is difficult to calculate in the same fashion as the relative efficiency of new equipment.

Michael Laff

Copyright American Society for Training and Development Dec 2007

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