I spent all this money on training – what have we got to show for it?

Debra Chantry Taylor

Many a workstation’s third drawer down is littered with training workbooks and great intentions. It’s common for participants to giggle when we talk at our training sessions about how their new found capabilities need to manifest back at work, and not get consigned to the recesses of their filing cabinet.

So much potential is ignited through a good learning experience. How do we leverage the investment and the energy it unlocks, so that it will ultimately benefit everyone – the business, clients, partners, colleagues and most importantly, the learner?

Spending precious resources on sending your valued team members to a personal development-focused leadership course or providing coaching training for leaders is a substantial investment. It’s essential to ensure that this investment bears fruit by holding your team members accountable for their growth in competence, capacity and confidence, and their achievement of outcomes. Here are a few suggestions to help businesses get some ROI:

Sell it in – give the why behind the training

Give the investment clear purpose and link it back to organisational vision and specific goals when communicating with anyone about it. Doing training for the sake of it, to spend a budget before it gets taken away, or just to be seen to be a great boss aren’t valid reasons to provide workplace personal and professional development.

Set clear expectations on what success looks like

Define the expectations from the training programme and what you want your team members to achieve as a result. Be specific about the skills and knowledge you expect them to acquire and how you anticipate these improvements will benefit the organisation. Having well-defined learning objectives will provide a roadmap for accountability.

Be sure to check in afterwards – and keep checking in!

Prior to the training, schedule a follow-up one-on-one meeting or team check-in to be held after the training to discuss the progress of each team member. These meetings should provide a platform for them to share their successes and challenges, and ask for support or guidance when necessary. Open communication is key to holding them accountable. Having someone to report back to after the training gives the learning experience itself more purpose because the business is following up to leverage its investment in its amazing people!

Create thought-through action plans

Encourage your team members to create actionable plans that outline how they intend to implement what they’ve learned into their daily work. What tools have they gleaned from the learning that they can mobilise? These plans should include measurable goals, timelines, and steps to achieve those goals. Regularly review these action plans to track progress.

Provide relevant resources and appropriate support

Ensure your team members have the necessary resources and support to apply their newfound knowledge. This might involve offering additional 1-1 coaching, a training refresher, or tools that facilitate their work. When they feel supported, they’re more likely to take ownership for their growth. There will always be barriers to implementing newly trained capabilities so team members need to know that they can reach out and get the back up they need.

Provide a little recognition and some feedback

People need to know how they are tracking and be called out for the changes that you see. If you stated the purpose of the training that they then participated in, and then you have subsequently seen some outcomes as a result, then as a leader you have to say something! Acknowledge and celebrate the successes of your team members. Positive reinforcement and recognition can boost their confidence and motivation. Constructive feedback should also be part of the process, helping them learn from their mistakes and continuously improve. Reiterating the purpose of the training, and referencing how it addresses challenges they are facing will reiterate the value it is supposed to provide.


At Harrowfield People Development, we help leaders who are unsure how to grow the people they want to hold on to.

Lots of our work is in-depth, 1-1 and strategic. Our core disciplines are organisational and behavioural psychology, we specialise in people skills/capability. We use training, coaching and assessment to create self awareness and unlock new ways of thinking, communicating and behaving in the workplace. We also love working with teams and leadership squads to encourage workplace behaviour that brings out the best in everyone and tangible results for the organisation.

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