When times are tough, and budgets are tight, it gets harder and harder to justify training expenditures. Unfortunately, it's during the tough times that training can have the greatest impact, as you look for optimum performance and productivity in every process and system. This article lays out a (3) part roadmap to help you convince others that "training" is a good and worthwhile investment.
Training has two sides - it has a cost, but it offers many benefits. To justify the costs you must be able to demonstrate and quantify the benefits. Training benefits can exist at many levels, including increased productivity and lowered internal support costs. Whatever the specifics may be, these costs and benefits must be directly tied to specific business needs and results. i.e. What are you looking to achieve and will training provide it? At the end of the day, it takes a complete and comprehensive analysis of needs, costs and benefits to make the appropriate arguments and justify training initiatives. The (3) part roadmap below gives you a series of questions you can use to complete this "analysis" and create your "training advocate" plans and strategies. (Also Read: Setting IT Budget Priorities)
Can you make the case for more training? One thing is sure - before any case can be made, you need to be certain that you are standing on solid ground with regard to needs and benefits.
Having determined that there is a "need" that training can fulfill, the steps and questions listed below will help you to plan the specific components and quantify the associated costs of that training initiative. With all this information in hand, you will be prepare to "make the case".
Note: Costs must then be compared to expected benefits to determine the training return on investment.
This is the time to ask the essential question - of all the training alternatives considered (in-house classroom, external classroom, webinars, or self-study books and reference materials), which ones will best meet training needs and objectives in terms of results, costs, time and resources?
This is the point at which specific recommendations can be made with regard to the type of training required, and the related costs and timing. The cost justification must focus on the identified needs and expected benefits to ensure an appropriate "return on investment". The key to a winning argument for more end-user training is to understand specific needs, anticipate objections and present training options from a "big picture" point view, where short term initiatives are weighed against long term benefits.
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