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What's Happening
The newsletter for switched on people
Issue 101 | Summer 2012

Measuring a Return On Investment for Training Program Spend

Organisations need a return on the investment (ROI) when they develop their people in skills like, sales, leadership, coaching and more.  Most leaders believe in training for their people which is supported by a study of 15 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development which found that the majority of organisations believe employee training is responsible for "productivity improvements, greater workforce flexibility, savings on material land capital costs, improved quality of the final product or service, and a more motivated workforce(*). 

“Pre and post-test measurements attempt to control biases in evaluation design and are best for determining whether an uplift in skills, a behavioural change and or an environmental upswing have occurred. ”

Yet many organisations struggle to measure the benefits or ROI of developing their people.
There are over a dozen models which can be used to measure ROI on training spend.  A popular model is the Kirkpatrick model which essentially evaluates meaningful training and its effect on participants and the organisation.

The four levels of Kirkpatrick's evaluation model essentially measure:

  • The reaction of the student - what they thought and felt about the training
  • The learning - the resulting increase in knowledge or capability
  • The behaviour - capability improvement and implementation/application and extent of behaviour
  • The results - the effects on the business or environment resulting from the training participants performance(**)

Another model from Shelton and Alliger (1993) suggests that it is generally preferable to measure training outcomes in terms of change and growth from pre-test to post-test rather than just looking at post-test scores.  They attest to the notion that pre and post-test measurements attempt to control biases in evaluation design and are best for determining whether an uplift in skills, a behavioural change and or an environmental upswing have occurred.

What these and other models have in common is they gather direct and indirect costs that can be attributed to the training program, they convert the benefits into monetary units that can be understood by the decision makers in the organisation and they establish a baseline to understand the gains made thorough post mortem of the program.
Finally Bill Stetar of the University of Tennessee (***) offers this advice for your next training program;
“…understand the problem or performance gap, uncover the cost of the problem, research for a solution that out ways the cost of the problem, specify the outcomes of any training program that will be used to address the problem or close the skill gap and set up your measurement model ensuring it is valid and reliable.”

Developing people in an organisation is important for retention, competitive advantage, managing performance gaps and so much more.  Allocating resources to achieve the best ROI for the training spend is a leaders key role.  Check out our next story on how to get a great ROI and transference of learning from the training room to the workplace.


ROI in the Workplace – You Can Do It!

As a business leader, people manager or line manager your role in supporting those in your team participating in training programs or a learning experience is critical. Kevin Lovell, learning strategy director, KnowledgePool says:

“When learners receive line manager support, 94% go on to apply what they learnt, demonstrating a positive correlation between the transfer of learning to the workplace, line manager support and performance improvement “

Below is a comprehensive table but not exhaustive lists of actions you can take to assist your people and your organisation realise a ROI on training spend between training workshops.



Identify the knowledge skills and experience of the individuals attending the program

Make sure the program is designed for the needs of the individual and pitched at a suitable level.

Discuss Goals and expectations with participants before they attend the training

As a people manager use the time before the training program to work with training program participants in your team to discuss expectations you both have and set achievement goals.

Allow participants unobstructed time to complete all the training hours / days

When you allocate a person to a training program the time commitment is not just for the attendance to the workshop.  Your role as a people manager is to ensure that any training program participants in your team are able to attend the specified training days as well as have time to complete any prework and post work.

De-brief when they return

Discuss learning’s and outcomes with training participants as soon as possible after the training program has ended. Follow up and hold the participant accountable.

Allow for mistakes

As a people manager allow the participant the opportunity to practice their newly acquired skills in a safe environment and support all learning.

Role model

Role model the qualities you would like from your team.  If they see you valuing training, taking the time to complete all prework and practising the skills you acquire they will too.


Allow your team to participate in a mentoring program that allows them to work with senior members of the organisation who have walked the path before.


Your role as coach is vital to your teams success.  Coaching is working one on one with your team members to help them integrate their learnings into their working environment with a focus on developing their skill gaps.

Study groups

Allow your team to participate in study groups that assist them further discuss and enhance their level of understanding in what they have learnt.

Job shadowing / Buddy Systems

Give your team members the opportunity to work with others who do the same role to help them understand their own skill gaps and to assist them in developing skills to further their growth.

Online access to extra resources

There are many excellent online resources to assist training program participants in your team gain build on the knowledge and the area of learning they are focused on.


Q & A with Surfing Legend & Key Note Speaker - Layne Beachley

This year we welcomed Layne Beachley to Happening People as our Key Note Speaker and Senior Executive Coach. Layne is a seven-time ASP Women's World Champion Layne Beachley is the most successful female surfer of all time. Holding the greatest number of consecutive world titles- male or female. Now athlete to entrepreneur, Layne Beachley is one of Australia’s greatest icons.

Layne is passionate about sharing her experiences in order to inspire and motivate others. Her presentations are personalised according to the audience, theme and subject required.   She covers topics such as; the Importance of goal setting, Turning challenges into opportunities, Teamwork, Maintaining Motivation, Leadership, core values and being a positive HR role model.

Meet Layne Beachley!

Q. How do you keep motivated?
A. I do what I love and I love what I do. I used to procrastinate but made the decision that it was a waste of my time and energy. Every day I wake up and my levels of motivation are different but I look in the mirror, am present in the moment and think about my purpose.

Q. What’s a single piece of advice you have been given that you still work with?
A. There is no second chance to making a first impression! I always think about it, especially when meeting people or presenting myself to an audience so I take a deep breath and commit to the moment.

Q. What gives you the biggest thrill?
A. I have had some excellent career highlights but genuine relationships with authenticity thrill me on a daily basis.

Q. What attracted you to being a Key Note Speaker and Executive Motivational Coach with Happening People?
A. I met Sam (Sam Day our MD) through a client of Happening Peoples. I really felt we were aligned in energy, motivation and above all else our goal of making positive change in people’s lives.

Q. What role models do you have?
A. Role models inspire us to be better people so my dad Neil and my husband Kirk are wonderful role models in my life who keep me honest, motivated and most importantly, happy.

Q. What inspires you?
A. I draw inspiration from the world around me on a daily basis from movies, nature, books and Music. I really respect successful people and love seeing people succeed but I like tangible inspiration like the lyrics in a song.

Q. If you could invite 3 people to dinner (dead or alive) who would they be?
A. I’ve been asked this question before and it depends on how I’m feeling at the time but my husband Kirk would have to be there because he is a great cook! So I’d really enjoy having Graham Kennedy there because I love the way he used to push boundaries.  Drew Barrymore as she is a terrific role model and is passionate about many things outside of acting and Leisel Jones because she is great fun and really easy to chat to and hang out with.

Meet Some of Our Team

Below are some of our corporate training team who specialise is the areas of Leadership, Management, Sales development and more.
Click on their name to link through to our website and find out more.

C:\Happening People\photos\2012 Sam Day\12_1.jpg Happeing People - Tina Monk http://www.happeningpeople.com/images/Virginia%20Morris_profile_pic_1.JPG

Sam Day
Leadership, Management and Sales Specialist

Tina Monk
Specialising in Executive Coaching

Virginia Morris
Philanthropic Leadership Specialist (HK)

happrning People Morgan Stephens C:\Users\Samuel Day\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\A7V9AXRD\Henry Botha Photo 2011.jpg Happening People Dave Contarini

Layne Beachley
Keynote Leadership Specialist

Henry Botha
Finance for Non Finance Manager Specialist

David Contarini
Leader well-being specialist

Personally Speaking

It is always go go go here at Happening People and I love writing this section of What’s Happening at this time of year as we reflect on the year that was.

To you our key clients- Employment Plus (Rebecca, Cheryl, Steve and Helen), Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust (Jacqueline), Royal Agricultural Society (Rebecca, Gerri, Jen, Jodie), The Ideas Suite (Julia), Aegon (Tony, Craig, Ian and Princess), Santos (Carla and Bron), News Corporation - Herald and Weekly Times (Linden), Hills industries (Richard and Alison), BATA (Kristy, Pauline, Kevin and Soph), YMCA (Richard, Darren and Kristy), HomeSmart Group (Mark, Jamie and Julie) and the many managers and senior leaders we have worked with one on one through our executive coaching, thank you and thank you for trusting us to deliver for you this year.

To you our corporate training clients- Employment Plus (Rebecca, Cheryl, Steve and Helen), Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust (Jacqueline), Royal Agricultural Society (Rebecca), The Ideas Suite (Julia), Aegon (Tony, Ian and Princess), Santos (Carla and Bron), News Corporation – Herald and Weekly Times (Linden), Hills industries (Richard and Alison), BATA (Kristy, Pauline and Soph), and the many people managers we have worked one on one through our executive coaching, thank you and thank you for trusting us to deliver for you this year.
This year has seen one of the biggest developments in Happening Peoples history with many new specialist consultants joining us (shown above) with expertise in motivation, executive health and Finance.  More than 30,000 people have connected with us on social media.  With growing demand in Asia, we have relaunched this newsletter with great success, and continue to participate in a great deal of TV and other media and so much more.

I want to clap out loud to the people at Happening People and the people who support us.  Those who help write our corporate training workbooks, this newsletter, deliver online content daily helping and connecting with thousands of people on social media every day around the world, answering the phones, printing thousands of workbooks, managing our compliance and so much more.  Alison, Vera, Chris, Matt, Paul, Layne, Dave, Henry, Tina, Virginia, Katie, Morgan and Lana.  Thank you!

We have had great feedback this year which keeps us all stay focused and motivated on our daily purpose of why we do what we do, even after we have been flying, driving and crossing water to get to you. Some of this feedback includes

  • I congratulate you on a fine job of delivering cutting edge training. Tim from Western Australia
  • I would like to thank you for the information, skills, and challenges you have presented me with over my enrolment in Leadership Academy.  Sam from South Australia.

We have put enormous amounts of time and resources to help people online particularly on Facebook with typical comments including:

  • Thank you so much for your daily posts on Leadership.  I am relatively new to managing people and it helps me so much.  Greg from New South Wales
  • I love your management blog posts each Monday on Facebook it helps me focus for the week and lead this company.  Jenny Hong Kong

Next year we will have other specialist consultants join us and we will launch our new online resource centre with all the answers and how to’s for managing yourself, your people, your team and your company. It’s called “ManagersDoor” and has been two years in the making.  All our clients  will receive it next year for free.  We will launch our Executive Coaching online so no matter where you are you will have access to an expert, coaching and mentoring you to achieve your goals.

We are already taking bookings for 2014 for which I am enormously grateful.  That said if you are planning on corporate training or executive coaching for your people in 2013 please let me know so that we can save dates for you.

Personally I have never felt more focused on where we going and why we do it.  I never intended for this company to be a large business but rather a company with a laser beam focus on delivering every time. We will always deliver for our clients with the best of the best specialist consultants and continue to ‘punch above our weight”.  You can always talk with me confidentially about what we need to do better so please remember if you love what we do please continue to tell others if not please tell us.

I hope you have a happy, loving festive season and stay safe.

Sam Day



(*) Myths & Realities No. 16: Return on Investment in Training, Bettina L. Brown, Centre on Education & Training for Employment, Ohio State University, ERIC/ACVE,

(**) Adapted from ‘Kirkpatrick’s Learning and Training Evaluation Theory  www.businessballs.com.au
(***)’Can we Really Measure Training ROI” DOE Training Symposium 2003 Bill Stetar, University of Tennessee



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