Tuesday, April 24, 2007

AITD Conference

I spoke last week at the Australian Institute for Training and Development conference in Melbourne. My topic was - Check Your organisation's Pulse - are you an Investor in People?
We had some very positive feedback with many delegates saying that this was the most worthwhile session of the conference and the most inspiring.
I discussed what needs to be in place in an organisation beyond the traditional learning and development cycle of plan, prepare, deliver and assess. This framework certainly needs to be there but it is not nearly sufficient in terms of linking learning to business needs. A far more useful benchmarking tool is the Investors in People standard which is the only recognised HR standard used worldwide to determine whether an organisation improves its business performance through a planned approach to people development.
The standard is available on the Investors in People website - www.investorsinpeople.co.uk
There is also a very useful tool there on how you could diagnose your own organisation to determine whether you meet the evidence requirements and criteria of the standard.
In Australia the average spend per person on training is $450 (this figure is quoted in the latest survey of the retail industry). in addition to this there is $2.5 billion in federal funding of the apprenticeship and traineeships schemes for this financial year. There is also a further $280.6 million set aside by the government for skills vouchers to boost skills shortages.
With all these telephone numbers floating around of money spent on training, there is little research being done on the impact that this training is having on business.
My mantra is:
If training does not lead to change, why do it at all? Rather spend the money on a cruise around Sydney Harbour - it will cost you less and also lead to a more motivated workforce who are so pleased to have had the day off work.
Investors in People allows us to continuously evaluate our training and determine what difference it is making to the organisation as a whole or at least to individuals.
My challenge to the group was to:
1. Find out the budget that is spent on training and express this as a % of payroll.
2. Start changing the types of conversations that take place about training. Don't talk so much about the fact that delegates were "happy" with the training or that "all went well". This is important but more urgent is to find out what difference the training has made and to express this in a few sentences. "As a result of the intervention, the following happened. We increased sales or there were better customer feedback reports.."
Have fun using the Investors in People framework and if you decide that you would like to be externally audited so that you can join many of the top organisations worldwide who have met the standard, we can certainly arrange a quotation for you in this regard.