Program Results Assessment Case Studies - Training and Development

In addition to the Learning Outcomes Report and the high-performance work practices studies, numerous case studies have also documented the need for and the effectiveness of development programs. These case studies represent traditional program-level results assessments as opposed to the organization level data reported in the previous section. The financial figures provided in these case studies provide a convincing argument that significant returns on investment can be achieved when developmental efforts are properly conducted. Included among the sources for these case studies are Swanson's article "Assessing the Financial Benefits of Human Resource Development" (Swanson 1998); and several books in ASTD's In Action series: specifically, Measuring Return on Investment, volt. 1 (Philips 1994); Measuring Return on Investment, volt. 2(Philips 1997); Measuring Return on Investment, vol. 3 (Philips 2001); and InAction: Measuring Learning and Performance (Hodges 1999).

Note that not every case included in these texts appears in this table, nor is the table designed to be a statistical or representative sample of the cases. What they clearly show is that development works when done properly and for the right reasons. The basis of case selection included the following criteria:

  • The development strategy was clearly described.
  • The development initiative was properly executed.
  • The financial benefits/value of the develop intervention was calculated and reported.

As you can see, these fifty-one cases (see Table below) represent a variety ofT&D initiatives (e.g., task/technical, sales, communication/soft skills, coaching,innovation, empowerment, computer/information technology, negotiation, process improvement, management and leadership development, and employee socialization). Some key findings from the cases include:

  • The ROI (return on investment) for the sales training which ranged from 118percent to 2,307 percent clearly presents compelling support for the effectiveness of properly executed sales training.
  • The same can be said for task and technical training, which garnered ROI figures ranging from 7:1 to 159:1; and for literacy training, which resulted in an ROI of 741 percent.
  • Similarly, the financial impact of supervisory, management and leadership development programs, with results including a $7 million savings, 77.2 percent sales increase, and ROI figures ranging from 160 percent to 1447 percent, provides significant returns by all definitions.
  • In most of these cases, the actual ROI or other measured financial benefit greatly exceeded the forecasted benefits.
    Core Conclusion #3: Development programs, when properly executed, can yield very high return on investments and improved performance.Resource Development Article

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