The Impact Of Foundation Skills Training On Your ROI

The Impact Of Foundation Skills Training On Your ROI
Wittaya Budda/
Summary: Foundation skills programmes cover the core skill sets that underpin business literacy. They’re the skills all employees ideally need to have. But how effective is foundation skills training in developing those skills, and how can you ensure it makes maximum impact?

Is Foundation Skills Training Affecting Your ROI?

Understanding and measuring ROI can be tricky, not least because it can be difficult to identify what to measure. And some things are just plain difficult to measure accurately. So how does one measure foundation skills training?

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What Are We Measuring?

From a purely financial perspective, you can look to the savings a training programme might bring and then audit where and how the training budget is spent. Aligning training with business goals gives you another dimension to assess the impact skills training can have. Setting and monitoring KPIs allow you visibility on changes in behaviours and performance and bridging performance gaps. But to assess the overall impact of a foundation skills training programme, you need to regard it holistically and evaluate its influence on the business culture and working environment. Here you’re looking not just at the return, but also the value added.

Finding Economies Of Scale

People often point to how costly training can be. The cost includes not only developing and running a training programme but also lost productivity as cohorts of employees are taken away from their work to participate in training sessions. One big advantage of a bought-in, ready-made, ready-to-go training programme is that you save on training development costs. Most training programmes now feature some eLearning which can handle more people learning simultaneously than with classroom-based training. eLearning programmes give learners the flexibility to access training at a time that suits and removes the excuse for missing a vital training session. Learners can study at their own pace rather than the pace set by the instructor or administrator, so you’re not leaving people behind or stopping people getting ahead. Training accessed from the desktop or, increasingly, from mobile devices moves training into the workspace increasing its relevance and utility. And, once purchased, eLearning resources can be used and re-used countless times across platforms, devices, and sites.

Investing In Quality

If those are the economies, consider also what you’re gaining. Foundation skills programmes cover a variety of skills, for a variety of industries and working environments. That breadth alone is something that would be hard to replicate internally. New modules and topics are being added all the time and there are frequent updates and upgrades you can avail of. The training is developed by Subject Matter Experts so you can be sure you’re getting best-practice and industry-standard content. Using a foundation skills programme ensures you have a standardised approach to essential competencies. If you introduce employees to the foundation skills programme at the onboarding stage, you’re encouraging them to see learning as a key part of working within the organisation. This can be tied to career development so that feel that, as they continue to work, they’ll be supported in the very skills they’ll need to succeed. The comprehensive nature of foundation skills training also means that it’s equally applicable and relevant to more experienced employees. Its extensive reach means it can be promoted and delivered across the organisation to drive up skills across the board.

Putting Practice Over Theory

The biggest challenge for any training programme is to turn theory into practice: to have learners apply what they’ve learned. Foundation skills training programmes privilege practice over theory, focusing on what you need to perform tasks and improve your performance. eLearning modules often include scenarios, games, and simulations which replicate the working environment. Employees are shown how to apply the knowledge they’ve gained in a variety of situations and are challenged to complete tasks in a variety of realistic contexts. In this fail-safe environment, trainees can experiment with different scenarios and understand the consequences of a wrong decision without compromising their work. This broader understanding of how training can and should be applied will instill them with the confidence to use what they’ve learned in their work without fear of failure. Better prepared workers perform better.

Driving Engagement

However, no matter what a programme offers, it’ll be ineffective if it’s not taken up. The emphasis on practicality and transferability of skills in the foundation skills programme is a start, but training needs to be fully accessible. Accessibility can mean a couple of things. Firstly, how easy is it to get to the training and find what you need? Using digital resources from eLearning modules and making them available on mobile devices removes the barriers you find with classroom training and even within an LMS. But accessibility also applies to how the training is delivered, the learning design techniques, that make it relevant and useful to time-pressured modern learners who have the benefit of accessing information on the internet round the clock.Encouraging learners towards these resources through training drives and promoting and facilitating a culture of learning – right from the outset – is one motivating agent. Another is recognition of learning, through informal acknowledgement by managers and team leaders to formal performance appraisals. Added to that, you can tie your foundation skills training to CPD schemes making the link between training, performance and career progression transparent and explicit.

Acknowledging The Benefits

If your foundation skills training is working, you should be seeing those KPIs move in the right direction. You should see gaps in performance decreasing as people acquire new skills and gain confidence in applying them in their work. Successes like these need to be called out and recognised by the organisation to highlight the connection between more systematic and relevant training and the impact it’s having in vital areas of the business. If it’s not working, then make use of the huge flexibility built-in to the eLearning programmes. The digital content can be easily updated. It can be repurposed to work in a variety of settings. Consider breaking up modules and redelivering them in bite-size, easily-digestible chunks. Use the content to create a searchable database of resources that can provide just-in-time information which people can use on the spot to fix a pressing problem. Repurposing content as quizzes or assessments helps you judge retention of information and to provide people with what they still need to know. Reconfiguring content into useable resources presents employees with the opportunity to take charge of their own learning development. So instead of pushing training at them, you’re allowing this internet-savvy, social-media-engaged generation the chance to ‘pull’ what’s useful to them, creating a more personal and sustainable way of learning.

Seeing The Bigger Picture.

The sheer scope and reach of foundation skills programmes mean that they’re indispensable to the entire organisation. Everyone can benefit. And the cost of not implementing the programme or failing to integrate into the business is considerable and not a price worth paying. Your key metrics such as KPI or budgeting should give you some direct sense of ROI. But beyond the hard numbers are some broader, but highly significant ways of assessing the impact of the training. Essentially, we’re talking about the overall health of the organisation. This is reflected in figures for staff turnover, absenteeism rate, and staff retention. These are indicators of a better workplace that has an engaged workforce, able to work together and communicate as a team and use that sense of connection to improve productivity.

Recognising The Value Add

Training is a core, strategic activity that at its most effective adds value. That strategic role can be cemented by aligning it directly and clearly to the organisation’s business goals. It has the greatest impact when it’s tied to job roles and practices and moved closer to work and into the workflow. People then see the benefits and direct applicability of training and engage with it. Foundation skills training offers a wide range of modules, written and approved by experts, tied to CPD and other industry-approved accreditation, and delivered via eLearning to ensure flexible and accessible training when and where it’s needed. Implemented and integrated correctly foundation skills training provides a measurable ROI in enhanced performance and in the retention and development of people. By using foundation skills training to motivate, develop and retain talent, you’re not only getting a good ROI, but you’re also really adding value. If you want to learn all about the main aspects of the foundation skills needed to upskill your workforce, then download the eBook Upskilling Your Workforce With Foundation Skills Development. From strategies to supporting foundation skills development to absolutely mastering your training programme in order to upskill your workforce.

Other Sources:

  1. Measuring The AI Virtual Assistant ROI For Your Organization's L&D
  2. 7 Ways That A Training Catalogue Can Maximize Your Business Skills Training ROI
  3. How Τo Increase Your Organization's Learning ROI
  4. 5 Ways A Custom eLearning Solution Can Improve Your Corporate Training ROI
  5. Return on investment: Why ROI for training does not matter