Creative Training and Development Programs with ROI

Feb 25, 2015

Training and development is back on the front burner for the first time since the economy slowed in 2008. A common request we receive from our clients/prospects is “I am on a budget and need to do more training with my staff.”

Most of the time, a customized program is requested, either “train the trainer” or with Gregory & Appel staff providing the training. The schedule can be monthly training, others have several initiatives going on simultaneously and request quarterly training. It is important to “mix-up” the presentations and delivery formats in order to engage the adult learner.

For most organizations, an e-learning solution can appear on the surface to be the most cost effective answer, but e-learning should be mixed with face-to-face interaction to maximize the adult learning.

With modern adult attention spans of less than 30 seconds, maintaining a good mix for all learning styles and generations is key. Remember, training is communication. While many Baby Boomers report significant learning results through relationship-driven development opportunities, many Gen X employees find these to be less than useful. These employees report they prefer a more equal, two-way learning environment.

For example, networking or mentoring groups where each participant shares their own knowledge while also learning from others, rather than one person being the "expert" and imparting wisdom to those "less knowledgeable" seems to be a more palatable option for many Gen Xers.


Millennial employees, along with Gen Xers, tend to also value opportunities for self-development through independent research, on-line self-study courses and opportunities to try their hands at stretch assignments. Furthermore, many millennial employees also seem to value opportunities for relationship-driven development, such as traditional mentoring.

A learning environment starts with hiring. Use structured interviewing and assessment tools to screen new hires better, then develop and engage them with a training strategy aligned with organizational values.

In closing, training is a “must have” for the modern organization, but must be a priority from the top down for the organization to benefit fully from the investment. We find good adult education tends to bring new ideas from participants and builds a high performing culture.

Finally, the design of the program should fit your culture. This is an ongoing process before, during and in between each training session. Ensuring that the presenter(s) are given feedback, allows for enhancements at the next session.