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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

Buying Value

do you lack the confidence to focus on value, not just cost?

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

In a recent conversation with a friend, she recounted her torturous path through the health insurance bureaucracy. Her doctor had ordered a non-routine blood test, among several more routine ones, and the insurance company wanted her to pay $500 for that test.

Now, the point of that test was to determine a course of treatment that involved a very expensive drug over several years. With the results of that $500 test, which indicated the treatment was not needed, the insurance company saved at least ten times that much over the next couple of years.

The problem: the insurance company only saw the cost of the test, not its value to them.

Training professionals talk a lot about providing "return on investment." But in many training departments, they "sell" investment and "buy" costs.

By that I mean that the training staff -- if they are wise -- are constantly promoting their value to the company, the results they achieve, how the company's investment in training is repaid by enhanced performance and reduced risk.

But those same departments, when they need outside help, have a harder time putting value, and return, at the center of their search for consulting assistance. They lack confidence in their own ability to explain and justify that value equation, and they retreat to the safety of minimizing costs.

Those departments do their own companies a disservice. The goal of the training function is to provide value, whether the source of that value is internal or external.

And value comes from looking at the net outcome. When comparing outside help, which one produces the greatest benefit after the costs -- not just money, but time, effort, and other impacts -- are subtracted? Sometimes the less expensive one produces a better net, sometimes the more expensive one produces the better net outcome.

But you won't know, and you won't make the best decision for your company, if you don't look. Frankly, in these tough times many are so tired of defending training budgets and justifying every purchasing decision that it is tempting to take the easy way out, to think "costs" only.

Tempting ... but not right. Look for value every time you provide training for your company, whether it is your own staff or people you hire from the outside.

© 2012 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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