Friday, July 15, 2011

A quick thought on IT training budgets

The benefit of sending IT workers for training has never been easy for me to quantify.  After all, a significant amount of "effective" learning occurs on the job through daily work and partner interactions.  However, because technology changes so quickly new skills can sometimes only be learned through direct classroom time.

Another difficult aspect of creating a meaningful training program for IT workers is the subject of willingness.  While some workers are highly motivated to continually learn and advance their credentials through training, many others are very ambivalent. 

So what is the solution or happy medium?

Through experience I have come to the conclusion that there are several "averages" that work well for most situations.  They are:
  • Offer one (1) week of offsite training per year
  • Spend an average of $3,000 per worker (if you have an implemented ERP system) or $1,800 per worker if you do not have an ERP system
  • Require every employee to conduct a 30 minute report out to their teams on any class they attend
Several assumptions go into the components above.  First, I believe that effective training for complex IT systems can only occur away from the office.  If an employee is anywhere near a ringing phone or their everyday job, they simply cannot focus.  Second, a standard ERP training class lasts about a week and costs around $3,500.  Considering that some will attend training and others won't, an average of $3,000 is appropriate.  Third, requiring a report out ensures that the employee will (a) pay attention and (b) understand that the week out of the office is not a holiday.  You'll be surprised at how quickly you will separate the serious learners from the non-serious with the report out requirement.

If you want highly skilled, capable IT workers you will have to invest in their training.  These guidelines will help you develop your own approach.

2 comments:

  1. Training also shows your employees that you care about their development, and are willing to invest in it. If you're willing to put money into them for the long haul, the smart ones will recognize this and be more devoted and diligent.

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  2. I have bookmarked your blog so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. Please do keep up the quality writing.

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