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A Balanced Scorecard Approach to Training & Development: Ensuring Relevance
Professor Sunil Ramlall, Ph.D.

There is little doubt about the value of training and development (T&D). For decades, we have used T&D as a way to increase performance through expertise and skill development. As we all continue to deal with COVID-19 and delivering training and learning initiatives virtually, we must critically reflect as to the extent to which the interventions are effective. In the end, training plays a key role in helping to create sustainable competitive advantages.

How much are you spending on T&D? How effective is your training strategy? How would you define and calculate the ROI of your training investments? Utilizing a balanced scorecard approach to T&D, there are four key components in which outcomes will be defined. These are i) Impact on Customer, ii) The extent to which T&D build efficiency and effectiveness with the internal business processes, iii) Innovation and learning, and iv) Financial impact on the profitability and growth of the organization.

These outcomes do not change in a pandemic. We may pivot from classroom or hybrid to fully online with our training efforts, but the outcomes are the same. It is becoming a norm for employees to be working virtually. Trainers are delivering learning interventions virtually. Technology exists to facilitate effective delivery of training. This is the norm and is the future. Of course, there are some aspects of training that will require in-person interactions but for most part, most of the learning can be in a virtual environment.

Given the emphasis of work and learning in a virtual environment, employees have more control as to when they participate in a training effort. Through the integration of artificial intelligence, simulations, avatars, and other forms of technology, the learning environment may mirror the face-to-face environment and possibly even more stimulating for learning. There are also scales of efficiency through lower overhead costs, higher levels of engagement, focused learning, and behavior modeling. Through the readily available technology, there are ample opportunities for collaboration if training is in a synchronous format. The point is that all we do in a face-to-face environment, we are able to do in a virtual environment. The new norms are the present strategies.

In sum, training helps to facilitate the development of skills needed to improve employee, team, and organizational performance. Many initiatives across the country are focusing on skill development. The urgency to target specific skills that will enhance performance in our organizations is of utmost priority. Aligning strategies with skill development presents opportunities for training to maintain highest relevance in increasing organizational competitiveness, employee engagement, and motivation. Utilizing a balanced-scorecard approach forces us to look at training to fulfill a magnitude of outcomes for short-term gains and long-term sustainability.

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