Staff Development Has Worst ROI

It's a bit dated, but CIO Magazine reports that “training programs for entry-level IT staff are increasingly rare.” That's not too disconcerting since many consider the IT market to be currently focused on cost-cutting and cost-control. However, CIO Magazine goes on to state that, “CIOs rate staff development dead last in terms of ROI.” That's an interesting statistic, but one that I'm not too surprised to hear.

My guess is that training has little ROI because:

  • Employees that look for training opportunities are also looking to advance up the corporate ladder. If they feel they aren't moving up fast enough, they'll move to other companies where the training can be pitched as experience.
  • Some offsite training programs are used as mini-vacations. They're held in areas with good climates or in resorts that offer a lot of extra-curricular activities. Employees that attend for these reasons are probably not looking for ways to apply their training.
  • It's hard to find training that can be applied directly in the real-world. There's a lot of theory that should work, but is difficult to implement in departments or companies that have their ways set in stone. Thus, newly trained employees get frustrated and give up on their efforts to apply their training.

The one piece of good news in the CIO Magazine article is that some positions are still considered very important to CIOs: business analysts, system architects, key programmers, and project managers. I, of course, like that last one.

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