Skip to main content

It’s all about that base(line)


What does training leave behind?

Successful learning creates lasting and sustained change and delivers a substantial return on your initial investment; it can look different at different organisations. We often see it manifest in innovation or a solution participants come up with as part of their course. Sometimes, it’s a behavioural change that creates greater efficiency.

Another way to consider the legacy of training is to look at the career and learning pathway within your organisation.  How many staff engage in further training?  Are you growing your talent from within?

What issue are you trying to solve with learning?

To understand how effective a course or programme has been, it’s first necessary to establish a baseline, and before you can do this, a needs analysis process is required. Talking with key people at all levels within a workplace will give you a clear picture of the issues; instead of relying on a top-down approach.

Inside a workplace literacy and numeracy programme, we start by understanding the numeracy, literacy and communication issues within an organisation. We look at the impact these issues might have on things like productivity, health and safety, learning culture and engagement.

Here are a couple of example issues from programmes we have co-designed with our clients:

1. Health & Safety – Understanding health and safety messages and training is a commonly occuring example. For instance, if staff aren’t confident with the numeracy around ratios, this can impact chemical handling and dilution of cleaning chemicals.  It poses a potential risk not only to their personal safety, but also to effective and safe cleaning processes.

Another health and safety-related example is when staff aren’t confident completing a near miss or hazard ID form, the impact is a missed opportunity for health and safety data and engagement.

2. Digital Confidence – A frequent literacy issue is variable staff confidence and readiness to engage with digital technology. The impact of this is significant and becomes more noticeable when there is planned digital change to be implemented in the organisation. It can show up as low engagement with new digital systems and processes, when it could be that the real issue is poor digital skills and/or confidence.

Establishing a baseline

In both of these examples, it’s smart to use data already collected by your organisation to establish a baseline. It is then clear what the improvement has been after the course has been delivered. If it’s not an issue you already have data for, a simple pre and post-snapshot self-assessment can be used instead.

Using Hazard ID or Near-miss forms as an example, return on investment can be easily counted before and after your programme. See the lift in forms received as people’s confidence, skill and engagement grow.

Digital literacy is another area where data will likely already be available. Consider using time spent engaging with e-learning, or interacting with an HR app, for instance. This can form your baseline to see the impact training is having.


Probably one of the most powerful ways to look at return on investment is through solutions or improvements to the business. This is particularly true if your training programme includes equipping participants with problem-solving or continuous improvement capabilities. The aim here is to build confidence and problem-solving tools so that participants apply this back into the business, and come up with ideas that improve process efficiency and reduce waste.  Wrapping dollar figures around cost saving here is more straightforward.

Here are three ideas participants in workplace literacy programmes created for our clients:

  • Participants noticed product was coming off the line and sometimes dropping on the factory floor. To combat the issue they were able to design a divider device. Created from existing supplies, participants incurred no extra commissioning costs and saved over 80% of wasted product.
  • Covering factory machines with plastic for cleaning was creating environmental and financial costs for our client. Their project group came up with a more sustainable, cost-effective solution: canvas covers. Implementing this simple, effective solution is set to save the company over $90,000 annually.
  • When a group analysed waste from a time perspective, they realised driving to the nearest city for one-off parts and stock was very inefficient. Instead, they created a local stock supply and reaped the benefits: an estimated $30K in annual savings.

Looking at the big picture

Broader measures for return on investment in the learning and development sector can focus on staff retention and growing talent from within. For example, look at the number of staff stepping forward into promotions or taking on more responsibilities.

Putting your data together to share the return on investment story around your workplace training sends a powerful message.

We’ve included just a few ideas to ensure training leaves an impact and a learning legacy your organisation can benefit from in the long term. If you’d like to understand more about how it might work, give us a call on 09 622 3979 or leave your details on our Contact form. Let’s talk about the issues you need to resolve and help analyse your needs.


Read more


Upskills Ltd.

Address: 93 Church St, Onehunga, Auckland 1061
Free parking: 120 minutes, Gerrard Beeson Pl.
Phone: 09 622 3979