Training isn’t cheap, and with travel budgets trimmed due to tightening budgets, sending staff to conferences and seminars isn’t the easy decision it once was for tech leaders. The training and education goal is always to enhance staff knowledge, but now it’s crucial to accomplish this in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

To help you get the maximum value from your training dollar, TechRepublic is sharing a Technical Conference Trip Report that can help CIOs not only justify training but also ensure a stronger return on investment.

As columnist Tim Landgrave explained in a previous article, staff education remains essential for both the enterprise’s technology needs and as an incentive to help retain high-quality IT staff. Finding a way to determine the costs, as well as the benefits and ROI of training, before making a seminar or conference decision can go a long way to help tech leaders ensure that training continues and that training funds are well spent.

Experts recommend that employees interested in attending a conference or class first produce an agenda and cost justification for making the training request. Upon return from the course or seminar, the employees would then submit a trip report and share the knowledge gained in an in-house training session. Once that’s been completed, trip expenses are reimbursed. This approach cements a clear ROI from the training investment.

Using our Technical Conference Trip Report also ensures a commitment by the staffers to focus on collecting good information during training that will prove beneficial for their job, as well as for their IT unit.

Members share training ideas
Several TechRepublic members have provided feedback on best practices in training in a recent TechRepublic article discussion.

Some members believe that e-learning should be blended with classroom learning to lessen the effect that an employee’s absence can have on department workloads. To make sure training is effective, members suggest including opportunities to share information or follow up on questions by creating learning communities.

TechRepublic member John Tieso recommends using training vendors whose approach includes specific requirements.

“I agree that there are blended solutions that will work well. However, it is really important to select a vendor that provides an approach that tests and reports on students on a consistent basis. Students who get behind all too often drop out. Students who need additional help can get it both online and through their learning community,” wrote Tieso, adding that CIOs should consider using a mentor approach in which seminar attendees share gained knowledge with colleagues on a formal basis.

TechRepublic member johart believes using trip reports and sharing gained info is a good method for tech leaders to gain value from training dollars.

“Both of these things benefit the employee as well as the rest of the organization. The trip report will help develop writing skills and thinking about what the value of the learning is,” wrote johart. “Developing the training will provide an opportunity to learn good training skills as well as solidify the knowledge gained at the conference or class. Savvy employees will even find the training requirement as a way of developing resume-enhancing skills.”

Several members also noted that strong training programs must include a healthy dose of respect for staff and the burdens training often puts on already long workdays and expected performance.

“Remember to respect and value your employees. If not, you won’t have any employees, which means there will be no need for you, the manager,” noted TechRepublic member jcyt. After all, wrote another member, good training efforts pay off for both enterprises and tech leaders.

“Companies will prosper by educating their employees, especially after they are made to share the knowledge with their peers and supervisor. This gives an edge to the others who only care about costs, not expecting feedback,” wrote victor gonzalez.

Download our Technical Conference Trip Report today and put it to use to help your IT department get the most out of your training budget.