5 min read

The Cost of an Ineffective Training Program

By Kathy Irish on Feb 7, 2017 1:23:34 PM

ej4 Blog - The Cost of an Ineffective Training Program

According to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the average cost of losing an employee is six months of their base salary. The average employee salary is $53,000, so the average cost of losing an employee would be $26,500. Turnover is inevitable, but don’t you want to do everything you can do to decrease these expenses for your company?

According to a study conducted by Dr. Tiffany D. Sanders, a licensed psychologist and entrepreneur, there are five top reasons (besides money) why people leave:

  1. They don’t feel appreciated
  2. The company they work for isn’t innovative
  3. They don’t have the opportunity for proper training
  4. The work environment is toxic
  5. A lack of work-life balance

Some of these aspects are difficult to tailor to every employee, but providing the necessary training shouldn’t be one of them. In fact, an average of 40% of employees in the U.S. leave their jobs within the first year because of poor training. When an employer doesn’t invest in its employees, they leave.

A study by professional services company Accenture proved that for each dollar you spend on training, there is a 353% ROI. You’re also increasing ROI by increasing employee engagement and giving them more reason to stay (less chance of losing an employee and the cost of that).

Luckily, this trend is catching on. Companies are spending more and more each year on training costs. The ATD (Association of Talent Development) 2016 State of the Industry Report stated that there has been a 4% increase in training since 2014.

How much of your training budget actually goes to training your employees? Calculations by professionals at eLearning Industry state that for every dollar budgeted for training, 80% of it goes to administrative overhead. An average of only 10-20% of training budgets was spent on learning tools and technologies in 2016.

But just providing any kind of training isn’t enough. You need engaging, scalable training that allows your employees to learn at their own pace without hindering their work. Your content needs to be motivating, informative, and most importantly, memorable.

Why should video be an important part of your training mix?


Videos help keep learners engaged.

We are all professionals when it comes to binge watching our favorite TV shows, knowing the perfect times to hit pause to cross-check that the information shared was accurate or look up an actor. The same applies to video training; when you’re watching you can easily pause the flow of information to take notes or take a moment to think about what you just watched.

Videos are demonstration friendly.

With video, trainers can break down a complex project and deliver piece by piece, creating building blocks for the learner. This allows them to master a skill and move on to the next level instead of overwhelming them all at once.

Videos are great for triggering conversations.

We’ve all heard someone say, “Hey! Did you see that video? You have to look it up!” Then both people talk about the pros and cons of the video. With video training, people do the same. When an employee can talk to their coworkers about a video course they’ve taken, not only are they passing that knowledge on, but they’re also increasing their own retention of the information.

Videos increase employee productivity. They allow flexibility for learning because it leaves the “when and where” of training up to the employee. Some people work best in the morning, while others work better at night. Video gives employees the opportunity to choose their peak learning time and choose the amount of time they’re going to learn as well. This decreases downtime and disruption, reducing the overall amount of time spent on training by about 40%.

Not all videos are created equal.

We all have the ability to record, thanks to smartphones and GoPros, but with a training video, you need strategic instructional design.

What’s that?

Instructional Design is defined as “a systematic process that is employed to develop education and training programs in a consistent and reliable fashion” (Reiser, Dempsey, 2007).

There are many factors considered in instructional design, but the below three can be used as a basic outline for great content.

Length of Program: A study done by researchers at Gloria Mark University of California, Irvine found that the average employee gets interrupted every 11 minutes. Because of this and our attention spans getting shorter, we must design our video training courses to be delivered in small, digestible chunks (commonly referred to as microlearning) like that of a TV show. The show runs for a few minutes at a time and gives the viewer commercial breaks in-between to digest the information. Even if you have a complex topic, it’s best to break the topic, whether it be leadership or compliance, into several short-form videos.

Learning Style: There are learners of many different adult learning styles and we have to tailor our programs to meet the needs of them all.

For visual learners, keep the design simple and clean. If there’s too much going on your learner will be distracted and the chance of them learning and retaining the information will go down.

For your audio learners, you want the information to be clear and easily understood. No distracting accents or speech patterns. Limit the amount of sound of effects that you use.

For reading/writing learners, keep text a reasonable size. If it’s too big it’s overwhelming. If it’s too small the learner has to strain to try and read it. Either way, it’s a distraction.

For all of your learners, limit the amount of text that you have on the screen at one time. According to the Miller’s Theory, adult learners are able to store between five to nine items of information at once in their short-term memory. Any more than that, information is lost.

Captivating Content: When a learner is engaged, it creates momentum for the learner and others. Engagement causes movement and behavior change. After a program, the learner will apply what they learned. When they see the success of the new behaviors, they will want to build on it. Success breeds more success. In addition, other learners who can see that learner’s success will be inspired to participate.

Are you interested in adding video training courses to your training program?

ej4 Off-the-Shelf eLearning courses can be used as pre-work to an instructor-led program, during group training to bring together employees of different skill levels, for post-retention of information learned during a classroom training session, and as follow-up to help employees retain training knowledge in their long-term memory.

Sign up for a free trial of Thinkzoom today to see how we’ve put our research on video training to work and provide your employees with the tools they need for learning and reinforcing the skills they need.

Additional Reading


Kathy Irish

Written by Kathy Irish

Kathy joined ej4 in 2007 as our first Instructional Designer. She has over 15 years’ experience in Human Resource Management, Training and Organizational Development. In addition to managing and planning ej4’s yearly new content development, Kathy also oversees all the production on updates (both legal and style-wise) to current off-the-shelf content.

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