Every year, companies strive to educate and train their workforce and therefore, invest money – a lot of money – into corporate training. The American Society of Training & Development’s 2010 industry report showed that American businesses spent a staggering $125.9 billion on employee learning and development in 2009.corporate training

But, today’s workforce is facing new challenges – quick product turnarounds, changing roles, and an increasingly mobile team that may include contractors and participants who are remote. Due to that shift in workplace dynamics, corporate training and learning must remain a priority, but it must also shift to match the needs of employees and their changing preferences.

To think about it as more of a solid business function, most companies emphasize that each investment must yield a positive return (ROI). So when it comes to corporate training, the ROI will soon dissipate if the methodology and focus doesn’t change and if employees start to lose sight of the value in the process.

So, to do this, corporate training must stray from the old-fashioned and traditional where HR functions as a service provider (simply providing trainings). HR leaders must work as facilitators and help employees acquire knowledge, improve skills and capabilities, and be empowered to build their careers and achieve professional goals.

In the recently published inquiry, author Markus Schwarz, senior vice president and global head of SAP Education outlines five ways to ensure companies are getting more ROI from corporate training.

  1. Make training continuous. Learning should comprise continuous on-the-job training, and coaching by mentors and managers. Companies that encourage workers to learn what they need, when they need to learn it, and that provide regular feedback, can more easily maintain a workforce with up-to-date skills, ready to adapt as business needs shift.
  1. Stop focusing only on the high performers. According to the CIPD/SHRM study, at many companies talent development is focused on high-potential employees and future leaders.While companies should invest in their best workers, they can’t neglect the rest and expect either to maintain high levels of performance or to retain their employees.
  1. Find out how employees are learning on their own and support it. Employees are no longer relying on companies for training. Companies should support this more informal learning but generally don’t. Sometimes, that’s simply because they don’t know how.
  1. Foster social learning. Mobile technologies can extend the reach of internal experts beyond their work groups by making tutorials, instruction manuals, and presentations accessible on smartphones and tablets. Mobile is a knowledge enhancer because employees can access instruction when and where they need it.
  1. Fill the data void. Mining data about employees and their performance can lead to important insights for learning. During the U.S. radio program On Point recently, Teri Morse, a human resources executive at Xerox, described how the company uses the results from the tests given to applicants for its call center positions not only to screen the best candidates but also to later identify which new hires may need extra training to excel.“It helps trainers train better,” she said.

For more on each of these ways to make corporate training deliver more ROI and details about integrating MOOCs and fostering collaboration, download 5 Ways to Make Corporate Training Deliver More ROI.