Return on investment (ROI) is considered a vital aspect of workplace training and business operations as a whole.

In order to guarantee ROI, businesses need to be proactive and ensure that their employees are working at optimum levels to achieve success. Return on development (ROD) is something that businesses also need to pay attention to in order to succeed long term.

Return on investment

The term ‘return on investment’ is a popular business term used to define a particular investment's profitability. This investment itself could be in the form of a physical, technical or personal investment with an aim of having a positive impact on an overall business goal. The ‘return’ in question is usually financial but could relate to a number of things, again dependant on the business goal in question.

Calculating the return on investment on a physical thing, such as a new piece of software or property is relatively straightforward. But when it comes to people, talent and training - we prefer to look at this in terms of return on development as an alternative to return on investment.

Return on development

When factoring people, talent and training into your measurement strategies, it makes sense to look at return on development as opposed to return on investment. This is mainly due to the fact calculating return on investment relates closely to a set time period in which to see a return, which is not always appropriate when it comes down to people, talent and training.

It’s fundamental to invest in training employees at every stage of their career progression in order to continue to see a positive impact on your business. It’s good to evaluate the following in order to ensure a return on development:


How do the employees feel about the training they are completing or have completed? Do they feel it is relevant and beneficial? Have you taken into account their preferred learning style or tried to optimise their training based on their demographic group? (See our blogs on training different demographic groups for more on this)

Learning or understanding

Has their new training resulted in the development of new knowledge and skills? Would they be able to share this and pass it on to other members of the team? Has this training given them the confidence to apply these new skills or processes into practice?


Have the new skills and processes been actioned? Are they having a direct impact on their job role and responsibilities? Are they utilising new skills learned and forward planning?

Impact on the business

Have these new skills or training made a positive, measurable impact on the business? This could relate to anything from employee productivity through to direct positive financial gains or even new strategic insights that could be of benefit in the future.