The cost of ineffective employee training

Ineffective training costs companies $13.5 million per 1000 employees annually. Why and what can we do differently?

Imagine you had an annual budget of $1,300,000, and you were requested to spend it wisely for the sake of your company’s growth.

Whatever you choose to do with it – and let’s face it, there are multiple ways that come to mind – probably the last thing you would want to do is bet on this money, put it in the random hands of someone, and pray it will work.

Yet when we invest expensive resources in ineffective employee training – this is exactly what we do, without even realizing the full implications of this betting. 

Here are the crunched numbers:

Ineffective training costs companies $13.5 million per 1000 employees annually.

This is based on calculating how much is being wasted per employee when training hasn’t achieved its purpose. (Data is taken from HBR and Gallup).

Beyond that staggering number, it’s important to understand the full scope, both the obvious and the hidden costs:

Unprofessional, lagging behind staff

Ineffective training will fail to equip the employees with the needed skills, capacities, and tools to meet professional requirements. Even if the knowledge is being shared, the information is being presented, and participants felt overall that this was “interesting” – this is not always good enough to upskill them professionally.

Employees who are lagging behind professionally will underperform, and most likely feel frustrated or unconfident in the long term about their competency to deliver.

Moreover – a company’s competitive advantage will be degraded when the staff is not equipped to deliver the highest standards.

Increased turnover

According to a study conducted by Dr. Tiffany D. Sanders, a licensed psychologist and entrepreneur, among the top five reasons why employees leave, is that they lack the opportunity for proper training.

High turnover is a costly result for every company, at every stage of the journey. Established companies lose a sum of money equal to approx. six months of salary for every employee who leaves. For early-stage companies, it could be even worst: they might shut down or to the very least slow down when a core employee leaves their workforce.

Training by itself is not the only motivation to retain happy employees, but it’s definitely in our control, unlike some other causes.

Wasted time and money

It’s almost needless to say after the introduction of this article, yet we can’t state enough how much money and time (also translate to money in the business world) is being thrown away due to training that hasn’t achieved its goal.

In today’s high-paced world, we really can’t afford to repeat those same mistakes time and again. The occasional bad experience is not too harmful, but accumulated hours and dollars being wasted on ineffective learning sessions are eating away at the development budget.

Loss of trust, unwillingness to show up to the next training

Last but not least, is the damage being done to the level of trust employees give in their company’s development efforts.

If you give away your time and attention just to find out this session wasn’t relevant to you or wasn’t delivered professionally – what would make you come back for more? Not much, right?

Ineffective training is not just one-time result – it could ruin future opportunities and keep employees away from showing up for future sessions, even if they were guaranteed to succeed.


What can we do to ensure the most effective training possible for our employees?

We’ve covered a few of those points in previous articles, so let’s recap:

Mapping employees’ needs:

Constantly ensure that the training is meeting actual needs and bridging real gaps, rather than a “nice-to-have”.

Adjusting the plans according to an ongoing assessment:

You just made your annual plans and learning and development gunt? Great. But don’t fall in love with it. Make sure you reassess those every month or quarter, and iterate if needed (and most likely – it will be needed to change and adjust the learning plans).

Make sure the training is being delivered professionally:

Choose your professional resources and vendors wisely, which could also be stated this way: don’t compromise. Have your due diligence processes in place. Ask about experience, what KPIs to expect, and if they are right for your audience.

Design the training to the point, tangible, and practical:

Whether you are the one delivering the session, someone from your staff, or an external instructor or expert – insist on including practical advice, clear action items, and/or clear deliverables. Inspiration is nice, and results are essential.

BTW, even if you booked a talk that aimed to motivate – participants (of any kind, not just employees) will always want to take something tangible from what they’ve just been exposed to.

At Uppey, we tackle those challenges by matching companies’ learning and development needs with experts who have been there, done that, and will train your staff how to break through.


Good enough training is not good enough. Save your time and money by putting together great, effective, professional training without compromising.

Give us a shout if you want to learn more about how Uppey helps companies get access to brilliant minds from across the globe.

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