The L&D Costs of Doing Due Diligence Diligently 

Expanded from a LinkedIn Reply from Last Week

Compliance Training is done and required for a number of reasons, including as a legal, due-diligence defense should there be a lawsuit, and to keep customers, employees, suppliers, and the business safe from harm.

But they have historically been on general/generic Topics and Behaviors that are seldom made specific to each employee’s Performance Context – so they might address the shared Knowledge needed, but not the unique Tasks and Outputs that they specifically apply to – and then address the very specific Consequences to each customer, employee, supplier, and to the overall business.

Compliance Training seldom starts with a specific, authentic presentation of a personalized WIIFM for each Learner … and the consequences for the learner and for others.

That specificity comes at an additional cost, and if the lawyers don’t see that being more helpful in a future legal defense – it usually won’t be addressed.

What can L&D do?

Try to determine the Risk Value and compare that to the Cost of addressing it.

If that data doesn’t sell clients and stakeholders – including the legal staff – on doing Compliance Training differently, then perhaps it isn’t “worth it” from a business financial perspective – and it’s not the hill for L&D to figuratively die on.

If it is deemed worth it – one might take a lesson from Tom Hickmore’s book, “Watch & Learn” – and include a video with “drama” in it – to more emotionally engage the specific Target Audiences with something that they can relate to – rather than be dismissive about.

And then guide the Target Audience in “How to Apply” their new knowledge into their specific WorkFlows.

Yes – THAT does cost more. That’s the COC – Cost of Conformance (to a standard). And that needs to be compared to the CONC – the Costs of Non-Conformance.

COC and CONC come from the late quality guru, Philip Crosby.

COC is the I in ROI – and the CONC is the R in ROI.

ROI is of course, Return on Investment – from DuPont in the 1920s – a tool to compare alternative investment opportunities for when you cannot afford them all.

A Blog Post From 2010

Using Quality Methods and Concepts with a Twist – To Determine ROI for Training Investments

This post is about the back story for an article that I wrote and published back in 1991 on “Costing Out a Training Project” – that was originally titled by me as “Cost Of Nonconformance And ROI For Training Projects” when I submitted this to the editors at ASTD’s Technical & Skills Training journal in late 1990 or early 1991.

Editors do that, don’t you know.

The back story is about the inspiration for that 1991 story – that published article, the original by me which is now available:

Cost of Nonconformance and ROI for Training Projects _ASTD – 1991 – 9 page PDF of the original article submitted and published in ASTD’s Technical & Skills Journal in their May-June 1991 issue under the title: Costing Out a Training Project – 1991 – Wallace (which it did not address).

This presents an alternative approach for determining ROI that was unique to one of my client’s situations, and a proxy for ROI: RONA – using the quality concepts of Cost of Non-Conformance and the Costs of Conformance in place of Returns and Investments respectively.


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