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The Good News - How L&D gives you 353% ROI for every $1 spent

The bad news: Without this, 40% of employees say they'd leave in their first year

happy staffer

“Learning is so vital today that we can think of ourselves as living in a learning economy.” – Bradley Staats, author of Never Stop Learning

Businesses furiously cost-cutting to get ahead could result in heading in exactly the opposite direction. Just as you have to expend energy (like doing exercise) to become more energetic, some spending is essential to lift business results.

Just look at the statistics. As businesses increasingly shave costs, Australian employees are showing they are less engaged than ever. Gallup's most recent employee engagement study shows 67% are "not engaged', 13% are "actively disengaged" and only 20% are "engaged." Yet, best practice organisations were found to have more than a threefold higher level of engagement (72%).

Given we're seeing many of these best-practice, fast-growing companies booking their teams into our blockbuster learning and development event Adam Grant LIVE - Unlock Hidden Potential & Transform Worklife in February 2024, let's discuss why one area of spending is a no-brainer line item for businesses.

Great news - one solution to engagement is not costly

While the engagement statistics are sobering, the research shows there are cost-effective (even profit-making) things you can do about it.

What do staff want that will keep them engaged, and give you a return on investment?

According to talent management platform Clear Company, it’s training and development.

“It’s a “no-duh” in leadership that rewards and recognition are powerful motivators, but it’s a lesser-known fact that employee development is in high demand as a motivator,” says Clear Company’s report into staff satisfaction.

In fact, a study by professional services company Accenture showed that for every dollar invested in training, companies received $4.53 in return. That’s a 353% ROI.

Poor job training will lose you employees

That’s right. With 94% of companies concerned about their retention rate, not prioritising learning and development is a big mistake. We know now that the most discretionary spending item for your business is actually up with the most important.

Clear Company’s most recent research found:

  • 68% of workers say training and development is the most important workplace policy. 87% of millennials say professional development or career growth opportunities were very important.
  • Retention is 34% higher among employees who have opportunities for professional development.
  • Employees cited lack of skills training and development as the main reasons they chose to voluntarily leave their positions. And, 40% of employees who receive poor job training will leave their positions within the first year.
  • Ambitious, employees who take initiative are exactly the employees who want training, coaching and mentoring, and those happen to be the same employees that we refer to as “quality talent” or “engaged employees”. These employees desire the skills and want to be more valuable and versatile.
  • Organisations who offer learning and development end up with more knowledgeable, capable employees.

global engagement data

Post-Pandemic Desire for Virtual and In-Person

Research shows that 62% of workers said hybrid learning, a mix of online and face-to-face, was their desired way to receive training.

Since the pandemic, there's been a strong desire to experience the buzz and shared energy of in-person events. At Growth Faculty we see this first hand when mingling with our members at our own in-person global speaker events.

Tens of thousands of employees and their leaders enjoy coming together to learn directly from world-renowned speakers, such as 44th President of the United States Barack Obama, professor and researcher Brené Brown, Atomic Habits author James Clear, former PepsiCo CEO and Chair Indra Nooyi, and, in February 2024 organisational psychologist Adam Grant (EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE NOW).

Learning and development programs via e-learning are also highly effective and convenient. Teams can learn in the flow of their workday, watching brief webinars to pick up the latest insights around workplace best practice. E-learning is becoming slicker and more cost-effective than ever. For example, the group discounts available for Growth Faculty membership are saving thousands of dollars for businesses across Australia who see membership as great value, hugely inspiring, and an effective engagement tool for the leadership team and staff.

"It's such excellent value for money to get access to some of the best leaders and authors out in the market." - Jason Maricciolo, First Focus

"So practical and relevent, gets to the heart of the topic faster than any training session I've done." - Sonja Leicester, Parkitekt Australia

ROI of learning

But, I hear you cry, money is tight! That may be true, but in these hardest of times can you afford not to be investing in your people?

True Focus Media reports that companies utilising e-learning tools “have the potential to boost productivity by 50%. For every $1 the company spends, it’s estimated they can receive $30 worth of productivity.”

The formula for calculating training ROI is % ROI = (benefits ÷ costs) x 100. Can you use this formula to calculate the ROI of Growth Faculty membership?

Let’s try it with Northern Michigan University training and development educator Leigh Dudley’s five-step approach for attaining the data for calculation. 


  1. Collect post-training data: After watching and discussing Growth Faculty On Demand masterclasses or in-person events, gather data through a few of these suggestions: knowledge questionnaires, performance metrics, employee feedback, assessment of new information and skills employees are using on the job, increased speed and quality, and supervisors’ observations.
  2. Isolate the effects of training: Compare pre-training and post-training performance, or compare trained with untrained groups.
  3. Convert data to monetary values: A challenging step to convert output data to profit contribution or cost savings, perhaps via supervisors’ and senior managers’ assessments of improvement.
  4. Tabulate program costs: For Growth Faculty, this would be the cost of a membership (and/or cost of event ticket), facilities to access the program (including electronics); employee salaries for the training time; and costs for needs assessment and evaluation.
  5. Calculate the ROI: Now calculating that ROI is the easy part! Using the program benefits and costs collected and quantified in the first four steps, calculate your training program’s ROI as follows: % ROI = net benefits ÷ program costs x 100.

What if they leave?

There’s a meme that gets circulated on LinkedIn and other social media sites, of a conversation between a CEO and a CFO:

CFO: What happens if we spend all this money training our employees and they leave?

CEO: What happens if we don’t, and they stay?

Here’s what will happen, Australian companies will become less competitive.

Canadian employers told to prioritise learning 

Australia is often compared with Canada as being similar in terms of culture and attitudes. So, it's worth mentioning a report by Accenture in collaboration with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) encouraged Canadian employers to prioritise workplace learning and development to drive competitiveness.

"Canadian companies must act to take greater advantage of new technologies to deliver better workplace education and training. This report underscores the critical importance of spending training dollars wisely." - Increasing the Return on Talent Development for Canadian Companies report (Accenture, 2015).

“The thing that many managers seem to instantly forget once they get that corner office is that employees want to be good at what they do, they want to succeed in their position. The problem is usually that they aren’t given the tools or opportunities to do so. Learning, development and training are all great ways to help employees reach their full potential.”

As Bradley Staats, author of Never Stop Learning, the most successful future belongs to those hungry to learn.

“We can’t just be knowledge workers, we must also be learning workers. As Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, has said “Ultimately, the ‘learn it all’ will always do better than the ‘know it all’.” - Bradley Staats

Empower Your Workforce With Growth Faculty Memberships 

A company cannot sustain success and grow without a team of motivated, happy and empowered employees. So now, more than ever, managers must prioritise the wellbeing of their employees, especially if they are working as hybrid/remote teams.  

Having Growth Faculty membership grants your employees 12 months of unlimited access to masterclasses and interviews with world-class coaches and thought leaders, engaging events, networking opportunities and an on-demand library of leadership resources. (See our 2023 line-up of live virtual and in-person events)

Discounts to Adam Grant LIVE in 2024

If your organisaton or team wants to really kickstart growth and performance in 2024, don't miss work-life and future of work expert, organisational psychologist Adam Grant. With Growth Faculty membership you get discounts and further group discounts to our in-person events. Plus, there are EARLY BIRD TICKETS until December 15, 2023 to ADAM GRANT LIVE on his new book Hidden Potential, and topics around work-life and work culture. Adam will be appearing on stage in Melbourne and Sydney in February 2024. Tickets selling fast (VIP Melbourne is sold out, limited seats left in Sydney) so book now!

Keen to save your spot for our next events? See who's up next.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash


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