Budgets are on the up and confidence is returning after a difficult few years in the retail sector. But it’s still not easy, and if managers are to secure increased training budgets they will have to demonstrate perceptible value.

Chris May, managing director of FMCG management training company FXL, says specific objectives are needed.

“The value of training can only be measured if specific, quantifiable objectives are set prior to the training. Objectives should be agreed upon by concerned parties and should include both input and output goals,” he says.

If, for instance, a retailer’s input goal is to train 30 staff in June on three subjects, its output objective might be reducing the time managers spend in meetings by 25%.

May warns against deciding on objectives without reasonable consideration: “Keep it simple - you don’t want more than three otherwise they will be hard to track and order them by priority. Linking objectives to your wider business goals will make it easier to demonstrate success.”

He adds: “If meetings take one hour less per day, each manager will gain five productive hours per week. Multiplying this by the value of each worker, per hour, will provide the savings value.”

May advises seeking support from all staff to maximise return on investment: “Get line managers involved and ask them to share results - this will encourage engagement.”

Managers measure other resources as well, he adds: “An increase in supplier engagement, staff loyalty and satisfaction are demonstrable too. Assessing these alongside financial ROI will provide the assurance managers need.”