The Case for Tableau Training: How ROI Justifies the Expense

Training is powerful. Training is also expensive. Although paying for an instructor and material can be significant, the greatest cost is likely time away from work for the attendees. Because of the expense, spurious arguments are often made that on-the-job training is sufficient; in other words, that formal training is not worth it.  As a full time Tableau trainer, I emphatically disagree! I am passionate about the value of training and have written this article to provide sound arguments for the value of formal training – arguments you can use to strengthen your case to convince others to support your training goals. 

Statistics Demonstrating the Importance of Training

There’s a reason U.S. companies spend billions of dollars on training and development each year. It has a direct relationship with employee development, which is a crucial element of employee satisfaction and retention. Consider the following statistics: 

  • 87% of millennials say professional development or career growth opportunities are very important. (Access Perks) 
  • 40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year. (go2HR)
  • 68% of workers say training and development is the most important workplace policy. (Access Perks) 
  • 66% of workers say they value learning over monetary compensation. (Entrepreneur) 
  • 76% of employees say they aren’t being given enough opportunities for career growth. (Clear Company) 
  • 74% of workers felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities. (SHIFT) 
  • Companies investing $1,500 or more per employee per year on training average 24 percent higher profit margins than companies with lower yearly training investments. (Business Training Experts)

Arguments for Formal Training

On-the-job training is, of course, valuable.  But it is woefully inefficient in and of itself. Formal training has several advantages. Consider the following: 

  • An emersion-learning environment such as 2 – 4 days of training provides a rapid jump-start that cannot be easily replicated by the individual attempting to simultaneously learn and juggle competing responsibilities. 
  • Self-taught individuals invariably have gaps in their learning. These gaps lead to longer development times, as well as inefficient and sometimes erroneous results. 
  • Quality, classroom material provides a roadmap for future development. This development can be fostered by revisiting the classroom material and by exploring additional resources discussed during the class.  
  • A quality instructor can quickly and concisely answer questions that may otherwise handicap a learner indefinitely.   
  • A classroom environment includes many people with similar responsibilities. This provides a forum for understanding how others will use the skills taught in the class, as well as other avenues to have immediate and future questions answered. 
  • Good training breaks down tools and complex aspects inherent in today’s business concepts into understandable building blocks that provide theoretical knowledge and practical guidance.   

Of course, once you realize the importance of training, the next question is, how do you measure it?

Measuring the Effectiveness of Training

How do you know if a training program, class or company is worth it? Ultimately, you want to see a return on the investment. While it can be hard to quantify the results of training, here are a few areas to review:  

  • Skills assessments: Do people showcase more skills than they had before the training? While there are many ways to test skill improvement, a simple way is to test skills before and after training and compare the results.  
  • Efficiency: Are people doing their jobs faster? Training should boost expertise, which leads to greater efficiency. 
  • Participant reaction: How do trainees react after the training program? Are they enthusiastic? Apprehensive? Apathetic? You can learn a lot about the effectiveness of training based solely on the reaction of participants.  
  • Change in behavior: Do you notice behavioral changes in the days and weeks after training? Are people approaching tasks or tools in different and better ways? You can’t have improvement without change. 

A good training program, class or company should be able to provide use cases that speak to measurable results, such as, the above. Now that we’ve reviewed the importance of training and how to measure it, let’s take a look at the specifics of Tableau training

Tableau Training Courses

Regardless of your skill level, there are Tableau training options that can hone and improve your data visualization skills.  Click here for a complete listing or, for an overview, see the following list: 

Desktop I: Fundamentals

  • Although this class starts at the beginning, often those with even a few months of experience benefit substantially.  
  • Learn core concepts, techniques and how to navigate Tableau. 

Desktop II: Intermediate

  • Geared to those users with 2 – 3 months of experience. 
  • Designed to provide you with the skills required to become a Tableau power user.  

Desktop III: Advanced

  • Targets users with at least 6 months experience. 
  • Explore complex data visualization challenges and digs deeper into your data.  

Visual Analytics

  • Candidates for this class will have completed Desktop II.  
  • Teaches visual analytics best practices.   

In conclusion, if you’ve invested in Tableau Desktop licenses, make the worthwhile investment!  Good training will empower your Tableau Desktop authors to make the impact you’re looking for in your organization.

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