The Cost Of Three Minutes

Published Tuesday, August 19, 2014 3:23 PM by Wearev1, Author

Welcome back to my on-going blog for anyone in the Learning and Training Management sector, especially all users of the V1 LTM solution. Today, I’m going to talk to you about the value of three minutes.

Three minutes: the length of the average pop song… the time some people like to boil their eggs… and now, I can see, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, the length of performances at a Manchester-based alternative theatre!

Not long is it? 180 seconds in fact. Now what has  three minutes got to do with the challenge of delivering successful L&D (learning and development) outcomes for organisations today?

Well, what if I told you that it equals thousands of pounds that you are spending right now when you really shouldn’t be?

The lost years?

We recently hosted a well-received webinar that walked through some of the main issues around self-service, automation and how to get real ROI (return on investment) in the L&D context.

One slide in particular got a lot of attention. It was the one that looked at the average cost for an organisation of offering just 50 courses per month to around 500 candidates. (Most of us will know this is a far from an excessive number when it comes to the course load most L&D teams routinely have to cope with.)

We added up the cost – not in pounds, shillings and pence but in time – of the full range of necessary admin tasks those 50 course bookings would encompass: all the way from issuing joining instructions to logging attendance and the pass/fail rate at the other end, via tasks such as sending out and dealing with emails for the venue booking, the trainer booking, the invoice work, etc. etc.

And this is what we found – and we were conservative with the numbers, we really were: over the course of a 12 month period, for 50 courses and 500 attendeees, we reckon you need 326 working days to do all that.

How did we get to that huge number? We were actuallyvery conservative. We allowed seven minutes for raising and sending each invoice, which seems about right; we allowed five minutes for the booking process for each course; and, three minutes for the simple but vital tasks of issuing joining instructions, booking confirmations and re-certification reminders.

Just that last task alone could add up to 10 working days over the year.

And if we’re right on that 326 days, based on an average UK working year for the average employee of 220 days, that admin around L&D for a relatively modest course load is 1.5 years.

A hidden  – and unnecessary – cost?

That’s the real cost of three minutes.

It’s a cost your organisation is carrying, possibly unseen, or not properly line-itemised.

It’s a cost your FD or MD might find somewhat puzzling, too – considering that this means someone in the L&D department is effectively doing secretarial work, juggling emails, spreadsheets, bits of paper… with all the attendant inefficiencies, gaps, risks of data loss, confusion and so forth that non-automated processes represent for the modern information-driven business.

Imagine if that 1.5 years was actually spent not processing forms and doing low-level tasks that really can and should be done better by an intelligent assistant (like V1 LTM) – but on high-level work, more satisfying for both the L&D professional themselves as well as benefitting the organisation as a whole?

The cost of three minutes might well be a lot of needlessly spent overhead – and missed opportunity for you and your team.

What do you think? Did we get these numbers right? Were we too conservative? Did we miss a step? Do you think we have missed the bigger picture here?

I’d be really interested in your take on the value of three minutes – post a comment below if you have time.


Mark Tew
V1 Business Manager

The Cost Of Three Minutes by