1. Introduction to the topic - importance of continuing vocational training in enterprises, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises
2. Trend / Future of further education and the necessity of education controlling
3. Methods for measuring the success of continuing education
3.1 Check, measure and control education budget and costs
3.2 Cost-benefit calculations (ROI=Return on Investment) to secure the company's success
4. Simple and feasible education controlling for KMU´s could be:
5. Quality control - quality cyrcle as a recommendation for further training controlling for the implementation of further training measures in KMU´s
List of figures
Figure 1: Development of in-companaytraining places on offer by area of responsibility
Figure 2: Cost and calculation tableau for a training programm
Figure 3: Own reprasentation: quality circle as an action alternative in continuing education controlling
Limits and possibilities of continuing education controlling / educational controlling in small and medium-sized enterprises
1. Introduction to the topic - importance of continuing vocational training in enterprises, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises
Nobody would set up a new subsidiary or launch a new product on the market without making sure that this would pay off. This is usually different for training courses in companies. It often remains unclear whether the last SAP seminar was a waste of time, what contribution the recent rheological training courses made to the company's success and whether the training department works efficiently. Hardly any person responsible for personnel development dares to make a more binding statement than "Investments in training are assumed to have positive returns" - here it is made clear that every further training measure must make "sense" - on the one hand for the employee who experiences real further training and on the other hand for the company that a truly trained employee has "added value" in terms of value creation for the company.
These are small examples of problems that education controlling is intended to solve and that are relevant not only in economically difficult times for the 75.3% of enterprises that provide continuing vocational training. The desire of many companies to make their investments in the knowledge of their employees transparent and to justify them economically is understandable when one considers the levels of investment: The continuing training market had a volume of approximately EUR 6.5 billion in 2013. Calculated per capita, 2000 German companies invest an average of EUR 624 per employee in training courses.
In an age of ever-shorter product life cycles, rapid technological developments, intense competition and high levels of innovation, the knowledge and qualifications of employees are key growth and competitive factors for any company. The training of employees plays a central role here. Its task is to adapt the skills and abilities of employees to existing and future requirements at the workplace. Hasselborn and colleagues have found an appropriate formulation for this: "Without economy there can be no education and without education there can be no economy". Thus the authors say that without the investment into training measures the fulfilment of tasks on the job for coworkers becomes increasingly more difficult to impossible. If both employees and managers do not undergo any training measures, i.e. if their skills and knowledge are not adapted to future requirements, their operational performance cannot be maintained in the long term.
All in all, it is not only about training measures in the purely technical area that bring the company "forward" technically and commercially - it is also about further training measures that become indirectly visible - such as languages, rhetoric and presentation skills, intercultural skills (cultural and national ethnological knowledge) and social skills (team-oriented working methods, cooperation in project procedures, etc.). These training measures are not "dealt with" in a 2-day seminar - these skills often have to be taught and trained and lived internally. This also means that employees who undergo further training can also apply their skills in the workplace and are thereby (and through their superiors) encouraged and motivated. The results of these training measures can only become visible after years, which means that success cannot be assured in the short term and the impression arises that these training measures in the area of so-called "soft skills" were only an interesting "incentive" for the employees or only one measure among many. Of course it is clear to every superior that an export merchant should be able to speak at least two languages in order to achieve real success in foreign business - of course it is clear to every personnel developer that this employee should also be experienced in the intercultural area of the respective export country in order to negotiate, convince and conclude contracts successfully - and yet the language area in particular is treated very poorly because the visible success can only be measured / seen years later, since this export merchant can now, for example, conclude deals with foreign business partners that make a real Euro value visible.
If you look at these examples of continuing education, you immediately see that education is of course strategic. You cannot clarify a problematic business situation by sending an employee to a seminar at short notice and he or she then solves the technical problem, for example. Education must be long-term - the company must set its goals long-term - plan its products and services long-term - plan its finances long-term, etc. And precisely here is the problem of small and medium-sized enterprises - can they also achieve this long-term (5 - 10 years minimum) view with the ever shorter product life cycles and faster growing markets mentioned.
Small and medium-sized enterprises are naturally more likely to plan in the medium term - long-term financial planning is generally not possible with regard to equity cover. The long-term training plans regarding the personnel development plans of the employees cannot be accomplished for the KMU´s - since the employees usually change after some years into larger enterprises, in which they promise themselves longer-term and better paid job possibilities. Family and traditional companies in the SME sector are the only companies in this sector that can enjoy a long-term workforce. Conclusion is that they have to think long-term about the education of their employees in order to generate their own potential for the future - because the labour market does not provide sufficient skilled workers in the long term at the same time. Above all, the workforce, which must be deployed quickly, well-trained and future-oriented. This means that both the company's own employees and older employees must be taken into account in personnel development in the long term.
Furthermore, current and future globalisation (free trade agreements TTIP, CETA, TISS) will continue to grow - i.e. KMU´s will have to contend with even more competition - i.e. not only with technical innovations and innovations promoted by the waves of globalisation, but also with an ever-growing economic area. And every personnel developer knows that the labour market, which is of course always globalised, is creating more and more competition for KMU´s as well. The very well-trained workforce naturally goes primarily to those companies that can pay "better" and then offer "other" amenities. Therefore it is now and in the future more important than ever for KMU´s to make its existing employees competitive for future market change - through planned and long-term training measures.
It should also be noted - especially for small and medium-sized enterprises - that initial training institutions (generally vocational schools, universities of applied sciences, universities) have only medium-term sustainability - i.e. that the knowledge acquired has a half-life of no more than 5-7 years after initial training. The basic knowledge is laid in the initial training, but e.g. by a Bachelor degree no longer-term and current knowledge quality is guaranteed, so that here - straight e.g. within the technical range - a refreshing, supplementing etc. is guaranteed. training must take place. In this situation, KMU´s must have precisely this career planning included in their long-term training portfolio in order to have competitive employees in their company in the near to medium term.
In this situation, large companies can balance their long-term training plans with successful and short-term personnel recruitment - depending on requirements - as they can provide the financial resources for well-trained personnel.
From the point of view of the economic efficiency of educational investments, the educational departments within a company are faced with the task of making the results of education transparent and providing proof of success in order to justify these very investments, in addition to the usually extremely intensive costs of education. This is particularly difficult in a qualitative area such as education.
These and other factors have led to the transfer of controlling thinking to the education sector. Education controlling, a relatively new discipline in the mid-1990s, has emerged from practical needs and is a suitable method for demonstrating the efficiency and effectiveness of in-company training measures.
In doing so, education controlling is not only limited to educational measures, but also related to the entire educational process, starting with the definition of educational goals up to the application of what has been learned in the field of work.
It is easy to see from these small ideas that this educational topic cannot be clearly grasped - i.e. there are too many different views regarding terminology, the educational framework, the types of measurability, measurability, the benefits of educational controlling, and so on.
In the next step, the starting position of the education sector is to be kept in mind in order to understand the continuing education situation and its significance and background.
Educational and personnel work is not an end in itself, but must make a contribution to the realization of operational goals. This is nothing new, but it is a much more important requirement today. A mere assertion of success or the claim of innovative, qualitatively demanding further training is no longer sufficient. Management is required to provide concrete proof of success. In other words, those responsible for education must make it clear what contribution they have made to business processes and to what extent added value has been created through further training.
In view of limited financial and human resources on the one hand and a continuing high need for further training on the other, it is necessary to look for opportunities to organise further training and personnel development in such a way that further training is needs-specific, just-in-time, high-quality, cost-effective and highly effective at the same time.
The success of further training and personnel development can be seen from various indicators. Further training should be strategically oriented and therefore relevant for achieving these goals. Further training should be carried out economically, effectively and efficiently and ultimately be reflected in the success of the company.
It is clear that these different definitions of success require different instruments and approaches. In addition, the various indicators for the respective actors in the company can be controlled and influenced to different degrees. Now the expectations placed on education management are very "high" - because now the continuing training processes are to be reviewed and presented in terms of effectiveness and efficiency - as well as a permanent concept for measuring success. This means that instruments are provided in education management which must be permanently provided with the right information in order to check the learning processes for added value effects (strategic sense and orientation) and to develop a controlling system which can prove that further training in the company is successful for the employees (pedagogical success) and successful for the strategic corporate goal / success (business economist. success).
It is essential to check whether the desired objectives of further training / personnel development are important for the company, i.e. whether they are in line with the strategic and operational objectives. Ultimately, this cannot be decided abstractly by means of a derivation mechanism, but only specifically on the basis of discussions with decision-makers and negotiations with internal customers. Those responsible for education must therefore be in close contact with the decision-makers and involved in strategic planning as early as possible. Experience shows that this is often not guaranteed and that educational planning is relatively separate from strategic decisions. These experiences have particularly been gained by large companies that carry out training planning within the framework of the "human resources department" and within the framework of "budgeting discussions" with the human resources department. On the whole, costs and maximum costs are mainly discussed and strategically planned.
One cannot deny here that of course the "major strategic" training measures are also considered, but always for business reasons and rarely according to strategic training processes, benefit aspects or success criteria for the company. Thus, small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 50 employees are also affected in this sense, because they have no special human resources for education management and usually only see the training measures in operational terms and therefore in the short term. In these companies, costs are the top priority, as is the most important feasibility decision making.
Success of further training then means that the intended learning objectives or objectives of measures and programmes are also achieved. Effectiveness describes the extent to which this has been achieved. This presupposes clarity as to what is actually to be achieved through further training. The effectiveness of further training can therefore be measured primarily by checking the learning and transfer success. This is primarily an object of pedagogical evaluation. It is dedicated to the analysis and planning of training measures, the learning process, learning success, learning transfer and the level of organisational development. This requires a well-established system of education management that describes an educational process, establishes it and permanently controls compliance and success. This is usually done in large companies, as they can provide the necessary financial and human resources for personnel development. But small and medium-sized enterprises generally do not have an education management system that generates permanently relevant information on the effectiveness of the training measures and evaluates it for company success.
Goals can usually be achieved in different ways and through different measures or organisational arrangements. Different measures differ both in their effect and in the required use of resources. From an efficiency point of view, therefore, the target-means ratio is decisive. It must be examined whether the use of funds can be justified economically, whether there are alternative possibilities of achieving the objectives and with which consequences these alternatives are associated with regard to the achievement of objectives and the use of funds. In practice, educational processes and educational transfer (success) must be measured - both in terms of pedagogical success ("Has the employee learned something? - Does he also apply this?) and in terms of economic (achievement of goals) success - i.e. "Has the budget not been exceeded?"-"Does the company need something of the educational transfer?"- Precisely these measurements require educational management that describes, generates and evaluates and controls this information with regard to strategic / operational planning. This controlling performance is almost impossible for small and medium-sized enterprises, since they are hardly in a position to establish, collect and evaluate the data and measures here in order to expand effective and efficient education controlling, which would also describe sustainability, since it is strategically and permanently oriented.
For management, on the other hand, the extent to which further training / personnel development measures have contributed to improving the company's performance and/or competitiveness is primarily relevant for decision making. This requires the establishment of links between the measures and programmes initiated, the consumption of resources and the results achieved by the company.
However, there is a fundamental dilemma in measuring these four fields: goals that are relatively easy to check, namely the satisfaction of the participants or also the learning success, are of rather little importance for the decision-makers in the companies. Important for them would be economic indicators that show that further training pays off for the company, i.e. is associated with corresponding productivity advantages, quality gains or the development of market potentials. In view of the complexity of internal and external processes and influencing factors, this appears to be an almost unsolvable task. Educators regularly find it difficult because the meaningfulness and quality of educational work cannot be measured solely by their contribution to (short-term) corporate success. However, reality has long since gone beyond this and demands convincing proof of success.
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