Why measure and evaluate employee training?
For a couple of good reasons. You need baseline data in order to improve training quality. Without evaluation, there can be no continuous improvement. Pearson’s Law captures it best: “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”
You also need good data to demonstrate your team’s impact to upper management and to justify future allocation of budget to your projects.
How important is training evaluation? If upper management doesn’t understand what your team does and how training brings value and impacts the company’s bottom line, then your program could end up on the chopping block. The burden is on your team to consistently collect and use data to evaluate and demonstrate program effectiveness.
Many HR and L&D teams rely on a learning management system (LMS) to administer their training programs. An LMS can simplify, streamline, and automate the collection, reporting, and analysis of training data.
What Will You Measure?
First things first. Before you begin evaluating your employee training, you need to decide on your metrics. How do you define success? What indicators will you use to evaluate training effectiveness? Here are some of our favorites:
Measure your employees’ perceptions of the training quality and learning experience. Did the training capture participants’ attention? How about the content and delivery? What are their suggestions for enhancing the training? Most importantly, you should gather data and then iterate based on your findings, making adjustments for continuous improvement.
Knowledge and Skills Attainment
Companies that invest in employee training expect to see employees not only acquire new knowledge and skills but apply them at the workplace. From the employer’s perspective, that’s where the value is. Consider investing in an LMS to simplify and automate how you track and measure knowledge and skills attainment via tests, interactive quizzes, and gamification.
Are your training programs teaching employees how to work smarter, do more with less, and serve customers more efficiently? If they are, that’s a big selling point at the next budget meeting. But you’ll never know if you never measure.
Impact on Bottom Line
It’s important to track where your team’s delivery of employee training is leading to new efficiencies, cost reduction, improved customer service, and revenue gains. Are your company’s recent growth and higher profit margins at least partially attributable to employee training?
Selecting Your Training Evaluation Techniques
All evaluation techniques can be characterized as either summative or formative. The most common is the summative technique, which is used to evaluate training after it has been completed.
How are training programs evaluated? Some L&D teams, borrowing a page from the world of agile design, test and tweak their training while it’s still being developed. Evaluating it at an early stage allows them to make any necessary changes before rolling it out. This is an example of the formative evaluation technique.
The training evaluation methods you choose will depend on the goals of your training; what it was designed to accomplish. The following techniques are all considered summative, or post-training evaluation techniques:
How to Measure Training Impact on Business Strategy
Training programs that provide the knowledge and skills that enable employees to work smarter and more efficiently can significantly reduce costs and increase a company’s profit margin. If you’re trying to measure how a training program impacts your organization’s business strategy and bottom line, consider using Anderson’s Model of Learning Evaluation.
If you are seeking a technique that will lead to a deep and comprehensive evaluation, encompassing both qualitative and quantitative metrics, then Kirkpatrick’s Four-level Training Evaluation Model should be more than suitable. This straightforward technique encompasses four or five phases, depending on your needs:
- Phase 1: Evaluate participants’ perceptions of training via survey. Calculate a satisfaction rate.
- Phase 2: Use tests and quizzes to measure participants’ increase in knowledge and skills attributable to the training.
- Phase 3: Using observation and peer reviews, measure changes in participants’ behavior that resulted from a given training.
- Phase 4: Measure and evaluate business outcomes, such as increases in customer service, productivity, and efficiency that can be tied to the training. Some companies stop there, while others continue on to a fifth phase.
- Phase 5: Evaluate the return on investment that your company attained as a direct result of employee training.
This final step, which is incorporated from another model, consists of subtracting your training costs from the estimated value of your training outcomes.
Demonstrating ROI can be very powerful. Instead of defending or justifying your department’s training expenditures, now you’re in a position to make the case for increasing your department budget.
Choosing Appropriate Training Evaluation Tools
There are several evaluation tools to choose from, both qualitative and quantitative. It’s important to have a basic understanding of the different tools, so you know the right one to select.
This method involves an objective, unbiased employee observing other employees as they assume a task or engage in a project.
A survey or questionnaire is a great way to measure top-of-mind knowledge and is easy to design and administer via an LMS portal. Pre- and post-surveys can also be used to establish baseline data and measure subsequent improvement.
Face-to-face interviews can be very revealing, especially if you ask follow-up questions and probe their answers for more details. They can be done online as well.
Your sales team completed their new product training. But before they begin contacting prospects, you need to test them to ensure they have a good grasp of the product features and messages.
How World Manager Can Help
Fueled by sophisticated software and AI, the World Manager LMS is specially designed to supercharge your employee training. A rich and robust training system ideally suited for employees who grew up on technology and social media, the World Manager LMS comes equipped with must-have features that can transform how your company designs and delivers employee training.