Training Measurement Programs are an essential part of an organization’s talent development strategy. They enable employees to acquire and expand their skills and knowledge, enhancing their job performance. However, investing in training programs without measuring their impacts can be synonymous with wasting resources.
Therefore, adopting a measurement program is expedient to assess a training’s effectiveness and ensure that the training helps in achieving your organizational goals. In this detailed article, we’ll loosen every knot and reveal the process of establishing a robust measurement program for your training programs. We will walk you through the necessary steps, from ascertaining and defining your training objectives and opting for the appropriate metrics to analyzing your data and reporting your outcomes. So, please sit back and tighten your belt; it will be an expository ride!
How To Measure Your Organization’s Training Program Effectiveness
There are several methods of measuring an organization’s training program. However, an excellent model to adopt, and the one we will be focusing on for this article, is the Kirkpatrick Model.
The University of Wisconsin Professor, Donald Kirkpatrick developed this model in the 1950s. With its simple 4-level approach, the Kirkpatrick model, since its development, has been adopted far and wide to measure the effectiveness of organizations’ training programs. Here are the four levels of measuring and their leading indicators:
Level 1: Reaction
This is the first level that measures the way learners respond to the training and the usefulness and relevance of the training. This level is where you’ll utilize questionnaires and surveys and have conversations with learners before the commencement and after the conclusion of the training. This will help you collate their feedback and reactions to the learning experience. It measures whether your learners found the training favorable and engaging.
Helpful topics to cover during this discussion are:
- How relevant was the course, and how easy was it to follow through to its completion?
- Question what stood out for them in the course and their major takeaways.
- Converse about the training course strengths and weaknesses.
- Ask about how the program suits their learning style and pace.
When you have done enough justice to this level 1, you ought to understand how receptive your learners were toward the training and discover the hidden gaps in the training program content.
Level 2: Learning
This second phase gauges the participants’ learnings based on the findings and whether they acquired the intended skills, knowledge, confidence, attitude, and commitment during the training. You can evaluate this level through formal and informal methods.
To measure this level, you can utilize a combination of the following:
- Tests or assessment scores during and after the training.
- The influence on KPIs performance.
- The completion and certification of the course.
- Supervisor’s feedback and report.
After this phase, you should be aware of whether the training achieved its predetermined goals, the precise skills and knowledge you can gain from it, the scope you’ll use to improve the courses, and the most effective way to offer the training.
Level 3: Behavior
Assessing the behavioral changes of your learners helps you to know if they understood the course and how logically possible it is to integrate the skills and knowledge learned on the job. It reveals if your learners are confident enough to share their newly-learned skills and knowledge with their counterparts.
Evaluating your learners’ behavior reveals hidden issues within your organization. An absence of behavioral change does not necessarily mean the training was not effective. It could be that your organization’s cultural conditions and current processes do not foster a proper learning environment for the anticipated change.
To measure this level, you can utilize a combination of the following:
- Focus groups.
- Customer comments, surveys, and complaints.
Level 4: Results
The concluding level of this model is dedicated to measuring the direct results. It gauges the learning against the organization’s business outcomes. You’ll utilize the key performance indicators you established before you initiated the learning for this phase. Some common KPIs that you can gauge in this instance are higher returns on investment (ROI), reduced workplace accidents, boosted sales, reduced costs, better marketing leads, improved quality, faster project completion, higher morale, increased productivity, and employee retention. The major metrics to evaluate are:
- Customer satisfaction index.
- Improved business results.
- Boosted productivity and work quality.
How Much Measurement Is Good?
Integrating all these levels of the Kirkpatrick model can be time-consuming and expensive. Therefore, if you have limited resources, you can choose not to evaluate all. You can opt to measure just what it will take you to arrive at a confident decision about the value you derived from the training.
Leslie Allan suggested you add the levels according to your kind of training and projected goals:
Level 1: (Reaction) for every program
Level 2: ( Learning) for “hard skills” programs only.
Level 3: ( Behavior) for strategic programs only.
Level 4: ( Results) for programs that cost over $50,000.
Utilizing the Kirkpatrick measurement model helps you to evaluate the relationship between the different levels so you can have a better understanding of the training results and readjust your plans if need be.
Measuring the effectiveness of a training program can be a daunting task. It ends up being more subjective than objective unless you establish a measurement program for your training program. Use these measurements to ensure that you can gather data and metrics on how effective your training program is (or how ineffective it is).
Training Cost vs. Total Sales
One metric you can use to measure training is a cost versus sales method. Consider the total cost for hosting the training session or program. Compare this figure to the total amount of sales it brought into the organization. If the percentage of sales warrants the cost of training then you can deem the training program a success. In general, companies often like to see an increase in the total sales percentage as compared to the cost of training.
Look at the number of hours that go into the training program. As the number of hours increases for an employee, how does this compare to their sales amount of volume? If more training hours is equating to more sales, then the conclusion can be drawn that the training program is helping to drive an increase in sales. If sales are declining or staying the same as the number of training hours increases, then the training program is not as effective as it needs to be.
Consider the employees that request training as part of their career goals. Once these employees complete training, how does it affect the number of sales for the individual or for the business as a whole? If the employees who are completing training are the ones increasing their sales and productivity then it seems as if the training and output have a direct correlation. If the employees undergoing training have the same sales and level of productivity or a decrease, then the training program needs a reevaluation.
For companies that conduct exit surveys, this can be a rich source of metrics for a training program as well. See what the percentage of employees is that have left the company that says the reason for leaving was a lack of training and development. The higher this number is the least effective your training program is. A lower percentage of employees citing this as a problem can indicate that you have an adequate or advanced training program.
It is also important to consider each of these measurements as a big picture. While one individual measurement can skew the results one way or the other, taking all of the measurements into consideration provides a more realistic view of the effectiveness of your training program.
Measuring the effectiveness of a training program does not have to be a difficult and daunting task. By establishing a measurement program for your training program, you can remove the subjectivity from the process and infuse objectivity into the equation.
Adopting a measurement program like those offered by eLeaP for your organization’s training program is more crucial than you think. It reveals whether your organization is achieving its developmental and learning goals. Diligently following the steps highlighted in this article will help you to develop and establish a robust measurement program that can aid you in identifying areas that require improvement, evaluate the training’s effectiveness and eventually, end up with your anticipated outcome.
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- Download the Guide to the HR Technology Landscape – HR Intelligence Report
- How You Can Assess The Effectiveness of Your Training – Kirkpatrick Model
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