The effectiveness of training and development is the first thing that must be measured during the training process of employees.
In a perfect world, the effectiveness of employee training and development programs would be measured by a simple formula which would give us the Return on Investment, or ROI.
Where it gets messy is when employees, who are diverse in skills and knowledge, and are the integral part of an organization, are all expected to measure up to some ideal number for the organization’s ROI to be considered worthwhile to train and develop.
Measuring effectiveness of training still needs to be done, but it’s time we had a fresh look at how we go about it.
Reconsider the Starting Point
Traditionally, a company maps out employee training programs and then implements a policy to measure the Return on Investment. This is an especially practical way for large organizations that can’t manage a more tailored approach, or they make the mistake of using an outdated approach that may have served them well in the past but simply lost effectiveness of training with the growth of the company.
The business goals of the organization should always stay the focus – after all, this is no charity work! However, it’s easy to lose sight of what you have, what works effectively and how to improve on that, where the employee strengths are and how they could be developed further.
Take the time to look closer at your work teams, departments, managers and try to hone in on what is effective in each group, how they may benefit from a refresher course or are ready for a bigger training challenge? Knowing where you’re starting will make it easier to measure ROI later.
Observe Previous Skills Before Measuring New Skills
Briefly overhearing disgruntled employees complaining over lunch, and seeing the stressed managers gulping down their food as if they are in a race with time itself is enough to have one run for the door, but sadly, this is a typical scene. These moments of casual complaining or vehement distress are clues to an organization’s culture — what works and what doesn’t.
Before investing thousands of dollars in training programs, evaluate where the changes should take place and the appropriate tools to make those changes that will aid in meeting company goals.
Encourage Communication About the Effectiveness of Training and Development
Often, employees themselves can give you a lot of feedback about the new training they have gone through or a software that they are learning to use, you just have to ask. The key here is not to wait until the formal measurement to take place, try to detect at an early stage of the training how well it is being applied and what problems may be surfacing.
This way, you will be able to take preventive steps and influence the Return on Investment before the final analysis. Communicating and being open to criticism, on both sides, the subordinate and the manager’s, means no one can point fingers at the end of the day and say, “you didn’t train us well enough,” or “you haven’t put enough effort into training.” Employees should have a fair understanding of why they are doing the extra training and how it benefits the company.
You can observe the effectiveness of training on day to day tasks, but productivity is not always easy to measure directly, making it more important to have constructive communication with employees.
Effectiveness of Training and Development Cost Assessment
You don’t have to take your employees to a fancy resort in the Maldives for training to become expensive. Itemizing the costs of training programs is a critical step in evaluating the overall ROI.
For example, how much is the total cost of a particular course? How much does the organization spend on training materials, instructor fees and facility costs? How much did your organization spend on travel and lodging, meals, administration and other miscellaneous expenses?
Take all of these variables and sum them up into a single value. That’s the total cost of training within your organization.
Each one of these expenses will have to be taken into consideration and measured against the projected return on investments of the entire training program. More importantly, this data will also let your organization’s leaders know if the training programs are worth the investment, or if they are just a waste of money.
How is the organization benefitting from the training programs? Although it’s not possible to place a monetary value on all benefits, some factors such as workers efficiency, the time needed to accomplish a task before the training and the time they need for the same task after the training, change in customer feedback, increased production, can be calculated fairly easily. If the results are better after the training in any area, be sure to share the good results with your employees to help them stay motivated.
Once you have the ROI for your organization’s employee training initiatives and programs, you can now start the evaluation process. To do this, you will need to compare the ROI of your organization’s training programs with variables which result in higher employee productivity. This will give you a general idea of how well employee training has affected your organization’s overall profitability.
How to Start Measuring the Effectiveness of Training
Studies have shown that some of the most valuable employees in an organization genuinely desire rigorous training that will make them even more of an asset to a company. Though employers recognize the need and benefit of training, the fact that measuring the effectiveness of training remains such a daunting and vague endeavor often prevents them from taking the initial steps.
Instead of forcing a training policy and how to measure one, start by looking at what you already have and how to build on it. This way the employees will feel less imposed on, and more willing to be invested in the training, raising their motivation and the ROI with it.