The ability to measure success is crucial to implementing effective strategies in any company. Some number-heavy areas, like financials, are clearly measurable. Others, like training efficacy, are far less black and white, but that doesn’t make those metrics any less valuable. Knowing where employee training is and isn’t successful is critical to designing future programs. What’s more is that ineffective training can incur costs in the form of re-training, employee errors or low productivity. Here’s how to make sure that your training program hits the mark:
Set your goals
Before you organize an employee training session, define what you hope to accomplish. Be clear about what your training is intended for, whether it is skill-building, filling knowledge gaps or any other takeaways you want for your staff. Without goals, it will be difficult to measure the effectiveness later on. If you establish clear outcomes at the outset, you will be able to reflect more clearly on both the measurable and anecdotal feedback you receive after the training.
Conduct a two-part survey
Ask your trainees to fill out a survey immediately after the training. Ask them for written feedback that includes numerical ratings for each component of the course, as well as subjective answers. Pose open-ended questions as well as direct questions. Later, after trainees have had some time to reflect, conduct a second survey where employees can consider the impact, if any, the training has had on their work. Keep the surveys anonymous, though you may want to ask for demographic information, such as whether a person is in an entry-level or managerial position.
Develop a testing strategy
Depending on the content and goals of the training, you can tailor this one to fit your specific needs. A basic quiz to test the training content works just fine, though it may not be popular with your employees. Another idea is to ask your trainees to teach what they have learned to another employee. This will help them to practice their new knowledge while you assess what was retained, while simultaneously helping other staff members learn.
Ask your staff
Assess the training wants and needs of your employees by asking them what they want to learn. The real measure here is that some employees may request trainings that have already been conducted, which signifies that perhaps the past training was inadequate. Some employees may request trainings about specific areas of the company or their personal development. Whatever the case, try to find commonalities so you can take the majority of employees’ requests into consideration.
Measure on a case-by-case basis
In other words, set individual goals for your employees. Keep track of goals and progress over the duration of their employment. After each training session, note any progress the employee may have made, and whether it is relevant to the training. Analyze this anecdotal data for each training attendee to determine the bigger picture. How many people appear to have benefitted? Were the strides that were made big enough to chalk it up to a success?
Look at other metrics
If your employees attend a training session in order to learn skills to boost their sales for instance, you can measure the effectiveness of the training through the methods listed above, as well as by measuring actual sales numbers post-training. Sales metrics should be evaluated at least one quarter later, in order to give your employees a fair chance to integrate what they learned. If your sales metrics don’t experience positive change, it’s safe to say that the training wasn’t particularly effective.
Investing in employee training should be a priority for all companies, but it is just as important to evaluate a training program as it is to deliver it. It is better to run with a trial-and-error approach than to continue to implement demonstrably ineffective training sessions. Ultimately, the investment you make in your employees will motivate and upskill them to become the best in your industry, so it’s worth making sure that you get your training right.