Monday, April 25, 2016

4 Reasons Savvy Leaders Measure Training Programs

A dial that measures quality level points to "high"

Finally, the business and HR Leaders are recognizing the value of measuring the training effectiveness in their organizations. 

Based upon over 800 Training Measurement projects over the last two decades, we know that effective Training Measurement is a critical part of any strategic learning initiative for several important reasons: 

Adoption: It tells leaders if the new skills and knowledge are being used on-the-job.
Impact: It determines the extent of the performance improvement and corresponding business impact.
Targeted Coaching and Development: It provides solid data to improve learning solutions and specific areas to improve performance coaching. 

When it comes to strategic learning initiatives, smart learning leaders no longer just measure participant satisfaction – Level 1 Measurement. Smart learning leaders also no longer just measure participant’s perception of knowledge gain – Level 2 Measurement.  Savvy learning leaders understand that satisfaction with the content and facilitator combined with perceived knowledge gain is just a “ticket to play the game.” What really matters is the level of relevant on-the-job performance change attributed to the adopted skills and behaviors.   

When training programs are correctly evaluated and measured at a deeper level, there are real payoffs:

1. The training programs get better. Companies learn what works and what doesn’t. Leaders learn what participants take away and what gets left behind. Then they can either tweak the pre-work, design, delivery format or reinforcement tools and processes to see that the critical performance and learning objectives are met.

2. The impact on business can be identified and reinforced. Companies no longer have to rely on anecdotal evidence that learning investments are making a real difference compared to other performance improvement options; they can point to real numbers. When the learning is tied to business goals, training measurement can show what role the training played in performance improvement and goal achievement.

3. Executives are more apt to support learning when they see how it fits into their overall business strategy and organizational culture. Sometimes there is a direct link.  For example, a recent client had a 27% increase in speed to quota for new sales reps in EMEA.  Other times there is an indirect link, and it becomes a matter of showing how relevant management training supports employee engagement and then how engagement supports the organization’s financial health and future growth. Other times, we need to dig deeper to link the adoption of new skills and behaviors to a change initiative like how raising the level of management skills affects retention

4. The value of training is more visible across the board. Leaders that can show the real business value of targeted training gain the support not only of the executive team but also of mid-level managers and employees who must invest the time and effort to make the skills stick. Training becomes more than a nice-to-have; it becomes a strategic talent management tool that is central to the continuous improvement and learning of the company’s workforce. 

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