Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Who Should Care About Training Measurement?

a giant ruler is held next to line-up of businessmen to measure their growth

Who should care about training measurement?  Anyone who…

  • Delivers, buys or participates in training. 
  • Wants to change on-the-job behavior.
  • Wants to change on-the-job performance.

Just as you would want to ensure the quality and effectiveness of a product you sell, purchase or use, you should want to be assured that the training you are considering will fulfill its purpose.  In our opinion the purpose of corporate training and development should be to improve the skills, behaviors and performance of the workforce in a way that benefits the individual, the team and the company as a whole and is fully aligned with the organization’s strategic path. 

In our 25 years of experience working with high growth clients, we have found that CEOs personally approve the learning and development budget with input from others about 75% of the time. With training being approved the majority of the time at such a high level, it makes sense that training providers should be able to answer the three most common training measurement questions:

  1. Are people using the new skills and behaviors?
  2. What performance impact is it making?
  3. How should we target our performance coaching? 

This means something that we all know but rarely discuss.  Level-1 participant satisfaction measurements mean little. Executives want to know that any investment they make will have a true and measurable impact on the business. With so many investment options available to improve the business, leaders need to feel good about choosing to invest in their people this way rather than in capital improvements, technology or any of the many other priorities that demand their attention.

Before we go further, know that when we talk about “training” we include much more than the program itself. For training to be effective, you must be sure that the training targets a skill that matters, that it addresses a real business need, and that it is supported by ongoing coaching and a system of accountability and reinforcement that ensures the consistent transfer of training on the job. 

With that said, the challenge as a learning and development practitioner is to ensure and prove the training has strategic value to the business. Be sure you can link the training to a meaningful business priority by:

  • Identifying the specific skills that are helping and hindering business performance.
  • Calculating how improvement in that skill would move an important business metric like revenue, margin, profit, employee engagement, employee retention, productivity, or customer satisfaction…  whatever is most needed for the business situation. 

The Bottom Line - If you want to get the attention and support of the C-Suite, then:

  1. Identify what matters most to your executive team and the business strategy.
  2. Link your training and development solution to those business metrics that matter most.
  3. Measure skill adoption and business impact.
  4. Provide targeted coaching based upon what is making the biggest difference

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