Friday, July 29, 2016

The Fundamental Purpose of Training and Measurement

The words "Back to Basics" are written in capital letters on a blackboard

Sometimes we get so bogged down in the details of training and training measurement that we forget what it’s all about. We need to get back to the basics of why we provide training in a business setting and why we measure its effect. 

To us, the purpose of organizational training is simple: to improve performance and business results. And the purpose of training measurement is to learn and reinforce what is working to positively impact those results.

We consider that there are fundamentally four links in a chain of learning. 

  1. First we identify and introduce the new skills we want to embed in the training group. 
  2. Then we set up a system of ongoing performance coaching to see that the new skills and knowledge are being applied on the job. 
  3. Thirdly we measure for actual skill application on-the-job. 
  4. And finally we correlate skill adoption to the desired performance and business metrics to inform our next performance improvement steps.

In essence, the purpose of training is to change behaviors in order to change outcomes. After two decades working in this field we have proven over and over that well-designed training coupled with a solid support and reinforcement plan can bring about high levels of skill application on the job and, in turn, increase performance and business results.

Here are a few statistics that back up what we claim.

  • Coaching matters.
    We tracked thousands of participants in the same training program. Those who were effectively coached after the workshop showed 4-to-1 performance improvement compared to those who were not.
  • Skill adoption (of the right skills) makes the difference.
    In comparing high skill adopters to low adopters, we found that high adopters consistently outperform their peers. For example, in one organization where the company wanted to raise the average selling price, high adopters were able to raise the selling price 19% higher than low adopters within the first 6 months.

Whatever business metric you are trying to improve, you need to be smart about the training you choose to invest in. There should be a direct link from the skills you want your employees to adopt to the desired performance outcome. 

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