When companies begin to view training measurement not just as a nice-to-have but as an actual tool for real change, its value increases many times over.
We are all familiar with the so-called smile sheets that measure only the basics of a training: the effectiveness of the facilitator and whether the training was deemed “worthwhile.” It’s nice to compile the training satisfaction ratings and, when high, make the facilitator feel good and allow the sponsor to feel that the investment in time and money was not wasted. But was it really worth it? A simple post-class evaluation sheet tells you little about whether or not the training was truly relevant, whether it will be applied on the job, and if it will make a difference in performance or business results.
Here is the process we recommend for more effective training measurement based upon our twenty years of experience in designing, delivering and proving the worth of targeted, customized training solutions:
- Know what performance change you want and the impact it will have on business results
Let’s say you want to grow your business and have decided that improving the skills level of your sales force would have the desired effect. You don’t want to simply “check the box” on training; you want to know that there has been positive behavior change and how, specifically, the training is impacting performance and business outcomes.
- Identify which key skills will have the greatest impact
Measure the current skill level, design the training to address those specific skills and then, administer a well-designed post-training measuring tool that assesses both behavior change and business impact. Measure both leading (skill adoption) and lagging (revenue) indicators.
- Set up a system for ongoing performance coaching
Train managers to coach to the specific skills that were taught in the training. Their support will ensure that the new skills are applied and actually adopted on the job. When these managers are involved in the preliminary discussions of why the training matters, they will understand how critical a role they play in achieving the business goal to be addressed.
- Set up individual development and action plans
Accurate post-training measurement can tell an individual just which skills need further development. Each employee should meet with their performance coach to review the metrics and set up a plan for development that will help them be more successful.