So You’ve Trained Your Employees, Now What?!

The 2016 ERC Performance Management Survey reported that 79% of the organizations surveyed use job knowledge/job specific competencies as key performance criteria when assessing performance. If that many organizations evaluate performance based on competencies, what are you doing to ensure that the training you provide to your employees is strengthening those skills?

Evaluating the training programs you put your employees through is important for a number of reasons. Evaluation helps identify the program’s strengths and weaknesses, identify how (and if) the trainees benefited from the program, gather information to better recruit employees to take advantage of training opportunities, and calculate the financial costs and benefits of the program.

When organizations make large investments in the training of their workforce, the outcomes that training need to be measurable. Here are two ways organizations often evaluate training:

Formative Evaluation

Formative evaluation of training takes place while the formulation of the training is actually happening. This type of evaluation is qualitative and takes program design, development, and implementation into consideration to ensure the success of a well-run program. One way to implement a formative evaluation is to pilot test the program. Send someone in your organization to try the program out before spending the time and resources training 300 employees.

Summative Evaluation

Using summative evaluation is common when it comes to training evaluation. This type of evaluation determines how your employees have improved their skills and knowledge on the topic. This type of evaluation is based on quantitative data collected after employees have gone through training. Some organizations have their own testing standards to determine the success of the employee’s training but it’s a benefit to find a training vendor that also has their own methods of measurement and reporting on the success of the program.

Criteria to Consider When Conducting a Training Evaluation

Here are some examples of “hard” criteria to consider:

  • Productivity measures (quantity or market value)
  • Materials costs (amount per unit of production or amount of waste or scrap)
  • Labor hours per unit of production
  • Absenteeism and tardiness rates
  • Turnover rates
  • Number of repeat customers

Here are some examples of “soft” criteria to consider:

  • Improved job satisfaction
  • Improved teamwork
  • Increased morale
  • Increased organizational commitment
  • Improved attitudes toward workplace safety
  • Improved attitudes toward diversity

While it’s important to evaluate the successful learning of your training attendees through their skillset and increased numbers, it’s also important to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, specifically an ROI analysis. This analysis will help determine the net economic benefits of a training program using accounting methodologies. Not convinced you need an additional analysis to determine ROI of training in your organization?

Here’s 5 reasons to conduct an ROI analysis on training:

  • Gaining a better understanding of the total expenditures for training
  • Comparing the costs of alternative training programs
  • Evaluating the compartmentalized portions of the training budget spent on various phases, materials, personnel, etc.
  • Control the costs that go into training
  • Justifying the funding for training within your organization and increase the status of the training and development department

It’s important to continue to train and develop the skills of the employees at your organization but it’s also important to evaluate the training. If you have a “set-it-and-forget-it” mindset, you may not be obtaining the best training for your employees at the best cost.