Training Evaluation Mistake #5

May 15, 2013

Training Evaluation Mistake #5: Avoiding Measuring the Value of Training Because It’s Too Difficult

Do you avoid measuring the organizational value of your training because it seems too hard? Are you uncertain of where to begin? You are not alone. This week’s quick tip provides practical ideas that any training professional can use to get started.

96% of respondents to the Training Evaluation Strategy Quiz understood the importance of measuring the impact of training. Statistics, however, show that only about half of training, or less, gets measured beyond Level 2 LearningWith training budgets and positions being cut, a practical and efficient approach to training evaluation is required.

Here are a few tips to simplify the measurement of your most important training programs.

Take Inventory of Existing Data

When measuring the value of mission-critical training programs, keep in mind that other departments are likely already measuring the business outcomes that the training is designed to impact. Instead of trying to measure the information on your own, find out what is already being measured.

Reach out to your business stakeholders and business unit managers and ask them to show you the reports, data and metrics they refer to on a regular basis to be sure that their efforts are on track. If your training is in alignment with their goals, their results should be the same types of results you are trying to impact.

Some examples of business outcomes that someone else may already be tracking are employee satisfaction, turnover, customer satisfaction, scrap, waste, throughput, inventory cost, daily sales and reportable incidents.

Capture Qualitative Evidence

Keep in mind that a good chain of evidence of the value of training includes both numeric data and qualitative information, such as testimonials. When you reach out to training graduates and they informally share their feedback with you, think, “Is this something that could contribute to my chain of evidence?”

For example, if a training graduate mentions that she tried the active listening techniques she learned in leadership training with a challenging employee and was able to create an action plan and improve that employee’s performance, this is something you can jot down and save as one piece of evidence of the value of the leadership development program.

Sometimes evidence is all around us; we just need to recognize and document it.

Identify and Focus on the Gaps

Once you have identified the data being measured and started to capture testimonials, examine your growing pool of evidence and look for gaps. Do you have good information about business outcomes, but little or nothing related to on-the-job application? Do you have results from a reaction survey taken after the program, but no data on the learning that was accomplished during the session?

Make sure you have something at each of the four Kirkpatrick levelswith a strong emphasis on Levels 3 and 4 data and information.

Create a System for Saving Data and Information

Have you ever had an annual review with your boss and struggled to remember examples of the good work you did throughout the year? The same thing can happen when trying to show the value of a large training initiative. At the beginning of the initiative, create a folder on your computer (or use an actual paper file) and compile evidence of the value of the program along the way.

When you receive a report showing that key business outcomes are improving, save it. When you talk with training graduates and hear their testimonials, jot them down and drop them in the file. Better yet, ask if they wouldn’t mind writing them up and signing them.

When it comes time to show the value of your program, you will have a variety of data and information at your fingertips.

How Do You Make Training Evaluation Easy?

Please log in and share your own ideas regarding how you have made training evaluation easy.

We also welcome any of your questions and comments on this series, or any training evaluation related topic.

Additional resources:

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certificate Program

Training on Trial

Let’s Get Real about Training Evaluation (free webinar)

Did It Stick? Easy Level 3 Evaluation

Best Practices White Paper

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