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How to Measure the Effectiveness of YourEmployee Training Programs

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Employee Training Programs

Measuring the effectiveness of your employee training programs is crucial to ensure that they are achieving their intended goals. In this article, we'll discuss how you can go about doing this, why it matters, and how it can influence your business goals.

Why does training matter?

It’s not an understatement to say that employee training is essential to how any company operates. Whether it’s the owner of a local café teaching a new barista on how to get the troublesome coffeemaker to work by tapping it in just the right spot, or a multinational organisation that onboards and upskills thousands in offices dotted all over the globe, training is key. Right now, major shifts are shaking up employee training as an industry, such as the widespread adoption new technologies such as virtual/augmented reality for immersive simulations or integrating gamification to make learning more like play and less like work. As it becomes more widely understood and accepted that not everyone learns in the same way, or has the same accessibility requirements, employee training is diversifying in form and content to ensure that every learner can perform their best. This is reflected in the sheer amount of funding that companies are investing into their training and development programmes. Training Magazine’s 2022 industry report found that in the US alone, expenditure into employee training topped $100 billion. (Training Mag, 2022) Investing in comprehensive employee development can be beneficial in many ways. One of these is employee retention. Talented, educated individuals feel encouraged to stay and progress in a company that offers them opportunities to grow (Forbes, 2023) and exhibits this by investing in quality training and upskilling programs. Companies with comprehensive training programmes also see increased profits, with the American Society for Training and Development reporting a 24% increase in profit margins amongst surveyed organisations.

Figuring it out

Equally important to having versatile and rewarding training programs is understanding just how well these programs – and learners - are performing. Evaluating the data gives Chief Learning Officers and other learning & development professionals valuable insights into what courses works, what needs improvement, and precisely the return on investment (or ROI) that their training methods provide as a whole. As the eternal adage states, knowledge is power, and analytics tools open up a greater wealth of in-depth data than ever before. However, more data equals more complexity – and complexity is a double-edged sword. With all this in mind about how important it is to garner information about your employee training, let’s delve into some of the key generic metrics including how they function, and what they tell you. Completion rates – for this figure, you can see how many people complete a module versus how many people begin, but never finish. This gives you a handle on the general level of engagement employees are putting into training. A low completion rate would be something to investigate and identify the root cause, whether that’s time constraints, workload pressures, or some other barrier. Pass rates – this metric is as it says on the tin, and that is ‘how many employees taking this course actually pass?’. A crucial percentage to know, naturally, as it could indicate the depth of understanding employees have about their role and relates strongly to their real-world performance. Training cost per employee – cost is, of course, important to any employer. To this end, working out the cost of training per employee (simply divide the total cost of all employees by number of workers) is a very useful figure to have, in order to compare against profitability as a whole. Return on investment per course - this metric breaks down how much each course or module that you are running costs versus how much profit it generates through increased productivity and better on-the-job competency. Training experience satisfaction – asking participants to give a numerical score or star rating to a training session can proffer an insight into how successful learners view the content to be. Low satisfaction scores might be a possible indication that content needs re-assessing or even an overhaul. Of course, this is just a brief overlook at training metrics that are applicable to basically any business. The size, industry, and unique attributes of a company, as well as the analytics tools used mean that there is a rich vein of valuable data out there, ready to be mined. But where can all this treasured data be sourced? One powerful method is through an LMS, or Learning Management System, which is a digital platform that can be used to host, manage, and monitor all of your education content in one place. Through use of an LMS, you can receive the data of how long users are interacting with content, watch-time stats for videos, scores on quizzes and tests, or whatever information you require.

Choosing the right data

For learning & development professionals, the choice is up to them to discern what data and information matters the most for evaluating their training goals. Luckily there are some tips for making these choices… Consider the Context Hard numbers alone can only tell you so much. Situating these figures in context provides depth to the information. For example, if you had two courses with pass rates of 95% and 60% respectively and looked solely at those figures, you might think the latter is a cause for concern. But with the context that the first course is an introductory onboarding module for new hires, whilst the second is an intentionally rigorous course for experienced employees learning a specialised skill, the disparity of pass rates now makes sense. Set Objective Targets Ideally, you’ve identified areas that are lacking and want to set some goals to work towards improving these. These targets, in order to be measured, need to be objective and quantifiable. So, if your initial aim is ‘Improve the quality of training content’, an objective metric to include could be ‘Improve the quality of training content to increase module completion rate from 80% to 95%’. Keep your Audiences in Mind When measuring the outcomes of employee training, the relevance of this information is going to differ depending on the stakeholder. For Learning & Development officers understanding pass rates or completion, whilst anything to do with expenditure and profitability will prick the ears of any financial stakeholders. Having all of this information is, of course, very handy, but it makes sense to tailor what you present and relay to stakeholders by focusing on what matters to them most. Don’t Discount Qualitative Feedback Facts, figures, and percentages are all essential to the goal of evaluating how your employee training is functioning. But that’s not to say that feedback that isn’t quantifiable doesn’t matter! For a holistic view of learning outcomes, it’s advisable to consider both the objective (what you can prove) and subjective (views and opinions). Do your employees come away feeling confident that they can do their job better than before, or are they left feeling uncertain and confused? Incorporate surveys and questionnaires and encourage learners to give their feedback on what they feel works – and what doesn’t!

Facts and figures for the Future

Hopefully by now, the ways in which you can evaluate and assess how your employee learning and skill development programs are functioning are clear. All of this information can be exceedingly helpful for addressing any issues, picking out any particularly successful methods/approaches and applying them widely, or even making major changes to the direction of your training content.





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