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 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.
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.
Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Model of Evaluation
Commonly-used in evaluating the effectiveness of training is the Kirkpatrick Model. This model evaluates any training program on four levels.
|2||Learning||Obtained knowledge and skills|
|3||Behavior||Job-related behavior improvements|
|4||Results||Actual business results such as improved KPIs|
Level 1: Reactions
This evaluation takes into consideration the subjective measure of how trainees liked the training program. It helps determine if the attendees enjoyed the training, found it relevant or valuable, general experience of the training, and other subjective units of measurement.
Level 2: Learning
This level of evaluation is set to assess the extent to which training attendees have improved the skillsets or knowledge. This can be most accurately measured by having attendees take pre- and post- assessments to gauge the difference from before to after the training. Very simply determines if the attendee learned what they were supposed to learn.
Level 3: Behavior
Evaluation of behavior is collected after the training attendees return to work. This level of evaluation measures the application of the new knowledge and skills of the training in their job-setting. Are the newly acquired skills actually translating into behavior adjustments in their work environment? This can be one of the most telling evaluation of a training programs effectiveness but it is also one of the most difficult to measure.
Level 4: Results
Measuring the results of training is an objective form of evaluation that relate to the bottom-line of the business. It seems easy to send your supervisors to training and judge the success of the training by the increased productivity numbers, decrease in costs, or high profit margins. However, it’s important to identify which metrics should be measured and how they relate to the training. Understanding the organizational benefits of training depends on the organization’s ability to agree upon the accountability and relevance with the training attendees prior to the training.