Here at Dashe, we continuously develop new training strategies and products to help businesses thrive and adapt. While we do our best to ensure the learning programs we build help achieve behavior change goals, the impact of these training programs ultimately comes down to how they are implemented and received internally.
In order to ensure your training solution has a strong ROI for your learners and your organization, it’s important to be able to measure and maximize its effectiveness. Having created these solutions for 40 years, we have some tips and tricks that may help you maximize your training impact.
1. Focus on the big picture. It can be easy to get caught up in the particulars of a given training program, such as the learner success rate, average competition time, score, etc. While these metrics are important, it is also important to focus on the broader question of whether or not your overall business goals are being achieved. If that answer is no, then it may be worth diving deeper into the details. If you find that new training programs correspond with an increase in business productivity or success, there is no point in digging into the details.
2. Choose the correct evaluation metrics. While it would be nice to look at every single detail relating to a training program, that’s just not realistic. You have a certain amount of time and resources that you can devote to evaluation, so it is important to know what metrics matter most.
Evaluation depends primarily on what type of training you are trying to measure. For example, compliance training should focus more on limiting mistakes that cost the company money and PR, whereas soft skill training should be evaluated more by evidence of behavior change, increased productivity, and success of individual employees.
The best way to select an evaluation model is to work backward from your end goal. If your end goal is decreasing the time it takes to onboard and train new employees, a great metric to use is time in weeks from the date of hire to full function within an employee’s new role. This allows you to avoid getting caught up in the details of specific training function and gives you information that is clearer for upper-level management and ROI.
Now that you have a better understanding of how you can effectively and efficiently measure training impact, it is important to act on your findings. Based on what you find in your evaluation, there are a variety of ways you can take the training you have built to new levels and increase outcomes for learners and your business as a whole. As stated above, many of the particulars will depend on how your unique team reacts to particular training initiatives. From engaging learners prior to training to supporting them after they have completed courses, we suggest that you take a holistic approach to ensure you get the best value out of the training you have. Here are some broad guidelines to follow.
Engage your learners before training starts.
If employees are overwhelmed or surprised by training, it will be very difficult to get their buy-in. A simple solution to this is ensuring they are aware of the value of training initiatives. This may sound like a no brainer, but when employees can plan and prepare for professional development, they will not only be more open to it, but they will learn better as well. To help prepare employees for change, send value proposition messages (what and why) prior to training and encourage questions to bolster buy-in and readiness for change and learning.
Check business impact occasionally, but don’t obsess over it.
The ultimate goal of training is to help your employees and company grow, so it’s smart to keep an eye on metrics that can help you succeed. As mentioned above, it can also hurt to pay too much attention to how training is being received. Sometimes new programs need time to develop and engrain themselves in your company. By checking business impact occasionally instead of all the time you can do two things: 1. Save yourself time and stress of constantly reading new metrics, and 2. Giving your training time to settle, so that if there are issues, you have more data over time to deal with and assess when making changes.
Work hard to sustain positive training culture and outcomes.
As with nearly all business endeavors, culture and attitudes toward a particular initiative can have massive impacts on outcomes. If you find that training is going well, employees are happy, and business outcomes are improving, do everything you can to sustain that culture. This may mean working with the same L&D partner on future training or choosing to engrain training into everyday work procedures. What’s most important here is that you avoid crossing your fingers and hoping positive feedback will continue without your support—it probably won’t. By staying active, engaged, and aware of what you’re doing correctly, you’ll help yourself and your learners enjoy and benefit from training.
We work hard to develop learning solutions that engage learners and improve business outcomes. As an L&D professional, your company is relying on you to ensure that training solution impact is maximized. Learning how to evaluate your programs and how to react to those evaluations are priceless, and will save your company time and money, increasing ROI and management buy-in.