What metrics should customer education pros use to measure training effectiveness?
As companies continue to increase their spending on corporate training, it's important to measure the effectiveness of that training. Your customers want to know just how much of the information is sticking with their employees.
Employers care about training and the key results from it, as it can improve the profitability of their business, and cultivate more positive attitudes toward profit orientation. A successful training program must evolve over time, changing as the employee's and company's needs change. Training measurement should be a part of all training plans and done consistently to ensure accurate data. Sure, measuring the impact of training can be a challenge, however it's not impossible.
Let's first look at the prep work you need to do to set up an effective training evaluation process. Then we'll look at what to measure in training evaluations.
Before starting your training evaluations
Define training goals ahead of designing the program
T.S. Eliot may have said that it's "the journey, not the destination" that matters, but that's not the case with training. With training programs both the journey and destination are important. Understand what you want to accomplish with your training program and then design it accordingly.
Think beyond the performance evaluation.
In traditional in-person training sessions, it can be easy to solicit feedback from attendees. You hand out the performance evaluation sheets and you're done. Today's advances in technology means you can still get feedback just as easily. Use an online survey tool such as SurveyMonkey to ask targeted questions or one of the training evaluation software applications available today such as TrainingCheck to dive even deeper into your programs.
Keep it simple.
There is always a temptation to go overboard when it comes to evaluations. We want to measure EVERYTHING instead of just what we need to demonstrate the value of the training program.
What to measure in training evaluations
Most companies will want to check the usual statistics for their training programs, such as number of signups, completions, and length to complete the course. But what about other metrics outside of the training course? Are there metrics you can look at in your company overall that give you feedback on your training programs? Let's take a look at a few of them right now.
Capturing the less tangible effects of training programs is a challenge for corporate training pros, but is of critical importance to business leaders. They want to know the ROI of the program in terms of the overall business goals and drivers, such as revenue generation totals, economic value of employee behaviors, and increased job satisfaction.
In order to satisfy this need, corporate training pros may consider blending their traditional metrics with participant feedback and anecdotes. For example including participant quotes alongside relevant numbered metrics in training program reports.
This group of metrics is going to be tied directly to the group of employees taking the training course. For example, sales goals or lead generation for sales training; support call numbers for customer service training; or employee turnover rates for on-boarding training.
These may be a combination of short- and long- term metrics depending on the training audience. Tracking these metrics may give you a new perspective on your programs and help you modify the programs in the future.
For example, Camstar Systems grew training revenue 30% by changing their training go-to-market strategy, establishing key learning technology relationships, and accelerating new education offerings.
By tying training programs to employee evaluations and performance appraisal goals, it increases the likelihood that the training remains a focus area for employees. Employees will understand how the training applies to their everyday work and will be more inclined to invest in the training. It becomes a relevant part of their work life.
To measure this, employers will have to gather some data before the training, such as employee productivity data or whatever else they are being evaluated for. Then, metrics must be taken and compared after the training program is complete, to ensure those data points are valid.
Take IBM as an example. While not strictly a training example, their mentorship programs demonstrate a great way of tying participation to employee-specific metrics that can be translated for training programs as well. For example, participants in their high-potential women mentorship program must be promoted within a year of the start of the mentorship. Failure to do so is assigned to the mentor and not the participant.
What metrics are you looking at when measuring the effectiveness of your training programs? Are they unique to your business or industry, or are you going with one of the traditional methodologies like Kirkpatrick's four-level evaluation model? Share in the comments.
To dig further into this topic, we are hosting a webinar on Tuesday, October 25 called Demonstrate the Value of Customer Education with Salesforce. This webinar aims to further our ability to make the connection between customer training activity and account performance, so that we can show management how customer education improves some or all of the metrics the business cares about most. Then we will show examples of how this can be done in Salesforce, if your LMS and Salesforce are integrated the right way.