Learning & Development

How Well Are You Evaluating Your Employee Training Efforts?

Companies spend a lot of time and money on employee training, often with less-than-certain results. It’s crucial to evaluate the impact and success of your employee training efforts for several reasons.

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First, you want to know whether the training actually provided any tangible benefit in the form of increased knowledge or skills. Second, you need to know which part of the training was or was not useful. Third, you need to know what the employee thought of the trainings.

Word of Mouth Matters

Even when you can objectively show an increase in knowledge, employee perceptions of training efforts are also important. Their experiences will impact the level of willingness and engagement they’ll commit to future trainings.
Importantly, this doesn’t just apply to employees who were in the training sessions—but also to everyone in the office whom these employees may talk to about the training. Word of mouth matters when it comes to building demand for training event attendance.

A Look at Learning Effectiveness

Many companies look toward posttraining exams as the solution to determining the effectiveness of trainings, but that only evaluates part of the overall goal of training.
“Many trainers justify their efforts by simply conducting tests. While this is an effective way to assess how much participants recall, it certainly isn’t effective when determining whether the person can apply the skills and whether they can do it consistently,” says one expert, adding:

“Testing is excellent for knowledge recall but is always under scrutiny to measure learning effectiveness. You see the results of testing in schools all of the time. Students prepare taking tests using various short-term recall techniques. When asked post-test what they know, they often forget most of what they learned. With adults learning recall declines significantly.”

While it’s important to evaluate training programs, simple knowledge recall tests alone aren’t enough to truly determine their effectiveness. In a follow-up post, we’ll talk about the best practices for evaluating not just what employees learned, but how that learning has improved—or not improved—their performance as well.
This same type of evaluation can be used to provide evidence of other efforts as well—mentorship programs are a prime example. We’ll be tackling mentorships at our annual conference, Workforce L&D—which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, November 14–15, 2019.