In a previous post, we discussed the importance of evaluating employee training efforts. Not only is evaluation important in determining the outcome of the training as a whole but also to get an idea of which specific components were the most useful and how engaged employees were.
Additionally, it’s important to focus not just on knowledge retention but on how effective the trainings are at improving employee job performance. Here, we’ll discuss a four-step process for evaluating the effectiveness of trainings.
1. Identifying What Participants Need for Their Job
Obviously, you need to start out by knowing what you’re measuring. Most likely, you’ll be looking for ways to tie your training efforts to the attainment, or improvement, of skills needed back on the job. An important step, therefore, is to determine a measurable list of skills, knowledge, and abilities needed.
2. Matching Session Learning Objectives with Job Requirements
The next step is to craft the training program in such a way that it’s actually addressing on-the-job needs. This might sound obvious, but many companies focus simply on measuring knowledge acquisition through testing retention of facts. This retention, though, doesn’t necessarily translate to actually performing a job well.
3. Assessing Performance During and Upon Completing the Training
Here’s where the actual assessment comes in, and it’s the step that lets you track L&D progress.
“Effective trainers do this by developing one or more assessment tools for each learning objective,” says one expert. “During the session, you want to apply a variety of these assessment methods. For example, a learning objective might be ‘Perform procedure X’ and you may ask participants to perform the steps of procedure X in order from first to last.”
This type of assessment can be repeated over time to test retention of key learning objectives.
4. Evaluating the Training Effort After a Period of Time
This is a key element many companies miss. Asking training session participants to take a test at the end of a training session doesn’t give you any idea of how well they retain that knowledge long term. Some experts recommend having periodic refresher sessions that include follow-up evaluations to help determine retention and long-term improvement.
Employee training is a critical component of employee development, but too many companies put a lot of time and effort into employee training without having a good idea of how effective it is. It’s like throwing resources into a black box and hoping something good is happening inside.
By effectively measuring the impact of your employee training, you can make your employee development process much more efficient through continuous improvements.