Report why measure training impact


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Training is generally viewed as a means to an end, primarily to strengthen employees, teams and the enterprise as a whole.

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Report why measure training impact

  1. 1. MEASUREMENT REPORT: WHY MEASURE TRAINING IMPACT?Simply put – if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it!Training is generally viewed as a means to an end, primarily to strengthen employees, teams and theenterprise as a whole. The potential impact it can have on the business is well documented, showing positiveeffects on a wide range of outcomes such as productivity, employee engagement and customer satisfaction.If the goal of training is to impact individual or team performance in some way (e.g., on the job behaviors,business results), then the purpose of measurement should be to gauge whether or not this occurs. Thecommon assumption is that organizations are currently doing this. Are they?Impact is not top of mind. According to Bersin and Associates’ 2006 survey into High-Impact Learning 1Organizations , measures of impact are generally overlooked. The most popular measures used byorganizations surveyed are referred to as “soft metrics”, such as Completions (88%), Enrollments (86%) andParticipant Satisfaction (81%). While these do serve a purpose, they only speak to whether minimumrequirements have been met. In contrast, measures of impact, which are the most desirable, were used bythe fewest organizations (less than 15% used On the Job Behaviors, Business Impact or Financial Return onInvestment). Therefore, contrary to conventional wisdom, it appears that organizations are not paying closeenough attention to the impact of their learning investments. 2Measuring impact can make a difference. In Accenture’s 2004 Survey of Learning Executives , thoseorganizations identified as having advanced development programs in place reported significantly strongerrevenue and profit growth than competitors and peers. More importantly, these organizations put greaterrigor into the evaluation of training. They were more likely to use what is referred to as “hard metrics” (e.g.,improved customer satisfaction, retention and safety) to assess the impact of learning. The main difference isthat measuring impact allows organizations to clearly show the value of their training programs in terms ofhow they contribute to the business strategy.Measuring impact is strategic. Organizations need to ensure that they are taking full advantage of theassessment process. Regularly measuring the impact of training enables organizations to foster aperformance-driven culture. Organizations can do this by: Communicating the standard for what is expected and holding people accountable Demonstrating the value of learning and communicating progress to stakeholders Assessing progress beyond compliance and participant reactions (A.K.A. “smile sheets”), against the established training plan (i.e., to see if expected results have been achieved) Making timely decisions and proactively managing the workforce to achieve desired business results instead of using a “wait and see” approach Informing the development planning process for individuals, teams and functions across the organization Strengthening alignment between the training and the organization’s business strategyBest practices to consider. Given the complexity of measuring the impact of training, the following areconsiderations that can help simplify the process: Designing a competency model to assess how training impacts on the job behaviors Having a written business plan in place for training budgets, volumes and program deliverables can help pin-point what results are expected and what needs to be measured Establishing a methodology and guidelines up front can help to educate others on the steps needed to adequately measure the impact of training Defining roles and responsibilities can help to increase accountability around the measurement and reporting process Meeting periodically with executive leadership and stakeholders can help to build credibility and strengthen alignment with the corporate strategy and priorities1 Bersin, J. (2006). High-Impact Learning Measurement: State of the Market and Executive Summary, Bersin & Associates: Industry Report2 Brakeley, H. H. & Meister, J. C. (2005) Greater Expectations: How Corporate Education Can Boost Performance, Accenture: Outlook Paper