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How to Measure the Results of Your Training

This month is all about impactful training and the best practices that help it pack a punch. We’ve already discussed the importance of knowing your audience. What comes next is determining whether or not you’ve successfully reached them.

Regardless of the type of training, industry, or budget, all training carries a common thread—something about the status quo needs to change. These needs inform the training’s overall goal and provide the basis for identifying results. Three of the most common impact goals for implementing training are…

  • Improving retention
  • Reducing costs
  • Changing behavior

In fact, many training initiatives combine two or more of these objectives as part of their core goals. When each of these types of impact are measured, they provide valuable insights about training strategy, opportunities for further success, or gaps that need to be filled. Let’s take a moment to dive in, one by one, and discuss why these metrics are worthwhile and how you can capture them.

Why measure retention?

High turnover can cause serious problems within the workplace, from the company’s bottom line to the overall proficiency and productivity of its employees. With replacement costs reaching up to 200% of the former employee’s annual salary, identifying strategies to increase retention make a lot of sense. Onboarding training is often focused on shortening the ramp-up to proficiency and equipping new hires with the tools and confidence to stay on the job, so retention is especially important to measure in this area.

How do you measure retention?

Thankfully, measuring retention is fairly easy. HR should have data for new hires and for the number of employees who have left in a given period of time. This can be used to measure the impact of new initiatives in comparison to the former status quo.

Why measure cost reduction?

The reasons for why you might want to measure a reduction in operation costs are a little more obvious. Properly documenting a return on the training investment highlights successes and inefficiencies in your strategy and helps your organization move toward efficiency. Money talks—making room in the company budget through reduced operating expenses shows the value of your training in a language that everyone can understand.

How do you measure cost reduction?

Simply pulling the numbers from any budget area that may be directly affected from the training can work in a pinch, but the most effective way to track cost reduction involves more strategy. If you can, set a goal at the outset of training development for the amount of cost reduction you hope to see and build the training from the ground up with that goal in mind. As the training rolls out, work with accounting to keep an eye on your goal and identify any potential areas to streamline further.

Why measure behavioral change?

Behavioral change is an umbrella that covers many different types of training goals, from compliance, to sales enablement, to job satisfaction and morale, to engagement and motivation. Depending on the change, these outcomes can be difficult to measure, but that makes it all the more important to have a strategy in place. Ideally, your training solution will include a compelling outline on the benefits of making the change to encourage employees to make an effort and stick with it.

Even then, you need a strategy in place to ensure that your learners have implemented these changes long-term. Habit-forming takes effort, but identifying and facilitating true behavioral change can make an enormous difference within your organization.

How do you measure behavioral change?

Behavior can be difficult to track, especially in soft skills or in areas that require a strong internal component. You may wish to work with your Human Resources department to develop authentic feedback tools that can be used to collect and measure information on employee attitudes and satisfaction. When the behavior outlined in an impact goal is tied directly to a particular outcome, success becomes easier to track. If the behavior is customer-facing, for instance, in sales enablement training, consider gathering information from the customer perspective through secret shoppers or customer surveys.  Or, even less subjectively, in compliance training cases, the number of incidents or reports following the training can paint a meaningful picture.

Keep checking back for more insights on impactful best practices for your training initiatives!