How to Measure Training Impact, Add Value, and Prove ROI
Is your training program achieving the desired results? Read on to learn about measuring the business impact of learning, adding value to your solutions, and proving real ROI.
Given recent global events, more and more businesses are investing in training programs because they’re expecting to add value to their employees’ development and boost their efficiency. But how can you be certain that a training program is giving you the expected results? And more importantly, how can you demonstrate this Return Of Investment to senior management? Being a people-centric process, learning is often tricky to measure. This is why, in this article, we share best practices to guide you through the process of measuring the business impact of training and explore how to add demonstrable value to your learning solution.
Although there are a few performance evaluation models that companies use to measure ROI, one of the most reliable ones is Kirkpatrick’s four-level training evaluation model. Let’s see what each level refers to and how you can implement it in your organization.
The goal of the first level is to measure how satisfied participants are with training. For this reason, you would measure participation rates, engagement levels, or the number of completed sessions. At this stage, you could also engage participants in conversations regarding what they liked or would rather see done differently. This information gives you qualitative data to identify potential areas for improvement.
Level 2: Learning
This level aims to identify whether the training goals have been met or not. But how can you determine whether participants have acquired the skills they were trained on? One solution is conducting interviews pre- and post-training to ask employees if they feel more confident and competent in their position. The other is using metrics such as tests and assessments that demonstrate a clear advancement in their knowledge and competencies.
The third level gauges whether there have been changes in the employee’s behavior post-training. Specifically, how have their performance and general attitude been affected? There are quite a few KPIs you can delve into here, some being employee engagement, productivity, morale, or even turnover. Observation, conversations, company data analysis, and personal development plans are only some of the means to conduct this level of evaluation.
The final level is where the process of measuring business impact really takes form. Here, you typically measure essential KPIs such as customer satisfaction, quality and quantity of work produced, employee retention, cost reductions, etc. For this stage, you could create focus groups to take on the data analysis for different KPIs, e.g., comparing sales and profit margins before and after training.
Although the above four levels of performance evaluation give you a guide on how to successfully measure the effectiveness of your training program, there are some best practices you should keep in mind that will make the process run more smoothly.
As you might have already noticed, KPIs are the pillars of any training measurement process, giving you a clear understanding of what changes you are expecting by the end of training. Therefore, you must be careful to choose the right ones. Note that the more you have, the more information you will gather, but be careful not to overwhelm your analytics team. It’s also wise to identify KPIs before you develop your training program, as they could help shape training content.
Once you know what you’re going to measure, it’s important to know when to measure it. Set out a schedule of when to analyze each KPI, as well as the tools you will use to extract information. For example, although you should measure participant satisfaction right before or right after completing the training program, you have to wait two or three months to start measuring business impact and the return on your investment. It’s also important to remember that you can customize your evaluation framework to your needs. That could mean omitting or simplifying an evaluation level, thus saving time and money.
Managing your resources early on will make your life much easier when you’re in the midst of rolling out your employee training strategy. Specifically, make sure that you have created a separate team to measure outcomes and ROI so that you don’t put extra pressure on your development team. In addition to that, create evaluation sub-groups to deal with different measuring aspects to avoid mistakes and make sure no KPI is left unassessed.
Keeping up with data that could span several months can be very challenging. This is why a Learning Management System is a necessary tool. For one, an LMS can help you create and organize training content, thus facilitating updates and modifications at later stages. But more importantly, the right software offers you reporting and analytics capabilities that efficiently demonstrate ROI to senior management via hard data and visual representations.
Gathering heaps of data is certainly useful, but only if you know how to use them. Therefore, remember to link KPIs to learning goals early on so that you are able to easily interpret information into actionable insights. Knowing how learning affects organizational goals and what the expected outcomes are helps you to implement the necessary changes without delays to achieve maximum results.
Impressing your leadership may be a challenging feat, especially when it comes to proving the value of your training program. One of the most effective ways to prove ROI and add demonstrable value to your training solution is to leverage eLearning content that’s relevant, relatable, and role-centered. For example, hiring an outsourcing partner who can help you facilitate real-world application and move all of that newfound knowledge beyond theory and into practice.
Understanding how to evaluate the effectiveness of your training program ensures that you don’t waste resources and are helping your business grow and evolve. Hopefully, this article has helped you plan out an evaluation framework that will effectively measure and demonstrate the business impact of learning.
If you want to see how training and staying on top of training outcomes has helped other companies grow, read the following AllenComm success stories: