In this competitive world, where nothing is static, we get up with a new innovation in the market every morning. A new innovation is one of the reasons that leads to changes in aims and objectives of the organization. There comes the need of recalibrating the skills of employees in terms of competencies aligned with the business objectives.
What organizations do about this is they provide training to their employees. Continuous focus on learning & development teaches new employees how to level up with company’s expectations and provides existing employees a prime opportunity to expand their present knowledge base.
“If you believe that training is expensive, it is because you do not know what ignorance costs.”
The issue is that training is viewed as a cost and not as an investment. In fact, the thing is learning and upgrading the skills of the employees make business sense. The interesting part is that it is a continuous process starting from the first day itself. The actual issue in this rapidly growing economy should be the various ways in which companies provide training to their employees and whether they are effective enough to impact the employee growth and thus meet the business objectives.
How To Measure The Effectiveness Of Employee Training Program
Here we come up with some of the approaches that organizations follow but are not influential enough to create impact on employees.
The Traditonal Approach- What Organizations Do?
The term ‘training program’ is often welcomed with a resonating sigh when discussed in the meeting room. The goal of these training courses—and most of such programs, for that matter—is to enhance the execution and results. However, the way trainings are provided varies between organizations with the difference in targets, products, and employees. 68% of workers claim that training and development is the most important company policy. 
- The very first step in the direction of training employees is to identify the audience who needs training and what specific training do they need. Most of the companies take in account only the job role and based on that they create a one-for-all assessment.
- Once the identification part is done, the training is imparted which is accomplished by certain methods such as lectures (online and offline), group activities like role-plays and group discussions or by films and videos.
- The last and the most crucial step is to measure the effectiveness of the training programs executed which most of the companies either refrain to or follow some ineffective ways that includes just recording the reaction of trainees or something of that sort which isn’t effective enough.
The above ways of identification are not all in sync with the business objectives. It is a waste of time and resources, for you do not clearly know if the audience attending is same as the targeted ones. Also you are not aware of the suitable content which is to be trained. Plus these ways could not assure if the program is useful enough to engage employees. A better training effectiveness strategy best measures the RoI of the huge investments being made by the company.
These are the steps which have become a part of traditional approaches and do not have much impact on the employees. There have always been good trainings, but among many good ones are some offerings which are not that much effective. This is the reason why 40% of employees with poor training leave their jobs within the first year. 
Did you know?
The total loss to a business from ineffective training is nearly $13.5M per year per 1000 employees. 
“Perfection is impossible, just strive to do the best.” Either you train your employees with the most effective training programs or just go with the flow. There is no point investing in something that cannot guarantee the success.
The Right Move- What Actually Should Be Done
“Millennials … are more socially and globally connected … than any prior generation. And they don’t question; they just learn.”
– Brad Smith
Be it a well-established company or a brand-new start-up, training employees is something one cannot afford to skip, for it is the arena that will help an organization grow and remain competitive. However, there is no one-size-fits-all training program present. Based on company’s objectives, the aligned competencies and several other factors, there are certain parameters on which initial decision can be drawn out.
Training Need Identification
Unlike the traditional ways of training, the structuring of training program should start from the very first step i.e. : to identify the 3-W’s: Why, Who and What to train.
Let us consider an example of a product-based Company ABC which comes up with an amazing product and teams representing them. Unfortunately, they are unable to achieve to their fullest. However, the committee found out that their sales team aren’t working as expected, for which the workforce needs to undergo training. Not all the employees need the same kind of training. An assessment based upon the competencies aligned with the organization could suffice the need of managers and give them an idea of:
- Why to train– Everyone is not perfect. Most employees have some weak points or dark areas in their work skills, for which they need to be trained. The assessments could tell clearly the need of training, for they reflect the deficiencies and the competencies, which need to be worked upon.
- Who to train– Well, not all employees need to be trained. Neither do all employees need the same level of training. The assessments generate a full-fledged report of employees, who need training.
- What to train– A person with great product knowledge and bad presentation skills cannot suffice the needs of an organization. The managers should have a clear idea of what should be the training all about- which competencies are needed in a particular employee.
These assessments alone are enough to give a picture of the employees who need training and in what field. To find out 3-W’s, some of the tools that companies ABC should use are-
- Assessment & Development Centres (AC/DC) – Rafting, sailing, rope climbing (Don’t be shocked!). These are some of the adventure trainings practiced by companies in order to judge competencies. Majorly focused on who you are and not what you can do, the setup of these centres is not some childish game. Well, the median cost of setting up and running an assessment centre is £225 for every candidate invited to participate. This includes choosing credible and qualified members for the panel of assessors, designing exercises, activities and other off-site costs. Plus, there is no detailed report of participants’ performance
Well, setting up AC/DC is one of the effective ways to identify the training needs, yet there exists an alternate blended approach which could suffice the need in a more sophisticated way.
Virtual Assessment/Development Centres- VAC are the automated online version of assessment centres which companies like IILS do. It is an approach to selection or professional development on the basis of competencies expected for a concerned role. It gives a detailed and holistic report by assessing him/her on various aspects and evaluate individual’s fitment or current proficiency.
The measurement process considers:
- Cognitive ability
- Personality traits
- Demonstrated behaviors
- Functional knowledge/skills
Moving on to the advantages, this is entirely virtual, convenient and hassle-free. There is no special setup required other than computers and internet connectivity. The content of the assessments can be customized based on organization’s competency framework, target audience and context. Most important, it is cost-effective and provides completely automated results.
Well, there can be cases where VAC’s alone does not work. The organization could come up with a blended approach where offline activities via assessors could give us the required results along with online assessment.
Another approach for TNI are via theory tests which again has an alternative discussed below.
- Theory Tests– Some organizations still believe in taking theoretical assessments when it comes to train their employees. As human beings we learn more viably through experiential techniques, and are energized by getting up and moving around, associating with each other. We are social, portable beings and not intended to be stuck at work areas taking notes.
Again, there is a better alternative to theoretical tests which could have a greater impact-
Customized Assessments – Most of the organizational stakeholders believe that a highly customized test which are completely company-oriented is a viable solution to their needs of assessments. In this digital world, everyone prefers online assessments to paper and pen one.
These are comprehensive and objective assessments that provide insight into the work-oriented personality of an employee. These assessments are designed according to different job roles. It aims to help candidates leverage their strengths and address their area of development. Moreover, these assessments are easy to administer. The results are not observer biased for they are quantitative and objective in nature.
Companies that invest in employee training enjoy 24% higher profit margins versus companies who don’t. 
A situation may occur where ABC Company is not sure about the effectiveness of these training programs. Let’s discuss the effectiveness of training.
Measuring The Effectiveness
“A bad training can take a good staff and destroy it, causing the best employees to flee and the remainder to lose all the motivation.”
Talking about the ABC Company, if they arrange training and development programs, then they probably know the importance of measuring its effectiveness and ways to measure the its ROI. After all, you don’t want to spend time or money on training that does not provide a good return.
- Did the training have a long term lasting impact on employees?
- How powerful was the training in helping participants increase applicable learning and aptitudes?
- Could the learners apply what they learnt and enhance their performance at work?
First things first, an assessment is taken which gives a report of proficiency of each participant across the critical competencies- specific set of competencies required to be successful at the workplace across different job roles. These reports are necessary for we cannot move on until the correct match between candidate to be trained and competency to be worked upon has been found out.
Let’s say there is a company which is experienced enough to identify the training needs. In simple words, they know who the ones to be trained are and what precisely. There are some companies which have a better solution for these cases. The method involved in such companies would include a pre-assessment that could predict where actually the employee stand as per the competencies aligned to the business objectives.
Once the 3-W’s and employee proficiency in critical competencies have been found out, the next step is the training part. Now training can be done by various ways. It could be classroom or instructor-led training or could include interactive methods such as quizzes, case studies, group discussions or some Q & A sessions. This could also include online trainings such as video-conferencing, audio-conferencing, webinars or distance learning programs.
After the training, comes the part to measure its effectiveness. Fortunately, there exist some proven methodologies for measuring training effectiveness. Using the Kirk-Patrick Model, with a simple 4-level approach one can successfully measure the effectiveness.
- Reaction-This level measures how learners have responded to the training, the importance and convenience of the preparation. Utilize reviews, questionnaires or talk to participants to get an honest feedback of the training experience. This could include –
- Finding out if the course content was easy and relevant to understand.
- Discussing strengths and weaknesses of the program
- Asking about the key takeaways
- Understand if the program was successful in matching the learner’s perception and learning style.
At the end of this level, you should be able to look for any sort of gaps in the content.
- Learning-At this level you can measure what the trainees have learned. How much knowledge they have gained? This could include-
- Test scores amid and after the training
- Assessment of connected learning ventures
- Course completion and accreditation
After going through these set of metrics, assessment is done again (obviously with an enhanced set of questionnaires) after 3 months. This could again fill the gaps and let the trainees know about themselves better, thus, influencing the effectiveness.
- Behavior-This level indicates how trainees apply the information and how has it impacted their performance and attitude at work. It takes a 360-degree feedback from supervisors, peers and reporter. This includes-
- How has the learning been actualized at work?
- Are the trainees certain to share their new abilities and learning to their companions?
- Are the trainees aware that they’ve changed their behavior?
- Results-The end level burns down to the Why part of training. It actually capture the difference in participant’s behaviors before and after the program. It includes outcomes that the organization has determined to be good for business and employees. The outcomes could include-
- Increased employee retention
- Increased production
- Higher morale
- Improved business results
Training is all about improving performances, be it individual or group, thus influencing the overall performance of the organization. Each consecutive level is more accurate measurement than it’s prior. In this way, ABC Company conducted the training programs and even measured the extent to which the program was successful and how much did it impact the employees.
Understand the roadblock in the training program you offer to your employees. When training lines up with the business and a very much characterized feedback system for every one of the partners, it helps you meet your business objectives with a more logical approach. Employees at all levels comprehend expectations, operationalize vision and values, and perceive what precisely is important to succeed.