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How to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Your Corporate Training Program

We’ve talked about how to create a culture of learning in the workplace as well as why everyone benefits from leadership training. An effective corporate training program is the key to successfully implementing both, but how do you know if the time and money being put into the program are a good use of company resources?

Corporate leaders understand the value of effective training programs that not only aid in the onboarding of new employees but continue to enrich employees throughout their tenure. Such training programs can be critical to the success of a business, big or small. But how do you know if your training program is effective? Are your employees really learning what they need to know to be successful? Are the resources devoted to the program being put to good use? Is there a measurable ROI? Evaluating the effectiveness of your corporate training program is essential to ensure that your investment in employee development is worth your time and money. The ROI of corporate training programs will vary depending on several factors, such as the type of training, the duration of the program, the number of participants, and the business objectives. However, a well-designed training program can provide a positive ROI in terms of improved employee performance, increased productivity, and reduced turnover rates.

Corporate training, also known as workplace learning or employee enrichment, is a set of educational activities provided to employees, typically paid for by their employer with the expectation that such training will lead to improved performance, growth, and competency, all of which leads to better outcomes for the business as a whole. Trainings can cover a range of topics and skill areas including soft skills, role-specific and industry-specific competencies, leadership development, technology training, policy and procedure training, and more. 

Why Evaluate the Effectiveness of Your Corporate Training Program?

Evaluating the effectiveness of your corporate training program is important for several reasons. Doing so allows you to:

  • Identify gaps in your training program to make necessary improvements.
  • Measure the ROI of your training program to justify the investment.
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your employees and understand how to address them.
  • Align your training program with your business objectives and goals.

Steps to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Your Corporate Training Program

Barnett and Mattox (2011) highlight the importance of establishing a comprehensive measurement plan to evaluate the success and ROI of corporate training. The authors identify five critical components for creating such a plan: strategy, measurement models, resources, measures, and cultural readiness. According to the authors, “Measuring the success and ROI of corporate training is a matter of establishing and executing a solid strategy” (p. 32). They also suggest that the effectiveness of the measurement process is determined when the five critical steps of the measurement plan are accomplished and when the actual metrics return valuable information about the program’s success. 

Strategize: Align Your Business Objectives With the Goals of Your Training Program

Strategy is everything. Before you can start evaluating your training program, you need to clearly identify your business objectives and goals so that you have a clear picture of how your training program supports the needs of your business. Then you can more effectively define the goals of your training program. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your current training program do enough to support your business goals?
  • What knowledge and processes do you need your employees to know?
  • What do your employees have an interest in learning? 
  • What skills do you want them to develop? 
  • What areas do you hope to see growth?
  • What steps do you need to take to be able to see if growth and learning are happening?

Assessing your business objectives and how they align with the goals of your training program is the first step in measuring the overall success of your training program. Then you can develop a solid strategy, the steps you need to take, for how you will measure the success of the program. 

Define Measurable Outcomes

Once you have started laying out your strategy, you need to define measurable outcomes that will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your training program. These outcomes should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Mindtools discusses Professor Robert S. Rubin’s writing about the concept of SMART in relation to goal setting. Rubin says that “to make sure goals are clear and reachable, each goal should be:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).”

Mindtools adds that it’s important to take this concept two steps further. Make SMART even SMARTER by including Evaluated and Reviewed in the acronym. This acronym is a great framework from which you can lay out a solid strategy for each metric you will be focusing on.

Measurement Models: Collecting Data

The metrics you choose to gather data from will give valuable insight into the effectiveness of your training program. When compared over time, things like employee performance, retention rates, or even customer satisfaction, you’ll be able to visualize growth and change. You’ll want to choose metrics that align with your goals. Data collection should be ongoing to compare data points at different times. You may choose to collect data monthly, or quarterly, or use specific benchmarks like before and after a company-sponsored training event or course. Some of the data sources you can use include:

  • Employee feedback and surveys
  • Performance data
  • Sales data
  • Customer satisfaction data
  • Cost data

Analyze the Data

Data is only as good as the information you derive from it. You need to collect data from multiple sources and collect enough of it over time to be able to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of your training program. Some of the key metrics you can use to analyze the data include:

  • Employee retention rates
  • Employee engagement levels
  • Employee performance improvement
  • Sales improvement
  • Customer satisfaction improvement
  • Cost reduction

Resources For Gathering Data

Use assessments: Assessments are a great way to measure employee learning and understanding. Use quizzes, tests, or other assessments to gauge employee comprehension and identify areas where additional training may be necessary.

Solicit feedback: Feedback from employees is another important way to evaluate the effectiveness of your training program. Ask for feedback on the quality of the training materials, the delivery of the training, and the overall effectiveness of the program. Use this feedback to make improvements and adjustments as needed.

Monitor progress: Monitoring employee progress over time is another important way to evaluate the effectiveness of your training program. Keep track of employee performance metrics and look for trends or patterns that may indicate areas where additional training is needed.

Evaluating the effectiveness of your corporate training program is essential to ensure that your investment is providing the desired outcomes. Remember that evaluating the effectiveness of your corporate training program is an ongoing process. Use the data you collect to make continuous improvements and adjustments to your training program over time. At 30 Bird, we specialize in creating customizable IT courseware. We’ve been in the learning industry for decades: teaching, writing, blending, assessing, prescribing, and remediating. That experience translates to learning content that results in increased satisfaction, more productive employees, and energized students. In our fast-changing technological world, we believe in “living courseware” that’s in step with technology and with the times. 30 Bird courseware can be custom-branded, and lab files, solutions, outlines, objective maps, and PowerPoint presentations are all free. Our courseware is designed to help employees learn new skills and knowledge quickly and effectively, and our assessments are one metric you can use to measure their understanding and the effectiveness of the training course. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your employees’ performance with effective and engaging courseware.