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HOW TO TEST IF YOUR TRAINING IS EFFECTIVE

Tim Millett
Published by Tim Millett
08 October 2013

When you manage a team, the effectiveness of that team depends on how well you have trained and contributed to the development of the people. Individuals in a workplace require ongoing training in order to become more effective in their positions, take on bigger challenges and new roles, and become skilled as the nature of their work — and of your company — evolves.

Having employees that feel confident to do their work makes for a much more productive office and organisation in general. Whether you are doing leadership, sales or customer service training, however, simply going through the motions is not enough. The following are a few of the ways you can test to ensure your training is being effective.

Post-training employee assessments

Feedback forms directly after training aren’t always effective as they sometimes capture what is known as the ‘smiley face’ effect. Asking questions that direct learners thinking in terms of how they will utilise training in the workplace is a better approach, for example; what personal action plans do they intend to implement post-training? This can be subsequently reviewed with another feedback form, ensuring two measures of training in place. The former a reflection on training quality, the latter a reflection on the relevance and practical application of the training content.

Effectiveness of learning

While your ability to measure the effectiveness of training will vary depending on the subject material of the training courses, some courses do lend opportunities to do so, such as those that teach well-defined technical skills. For these types of learning situations, you may be able to measure the effectiveness of the training by administering tests to the employees before and after the training and then comparing the results.

For the types of training that don’t have obviously measurable metrics, you will have to observe the behaviour of employees in the weeks and months following the training. For example, did those who had leadership training report lower rates of attrition for their staff?

ROI for training

Measuring the bottom-line benefits of training will require far more sophisticated methodology, but it can be done. Effectiveness measurement comes from knowing the business issue training was meant to address. The hard part is, of course, attaching a dollar value to the many indirect benefits training has, such as raising employee morale. This is where pre- and post-training comparisons become very important, especially if you can compare metrics that directly relate to the training.

When it comes to morale, for example, you can look at things like changes in absenteeism or turnover, number of employee grievances, the general stress level of the workplace, instances of medical conditions, the amount of supervision required, and so forth.

Talk to your employees

Nothing is as effective as good old-fashioned communication. The more candid you are with your staff members, the more candid they will be with you. Schedule regular meetings with your employees to ask them questions about how they feel in their job. Ask them straightforward questions like how they felt about the last training session and whether or not they feel like they’re benefiting from it. Ensure that all of your interactions are well thought out, structured and with a specific outcome in mind. Developing refined communication skills cannot be underestimated in your overall effectiveness as a leader. Remember that your own training and experience in areas such as coaching and motivating staff will be central to the success of your business.

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