Considering ROI as Part of Overall Training Value.
In determining what constitutes fully effective business training, it is important to ask a number of key questions:
1. Did the participants enjoy the training? Were they engaged, rather than grumbling about having to sit through a boring presentation/video?
2. Did the participants learn something? Do they consider themselves more educated than when they started?
3. Are the participants able to apply what they learned in their day-to-day job duties? Did the training make a difference, creating employees that are more organized, efficient, or otherwise better at what you pay them for?
However, even if you are able to respond “yes” to all of the above, there’s still something missing. The final puzzle piece that’s necessary for a magnificent picture. That critical element relates to the business itself: Has the business seen a benefit (direct or indirect) as a result of the training? It’s a matter of adding up the improvements and finding that the sum is greater than the total of its individual parts. When you put training under the microscope, you’re looking for impact – a measurable change in profits, revenue, errors, or other operational factors. This is known as a level 4 evaluation, based on the well-known Kirkpatrick Model.
So, how do you determine the benefits of training – training that amounts to a significant investment of time, money and effort? In actuality, that process is – quite literally – something that should be completed before the training ever starts. That’s because the only way to know if training meets your company’s goals is to have those goals in place before you press “Start.” When the company’s goals are identified beforehand, two things can happen. One, you can have the trainer tailor the material and/or delivery method to meet those goals. And two, if at any point you find that the training isn’t quite hitting the marks you need it to, there’s still time to make adjustments. Once the trainer has packed up and picked up his/her check, or after the last video has played, it becomes a lot more difficult – not to mention time-consuming and expensive – to double back and fix things.
So before you flip the “go” switch on training, be sure to take the following steps:
Q: Work with the training company to identify what performance measures are essential to you and your company, and ensure that those ideals are incorporated into the material so that employees will be able to meet the desired standards.
Q: Determine what data would indicate success in training. Determine the most effective way to collect that data once the training is completed – preferably a method that doesn’t require excessive administrative work for you or any other member of your staff.
Q: Determine what other factors are important in leading to a positive impact for the company. While it’s possible that some of these intangibles cannot be achieved through the training you’ve arranged for, it never hurts to aim higher – and ask the essential questions.