Do you measure the effectiveness of your training programs? This is a question that we’ve asked hundreds of clients over the years. While many see measurement as a priority; others view it as unnecessary. It was Peter Drucker who famously said: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” While this principle has transferred to the way finance, marketing and operations are run, HR in general and L&D in specific are still behind focusing on measurement.
According to the CIPD’s annual learning and development survey, most organizations conduct limited evaluations of their L&D initiatives. In a third of organizations that do, it’s only or training satisfaction, or what we commonly call: “Happy Sheets”. Only 21% of organizational evaluate the transfer of learning and only 7% evaluate the wider impact on business or society.
If you don’t believe in something. You will not invest in it. So why should you care about training ROI? Based on our experience and the research, here are the 3 main reasons.
To Justify the Training Budget
Getting and keeping the training budget is a struggle for many L&D departments. This is especially true in down times, as the training budget is the first to be cut. A survey done during the 2008 recession, showed that 32% of respondents reported a drop in L& D funding. When a budget gets cut, the activity is not viewed as essential. That can be because the value of training is not shown.
Training is an investment of time, money & resources. These are tangible inputs. The returns from training can be skills, productivity, satisfaction… These are often reported as intangible outputs. Translating intangible returns to measurable ROI, helps L&D prove its value and gets you the budget your company needs
To Determine Training Effectiveness
Training evaluations are called happy sheets; they are not very informative. However, companies still rely on them heavily. The ultimate purpose of training is to improve performance. If that’s not measured, there’s no way to tell whether the training was successful or not. The training might have been enjoyable and interesting for the participants, but unless they make changes in behaviour, it’s a waste of time and money.
Furthermore, many well-meaning employees attend training sessions and want to apply their learning on the job. However, the trap of inaction is a real syndrome, where people are unable to put their learning into action. Change is difficult; once employees go back to their teams and routines; old habits take over. Creating a follow-up system that leads to ROI, fosters personal & organizational accountability for learning.
To Evaluate Training Methodology
Training done today, produces results far beyond tomorrow. It’s difficult to see the light at the end of the curved tunnel. Many variables effect training outcome: facilitator, training techniques, group size, material, timing, facility, participants… ROI helps improve your methodology, by uncovering which approaches lead to real business results. The results give valuable insights into training design and delivery and fosters continuous improvement in L&D.
Measuring training effectiveness, is no longer an additional thing that you do above and beyond. It’s a core activity in L&D. At WIDE Impact, we believe in measurement first and we design and deliver trainings with that end-goal in mind. That’s why we have developed a unique approach to ensure that training is effective. Remember the three reasons why you should care about ROI. Have that conversation internally with your team. Start measuring the effectiveness of your training programs today.
CIPD (2015) Learning and development Annual survey report 2015, London: CIPD
Stewart, J. and Cureton, P. (Ed) (2014) Designing, delivering and evaluating learning and development: Essentials for practice. London: CIPD.