Career Management

When you change your marketing plan, you can easily measure the results to see if it’s working. When you swap out machinery, you can measure the improvement in production. However, when you implement a new skill or learning program in your company, it’s not so easy to tell what effect it’s having – at least not by traditional measures. You have to dig a bit deeper, and ask employees a few vital questions:

1) Were employees satisfied with the training?

Being satisfied with their training is one key element of determining whether your training program was successful or not. Employees who finish a training program, but aren’t satisfied with what they’ve learned won’t speak well of the training.

More than that, low satisfaction tends to correlate negatively with improved performance. In other words, you could spend a lot of time and money on a training program that your employees didn’t value, and end up with nothing to show for it in terms of employee productivity or performance. Your employees should be able to take the training and easily apply it to the real day-to-day duties they complete.

2) Did participants absorb the training materials?

If your employees didn’t pass the final tests, the training program was a waste of time, effort and money. Even if your workers say they learned a lot from the training, if they don’t pass competency tests, then there’s no way they can apply what they think they have learned. Examine the results of the tests to see if there were any common areas that your employees had trouble with, and then make the required changes to those areas.

Ask your workers to fill out the questionnaire survey anonymously, so you can find out exactly what worked and what didn’t. Take that information and revise the training program. You can learn a lot from your employees about training methods, so it’s extremely effective to work as a team to perfect the company training methods and materials.

3) Did employee behavior change?

One of the primary motives for offering employee behavior training services is to help them adjust their behavioral habits over the course of time. Productivity and performance is largely a function of ingrained behaviors, so it takes repetition to cement changes, and then to see the results of those changes.

For example, your customer service team needs training to improve customer response times and resolutions. Right now, 25 percent of your customers get off the phone with their problems unresolved after the first call. Since that’s an unsatisfactory percentage, you decide to initiate measures to fix it as quickly as possible.

The problem is that a majority of your employees initially trained to plow through customer calls, being limited to just five minutes per phone call. When your company was young, this was plenty of time to handle most customer issues. However, your product line has expanded and your offerings are more complicated, so now your customer service calls are more intensive, which doesn’t correlate with the time limits placed on customer service staff. So, you need to reshape employee behavior and lift the call times. This isn’t going to happen overnight, especially for veteran staff.

In order to increase problem resolution, your customer service staff needs to learn more about the product line, as well as how to resolve customer issues promptly. In this case, ongoing, computer-based training, coupled with live training events, are a smart choice.

4) Did some element of their performance improve?

One of the best ways to measure whether your training program is working is to measure employee productivity. When productivity increases after training, you can attribute this to the training, as long as you measure productivity both before, and after the training, and no other events, changes or other factors influence production.

Ask your employees if they felt their training helped them increase their productivity. They will appreciate the fact that you value their opinion, and will be glad to have an opportunity to share their thoughts with you. You could issue a follow up anonymous survey 30 to 60 days following the training, and the information from the follow up survey can help you determine if further training is necessary, and also how often you need to update the training program.

5) Was there a positive ROI from the training?

Measuring return on investment, or ROI, is yet another way to assess whether the training was successful. Measuring employee output in dollars and cents will tell you, regardless of the amount of physical activity by your employees, whether the training was successful. A worker can look busy, but they may be taking too much time and/or effort to get the job done. The training should make it easier for your workforce to do their jobs instead of complicating the process. it falls short of the mark, consider hiring a professional training consultant, or seek some extra training of your own to gain a better understanding of what an effective training program should entail. If training is good for your team, it’s also good for you.

Author: Travis Adams of is a veteran IT supervisor and trainer. He often collaborates with businesses to improve employee performance.

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