How to Develop Successful Corporate Training Programs – Part III
In this, the final part of our three part series on developing a corporate training program, I will discuss the metrics of success for your training program.
Measurement seems basic, but without it you are essentially left in the dark as to the success or failure of the program. There are two sides to this coin, the first being to measure the effectiveness of the training (and I don’t mean by asking staff if they liked it); and the second being tracking the impact against a hard business metric (if available) or through some form of anecdotal data and behavioral change.
1. Knowledge Validation
Too often the time and money spent on creating internal training programs is all for not, producing little measurable improvements in staff and the firm. This is caused by a number of problems, including a lack of meaningful assessments, limited follow up, and ultimately, a near immediate loss of any new skills learned during training.
This is where validation becomes so pertinent. For an undertaking as large as this, validating that knowledge transfer has stuck and there’s retention of the material is very important. At Rand Group, we validate by testing. At the end of each session, staff get a short quiz. The objective is not to play the gotcha game, but to reinforce the learning and create a sense of accountability. After implementing testing, we’ve found a dramatic increase in staff’s knowledge retention.
Periodically, it’s necessary to pause and step back from it all; to measure the successes and failures of your program. What’s the feedback from staff? Do the executives feel the sessions are meaningful? Are they in line with corporate objectives?
There are two mechanisms we use for measurement: staff surveys and business metrics.
Survey your staff. Determine whether they feel the content is useful, the sessions are a good length, and the delivery mechanism is effective. As mentioned, do not just ask if staff “like it”. This will not provide you with useful information. In order for a corporate training program to be a success staff need to feel that they’re expanding their capabilities, gaining opportunities for firm advancement, and enhancing their capabilities to serve existing clients. Conduct an evaluation at the end of each session to receive immediate feedback on these areas. A periodic, broader assessment of the overall program should be done at least twice annually and more frequently while the program is being developed.
Identify business metrics. Quantitative metrics will manifest themselves in terms of retention or turnover. So if we see a reduction in turnover, for example, part of it will be attributable to the development of our staff and their happiness index with regards to knowledge advancement. There will also be anecdotal metrics to draw on, such as staff who have identified an opportunity or engagement and acted upon that based on knowledge they received from one of the training sessions.
When you look at most successful consulting organizations they all invest heavily in training and development, including workshops, case studies and course work. For Rand Group, our employee training program is merely Step 1 in a multi-year development process; as the firm scales we will develop further curriculum that seeks to meet the growing knowledge needs of our staff.
Whether you are a small or large organization, implementing a corporate training program won’t be easy, but I would argue it is necessary for the health and growth of your organization. If you are larger organization, you have the benefit of existing access to myriad data within your HR system (employees’ skills, certifications, etc.). And with the advent of online platforms like LinkedIn, big data that has never before been so easily accessible is now easily accessible.
At Rand Group, we assist our clients in pulling in information from these data sources to help develop a knowledge based profile, which provides a more accurate starting point for executives trying to determine where staff are in terms of their development. And as we refine our training program, we hope to use our expertise to help our support clients develop similar programs. If this is something that interests you, I’d be happy to discuss your specific training needs.
– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.