So often training departments are either deemed as ineffective or their effectiveness is completely unknown because of lack of measurement. Training isn’t as simple to measure as other functions such as sales where leads and bottom line sales can easily determine the success of a strategy.
A common complaint we hear is about managers who approve training with no thought of what success looks like, how it will happen or what success actually means to them.
Therefore companies should always have solid figures that they can use to measure the effectiveness of their training activities. We think there are 5 broad categories which you can use to judge and compare the success of your training department. They are:
- Training spend
- Training recipients
- Time spent training
- L&D Staff
- Training Evaluation & Feedback
Break down the spend into meaningful categories including but not limited to categories like:
- Internal courses
- External courses
- Travel & accommodation
- Training materials
- Technology e.g. pcs, apps, tablets
These can all be totalled and viewed as a sum that can be compared with competitors and similarly sized companies to see the size and activity of your department.
Understand who from your employees have undergone training. So you might want to consider categories such as:
- Training category e.g. Management, Sales
- Staff level e.g. senior management, middle management, frontline staff
- Departmental spend
These are very important as often amount of money spent doesn’t translate to hours of learning per employee.
Time spent training
This is the total amount of hours spent each year on training by employees in your organisation. It is useful to know the combined figure however you need to dig a bit deeper so you know how much time, what topics, who received the training. Senior managers and board level tend to be interested in this figure and the total cost so if you can break it down even more it looks impressive.
An often overlooked figure. This is focused on the number of all employees that are responsible for organising and delivering training. This will likely include L&D managers, administrative support, coaches, and instructors. This is sometimes difficult to measure as HR managers for example are often responsible for a number of tasks outside of training. In these examples it is best to work out roughly what percentage of their time is concerned with the training tasks and use that to work out therefore how much of their salary is dedicated to training. You need to know these figures and relate back to business metrics such as employee headcount, financial data. Knowing this means you will be able to calculate numbers and costs for when the company either increases or decreases in size.
Training Evaluation & Feedback
How can you ensure that the training organised is having a positive impact and is therefore worth investing in? All L&D professionals should be able to provide this information as this supports everything they do. Directors will often talk about Return on Investment (ROI) however you also need to consider Return on Expectations (ROE) i.e. what did the manager expect to happen as a result of the training. This line of thought is not limited to training and should be encouraged within the business. Some measures will be quantitative such as course scores and some should be qualitative such as comments made.
These 5 metrics can then be used to work out numerous other important figures – average amount of hours of training per employee, average spend per employee, number of training staff per employee amongst others are useful data to know.
This data is pivotal for any organisation to know as it can be used to benchmark against other companies to see how effective trainers you are. You can compare against older figures to see what impact a new strategy has had, analyse if raising expenditure has an effect on the other metrics and lots of other analysis.
If you don’t currently collate this information then you need to start doing this. It doesn’t have to be complicated, a simple excel spreadsheet can be the starting point to record all the information to then analyse it. Or if you work with external suppliers such as ourselves then ask them to produce reports on a regular basis. Why not approach L&D staff from other companies you know or even rival companies, this happens more than you think.
The approach each company will take should depend on a number of factors specific so the main message is make sure you are doing some form of measuring.
Have we missed any? Do you have practical experiences you can share? Please comment and let us know.
Blake Henegan and Scott Drayton – Optimus Sourcing.