Using Measurement to Ensure High Impact Training Outcomes

If there is one thing that we have learned about Millennials and Gen Xers, it is, ”If you don’t train them, they will leave.” Or worse: they will stay and our organizations will fall behind the competition. One of the strategic goals of training is to solve business problems by optimizing employee and leader talent. But what if your organization is one of those that already invests in their employees and leaders, and sets aside days for training only to have the attendees continue doing what they have always done? How can you ensure that the skills and behaviors needed to take the organization forward are being implemented and will solve a specific business problem?

Best practices used to be sending employees for one, two or three days of training and waiting for the transformation. Today, we know that classroom training alone doesn't work. Not only is there no accountability built into the process, but business is moving so fast that leaders and employees taken out of their environments for one or more days are immediately so far behind that even practical learning is forgotten in the vortex of catching up.

What are high impact learning organizations doing to enable their employees and leaders to integrate new behaviors and skills, and to make the new learning part of the culture and expectations of everyone? It all starts with the business strategy and the goals the organization is charged with achieving. To align training with the strategy, we must first determine what skills or behaviors (competencies) are needed to meet the new goals. Once we know the needed competencies, we can proceed with five steps to develop high impact training.

Define the outcomes and success measures. Too often, this step is skipped. We need to know in advance how success will be measured. We need to know what “great performance” looks like so we need definitions for the competencies. Measurements might include a greater percentage of individual goals achieved, higher revenue per employee, fewer customer complaints, etc. Share the measurements with the participants. 

Conduct a needs analysis to understand whether the skills required actually exist. Are there skill gaps? Is there is a need for training or learning? Or is a different intervention more appropriate?  What is driving this need for training/learning? Has anything been done in the past? What are the possible learning solutions? Are there logistical considerations or constraints? In this process, you might use interviews, focus groups, questionnaires or follow up surveys from previous training participants. In some cases, observation of specific tasks will provide needed information.

Develop an outline of the learning objectives, program parameters, participant selection criteria and more. Also consider your options for development activities: assessments, case studies, action learning, coaching, mentoring, classroom, e-learning, etc. How will key components of the program be reinforced after the initial classroom training is completed? Will action learning, renewal sessions, virtual learning or group or individual coaching be used?  

Build the curriculum and program content and determine the most effective delivery method for each component. Today, effective learning is almost always “chunked” into manageable amounts, and the length of training might be six to nine months of monthly half-day sessions with assignments to practice skills between sessions. While the classroom might be the primary delivery method, some information might be “gamified.” Other information might be learned from the group solving a real business problem. When developing the initial learning methodologies, complete the process by building the reinforcement processes: webinars, group or individual coaching sessions or online quizzes. Many organizations re-assess the participants to determine progress.

Successful learning organizations involve their executives in critical training whether they kick off sessions or actually facilitate content. When participants understand that their implementation of new skills and behaviors is critical to the future success of the organization, it becomes more of a priority. When the measurements of success are known in advance by all, goals are more likely to be achieved.

  • Perspectives

    • The First Thing Nonprofit Boards Should Focus On: Member Engagement

      There is no shortage of literature on how to run a nonprofit and what the board of directors should be doing. Do a quick search for “grant writing advice” or “board meeting agenda” and you will easily find hundreds of resources. But if there is so much helpful information around, why is serving on a nonprofit board sometimes so draining? After founding two nonprofits, Musical Family Tree and the Speak Easy, as well as serving on several nonprofit boards...

    More

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • (photo courtesy The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Hammond Pulls 135 Jobs from Illinois

      A Hammond factory recently vacated by Michigan-based Lear Corp. didn’t sit empty for very long. Midland Metal Products has taken over the former seat factory, having relocated from Chicago after 95 years. 

    • (photo courtesy of TriCore Logic)

      Fort Wayne IT Firm Expanding

      TriCore Logic has announced plans to expand its office space and staff at its downtown Fort Wayne headquarters. The company plans to invest over $200,000 in the expansions. The 2010-founded company moved to the Anthony Wayne building in 2013, and now plan to grow their staff of five employees by up to eight over the next four years. 

    • (courtesy Wes Mills)

      Purdue: Farmland Values Decline Fifth Straight Year

      The value of top-quality farmland in Indiana has declined continuing a five-year trend, according to the latest data from Purdue University.  The statewide average of the best cropland is $8,212 per acre, down more than five percent, or $456 per acre, from the same period last year. Purdue’s survey shows average and poor-quality farmland values also dropped, but not as much. Average quality farmland declined by 0.9 percent. Purdue says the poor...

    • ‘Transformation’ Continues in Westfield

      Indiana’s fastest growing city is showing no signs of slowing down.  Mayor Andy Cook says now that Westfield has established itself as a destination for family sports with the Grand Park Sports Campus, the $35 million Grand Junction Plaza will transform the city’s downtown into a destination, a place “where people want to be.”   Cook says the project, more than a decade in the making, is an example of a place making strategy necessary for Midwest...
    • Elanco is headquartered in Greenfield.

      Elanco to Acquire Bayer AG Animal Health Business

      Greenfield-based Elanco Animal Health Inc. (NYSE: ELAN) has entered into an agreement with Bayer AG (ETR: BAYN) to acquire its animal health business in a deal valued at $7.6 billion. If approved, it would double Elanco’s Companion Animal business and create the second-largest animal health company by revenue. “Joining Elanco and Bayer Animal Health strengthens and accelerates our IPP strategy, transforms our portfolio with the addition of well-known pet brands, brings...