Introduction to Training Evaluations
All companies have goals and objectives. Every day, workers within those companies strive to achieve those goals and work to those objectives. In saying that, how do you know you are putting the foundations in place for that to happen? That's why training evaluations matter for employee success.
Your team is only as good as the company behind it. So, could it be time to focus on your training program and initiatives?
What is Training Evaluation?
To understand how to achieve employee success, you have to have a reasonable understanding of training evaluation. This is the process of making sure all your workplace's training initiatives and programs are both efficient and effective. The evaluation process takes onboard the trainees' feedback while also collecting information in a variety of areas.
The evaluation process might also look at-
- The trainer
- Resources and materials
- Presentation of the materials
- The training venue
- The topics
- Overall training experience
The evaluation process is crucial for new and existing employees. Not only can it discover gaps in workplace training, but it can offer insight into what you can do to plug those gaps.
It's all well and good to have training procedures in place, but do they have real-life, on-the-job value? It's up to those utilizing those training programs to let you know.
The Importance of Training Evaluations
Most business owners and managers are well-versed in the consequences of a lack of training. High turnover rates, low productivity, and unsafe work environments are just a few of the many problems businesses are facing. Not to mention staff unhappiness, which no employer wants to be known for in the community.
But even though you are training your team to do the job you are paying them for, are you doing it properly? That's why training evaluations are so critical. They help you to understand if you are or not, and what you can be doing better.
Information Gathering Exercises
A core part of training evaluations is information gathering. This never stops, even after you have evaluated your training protocols and programs. Whether you are upskilling a current employee or welcoming a new one, you must make sure you provide the necessary tools.
So, ask questions. Where is information lacking? Where is there too much information? What is relevant and what isn't? You don't know unless you ask, and you may find many employees already feel their bosses aren't listening to them. Stand out for the right reasons in your industry.
Cold, Hard Evidence
There can be whispers in any workplace about how some workers don't feel they received ample training when they started. Or that they feel undervalued with a lack of development opportunities.
That's where training evaluations can be pivotal. Rather than be unable to act on what is nothing more than water-cooler talk, you can get the information through appropriate channels.
Once you have that cold, hard evidence outlining where you are lacking, you can act. Take it to management who can advocate for change. And use this information to negotiate a higher training budget to ensure your employees can be successful in their line of work.
How to Properly Conduct a Training Evaluation
You may now understand the importance of training evaluation, but do you know how to conduct one? There are four points under the Kirkpatrick Four-Level Training Evaluation Model that underpin a successful training program evaluation.
1. Reaction Get Feedback
No training program will ever be perfect the first time you put it in place. That's why getting feedback is paramount. Ask relevant questions that can help you shape future training modules.
Some of the best questions to ask might be-
- Did you feel engaged in training activities?
- Did you feel the training was worthwhile?
- What were the strengths and weaknesses of the training?
- What did you think were the most critical points of the training?
- Did the training work with your learning style?
- Were the presentation methods and venue appropriate?
2. Learning What Has and Hasn't Been Learned
The best way to know whether training has been successful is by testing your employees' knowledge. Find out their attitudes, skill levels, and knowledge before you initiate training. Then, test them again after.
3. Behavior Developing Changes in Behavior
Training can be about knowledge and improvement. However, it can also be about a team culture that's obstructing advance. After training, ask questions that relate to the support your team needs. Use encouragement, reinforcement, and promote positive team culture.
4. Results Analyze the Outcome
After getting feedback and focusing on behavior and learning, you can then analyze the results. This information can determine what processes are working for your business, what aren't, and what promotes a good ROI.
You may even like to start with establishing the results you want to see, then running through these four steps backward.
Training is about more than putting a program in place and expecting your team to follow it. It's about making sure that the materials you provide lead to the results you want to see. It's crucial to know what you want to get out of your training program but also to find out what your team is getting out of it, as well.
- Ask for feedback always. It's your team's opinion that matters the most. Learn what they feel would be effective training.
- Understand the importance of training evaluations. Determine whether your employees can be successful in your company with the current model and learning objectives you have in place.
- Find out what you can change or improve to increase training effectiveness.
- Follow Kirkpatrick's Four-level Training Evaluation model. Evaluate training across all levels of seniority in the company.
- Create programs that are a reflection of the hard work you put into training evaluations. Develop key performance indicators which are indicative of your evaluations and can measure training success accordingly.