We are in an era of continual change, with new innovations disrupting the workplace and resulting in radical new styles of working.
The only way that organizations can hope to stay relevant in this competitive age is by adopting the technological advances and transformative models of the future of work.
As edge computing, AI and automation forge new paths in today’s business world, companies have realized that employee upskilling has become, more than ever, an imperative. Talent Trends 2020, a study by PwC indicates that three quarters of CEOs questioned were concerned about whether they would have the talent needed to navigate an uncertain economic futureWhen questioned on their upskilling programs in reducing skill gaps and mismatches, the global consensus put their perceived effectiveness as only 20%. Even companies with advanced upskilling initiatives reported a meagre 35% rate of effectiveness of their training programs.
While upskilling and reskilling can get employees attuned to industry advancements and breed confidence, how can CEOs be sure that the training they are being given is actually having the desired impact?
To completely reap the rewards of a continuous learning paradigm, the right measures must be in place to gauge how impactful the training program was.
In-depth evaluation is required to judge what is missing from the training sessions, and what can be done to improve the ROI on employee training.
And the figures speak for themselves. Today’s businesses are losing whopping amounts of money through ineffective training. Harvard Business Review states that although organizations are collectively spending in excess of $350 billion globally on training, this is money that is not put to the best use.
So, where exactly are we going wrong?
L&D teams often implement training programs without a comprehensive understanding of what defines an effective training program.
Just measuring satisfaction scores or course completion targets is not enough, and the true measure of impact should evaluate actual business outcomes post training. Real returns can be judged by the pay-off in terms of time schedules, productivity and financials of the company.
To make the most of your training investment and eke out value for every dollar spent, you should be able to offer your employees the training they need to boost productivity. Here’s how you can do that.
Learning programs are usually developed incorporating assessments that can test the employees’ understanding and retention of the theories learnt. By knowing where they have gone wrong, they could build upon their weaknesses and reinforce their strengths till they achieve mastery of the subject matter.
These assessments are also useful to judge whether your training program has achieved its goals. For instance, if you find that a majority of the employees are getting stuck at a particular interim assessment, you could take another look at the module to see if the content can be simplified for better understanding.
Pre and post tests can measure knowledge gained from undertaking a training course and evaluate whether the training has had the desired effect.
Assessments can take the following forms:
Once the training has been completed, how would you know whether your employees have actually absorbed the lessons learnt? Are they able to apply their new skills on the shop floor, for instance, and would you trust them to get it right the first time?
Scenarios or real-work situations can put the learner in the driver’s seat, judging their ability to translate the learning to a work-like situation. By creating a series of scenario-based tests, you can determine their level of retention and understanding of the concepts learnt. An ideal scenario-based test is one that is credible and true to life, of which the outcome is easily measured.
If your employees are consistently failing the tests, you should look at refining the learning curriculum or providing additional learning content, until they are well versed with all the learning objectives and can apply theory to practice.
Learning Management Systems or platforms often have in-built analytics that evaluate the learning journey of your employees. These learning analytics use data collected during the learning journey to trace the efficiency of the learning.
For instance, the time spent on each module, the number of attempts of each assessment, and so on can be used to tailor the training for greater effectiveness. As an example, if most of the learners are breezing through a particular module but spending far too long on another, you might want to assess the difficulty levels of the content and adjust it as needed.
AI algorithms can further use this data to personalize the learner’s path, giving suggestions as to which are the topics that need further focus.
In many instances, the learner may understand the concepts very well during the training—but find themselves at a loss when they have to apply the knowledge to solve a real-world problem.
Are your employees putting their newly acquired skills to practice, or falling back into the error of their old ways?
Try observing your employers before and after the training session to find out if they are actually achieving the goals of the training. For instance, teams that try to adopt Agile often fall by the wayside, simply because they are more in tune with traditional ways of working and fail to readily transition to the Agile mindset.
Post training follow up sessions and technique training can create opportunities for practice, and ensure that the new knowledge acquired is correctly implemented.
The ROI is the clearest indicator of how effective your training strategy is.
A Peoplematters article states that in a study, 55% of companies that registered high-growth averaged 30-50 learning hours per employee, while 61% of low-growth companies only spent less than 30 hours of average learning per employee.
By knowing the impact of your training programs after a predetermined period post the training, you can get an idea of whether all the effort, time and money you have put in was worth the investment.
Estimate the L&D spend, including design and development costs against the benefits that have been observed post implementation of the training. These could be increased sales, more productivity or even a reduction in the customer complaints. Use measurable metrics to chalk out the cost vs performance ratio and determine whether the training strategy has worked the way you wanted it to.
When it comes to judging the effectiveness of your training programs, your employees are often your best critics.
By collecting their feedback and receptiveness, you can measure the effectiveness of your training program and see what could be done to improve it.
Collect data in the form of a survey that could be programmed to rank employee satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10. Collect suggestions on the topics that were useful and those that were not, and find out from them what the weak areas of your training course were.
Above all, your learners should find the course content interesting and valuable, or they will not feel the need to complete it wholeheartedly. If your employees were not engaged and motivated through the learning journey, then you are clearly doing something wrong.
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