Why are we still so focused on measuring traditional training results?
Do you agree that learning professionals are too focused on training evaluation and not so much on business success assessment?
The other day I attended a presentation where the speakers were showing how they implemented a performance support strategy in their company. I was looking forward to understand how they measured success as I am always searching for examples on how other people do this.
Unfortunately, I often don’t get an answer to my question, and this time was no different. They didn’t have much tracking data, but did have some information on clicks and so. Is this really how we should be measuring the success of our training strategies? To whom are these results really important?
Does training delivery percentages say anything at all for the business?
Surely, you have been through both sides of training design and delivery — training that is delivered just to train people in… well… something, and training that is delivered to help solve a business problem. Which of these “sides of training” do you believe is more important for the individual, the teams and the business? Guess most of you will go for the second one, right? And, in that case, can Learning & Development (L&D) really help business partners by saying “Hey, if we have 80% attendances and 90% training satisfaction in 75% of training sessions we deliver, we nailed the problem!”? Hmmm…maybe not.
How do we know what to measure?
How to achieve this is, unfortunately, not so straightforward as measuring training satisfaction or delivery. But it is possible, and depends strongly on how well the problem is understood by the business and by L&D. Saying “we have a problem with customer support” is not really identifying the problem, but it’s a beginning. After that, it’s our job to help break it down and materialising the goal we want to reach.
1. Identifying the problem
Like a doctor looking for the root cause of a malady, we need to find the root cause of our business problem. “Why do you say we have a problem with customer support? How is it reflecting on performance? Do you know what may be causing this?” are a few of the questions we can start with. Now we know that customer support is bad because clients are unhappy. They say they have to call over and over to solve invoicing issues.
2. Analysing current results
Next step for setting the framework is understanding our current business performance. “What results are we currently achieving? How many wrong invoices are we issuing per month? How many complaints do we have?” Once we have our current results, we can then compare to what we achieve with our L&D strategy.
3. Setting our performance goal
Finally, in order to solve a problem we also need to understand where do we want to be. We noticed that this is not just a customer support issue, it’s also an invoicing issue. So, let’s set our KPI’s for that too — reduce the number of wrong invoices issued per month, reduce the number of complaints, raise our customer satisfaction. Once you set those KPI’s, you know exactly what to measure after training.
Typical training evaluation KPI’s should not be overlooked, but they surely can’t be the focus of how we evaluate our training strategies. If we want to help the business by providing learning solutions, we need to focus on business KPI’s. We need to keep in mind that we are not just training providers, we are also problem solvers.