A workforce that is thoroughly trained and dedicated to continuous improvement is a powerful driver of success in any business. Ideally, training and development promotes long-term health for an organization. Here are just a few of the ways a good training program benefits business:
Workers gain the skills and knowledge they need to be more productive
Retention improves since employees know their careers are moving forward
The introduction of new information sparks innovation
Unfortunately, good intentions don’t ensure good outcomes for learning and development.
Many companies invest huge sums of money on developing their workforce. Yet training can be conducted year after year without making a noticeable difference in workplace efficiency, company profitability, or overall morale. There are many reasons this may occur:
Participants fail to connect with the trainer or the material
The training environment is not learner-centric
The information is not presented in a way that is easy to understand
Management does not support employees in implementing their new skills
No one knows exactly what’s supposed to happen with job performance after training
One effective way to avoid these pitfalls is by implementing a training evaluation program.
This popular four-step method for evaluating training was developed by Donald Kirkpatrick in the 1950s. It became formalized in 1975 when
Dr. Kirkpatrick published a book about his method. This model has stood the test of time. Today, it is the most recognized, respected, and proven method for evaluating training programs. The Kirkpatrick method, simply put, measures four “levels”:
1. Reaction: How participants felt about their training
2. Learning: Skills, attitude and knowledge acquired
3. Behaviour: Practical application of training on the job
4. Results: Targeted outcomes achieved as a result of initial training and ongoing reinforcement
An organization must have a clear idea of the end results they wish to achieve before training begins. Strategic planning at the outset allows employers to derive maximum ROI from employee development.