Data is one of the most valuable assets any company has, however there’s a significant disconnect on how to transform raw data into a strategic plan. Training data is particularly valuable in strategic planning and can help business leaders make critical business decisions, including the deployment of much-needed training to close skills gaps and lead the company toward future success.

To stay afloat in today’s world of work, learning leaders must measure the impact of training to make data-driven decisions to maximize profits, foster a productive workforce and maximize their employees’ contributions.

Measuring the Impact of Training

Companies spend a tremendous amount of money on training annually, however studies show that the majority of company training is largely ineffective, with four out of five companies not getting any significant impact from training employees. This is largely because many companies spend money on training but don’t adequately measure the impact on employees and the business. By measuring the efficacy of training, businesses can maximize its impact — and data can help with this.

To measure the impact of their training programs, organizations should start with a needs assessment to assess skill gaps and leverage targeted training. For example, in conducting these analyses for companies, we often find that certain departments suffer from unconscious bias, hindering their ability to meet diversity goals. Companies with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals can analyze functions and roles that have better representation. Then they can identify transferable skill sets among different departments and job roles. By understanding representation across departments and assessing skill sets, companies can put forth a plan to address DEI goals with training.

Business leaders should set specific goals for training and create metrics to measure the progress. Building on the example above, leaders can customize an evaluation model that includes both learning and development (L&D) and business metrics to determine training’s impact:

  • Were all employees informed of the training to help them transfer roles?
  • How many employees were able to transition to more advanced roles?
  • Did this happen evenly across different demographic groups?
  • Was the speed with which people were reskilled in new roles the same across demographic groups? What training was most effective in helping them get placed in these roles?

Feedback is also a critical component of measuring training impact. Business leaders should create a continuous and standardized feedback loop and layer training with employee surveys. It’s very important to learn from your employees successes and shortcomings, and incorporate that feedback into the next training. Furthermore, employers should ensure that all employees feel included in training and career advancement opportunities. Does everyone believe they have the resources they need to advance? How does this feedback look across demographic groups? Are different employees experiencing opportunities differently?

Making Data-driven Decisions

By measuring the impact of training, learning leaders can have a better picture of their employees skills and knowledge. Employers can also use that data to make informed decisions throughout each stage of the employee lifecycle.

  • Hiring versus promoting: There are clear benefits from promoting internally rather than hiring externally. But without training data, company leaders may struggle to know whether or not they need to hire new people or upskill existing employees. This can help businesses determine if they are creating a pipeline for promotion for talent within the organization.
  • Onboarding: Studies show that onboarding is a critical component to fostering high engagement and retention. Like other trainings, a customized evaluation model should be used to analyze the onboarding process efficacy and to implement changes for improvement.
  • Development and retention: Training data can provide a more detailed picture of the skills that exist within the organization and which skills are lacking. Business leaders should identify what skills are lacking and create trainings that will upskill employees to better increase development and retention.
  • Manager performance: Are you effectively managing training? Studies show that managers’ involvement accounts for 70% of their team’s engagement and success.

An organization’s people are their most valuable asset. And training is a key component to investing in a company’s talent. It’s increasingly critical that businesses maximize training’s investment by using data to make well-informed decisions. Most organizations recognize the value of training, but many fail to measure its impact. In today’s business world, learning leaders must measure the impact of training to make data-driven decisions to better develop and retain their workforce.