Onboarding is an area that’s ripe for the measurement of training effectiveness. It comes with benefits such as:

  • Demonstrating the value of training.
  • Building solid working relationships with stakeholders.
  • Focusing new hire training on targeted business outcomes.

New hires come to a company with little to no knowledge of the systems and processes in use there. After a set period of time, they leave training and begin to work at the job they have been trained for. They are expected to perform to certain standards and expectations. Sometimes it clicks, and sometimes it does not.

Much has been written about measuring onboarding training effectiveness, but these articles typically recommend high-level measures, such as turnover rates or the number of employees using a particular system or accessing job aids. While this information is useful, it only scratches the surface.

Many new employees are trained to use systems to access information, process bills, schedule services and perform other activities, which is where training organizations stand to make the most impact. When organizations train employees to use these systems, there is normally a standard by which they measure performance (e.g., number of bills processed or quality audit scores). The systems normally capture data that helps demonstrate the effectiveness of the training. This data is a potential gold mine of information, but organizations often do not use it in a meaningful way.

Begin With the End in Mind

The solution is to begin with the end in mind. During the needs analysis phase, learning professionals and their stakeholders answer the following questions to determine how they will track and evaluate new hires’ performance:

  • What do you want employees to be able to do after the completion of the training?
  • What are the expectations of the new hires 30, 60 and 90 days following onboarding?
  • How will you measure their performance?
  • What type of data is available to show how the employees are performing against expectations?

The answers to these questions help learning professionals show the value of training while building strong working relationships. Once they have answered them, they can develop onboarding training that supports stakeholders’ business goals.

Return on Expectations (ROE)

Implementing training against defined business goals is only part of the equation, however. The value and impact come in quantifying how well new hires perform against the expectations defined by the stakeholder during the needs analysis phase. In other words, what is the return on expectations (ROE)? Unlike return on investment (ROI), ROE can — and should — be calculated for every training event.

Calculating ROE adds a few steps to the needs analysis in the form of specific questions and then in the collection of data post-training. The most difficult part of calculating ROE is quantifying the expectation in order to report it back to the stakeholder as a percentage. There are four steps to do so:

  1. Determine:
  • The base value (BV): For new-hire training, the base value will always be zero.
  • The target value to achieve (TVA): The stakeholder will provide this number.
  • The actual value achieved (AVA): These measurements are collected at the 30-, 60- and 90-day markers.
  1. Subtract the base value from the target value to calculate the expected difference.

TV – BV = Expected Difference (ED)

  1. Subtract the actual value achieved from the base value to calculate the actual difference.

BV – AVA = Actual Difference (ED)

  1. Divide the actual difference by the expected difference to calculate the return on expectations (expressed in a percentage).

(AD / ED) * 100 = ROE

An Example

A learning professional collaborated with his stakeholder and determined the following metrics for measuring training solution effectiveness:

The new hires had no knowledge of the process and therefore had no experience with the system in use. BV = 0. The stakeholder expected the new hires to be able to process 10 items per hour following training. TV = 10.

Thirty days after training, the new hires were processing, on average, eight items per hour. AVA = 8. The learning professional determined that this actual value was 80% of the expectation. (8 / 10) * 100 = 80%.

A Final Note

ROE is easy to calculate for every training event. If it’s not, the event is information-sharing rather than actual training.