Without measurement and the ability to tell the story of training, we’ll never truly convince our business partners and stakeholders that we’re adding value to the bottom line. At Verizon, we tell this story consistently using six simple levels of evaluation:
Level 1: Did they like it? Level 1 measures the extent to which training participants react positively to the training. Were they engaged? Was it worth their time? Were they satisfied with the design, the content and the way it was delivered?
Level 2: Did they learn anything? Level 2 measures the extent to which participants acquired new knowledge and skills during the training. Are they leaving with critical knowledge and capabilities that will help them do their jobs better? This level may also include an attitude change or a new way of looking at an issue or problem.
Level 3: Are they doing anything differently or better on the job? Level 3 measures the extent to which participants are returning to their jobs and actually applying the behaviors they learned. Do they do something better? Do they do something more efficiently? No subsequent business metric improvement could ever be attributed to the training if participants didn’t change their behavior.
Level 4: Did it impact the business? Level 4 measures the big question: “So what?” It is the extent to which the training is improving critical business metrics. That is, did the behavioral improvements actually lead to better business metrics and higher performance? What was the increase in productivity? What was the increase in sales revenue, customer satisfaction or number of widgets produced?
Level 5: Was it worth the investment? Level 5 measures the actual return on investment: the extent to which the benefits of the training outweigh the costs of the whole experience. The final ROI is expressed as a percentage of the original investment after both level 4 benefits and total costs have been monetized.
Level 6: What climate factors can maximize your ROI? A level 6 analysis can tell you what’s helping or hindering the business impact of your training back on the job. It looks at factors in the participants’ work environment that can make or break the ultimate effectiveness of your training. For instance, it could tell you the ROI of your participants who return to supportive managers versus those whose managers who don’t support them at all. It can also tell you if a certain sustainability tool that you deploy after the training is actually working.
Show Them the Money
For an example of how we summarize and present the findings, here are the results of a recent case study measuring a program called “Delivering the Promise: Meeting Customer Future Needs.” The program was developed and designed internally to improve customer care and increase certain key performance indicators for our front-line care representatives.
- Level 1: Participants were highly satisfied with the training experience, rating it an overall 4.69 out of 5.
- Level 2: Ninety-six percent of participants acquired new knowledge they could apply in their role.
- Level 3: At two months post-training, 91 percent of participants showed improvement in key behaviors on the job, and 44 percent had significant to exceptional improvement in these same behaviors.
- Level 4: At three months post-training, there was a positive impact on two of the four metrics, including a 37-percent increase in device payment upgrades (DPU).
- Level 5: These increases in key performance indicators resulted in an overall ROI for the training program of 1,288 percent.
- Level 6: Participants who used a sustainability tool called “Prove-It” one month after the training showed no significant performance improvements and ROI above and beyond those who didn’t use the tool. This finding helped us evolve a more effective tool to drive the impact of our training in the future.
We then include most or all of these results in a quick and simple one-pager for our business partners and stakeholders to share with their colleagues and leaders:
Most of us in the training industry intuitively know how much a great program or development initiative can impact employee performance and the bottom line. But without being able to measure and demonstrate that impact with hard numbers and dollar values, we’ll forever be perceived as the people who take lots of budget and give back little in return.
The contributions and value we add to the business by investing in and developing our people is the biggest source of any competitive advantage a company can have. It’s time we start showing these impacts and returns to our business leaders and decision-makers. Then, and only then, will we take our proper seat in the boardroom and be seen as one of the most business-critical functions in the organization.
Want to learn more? Our Midwinter Month of Measurement is leading up to our next virtual conference, TICE Virtual Conference: Metrics Matter, a Focus on Strategic Planning, Analytics and Alignment. Learn more and register for the free event here.