Training programs are an expensive affair both in terms of the financial expenditure as well as the time and effort invested by the company and the candidates who are being trained. Companies are witnessing tremendous skill gaps as they recover from the recession. More than 70% organizations believe that ‘Bridging Skills Gaps’ is one of their top priorities. No wonder the companies are spending over $130 Billion (worldwide) for Training Programs every year! Training is one area which cannot be overlooked by the management. Training helps the organization build a workforce that will maximum returns and improve operational performance.
Training also helps in developing leadership skills, loyalty, better communication skills and attitude of the employees. There is a growing demand for well qualified, knowledgeable people at various levels in any organization. So it is only logical for companies to consider and chalk out a full scale Training Program for their employees.
But companies usually don’t evaluate the impact of these training programs on the business and employees. Companies don’t have the right set of tools to measure training effectiveness. Let us understand some of the techniques which the training facilitators or managers can put to use to measure the performance of the training programs.
The most crucial step in any training program is the Planning Phase, to decide on the parameters which will judge the effectiveness of the training. There needs to be a basic framework in place for any training program to be effective.
Let us look at some of the top reasons for failures of IT Training programs and suggestions which can make these programs effective -
- Training is not linked to any organizational or employee challenge/problem
- All trainings should have a measurable end goal. The training should address a need, solve a problem or improve some process or operation. Accuracy in understanding the need of the training is often the first step towards a successful training program.
- Even re-skilling or reinforcement is often the need of the hour which goes unnoticed
- Too much emphasis on theory and less practical / lack of competence building exercises
- Hands-on training, demos, project experience, etc. help in making the employees competent and perform well at their job
- Inadequate training material, resources or amateur faculty
- The training notes, videos, e-learning material should be in line with the needs of the course. The faculty should be certified or have vast experience in teaching and real-life project work
- Training should be delivered as per the convenience of the candidate and when he is most likely to retain information. It could be classroom based training or online Live Virtual Classes.
- Inadequate measurement mechanism
- Training should be followed by adequate amount of Tests, practical exams and assessments to understand the retention levels and improvement in competency. There should be a log of the before and after training performance.
- Feedbacks during and after training is another effective mechanism to maximize benefits and learning
- Not Sharing Experiences
- Every candidate brings in his/her own experiences to the training room. The trainer should motivate them to share their experiences, their problems or difficulties as well as their success stories. This helps in bringing a new dimension to the routine training activity and help all the participants to grow
- The trainer should share his/her experiences on live projects which add to the knowledge of the class. Certain case study exercises help to a great extent in understanding the practical aspects of some topics
Now let us look at some of the measures which can be used to judge the effectiveness of the training programs –
Has the training resulted in reduced time for a particular task on the job? Is the employee able to finish the same set of tasks faster than before? Productivity improvement is the single most important parameter to assess the effectiveness.
Has the quality of work or performance improved? Is the employee able to deliver better results using the same resources?
Has the training program helped boost the team morale at work? Is the team more collaborative and receptive to ideas from colleagues? Has the company culture improved?
Utilization & Profitability
From an organization standpoint, has the training program resulted in improved human resources utilization? Has the program resulted in more people with advanced skill sets to support the operations? Has the profitability of the business unit or as a whole seen any positive improvements?
If all the above factors are working for you and are optimized, you have an effective training program at hand. Every organization is different and hence the best way to judge what works and what not is to study the direct impact of training on these vital parameters.