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How to Get the Most Out of Your Training Program

Businesses large and small are seeing the value of investing in their employees, especially in tight labor markets with historically low unemployment. Last year alone, U.S. companies spent $90.6 billion on training expenditures – a 32.5% increase over 2016 spending. However, with these increased budgets and expenditures comes an increased pressure to prove and improve ROI on training programs.

So, how does an organization prove the effectiveness and value of upskilling employees?

Know Your Training Needs

Training for the sake of training is wasted time, money and effort. An effective training program should align employee skillsets with your specific business goals. Do you want to cross-train employees to better handle production needs? Or prepare junior-level employees to take on more responsibilities? Or maybe just improve the overall quality of your team’s creative output? Whatever your business goal, this process should be personalized with the objective of making current personnel fill their individual skills gaps.

Optimize Training Delivery

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to training. Your training program can include any combination of instructor- and self-led as well as in-house and outside development opportunities. While many organizations opt to keep employee development in-house, you may need specialized, offsite training to learn others. Internal shadowing and mentorship programs, like Designship, offer a cost-effective and hands-on way to supplement formal training efforts. Not only does this take some strain off of your internal resources, it allows employees to learn at their own pace and in the style that’s most effective for them.

Set Your Baseline KPIs

Now that you’ve determined your training goals and how you’re going to deliver instruction, it’s time to justify your existence. In order to prove the value of upskilling employees, you have to know the key performance indicators (KPIs) against which you’re measuring. KPIs in a business sense are ways to numerically measure your progress toward a goal – things like productivity, cost per unit, or sales figures. However, in a field that’s not as tied to quantitative metrics, like design, qualitative KPIs may be gathered with surveys or performance evaluations.

Evaluate Program Effectiveness

Part of proving the value of your training program is proving its effectiveness. One of the most popular and well-known means of determining training effectiveness is to use the Four Level Evaluation Model developed by the late Donald Kirkpatrick, who was Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, as well as past president of the American Society for Training and Development.

  • Reaction – How satisfied were participants with their training? This should occur immediately after training modules.
  • Learning – How much did participants get out of their training; did training result in an increase in knowledge and/or skills? This is typically measured with skills tests or knowledge demonstrations.
  • Behavior – Have acquired knowledge and skills been applied to participants’ specific jobs? Usually conducted 3-6 months post-training through on-the-job observation.
  • Results – What are the tangible results of the learning process? Revisit your KPIs to determine if your training goals have been met as well as your ROI.

Although the benefits of upskilling are well-known, it’s still imperative to know that your training is moving the needle. Whether you’re seeking to improve compliance with internal training or grow the next generation of leaders through our management-style mentorship program, measuring your successes will help ensure your training program is both efficient and effective. By crafting your programming around set business goals and tracking key performance indicators throughout the learning process, you don’t have to guess at the value of the training you provide – you’ll be able to prove it.

Interested in learning how Designship adds value while reducing costs for your training program? Talk ROI and KPIs with our Designship team today.