Most training managers agree that effective measurement is a major contributor to achieving improvement goals. However, is it possible that too much measurement can have a negative impact? The answer is yes. Like chocolate or fine wine, you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to training measurement.
You Know You Have a Measurement Problem If...
The first step to solving any problem is identifying it. If you see any of these signs, it’s time to consider re-evaluating your measurement strategy:
- Training measurement gets in the way of doing the actual work
- Employees complain that it takes too much time to track all the data points
- Complaints that there are too many tracking systems in place
- You can’t find the time to prioritize and analyze the data
While it’s true that good measurement data is essential for tracking progress, if you’re drowning in it you won’t be able to make any meaningful changes.
How do you solve this problem?
- Cull your data points - Take a hard look at what you are currently measuring and how much of it you actually use. Chances are you could stop tracking certain data and never notice that it’s missing.
- Streamline your measurement system - If employees have to spend an onerous amount of time entering data into a range of spreadsheets, your measurement strategy could be getting in the way of the job. Consider a digital measurement system that automates data collection and allows you to use a single platform across all departments.
- Select the right measurement tools - Ensuring that you use the right tools for the job is a key factor in streamlining a measurement strategy. Switching to a digital system is a good first step, but within that you must select the appropriate combination of tools such as feedback surveys, knowledge quizzes, multi-rater assessments, and more.
- Make sure you are using the most appropriate metrics - Every organization has unique goals, and your training measurement approach should be consistent with your internal objectives.
Select the Right Metrics
One problem that goes hand in hand with too much measurement is focusing on the wrong metrics. For example, metrics such as job satisfaction levels and training completions are important and valuable, but they don’t really give you the type of information that allows you to make meaningful improvements in the business. However, metrics that illuminate how the training is impacting individual jobs and the workplace as a whole will allow you to make more informed business decisions and more effectively measure training results.
For example, say you have identified a problem that many people are cancelling a software subscription because the program does not meet the purchaser’s expectations. You have determined that this is a result of the support team not sufficiently educating customers and have decided that it is worth investing in a training initiative to reduce these types of cancellations. In this case, a targeted measurement strategy might include:
How do you solve this problem?
- Clearly define your training goals - Identify the problems you want to solve or areas for improvement and be as specific as possible.
Example: Reduce subscription cancellations due to dissatisfaction by 25%.
- Determine the relevant key performance indicators - Define what exactly you need to measure to monitor progress.
Example: Track the number of customers who call to cancel versus those who subsequently decide to keep their subscription.
- Measure consistently and often - Ongoing measurement allows you make course corrections along the way and identify which areas need improvement.
Example: Gather subscription cancellation data for each member of the support team on a weekly basis and analyze it once each month.
This approach allows you to see which representatives are using the information delivered at the employee training, and which ones have not changed their approach to cancellation calls. Ongoing measurement enables you to take action such as refresher trainings, rewarding individuals who excel, and identifying other areas that need work.
There is no simple answer to how much training measurement is appropriate for every organization, but if you determine which data matters the most, streamline your measurement process, and use the data to produce meaningful results, you are on the right track.