Request Meeting
Request Meeting

Are Your Learning Programs Actually Working? See what HR Dive has to Say...

Jul 29, 2019 12:35:00 PM

From:  HR DIVE - Riia O'Donnell 

Demand for learning is up and the spending that employers allocate to it is climbing — but as employers spend more money, they may also need to increase expectations for successful learning.

What outcomes do employers expect from learning programs? Whenever a company initiates training, that company must also ensure it has clear, definable results in mind, experts told HR Dive. Training to increase practical knowledge — how to utilize equipment, for example — should be task-oriented and measurable. Other training goals, like developing soft skills, may be more intangible, but success metrics are still necessary.

Quantifying learning and finding success

The classic Kirkpatrick Model to evaluate training is widely used, Tom Griffiths, CEO and co-founder of Hone, explained to HR Dive. It covers four measurements:

  • Reaction: Were workers actively engaged and participating in the program? Observation and reaction surveys can help with this metric.
  • Actual learning: Did they come away from the session knowing more than when they went in? Baseline quizzes before and after give a snapshot of whether or not the session met objectives.
  • Behavioral change: Are you seeing a change in the way people perform their work? If training isn't directly relatable and usable, this might be more difficult to quantify.
  • Results: What is the final impact on the business overall following the training? Have errors decreased? Has productivity increased? Is customer satisfaction up? These measurements may take longer to quantify, but they're worthwhile metrics to obtain.

Ultimately, employers should keep an eye out for true measures of performance improvement, Anna Robinson, CEO of Ceresa, told HR Dive. Sales growth, unit cost reductions and improved throughput are all examples of potential results. "If business performance improves, that means the right person is receiving the right content, and it is having an impact on their performance," she added.

But there are other ways to measure success, Ujjwal Gupta, co-founder and COO of BenchPrep, told HR Dive. "A learner getting that long-sought promotion or spreading knowledge in their department are key ways to witness a development program's success." said Gupta.

Changing minds and habits

What is the goal of training — changing minds or changing behaviors? Griffiths believes both are needed for a growth mindset, but one can lead to another.

"We can inspire change by giving learners the mental models, evidence and ways of thinking to start shifting their mindset, which can have a huge effect on behavior," he said. "For example, how differently do I behave if I believe I know everything and have nothing to learn from others, versus the mindset that I have something to learn from everyone?"

You, as an employer, should do more than just encourage learning, you should aspire to have a culture of learning. This enables employees to actively look for growth because you have made learning more readily available and their development is rewarded. For Griffiths, a successful learning culture is one that is open, aware and flexible. Ideally, there is a balance between dictating what the organization wants people to learn and giving employees choice and control over what they learn to foster an employee-driven culture of learning.

Robinson said to look for engagement and buy-in. To gauge success of their mentoring program, for example, Ceresa looks at the number of women who are interested in continuing the current mentor relationship as well as the number who begin to mentor others. "This both extends and expands the learning culture," she said.


Do you have your "clear definable results" in mind for training your employees but no way to implement them? Schedule a demo and let us show you our Performance Management solution. Investing in your employees is a win-win for everyone involved, let us help you achieve that in the best and easiest way possible. 

About Proliant

Proliant puts the human in human resources. We provide a fully integrated, cloud-based HCM solution that simplifies payroll and HR processes. The company serves small to large clients in multiple industries in all 50 states and is committed to providing the highest quality customer service in the industry.

Subscribe to Blog

You May Also Like

These Stories on Performance Management

Subscribe by Email