Grace Hill Training Tip of the Week
Measuring Training Effectiveness: Transferring Lessons to Your Job
The great hope of training is that it results in behavior changes that improve employees’ job performance and ultimately positively impact your business. The ability of an employee to successfully apply what was learned in training to his or her job is called transfer. To successfully transfer lessons learned in training to an employee’s activity on the job is the ultimate goal of training.
In this series on measuring training effectiveness we’ve looked at measuring implementation (Did employees complete the training?), learning (Did employees master the learning objectives?), and reaction (Did employees find the training valuable and feel they benefitted from it?).
But how do you measure what happens in the weeks and months after training? Employees may leave training excited about transferring new skills to their job, but when back on the job it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and fall into old habits. To guard against this, consider a post-training plan that focuses on both measuring and supporting transfer.
Here are some tips for a post-training plan to gather information on how employees are using strategies learned in training and simultaneously create an environment that supports and reinforces transfer.
- To measure use of strategies learned in training, leverage mechanisms you already have in place. Instead of creating a new set of measurement tools, think about aligning existing performance review forms, mystery shops, or observation protocols with training. This allows you to gather information without putting extra tasks on the busy managers and employees.
- Use informal tools to measure and support transfer.
Regular, structured discussions between managers and employees can provide insights into implementation of training strategies. They are also an opportunity to signal that the things addressed in training are important, and to offer support to employees who are having trouble applying what they learned on the job.
- Hold employees accountable for behaviors in addition to outcomes. It is common to track outcome such as leasing rates, customer satisfaction scores or incident/claims rates. Think about also holding people accountable for the behaviors that influence those outcomes. For example, choose a few observable strategies from training, and make them an element of performance reviews.
- Position training as ongoing, rather than a one-time event. Think about a post-training plan that regularly reviews job aids or key points from training to ensure things stay fresh in employees’ minds. Consider running employees through practice scenarios to help show or reinforce the application of skills in real-life scenarios.
For many learners, applying what they learned in training will take ongoing encouragement and reinforcement. Having a post-training plan in place to measure and support the use of strategies learned in training will increase the likelihood of transfer, and ultimately the overall impact of your training.