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How to Use Employee Training Metrics to Measure Training Effectiveness and Impact

November 4, 2020 | By Asha Pandey


How to Use Employee Training Metrics to Measure Training Effectiveness and Impact

Training metrics enable you to objectively assess the effectiveness of your learning solutions, feed training program improvements, and help drive business performance. Take a look at their significance and how you can use them to determine training effectiveness and, eventually, impact on business.

What Are Employee Training Metrics?

Training metrics are data points that are used to quantify and validate the effectiveness of a training program. The goal of any legitimate training solution is to solve problems. While Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) identify the progress of business goals, training metrics evaluate a training solution’s success. 

Training solutions rooted in sound theory are measurable. Examples of training metrics include (but aren’t limited to):

  • The number of employees who successfully complete training.
  • The pass/fail rate of knowledge assessments.
  • How well training solutions map to job functions.
  • The rate of behavior change linked to training solutions.
  • The impact of training solutions on KPIs.
  • The ratio of financial return.

What Is the Significance of Training Metrics in Assessing Learning Effectiveness?

Analyzing training metrics drives improvement. Often, organizations don’t factor how to measure the impact of training until after the solutions are implemented. Instead, training metrics should be identified in the Training Needs Analysis (TNA) phase.

Effective training metrics:

  • Will help you validate if the planned training is improving employee and business performance. 
  • Can help you identify where employees struggle, feeding into the training design loop. 
  • Can then be used to help drive business results as employee behavior improves.

How Can You Map Employee Training Metrics to Training KPIs?

Higher-level training metrics should map to training KPIs; otherwise, they’ll not represent accurate results. 

For example, in Kirkpatrick’s model, level three determines behavior change from a training intervention. The training metrics you gather should map to the KPIs that include the desired behavior. Level four maps to the impact training has on business outcomes. Those metrics should map to the KPIs used to determine how the company is performing.

What Tips and Strategies Can Help You Identify the Right Employee Training Metrics for Your Training Program?

The list below outlines some useful strategies to identify the right training metrics:

  • Consult with key stakeholders – before development, on the metrics they care about. Make sure to use your L&D expertise to inform your collaboration.
  • Avoid using L&D jargon when collaborating with stakeholders – Modify your language to suit the audience.
  • Focus on objectively quantifiable metrics – Subjective ratings can be misleading and are difficult to validate.
  • Determine the value of measuring the effectiveness of a training program. It takes effort to evaluate training effectiveness, and those that support key strategic outcomes should be the focus of your training metrics.
  • Report honestly, even when faced with poor results – Accept and learn from failure.
  • Avoid highlighting low-level metrics, such as enrollment and completion rates. 

What Models Can Be Used to Measure Employee Training Effectiveness and Impact?

There are several training metric models that you can pick from to measure training effectiveness and impact. The list below briefly summarizes a few well-known models. Many organizations use one or more of these models, sometimes modifying them to fit their needs. Using proven models, like those listed below, are useful because they’ve been tested over the years.

  1. Learning-Transfer Evaluation Model (LTEM): LTEM is an eight-tiered assessment strategy: (1) Attendance, (2) Activity, (3) Learner Perceptions, (4) Knowledge, (5) Decision-Making Competence, (6) Task Competence, (7) Transfer, and (8) Effects of Transfer. This model postulates that the first two levels (attendance and activity) do not provide enough data to determine effectiveness but provide a foundation for each succeeding level.
  2. Kaufman’s five levels of evaluation: This model includes five levels: (1) Input and Process, (2) Acquisition, (3) Application, (4) Organizational Output, and (5) Societal Outcomes. These training metrics span measurable results, starting from how effective the training materials were perceived by the learners (Input and Process) to the impact the training has at the organizational level (Societal Outcomes).
  3. The success case method: Instead of focusing on the success levels of specific training programs, this model measures how well an organization leverages training. It attempts to consider factors outside a training program that might influence employee performance and business results.
  4. Context, Input, Process, and Product Evaluation Model (CIPP): The CIPP model measures (1) the impact of context, input, process, and product; (2) sustainability; (3) effectiveness; and (4) transportability. This model is iterative and is used throughout a training solution instead of after.
  5. Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation: Kirkpatrick’s model is perhaps the most ubiquitous model and is the starting point of many other models. It’s taxonomy measures (1) learner reaction, (2) knowledge retention, (3) behavior change, and (4) impact on the business. 

The correct training metrics can serve to validate the level of success of your training programs. Perhaps even more importantly, training metrics will drive the development and implementation of effective training solutions.

This article was first published in Training Industry.

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