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How to measure the impact of your staff training

You can calculate the return on investment from your training by following a five-step logic model, based on the work by Jack Phillips. This model allows you to establish a chain of impact from training to business outcomes.

Level 1 – Engagement

This level is often measured after training has finished, through ‘happy sheets' that ask participants about their reaction to the programme and the trainer. For a more accurate assessment, these questionnaires are updated to include a few additional questions about why they took part in training and how relevant they found it to their role and business.

This information needs to be collected at the end of the training session to ensure 100% response rates.

Level 2 – Learning

This measure is generally used to find out if participants learnt anything from their training programmes. It can be a formal assessment, a role-play exercise or any other assessment that fits within a training programme.

Learning should be measured as part of the actual training programme to make sure all participants are assessed. If participants have prior knowledge of the training subject, they should ideally be assessed before and after the training for comparison.

Level 3 – Application

This looks at the participants' behaviour in the workplace and what changes after they've received training. Businesses often struggle with this level of assessment, but it can fit into measures that are already in place, such as performance targets or 360-degree feedback reports.

A comparison of the participants' performance before and after the training programme needs to be made, and performance should ideally be measured after the participants have had time to implement their new skills/knowledge in the workplace.

Level 4 – Impact

This looks at whether changes in participants' behaviour have led to different business outcomes and, again, can fit around measures already in place, such as mystery shopper feedback or staff turnover reports. Again, this should be compared to baseline performance and measured a while after the training has taken place to ensure any changes are sustainable.

It's important to isolate the impact of the training to make sure that it was actually the training that caused changes in business outcomes. You can do this by comparing results with a control group that didn't receive the training, or simply through asking the participants and their line managers to make estimates.

Level 5 – Return on investment

This final level of assessment is where the business outcomes from the previous level are converted into monetary values (where possible) and compared to the total cost of the training programme. Costs can include trainer fees, equipment costs and the cost of taking employees out of the workplace.

ROI = (net programme benefits / total programme costs) x 100%

This calculation would ideally take place a year after the training so you can see whether any potential benefits have been sustainable. Naturally, as every business is different, it's up to each individual organisation to decide the best time to carry this out.

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