Is Your Training Plan Helping to Achieve Company Goals?
There is seemingly constant chatter in corporate training circles about the importance of using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of a training program. But not all KPIs are created equal.
The goal shouldn't be simply to have KPIs to measure and quantify the success of your Learning & Development (L&D) strategy. Rather, experts insist that there is an essential first inter-departmental step every organization should take before a single student is trained and you start measuring learning performance.
What is that step? Alignment.
It's imperative that there be alignment between goals of your company's L&D initiatives and its broader organizational goals. This connection can prove vital when it comes to showing results in the form of KPIs that validate a training planning and delivery program to your executive leadership —and that also can help improve and refine your company's training processes.
Now, you might think the idea of the proverbial right hand knowing what the left hand is doing is among the most obvious business best practices when it comes to developing a training plan. After all, that well-worn business cliche about everyone needing to "be on the same page" is right up there with "the customer is always right" and "thinking outside the box" when it comes to over-used corporate-speak phrases.
But research and training trends show that overall business strategy and training programs are too often out of sync:
- Only about 8 percent of L&D professionals believe their mission is aligned with company strategy
- Only 27 percent of Human Resources professionals believe there is an adequate connection between their department's learning KPIs and company business goals
You don't have to hold an MBA to conclude that this all-too-common disconnect between L&D professionals and other internal corporate stakeholders is not a best practice for achieving business objectives.
The good news is that there are many ways business leaders can achieve better alignment between training goals and big-picture goals.
But let's first better define what "alignment" means within the context of corporate training. According to Chief Learning Officer, alignment is defined as . . .
"the proactive, strategic process of planning learning to directly support the important goals and needs of the organization. Alignment requires L&D leaders to discover the goals and needs of the organization and then talk to the goal owners to determine whether learning has a role to play. If it does, the two parties need to agree on the specifics of the learning initiative including target audience, timing, type of learning, objectives, cost, and measures of success (ideally the outcome or impact of the initiative on the goal or need). They must also agree on the mutual roles and responsibilities required from each party for success, including communication before the program and reinforcement afterward."
So before running off and conducting surveys and gathering KPI metrics, it's important that your training program plan is in step with specific company objectives, which will then allow your company to conduct more targeted post-training assessments and testings, as well as better measure student performance after they've received training.
MicroTek has narrowed down the five most important categories of KPIs that gauge the value and effectiveness of your training program in the following infographic:
The data culled from developing training KPIs will be more accurate and suitable for your organization. You will know what questions to ask learners post-training, what specific performance criteria to measure, and ultimately this can lead to a more accurate evaluation of the overall post-training operational effectiveness. Armed with this knowledge, training professionals can then make better decisions about whether a training program will benefit from outsourcing certain delivery functions like using offsite classroom space, virtual training technology, cloud-based lab services, etc.
Dr. David Vance, executive director for the Center for Talent Reporting and author of “The Business of Learning,” suggests that every L&D department should create a one-page document listing the "top-line" organizational goals alongside what role learning can play to achieve them—and, as such, which training program curricula and modalities should be implemented. "This is how you demonstrate alignment," Vance says, "not through KPIs or measures."
For more information on planning your training download MicroTek's Complete Training Program Planning Guide.