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Bitesize No. 14 – Business Partners and Control Groups


One subject that often comes up under the heading of ‘evaluation’ is the use of control groups.

What is a control group?

Well, if you were training 10 teams of salespeople you could choose not to train (or provide less training for) one of the teams.

This team would be the control group.

You would then compare their subsequent performance with the performance of the other nine teams.

The basic idea is to see whether the training had made any difference or whether the control group performed just as well without the training.

On very rare occasions you might choose to run a control group in training but as a general rule business partners should not entertain the idea.

Why? Well there are several very good reasons: -

• Control groups might help to prove that your training is effective - but you also have to admit that you have disadvantaged a group of employees for no good reason.

• Also, while you are failing to train people your organisation is missing an opportunity for improvement.

• Anyone who understands the Baseline evaluation model (see Bitesize 4) does not have to resort to control groups because the training will be designed to be self-evaluating (i.e. baseline performance figures for all salespeople are collected before the training starts and measured again afterwards)

• If the aim of the control group is to isolate all other variables and factors that might influence the training this same end can be achieved through clever training design. So, you might plan to run the training when no new products are being launched and no new marketing campaigns are planned.

If you are seriously considering using a control group ask yourself why?

What advantages does it bring and does this outweigh the disadvantages?

Training departments trying to justify their existence often resort to using control groups.

It's not a positive position to start from.

Business partners should not need to prove their training all the time.

Paul is happy to take questions and comments and can be contacted at:mailto:[email protected]

Earlier articles in this series can be found at:
The Bitesize Business Partners Page


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