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Calling SMEs


My role is to help SMEs (businesses with up to 249 staff) to find training in Hampshire, Dorset and Isle of Wight.

One thing I have found is that not many measure how successful the training they paid for was.

I would be interested to hear from any SMEs, not just in my area, who could give examples of how they may have evaluated the training they or their staff may have done.

Gareth Pugh

7 Responses

  1. Look at the difference the training makes to the bottom line.
    There has been some debate about the best way to measure the effectiveness of training.
    I have found that there is only one measure that counts.
    The difference that the training makes to the bottom line.
    If there is no difference to the bottom line then I have to question whether the training was appropriate or effective.
    If the difference can be measured then the effect is clear.

  2. sign up to evaluation before commencement

    I work for a training providing company and have conducted many evaluations in a previous role myself. It is a difficult topic to address. A question we ask companies is what improvements do you want to make as a result of training, finding a good answer is somewhat difficult.

    We work with clients to identify outcomes then measure the results at a given time frame.

  3. Evaluation is evaluation
    I suppose there is little difference between SMEs and large companies when it comes to training evaluation.

    Same tools (e.g., questionnaires, performance tests/ knowledge checks or manager/ delegate interviews post training), just different scale.

    And yes, the end result of training should be increased knowledge/ skill/ attitude to improve individual performance, which should improve overall department/ business performance.

    However… we all know how difficult that one is to pin down and, in isolation, claim as the end result of training purely on its own.

    But we’ll keep up the fight, eh?

  4. Calling SMEs – training evaluation
    I’m in the process of launching my training company and will continue the practice of course evaluation I adopted whilst managing the Education and Training Department of a Foyer. Training needs of my staff were identified mainly during supervision or appraisal through a diagnostic approach, prioritising courses appropriate to their staff development plan. We always identified a measurable (SMART) outcome or objective which we would write down, using Action Verbs in three categories: skills, knowledge and attitudinal. This makes post course evaluation much easier. We had something to analyse following the training.
    We then needed only to check off everything accomplished and implement the new learnings.

  5. Look at Kirkpatrick and Investors in People
    Hi Gareth

    Using the tried and tested Kirkpatrick model of evaluation:

    Level 1 is the immediate post course review – did it cover what we needed it to?

    Evaluation then needs to go beyond this to:

    Level 2 – what is the individual going to do as a result of the learning?

    Level 3 – what has been the impact of the individual putting the learning into place?

    Level 4 – what is the impact on the individual’s department and – ultimately – the organisation, of the individual putting the learning into place?

    Of course, all this presupposes the organisational impact of the learning has been planned and identified before the learning takes place. Unless this has been done, it is indeed difficult to evaluate.

    If you find it difficult to evaluate a piece of learning, I would suggest you look at how your organisation develops the SMART learning objectives that should precede any piece of learning and how these relate to organisational success. This should always be done by discussion between the individual and their manager, who is ultimately responsible for the performance of the individual.

    There is help available to you in setting this up – just contact your local Business Link and ask for someone to come and talk to you about Investors in People. This links the training plan to the business plan, and will ensure you have the 4 levels of evaluation in place. You will find it far easier to evaluate the impact of training and learning in your organisation as a result, and encourages organisations to continually use the learning and skills of its people to build a successful organisation. At the end of the day, this is a key ingredient of competitive advantage, as we all know. Here is a tool to help you develop it.

  6. Kirkpatrick Model
    Hi Gareth,

    As an executive coaching/hr consultancy we always use the Kirpatrick model – very efficient, however level 4 is the hardest to measure. Business Results: measurement of specific measurable business results attributed to the training. These results may include increases in productivity, increases in efficiency, decreases in absenteeism and occupational accidents, decreases in customer complaints…etc
    Your ROI will depend on how much time/resource you spend in level 4.

  7. Begin with the end in mind
    Hi Garath

    I would suggest that you define what success looks like at the point of identifying the training need. Evaluation and ITN should go hand in hand, In other words what is the purpose/aim and objective or business benefit of the training intervention, once you have identified what success will look like then evaluation will be easy.
    For example is the training intervention intended to reduce errors, then measure the number of errors you want to reduce by or to , before training commences, if it is to increase revenue or reduce costs, again take the metrics before commencing then you have a true benchmark to use against Kirkpatrick at all levels but especially level 4. Finally there is a need to be realistic about the improvements that can be brought about and that is the skill you can bring at the ITN stage


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