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The Feedback Loop of Employee Training – Getting Honest Responses


Training and development occur at various times during an employee’s tenure with an organization. There is the initial induction/orientation training for all new hires; there is training that might occur when a new computer system is installed or when new programs or apps are implemented. Then there is the training that occurs as the industry evolves, and new concepts must be learned. Customer service training is a must for any company that wants happy customers sharing their experiences.

There are also differences in delivery systems for training. Some may be computer-based (either through in-house software or cloud-based programs) and others may be in person with a live trainer delivering the content. These may require different types of feedback loops.

Trainee Feedback/Evaluation is a “Must”

Most employers have traditionally built in some type of method for trainee feedback at the end of a training program. In the past, these have usually been paper and pencil surveys that were completed anonymously and then reviewed by those responsible for the training. If done right, the trainers then revise and tweak their content or delivery based upon criticisms that were repetitive among respondents. After all, that is the purpose of asking for feedback.

Oral Feedback is Not Recommended

Sometimes, a trainer will attempt to gather oral feedback. Following a sales training workshop, for example, the presenter may select random participants for a one-on-one meeting to get feedback. This is considered less reliable feedback for two reasons:

  • Employees, particularly if they are new, are not prone to provide negative oral feedback for fear of being labeled a “troublemaker.” While this may not be a trainer’s intention, that concern is still there.
  • Employees who were reluctant participants in the training may not provide honest feedback. If they “tuned out” during sessions, they will not be able to comment accurately on either content or delivery. The trainer will receive statements, such as, “It was all fine, and I learned a lot.”

Enter the Survey

Many organizations have determined that having digital survey tools are the best route to go in getting more accurate feedback. These can be anonymous, of course, but there are other benefits:

  • Respondents can be provided a time frame of 24 hours or so in which to respond. This allows them time to reflect on the training and pinpoint strengths and weaknesses more accurately.
  • Respondents, by completing the survey in private, will not be influenced by biases of other participants
  • Results can be organized by each question automatically, allowing for faster analysis of results.

As with most things, the digital age presents many improvements over the “old” way of doing things. Using online survey tools is just one more way in which organizational leaders and trainers can get the information they need, get more honest information from training participants, and use that information to improve training programs.

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