Imagine that your boss comes into your office five minutes from now. They ask you for evidence that learning and development are worth the investment.
What would you say? Could you provide that evidence? Or would you splutter and trip over your words trying to defend your work?
If you can’t prove that your learning and development programs are improving your company, it’s time for a change.
The first thing to do is establish key performance indicators (KPIs) for training and development. These indicators tell you how well your training program is working and show executives and boards that your work is worth investing in.
While there are many training and development KPIs you might track, they broadly fall into two different groups.
These performance indicators are linked specifically to the training program itself. They measure how well you’re running the program and whether people are engaging with it.
They don’t measure any specific business impact. We’ll get to those in the next section.
Let’s start with some very basic KPIs:
This is a simple KPI for training managers. You’re probably already tracking it, even if you haven’t thought of it as a performance indicator.
To get a good picture of attendance, measure
- signups for all trainings;
- attendees in each training course;
- attendees in each training session; and
- attendance of courses and sessions for each participant.
A learning management system makes it easier to collect this information, but you could also manage it with a spreadsheet or your current software.
This is a good metric to measure over time. Is attendance dropping off as a course goes on? Learners might not feel like they’re getting long-term value out of the course. Are you not getting as many signups as you’d like? It might be time to change how you market the program to employees.
And if you’re not happy with attendance overall, it’s time to survey your employees to find out why they’re not taking advantage of your program.
Are your employees actually finishing the trainings that they sign up for? Completion rate will tell you. It’s only applicable to trainings with more than one session.
If you’re getting low completion rates, you probably have a communication issue. If employees don’t get what they expected from a course, they’ll stop attending.
Make sure to be set clear expectations on what employees will get out of a training. What will the sessions be like? Which skills will they learn? How will the training impact their daily jobs?
Clarifying the answers to these questions will be a big help to employees. And you’ll probably see your completion rates go up, too.
Time to Completion
This is a training efficiency KPI. Just because you have a great completion rate doesn’t mean that you’re training employees efficiently.
How long does it take the average learner to go from signing up for a course to completing it? This only applies to self-paced learning. That might mean an online course or a training program with multiple options for attendance dates.
If it takes learners a long time to complete learning tracks, do some research to find out why. Maybe they’re not getting a lot of value from the training, so they put it off.
Or it’s not a priority in their department. They may feel pressured to not take time away from their jobs to complete trainings.
There could be any number of reasons why learners are progressing through courses slowly. And the causes each require different tactics to deal with them.
It might be as simple as a weekly email reminder to sign into your LMS and complete a training session. Or it might require a shift in the focus of your training. It all depends on your learners.
Evaluation is an important part of any training program. And test results are an important KPI for training coordinators.
If your learners are scoring well on their assessments, they’re learning from your trainings. (Though whether that knowledge has an impact on their day-to-day job is a different question; we’ll talk about that shortly.)
If you’re confident in your assessments, this is a straightforward training and development KPI. Just look at the average scores of your participants. If you want to get more detailed, you can break them down by learning track, instructor, time to completion, and any other factor that might affect the efficacy of the training.
If the fail rate is higher than you expected, the fix is usually simple: increase the quality of your training.
Making that happen isn’t necessarily easy, but it does provide you with a straightforward goal.
Do your employees enjoy your training programs? You might not think it matters much if they’re showing improvement on other development KPIs. But employees are more likely to show up and pay attention in trainings that they’re satisfied with.
Of course, you need to do more than just collect satisfaction scores in your post-training surveys. You need to find out why learners feel the way they do.That might mean allowing free-form answers to provide details on what they liked or didn’t like. Or it could mean using a longer survey that covers specific satisfaction-related questions.