How to determine the usefulness of your leadership training

Leadership training has a significant positive relationship with employees’ performance and the organization’s output. According to a study conducted in Chain Hotels located in Addis Ababa, the outcome shows a significant positive relationship between training and employee performance.

Organization employees improve their job-related skills and become more competent when trained. The research shows that 70.4 percent (115) hotel employees feel that the training program helps them to develop more, can work more efficiently and is interested in the work to achieve job satisfaction.

Furthermore, 93.18 percent of employees think their productivity is just because of their training. 71 percent of the surveyed people believe their path is clearer and makes them know what they are doing after training. 84.42 percent of the candidates say their social interaction, skills, knowledge, and attitude improve by attending the training sessions. However, while these studies indicate that training plays a vital role in employee performance, there is a gap as there are few or no published evaluation studies on the part of training in employee performance in the case of many industries.

However, while these studies indicate that training plays a vital role in employee performance, there is a gap as there are few or no published evaluation studies on the part of training in employee performance…

This problem then brings us to the question of what organizations can do to measure the effectiveness of their training programs. How do organizations evaluate the impact of training on their employees?

It is pertinent to note that evaluation research answers the question of whether an organization should implement or repeat a training program or not?” and, “if so, what modifications should be made? To classify areas of evaluation, the most used method of evaluation training programs is Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation model: reaction, learning, behavior, and results. The American Society for Training Development survey, which reports feedback from almost 300 human resource executives and managers, revealed that 67 percent of organizations that conduct evaluations use the Kirkpatrick model.

1. Reaction

The evaluation model seeks to find out how the trainees felt about the learning and training experience by fetching answers to questions like:

a. Did the trainees enjoy the training?

b. Did they consider it relevant in terms of the time they invested?

c. What was the level of participation?

d. How useful do they think the training was for helping them in their everyday work roles?

Answers to these questions may be obtained using ‘happy sheets,’ which are paper pencils or online surveys typically administered immediately after the conclusion of the training event. Instructors and managers also analyze the verbal reactions of trainees. Evaluating the response is essential to streamline the organization’s efforts towards those learning activities deemed important. Moreover, upset or disappointed trainees are likely to spread negative word of mouth to others who might be deciding whether to go for such learning experiences.

2. Learning

By evaluating learning, the model seeks to quantify the actual increase in knowledge or intellectual ability from before to after the learning experience. This is done by asking questions like:

a. Did the trainees learn what was intended to be taught?

b. Did they experience what was designed for them to experience?

c. In the specific skill/knowledge to be imparted, what is the extent of advancement or change in the trainees?

Written assessments or face-to-face interviews before and after the training event are used to gather information on this front. Reliable, consistent, and precise scoring measurements are used to analyze how far the learning was delivered. However, this is easier said than done while measuring abstract skills like attitudinal development or emotional intelligence.

Read also: How effective is your leadership?

3. Behaviour

Behavioral evaluation is how the trainees apply the learning and change their behavior. This usually requires soft skills on the part of the manager, who might try to find answers to questions like:

a. Were the skills imparted during training applied on the job?

b. Was there a noticeable and measurable change in the activity and performance of the participants?

c. Is the change in behavior sustainable?

d. Would the trainee be able to transfer his learning to another person?

The focus is more on subtle techniques like observation and interviews to interpret learners’ reactions and assess behavioral changes. Behavior change evaluation is possible given good support and involvement from line managers or trainees. Hence, it is advisable to gain the trainees’ confidence from the start by identifying benefits for them.

4. Results

This is the ultimate test of the effectiveness of the training because it evaluates the effect on the business or environment resulting from the improved performance of the trainee. This is achieved by deriving answers to questions like

a. Does the training program give good returns on investment?

b. Is there an increase in the business performance indicators like volumes, values, percentages, customer base, market share, etc.?

c. Is there a reduction in the number of complaints, failure instances, wastage, etc.?

Although individual results evaluation is not particularly difficult, the challenge lies in identifying which measures relate to the trainee’s input and influence. Also, external factors significantly affect organizational and business performance, clouding the cause of good or poor results.

Despite a few considerations regarding the time and cost factors, particularly for organizations that do not have a dedicated training department, Kirkpatrick’s model is the most popular training evaluation model because it helps to simplify the process of measuring the effectiveness of the training programs.

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