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Reporting and Analysis: How Great Training Organizations Share the Story of Training’s Impact

Reporting and Analysis: How Great Training Organizations Share the Story of Training’s Impact


High-performing training organizations are process-oriented. They do not assume training is effective; instead, they have a process in place to track and analyze metrics to determine that training is improving the performance of the business.

While many training professionals consider reporting and analysis processes to be important, they are much easier said than done. Only 10% of training professionals rate their training organization’s performance in this area as strong, according to a decade-long research study conducted by Training Industry, Inc. This finding represents a significant opportunity for improvement for the majority of organizations.

Great reporting and analysis means:

  • Assessing or measuring learning outcomes.
  • Collecting course feedback from learners, managers, instructors and other relevant parties.
  • Assessing or measuring application on the job.

Telling a story that matters to the business and calculating the true cost of training and development efforts is a real challenge, says Kathryn Connolly, CPTM, director of global talent development at WEX Inc. “For example, if we implement a new system to a business unit, the true ROI [return on investment] is difficult to calculate based on the length of the implementation. There are many work streams involved in successfully implementing the new system. The training is just one part of the implementation within a much larger project.”

As Connolly points out, crediting training and development as the source for improved performance or profitability can be difficult with so many variables at play. To help simplify this complex process and effectively share the story of training’s impact, let’s examine a few best practices.

Communication Matters

Communicating with the leadership team and key stakeholders is critical to ensure training is strategically aligned with the goals of the business. It will also help you to “identify metrics that matter” and determine which areas of improvement they would like to see as a result of the training initiative, says Connolly. Be specific, and determine the amount of detail and frequency with which you should report your metrics back to the business. This approach will help to create a framework that you and your team can use in your data collection efforts.

Don’t Get Lost in the Data

The vast amount of data available creates many challenges for training professionals. It’s easy to “get caught up in all the data and lose sight of what we are really after,” says Steve Couchman, MA, CPTM, CSM, a training and communication manager at Iowa State University. “Learning leaders often want to dig in and find out more,” he says, “where our leaders may only want the top-line numbers.” Aligning with business leaders on the metrics that they would like to see enables training professionals to stay focused and not get lost in the data.

Use a Training Evaluation Framework

A training evaluation model provides training professionals with a framework to measure the results of their training programs. Today, the Kirkpatrick Model is the most common method of evaluating the effectiveness of training programs. It evaluates training along four levels:

  • Learner reaction
  • Knowledge improvement
  • Behavior change
  • Business impact

This framework provides structure to the data collection process by breaking down metrics into four levels of reporting. Being able to measure training across all four levels can help learning leaders craft an impactful story to share with company leadership.

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