Evaluating the Effectiveness of an Employee-Training Program

Employee performance appraisals generate data that provide a solid basis for determining training and educational needs, whether on an individual or departmental basis. For example, a significant number of evaluations that point to problems in teamwork and cooperation indicate a need for training in these areas. Conversely, if the performance review data shows no teamwork or cooperation problems, even the best team-building program in the world would be of only marginal help.

When employees are provided with clear and specific examples of performance where they fell short, and they understand the consequences associated with continued poor performance, their interest in taking corrective steps is significantly enhanced. As a result, they enter an educational program as motivated learners, which is essential for learning to occur.

When a training program is completed, one key step is to evaluate its effectiveness. And one of the best ways to do this is to compare performance evaluations prior to and after the training. If the evaluations included consistently low ratings and negative comments on teamwork and cooperation prior to the training, while the ratings and comments became more positive in later evaluations, then the training most likely worked. However, if later evaluations show that the ratings and comments remained poor or even dropped, the issue needs to be revisited.

In the world of training, excellent programs are described as having a high degree of transference, meaning that the information learned in these programs can be readily applied to the attendees’ jobs. Training that's conducted without consideration for the employees’ needs is destined to have minimal transference at best, and this means minimal interest, attention, and learning. For example, in order to perform more effectively on their jobs, apparel designers don’t need training on tax laws.

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