You’ve determined that training is one of your key needs to move D&I (diversity and inclusiveness) forward in your organization and now is the time to start. You’ve identified a training partner who’s a professional with adult learning, training design and facilitation expertise. They are experts in D&I who possess first-hand management experience and a list of measurable successes. Their training design increases awareness, knowledge, and skills and is accessible to a variety of learning and personality styles. They know your organization and industry well and are equipped to help you manage conflict and change.
Congratulations! This is an accomplishment worthy of celebration! However, your return on investment from training, even when delivered by seasoned experts with an excellent design, will still be limited if you’re not reinforcing what happened in the workshop back in the office. Also, if you never measure the effects of a training program on participants’ performance or behaviors, how will you know whether it made a difference? If you do neither of these, not only will it look like the organization just wasted its money, people may conclude that D&I training doesn’t work. This will have a chilling effect on any future D&I efforts.
It’s a false belief, even among some training professionals, that the effects of training can’t be measured. This belief undermines the credibility of D&I initiatives and professionals, and reflects poor stewardship of an organization’s financial investment and trust.
To ensure meaningful training impact, ask yourself:
- What are the specific goals, or learning objectives for the training? What exactly should people feel, think, and/or be able to do differently by the end of the training?
- What is our baseline? Where are we now in relation to our training goals? Assess individual participants using a pre-test or self-evaluation before, or at the beginning of, training. Also, assess the entire organization using relevant customer or employee satisfaction scores, quality metrics, market share, and/or financial indicators.
- How will we know whether or not this training was a success? Again, this may be measured for individuals using a post-test and/or self-evaluation at the end of the training. Use the same instrument pre- and post-training and compare results. To assess organizational impact, revisit the same metrics you used to identify your baseline.
- Results of training effectiveness should be measured by quantitative means (numbers, such as a 1-5 Likert rating scale) and qualitative means (words). People reporting they can have difficult conversations more easily, trust their bosses, or feel more confident with customers are all valid measures. Secondhand stories of people doing new behaviors that get better results are also excellent qualitative measures. The most powerful communication of training success includes numbers and stories.
- Use as many of the Kirkpatrick Four Levels of Learning Evaluation as possible to determine training success. Seasoned training professionals will not only know what these are, but how to use them. They track whether learning, new behaviors, and results continue to emerge over time, beyond how training participants felt at the end of a workshop. Keep reading!