Subramanyam Reddy (Subbu) is the Founder and CEO of KnowledgeHut, the leading technology workforce development company that helps enterprises and individuals around the world move forward to the next level with the help of technology. in 2012, at the age of 28, Subbu, as he is known to everyone, started KnowledgeHut. He on-boarded 12 employees and with an initial investment of $10,000 (Rs 5 Lakh). They almost gave up after the first two months of no revenues and no more savings to invest. But then the leads started flowing in and by the end of third month, they generated revenue of around $28,000 (Rs14 Lakh). Since then, there has been no looking back. The company has grown from strength to strength and is now expected to clock an Annual Revenue Run-Rate of Rs300 crore in March 2022.
Innovations are disrupting the workplace, resulting in radical changes and the creation of new models of work, driven by the constant evolution of technology. Technology has an inherent characteristic in that it is constantly evolving to make our lives easier and more efficient. The only way for organizations to stay relevant and ensure efficiency is by adopting the latest technology and the transformative models of the future workplace.
As cutting-edge computing, AI and automation technologies chart out new paths in today’s world and bring in better ways of doing things, companies have realized that employee upskilling is imperative to scale business growth. According to a report by management consulting firm PwC called Talent Trends 2020, the biggest concern of CEOs is whether they would have the talent needed to navigate an uncertain economic future and if this talent would be capable of staying relevant.
When asked about the effectiveness of their upskilling programs for reducing skill gaps, and developing more efficient models of work, most organisations accepted the fact that the perceived effectiveness was only around 20%. Even companies with advanced upskilling initiatives reported a mere 35% rate of effectiveness of their training programs.
Even though upskilling and reskilling can attune employees to industry advancements and breed confidence, can training given by the organisation ensure the desired impact?
To completely understand the returns of continuous learning programs, measurement mechanisms must be deployed to gauge the impact of the training programs.
The figures speak for themselves. Today’s businesses are losing a huge amount of money due to inadequate training. According to Harvard Business Review, $350 billion was spent by organizations globally on training but has not been put to best use yet.
To gauge what is missing in the training sessions and what can be done to improve these sessions, an in-depth evaluation of the initiatives must be done.
- A Gartner study finds that 70% of employees feel they lack mastery over the skills needed for their current jobs;
- Just 12% of employees are confident enough to apply new skills learned through training programs; and
- In a recent McKinsey survey, 25% of the respondents were certain that the right training could significantly improve performance.
So, where exactly are we going wrong?
Learning and Development (L&D) teams often implement training programs without defining an effective training program.
Considerable time is wasted as employees spend 11% more learning time than is optimal for best performance.
This lost time translates up to $134 million in productivity losses. The wasted investment on L&D functions is at least $6.5 million, which could have been put to much better use.
Evaluating the actual business outcome post-training is required and not just measuring satisfaction scores or course completion targets. Results can be judged by the pay-off with respect to time schedules, productivity and financials of the company.
Measure the effectiveness of your online training programs!
To make the most of online training programs, you should be able to offer your employees the training they need to boost productivity. Here’s how you can do that.
- Pre-training and post-training assessments
Learning programs are usually developed incorporating assessments that can test the employees’ understanding and retention of the theories learnt. By knowing where they have gone wrong, they could build upon their weak spots and strengthen their approach till they achieve mastery of the subject matter.
The pre-training and post-training assessments are imperative tools to understand if the training program has achieved its goals. For instance, if the majority of the employees are facing difficulty in a particular interim assessment, another look at the module can be taken to simplify the content for better understanding.
Knowledge gained can be measured from the results of the pre and post-tests, to evaluate whether the training has had the desired effect.
Assessments can take the following forms:
Before training: The trainee’s current level of skills and knowledge is evaluated.
During training: Short tests at regular intervals can help to evaluate concept comprehension.
After training: Different assessment tools can be utilized to determine whether the training has been effective and if the learning objectives have been achieved.
- Scenarios and simulations
Once the training has been completed, how would you know whether your employees have absorbed the lessons learnt? For instance, are they applying their new skills, or would you trust them to get it right the first time?
Creating a work-like situation and putting the learner in the driver’s seat, will help in judging their ability to apply their learning in a real-life situation. By creating a series of tests, you can identify their level of retention and understanding of the concepts learnt.
If employees are consistently facing difficulty in clearing the tests, then it is an indication that the learning curriculum needs to be revised and additional content will need to be provided to the learners, until they are well versed with all the learning objectives and can apply theory to practice.
- Learning analytics
Learning Management Systems or platforms often have in-built analytics that assess the learning journey of employees. The data collected during the learning journey is used by these learning analytics, to trace the efficiency of the learning.
For instance, the number of attempts to clear each assessment, the time learners spend on each module and so on can be used to refine the training for greater effectiveness. For example, the difficulty levels of the modules need to be evaluated if most of the learners are breezing through a particular module but spending far too long on another.
AI-based algorithms not only can improve the module but can also be used to personalize the learner’s path by giving recommendations as to the topics that need further focus.
- Adoption of technique post-training
There can be many such situations where, the learner may understand the concepts very well during the training, but may not be able to apply the knowledge to solve a real-world problem.
It is important to observe your employers before and after the training session to find out if they are actually achieving the goals of the training.
Post-training follow-up sessions and technique training provide the opportunity for practice and also ensure that the acquired knowledge is correctly implemented.
- Measure business impact/ ROI post-training
The clearest indicator of the effectiveness of the deployed training strategy is the ROI.
A recent article states that 55% of companies that registered high-growth averaged 30-50 learning hours per employee, while 61% of low-growth companies only spent less than 30 hours of average learning per employee.
You can get an understanding of the effort, time and money you have put into the program by knowing the impact of your training programs.
Estimate the L&D spend against the benefits that have been obtained post-implementation of the training. The benefits could be increased productivity, sales or a drop in customer complaints. Measurable metrics must be used to chalk out the cost vs performance ratio to determine whether the training strategy was successful.
- Feedback from employees
When it comes to judging the effectiveness of your training programs, your employees are often the best to give you honest feedback.
By collecting your employees’ feedback, you can measure the effectiveness of your training program and see what could be done to improve it.
Surveys can be used to collect data for ranking employee satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10. Feedback from learners such as if the topics that were useful and the ones that were not and understand from them on what were the weak areas of the training course.
Above all, learners should find the content of the course interesting, resourceful and valuable, or they will not feel the need to complete it wholeheartedly.