#5 in our training evaluation blog post series:
In the not so distant past, evaluation of learning was an isolated activity relegated to the training team who’s responsibility didn’t extend much past gathering level 1 and level 2 evaluation. Today the emphasis is on the bottom line and how organizations can get the best value for their money and efforts. New evaluation tools, processes and strategies are available to help companies become more strategic; the evaluation of learning has become less of an isolated activity and more of a culture/philosophy. Learning teams are now becoming drivers of change, helping to support evaluation efforts within their organizations. But what if your stakeholders and senior management don’t see or understand the importance of evaluation?
Implementing levels 3, 4 and even 5 can be a challenging and daunting task even if the training team is fully involved and committed, because commitment and participation is also required from employees, managers, supervisors, business partners, stakeholders and senior management. An organization’s executives need to be on board as top-down messaging is critical to success – you’ll be swimming upstream trying to get managers to participate in evaluation if they don’t feel that their own bosses are behind it.
Many senior leaders already acknowledge that employee education is a critical success factor for future growth and prosperity. Use this as your ‘hook’ to sell them on the importance and value of a solid system of evaluation. Here are some tips to help you along the way:
- Show how evaluation contributes to success: Be able to show a direct correlation between the organization’s strategic needs and goals, business unit operational needs, individual development needs, the training that is designed to address these and the evaluation techniques that will be used to quantify improvements.
- Share a roadmap to implementation: Create an evaluation strategy that will systematically guide the organization from the present situation to the desired amount of evaluation. Be prepared to provide costs in terms of time and manpower.
- Give confidence with examples: Gather relevant case studies of best practice organizations who have implemented evaluation within their organization with positive results. Use this information to support your position. There are a number of websites with best practice research. Check out our favourites in a previous blog post.
- Start small to prove your case: Run a pilot and communicate/share results. Work with a key stakeholder/business partner to address a business need through training. Use this training as the “test case” for your evaluation plan. Apply each level of evaluation gathering testimonials and data, and tracking trends along the way. Share results and testimonials. Use stories and case studies based on the training results to capture attention and highlight the positives. Prove that measuring the value of learning can have a positive effect on your organization.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate! Communication at all levels of the organization is critical to success. People need to understand the What, Where, Why, When and How of your evaluation strategy and what their role and commitment will be. Be patient. This will take time, but your efforts will be worthwhile!
Be sure to check out our other evaluation blog post in this series:
- Measuring the Value of Learning
- Our favourite training evaluation resources
- Refreshing the Kirkpatrick Four Levels evaluation model – Kirkpatrick Then and Now
- 8 tips for creating a successful evaluation strategy