How much to evaluate?

#6 in our training evaluation blog post series:

I read an article the other day called Measuring the Effectiveness of Training, by Teresa Hiatt, Director of Sales Education, Ricoh Americas Corporation. She stated some interesting statistics in her article that I’ve also run across in other research articles and best industry reports:

  • Research from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) states that top companies will spend more than $1,500 per employee per year for education opportunities.       
  • Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For lists development opportunities as an important indicator to attract and retain top employees.
  • The latest estimate of the size of the Training Industry is about $135 billion.

She concludes that all this research confirms that leading organizations and key management think that training employees is an important part of business today. Yet despite the time, effort and money companies spend for training and development, training is rarely held accountable for results.

Many organizations (and even T&D professionals) are under a misconception that measuring levels 3 and 4 (and even 5) are complicated, require too many resources and cost too much money so they just don't do it. They also believe that the levels of evaluation should be applied equally to all courses they offer. But not every training program requires evaluation at all levels. Business needs, strategic positioning, performance discrepancies, stakeholder support and the ability/willingness of the organization to observe, document, evaluate and support evaluation within an organization are all important factors when determining what training programs are chosen for evaluation. 

Best practice organizations use the following recommended evaluation targets when conducting evaluation of training programs:

Level 1 = Conduct evaluation for 100% of training programs

Level 2 = Conduct evaluation for 60% of training programs

Level 3 = Conduct evaluation for 30% of training programs

Level 4 = Conduct evaluation for 10% of training programs

Level 5 = Conduct evaluation for 5% of training programs

What percent of your training programs are you evaluating and at what level(s)? I’d be interested to hear.

Be sure to check out our other evaluation blog posts in this series: