PGS is welcoming consultant John Gregoire to the team. Below is a post from John on training metrics – one of the many areas of expertise he brings to the table. Hope you enjoy it!
Early in my career I built the perfect training event. My participant feedback was excellent, it was a huge success, or so I thought. I compiled my data and presented it to my boss ready for the kudos I so rightly deserved. He smiled as I presented my results, even congratulated me on a job well done. After I concluded my recap he said two words that would forever shape the way I approach every program I have designed since, “So what?”
I was floored. “So What?!”
So what, I thought, I had 900 participants report an 85% favorable response to the experience
So what, I came in 30% under budget and met all the expected learning objectives based on pre and post evaluations
“So What” he said again. “Can you demonstrate that anyone learned anything beyond how they felt on the way out the door?”
“So what” he said yet again “How do pre and post tests show anything beyond someone’s ability to remember what you said and fill in the proper circle? Does what happened here really impact our bottom lines? Does it really meet our goals?”
He was right and his criticism was a gift.
Whenever I build curriculum now I think about the measurable training data I can collect, how long it will take me to compile credible results, and what it will take to do the job correctly. I build that into the program and ensure my clients know the job isn’t done until the data shows it.
If someone wants me to address a “training” problem I always start the conversation with those two words “So what?” – in other words what do you want me to accomplish through training. If they can give me a concrete response we are in business, if not we go back to the drawing board until we have one.
Here is a simple example of a recent project. A company hired me to help them onboard and retain employees. I had my so what – increase the average tenure of an employee. My initial goal was to save the organization enough money in the first year to cover the cost of my services and increase profits markedly over subsequent years. To do so I had to decrease employee turn by 40%. To reach that goal I needed employees to remain in employment an average of 9 months.
I had my measurement – Increase the average life of an employee by 3 months.
That’s my “so what” – my measurement – my goal
Too often an organization has an intuitive sense that they need training and development. They have a problem to solve and they bring in a rainmaker to fix it. Because we are creative driven educators we go straight to solving the problem and recommending a course of action. The trouble is “So What”
If you can’t measure results you don’t have results. Everything you do should have the same basic concept in mind “So What”, what is the ROI, what is the outcome of your effort.
Slow down the pre-scoping process and get to the bottom line “So What?”
If you can’t produce a “So What” the best thing you can do is eliminate training altogether and lower your annual expenditures. At least with this approach you can confidently say we saved $50,000 in direct cost and exponentially more in employee labor hours by eliminating immeasurable training.
Approach training with a shrewd eye for metrics. Look for the deliverables and ensure you are getting the “So what.”
Interested in learning more or in talking with John about your trainings, drop us an email.