As a Learning and Development professional, you live and die by certain terms and industry jargon that you’re pretty sure you can see in your sleep. Terms like ROI, measurement, results, on-the-job performance, sustainability…you get the picture. They’re your raison d’être!
So, what is the point of a killer training program that doesn’t have any real results attached? One that has no outcomes? Simple. It is a very expensive waste of time.
We came across a provocative article in Training Magazine entitled Outcomes-Based Training. Outcome-based training (a.k.a. business-focused training or evidence-based training) challenges L&D to look at the gains to be achieved in advance. This approach ensures your team understands the organization’s needs and delivers programs that align to its strategic goals. The highlighted benefit of Outcome-based training focuses on engaged learners building on pre-existing knowledge, skills and experiences while filling knowledge gaps. More importantly, outcome-based training promises measurable results!
Outcome-based training tracks how many times learners use their new skills in their daily work. Now you’ve got senior leadership’s attention…in the best way. From their perspective, L&D is now delivering the results that matter most—improvements that affect company operations, sales and profitability. Not only are you driving results, you are elevating your credibility.
Sounds great, right?
Here are some things to consider when thinking about outcome-based training:
--Ensure audience/skill match. Training for results depends largely on how well the audience is attuned to the skill. Does this audience benefit from the training back on-the-job? Onboarding is a training that should involve everyone, while a particular leadership development course is better suited for emerging leaders only.
--Expectations. If you want results back on the job, then expectations must not only be set, but also be clear and attainable. Pre-teach by giving learners action plan items that inspire thinking and inform expectations before the training has even started. Immediately after the session, follow up with next steps to implement application of the learning gains, putting those action items in motion.
--Follow Up. Supervisors need to be able to continue the training after the session. Engage learners by posting questions on forums, social reach outs, or even messaging that keeps the topics in the forefront of participant’s minds. Also, following up on action plan items is important. After the training, great results are driven by involved supervisors. Training is never ‘one and done’.
The article caveats that not every desirable skill can be measured, and others may not generate returns for several years. While a dollar-for-dollar value may not be readily discernible, value can still be measured via metrics such as employee retention, productivity, promotions and engagement.