EVALUATING THE EXTENT AND EFFECTIVENESS OF TRAINING
Evaluating the extent and effectiveness of training requires the identification and use of key indicators for each. The effectiveness of quality (and related) training is harder to measure. Many companies tie general improvements in quality to the completion of training.
Extent of training of various companies:
The number of training hours per employee varies considerably, even among quality leaders. Here are some guidelines:
- Motorola employees average about 40 hours.
- Marlow Industries employees average over 60 hours.
- Milliken associates average about 76 hours.
- Corning employees average more than 90 hours.
- Solectron employees average over 100 hours.
- Custom Research Inc. employees average over 130 hours.
The effectiveness of quality (and related) training is harder to measure. Many companies tie general improvements in quality to the completion of training. Other companies are measuring effectiveness through indicators more closely linked to the training—indicators that offer a more immediate and traceable footprint, instead of trying to extrapolate the impact of one quality contributor from that of the whole herd. Typical indicators come from:
- Surveys of employees, upon completion of a course, to measure such things as how appropriate the material was and how easy it was to understand.
- Surveys of employees, a few weeks or months after completion of a course, to determine the degree to which the course content has been retained and applied.
- Questions, in annual employee surveys, about training needs and effectiveness.
- Follow-up training sessions, some time after completion of a course. to discuss problems, obstacles, and successes.
- The development of measures that show the application of learned behaviors and skills on the job (statistical process control, for example).
Northern Trust survey:
- Northern Trust surveys employees at the end of each module of the "Training for Absolute Quality" curriculum. It is looking at surveying employees again, six months after they complete the course, to check on how their new skills are being applied.
- The company also relies on its certified trainers for input. "We tap into them about every three months," says Danziger-Barron.
- "They've played a major role in helping us develop and refine the course for our non-management employees."
For smaller companies, the measures of effectiveness tend to be more immediate. "We are beginning to utilize some measures of effectiveness now," says Globe's Jennings, "but we're so lean we can look at each other and know what areas need training. We don't need a lot of fanfare to make a change."