The Top Training KPIs

The ability to track and measure the effectiveness of staff training programmes is a crucial objective for any training and development department.

Published on 12 May, 2017 | Last modified on 1 November, 2022
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Training processes are key for the success of any business. Without well-trained employees, organisations would fall into chaos. As such, gaining the ability to track and measure the effectiveness of staff training programmes is a crucial objective for any training and development department.

Like any other business function, leaders need to know what is working, the level of its success and what can be improved upon. One of the easiest ways to go about this is by defining some key performance indicators, better known as KPIs. When these metrics are deployed effectively, they can function as a benchmark to help L&D teams measure and eventually improve their efforts toward various training goals and objectives, explained Bacal & Associates.

“The creation of quality KPIs needs to center around multiple moving parts.”

Creating Effective KPIs for Training

While KPIs are endlessly helpful in a variety of ways, many organisations struggle to nail down solid KPIs that can drive real results. In order to accomplish this tricky task, the creation of quality KPIs needs to center around multiple moving parts. Sure, you can report on singular categories such as proficiencies, goals, and competencies within your L&D management system, but syncing these various functions and linking them back to your organisation’s training initiatives is where many difficulties arise.

According to Bacal & Associates, the key to formulating KPIs that measure training effectiveness lies in ensuring all KPIs are:

Measurable and Quantifiable: This criterion is very literal. L&D leaders need to make sure KPIs can actually be measured by percentages. For example, the goal of your next training initiative is to increase sales for the following quarter, and sales increased by 5 percent – that is a measurable and quantifiable KPI.

Based Around Competency: In order to achieve higher sales, your new hires must be knowledgeable and competent in product pitches and customer relations. As such, your training materials are based around these areas of competency. This serves as a template for how KPIs should be based in competency.

Connected to Proficiency: In theory, the KPIs established up to this point should be effective. But is the application of these core competencies actually proficient? Bacal & Associates noted that many training programmes miss the proficiency step when creating KPIs. Try testing out live situations and then implementing the feedback into future training. This helps ensure that all training initiatives are producing the desired result.

Mapped to Organisational and Employee Goals: Leaders need to understand what drives company success. Does customer satisfaction rule the organisation, or is money the motive? If customer satisfaction is the answer, then what makes for a happy client? If response rate and resolution times are key, then the right metrics have been identified, explained Bacal & Associates. All KPIs should be connected to the larger goals of the organisation and employee roles in this success.


Examples of Common Training KPIs

The process of formulating effective KPIs can be tricky, but they are crucial in order to prove consistent ROI for training initiatives. Without the results KPIs track, L&D teams would have nothing to show for their efforts and would ultimately be misguided in making improvements. So, what do some of the common training KPIs look like? According to The Center for Talent Reporting, they can often be broken down into three primary tiers.

Tier 1: The starting point of KPIs lies in metrics that aim to build measurement. This can include measuring things like unique training participants, average training hours per trainee, total cost of training and L&D investment as a percentage of payroll.

Tier 2: Tier two consists of supporting metrics for the training process, explained The Center. These can be used to determine why various changes or trends are occurring throughout the training process. Functions like training implementation cycle time, training penetration, manager support of training, and adjusted performance improvement fall under this tier.

“The ability to track and measure the effectiveness of staff training programmes is a crucial objective.”

Tier 3: The final tier is made up of raw data points that are used in conjunction with the tier one and two KPIs. From the total number of trainees in compliance, to payroll cost of training, these KPIs lay out the numbers that relate directly to training initiatives.

Training KPIs are not limited to these three tiers, however. They can extend far past a cookie-cutter tier system. In fact, The Center for Talent Reporting noted that there are over 100 measures delegated to L&D initiatives. Whether it is a cost-related KPI or a metric centered on effort, there are plenty of ways to pinpoint the successes and failures of any given learning and development training programme.

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