It can be really difficult to quantify the effectiveness of soft skills training as its not so tangible as measuring other skills but it is really important to give you leverage for further investment
Below are 8 top ideas you may find useful.
1: Increased retention. Its an obvious one but can be tricky to link to a training program. It’s probably easier to measure retention in the high turnover jobs. If newly trained employees feel unsupported and not trained for the job, they are more likely to leave within their first 90 days. When you measure training success this way, higher retention points to a successful training program.
2: Improved sales results. Many organisations can track efficiency based on sales. If training is heavily geared toward a sales or customer service force, an effective program will eventually increase sales numbers. You can also measure product knowledge training as part of a sales number – poorly educated sales people usually do not make the sale.
3: Improved morale – employer satisfaction surveys can help a lot to evaluate management and leadership programs and you can add in questions to check in on skills trained such as coaching and giving feedback. You could also use 180 surveys from the staff about their managers. These do at least give you some comparisons to measure success.
4: Customer satisfaction. Any organisation can link training to customer service, which can be both internal and external. Customer service is also one of the easier places to start: one well-written survey can identify a host of customer related issues that can be addressed by training programs. Remember that training may not be the only solution to those issues. If your organisation already has a customer survey in place, use those metrics to cross check your programs. When your programs impact the survey items, you can correlate an increase in customer satisfaction back to training.
5: Business-defined score sheets. Training outsourcers tend to use client-defined criteria to determine training effectiveness. If your organisation has a wide variety of possible measurements, sit down with management, and stakeholders, to create a custom scorecard based on expectations and the training programs that need to be in place.
6: Return on Investment. ROI has long been a “catch all” metric. In some cases, it’s easy to define ROI, but in more cases it’s increasingly difficult. If you deliver soft skills training, it’s hard to put a pounds figure on the return. There are numerous ROI calculations available, so if you’re thinking about using an ROI metric, look for the formulas and plug in what you can. If you are part of a numbers-driven organisation, you’ll be able to make friends with the stakeholders by defining and measuring concrete ROI.
7: Facilitator performance. Facilitator evaluation is an important internal measurement. The results can come from learner and manager evaluations, and must take into account the facilitator’s presentation skills, knowledge of the subject, projection of organisational values, and flexibility
8: End-user satisfaction. The learners can measure effectiveness quicker than anyone else, both straight after the training and after a given time period, such as 30 or 60 days. The immediate results, sometimes referred to as “happy sheets”, can give you a picture of what happened in the workshop. The delayed results can tell you if the material is useful or not. Plus, end-user surveys are great tools for proving effectiveness with management.
It can take time to put solid reviews in place but its worth the effort because it goes a long way to establishing your credibility and your judgement and expertise will be trusted. It also will give you some excellent feedback to help improve the training in your company.