Skilled and high performing leaders are a key driver for increased employee engagement and performance, and the nearest leader is actually the most important factor according to a study by Gallup. Leadership training, therefore, continues to be the #1 priority in corporate training as companies seek to increase employee engagement, performance and retention, which all improve business results. But do your leadership training efforts actually have a lasting effect on your employees?
Would a finance manager approve a business case for a new machine or investment with a negative return? And could you imagine a branch director leading a business without knowing the cost and revenue numbers? No, I guess you could not.
However, when it comes to learning, many companies invest in expensive programmes without knowing the true cost and effect of the training. Some measure the user satisfaction and perhaps also pre- and post-test the participants to understand whether they have learned what they were supposed to. For most companies, the evaluation stops right there . If your company does the same, you might wind up with only a positive satisfaction score and some evidence to learning outcome to support your investment.
Have the learners changed their behaviour? Have they delivered better results because of your training? Most companies don’t know. Most companies also don’t know the true cost of their leadership training. So, how can you measure the effect of the training, and how do you estimate the Total Cost of Training?
How do you determine if your training was effective or not?
For measuring the effects of training, Kirkpatrick delivers a recognized and proven concept for evaluating your training at four different levels.
At level 1, you ask whether the learners like the training. Basically, you distribute a satisfaction survey with questions like, ‘Was the teacher inspiring and well prepared?’, and ‘Was the venue appropriate for the training?’ , or you use the Net Promoter Score.
At level 2, you test whether the participants actually learned what was required. Before and after the training, give the participants an identical test consisting of for instance multiple choice questions.
At level 3, you measure whether the leaders apply what they have learned and change their behaviour afterwards. Self-assessments are often used, but the validity of these largely depends on contextual factors.
At level 4, you measure whether the training yields results. Has employee engagement increased or have sales gone up as a consequence of the training?
Most companies stop at levels 1 and 2 and fail to measure behavioural changes and training results. Say your company follows that pattern. You spend time and money on leadership training, but you still do not know if the training actually had an effect. Are the employees more engaged and performing better after you trained their leader? Are you retaining talent? Do your sales people sell more, or were they just satisfied with the venue and food and entertained by the teacher? These are the things levels 3 and 4 tell you.
What is leadership training really going to cost you?
We have developed a simple tool for estimating your Total Cost of Training. We include the obvious costs like venue, transportation, planning, etc., but for many training initiatives, the real cost driver is that leaders are spending time away from their team, customers and other stakeholders. A 2-day training for 20 leaders would cost 66,000 USD and over half of the cost would be salary, transportation and accommodation.
You can download our Total Cost of Training Tool for free right here, and see above example and calculate your costs. This tool covers the costs of classical classroom training. Stay tuned for a tool on e-learning.
With Leader’s Companion from Adapto Technologies, you get constant measurements on your leadership training as we track improvement in employee engagement and leadership development in real time. Most importantly, the data is used to continuously provide leaders with personalized leadership training.