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How to Use Metrics to Measure and Improve Training

Evan Hackel

“If you aren’t measuring it, it probably isn’t happening.”

–        Evan Hackel, CEO, Tortal Training


Evan Hackel is right. If you’re not measuring what your training is getting done, chances are nothing is changing.

That means that if you are not using metrics to measure the effectiveness of your training, you have probably agreed to live with the following problems:

  • You are spending money but have no way to understand what you are getting in return.
  • You don’t know what you have accomplished with your training and, even worse, you have no way to improve your training efforts in the future.
  • Some of your employees are doing a great job, some are doing a poor job, but you really don’t know who they are, because you are not measuring what they do.
  • Your trainees are bored and perplexed, because your training is teaching them all kinds of skills they don’t really need – and failing to teach them the skills they need.
  • Your company’s profits and competitive edge are suffering, because you are not fixing critical problems that need your attention.
  • You’re probably not doing a good job of onboarding new employees, because you don’t know what you should be teaching them or how to measure it. 

We could continue to list problems that affect companies that fail to measure the effectiveness of their training. But let’s do something more useful, by providing a quick overview of what metrics are.

The Process 

You might want to print out this list and post it over your desk where you can see it every day. It will help you develop training that brings about the change you need in your organization . . .

  1. Identify the processes that you would like your training to improve.
  2. Pinpoint key indicators you can measure to understand whether your training is bringing about the changes you want in those processes.
  3. Create and deliver training that focuses on the processes you are trying to improve.
  4. Monitor your key indicators after training to determine whether performance has improved.

If you follow those steps, you will have a way to evaluate the overall success of your training efforts.

Here’s an example of how one company used that structure to create high-ROI training that brought about meaningful change in the way employees were performing a critical job.

Improving the Skills of Appliance Installers

A chain of appliance stores had a capable group of deliverer/installers who were doing a good job. They delivered and installed washers, dryers, refrigerators and other appliances. They never damaged customers’ property or made installation mistakes that required them to visit customers a second time. Yet in surveys that were given to customers after their appliances had been installed, customers were giving an average of only three stars out of five to the installers. What was going wrong?

When company management dug into the issue, they discovered that two product installers were consistently earning five-star reviews from customers after they had delivered and installed appliances. What were these two employees doing that was different from what other installers were doing?

The company spent time with them and asked them to describe, step-by-step, their process of delivering and installing appliances. After interviewing those two employees, the company determined that they were doing several things that other installers were not . . .

  • Appliance installer one was taking the owner’s manual out of its poly bag and was sitting down with customers (usually at their kitchen table) to go through the manual, explain how to use the appliance, and answer questions.
  • Appliance installer two was starting dishwashers and clothes washers, usually with customers present, to make sure that there were no problems and that customers understood how to use their new appliances.
  • Both installers asked, “Do you have any questions or concerns?” before they left customers’ homes.
  • Appliance installer two also gave customers a business card before he left and said, “Call me today if you have any issues.”

The company decided that it had the opportunity to improve customer satisfaction by training all installers to make those same steps part of every appliance installation. So it added a new unit to its training program that taught those skills.

How would the company measure improvements in customer satisfaction after the training? Luckily, it already had data from previous satisfaction surveys that customers had completed.

So the company identified, and started to measure, these metrics:

  • Would the new training result in an average satisfaction rating of 4.5+ stars on customer satisfaction surveys after appliances were installed, which would represent an improvement from the current average rating of 4?
  • Would the comments that customers wrote in on their surveys become at least 50% more positive? A statistical analysis of past surveys indicated that about one in 10 surveys contained a negative comment. Post-training, could that number be cut at least in half?

The company’s new training, which was tightly focused on changing only four of the steps installers were following, hit those targets within only four months. And even better, the company noticed that other measurables were improving too. Repeat business was increasing, for example, and the quality of the company’s online reviews improved.

Start Training, Start Measuring, Start Improving Everything You Do

If you would like to learn more about investing in training that moves the needle and dramatically improves your performance in critical operations, we invite you to speak with a Tortal Training expert. Call (704) 323-8953 today.

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