How can you evaluate external training providers?
It’s reckoned that over 25% of the external training that companies provide for their staff fall far short of meeting their needs. So how can directors ensure it will work effectively and that it’s money well spent?
Not a cheap option
In a recent survey by Knowledgepool, more than 25% of employees questioned felt that the external training courses they had attended via work had little or no relevance to their job role. Many claimed to be none the wiser after sitting through them, meaning that the company’s cash was well and truly wasted.
Before you pay?
Many training courses aren’t cheap, and so you won’t want one of your employees to be amongst this worrying statistic. But you’ve a one in four chance that they will be. So is there any way to evaluate the effectiveness of a training provider both before and after you book places on one of their courses?
Ask your own staff
It sounds obvious, but don’t just send a member of staff on a course (unless you have to for, e.g., manual handling). Before you do, ask them about what they feel they need and show them any you have selected. If they feel the course is pitched too high, or low, for their level, request more detailed course content from the provider.
Tip 1. Following most training courses, attendees are invited to fill in feedback, or evaluation forms. There’s no reason why you can’t ask the provider to see a range of these comments – good and bad.
Tip 2. If they’re reluctant to release any (they can easily block out the names, address etc. to protect confidentiality) or provide you with a sample of recent reviews, there’s a reason for it and it’s unlikely to be a good one.
Business is booming
Following training, you should be able to measure its success using tangible indicators. For example, if the training was for Customer Service, you should be able to see for yourself how an employee is now interacting with customers. If it was on technical skills, e.g. IT, ask them to demonstrate something new that they learned about on their course.
Questioning your staff
Although your staff will probably give feedback to a course provider, it’s a good idea to have your own evaluation forms too. We’ve produced an example evaluation template that you can use as a basis for this exercise (see The next step).
What can you ask? You could ask staff questions such as: “How relevant was the training to your job role?”, “What were the most and least useful parts of the training?” and “Will you be able to utilise your new skills?”
Tip 1. Ask for feedback promptly. The longer you leave it, the less reliable the results will be.
Tip 2. If you get negative feedback, query it with the provider. Don’t assume your employee approached the course with enthusiasm!
And finally. The Business Link website includes detailed information on how to evaluate training and has a free guide that you can download.