If you've ever managed or been part of the learning and development (L&D) function of an organization, chances are you've been asked for a "quick overview" of the courses and other training and development programs employees have taken over a certain time period.
Often, this request comes because someone is trying to justify budget allocations, staffing allowances or strategic plans for the L&D group.
The problem is, utilization reports (which is what the "quick overview" requests is all about) don't really tell you anything meaningful about the importance and value of your learning and development team and the real contribution they make to the organization.
Now don't get me wrong, utilization reports have their place. They tell you about attendance and the popularity of learning activities. They can also give you an idea of whether employees, departments and the organization overall are supporting the use of available learning and development resources and taking advantage of them.
We all know employee development can help your organization build alignment, increase employee morale and engagement. It can also improve productivity and retention, and preserve organizational memory and domain expertise. All of the above go a long way in terms of establishing and maintaining a competitive advantage.
So the request for that "quick overview" of training employees have taken is more than reasonable. Pulling together the data is another thing altogether - not much fun!
The bigger question should be - what was the effectiveness of our training programs?
Traditionally the effectiveness of training is measured with pre and post testing. Your organization may also conduct a "training satisfaction" survey that asks the employee if they think they'll apply the things they've learned to their job.
Yet these activities only provide an indication of what an employee has absorbed and retained from training in the short term. What they can't tell you is whether training has had an impact on an employee's on-the-job performance. And isn't that the answer your organization should be after?
Well the same goes for that training utilization report. An itemized list of training an employee has taken coupled with some testing and training satisfaction survey results doesn't give you any indication of the real value, impact and ROI of your L&D organization and its individual learning assets.
So Santa, all I want for Christmas this year is a training report that demonstrates improved performance on the job.
What I really want is a report that compares performance review ratings before and after training. One that lets me tie each employee's development activities to their performance of a specific competency, so I can check their performance ratings before and after training over the long term.
And ideally, it would look at performance review score improvements not just for one employee, but for all those who took a particular course or training activity.
That way, I could actually demonstrate the business value of all our learning assets as well as our team. (and hopefully earn brownie points on Santa's naughty or nice list, as well as our CEO/CFO/CHRO's).
What would that ideal training report do for me, Santa? Well here's my wish list:
If you can do that for me, Santa, I'll even leave out extra special cookies for you and carrots for the reindeer. Now, I've heard there's a solution called Halogen Learning™ that can generate this kind of training report in seconds...wondering if you have too...