A training program is critical to employee and org success. But you already know that — you're wondering how to prove learning and development is a worthy investment for your team, department or company as a whole.
That’s where KPIs for training come in.
KPIs is an acronym for key performance indicators that help you put your money where your data is. Think: where you should invest, how much and in what way.
Using these metrics in the context of learning and development helps you learn if your employee training program is working — and what to fix if it isn’t.
What are KPIs for training & why are they important?
KPIs for training are tools designed to determine whether employees meet your training program's expectations.
They measure the impact of your company’s training and development program based on factors like:
- Quick thinking.
Instead of drowning you with redundant data, training KPIs help you track learner progress and measure training effectiveness.
Use them to judge whether employees engage with and benefit from your training program. If yes, you'll see its immense employee and company benefits. Your employees will:
- Produce better results faster.
- Retain helpful knowledge.
- Improve/learn new skills to effectively carry out their work functions.
- Implement feedback faster.
If not, you can dig deeper to identify areas of improvement to achieve desired results.
Scribe top tip: Solicit employee feedback to see where you can improve training sessions and documentation.
8 Important KPIs for training — that actually matter
Training KPIs can be your compass — one that helps you take (and stay on) the right path to strategic goals.
If you already have a training program but haven’t decided on the KPIs, here are a few you must track.
1. Training attendance
This metric will help you see whether employees are attending your training program and gauge its effectiveness.
For instance, if a limited number of employees sign up for the training program, you should brainstorm better ways to market training to employees.
Similarly, if you notice a dip in attendance as the class progresses, your employees likely don’t feel they are getting any long-term value out of the course.
To calculate training attendance, consider the:
- Total signups for the training.
- Number of attendees in each training course.
- Number of attendees in each training session.
- Total attendance of courses and sessions for each participant.
2. Training completion percentage rate
Are your employees actually completing the training program?
This KPI tells you the percentage of people who went through the whole process. Low completion rates indicate employees have stopped attending the sessions because of some issues.
Maybe it’s a communication problem, or maybe they aren’t getting what they expected from the sessions.
That’s why it’s essential to set clear expectations before employees start training. Inform them beforehand what the sessions will be like, the skills they’ll learn and how the training will help them perform their daily jobs.
Another reason to track this training completion is compliance.
If you're offering mandatory, compliance-based training, the completion rate should be 100 percent. If it isn’t, get the employees to finish the required training on time.
3. Activity pass/fail rate
This is a handy metric to determine the quality of training.
For example, you can hold compliance quizzes to identify:
- Branches/departments where employees pass at a high rate and likely get good training.
- Branches/departments where employees fail at a higher rate and perhaps get inadequate training.
You can then talk to the training manager where there is poorer performance to identify and evaluate the problem.
Analyze your participants' average scores. You can break down the test results by learning track, instructor, time to completion and other related factors to gauge training efficacy in more detail.
Alongside training quality, you can also use the pass/fail metric to determine the difficulty level of the training material. If it’s too hard, the percentage of people who pass will be too low — and if it’s too easy, the percentage will be too high.
Track the activity pass/fail rate to find the right balance.
4. Time to proficiency
Slow and steady may win the race, but when it comes to training, it’s better to have employees that can grow and evolve at a furious pace. And we’re off to the races!
Tracking time to proficiency tells you how long your employees take to reach the finish line.
For example, look at the total time to learn a skill or perform a process without errors. It also answers the “Are they truly absorbing the knowledge and becoming better” question, helping you understand how effective your training material is.
After all, just because your employees have completed training doesn’t mean you’re training them efficiently.
To measure this metric, we recommend using learning management system (LMS) reporting to check:
- The average.
- Individual time taken by each employee to complete the training.
Creating focus groups to assess performance — both before and after training — can also help you gauge the total time to reach a certain level of proficiency.
If your employees take unusually long to complete training tracks, they might be putting it off.
Reach out to understand why and take measures to resolve their issues. This can be as simple as sending regular emails reminding them to complete a training session or assigning them a specific time within work hours to complete the job training.
5. Knowledge & skill retention
According to Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve, we forget two-thirds of knowledge after 24 hours, especially if it isn’t revisited or used frequently. It's unrealistic to expect employees to retain everything they learned in training.
Your best solution is to create engaging and repeating opportunities to learn. Schedule annual or quarterly sessions and document critical processes to build a knowledge base.
Scribe top tip: Scribe is a step-by-step guide generator and screenshot Chrome extension that documents your processes for you. Say goodbye to manual instructions with copy/pasted screenshots — just Scribe it!
The number of skills your employees gain can indicate if your training works. Measure this by gauging the difference between pre-and post-training assessments.
Note that how you measure knowledge and skill retention will vary based on what skills you’re testing. Different jobs need different tests. For example, role-playing shows how well a sales rep applies training, while self-assessments or bug reports can show how developers evaluate code errors.
The knowledge and skill retention metric shows what formats or methods your employees respond to. It can also help you find the sweet spot for periodic training sessions.
6. Job impact
This metric will help you understand whether your training activities positively impact how your employees perform. To calculate this KPI for training, choose specific metrics that serve as trailblazers of your employees’ productivity and competency based on their job description.
For example, for a sales rep you might consider:
- Customer satisfaction ratings.
- Average deal size.
- Number of calls or emails in a day.
- Number of deals closed.
- Number of post-sales follow-ups done.
Remember, these metrics need to connect back to training.
HR managers typically use data analysis skills and a combination of self-evaluations to figure this out. If you find it challenging, we recommend an alternative approach: target specific metrics you want your employees to meet and create a training program around that.
Then ascertain how productive each employee is post-training vs. pre-training. This will help you identify who might need extra help incorporating what they learn into their daily work.
7. Learner satisfaction
Employees might be attending, even engaging… but do they like your training program?
When measuring KPIs for training, find out whether your program meets employee needs.
Why? Employees are more likely to show up and be interested in improving their skill sets when they’re satisfied with the training. They’ll also pay more attention to training and incorporate the learnings when performing their job.
Give out post-training surveys to learn how employees feel about your training program. You can ask them to give satisfaction grades on the different criteria, but we recommend going more in-depth and collecting free-form answers to specific satisfaction-related questions.
Embedding pulse surveys is another way to evaluate the training sessions while it’s still fresh in your employees’ minds.
These measures will help you determine whether your training program imparts knowledge effectively and connects your training efforts to business outcomes. This is also strong evidence to prove your learning and development initiatives make a positive difference in the company.
8. Return on investment (ROI)
If you track anything, track ROI. It's the ultimate KPI to see how successful your training initiative is. But we have to warn you: connecting training efforts to company profits isn’t an easy process. It’s a comprehensive task where you need to:
- Choose your training goals.
- Pick relevant training metrics.
- Select a training course and a provider (Ignore if your company offers in-house training).
- Pick employees to be trainers.
Calculate the cost of training once employees have completed their training. Then analyze the selected metrics to calculate your final training ROI.
If any training activity has a negative ROI, it might not be worth spending time and money on.
Admittedly, coming up with target metrics and tying them back to training initiatives isn’t easy, but it’s worth it; it’s the best way to verify the actual efficacy of your learning and development initiatives.
Strengthen your training program with Scribe
Benjamin Franklin famously said, "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
Even numbers back this: an MIT Sloan School of Management study found a 12-month workforce training program focused on soft skills led to a 250 percent return on investment (ROI) within just eight months of completion.
And doesn’t this make sense? Well-trained employees have a better understanding of their work and can enhance their skill sets — making them better teammates and employees overall.
But like we said before, training sessions can only go so far. You can’t have a comprehensive training program without training documentation.
If you're looking for a fast and convenient way to create visually appealing and engaging SOPs for training and training manuals, try Scribe.
Scribe is a browser extension and desktop app that auto-generates step-by-step guides in seconds. We’ve also launched Pages — a new feature that lets you collect and organize your Scribes in a process document with text, media and more.
So go ahead, take the easy path — and win with it. Create extensive training documentation with Scribe for free and boost your employees’ productivity and knowledge. The next KPI you track will be a resounding success.