!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: More on Customer Satisfaction vs. Mission Accomplished

Thursday, September 07, 2006

More on Customer Satisfaction vs. Mission Accomplished

In an earlier post, I talked about the lack of correlation between how satisfied training participants are right after a training session, and how well they apply the skills taught once they are back on-the-job.

In the jargon of training evaluation, research is telling us that positive Level I evaluation (feedback on "smile sheets") by no means guarantees high Level III evaluation (actual application of skills). In fact, the correlation can be negative, i.e., it can turn out that high participant satisfaction is accompanied by lower success in on-the-job application.

Today's Wall Street Journal brings news of parallel research in the healthcare field. Researchers from the Rand Corporation, UCLA and the US Department of Veterans Affairs looked at patient satisfaction scores and patients' medical records to see how much of a correlation there is between patient satisfaction and health care quality. Their finding: no correlation.

The analogy between training and healthcare is that the "customers" — training participants right after they have completed training, and patients — are not in a good position to evaluate the effectiveness of the service they have received.

So, without denigrating the importance of using good interpersonal skills in working with trainees and patients, the bottom line is that accomplishing the mission is what ultimately counts. In the case of healthcare, that means improving patient health. In the case of training, it means improving job performance.