!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: A Practical Approach to Evaluating Training

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Practical Approach to Evaluating Training

My own experience in working with clients tells me that the approach to evaluation of new-hire training adopted by Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) is worth considering.

You can read about the WSECU approach in an article posted on the managesmarter.com website last week. As reported by Sarah Boehle, the components of the WSECU assessment and evaluation program are:
  • Supervisor assessment of new employees' skills and knowledge that enables the training department to set up an appropriate training plan for each individual.

  • Apr├Ęs-class discussions with participants, whose comments are recorded by a facilitator and passed along to the training department to guide improvements to the training.

  • Post-training assessment of knowledge and skills, with the results sent to the employee's supervisor. The supervisor is thus informed of what, if any, tasks the employee will need extra with on-the-job. The supervisor also receives suggestions for ways of addressing skill and knowledge gaps.

  • One-on-one oral evaluation and discussion of the learning experience with each trainee to assess the individual's development needs and to collect further ideas for improvement of the training.

  • A one-on-one meeting between an educational specialist from the training department and the trainee's manager to discuss specifics of the individual's development needs.

  • Checking with alums of the program to find out what could have been done differently or better to prepare them for their work at WSECU branches.
As the head of WSECU's training department and one of her senior education specialists explained to Boehle, the training department makes a point of talking with managers about what they need employees to know and be able to do. These discussions both inform the design of the training and provide an opportunity to clue the managers in to what is and is not feasible for the training program to accomplish: "By simply talking to managers about their expectations and our own limitations, we were able to better align expectations with realistic training outcomes, which made managers much more satisfied with overall program results."

Another bit of useful information in Boehle's article is an annotated list of training activities that WSECU has found effective.