Effectiveness of employee training programs

By on February 14, 2012

Change is the only stable factor that organizations today can expect. The business environments both external and internal are highly dynamic and what seems to be working today may not be of any use tomorrow.

Importance of employee training programs

Organizations are finding it tougher to stay in the marketplace and employees are now relied heavily for making organizations stay longer. Such programs have evolved as a crucial and highly essential human resource function in organizations. Biech highlights the importance of training during change and says that it is about change, transformation and learning. Defining the term he says, “training is a process designed to assist an individual to learn new skills, knowledge or attitudes.” Organizations from different industries are spending heavily on employee training programs with a view to gain a competitive advantage.

Effectiveness of such programs

But a latest survey conducted by McKinsey quarterly revealed that though all organizations train their people, they don’t generally measure the effectiveness of their programs. According to the survey most of the companies design their training programs to either teach the new employees about the job specifics or to impart skills like leadership, communication and performance management. Such training programs not only involve time but also involve huge amounts money.

Will the it add up some extra profits?

The survey focused on one of the major defects of the training scenario in organizations today. Most of the organizations rarely measure the effectiveness of their employee training programs. Even when it is measured, it is measured in terms of number of employees who successfully completed the training schedule or passed the tests. Rather than whether this training improved their performance and added any business value. Companies today spend heavily on training but very rarely they assess the training programs’ on the basis of return on investment.

There is intense competition in markets today and as such every part of investments should be justified. There is a need to understand the importance of quantitative measurement of training effectiveness. The training objectives must be laid clearly and it should be assured that employees not only complete their training but also improve their performance in qualitative as well as quantitative terms. For this, the companies must continuously review the links between skills, performance and training. The skills possessed by employees, the performance established and any gaps in performance due to lack of skills thereby calling for training of employees. The training programs must aim at imparting performance oriented skills that can be measured quantitatively. And the effectiveness of these programs must be continuously reviewed and revised.


  • Cermak, J. & McGurk, M. (July, 2010). “Putting a Value on Training.” McKinsey Quarterly.
  • Biech, E. (2005). Training for Dummies. Wiley Publishing, Inc.