Your Training Program Needs a Performance Review

May 21, 2014Justin Wedell

For most nonprofit leaders, training is a means to an end, intended to serve as a vehicle for individual and organizational improvement. Verifying whether or not your prescribed training actually achieves this objective however, is an entirely different and more complex consideration. How can you accurately evaluate whether your chosen training activities are truly bringing value to your nonprofit? At the intersection of employee feedback, operational costs, performance improvement, and organizational improvement, choosing the proper direction can be difficult. What should be your method in this madness?

Enter the “Training Scorecard.” This simple tool allows nonprofit leaders to establish clear learning metrics by which to evaluate the effectiveness of their learning and development opportunities. We recently had Steve Semler, Senior Manager of Risk Operations Training at MoneyGram International, stop by to host a special presentation on how organizations can adopt such learning metrics and the Training Scorecard approach. Here are a few of his key takeaways:

  • Define your Learning Metrics. With the learning and development budget often tight, organizations need to be able to make informed decisions about what’s working. Without clear performance measures in place, you risk continuing practices that do little to improve your organization and can ultimately harm the mission you seek to achieve. Metrics shed light on the facts of your training initiatives and help to answer the question, “Are we really helping?”
  • Customize your Training Scorecard. When deciding what to put on your Training Scorecard, you have to ask yourself, “What will help me drive learning in my organization?” For many, this will be the first time that their organization seriously considers the concept of learning metrics. As such, it will be important to test and refine which metrics you use. Start with the four essential categories of learning metrics (Activity, Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Impact) to decide what your organization should prioritize. From there, focus on which specific performance indicators you’d like to measure within your selected categories. If you need a place to start, Steve outlines some great examples in his learning metrics presentation.
  • Manage to your Key Learning Metrics. Simply outlining the metrics by which you’ll judge your training is only the first step in your Training Scorecard journey. Just as important will be your follow-through in consistent data collection and evaluation. Build your strategy, work your strategy, and make it work for you and your organization (don’t be scared to revisit and revise!). Ultimately, your Training Scorecard should be a tool to empower more evidence-based and mission-driven training decisions. It will not work however, if it doesn’t have a consistent structure to stand on.

Feel inspired to build your own Training Scorecard? Start by viewing Steve’s presentation on Learning Metrics: Building Your Training Scorecard.

About Justin Wedell

As Manager of the Nonprofit Empowerment Program, Justin Wedell is responsible for maintaining and supporting the Foundation's global portfolio of capacity building services, including the HR Pro Bono Corps and Gift of Learning.

Previously, Justin was a... more

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