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Does Training Work? Really?

Updated: Mar 15

It’s budgeting season and the HR Manager is making her case to the CEO. The CEO asks, “But why should we train our people, only to have them leave and go work for our competitors?” To which the HR Manager responds, “But what if we don’t train them and they stay?”

For well over a decade, the homebuilding industry has struggled with a decline in skilled labor with trades. But this trend is not exclusive to the trades. Many builders are struggling to find and retain skilled talent, and many have elevated their efforts to grow from within by up-skilling their existing workforce. But how to do you measure the effectiveness of your training efforts?

I think most would agree that just confirming someone took the training isn’t enough. Probably also not enough to learn that they were engaged and enjoyed the training. What about knowing that they recall something they learned - is that enough? Should we settle for understanding – they not only learned something, but they understand it? No. Even understanding is not the bar to measure effectiveness of your training efforts.

Most often, you train to affect the way your people think, feel or act. You need to measure the effectiveness of your investments by the resulting changes in both behaviors and results. How different are the actions of your people as a result of their training? How aligned are their new actions with your desired results? In the past, measuring these changes was challenging and time consuming. With technology, however, the ability to simulate work scenarios to validate understanding and have the student demonstrate his/her ability to apply the knowledge gained is both compelling and within reach.


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