Friday, 29 January 2010

Sir Alex Ferguson and training evaluation

Even the most ardent of Manchester United supporters would probably agree that to have Sir Alex Ferguson as the referee in a match involving his team would be unlikely to lead to an unbiased result.

But why do we face a constant barrage of HR related reports (proving this or demonstrating that) where the reports have been sponsored and undertaken by organisations with a clear vested interest in the outcome?

This week Management Today have advised the world that UK firms waste about £10bn a year on training that doesn't improve performance.

Apparently 25% of staff who undergo training see no performance benefit whatsoever – either because they don’t use their new skills, or because they don’t do any good.

OK, some of the problems identified by the report make a lot of sense. The report identifies four common failures in providing effective training:

Attending courses that are ill-suited to employee needs
Attending courses that the employee knows they won’t use
Poor timing of when the course takes place
Employees forgetting everything by the time they need it

And, although far from rocket science, the recommendation of the report writers for effective training is eminently sensible: line managers need to work more closely with their charges to make sure that they go on appropriate courses, and can utilise their new skills afterwards.

But a quick glance at the website of the report’s authors informs us that, “measuring learning activity is relatively easy, but how do you evaluate the performance improvement due to learning? And how much do line managers impact on the transfer of learning to the workplace? We can help answer these questions and support L&D decision making. As part of our managed learning service, we will measure all your training through our evaluation tools. We can devise an evaluation approach to meet your exact needs, up to the elusive Return on Investment level”

Management Today: A quarter of all training is pointless

Vested interest?

You bet!

1 comment:

  1. Of all the research that you have ever quoted in your esteemed blog (of which there has been lots – do you get commission, by the way?) I would be surprised if there were any that were completely unbiased and totally objective. In this world of funding and commercial enterprise I think all research should be viewed with a modicum of salt whilst your cynical eye searches for the hidden agenda.