4 Steps to Evaluate the Success of a Training Program

Training continues to rank as one of the top resources employees require to maintain a competitive edge within their industry. However, leadership is devoted to seeing employees work effectively and efficiently, and may have some reservations about taking their staff away from work to attend training sessions.

If training is the link between maintaining a competitive advantage and the efficiency and effectiveness of employees, executives can become comfortable with supporting more training programs for their employees by taking the following approach to evaluating training programs:

Ask the Audience: Have your staff measure satisfaction rates via a survey.  If this is not feasible, the survey should be delivered and completed within 48 hours of the training. Sample questions to be asked include:

  • What did you enjoy most about the training?
  • What were your impressions about the trainer? Would you want him or her back?
  • Was this training an appropriate use of your time?
  • How likely would you be to recommend the course to colleagues?


Test their Knowledge: Many work-related training courses do not have an examination attached, but this can be essential to verifying mastery of a topic. A valid and reliable examination following training can help determine if the content was learned or not. It can flag participants who did not acquire the learning and further support those who did (potentially making them mentors). Also, it can flag trends of areas that may require further training or additional coaching.

Apply their Knowledge: What behaviors are you seeking to change as the knowledge and skills are applied on-the-job following training? Answering this question can demonstrate the degree to which participants apply their new knowledge in the real world. This can provide clear evidence of who is applying the training and who is not, and can lead management to identify and reward close application after training.

Return on Investment: At the end of the day, training is about generating a business improvement. What specific business measures or KPIs (do you want to change or improve as a result of the training? Here are a few examples:

  • A decrease in sales cycle length
  • An increase in warm referrals
  • An increase in consultations booked


Training and development can be a substantial, albeit worthwhile, investment of both money and time. After you have assessed the value of training programs to your bottom line, it is easier to specify whether or not they are worth pursuing or sustaining. What steps will you take to make sure your training programs are best suited for your staff?