Evaluation Criteria for Organisations

Look at and understand the broad organizational context and business environment: the type, size, scale, spread, geography, logistics, etc., of the business or organization. This includes where and when people work (which influences how and when training can be delivered). Look also at the skills requirements for the people in the business in general terms as would influence training significance and dependence – factors which suggest high dependence on training are things like: fast-changing business (IT, business services, healthcare, etc), significant customer service activities, new and growing businesses, strong health and safety implications (chemicals, hazardous areas, transport, utilities). Note that all businesses have a high dependence on training, but in certain businesses training need is higher than others – change (in the business or the market) is the key factor which drives training need.

Assess and analyse how training and development is organized and the way that training is prioritised. Think about improvements to training organization and planning that would benefit the organisation.

Review the business strategy/positioning/mission/plans (and HR strategy if any exists) as these statements will help you to establish the central business aims. Training should all be traceable back to these business aims, however often it isn’t – instead it’s often arbitrary and isolated.

Assess how the training relates to the business aims, and how the effectiveness of the training in moving the business towards these aims is measured. Often training isn’t measured at all – it needs to be.

Look at the details and overview of what training is planned for the people in the business. The training department or HR department should have this information. There should be a clear written training plan, including training aims, methods, relevance and outputs connected to the wider aims of the business.

Look also at how training relates to and is influenced by appraisals and career development; also recruitment, and general ongoing skills/behavioural assessment. There should be process links between these activities, particularly recruitment and appraisals, and training planning. Detailed training needs should be driven substantially by staff appraisals. (It goes without saying that there should be consistent processes and application of staff appraisals, and that these should use suitable job performance measures that are current and relevant to the operations and aims of the business.)

Look particularly at management training and development. The bigger the business, generally the bigger the dependence on management training and development.

Look at new starter induction training – it’s critical and typically a common failing in situations where anything higher than a low percentage of new starters leave soon after joining.

Look for the relationships between training, qualifications, job grades and pay/reward levels – these activities and structures must be linked, and the connections should be visible to and understood by all staff.

Look especially at staff turnover (% per annum of total staff is the key indicator), exit interviews, customer satisfaction surveys, staff satisfaction surveys (if they exist) for other indicators as to staff development and motivational needs and thereby, training deficiencies.

Look for any market research or competitor analysis data which will indicate business shortcomings and weaknesses, which will imply staff training needs, obviously in areas of the most important areas of competitive weakness in relation to the business positioning and strategy.

Look to see if there is director training and development – many directors have never been trained for their roles, and often hide from and resist any effort to remedy these weaknesses.

Base training recommendations and changes on improving training effectiveness in terms of:

    *relevance to organizational aims
    *methods of staff assessment
    *training design/sourcing
    *training type, mix and suitability, given staff and business circumstances (consider all training options available – there are very many and some are relatively inexpensive, and provide other organizational benefits; in-house, external training courses and seminars, workshops, coaching, mentoring, job-swap, secondment, distance-learning, day-release, accredited/qualification-linked, etc)
    *remedies for identified organizational and business performance problem areas, eg., high staff turnover, general attrition or dissatisfaction levels, customer complaints, morale, supplier retention and relationships, wastage and shrinkage, legal and environmental compliance, recruitment difficulties, management and director succession, and other key performance indicators of the business (which should be stated in business planning documents)
    *comparative costs of different types of training per head, per staff type/level
    *measurement of training effectiveness, and especially feedback from staff being trained: interview departmental heads and staff to see what they think of training – how it’s planned, delivered, measured, and how effective it is