5 evaluation methods to evaluate staff training results

When commissioning training for your healthcare staff, consider the following 5 evaluation methods before investing in any training programs:

1. Satisfaction and participant reaction

The most basic evaluation of training measures satisfaction. Usually, the trainer will hand out a survey at the end of the course to see how the participants reacted to the training. We send out an electronic survey to measure satisfaction rates with our training courses. What specific levels of satisfaction and reaction to the training are you looking for? It could be:

  • Did your staff enjoy the training?
  • Did they like the trainer?
  • Would they want him or her back?
  • Do they think they felt it was an appropriate use of their time?
  • Do they think the material was relevant to their work?
  • How likely would they be to recommend the course to colleagues?

In most cases, training evaluation begins and ends here. However, there are 4 other important ways to evaluate any training program.

2. Knowledge acquisition

The second level of evaluation is knowledge acquisition. In our experience, many work-related training courses do not have an examination attached. A valid and reliable examination following training can help determine if the content was learned or not. It can flag participants that 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. What specific knowledge and skill(s) do you want the participants to develop? As an example, our Increase telephone conversion rates course examination, also completed by participants online, asks questions like:

  • What is the goal of the first phone call?
  • What specific pieces of information do you need from the caller, before you qualify them?
  • What do you do if someone asks you how much it costs at the start of the call?
  • What are some examples of a dominant buying motive for your product or service?
  • Provide a good example of a bridging statement when moving from Opening to Closing the call?
  • If you cannot book the appointment on the first call, what is the first option you will provide callers with?

We find that participants take training more seriously when they know they will be requested to demonstrate what they learned after the training. So, we send participants the exam within a week of training, grade their responses, and share these with their line managers. This can help ensure that any gaps in knowledge can be quickly sown up so that participants don’t pick up new, poor habits.

3. Behavioural application

The third level of evaluation answers the question – are they applying what they learned. What behaviours are you seeking to change as the knowledge and skills are applied on the job following training? For our custom training programs, we evaluate behaviour (level 3), in addition to reaction (level 1) and knowledge acquisition (level 2).

For example, for our Custom Increase telephone conversion rates course, we conduct at least 10 mystery calls before that training, record them and grade them according to the learning objectives of our course. After training, we conduct a further 10 mystery calls and compare their results with the results from the pre-training and present this report to management.

This, more than anything else, 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 correct misapplication, and reward close application after training.

4. Measurable business improvement

At the end of the day, business training is about generating a business improvement. What specific business measures or KPIs (key performance indicators) do you want to change or improve as a result of the training? Our Increase telephone conversion rates course, for example, has the following business improvement aims:

  • An increase in enquiry to consultation conversion rate
  • A decrease in enquiry to consultation time lag
  • An increase in lead list building (by collecting more lead information on calls)
  • An increase in consultations booked
  • An increase in deposits billed
  • An increase in sales
  • A decrease in appointment cancellations

5. Return on investment (ROI)

The last level of evaluation training relates to return on investment. What specific return on investment are you after as a result of the training? To evaluate your return on investment on healthcare telephone training for example, we suggest you

  • Take the course fee (cost)
  • Add the facility fee (cost)
  • Add staff wages that were spent during the course (cost)
  • Add the opportunity cost of staff time spent during the course (cost)
  • Measure the business improvement (e.g. measure the business impact of the telephone conversion rate before and after the training to arrive at net gains in financial terms)
  • Consider the financial gains in the long term (3 months, 6 months, 12 months?)
  • Long-term net gains / Cost = return on investment (ROI)

See this example of a telephone training return on investment calculation. By using these methods, we’ve been able to help large healthcare organisations, like Optimax Eye Clinics, generate a significant return on investment from their telephone training.

Why you need to consider all 5 training evaluation methods

Usually, return on investment follows a business impact, a business impact follows application, application follows learning, and learning follows satisfaction with training. Choose a training company that understands how to evaluate training properly, and you can be confident that they monitor their client’s results, and improve their training protocols as a consequence.