Correlating Training & Business Results

Recently I was asked how to correlate education programs or skills with business results. My response… probably the oldest and most reliable model and methodology is the Kirkpatrick  model (Donal Kirkpatrick, 1964) which uses four levels of measurement to assess the impact of training within an organization: (1) reaction, (2) learning (3) application (4) business impact. Jack Phillips many years later added a 5th level of measurement (5) ROI. Each of these measurement levels must be executed sequentially in order to be reliable and valid and note, that as you measure a program to deeper levels the cost of the measurement also increases. In addition to the Kirkpatrick system, it is also important to analyze training efforts at a strategic level particularly if they are expected to impact strategic goals and/or they consume strategic resources (strategic alignment).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAConsequently whether you use an intuitive dashboard (one derived through the use of a delphi group) or a calculated dashboard, identifying training programs that use strategic resources and eliminating those that are not aligned or retooling those that are not effective is critical to the health of the organization as well as the training organization. Although I originally leveraged these tools at a Fortune 100 company, I currently use them for academic assessments where I have yielded excellent information from the Kirkpatrick model.

Kirkpatrick, D. L., & Kirkpatrick, J. D. (2012). Evaluating training programs: The four levels. San Francisco: BK, Berrett-Koehler.

Phillips, J. J., Stone, R. D., & Phillips, P. P. (2001). The human resources scorecard: Measuring the return on investment. Boston, Mass: Butterworth-Heinemann.


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