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Evaluating HRD Programs

The degree to which a training (or other HRD program) achieves its intended purpose Measures are relative to some starting point Measures how well the desired goal is achieved


HRD Evaluation
Textbook definition: The systematic collection of descriptive and judgmental information necessary to make effective training decisions related to the selection, adoption, value, and modification of various instructional activities.

In Other Words
Are we training: the right people the right stuff the right way with the right materials at the right time?

Evaluation Needs
Descriptive and judgmental information needed
Objective and subjective data

Information gathered according to a plan and in a desired format Gathered to provide decision making information

Purposes of Evaluation
Determine whether the program is meeting the intended objectives Identify strengths and weaknesses Determine cost-benefit ratio Identify who benefited most or least Determine future participants Provide information for improving HRD programs

Purposes of Evaluation 2
Reinforce major points to be made Gather marketing information Determine if training program is appropriate Establish management database

Evaluation Bottom Line

Is HRD a revenue contributor or a revenue user? Is HRD credible to line and upper-level managers? Are benefits of HRD readily evident to all?

How Often are HRD Evaluations Conducted?

Not often enough!!! Frequently, only end-of-course participant reactions are collected Transfer to the workplace is evaluated less frequently

Why HRD Evaluations are Rare

Reluctance to having HRD programs evaluated Evaluation needs expertise and resources Factors other than HRD cause performance improvements e.g., Economy Equipment Policies, etc.

Need for HRD Evaluation

Shows the value of HRD Provides metrics for HRD efficiency Demonstrates value-added approach for HRD Demonstrates accountability for HRD activities Everyone else has it why not HRD?

Make or Buy Evaluation

I bought it, therefore it is good. Since its good, I dont need to post-test. Who says its:
Appropriate? Effective? Timely? Transferable to the workplace?

Evolution of Evaluation Efforts

1. Anecdotal approach talk to other users 2. Try before buy borrow and use samples 3. Analytical approach match research data to training needs 4. Holistic approach look at overall HRD process, as well as individual training

Models and Frameworks of Evaluation

Table 7-1 lists six frameworks for evaluation The most popular is that of D. Kirkpatrick:
Reaction Learning Job Behavior Results

Kirkpatricks Four Levels

Focus on trainees reactions

Did they learn what they were supposed to?

Job Behavior
Was it used on job?

Did it improve the organizations effectiveness?

Issues Concerning Kirkpatricks Framework

Most organizations dont evaluate at all four levels Focuses only on post-training Doesnt treat inter-stage improvements WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

A Suggested Framework 1
Did trainees like the training? Did the training seem useful?

How much did they learn?

What behavior change occurred?

Suggested Framework 2
What were the tangible outcomes? What was the return on investment (ROI)? What was the contribution to the organization?

Data Collection for HRD Evaluation

Possible methods: Interviews Questionnaires Direct observation Written tests Simulation/Performance tests Archival performance information

Advantages: Flexible Opportunity for clarification Depth possible Personal contact Limitations: High reactive effects High cost Face-to-face threat potential Labor intensive Trained observers needed

Advantages: Low cost to administer Honesty increased Anonymity possible Respondent sets the pace Variety of options Limitations: Possible inaccurate data Response conditions not controlled Respondents set varying paces Uncontrolled return rate

Direct Observation
Advantages: Nonthreatening Excellent way to measure behavior change Limitations: Possibly disruptive Reactive effects are possible May be unreliable Need trained observers

Written Tests
Advantages: Low purchase cost Readily scored Quickly processed Easily administered Wide sampling possible Limitations: May be threatening Possibly no relation to job performance Measures only cognitive learning Relies on norms Concern for racial/ ethnic bias

Simulation/Performance Tests
Advantages: Reliable Objective Close relation to job performance Includes cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains Limitations: Time consuming Simulations often difficult to create High costs to development and use

Archival Performance Data

Advantages: Reliable Objective Job-based Easy to review Minimal reactive effects Limitations: Criteria for keeping/ discarding records Information system discrepancies Indirect Not always usable Records prepared for other purposes

Choosing Data Collection Methods

Consistency of results, and freedom from collection method bias and error

Does the device measure what we want to measure?

Does it make sense in terms of the resources used to get the data?

Type of Data Used/Needed

Individual performance Systemwide performance Economic

Individual Performance Data

Individual knowledge Individual behaviors Examples:
Test scores Performance quantity, quality, and timeliness Attendance records Attitudes

Systemwide Performance Data

Productivity Scrap/rework rates Customer satisfaction levels On-time performance levels Quality rates and improvement rates

Economic Data
Profits Product liability claims Avoidance of penalties Market share Competitive position Return on investment (ROI) Financial utility calculations

Use of Self-Report Data

Most common method Pre-training and post-training data Problems:
Mono-method bias
Desire to be consistent between tests

Socially desirable responses Response Shift Bias:

Trainees adjust expectations to training

Research Design
Specifies in advance: the expected results of the study the methods of data collection to be used

how the data will be analyzed

Research Design Issues

Pretest and Posttest
Shows trainee what training has accomplished Helps eliminate pretest knowledge bias

Control Group
Compares performance of group with training against the performance of a similar group without training

Recommended Research Design

Pretest and posttest with control group Whenever possible:
Randomly assign individuals to the test group and the control group to minimize bias Use time-series approach to data collection to verify performance improvement is due to training

Ethical Issues Concerning Evaluation Research

Confidentiality Informed consent Withholding training from control groups Use of deception Pressure to produce positive results

Assessing the Impact of HRD

Money is the language of business. You MUST talk dollars, not HRD jargon. No one (except maybe you) cares about the effectiveness of training interventions as measured by and analysis of formal pretest, posttest control group data.

HRD Program Assessment

HRD programs and training are investments Line managers often see HR and HRD as costs i.e., revenue users, not revenue producers You must prove your worth to the organization Or youll have to find another organization

Evaluation of Training Costs

Cost-benefit analysis
Compares cost of training to benefits gained such as attitudes, reduction in accidents, reduction in employee sick-days, etc.

Cost-effectiveness analysis
Focuses on increases in quality, reduction in scrap/rework, productivity, etc.

Return on Investment
Return on investment = Results/Costs

Calculating Training Return On Investment

Results Operational Results Area Quality of panels How Measured % rejected Before Training 2% rejected 1,440 panels per day Housekeeping Visual inspection using 20-item checklist 10 defects (average) Results After Training 1.5% rejected 1,080 panels per day 2 defects (average) Differences (+ or ) .5% 360 panels 8 defects Expressed in $ $720 per day $172,800 per year Not measurable in $

Preventable accidents

Number of accidents

24 per year

16 per year

8 per year

Direct cost of each accident

Return Investment Operational Results Training Costs $220,800 $32,564 =

$144,000 per year

$96,000 per year


$48,000 per year


Total savings: $220,800.00

= =


SOURCE: From D. G. Robinson & J. Robinson (1989). Training for impact. Training and Development Journal, 43(8), 41. Printed by permission.

Types of Training Costs

Direct costs Indirect costs Development costs Overhead costs Compensation for participants

Direct Costs
Base pay Fringe benefits Travel and per diem

Materials Classroom and audiovisual equipment Travel Food and refreshments

Indirect Costs
Training management Clerical/Administrative Postal/shipping, telephone, computers, etc. Pre- and post-learning materials Other overhead costs

Development Costs
Fee to purchase program Costs to tailor program to organization Instructor training costs

Overhead Costs
General organization support Top management participation Utilities, facilities General and administrative costs, such as HRM

Compensation for Participants

Participants salary and benefits for time away from job Travel, lodging, and per-diem costs

Measuring Benefits
Change in quality per unit measured in dollars Reduction in scrap/rework measured in dollar cost of labor and materials Reduction in preventable accidents measured in dollars ROI = Benefits/Training costs

Utility Analysis
Uses a statistical approach to support claims of training effectiveness:
N = Number of trainees T = Length of time benefits are expected to last dt = True performance difference resulting from training SDy = Dollar value of untrained job performance (in standard deviation units) C = Cost of training

U = (N)(T)(dt)(Sdy) C

Critical Information for Utility Analysis

dt = difference in units between trained/untrained, divided by standard deviation in units produced by trained SDy = standard deviation in dollars, or overall productivity of organization

Ways to Improve HRD Assessment

Walk the walk, talk the talk: MONEY

Involve HRD in strategic planning

Involve management in HRD planning and estimation efforts
Gain mutual ownership

Use credible and conservative estimates Share credit for successes and blame for failures

HRD Evaluation Steps

1. Analyze needs. 2. Determine explicit evaluation strategy. 3. Insist on specific and measurable training objectives. 4. Obtain participant reactions. 5. Develop criterion measures/instruments to measure results. 6. Plan and execute evaluation strategy.

Training results must be measured against costs Training must contribute to the bottom line HRD must justify itself repeatedly as a revenue enhancer, not a revenue waster