The Best Ways to Evaluate Results
When a company invests money into the education of its employees, it is a given that they want to get results. There are several models that can help to evaluate the success of a training program. I would like to explore here three learning evaluation models, which are the Kirkpatric Learning Evaluation Model, the Phillips ROI Model, and the CIRO Model.
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All three models are based on accessing the impact of training through interconnected stages. The Kirkpatric Model includes four levels: Reaction (getting feedback from participants), Learning (looking into skills and knowledge the training provides), Behavior (accessing implementation), and Results (evaluating how the companys performance has been affected). The benefit of this system is that it is understandable and versatile. The Kirkpatric Model was refined by Jack Phillips in the 1980s, and it includes the following stages: Reaction, Learning, Application and Implementation, Impact (taking a broader look on the impact of training), and Return on Investment (the model suggests a method to calculate ROI). The main difference, in my opinion, is that the third level, Application and Implementation, goes further in terms of identifying where the problem may lie. For example, employees who acquired new skills may still have problems implementing them if some equipment is not provided. The CIRO Model includes four stages: Context Evaluation (collecting data on how the training can improve the companys performance), Input Evaluation (identifying the methods which suit better), Reaction Evaluation (accessing the impression of the participants) and Outcome (evaluating the results at immediate, intermediate and ultimate levels).
It seems to me that this model has better built-in mechanisms of improvement. At the Reaction stage, it is accessed whether the methods were chosen appropriately. To illustrate, we have a company which sells exercise equipment. The marketing department employees attended lectures on new technological developments in the sphere. However, during the interview, most of them mentioned that it would be better to try the latest equipment themselves. Hence, the training program can be improved.
I also find advantageous the practice of setting ultimate, intermediate, and immediate objectives since the training may produce immediate improvement but fail at achieving the ultimate goal. For instance, a training course can improve short-term performance of employees of an IT start-up, but will not help with going public. I believe that the CIRO Model is more effective in achieving long-term results.
Learning Organization or Organizational Learning?
It the modern world, with its fast-changing market, it is impossible for a company to succeed without investing in improving the skills of its employees. Several methods can be used, but the one which I consider to be the most efficient is to make the process of learning inseparable from the companys day to day work. I would like to review two types of constant learning – organizational learning and learning organization.
There are significant differences between these concepts. In essence, organizational learning is based on experience and is more reactive. It concerns with making sure that employees are equipped with all the necessary tools to learn from everyday experience and react to the issues which may arise. This system, I believe, is particularly useful in times of change. Learning organizations aim at making learning an integral part of their work by stimulating communication between employees, encouraging knowledge and skills exchange, by introducing training, and regularly accessing performance.
I believe that the latter model gives more space for improvement. These days, trends and technologies change so fast, that if a company uses only a reactive approach, it is incredibly easy to stay behind. To illustrate, let us imagine two coffee companies. The employees of one of them learn mostly from experience and concentrate on analyzing trends (increases or decreases in sales), while employees of the other regularly participate in various training programs, learn about trends in customers preferences. Besides, the company invests in mindfulness classes and yoga lessons, making sure that the staff remains mentally and physically healthy. I believe that this kind of proactive approach will make a company much more successful.
Why Performance Management Is Important?
To enhance the companys overall performance, it is crucial to pay close attention to the performance of individual employees. There is a number of approaches that can be employed to do so. The one that I consider to be particularly important is performance management. It is a concept that implies constant observation and evaluation of employees performance. In performance management, it is essential to make sure that employees understand what is expected from them, get regular feedback from managers on their progress, and are provided with opportunities for improvement. To achieve this aim, managers should create such an environment that encourages communication, collaboration, and development.
I believe that performance management can complement annual performance reviews. Paying constant attention to the staffs performance will make the work of a company more efficient. For example, if some of the employees experience problems with adaptation to new technologies introduced in a company, management will be able to organize some courses in time and prevent a long-term decline in performance. Besides, encouraging constant communication between employees and senior managers will give employees a feeling that they can always reach for help or advice in order to improve their performance. It can also help to ensure that the staff is aware of the main values and objectives of a company they are all contributing to achieving. I am sure that companies can benefit from using performance management.