Culture is often the true reason for the behavior of people within an organization and it can often be deeply unconscious and not rationally recognized by most members. These ideas are so integrated that they can be difficult to confront or debate and thus difficult to change.
A critical part for improving culture is being able to measure the current situation. A great place to start is using a survey-based to gather input from employees on the current culture of quality. Some of the topic areas can include:
When designing training we want to make sure four things happen:
Training is used correctly as a solution to a performance problem
Training has the the right content, objectives or methods
Trainees are sent to training for which they do have the basic skills, prerequisite skills, or confidence needed to learn
Training delivers the expected learning
Training is a useful lever in organization change and improvement. We want to make sure the training drives organization metrics. And like everything, you need to be able to measure it to improve.
The Kirkpatrick model is a simple and fairly accurate way to measure the effectiveness of adult learning events (i.e., training), and while other methods are introduced periodically, the Kirkpatrick model endures because of its simplicity. The model consists of four levels, each designed to measure a specific element of the training. Created by Donald Kirkpatrick, this model has been in use for over 50 years, evolving over multiple decades through application by learning and development professionals around the world. It is the most recognized method of evaluating the effectiveness of training programs. The model has stood the test of time and became popular due to its ability to break down complex subject into manageable levels. It takes into account any style of training, both informal and formal.
Level 1: Reaction
Kirkpatrick’s first level measures the learners’ reaction to the training. A level 1 evaluation is leveraging the strong correlation between learning retention and how much the learners enjoyed the time spent and found it valuable. Level 1 evaluations, euphemistically called a “smile sheet” should delve deeper than merely whether people liked the course. A good course evaluation will concentrate on three elements: course content, the physical environment and the instructor’s presentation/skills.
Level 2: Learning
Level 2 of Kirkpatrick’s model, learning, measures how much of the content attendees learned as a result of the training session. The best way to make this evaluation is through the use of a pre- and posttest. Pre- and posttests are key to ascertaining whether the participants learned anything in the learning event. Identical pre- and posttests are essential because the difference between the pre- and posttest scores indicates the amount of learning that took place. Without a pretest, one does not know if the trainees knew the material before the session, and unless the questions are the same, one cannot be certain that trainees learned the material in the session.
Level 3: Behavior
Level 3 measures whether the learning is transferred into practice in the workplace.
Level 4: Results
Measures the effect on the business environment. Do we meet objectives?
Level 1: Reaction
Reaction evaluation is how the delegates felt, and their personal reactions to the training or learning experience, for example: ▪ Did trainee consider the training relevant? ▪ Did they like the venue, equipment, timing, domestics, etc? ▪ Did the trainees like and enjoy the training? ▪ Was it a good use of their time? ▪ Level of participation ▪ Ease and comfort of experience
▪ feedback forms based on subjective personal reaction to the training experience ▪ Verbal reaction which can be analyzed ▪ Post-training surveys or questionnaires ▪ Online evaluation or grading by delegates ▪ Subsequent verbal or written reports given by delegates to managers back at their jobs ▪ typically ‘happy sheets’
Level 2: Learning
Learning evaluation is the measurement of the increase in knowledge or intellectual capability from before to after the learning experience: ▪ Did the trainees learn what intended to be taught? ▪ Did the trainee experience what was intended for them to experience? ▪ What is the extent of advancement or change in the trainees after the training, in the direction or area that was intended?
▪ Interview or observation can be used before and after although it is time-consuming and can be inconsistent ▪ Typically assessments or tests before and after the training ▪ Methods of assessment need to be closely related to the aims of the learning ▪ Reliable, clear scoring and measurements need to be established ▪ hard-copy, electronic, online or interview style assessments are all possible
Level 3: Behavior
Behavior evaluation is the extent to which the trainees applied the learning and changed their behavior, and this can be immediately and several months after the training, depending on the situation: ▪ Did the trainees put their learning into effect when back on the job? ▪ Were the relevant skills and knowledge used? ▪ Was there noticeable and measurable change in the activity and performance of the trainees when back in their roles? ▪ Would the trainee be able to transfer their learning to another person? is the trainee aware of their change in behavior, knowledge, skill level? ▪ Was the change in behavior and new level of knowledge sustained?
▪ Observation and interview over time are required to assess change, relevance of change, and sustainability of change ▪ Assessments need to be designed to reduce subjective judgment of the observer ▪ 360-degree feedback is useful method and need not be used before training, because respondents can make a judgment as to change after training, and this can be analyzed for groups of respondents and trainees ▪ Online and electronic assessments are more difficult to incorporate – assessments tend to be more successful when integrated within existing management and coaching protocols
Level 4: Results
Results evaluation is the effect on the business or environment resulting from the improved performance of the trainee – it is the acid test
Measures would typically be business or organizational key performance indicators, such as: volumes, values, percentages, timescales, return on investment, and other quantifiable aspects of organizational performance, for instance; numbers of complaints, staff turnover, attrition, failures, wastage, non-compliance, quality ratings, achievement of standards and accreditations, growth, retention, etc.
The challenge is to identify which and how relate to the trainee’s input and influence. Therefore it is important to identify and agree accountability and relevance with the trainee at the start of the training, so they understand what is to be measured ▪ This process overlays normal good management practice – it simply needs linking to the training input ▪ For senior people particularly, annual appraisals and ongoing agreement of key business objectives are integral to measuring business results derived from training
4 Levels of Training Effectiveness
Example in Practice – CAPA
When building a training program, start with the intended behaviors that will drive results. Evaluating our CAPA program, we have two key aims, which we can apply measures against.
ISO9001:2015 states “Top management shall review the organization’s quality management system, at planned intervals, to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy, effectiveness and alignment with the strategic direction of the organization.”
Management review takes inputs of system performance and converts it to outputs that drive improvement.
Just about every standard and guidance aligns with the ISO9001:2015 structure.
The Use of PowerPoint in Management Review
Everyone makes fun of PowerPoint, and yet it is still with us. As a mechanism for formal communication it is the go-to form, and I do not believe that will change anytime soon.
One of the best pieces of research on PowerPoint and management review is Kaplan’s examination of PowerPoint slides used in a manufacturing firm. Kaplan found that generating slides was “embedded in the discursive practices of strategic knowledge production” and made up “part of the epistemic machinery that undergirds the know-ledge production culture.” Further, “the affordances of PowerPoint,” Kaplan pointed out, “enabled the difficult task of collaborating to negotiate meaning in an uncertain environment, creating spaces for discussion, making recombinations possible, [and] allowing for adjustments as ideas evolved”. She concluded that PowerPoint slide decks should be regarded not as merely effective or ineffective reports but rather as an essential part of strategic decision making.
Kaplan’s findings are not isolated, there is a broad wealth of relevant research in the fields of genre and composition studies as well as research on material objects that draw similar conclusions. Powerpoint, as a method of formal communication, can be effective.
Management Review as Formal Communication
Management review is a formal communication and by understanding how these formal communications participate in the fixed and emergent conditions of knowledge work as prescribed, being-composed, and materialized-texts-in-use, we can understand how to better structure our knowledge sharing.
Management review mediates between Work-As-Imagined and Work-As-Done.
The quality management reviews have “fixity” and bring a reliable structure to the knowledge-work process by specifying what needs to become known and by when, forming a step-by-step learning process.
Quality management always starts with a plan for activities, but in the process of providing analysis through management review, the organization learns much more about the topic, discovers new ideas, and uncover inconsistencies in our thinking that cause us to step back, refine, and sometimes radically change our plan. By engaging in the writing of these presentations we make the tacit knowledge explicit.
A successful management review imagines the audience who needs the information, asks questions, raises objections, and brings to the presentation a body of experience and a perspective that differs from that of the party line. Management review should be a process of dialogue that draws inferences and constructs relationships between ideas, apply logic to build complex arguments, reformulate ideas, reflects on what is already known, and comes to understand the material in a new way.
Management review is a textually mediated conversation that enables knowledge integration within and across groups in, and outside of, the organization. The records of management review are focal points around which users can discuss what they have learned, discover diverse understandings, and depersonalize debate. Management review records drive the process of incorporating the different domain specific knowledge of various decision makers and experts into some form of systemic group knowledge and applies that knowledge to decision making and action.
Alvesson, M. (2004). Knowledge work and knowledge-intensive firms. Oxford University Press.
Bazerman, C. (2003). What is not institutionally visible does not count: The problem of making activity assessable, accountable, and plannable. In C. Bazerman & D. Russell (Eds.), Writing selves/writing societies: Research from activity perspectives (pp. 428–482). WAC Clearinghouse
Edmondson, A. C. (2012). Teaming: How organizations learn, innovate, and compete in the knowledge economy. Jossey-Bass
Kaplan, S. (2015). Strategy and PowerPoint: An inquiry into the epistemic culture and machinery of strategy making. Organization Science, 22, 320–346.
Levitin, D. J. (2014). The organized mind: Thinking straight in the age of information overload. Penguin