How to Measure and Sustain Training Initiatives

You spend a lot of time and money developing and executing training initiatives, but are you ensuring that the training is worth the investment?

If you don’t have methods in place to measure program effectiveness and sustainability, how do you know if the training is contributing to building and improving your organization as a whole?

As MindTickle puts it, “Training is the mechanism by which investment is made in ensuring competence and efficacy of employees. The results of training must, therefore, be measured/evaluated in the context of impact on your organization.”

So how do you know if training is beneficial to the organization?

The Formula

ROI (%) = Monetary Benefits – (Cost x100)/Cost

The Society for Human Resource Management recommends you use this formula in order to calculate your training ROI:

“A result greater than 100 percent means that the program has a net benefit after accounting for the costs involved in running it. A result less than 100 percent means the program had a net cost. This means that the program did not recoup its cost after accounting for the benefit.”

In order to use this formula, however, you must first understand what your training costs are. Here are some things to consider when doing your calculations:

  • Direct implementation costs (facilities, travel, materials, technology, instructor salary, etc.)
  • Development costs (equipment, salaries, personnel benefits, etc.)
  • Learning curve 
  • Lost productivity
  • Participant compensation
  • Change management (costs associated with company culture shift e.g. incentives)

Understanding Results

Apart from monetary ROI, it’s also important to consider results like:

  • Employee reaction (happiness and/or satisfaction)
  • Level of learning (skills/knowledge acquired)
  • Behavior (transfer of new knowledge to workplace)
  • Results (impact on organization—quality, productions, costs, sales, job satisfaction, etc.)

Together, these make up Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation (Phillips added ROI as the fifth).

Let’s take a look at how to evaluate each more in depth.


Reaction can be evaluated by conducting post-training surveys or obtaining verbal feedback from trainees.


Use before-and-after assessments or tests to establish if the desired results of the training program were achieved.


Evaluating behavior can be accomplished by conducting trainee interviews, talking with those who directly manage trainees, and observing trainee behavior over time.


First, establish a measurement system with clearly defined goals. Using this system, see if employee performance over time is reaching said goals, i.e. increasing sales, boosting productivity overall, etc.

In Closing

According to IBM, 84% of employees in companies considered “best performing organizations” are receiving the training they need compared with 16% in the worst performing companies.


  • There’s a 16% increase in customer satisfaction among companies using learning technology
  • Companies enjoy $70,000 in annual savings and a 10% increase in productivity when teams are well trained 
  • 75-80% of managers believe effective training is critical to project success and meeting project deadlines
  • There’s a 35% reduction in time spent searching for sales content
  • Companies experience a 22% faster rollout of products and processes 

    The benefits of training are in the rewards organizations reap, and the organizations executing successful training programs are the ones measuring their effectiveness. IBM recommends measuring training costs and benefits over a 12-month period in order to “provide a realistic value of improvement”. 

Want to see an effective training program in action? The Software Guild provides a multitude of training programs catered to your employees and their skill levels. Check them out here.