Evaluating training satisfaction allows you to understand if your L&D program is essentially doing its job. Along with engagement and relevance, training satisfaction is one of the three critical aspects of a successful initiative. But “satisfaction” is a bit vague, so let’s break that down a bit and see where measurement comes into the picture.
How Does Training Satisfaction Fit?
As any HR/L&D person knows, there are many dimensions to a training program. Thankfully, there are also various models that allow training managers to design courses and understand the results.
One variable common to many models is satisfaction. For instance, in Kirkpatrick’s Four-level Training Evaluation Model, the first level of assessment (at the bottom of the pyramid) is “reaction”. In turn, there are three considerations for what constitutes a positive reaction: engagement, relevance, and satisfaction.
The Importance of Training Satisfaction
Obviously, as can be seen from Kirkpatrick, satisfaction and engagement are not the same, while the value of relevance has more to do with using course material once the program has ended.
With so much of HR’s attention being paid to engagement, it can be an added burden to also look at satisfaction. But the effort is worth it. Job training satisfaction:
- Lowers employees’ intention to quit
- Increases worker involvement with their jobs
- Has a positive effect on overall job satisfaction
Collecting Training Satisfaction Feedback
Training satisfaction is unlike other L&D measurements because it should be evaluated immediately after the first class, and periodically throughout the course. (In contrast, most L&D metrics are taken before, after, and at the midpoint of a program). On the other hand, like many forms of L&D metrics, there are a number of ways to gather the information that you’ll analyze to assess satisfaction levels. They include:
- Feedback forms
- Online reporting
The 4 Factors of Training Satisfaction
What exactly constitutes “satisfaction”? Experts have defined four descriptors, and when employees give each of these categories high grades, you can consider them satisfied.
This refers to the physical setting of a course. Questions should address how comfortable the employee felt according to scheduling, location, equipment, and amenities. Questions can include:
- Was the room temperature acceptable?
- Were there distractions?
- Does the course fit with your work hours?
- Did you find the visual and audio quality of the class to be sufficient?
- Was the internet connection stable?
The goal here is to examine content quality and presentation (relevance will come later). This is a very subjective topic and connects to inter-generational issues. Whereas older generations are relatively comfortable with textbooks, younger employees are accustomed to apps, micro-content, and gamification. So, when collecting satisfaction data, the age of the employee needs to be accounted for.
Age also counts regarding the content itself. Even when digitized, some content just looks old, which cheapens the effect. Employees should be asked if the content appears up to date and well-designed.
Trainers, mentors, and coaches all need to be assessed in numerous ways, including:
- Quality of preparation and logic of training plan
- “Chemistry” with the employees as well as level of empathy and ability to motivate
- Knowledge of the most recent subject matter and learning techniques
- Talent for communication and simple explanations
This category relates to the usefulness of the material being learned in terms of the tasks that the employee performs. Remember, training satisfaction metrics are taken after the first class, so employees haven’t yet had the chance to really use their skills. However, “application” at this stage means how the worker feels about the practicality of what they are learning.
Using Training Satisfaction Data
Training satisfaction is a lower-level aspect of Kirkpatrick’s model (compared to “results”, which is the most advanced quality). Satisfaction is usually part of the simpler aspects of a course, but they are important.
By monitoring satisfaction, HR can get information that is honest. There is usually no reference in training satisfaction data about abilities, managerial attitudes, or achievements. Employees who complete a training satisfaction survey, for instance, are more likely to be honest because there is no information there that can embarrass anyone (except for the trainer, who is usually not a coworker).
In addition, by collecting satisfaction data early on, L&D managers can make immediate changes if the results are not generally positive. For example:
- Low grades for a training session can lead to a better setting or more convenient hours
- Uninteresting content can be replaced with more suitable material
- Trainers who are not competent or don’t “click” with the group can be replaced (if the HR department or learning platform have the ability to do so quickly)
- Subjects that don’t seem to apply to the group’s role can be revised to make them more practical
GrowthSpace – A Satisfaction Essential
HR teams that want to design relevant, engaging, and satisfying learning experiences are turning to GrowthSpace. Among many other features, GrowthSpace enables organizations to locate top experts in specific fields who have the ability to implement exactly the courses that employees need.
But GrowthSpace is also great for administrators. Through a single platform and interface, HR professionals use GrowthSpace to run every aspect of their program. The result is a win-win-win situation for employees, HR, and L&D experts.