How do firms evaluate the training they provide to employees?
The challenge of measuring the impact of in-service training on business performance
Employers need to evaluate training outcomes in order to assess the impact of the training provided and to identify shortcomings.
Within the third European Continuing Vocational Training Survey (CVTS3), enterprises were asked whether and how they evaluate training provided to their employees. The question covered four dimensions of evaluation: reaction - measuring participants satisfaction; learning - assessing acquisition of skills; behaviour - assessing changes in participants behaviour and performance; results - measuring impact of training on business results.
Measuring the satisfaction of participants at the end of a training event, e.g. by means of a questionnaire, is common in the EU-27. More than half of small firms (54 %) and the great majority of large ones (84 %) use this method, with limited variation across countries. For all training firms, only in Germany and Luxembourg do less than 40 % of companies measure this outcome; for the rest, the share ranges from 42 % to 79 %.
Assessing whether the targeted skills were successfully acquired is also quite widespread within the EU-27, covering 56 % of all firms. Such assessment is usually done via written or practical tests. Shares of firms using this method are somewhat lower, but still, in all countries except Denmark and Germany at least two thirds of large firms assess skills acquisition as a result of training.
Assessments of changes in participants behaviour or performance are carried out at a level that is similar to that of skills assessment. In the EU-27 shares range from 58 % in small firms (maximum 82 % Greece), 68 % in medium-sized (maximum 89 % United Kingdom) to 79 % in large enterprises (maximum 94 % Poland).
Improving business results is possibly the most important outcome of training, but also the most difficult one to measure. Nevertheless, in the EU-27 two out of five firms use this method, typically through the use of indicators (e.g., production and delivery times, reduction of waste). Over 80 % of large firms carry out such assessments in Bulgaria, Romania and the United Kingdom.
Notes: The data are subject to the CVTS3 methodology. Data for Ireland are not available.
New data on continuing vocational training in enterprises for reference year 2010 will be collected via the next round of the CVTS, for which Eurostat has started development work.
Cedefop contributes actively to this process; its CVTS workshop on 29/30 June 2009 will allow countries to exchange experiences and know-how and to share good practices.