P&C planning mistake no. 7 – We measure attendance, not impact

Think about why you offer training and development programs for your people. Like actually think about it.

Is it to grow and develop them?
Is it to drive ‘high performance’? That elusive term that we all use but don’t really understand what it really means.
Is it to drive a whole of business, or team, initiative?

For what purpose do you run them?

I think we are often clear on the intent behind them. It could be any of the above. If it is to drive a high-performance business, then a high performance of what? What do you need to shift? Measure that. And create accountability if you are not achieving it.

But instead, we do a roll call of who came and then ask them to fill in a ‘happy’ sheet (training evaluation) of what they thought. And that is typically it.

The problem with measuring attendance and their satisfaction on the day is this. Just because they rocked up doesn’t mean they are engaged. They could be doing emails (if online) or just doing the corporate nod to agree with what is being said but have no intention of implementing. They have been told to come. So they do just that. And if someone doesn’t show, it could mean so many things; they have too much on, they have no interest, they have been to similar content in the past; it’s boring; and the list goes on. Attendance could mean so many different things. It’s not the important thing to measure. We make too many assumptions from the data and it’s not useful.

We have a stance that; Training isn’t compulsory. But changing behaviour is.

Author of Prove It, Stacey Barr, tells us that many professionals don’t measure the impact of their programs well. Especially the ‘soft skills’. She’s right. We need to get explicit about what we want to see differently.

  • To improve performance, we might measure the decrease in surprise conversations occurring in performance reviews.
  • To improve productivity, it might be a reduction in tickets or errors created.
  • To improve engagement, we might look at the reduction in regrettable turnover or an increase in staff turnover, for the short term. Or ask people how much ‘on the job’ feedback they are getting on a weekly basis.

Everything is measurable. 

Attendance is not where the conversation is useful. It’s a commitment to a better way of working, that is.

Do you want to understand why we’re stuck in ‘nice’ cultures and what to do about it? Then come along to my next online event on Embedding a feedback culture in 2023. Get the dates and register here.