Why Training Metrics Matter


If you're not taking advantage of the profits and prestige that training has to offer, then your business may be in trouble. 

By Evan Hackel, CFE, Tortal Training and Ingage Consulting

Many company leaders think that measuring the results of their company training will give them information that is “nice to know.” If that is what you have been thinking, I would like to challenge you in this article. Measuring what is happening with your company training can empower you and improve your profits and processes in immense ways that will astound you. 

A case study that proves the point.

When my training company was analyzing training results for a restaurant chain, we looked at the profits of individual restaurants in two categories. The first was restaurants where 50 percent or less of employees were taking the required online training. The second category consisted of restaurants where 80 percent or more of employees were taking the required online training. Our analysis showed that in the second group, the annual growth rate of business was four percent greater than the growth rate at restaurants in the first.

What does this mean?

Since the average restaurant in the chain was doing an average of $2 million annually, that meant that restaurants where at least 80 percent of employees who were being trained were doing $80,000 more in business every year. Even when we subtracted the $20,000 cost of the food that was being prepared and sold from that overall amount, we determined that each training-invested location was still doing $60,000 more business every year than locations that were less invested in training. Of course, growth compounds every year. When you increase training, there can be a correlation to increased profit.

In the restaurant chain we analyzed, there were 1,200 locations where 50 percent or fewer of the employees were completing the training. This means that if each of those locations raised its training percentage to 80 percent, they had the opportunity to contribute an additional $96 million to franchise-wide sales. That is an astounding result of simply getting more employees to take training that was already available. Put in dollar terms, the franchisor lost $5.7 million in royalties and close to $2 million in national fund dollars. The franchisees in total lost $69 million after food cost and franchise fees.  

My question to you is, would you be willing to leave $96 million on the table every year, just by failing to get at least 80 percent of all employees to take the training you have already paid to develop and provide? Or if you don’t have great training, what would you be willing to invest to improve sales by four percent?  

Those figures offer a compelling argument for training. But perhaps more importantly, they document the importance of developing and measuring metrics to understand what is taking place in your training efforts. In this case, we simply compared growth rates in locations where high percentages of employees were being trained against what was taking place in locations where low percentages of employees were taking part. 

The impact training can bring.

I think it is worth finding out the impact of those that truly use your training vs. those that don’t in order to find out what you’re leaving on the table.

Here are three things to know:

You should know what the impact of your training is.

You should look at training as an investment, not a cost.

Your franchisees need to realize that training is an investment with a high return. 

You have to ask the right questions to uncover the wisdom that statistics can teach – questions that are both imaginative and curious. In the case study we have just discussed, wisdom was unlocked when we decided to ask, “Are profits stronger in locations where more people are taking the training and if they are, what kind of statistics apply?” If customer satisfaction levels are higher at some of your locations, for example, what percentage of the employees there are taking and completing training? If customer satisfaction is low at other locations, are there certain courses that employees have not completed?

How do I gather metrics?

Because we live in modern times, there is a simple answer to that question. Use a modern Learning Management System (LMS) to gather data. 

A full-featured LMS makes statistics instantly available to you, including: 

How many of your employees in each location have started training programs? How many of them have completed training?

How many employees do you have who are taking training, how many of them have completed certification programs, and which of those employees are contributing most to sales and profits?

Which of your training programs are causing the greatest levels of improvement in employee performance, which can be measured by online customer reviews, repeat business, and other metrics? 

A good LMS will measure what percentage of employees in every location are taking live training, onboarding, mentoring, etc. Are you tracking these numbers?

Which of your training programs are increasing profits in locations where they have been used and which are not?

Remember there are many economic and other factors that training can impact upon, including:

Sales, including average sale size, closing rates and repeat business.

Customer satisfaction, as evaluated by your net promoter score or other measures.

Brand awareness among customers served.

Measurable improvements in safety achieved after training that have resulted in lower insurance costs.

Employee retention improvements.

If you measure factors like those before and after training, you can gain a deeper understanding of the impact that training is having on your profits and operations. Using metrics the right way empowers you to deploy your training efforts where they will produce the greatest results. 

There is no mistake about it: training pays! But you will never know how much until you measure. 

Evan Hackel is CEO of Tortal Training and founder of Ingage Consulting. Find out more about Tortal Training here