When we create a health and safety course, we want you, the client, to be delighted with our work. But we also want you to feel that it was a worthwhile investment (of both your time and money).
Quantifying how successful your course was at changing your (or your learner’s) behaviour and/or delivering ROI, is essential for resource allocation in for businesses that need to balance competing priorities. However, while a healthy business measures the benefits and results of time and money invested, defining performance metrics isn’t an exact science requires careful consideration for optimum, quantifiable ROI.
There are many online learning performance metrics available. But it is advisable to use your course type as a guide in identifying the appropriate measures. We have identified three different course types which will demand different performance metrics:
- The performance improvement course
- The organisational compliance course
- The course for sharing information
The ‘Performance Improvement’ Course
As a means towards moving the employee towards an identified improvement goal, the performance improvement course will teach the learners a new skill or provide the information required for them to perform better in their jobs. The success of doing this type of course is how your learners measure up against the goal set on completion of the course (over a given time period).
In creating bespoke courses for our clients, we are often provided with a performance metric which the course we create tries to address. To offer an example in a very broad sense, if your course is designed to improve safety levels on the factory floor (amongst production workers), you will need to identify your current accident rate as x per y time period (the given time period should be sufficient to generate enough data). Post training, you would hope to be able to identify a reduced accident rate in the same time period.
Management might seek to extend this further and link to corporate objectives, which in this case could be seen in production or output. For example, a reduced time spent dealing with accidents, reporting and in sickness absence should seek to improve production and efficiency levels. In the same time period, reduced injury rates should seek to correlate with increased production levels – and ultimately, this is key to making the subject a boardroom issue!
Should an objective that management is seeking to improve be out of your control due to external factors, it will be more difficult to identify the effect of the training and measurement stats should be used with caution. Using ‘improvement on sales revenue’ as an example here, it is possible to see that this would be subject to such factors as stock levels, conditions in the wider marketplace, pricing etc., making the job of establishing the effects of training all the more difficult. In such cases, alternative metrics should be employed that directly relate to the training undertaken (amongst your group of learners) such as:
- Raising scores on pre and post course assessments
- Improving performance on specified tasks
- Improvement in performance of contributing metrics e.g. reduced errors
N.B. Make sure that your pre-course evaluations are set in place so that you can link your post course results back to performance expectation; you can focus on how your training group has used the information they have been given. As with any course, application in the workplace is the ultimate guide to success.
The ‘Organisation Compliance’ Course
Possibly still the biggest reason for seeking a health and safety course (even today), ticking boxes, or undertaking the due diligence required to keep senior management out of jail in the case of a disaster or civil litigation, is a basic requirement for some companies.
Even the SME employing 5 or more people needs to be able to prove that they have undertaken the due diligence required to keep their staff (and the general public) safe during the course of the working day. There are many health and safety courses available which have been designed with the goal of delivering training to meet regulatory or compliance requirements.
However, compliance will need to be linked to measurable business objectives in order to be the right fit for a performance metric. If not, you will need to find another way of defining your success criteria. Conducting pre and post course assessments testing the learner’s knowledge and/or skills is one solution here. In some cases, the training itself can offer a benchmark for measurement. Here, an increase in the number of people completing assessments for the course can indicate a performance metric as some regulations will define compliance as the ‘delivery of training’.
It is also worth looking at how the training function has evolved in your company over a period of time to further assess the success between modes of delivery. For example, you may wish to save on time and budget by opting for an online course, but be unsure of whether this will offer you the same benefits as a classroom course. Here you will need to look at X savings of employee working hours and/or Y££’s from the company’s training budget – you might be surprised at how many people you could put through an online course for the price of its classroom equivalent.
The ‘Information Sharing’ Course
A third type of course can be viewed as merely a means for sharing information. The material contained in this type of course could be found via an internet search or in print format. While this type of information might not have a performance metric directly tied to it, it is an important means of information sharing and will play a vital role in the organisation.
Measuring effectiveness here could be seen in improving the number of workers engaging with the information you have provided them with i.e. by inserting a call to action in the form of a download and tracking those employees who perform this task (one example here could be in the provision of a poster for a person’s workstation within a DSE – Display Screen Equipment- course). This will show management that your audience is understanding the message and that it is getting amongst its intended audience. The metric can also offer a benchmark for further interactions.
On the face of it, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to establishing performance metrics for your health and safety training course, but hopefully, we’ve offered food for thought in tracking that all important business investment. Remember, track metrics by type of course and according to what business objective or end performance result you want to achieve in order to establish measurable, quantifiable ROI!