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Learning and Development | 6 Min Read

Measure the effectiveness of an employee training program


Training effectiveness is measured in learning and development (L&D) programs to identify upskilling strategy gaps and impact on business productivity. These insights help improvise L&D strategy and improve the efficacy of employee training programs.

According to Skills Index 2021 by City & Guilds Group, 22 million employees feel they don’t have the necessary skills to grasp new opportunities in the coming years. Another report named 2020 Workplace Learning by LinkedIn Learning confirms that 99% of L&D experts believe that if we don’t bridge the skills gap in employees, it will start impacting organizations in the coming decade.

While L&D departments are now equipped with leading technology and digital initiatives, the outcome fails to contribute fully to business outcomes. It is certain that the gap lies in training effectiveness.

Businesses need to focus on the actual outcomes of training initiatives in terms of enhanced productivity, employee satisfaction, increased employee morale, and better client communications.


What is training effectiveness?

Training effectiveness measures the extent to which employee performance has improved with continuous learning. It assesses employees’ knowledge, performance, skills, and the company’s ROI after the training.

A popular method to measure training effectiveness is identifying the 3Ws (why, who, and what of training):

Why train employees?

As the business landscape evolves with time, employees’ existing skills are unable to meet organizational demands as well as personal career goals completely. Therefore, implementing employee training programs according to different employee categories and their core competencies can help improve workplace productivity and outcomes.

Who to train?

Identify organizational requirements and employees’ aspirations. Based on these factors, employees who are being considered for promotion, seeking lateral shifts, or are willing to improve their performance can be considered for employee training programs.

Ideally, every employee should be given an equal chance to refine their skills. Therefore, a personalized program for each employee category can be designed.

What to train on?

Every employee has varied training needs; some employees need to learn transferable skills, while others need to refine their leadership qualities. Therefore, a well-round training program should be designed according to different job profiles, employee needs, and organizational mobility requirements.


What is the need to measure training effectiveness?

Measuring employee effectiveness helps to:

  • Identify how training has helped employees
  • Determine the return on investment that the company has observed
  • Identify training gaps and improve the program iteratively
  • Evaluate the training needs of different categories of employees


How do you measure the effectiveness of training?

Understanding training evaluation metrics is crucial to measuring training effectiveness. It allows organizations to implement well-conceptualized training that makes efficient and high-performing teams.

Training evaluation metrics can include the following questions:

  • How many participants completed the training?
  • What is the success/failure rate of assessments undertaken?
  • Is there any significant behavioral change observed due to the intervention?
  • What is the return on investment (ROI)?

Some ways to measure training effectiveness for an employee training program are:


Infographic 1

1. Track the right key performance indicators (KPI)

Organizations should focus on KPIs that provide clarity regarding employees’ performance projections and progress.

  • Skills and knowledge retention
  • Employee time to proficiency
  • Employee engagement
  • Transfer of training
  • Net promoter score
  • Impact of training on organizational performance

Measuring the right KPIs helps understand training gaps and success factors, which allows valuable strategy modifications.

2. Conduct employee training assessments

Employee training assessments are excellent for L&D professionals as they help assess trainees’ learning retention and progress from beginning to end.

Steps to administering a training assessment:


Prior training assessment:

An assessment before training provides a baseline awareness of employees’ existing skills. Such assessments provide a base to evaluate employees’ performance before and after the training.


Mid-training evaluation: 

Gauging employees while training makes it easier to understand whether the exercise is helping employees, or it needs some amendments.


Post-training assessment: 

An employee assessment at the end of training helps compare scores against the pre-training scores to determine whether there is an improvement. These evaluations efficiently address a progression or retrogression in trainees’ performances, helping make necessary training amendments.

3. Track employee engagement

Are employees committed to the training from the beginning to the end?

It’s essential to understand whether the training initiative is engaging employees. The success of a training initiative is directly related to the richness of content and the value it provides to the learners.

A few questions that answer whether employees are engaged or not are:

  • Are employees interested in other programs?
  • Are they completing courses or programs at the right pace?
  • Do they ask questions?
  • Is there a change in their behavior due to the training?
  • Are they discussing doubts with a senior resource or managers?

4. Seek feedback on training

Employees’ feedback regarding their learning experience helps recruiters understand what’s effective and what’s not. An ideal way to seek feedback is through a medium where learners can express their training experience. For example, an anonymous feedback survey during the training program helps understand employees’ honest views.

Engaging employees in this activity throughout the program aids L&D managers in extracting valuable insights that help improve training satisfaction in the future.


Models used to evaluate training effectiveness

The Kirkpatrick Model


The Kirkpatrick Model is a globally recognized framework to streamline organizational training and learning initiatives. It evaluates the training effectiveness for formal and informal training modes against four evaluation criteria: reaction, learning, behavior, and results.


the Kirk-Patrick Model

The 4 Levels of Training Evaluation:

  • Reaction: This measures how learners have responded to the training, including the critical aspects of the activity, such as utilizing reviews, questionnaires, or talking to participants to get honest feedback on the training experience.
  • Learning: It measures what the trainees have learned and how much knowledge they have gained.
  • Behavior This indicates how trainees apply the learned information and how it has impacted their performance and attitude.
  • Results The last aspect is the ‘why’ part of the training. It captures the difference in the participants’ behavior before and after the program. It includes outcomes the organization has determined favorable for both business and employees.

The Phillips ROI Model

Infographic 2

The Phillips ROI Model associates training costs with the training outcome.

It uses the Kirkpatrick Model to classify data differently:

  • Reaction: It uses short surveys to measure participants’ responses to training and gathered data.
  • Learning: It provides an MCQ survey to the learner before and after the program to compare and measure knowledge and skill improvements.
  • Application: It collects data about training success or failure and evaluates the ‘why’ behind this outcome.
  • Impact: It helps assess the impact of factors, like training content, on the performance of employees and participants.
  • Return on investment: It uses cost-benefit analysis to find the cost and intangible benefits of the employee training program.

Anderson’s Model of Learning Evaluation


Anderson’s Value of Learning Model is a three-stage assessment to measure the training program’s effectiveness.

It aligns organizational objectives with the training program in the following way:

  • Identifying current training needs as per strategic business needs.
  • Using different ways to evaluate learning contribution.
  • Finding the most feasible learning approaches for the business.

Kaufman’s Five Levels of Evaluation


Infographic 3

Kaufman’s model is another extension of the Kirkpatrick Model, and it aims to improve outcomes in the following ways:

  • Input: It is the training material that we use in the employee training program.
  • Process: It is the evaluation of process efficiency and acceptability.
  • Acquisition: It evaluates if learners have gained the required skills and how they use them in the workplace.
  • Application: It assesses how employees use acquired skills in daily work tasks.
  • Organizational costs: It measures cost analysis and performance improvements and links performance to the cost paid for the employee training program.
  • Societal results: It evaluates the program’s benefit to the client ecosystem and stakeholders.


How Mercer | Mettl Can Help?

Mercer | Mettl’s Training Effectiveness tool helps understand the training lifecycle, including training needs identification, measurement of the program ROI, and impact on employees’ knowledge and skills.

Pre-training assessments

Mercer | Mettl’s pre-training assessments are customized for the specific competency training framework. These assessments, when administered before the training, measure the current proficiency level in the desired competencies. They help in creating the right training program for employees.

Post-training assessments

Mercer | Mettl’s post-training assessment framework is designed based on the Kirkpatrick 4-level training evaluation model, the worldwide standard for evaluating training effectiveness. It helps assess the effectiveness of the L&D program for successfully filling skill gaps in each employee to improve their performance.

Based on the Kirkpatrick Model, Mercer | Mettl’s training effectiveness assessment solutions measure perceived learning and demonstrated understanding. They take into account the following:

  • Reaction: Candidates’ idea of whether the training program has helped them or not
  • Learning: How much has the candidate assimilated?
  • Behavior: How much did the candidate retain after the training ended?
  • Result: Captures the observable difference in candidates’ behaviors and attitudes before and after the program



Measuring training effectiveness helps understand the challenges faced during the employee learning and development program. When training is paired with a feedback system for every employee, it helps the hiring managers meet business objectives with a logical approach. Thus, employees at all levels are able to comprehend expectations, operationalize vision and values, and perceive what is essential to succeed.



What is the effectiveness of the employee training program?

How do you evaluate the effectiveness of training programs?

What are the three attributes of an effective training program?

Originally published December 24 2018, Updated May 23 2023

Written by

Abhilash works with the Content Marketing team of Mercer|Mettl. He has been contributing his bit to the world of online business for some years now. Abhilash is experienced in content marketing, along with SEO. He’s fond of writing useful posts, helping people, traveling, and savoring delicacies.

Training Effectiveness

Importance and Effectiveness of training

Training effectiveness determines how a training program instigates change in an employee's skills, knowledge, and behavior; for example, it measures the degree to which a particular training program may enable a team to increase its efficiency or achieve a specific business objective.

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