HR managers are increasingly investing significant amounts of time and
effort – as well as pounds or euros – in the development of their workforce.
The vast majority of UK managers (83 per cent) actively monitor the
effectiveness of training. But there are varying attitudes to this in Europe –
managers in Scandinavian and Germanic countries are not as intent on
quantifying its value.
Their relaxed attitude should not be brushed off too quickly, as there might
be some lessons to be drawn. The urge to monitor training effectiveness
systematically might be symptomatic of an HR culture constantly seeking to
prove itself, rather than being enabled to act as a strategic partner.
One UK HR director said that it is fine to measure the satisfaction
expressed by the recipients of training, or measure their learning through a
test or changes in their performance. But he asked, "Are people able to
take time to develop themselves? Again and again, they simply cannot find the time.
We have adopted as our best proxy measure the fact that managers are so busy
that if they turn up they must value the training."
While it is accepted that training is essential to personal development, the
link with organisational performance is questionable. Managers in Scandinavian
and Germanic organisations may trust the value of personal development more
than the metrics of organisational performance. Disbelievers in the UK might
argue that training is the process whereby information is transferred from the
book of the lecturer to the notebook of the trainees without passing through
the mind of either. Monitoring the effectiveness of training is a simple way of
ensuring this does not happen.