Kirkpatrick’s model is a framework that is widely used to measure learning outcomes. It features five levels, each of which represents a category that can be evaluated, including participants’ emotions, learning, behavior, results, and the return of investment (ROI).
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This paper features a case study of a training program conducted in Braun Oral B Ireland. It presents the goals and anticipated business results of the program and discusses how the results were evaluated using Kirkpatrick’s model. Moreover, the report features the reflection on the findings and suggests recommendations for evaluation of the impact and value of training. The paper concludes that the used model shows effective results and may be improved by considering more aspects during calculation.
Anticipated Business Results
The selected case study is the one performed in Braun Oral B Ireland. The case study involves the development of a pilot training program with the company’s employees. The program was implemented in the Lens Filter area, which was responsible for the processes of thermoforming and packaging. The section involved 30 employees, 18 of which worked there directly, while the rest of the individuals were engaged in the process remotely (Ward, 2005).
The primary challenges for this unit were enhancing efficiency, maintaining workers’ key performance indicators (KPI), and improving quality, material usage, machine utilization, and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). The design of the training program was determined by these issues, as well as the need to implement a multifunctional approach to teamwork and increase employees’ ability to find solutions to possible problems quickly.
Moreover, other needs, such as the effective management of meetings, the implementation of the cross-fertilization of ideas, and the direct engagement of the technical group, were considered. The pilot group included 8 participants who received training for five and a half days (Ward, 2005).
The organization’s objectives related to the training program were to achieve higher KPIs, elevate technicians’ roles, and enhance Material Usage Variance (MUV) savings. The goals of trainees were to increase their engagement in the working process, gain an understanding of business needs and the significance of KPIs, acquire strong problem-solving skills, and learn to conduct productive meetings. Moreover, the program aimed to improve interpersonal relationships within the group, enhance participants’ commitment, implement cross-fertilization of ideas, and help the employees to see the “bigger picture” (Ward, 2005).
Currently, Kirkpatrick’s model is considered one of the most credible evaluation methodology (Bailey, n.d.). To perform the evaluation, the questionnaires for the first two levels were used; the other data was obtained through observation. The analysis of the first level, reaction, showed that participants received the training well, reporting 4 points out of 5 (Ward, 2005). Employees considered coaches’ approach impressive; they admitted that the proposed techniques were relatable and useful. The evaluation of the second level, learning, revealed that participants gained the necessary knowledge related to problem-solving and management and were able to practice their skills. Tutors noted the full participation of trainees and provided positive feedback.
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The analysis of behavior, the third level, showed tangible developments; the team learned to have productive meetings and implement problem-solving skills. Moreover, a significant enhancement of technicians’ engagement was observed as they developed an innovative recording system. In addition, all members of the personnel, including supervisors and human resources staff, were involved in the teamwork. To analyze the results, the fourth level of Kirkpatrick’s model, the contributors of loss, were analyzed. The evaluation revealed improvements in the use of materials and the reduction of scrap levels.
To calculate the ROI of the training, which is a fifth level of the model, the analysis was performed using the data that could be converted to a monetary value. The first data item was scrap levels, which, before training, had been estimated at around €23,200 per month (Ward, 2005). After the intervention, the figure decreased to approximately €3,100, which allowed for the saving of €20,100 a month. The projected annual saving was about €241,600 (Ward, 2005).
Notably, apart from the training program, no other factors could affect the variables. The second data item that was analyzed is a trend line associated with scrap levels. It showed that the scrap level had fluctuated before the training, but the projected monthly scrap value would be stable and would reach around €23,000. When compared to the actual numbers, the data showed a significant increase in monthly and annual savings. The total cost of the training program was around €30,000, and the lowest projected saving was approximately €239,000 (Ward, 2005). Thus, the ROI calculation showed a 695% of investment return.
Besides the presented significant benefits of the training program, there were several other advantages not included in the evaluation. During training sessions, the multifunctional team was established, the tool room became highly involved, employees gained knowledge about materials, and the new recording systems for sorting and scrap were developed. It means that the program allowed for multidimensional changes within the organization.
Reflection on the Findings and Recommendations
The findings of the evaluation show that the problem-solving training program was effective and allowed the organization to achieve its goals. The results reveal that Braun Oral B Ireland was able to increase its savings by investing in training, as well as establish close relationships between its employees and motivate them to achieve better results in their work. Notably, the intervention not only allowed for improvements in the processes of packaging and thermoforming but also enhanced participants’ productivity.
It means that before training, the company might have lacked the necessary knowledge on how to create an environment in which individuals will generate effective business ideas. Moreover, the findings may show that the organization had probably lacked a strong corporate culture. However, all of these problems were solved during the training program, which means that the investment was reasonable.
There are several recommendations that can be suggested to enhance the analyzed approach to evaluation and measure the impact and value of training sessions. First, it is vital to not only conduct personal interviews with the participants but also to analyze their performance. Employees’ reactions to training may be different from the knowledge they can apply to practice. For example, after the educational session, many individuals may feel inspired or motivated, but this effect is temporary.
To gain evidence-based findings on the efficiency of training, it is vital to observe the long-term changes in workers’ performance. In my opinion, it may be feasible to perform an evaluation not only three months after the training program but after 12 months too. The obtained results may reveal stable changes in employees’ performance and allow for a precise estimation of their KPI in the future. Moreover, since some workers may leave the job during a one-year period, the organization can also evaluate what knowledge from the program the team uses to train new workers.
Another recommendation that would enhance the measurement process would be the consideration of intangible variables that cannot be converted into monetary benefits. The reason to include them in the calculation is that these items may improve employees’ or customers’ satisfaction, which would, indirectly, improve the monetary profit too. For example, one of these variables can be stress reduction for the organization’s workers. If a training program allows employees to decrease their stress levels, their performance can be enhanced too (Scott et al., 2015). Similarly, the elimination of complaints as a result of training can improve the organization’s position in the market and, consequently, enhance monetary gains.
Finally, I believe that a vital recommendation for measurement would be to collect follow-up surveys of employees that can be performed after a one-year period. Such a measure would allow the organization to get a different perspective on the benefits and limitations of the training program. For example, participants may report on what challenges related to new working strategies they encounter and how these may be eliminated. Moreover, their responses will be based on the observed facts, not emotions, compared to the feedback collected during and immediately after the training. Such an approach would also allow for the enhancement of employees’ dedication and involvement in the organization’s decision-making process.
The presented case study reveals that the training program enhanced employees’ performance, knowledge, and skills significantly. It suggests that due to this effective intervention, the company was able to enhance its savings and obtain a high level of investment return. The possible recommendations for evaluation may be the consideration of intangible variables, detailed analysis of employees’ performance based on observation of long-term changes, and the implementation of follow-up surveys after a one-year period.
Bailey, A. (n.d.). The Kirkpatrick/Phillips model for evaluating human resource development and training. Web.
Scott, S. B., Graham-Engeland, J. E., Engeland, C. G., Smyth, J. M., Almeida, D. M., Katz, M. J.,… Sliwinski, M. J. (2015). The effects of stress on cognitive aging, physiology, and emotion (ESCAPE) project. BMC Psychiatry, 15(1). Web.
Ward, B. (2005). Applying an ROI analysis to a pilot problem-solving training program. Case studies from the Skillnets pilot project. Web.