Jul 192011

Training Evaluation: Funding the Function

Training Evaluation: By Dave Basarab on Mon, Jul 18, 2011

As you go about running the Training Evaluation function you will need an annual budget.  Budget is not a bad word. A budget gives you the ability to make informed spending decisions without guessing. It’s a way to help you organize your expenses so that the work is done to satisfy the vision and mission of the function and using the established work processes.  Note: the budget will need to provide funds for internal or external evaluation personal or a combination of both.

Here are the rules that I follow for setting the training evaluation budget:

  1. Seek training staff buy-in.  Before setting the evaluation budget, reach out to the training department heads and their teams. By seeking feedback from staff, you can learn about conditions on the ground, areas where courses are stuttering, internal processes where an examination is long overdue and programs that show evaluation promise. The goal is to get employees’ contribution early on in the process, so they feel part of the budgeting initiative and wholeheartedly implement the blueprint’s recommendations.
  2. Review prior training evaluation budget data (if any).  Review prior budget data at the onset of a budgeting process.  Delving into past information before setting current-period budget thresholds helps you put forth realistic numbers and not reach for the stars when the company should be dealing with figures close to the competitive ground.
  3. Identify critical success factors.  Critical success factors include anything a training and development department may use to bring a training evaluation strategy or tactical plan to fruition. Examples come from the training evaluation functions’ vision, mission, and annual strategic initiatives. By paying attention to these factors, you ensure that the function does not engage in a short-term project or long-term initiative that it cannot complete on time or pay for.
  4. Set budget targets.  Setting training evaluation budget targets means specifying expense limits that personnel must follow when performing evaluation tasks. The age-old question is how much should I spend (budget for)?  A general rule that I use is to set a maximum training evaluation budget for 10-15% of the annual training budget.  This is the starting point for the discussion.  To help in setting targets, you need to determine which courses will be evaluated and to what degree.  I recommend all courses have an end-of-course satisfaction survey.  Using my Predictive Evaluation Model, select which programs predict value and then have Intention, Adoption, or Impact evaluations performed.


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