Employee Training KPIs Starter Guide: Learn the Basics

Hiring the right candidates for your open positions is only half the battle—new employees still need to be trained on company procedures and how to do their job.

And companies need to execute this effectively. Poor training programs result in lower morale among workers, higher turnover rates, and decreased productivity.

In order to make sure your training program is up to snuff, you need to measure it. This is where key performance indicators (KPIs) come in. You can identify areas that need improvement by tracking specific employee training KPIs and making changes accordingly.

What Are Employee Training KPIs?

A KPI is a quantifiable measure that helps you assess progress toward predetermined goals. In other words, it’s a way to track whether or not something is working.

Employee training KPIs are metrics that help you gauge the effectiveness of your company’s training programs. By tracking these KPIs, you can make necessary changes to improve your program and ensure that it’s meeting your company’s needs.

There are two main types of KPIs for employee training programs: hard KPIs and soft KPIs.

  • Hard KPIs: These are things that HR and onboarding teams can tangibly measure. They’re generally numbers-based and easy to track, like course completions and certification rates.
  • Soft KPIs: These are harder to measure, as they’re based on intangibles like employee satisfaction and engagement. They include things like how engaged employees are during training or how likely they are to recommend the program to others.

While hard KPIs are important, soft KPIs can give you a better idea of what’s working (and what’s not) from an employee’s perspective.

Which Employee Training KPIs Should Teams Measure?

Let’s take a look at some essential employee training KPIs to monitor.

1. Employee Training Costs

This KPI measures the amount of money that your company spends on employee training. This includes both the direct and indirect costs associated with training, such as:

  • The cost of materials (e.g., books, software)
  • Instructor salaries
  • Venue rental fees (in the case of off-site training)
  • Travel expenses 
  • Time spent away from work

This is an important KPI to track because it can help you assess the financial impact of your training program. If training costs are too high, you may need to make some adjustments, such as using less expensive strategies or holding training sessions at specific times of the day.

2. Time to Ramp

One of the most important things to consider when tracking employee training KPIs is the amount of time it takes for new employees to reach full productivity. This is often referred to as “time to ramp.”

There are a few different ways to measure this KPI, but one of the most common is by tracking the number of days it takes an employee to be able to complete the tasks that are essential to their job.

For example, if you’re training customer service representatives, you might track the number of days it takes them to be able to handle customer inquiries effectively on their own. 

This KPI is important because it can help you assess how effectively your training program prepares employees for their jobs. If it’s taking too long for employees to ramp up, you may need to make some changes to your program.

3. Employee Satisfaction Rate

An infographic from SelectHub on Employee Satisfaction Best Practices.
Best practices for measuring employee satisfaction by Selecthub.

According to Gallup, 51% of employees are on the hunt for a new job. And one of the most common reasons employees leave their jobs is because they’re unhappy with their current situation.

This is why it’s so important to track employee satisfaction rates. This KPI measures how satisfied employees are with their jobs, and it can give you a good idea of whether or not your training program is meeting their needs.

There are a few ways to track employee satisfaction:

  • Absenteeism Rating: This measures the number of days employees are absent from work. If you notice that absenteeism is high across many of your employees, it could signify that employees are unhappy with their jobs.
  • Glassdoor Ratings and Reviews: Glassdoor is a website where employees can rate and review their employers. If you notice that your company’s ratings are low or that there are a lot of negative reviews, it could be a sign that employees are unhappy with their jobs.
  • Employee Engagement Surveys: You can also track employee satisfaction by conducting regular surveys. This will give you a good idea of how employees feel about their jobs, as well as the training they’ve received.
  • Employee Satisfaction Index (ESI): One of the main components of the ESI is whether or not a company provides enough training for employees to do their jobs. If the ESI score is low, it could be a sign that employees are unhappy with their jobs because of a lackluster training program.

On their own, none of these sources of information will tell you exactly whether or not your training program is effective. But when you track employee satisfaction over time, you will start to see patterns emerge. And if you notice that employee satisfaction is low, it could be a sign that your training program needs some improvement.

4. Retention Rate

Another important employee training KPI to track is the retention rate. This measures the percentage of employees who stay with a company over a period of time.

There are a few different ways to calculate retention rates:

  • Voluntary Attrition Rate: This measures the number of employees who leave their jobs voluntarily, such as by quitting or retiring.
  • Involuntary Attrition Rate: This measures the number of employees who are let go by the company, such as through layoffs or firing.
  • Overall Attrition Rate: This measures the total number of employees who leave the company, regardless of the reason.

These three metrics can give you valuable insights into your company’s health and its training programs’ success.

For example, if you have a high involuntary attrition rate due to performance, you may want to reevaluate the effectiveness of the training program’s resources. On the other hand, if you have a low voluntary attrition rate, it could be a sign that employees are happy with their jobs and that the training they’ve received is adequate.

5. Rate of Internal Job Promotions

If your organization hires internally for open positions rather than looking to the outside, it’s a good sign that your employees are given adequate skills to excel in their roles and beyond.

This metric measures the percentage of employees who are promoted from within the company. To calculate this, simply divide the number of promotions in a given period by the total number of employees at the company.

If you have a low rate of internal job promotions, it might not necessarily be a bad sign. It could simply mean that there are few open positions at the company. But it could also mean that your training could be better. Either way, if you have a high rate of internal job promotions, it’s a good sign that employees are given the opportunity and training to develop their skills and advance in their careers.

Why Are Employee Training KPIs Important?

Measuring your employee training program with KPIs is important for a few reasons.

Employee turnover can cost organizations anywhere between 16% and 213% of a lost employee’s salary, and effective training and resources can significantly reduce turnover rates.

In addition, companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors and see higher levels of customer satisfaction.

But most importantly, KPIs can help you identify areas where your employee training program needs improvement. If you see that employees are struggling with a certain skill or that retention rates are low, you can address the issue and make changes to improve the effectiveness of your employee training program without making any guesses.

It isn’t just about putting more money in your pocket—carefully monitoring the efficacy of your onboarding programs can help you create a better working environment for everyone.

What to Watch Out for When Tracking Employee Training KPIs

Of course, there are a few things you need to watch out for when tracking employee training KPIs.

Ensure you’re tracking the right KPIs

No organization is the same, so it’s important to make sure you’re tracking the KPIs that are most relevant to your business. There’s no use in tracking a metric that doesn’t give you any insight into the effectiveness of your employee training program.

For instance, a small company might not need to track a metric like the rate of internal job promotions because they don’t have enough data to make it meaningful. On the other hand, a large company might want to track that KPI in addition to more traditional ones like retention rates and training costs.

Don’t forget about the big picture

While employee training KPIs are important, it’s also important to remember the big picture. Just because your employee training program is effective doesn’t mean your employees are doing their jobs properly.

Make sure you’re also tracking KPIs that give you insight into the overall performance of your employees, like sales numbers and customer satisfaction scores. This will help you ensure that your employee training program is actually translating into better performance for your company.

Be careful not to over-analyze the data

It’s easy to get lost in all the data, especially when you’re tracking multiple KPIs. But it’s important to remember that not every number is significant. Your employees are humans, not numbers, so don’t try to fit them into a box.

If you see a small dip in one KPI, it doesn’t mean your employee training program is failing—it could just be an anomaly. A small increase in another KPI might not be significant either.

Focus on the trends over time rather than individual data points to get a true picture of how your employee training program is performing.

Best Practices for Tracking Employee Training KPIs

There are a few best practices you should keep in mind when tracking employee training KPIs.

Maximize your employee training ROI by giving employees the resources they need

In order to get the most out of your training program, you’ll need a mix of traditional classroom learning and on-the-job training. But you can’t just stop there—you also need to give your employees the resources they need to be successful.

This might include access to an online learning portal, a library of e-learning courses, or even just a list of recommended books and websites.

As a manager or team lead, you should also provide new hires with mentorship opportunities and make yourself available for questions.

See employee onboarding as an investment, not a hoop to jump through

If you want your employee training program to be successful, you need to see it as an investment rather than a hoop to jump through.

This means setting aside the budget for employee training, hiring quality trainers, and taking the time to create a comprehensive program. It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it when you see the results in your employee training KPIs.

Talk with underperforming employees

Employees who aren’t meeting your expectations might not be slacking off intentionally. There could be a number of reasons why they’re not performing as well as you’d like, including a lack of understanding or a bad fit for the role.

If you have an employee who isn’t meeting your expectations, sit down with them and talk about what’s happening. When you listen to their side of the story, you might be able to find a way to help them improve—and it might not be with the training program.

Get feedback from employees who complete training regimens

Employees are the best source of information when it comes to your employee training program. After all, they’re the ones who are actually going through it.

Make sure you’re getting regular feedback from employees about the effectiveness of your employee training program. You can do this through surveys, one-on-one interviews, or even just casual conversations.

This feedback will be invaluable as you make changes and improvements to your employee training program.

Final Thoughts About Employee Training KPIs

Employee training KPIs are a valuable tool for measuring the success of your employee training program. By tracking the right metrics, you can make actionable changes to your employee training program that improve employee performance and retention.

Remember to focus on the trends over time rather than individual data points and to get feedback from employees to get a true picture of your employee training program’s effectiveness. By following these best practices, you can maximize your employee training ROI and ensure that your employees have the resources they need to be successful.

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