Effectiveness of Leadership Training
Companies need to be able to measure the effectiveness of their leadership training. However, there are too many companies who fail to provide leaders with the training and support they need – ironically, usually for financial reasons. With his “Cost of Doing Nothing” calculator, author and leadership expert Ken Blanchard conducted extensive research, including analysis of hundreds of companies. His findings revealed that the longer a company fails to incorporate true leadership development, the greater the negative financial impact. In fact, he determined that ignoring leadership training leads to an average loss of 7 percent in total annual sales!
According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2015 State of Leadership Development Study, 77 percent of organizations questioned said their leadership training and strategy was not fully aligned with their business strategy. Far too many businesses are failing to implement effective leadership training strategies that address key business objectives.
So, you know you need to implement leadership training, and you need that training to be actionable and truly affect the company’s bottom line. Here are five practical steps you can take to measure the effectiveness of your leadership training.
1. Provide Leadership Training That Increases Profitability
In modern business, everything we do is aimed at improving the bottom line. Yes, providing great leadership training is great for morale, but it can only be considered cost-effective if it is having a positive effect on profitability. You need to determine the return on investment your leadership training delivers, and that requires the continual assessment of relevant data.
Training represents a significant cost to most businesses, so retention is a key metric. Understand the true cost of employee turnover, and record your employee retention rates before you implement your leadership training strategy, and monitor them closely thereafter. If you start to see a significant decline in the number of people leaving your organization, you should also see a reduction in your business’s recruiting and training costs. Other areas to monitor include productivity (sales to dollars spent on salaries) and employee absenteeism.
2. Provide Leadership Training That Engages Your Workforce
Your leadership training will only be effective if it is consistent and actionable. Your managers and leaders should be responding positively, and they should be able to demonstrate how they’re applying what they’ve learned in real-world situations. Similarly, the team members reporting to those leaders should show true engagement and the ability to apply the ways in which their leaders guide them to their job. Regular one-to-one meetings and 360-degree feedback questionnaires will give you an honest assessment of your leadership training strategy’s success.
3. Motivate Your Leaders at Every Opportunity
Better Leaders are motivated, and possess the ability to motivate others. While an employee’s character will always play a role in how motivated they are to succeed, there are certain steps you can take to boost motivation levels. For example, you can meet regularly with employees to determine what inspires them to succeed. You can set specific and measurable goals to achieve within a specific timescale. And piling on the praise when things go well is always a good strategy.
Your leaders can motivate employees by addressing morale, building trust, and working with employee teams to set achievable goals. Teaching leaders to motivate their people is an objective that can truly inspire the entire company to generate new ideas and work together to meet customer needs.
4. Provide Support at Every Stage
It doesn’t matter how capable the leaders in your business are, they will need support from time to time. It is vital that you are there to offer advice and guidance when it is requested. Training is never a linear undertaking; it has a tendency to veer off course from time to time. People learn in different ways and at different speeds, so patience and understanding on your part is vital.
Teaching your leaders to support employee needs can involve helping them handle conflict among team members. Supporting the company may also include a focus on improving productivity, including how to delegate properly and manage time. Addressing these areas builds trust among teams, and makes them less likely to turn to outsiders, such as unions or attorneys for that support.
5. Encourage Continuous Improvement
The most successful leaders don’t stop when they achieve their goals; they continue to strive for personal betterment. Your leadership strategy needs to instill this characteristic not just among leaders, but among all employees. For leaders that excel, it’s important to provide new and useful training that will help them improve their skills, including addressing ethics, how to give great performance reviews, and how to manage change. As the employees under them grow and excel, they’ll also want to know how to become better coaches. Be sure to define what leadership means within your organization so that all leaders are moving the company toward the same objectives.
By implementing these five key metrics in your leadership training strategy, you will cultivate a more engaged and productive workforce. When you demonstrate the effectiveness of leadership training, you’ll ensure that you’re working toward making your company an employer of choice, meaning that job-seekers are clamoring for positions, turnover is low, and the company’s reputation as an employer is stellar.