The Wisdom (or Folly) of Tracking Employees’ Training Scores

We often have conversations with peers and clients discussing the best way to evaluate whether people are really learning from ethics and compliance training. The measure would be one way to gage training effectiveness, an important part of assessing the ROI of your organization’s training investment.

One of the most common suggestions we hear from clients is to administer a post-training test to all learners. This test can be tracked through the organization’s learning management system (LMS) and results can be analyzed. The big challenge with that approach is determining a passing score? And, if you settle on a number less than 100 percent, what percentage is high enough to show the right level of knowledge?

While this approach seems simple, it can open your organization up to risk.

Imagine that one of your organization’s employees scores less than 100 percent on the follow-up quiz for your anticorruption e-learning course. While you are analyzing training data and planning next steps for test failures – or, worse yet, you don’t have plans to follow up on low scores - a government bribery investigation takes place in your company. The investigation identifies this employee as the perpetrator in a headline corruption case.

What will the government’s position likely be regarding your organization’s culpability once that person’s training record is unearthed? What if:

(i) The training record shows that the rogue employee committed the deed during the gap between training and remediation?

(ii) The employee scores better on the next training test, but is not quite at 100 percent?

(iii) Chasing this employee to complete further remediation falls through the cracks? 

With tight budgets and time strapped compliance staffs, missteps are not only possible, but very likely. So how do you track training effectiveness and, at the same time, not create risk for your organization?

My first recommendation is that you don’t create a system that allows employees to pass with a score of less than 100 percent. Consider the following industry best practices:

  • Build a learning experience that requires learners to get every question correct before they can progress in the course or receive a certificate of completion.
  • If a quiz is required, build it in a way that requires the learner to answer all questions correctly; include alternative questions for repeat testing.
  • Design a course that forces learners to revisit course content related to questions they get wrong; require them to retake the quiz and score 100 percent before they get credit for taking the course.

However, before you roll out an end-of-course quiz, I encourage you first to consider what you really want to measure. If you want to know whether employees have actually learned something from the training, consider a post-training evaluation completed 2-3 months after the training. Ask questions that will help you determine if employees understood the content and whether they retained the key messages. Make the survey anonymous, but trackable to a division or group. Analyze the results (be sure this is done in a timely manner) and look for trends—are there groups or divisions that are struggling with certain concepts? If so, provide targeted training for the identified groups on those specific topics.

Chat with a solutions expert to learn how you can take your compliance program to the next level of maturity.

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