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The Goal of Onboarding

Yesterday I had the pleasure of running the 3rd Learning+Development Round-Table. This event brings together a small number of highly motivated Learning+Development Managers from big-name organisations in Belgium. *


Following an excellent highly interactive presentation from Gosse Corstiaensen of KPMG Belgium, we spent a moment carefully defining the goals of corporate onboarding.


According to the team, if you are setting up onboarding processes for your company, these should be your goals:

  • Create alignment to task, mission, culture/values, processes
  • Make people self-sufficient to get the quickly productive
  • Get people connected
  • Create employe satisfaction
  • Create retention especially of the best people
  • Create commitment/engagement/motivation
  • Create brand champions with the right employee behaviour
  • Build a good image of your company so that even if the above fails, they still believe



@Gosse_C introduced us to the 4Cs of onboarding and then we spoke about many different ways to achieve the above-mentioned goals. Here I have added a few that I retained, plus some additional references…

  • 2 different strategic approaches to onboarding (picture)
  • Onboarding should be fun, extended and include managers (external blog post)
  • For young graduates and 1st-time employees, include a video “fail” to acquaint them with what bad onboarding looks like – this will help them to raise onboarding-fail-flags earlier
  • Create a psychological contract with new joiners
  • Use a buddy system
  • Create values-learning with game-playing (rather than speech and presentation)
  • Create an onboarding-portal (intranet) with processes, info etc – this should be created and presentation from the user-experience point-of-view
  • Include a feedback-loop early in the process – best practices include regular phone-calls from the employees recruiter to see how things are going


Hope this helps!

*If you would like to join the L+D Round-Table next time, email me for more details


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Don’t forget to assess results (Evaluating training, part 5)

This blog page is part 5 of a 5 part blog series on evaluating training. Follow this link to find the mother page (page 1).


Finally, don’t forget to assess results

We do learning for a reason. It’s not enough to say “let’s do a training” and people always invest time, money and effort for a reason. If you can’t show them the return on investment in terms of concrete business results, forget about it.


The question of HOW to do this has been around for ages in the learning world. My opinion is that we should not stress too much about it:

  • Be clear from the outset what we are trying to achieve (see other blog post on “learning design questions”)
  • Agree what measurables (fluffy or precise) we are looking to improve in terms of results (profit, sales generated, number of difficult conflict situations)
  • Measure them at an agreed point in time before and after learning
  • Correlate results and draw conclusions

It’s the last part that tends to bother people, as they worry that their conclusions are not really conclusive…. But who cares? If we create a learning initiative because we want better results and then we HAVE better results, don’t stress !


Hope this was interesting (longest blog series yet?)

Re-read the other posts if you want to…



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Assessing behaviour (Evaluating training part 4)

This blog page is part 4 of a 5 part blog series on evaluating training. Follow this link to find the mother page (page 1).


If you want to assess behaviour, you need to observe and talk to different people

Kirkpatrick’s 3rd level of evaluation is about behaviour: What is the learner DOING after learning?

I think the best way to assess this is to observe the learner in action, but you can also ask the learner (much later after training) and ask other people (mostly a stakeholder or manager, but could be a 360° evaluation).


In order to do a good job of assessing behaviour vs. learning, you need to do 3 key thing:

  • Have a set bunch of “observables” and “numbers” criteria to measure
  • Take a base-measure of how the learner behaves BEFORE the learning initiative
  • Measure again afterwards


Ethical questions arise as to whether or not you should tell the learner when you are doing the assessment. I’ll stick my neck out here and answer “NO” – most people tend to put in more effort when they know they are under the spotlight and I also want to assess attitude when doing Level 3 assessments.


This blog series is split into 5 parts. Choose one of these links to read more…



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Evaluating what people learnt (Evaluating training, part 3)

This blog page is part 3 of a 5 part blog series on evaluating training. Follow this link to find the mother page (page 1).


If you want to assess learning, you need to test competence

The way I define competence gives an immediate idea on how to measure it:

  • “Having the necessary knowledge, skills, attitude and resources to achieve (business) results”


This means that assessing competence will require:

  • Knowledge assessment, using tests for example
  • Skill testing, either in a controlled environment or on the job (I prefer the latter)
  • Attitude assessment, which would be mostly done by observing behaviour and having conversations with people

We don’t talk about assessing resources here… that is only included in the definition to note that people cannot be expected to DO things if they don’t have the resources (unless the competence is proactivity 🙂


This blog series is split into 5 parts. Choose one of these links to read more…



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Happy sheets (Evaluating training, part 2)

This blog page is part 2 of a 5 part blog series on evaluating training. Follow this link to find the mother page (page 1).


If you are talking about level 1 evaluations (“happy sheets”) these are my current favourite questions:

OPEN questions:

  • What is your opinion of the training?
  • What did you learn?
  • What will you do differently in the future?


Some people will go further on each of these questions, asking things like:

  • What did you find good? What did you find bad? What do you think of the duration? What did you think of the trainer etc etc…

If you are planning to create reports on these elements to compare different learning providers and track progress in trainer-performance, these questions can be interesting.

Personally, I use happy-sheets to see how I can improve in my own work as a trainer, so I want to reduce admin and increase useful feedback. I just really want to know whatever THEY want to tell me.. .. so I levave it quite open.


My current favourite CLOSED questions are:

  • Was this added-value for you?
  • Would you recommend it to others?

Short and sweet – I don’t like to measure things on scales anymore. Let’s cut the crap and get to the heart of it. Thankzs @Gosse_C from KPMG Belgium for this idea some years ago…


What about 1 to 5 and 1 to 4 scales?

Some people want to know whether you should use a 5 point scale or a 4 point scale. Tough one..

  • First response is generally that a 4 point scale obliges people not to “sit on the fence” and show their real preference. As a Learning + Development Manager in the past, I used a 5 point scale and can’t really say “people always scoring 3” happened a lot … so for me, this is a theoretical question, rather than practical. As a side note, I told my team of trainers that 3 was not acceptable anyway – we wanted 4s and 5s !
  • Let’s assume we did use a 4 point scale – does it work? In my experience as a trainer, I didn’t see anything under “good” and “really good” in the answers. Is this simply because I’m so good? 🙂 I’m not convinced… SOMETIMES what I saw was someone scoring “good” (3) but adding lots of negative comments. For me, this meant that they just didn’t dare to put bad, but really the perception was bad… you need to be careful that you scores represent reality …which is why I don’t use them and prefer only the OPEN and CLOSED questions noted above.


Now, what about those other levels of evaluation? Learning, Behaviour and Results?

Asking participants what they think about these things is good, but not enough!


This blog series is split into 5 parts. Choose one of these links to read more…



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What questions should you asked to assess training? or What is the best way to evaluate training?

(This blog post is page 1 of 5 …scroll to the bottom for links to the other pages)

Did I really just dare to answer this question? After years of debate? Yes, I did ! And why not .. maybe my opinion is worth something to someone….

I saw this question in a recent LinkedIn discussion from the ASTD group, raised by Kim Schweitzer. Again, there is SO much to say! Actually, the question was about “feedback from the audience”, but I adapted it slightly to talk about other things…

There are SO many questions that can be asked and approaches that can be taken to evaluating training – I’ve seen a lot as both a Learning+Development Manager and a freelance trainer. And the conversation goes on… so I will not try to play the expert here, but just outline what I think are the key issues.


Let’s start at the beginning…

What is key is to first be clear on WHAT you want to assess: Satisfaction? Learning? Behaviour? Competence? Return on Investment?

..then you need to ask WHEN you will do this

..and then: What will you DO with all this information?


Regarding WHAT you want to evaluate, consider Kirkpatrick’s 4 levels of evaluation:

  1. How did they react to training?
  2. What did they learn?
  3. What do they do differently?
  4. What are the results?

…see this link for more information


It’s my opinion that only level 1 can truly be assessed with a satisfaction form (happy sheet): How did they react?

We might say that we can assess levels 2, 3 and 4 with a happy-sheet, but I disagree. You can only assess what they SAY they learnt, do, achieved (which is perhaps also worth asking, by the way).


The rest of this blog is split into 4 parts. Choose one of these links to read more…


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