From the Training Top 125 Best Practices e-newsletter
Measuring training's impact on the business is a top priority for LQ Management LLC's LQUniversity (LQU) in Irving, TX. In addition to providing ongoing performance reporting for standard company-wide training programs, LQU takes a results-driven approach to all new programs it launches by using operational, metric-based scorecards to gauge the performance improvement tied to each initiative it deploys.
LQU's INNtegration program, for example, is a one-week instructor-led event designed to help new hotel general managers assess the current state of their property and develop a 30-, 60- and 90-day action plan geared toward driving product and service quality at their location. To measure success, LQU developed an INNtegration Trainee Scorecard that tracks guest satisfaction scores for each learner's hotel 30, 60, and 90 days post training. The alignment of the scorecard and the action plan enables LQU to track whether learners are meeting their goals and provide feedback to them accordingly. As a result, says Christina Cernuch, LQ University's VP, Operations Services, program participants typically are able to improve their overall year-to-date guest satisfaction score by two points, on average, using this system.
Similarly, LQU's "Buddy's Challenge...Prevent It and Solve It" program, which is geared toward all front desk service representatives, housekeeping and maintenance supervisors, and property managers, features a "Buddy's Challenge Trainer Scorecard" that measures the reduction of guest problems experienced and unresolved as a result of training. "The goals [of the program and the scorecard] were to decrease problems experienced and problems unresolved as measured by Medallia, our guest survey tool," explains Cernuch. "To ensure we achieved this goal...the scorecard extracted Medallia data biweekly and regionally ranked the trainers who were best overall and most improved." The result? Post-training, La Quinta exceeded its annual guest satisfaction goal and greatly reduced problems experienced and problems unresolved as compared to the prior year.
Interested in integrating metric-based scorecards into your own training initiatives? Here are some tips for success from Cernuch and April Carey, LQU's director, Operations Training:
- Get clear on goals. Work on establishing a clear vision of what defines success for your business. Then, align training with those success factors. "Listen closely to the operators and revenue generators in your organization to find out what is important to them. Then, identify the metrics by which they define success and isolate the ones that you can impact," advises Cernuch. "You'll never be able to say your training was solely responsible for improvements to a given business metric because there are so many levers being pulled to impact performance at any given time. But if you design your training and measurement program right, you will be able to see a definite influence."
- Keep it simple. When designing scorecards, avoid the tendency to overcomplicate things, advises Carey. "Our scorecards are simple spreadsheets. To design them, we simply look at the reporting mechanisms the operations group already uses, leverage the same look and feel, and capture the same data they already are capturing. Essentially, we are mirroring the metrics and scorecards the organization already has in place, and then isolating those individuals and properties that have gone through training as a means of determining the impact our programs had."
- Partner up. Even if your training department doesn't directly report to operations, as LQU does, reach out to your operations department and partner closely with it on the front end of each training initiative for help in understanding the business metrics it is tracking and for assistance in designing the reporting capabilities you'll need, urges Carey. "This is the group that excels at data capture, so make a point to ask for their help and leverage their talent and expertise."
LQ Management LLC is based in Irving, TX, and operates and provides franchise services to more than 700 hotels in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico under the La Quinta Inns and La Quinta Inns & Suites brands. In 2009, the company placed 91st on Training magazine's Top 125 list, an annual ranking of organizations that excel at human capital development.