A cultural assessment involves two styles of data collection ”gathering existing historical data that relates in any way to training, and interviewing employees about their needs and attitudes toward training and the learning process. Both types of information will be used to support your initial hypotheses, provide important elements in building your case for change, and create appropriate learning strategies and financial algorithms to support your plan. It will also begin to expose the cultural barriers that stand in the way of meeting the company's strategic goals and give you potential tactics to overcome them.
The historical data that you amass should include:
Past training statistics, including hours of training offered in a given time period, number of employees trained, and the amount of money spent to develop and deliver each class.
Seat time ”the total number of hours all employees actually spent in training during a given time period.
The number of cancellations and no-shows.
The number of times each course was conducted since its creation.
The number of classrooms used.
The process used to develop each class, from needs assessment to delivery.
Satisfaction surveys, "smile sheets," rating happiness with training, and course reviews.
The delivery mechanism of each class ”instructor-led, computer-based training (CBT), mentoring, and so on.
The number of hours employees spend in class for each business unit and each geographical location.
Financial breakdowns of where every training dollar is spent, including such things as travel, materials, classroom costs, labor costs, lost productivity, and the like. Financial comparisons will be a critical part of your final plan and pitch, so get as much detail as possible.
The business plans of each unit.
Training requests made by units and the time it took to fill those requests .
ROI data to support training initiatives.
Locations where the training was conducted.
The cost of food and beverages.
The curriculum design standards, quality of learning outcomes , and learning goals.
Seat time is one of the most valuable metrics to collect because survey after survey shows that lost productivity associated with seat time accounts for 65 percent of the true cost of training in any organization. Also, seat time should be translated into dollar values. When you calculate a fully loaded cost for an employee who's earning $20 per hour , you find that the seat time expense for a two-day workshop is $432. If there are twenty similar employees in the class, the seat time cost is more than $8,600! Multiply those numbers by hundreds of two-day seminars and the real cost of training becomes clear. Most companies don't track seat time and give only a grudging acknowledgment that it in fact represents a major expenditure.
Any information you can find that relates to the existing training structure will be relevant to your organizational assessment. For now, simply collect it, in whatever form you can find it. Later, you can organize it into a coherent model that supports your observations.