How to Assess the Effectiveness of Procurement Training

A recent CIPS survey found procurement salary increases to be in excess of 8%, year on year, as companies desperately try to hold on to staff. This approach cannot work. Like any profession, securing top talent is vital, but offering higher salaries as the sole incentive is unsustainable. This approach not only proves unfeasible for many, especially SMEs, but also leaves organisations vulnerable to poaching. To truly stand out and attract the best procurement professionals, it takes more than a generous paycheck.

Procurement training is the key. It offers individuals a chance to upskill, enhancing their worth while demonstrating an employer’s commitment to their development. However, with a multitude of procurement courses available, choosing the right one can be tricky.

While some of the steps below will help you find the most appropriate program for your business, others will help you assess programs in hindsight, determine the value of the investment and whether it’s worthwhile doing again.

Why you should be assessing procurement training programs

1. Alignment with Organisational Goals

Training programs aren’t a one-size-fits-all exercise. Evaluating training programs helps ensure they align with the specific goals and strategic objectives of your organisation. Training should address the skills gaps that are most critical for your procurement team to support your business objectives effectively.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

Assessing training programs allows you to determine their cost-effectiveness. You can compare the investment in training to the expected returns, such as increased efficiency, cost savings or improved supplier relationships. This analysis helps ensure you get the best value for your training budget. After all, isn’t procurement about the getting the best return on your dollar?

3. Customisation and Relevance

Through assessment, you can tailor training programs to the unique needs of your procurement team. This customisation ensures that the content and methods are relevant to your industry, business culture and the skill levels of your employees, making the training more impactful.

4. Measurable Outcomes

Assessment allows you to define clear learning outcomes and establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the impact of the training. This enables you to track progress, measure the return on investment (ROI) and make data-driven decisions about the effectiveness of the training program.

How to determine effectiveness

1. Define Clear Objectives and Learning Outcomes

Every company turns to procurement training with its own goals. Before starting the training program, clearly define the objectives and expected learning outcomes. What specific skills and knowledge should participants gain from the training? What gaps are you looking to close? These objectives will serve as a baseline for assessment.

2. Pre- and Post-Training Evaluation

Conduct pre-training assessments to gauge the participants’ existing knowledge and skills related to procurement. This will help in measuring the improvement after the training.

After the training, conduct post-training assessments to determine the extent to which participants have acquired the desired skills and knowledge. Skills Gap Analysis specialises in this area, and can test participants before and after a program to truly demonstrate its effectiveness.

3. Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation:

The Kirkpatrick Model is often turned to by professionals looking to evaluate the effectiveness of training or educational programs. It uses four criteria to assess training programs: reaction, learning, behaviour and results.

  • Level 1: Reaction – Gather feedback from participants about their satisfaction with the training program. Use surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups to assess their perception of the training’s quality and relevance.
  • Level 2: Learning – Assess the extent to which participants have acquired new knowledge and skills. This can be done through tests, quizzes, or practical exercises.
  • Level 3: Behaviour – Evaluate whether participants are applying what they’ve learned in their procurement roles. This may require ongoing observation, performance evaluations, or self-assessments.
  • Level 4: Results – Measure the impact of the training on procurement operations and outcomes. Are there measurable improvements in procurement efficiency, cost saving or vendor relationships?

4. Cost-Benefit Analysis

Similar to the fourth step of the Kirkpatrick Model, but this time we’re focused on the financial aspect. Compare the cost of the training program to the benefits it has generated. It’s not always easy to draw a straight line between the training and an improvement in a performance, but consider factors such as reduced procurement errors, cost savings, improved supplier relationships and even team morale.

5. Participant Feedback

Regularly collect feedback from participants about their experiences with the training program. What worked well, and what could be improved? Did they like the way in which the content was delivered or accessible? Did they find it a burden on top of their normal workload? Was the training usable in their day-to-day tasks? Use this feedback to make continuous improvements.

6. Manager and Supervisor Feedback

Seek feedback from the managers and supervisors of the trained employees. Are they noticing positive changes in the procurement team’s performance? Are they observing the application of new skills and knowledge?

7. Long-Term Monitoring

Assess the long-term impact of the training program. Is the knowledge and skill retention sustainable over time? Are there ongoing improvements in procurement performance? Obviously, long-term monitoring isn’t always possible, particularly in the revolving-door industry of procurement. But if you are able to observe an employee over a longer term, that means they’ve stuck around – which in itself could be a tick in the training program’s favour.

8. Benchmarking

One of the best ways to evaluate a training program is to compare the performance of employees who have undergone the training with those who haven’t. This can help assess the specific impact of the training program on procurement outcomes.

9. Continuous Improvement

Use the assessment results to make necessary adjustments to the training program or to select a different one altogether. This might include updating content, delivery methods or training materials to better meet the organisation’s evolving needs.

Assessing the effectiveness of procurement training programs should be an ongoing process, with feedback and evaluation integrated into the training cycle. This ensures that the program continues to deliver value and contributes to the organisation’s success in the long term.

Close the gaps and measure the results with Skills Gap Analysis and AoP

Our team at Skills Gap Analysis can determine precisely where your procurement skills gaps lie and our team at Academy of Procurement can provide the necessary training. We’ve worked with many organisations looking to not only improve their capabilities, but hold on to their staff for longer periods. Over the years, we’ve observed that the companies that offer more than just a salary have higher team morale and reliably achieve their business objectives.

Get in touch today and reap the many rewards of good procurement training.