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Stephanie Morgan ROI - is it really too hard?

Measuring ROI can often seem too hard.

We can sometimes feel like we have no control over ROI— or even that it’s impossible.

ROI Is It Really Too Hard Pub 18 7 17

One of the key problems we hear is that we’re not getting the right support from delegates, managers or the business when it comes to collecting the data we need. But sometimes L&D don’t believe they have the right to ask for this information—or have no simple way to collect it.

As we discussed in our webinar on stakeholder influencing, Influencing with Impact, the further removed we are from the business, the harder it becomes to connect with them and get them to help us collect data. So, our number-one tip to making it easier on yourself to carry out meaningful ROI is always to get much closer to the business. But there are a number of other things you can being doing too.

ROI is all about value. When times are tough, we all know that one of the first things that can be pulled is the L&D budget. That is why it is vital that not only is ROI calculated but it is shared with the key stakeholders in your organisation.

Why? Because the more ROI data you’re able to collect, the more likely you are to secure the next project. And the more we can prove our worth, the more we can advocate for our work as L&D practitioners.

Another benefit is that using ROI figures can also get you greater engagement. If you celebrate that data and share it, you can use it to ‘sell’ your solutions to delegates, increasing their buy-in.


#1: Just ask

The simplest and easiest method of collecting ROI is to literally ask the question: Did that happen?

If you were clear enough about what it is you wanted to change, then you should be able to go back and ask: 'Has that happened? What was the result? What does that mean to the business? How can we quantify that in terms of productivity, efficiency, or other relevant measures?’

If you ask these questions well enough and probe for the answers, you will end up with a reasonable ROI calculation.


#2: Apply design thinking

The first on this list should give you some ROI data, but this tip will give you even better, more detailed feedback.

If you want to commit to measuring ROI, you need to start with design, rather than tacking it on at the end. One idea is to build it into the programme.

In the past, I’ve challenged delegates to come up with ROI. I asked them to present to their board on the changes they had made as a result of the learning that they’d applied, and the outcomes they had achieved. This provided both quantitative and qualitive data as well as a huge amount of anecdotal evidence about culture change.

This is a really good way of finding out and reporting ROI, because it puts the onus on the participants to find and report it—and doubles as reflective practice!

This is far more involved than just asking a delegate before they attend what their objectives are, because it focuses on what the impact of achieving those objectives was, not just the achievement of them. But it’s important to let them know that this will be expected of them at the start of the programme – that way, they’ll be more inclined to really consider this as they move through the programme.


#3: Go social

A creative and inventive way of gathering ROI is to use the social tools available to you.

Using social networks is a great way of gathering evidence, and whilst this might not give you the numbers you want, it might give you more qualitative data then you could have hoped for.

Creating a peer-to-peer learning environment using social platforms like Slack or Yammer, or closed groups on Facebook or LinkedIn, means people can share how they're applying the learning, coach and support each other and, of course, share their successes.

When people are talking about their day job, they often don’t realise they are also revealing ROI data. It’s L&D’s job to monitor this and identify what is needed to calculate effective ROI.

In this way, learners are also articulating how they’re applying the learning and what the outcomes are when they’re asking for support or sharing their success in these groups.

It is much easier for people to clearly explain ROI examples in this way, rather than asking them to think back out of context, weeks or months later. There’s also the struggle with ensuring they completely understand what ROI looks like to L&D. 


If you really want to demonstrate your value, to the learners and the business then mastering how to collect ROI data is essential and it doesn’t need to be as hard as we make it on ourselves! Test out different ways to track ROI to find out what works for you. While you’ll need to analyse and present the data, hopefully you can find a way to help that data come to you!

We look at this in much more detail in our FREE whitepaper. Download it now to discover more actionable ways to improve your ROI calculations.

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Stephanie Morgan

Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning

Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.


Copyright © 2017 Bray Leino Learning

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