As we approach the new year, it’s time to start analysing our success and planning for the next 12 months. We’ll be asking ourselves questions such as ‘what successes did we have?’, ‘what have we learnt?’, ‘what challenges did we face?’ and, the dreaded question, ‘what was our ROI?’
Historically, L&D have been struggling to track the ROI of their solutions. We’ve been testing all sorts of methods in an attempt to measure not only the direct impact of learning, but the financial returns it provides for the business.
But it’s time to move away from the old way of measuring learning – namely, how many people turn up for and complete training and what ratings learners give courses.
Measurement for L&D is now all about the impact of learning and data that demonstrates the value it adds. What does learning deliver in your organisation? If we want the board to sign off the investment in a piece of learning, then we need to show them why they can’t afford to say no. We need to provide clear, evidence-based data that spells out exactly why learning needs to happen and how the business will benefit.
This might sound easier said than done, but the time has come where we cannot ignore ROI any more. So, what can we do to overcome the challenge?
Identifying what metrics matter
Learning metrics really need to focus on two key areas: behaviour change and performance impact.
Think about what the learning needs to achieve. It often requires behaviour change – say performing a task in a new way or managing employees more effectively, for example – and always requires a performance impact.
These metrics have to focus on outputs. Concentrate on the desired outputs when designing learning and keep assessing them throughout the process to see if they are being met. If not, there’s an opportunity to improve your solutions.
Top tip: Collect and analyse the data that will give meaningful insights into why learning is necessary, where it’s working, where it’s not and why.
Utilise your managers
Managers have a critical role to play in the creation of good learning metrics. After all, they are the ones that really benefit from a strong learning culture. They should be flagging up performance issues and those areas that need improvement with L&D in the first place. They should also be supporting, enabling and reinforcing performance and behaviour change.
L&D need to have managers on board if they are to get the metrics required and if learners are to apply learning in their roles.
Top tip: Ensure you managers take learning seriously, that they have the capabilities to manage tricky conversations and help achieve behaviour change.
Shout about successes
We know that businesses now want clear, evidence-based data on how learning is having an impact. This means L&D needs to be savvier about giving business leaders what they want in a style that they want it. Identify who needs what data, how they want to receive it and then give it to them.
Everyone loves success stories, so give the business success stories. This is an opportunity for L&D to really show how learning is having an impact. Gather the necessary data and evidence by having good conversations with people in the business, through running focus groups and questionnaires. When you have all of this data, analyse it and share it.
Top tip: Success breeds success. Spread the word and increase buy in and engagement, tackling the ROI and engagement problems together. You can also encourage learners to tell their story in a bid to spread your wins even further.
The new learning landscape and learning metrics are here and will keep evolving. L&D needs to be part of this landscape and keep evolving with it. We need to stop feeling daunted by data and start harnessing it – using those key analytical skills. These new learning metrics are very exciting and not only offer real benefit to L&D and the business but enables us to keep up with the times.
Delve into this topic further and discover our top ten tips and real-life examples for harnessing learning metrics that matter with our free whitepaper.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.
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