Posted on 11th December, 2017 by Ben Miller
Earlier this year, LEO Learning, along with our partners at Watershed and Towards Maturity, held a measuring learning impact workshop at the Royal Institution in London, which helped a broad range of organisations to understand more about just how important measuring the business impact of learning can be.
One of the highlights of the day was a series of roundtable discussions in which each of the L&D and training professionals presented their measurement experiences to the rest of the table. This allowed their peers to identify obvious quick wins and provide instant feedback on their goals and measurement strategy.
Why gathering data is important to a measurement strategy
Each team thought about how their organisation correlates business support with data. Here are the main KPIs the groups identified:
- Sales data
- Salesforce and performance data
- Engagement surveys
- Number of regulatory breaches
- Success/conversion rates
- Staff measures
- Number of products sold
- Market share
The problem could be a simple case of failing to make the most of existing data. For one not-for-profit medical organisation, their key aim is to find more people who can be trained to save lives.
They currently have more than 100 courses and 20,000 students, and their data from a few years ago shows that around 200,000 people underwent CPR training each year.
Despite their successful use of data analysis to determine how students get the best learning experiences and the effectiveness of elearning, they have no measurement strategy in place to currently track the total number of trained life-savers at home and abroad (via a partner network).
As their L&D leader put it, “we know we have created amazing learning – now we need to know that it’s actually creating change.”
A ‘lightbulb moment’ in measuring success
The LEO Learning-led workshop discussion crystallised the organisation’s need to target people for maximum requalification. Having people requalify after four years creates a multiplier effect and is much easier than training new people.
However, it was only when one of the guests around the table asked if they have data on people who re-qualify that the organisation realised the solution has been in front of them all along.
The statistics are already sitting on their LMS and all they need to do is “mine” their existing data.
They could work out what percentage of people who trained four years ago have updated their qualification, and then target those people whose qualifications are not current.
Eventually, if this system and methodology is passed onto overseas partners, their head office will be able to look at all the data for a comprehensive overview of progress against strategic objectives.
Presenting an evidence-based approach to the board
This leads us onto one of the most effective ways you can think about your measurement strategy in practical terms. If you imagine you are presenting your data to a board meeting, what do you want to be able to tell your leadership team that will grab their attention in a short space of time?
At LEO Learning, we appreciate the fundamental importance of convincing board members that learning programmes are successful. Senior managers are often time-poor, so the way in which data is presented is every bit as important as how persuasive the figures themselves are.
We asked the L&D professionals at our workshop about the key talking points they would want to discuss with their board around learning and development. As well as top-line growth, learner and customer satisfaction and staff motivation and retention, they highlighted:
- Business reputation
- Accelerated time to productivity
- The number of risk events compared to the number of hours of learning
- The number of people completing courses
- Increased collaboration between departments
- Managing a cultural shift within the organisation
- A demonstrable increase in capability of the workforce
- Leadership, motivation and innovation – leading to the question of ‘measuring the unmeasurable’
- Doing more with the same research and development
In the case of the medical organisation, this could translate into the number of trainers, the level of qualifications being achieved and the number of certified CPR providers working in specific areas.
Getting started with a measurement strategy
Establishing clear indicators and knowing what you want to report at senior level is vital for organisations looking to measure effectively. It’s a real challenge, but technology and increased awareness of the benefits of a measurement strategy are helping forward-thinking businesses to achieve great results.