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What is measuring business impact (and why is it so vital)?

Learning and Development professionals have historically struggled to build a picture of how learning programmes are helping the organisation to achieve business objectives. ROI studies and many industry-accepted measurement standards tend to offer a narrow, limited picture of learning’s impact on the wider business.

But things are changing – fast!

In our switched-on, data-driven working lives, some business functions have become extremely adept at measuring and reporting back on their efforts. Marketing departments, for example, have successfully leveraged data insights to position themselves as an essential business function. And the same rigour is now being demanded of L&D!

Measuring the business impact of learning

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Around 700 global organisations have informed our surveys on measuring the business impact of learning. This has created a benchmark of L&D thinking and a telling exploration of progress and challenges in 2018, the second year of the LEO survey, in partnership with Watershed.

In the latest research, almost all of the diverse respondents agree that measuring the business impact of learning is an organisational priority, with a steep 71% increase in L&D departments saying they feel executive pressure to measure their learning programmes. While businesses face a variety of barriers to bringing about transformation through data gathering and analytics, the results also show that L&D teams are increasingly confident that they can use a big data approach to support decision making.

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How are you responding to this challenge?

Technological advancements and new data analysis tools have created a hugely exciting opportunity for L&D to begin measuring.

Collecting data and using it meaningfully can yield incredibly useful patterns and correlations over time. A big data approach doesn’t need a large budget or a substantial amount of data to get started but we have found this approach to be successful.

Getting started requires setting a clear strategy and defining your goals.

LEO Measurement Foundations Workshop

To help you start your measurement process, we’ve created the LEO Measurement Foundations Workshop.

Find out more >

What obstacles are stopping organisations from measuring the business impact of learning?

Despite the incredibly strong business drivers for measuring the business impact of learning, competing priorities and the misconception that measurement is too difficult to achieve have meant that proper analysis is often overlooked. The pressure to move on to the next project is too great, while data from Towards Maturity suggests that a lack of in-house data and measurement skills may be getting in the way.

Poor access to data, costs, resources and uncertainty over how to begin the process have also deterred organisations from effectively tracking their learning. Fortunately, LEO’s solutions can show you how to overcome these barriers and make the most of the vast potential that measuring the business impact of learning has to offer.


Getting started with measuring the business impact of learning

It can take time to yield results but the sooner you start measuring business impact, the sooner you’ll reap those rewards. Some of the steps to getting started, adapted from LEO’s 10 key components for measuring the business impact of learning, include:

Component 1:

Run a design process that involves the people you need to help implement it

Component 2:

Establish business drivers

Component 3:

Map out stakeholders

Component 4:

Find the organisation KPIs

Component 5:

Define the data sources and data types

Component 6:

Define integration and the main technical tools required

Component 7:

Pilot the solution

Component 8:

Document costs, business case and strategy

Component 9:

Define the change programme

Component 10:

Plan to measure your measurement strategy

How we can help

LEO is leading the market in helping to set your strategy and draw up a solution tailored to your organisation. We will work collaboratively with you to ensure that the outcome is aligned to your business goals and KPIs.

Uniquely, LEO can help you deliver this from end-to-end, giving you the strategy, expertise and tools to collect data, work with the metrics you already have and inspire your stakeholders.

Our partners include Rustici, leaders in xAPI technology, and Watershed, analytics experts whose pioneering work is leading the industry in harnessing the right learning data and correlating it to a broad range of insights across the rest of your business. This process results in easy-to-read, highly revealing dashboards with the capability to drive business performance and accelerate organisational success.

Measuring the business impact of learning

We have facilitated measurement workshops with a number of organisations and this is what they have said:

Veolia: “The LEO team supported us with the initial processes ahead of developing a strategy to start measuring the business impact of learning. The workshop enabled the Veolia team to come together and develop a really practical output.”

The Education and Training Foundation: “We held an initial meeting of our senior management team and LEO, where we discussed the meaning of impact for our various stakeholders and explored what data might be used to demonstrate this in each case. The stimulating discussion generated a series of ideas around how current impact measures might evolve, what new methods of collection might be useful and what new measures might be required.”

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee: “It was great. We had some really good discussions around learning. The workshop surfaced a lot of different ideas and perspectives, and particularly brought out what our people want to achieve in terms of using innovation as a tool to take on social challenges. The question now is how we address that.”

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