Learning Metrics that Matter to your CEO
If you are reporting that 70% of the company received training in the prior year in a total of 20 programs, and everyone you talked to enjoyed the training – you can expect to run into an uncomfortable situation during your next board-room meeting. CEOs aren’t keen about the number of participants covered on your LMS, their satisfaction scores or how many programs were run in the last quarter; they need to know what kind of impact training has on the company’s bottom line.
Regardless of how impressive or popular training programs appear to be, outcomes rule the day and they must be measured in systematic and quantitative terms. Metrics that help your company perform better, retain employees, meet client targets and improve the bottom line are solid asks by your CEO that proves their value.
With today’s challenging economy, L&D budgets are receiving more scrutiny than ever. Participant feedback forms administered after a training program are no longer enough, and training managers are feeling the pressure to look for more solid evidence to justify the investment in their programs. It makes sound fiscal sense to go beyond these “activity measures” and to establish robust “performance measures” that capture ROI so that even the most critical of executives can see the value of L&D programs in your organization. .
As part of my continuing research on building successful business cases in post training and business impact, I’ve been able to identify some of the factors that most CEOs and executive teams immediately embrace, as well as those factors that garner little or no executive interest.
1) Business Alignment to Learning Outcomes
Alignment of business and learning outcomes requires a focus on what learners will do “out there” outside and after the training experience, using the language of stakeholders. In the training scenario, the business outcome is: Make faster, smarter decisions within departments to reduce operational costs by 23% and administrative costs by 22%. Data-points to measure business outcomes could include reduced cycle time, increased sales and lower costs.
On the other hand, learning outcomes are robust, integrated and contextualized, describing what learners do “after” and “outside” the learning experience. Outcome statements determine the scope of learning – breadth and depth. Blending both worlds is what will drive business impact for you.
2) Continuous Measurement
A pitfall to avoid is relying solely on participant surveys and assessments to provide evidence of learning. Post-class surveys provide only indirect evidence based on learner’s perception, which infers learning. Assessments often focus on concepts and low-level learning. True assessment tasks, known as performance tasks or authentic assessment, provide direct evidence of real learning.
Measurement templates should simulate what the learner is expected to do in their actual role. Having both direct and indirect evidence can provide a more complete picture of the learning.
Defining measurement mechanisms early in the training cycle increases the likelihood of measurable outcomes. Tracking them week-on-week along with the L&D and Business Executives who sponsored the program sharpens your business focus
3) Targeting Behavioural Change.
Recent studies by Deloitte indicated that while most organizations measure knowledge and business results. Less than 10% of organizations measured behaviour change.
While the concept of “behavioural change” may sound rather abstract, CEOs actually care because it clearly is the lynchpin on the path from learning to business results, the most important metric!
As L&D professionals it’s imperative to create a favourable climate for achieving effective behaviour change that you need to engage your learners in the longer-term.
To monitor this, some of the organisations use The Broad and Newstrom Transfer of Training process as a key framework along with actionable conversations which are simple yet powerful opportunities for managers to build relationships with their teams by leading conversations and sponsor the new behaviours back on the job.
The learning process is more often more valuable than the metrics themselves. It forces the CEO to get involved and pay attention as well. The metrics shed visibility into alignment and empower CEOs to ask the right questions and lead the company to the next stage of alignment.
Our Outcome Measurement Guide at Learngage is a proven tool that ensures learning outcomes are tracked to demonstrate maximum business impact. Be it your trainer or ours, our proprietary business templates deliver conclusive insights into week-on-week progress of the learners’ “how’ and “what” of performance measures as well as activity measures that you could present to your CEOs.
Do reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you track learning effectiveness and align your business goals to maximize learning ROI.