Measuring and demonstrating the value and impact of training, both in terms of fiscal impact and the impact on building a more inclusive, engaged, and high-performing hybrid workforce, has become critical for organizations who make steady investments in training and development programs every year. In today’s dynamic, fast-changing, and hybrid workplace, there is a need to assess the business impact of these trainings.
Such insights can help organizations determine which training and development programs are aligned to the business goals and update/modify the ones that aren’t. Unfortunately, aspirations to evaluate the effectiveness of training program implementations have inherent organizational challenges that stymie the fulfilment of those aspirations.
Here are some of the critical challenges that L&D leaders encounter while embarking on initiatives for evaluating training effectiveness:
- Inability to link training to talent development, performance, and outcomes
- Lack of right framework and methodology
- Lack of right tools and technology to collect data
- Lack of in-house capacity and a comprehensive strategy to drive this mandate
Given below are a few strategies that will be critical for L&D teams to factor in this year to be able to measure the impact of training on both the business and the employees.
Trend 1 – Training Evaluation Frameworks
9% of organizations surveyed did not see a need to link training-induced behavioral changes to business performance. 74% of organizations want to create a stronger link between learning and performance. – Brandon Hall Group research brief
It is critical for organizations to evaluate whether training and development programs meet the expected business goals and learning outcomes in order to prove and improve effectiveness. Given the ever-changing workplace situation, employee engagement is no longer an HR function, but is dependent on Learning and Development initiatives that are aligned to the self-development goals of employees.
A conservative approach to knowledge assessments, end-of-course surveys, ratings, and recommendations aligned to the Kirkpatrick Model may not be enough. There needs to be a robust training evaluation framework in place that starts before the training is rolled out. Right from TNA and LNA to identifying L&D and the Learner and Business metrics that need to be measured, to implementing recommended learning strategies that can address the identified metrics, and finally being able to determine the gain by the learners, change in behavior, and gain for business. The loop gets closed by proving that the training was aligned to the goals or by updating/modifying trainings for the future.
Trend 2 – Persona Driven Learning and Performance Ecosystems
Expenditure on Employee Experience platforms and associated trainings is over $200 Billion. – Josh Bersin
Driven by the need to keep a hybrid workforce engaged and connected, learning strategies need to be designed by putting the learner at the center. Persona definition using qualitative research can serve the purpose of representing a large group of learners and aligning the right strategies to address their learning needs. Additionally, this helps companies make learning an integral part of the organization’s culture.
Defining learner personas help identify gaps, motivations, learning preferences, and learning scenarios which facilitate creation of role and goal-driven learning and performance ecosystems. It makes the employee feel valued and connected to the learning experiences, which can help enhance the learning effectiveness and enable better digital workplace proficiency.
Effective learning ecosystems include a blend of formal, informal, and experiential learning – leveraging a wide variety of tools and modalities to meet the needs of both the learner and the business.
Trend 3 – Link Training to Learner Performance, Business Results, and Talent Retention – ROI, ROE, TTP
72% of L&D leaders agree that L&D has become a more strategic function at their organization. Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn Learning
When employees train often and learn effectively, the results usually show up in organizational performance. There’s also a mountain of research-based evidence that links effective training to exceptional performance. If L&D managers wish to secure ongoing funding for their learning initiatives, linking training to performance, business results, and talent retention through specific measurement metrics can help justify program spending and the ongoing need for those programs.
Equally important is to have a defined method of measuring the impact of training. Measuring the Return on Investment on training is often an elusive target but nonetheless crucial. The key is to identify business KPIs that will be impacted by the training and find an ideal ratio between the training spend and the impact on the KPI. An alternate method is to measure Return on Effectiveness (ROE), which is a more practical way to determine effectiveness, and link training to performance and business results. An example could be linking training completions and certifications to a higher volume of skilled workforce, lower recruitment costs, and better retention. There are a few more methods like Time to Productivity and Time to Performance which can be used to link training to actual workplace learning and development.
Trend 4 – Learner Analytics
Companies that use advanced people analytics are 4.3 times more likely to create a sense of belonging and 4.8 times more likely to engage and retain employees. – HR Predictions for 2022 by Bersin
With a large remote workforce, the need to analyze their learning patterns and ascertain the impact of training (on the learners as well as the gain for the business) is at an all-time high. Hence, Learner Analytics is emerging as a significant aspect to invest in.
- It can provide valuable insights on learner behavior to validate what is working and what is not.
- It can provide actionable insights to enhance or change the current approach and align better to the business goals.
- It can also provide cues on what more can be done to improve learner motivation and engagement as well as what would facilitate a better application of learning.
In the existing complexities of the hybrid workplace, analytics need to be more learner centered and have emotional intelligence in order to create a sense of belonging, which is more likely to engage and retain employees.
Over the last few years since the pandemic and the resulting shift in the way organizations are rethinking on their employee engagement and talent management strategies, it has become crucial for them to leverage training as a tool to implement these strategies. Therefore, the ability to measure and demonstrate the gain and impact of training on upskilling and improving productivity, innovation, and efficiency for the business and for employees has become even more critical. Hope the strategies mentioned in this article helps you in your quest to link training to business outcomes.
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