Four initiatives for measuring, plus six approaches for showing business impact.
By Medha Pratap, marketing manager, KnowledgeAdvisors Inc.
The following initiatives are where measuring can be a catalyst for positive change in talent development:
Linking to shareholder value:
KnowledgeAdvisors, in conjunction with McBassi Investments, found a positive correlation between measuring learning and market value. Over a multi-year period, the data shows that publicly traded companies that have high learning measurement acumen achieve 15 percent higher returns in stock market performance than the S&P 500. This is a positive correlation between measurement and value.
Showing business impact:
This is at the heart of all challenges. There are many schools of thought on this, but I will describe six approaches briefly. The first three are more practical and repeatable, while the last three are more precise but have a larger investment.
Turn smile sheets into smart sheets. Take advantage of metrics with low change management to build a consistent and comparable database of evaluation performance measures not just for satisfaction but for effectiveness and predicting impact and results.
Human capital approach. Leverage the ROI process to estimate change in performance, isolate it to training, and adjust for bias. This inserts questions onto the smart sheets that then can determine the change in performance due to training.
Business results evaluation approach. This leverages the prior estimation, isolation, and adjustment process but is specific to a business result vs. performance in general. A reasonable calculation of change can be predicted on the smart sheets and compared against programs and over time to make decisions.
Business impact templates. These templates allow learning professionals to be consultants with stakeholders to prepare a business case prior to training investment. A root cause exercise isolates business impact to learning, and an adjustment factor makes it conservative.
Correlations. You can measure the outcomes of a business result before training and then again after. If the after-effect is positive, there is a positive correlation.
Causal modeling. This uses significant volumes of historic data to statistically link training to business impact.
Essentially approximately 65 percent of training is not optimally applied on the job. The core problem is that managers are not properly preparing learners for training nor are they supporting them back on the job. The result is wasted (i.e., scrap) learning. Scrap can be reduced through better manager engagement.
Informal learning measurement:
Informal learning was been around for quite a while before it got formalized. In today’s world of social networks, it is important to embrace new ways of learning and measuring impact. The goal is to measure quickly via a poll at the point of access. Then, measure more formally with a sample of the population at a key milestone or periodically and preferably in a way that is consistent with other learning deliveries for comparison.
Medha Pratap is a marketing manager with Chicago-based KnowledgeAdvisors Inc. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.knowledgeadvisors.com.