Measuring the business impact of learning in the work place has been one of the most long-standing discussions we’ve been engaged in. Organizations want to do it, but struggle to move beyond the Likert scales and smile sheets – offering lots of data on sentiment, but very little correlation to performance on the job. As a Forrester Research report stated,
“L&D is said to be the last great ‘unmeasured spend’ in large organizations. It seems extraordinary that leadership is not more demanding in understanding the impact their investment in learning is having.”
At Oxygen, we have found that the most effective new approaches to measuring the impact of learning start with a deep understanding of the role of your learning audience. Your businesses hire people to do a specific job – so presumably, there ought to be role descriptions with clear success metrics for the role (if not – we highly encourage defining such profiles). Clear goals for a role – such as meeting a sales target, creating a certain number of campaigns with a specific conversion rate, or supporting a number of clients with a satisfaction target – can then be used to align learning to that role, and scaling it to similar roles.
By having the detailed discussion of all the different areas that someone through to drive success for themselves, you can see what’s necessary to engage with from a learning perspective and what might be a nice to have. And the audience can clearly see“what’s in it for me.”
How do we do all this? The answer: there’s a process for that. When we first engage with clients, we work together to define the outcome desired for the role, and then break that down to understand what someone in that role needs to know and do in their day-to-day work to achieve that outcome. While it’s not always an easy process, the outcome is crucial to be able to connect to larger business metrics – and mapping out that sequence of achievements is what provides the connected thread throughout their learning experience.
Only after doing these two steps – the outcome, and the“know-and-do” sequence – can you decide what content is needed, the modality it’s best suited for and create a plan for execution. We recently talked about this hot topic on a webinar as well – for a different medium with a deeper dive, feel free to go for a walk and have a listen! We look forward to hearing about how you are tackling this challenge to ensure learning is linked to the success of both people AND the business!
For more about the role-based approach to workplace education, check out my book, Radical Outcomes.