Organizations put vast amounts of time, money, and energy into creating and delivering training programs. Yet, a real insight into the impact that learning has on the business remains somewhat elusive. Organizations tend to focus on basic metrics like learner reaction (smileys), the number of registrations, and of course, completion rates. But that isn’t really telling the whole story – let alone helping determine the impact of learning.
Due to COVID-19 and the new workplace dynamics, the work from home approach resulted in organizations making substantial investments in rapid Virtual Training. Consequently, today—more than ever—there is a pressing need to measure the business impact of these training programs.
These insights can help organizations identify which training and development programs align with the business goals and revise/drop those that don’t.
What Are the Intrinsic Challenges While Measuring the Business Impact of Training and Development Programs?
While there is no doubt that there is a need for measuring the business impact of corporate training and development programs, there are several intrinsic challenges in this exercise.
- The TNA phase focuses on the training’s ability to meet the desired learning outcomes. As an extension, the training impact is measured largely through L&D metrics.
- Change in thinking or behavior is difficult to measure, and some may not even attempt it.
- Often, stakeholders cannot identify upfront the business KPIs. Even if this is identified upfront, there is no easy way to obtain analytics to measure the business impact.
- Even if L&D teams know what should be done, they often do not have the resources (tools and team) to assemble the additional data, let alone analyze it and obtain actionable insights.
On account of these challenges, this exercise either never gets attempted or takes an inordinately long time. When the required insights finally arrive, it may be too late for the business to put them into effect. Also, you are likely to realize that the training investment in a given financial year may not influence the same year’s business goals, as planned.
What Should Be the Next Steps to Help You in Measuring the Business Impact of Training and Development Programs?
More often than not, businesses measure training effectiveness mainly through basic L&D metrics, for example, the number of employees who took the training, the lead time for completion, or by checking assessment scores. However, the impact of the training on business Key Performance Indicators tends not to get any validation. Focusing on the L&D metrics alone is insufficient in helping you get the impact on the business.
The vital missing link is none other than the Business metrics, that is, finding how the business will achieve a specific gain that influences the business goals by making a particular training investment. However, not much data is available on the impact that these training programs have on business. Hence, you cannot easily understand if they were able to bring a clear gain.
What You Should Do Instead
To determine the impact your employee training has, you need to measure its impact on both the learners and the business.
- The correct way forward is to combine the evaluation through L&D metrics as well as Business metrics.
- Then, the focus should shift (from measuring the impact of training) to how you can maximize this impact.
This is a tough mandate to do justice to; there is a need for resources at several levels over an extended period. Often, the data collation is hampered by the existing technology. Or, there may not be adequate resources that can analyze the data and generate actionable insights for the business.
Despite these challenges and intrinsic complexity that organizations face, there is a solution.
They should focus on establishing methodologies that help measure the business impact of training and development programs. And next, they should ascertain how to sustain this momentum and maximize the impact.
A Proven Methodology for Measuring the Impact of Your Training
EI Design has spent nearly two decades working with their customers to ensure that their investments in training deliver business results. They have successfully helped their clients create a demonstrable impact on both the learners and the business.
EI Design’s 10-step Methodology for Measuring Training Impact
EI Design uses a unique 10-step methodology for measuring training effectiveness and its impact on the business.
- They draw inspiration from several leading training measurement models, including Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation; the Learning-Transfer Evaluation Model (LTEM); Kaufman’s five levels of evaluation; Brinkerhoff’s success case method; and the Context, Input, Process, and Product Evaluation model (CIPP).
- The power of this methodology lies in its iterative and Agile approach – till the required goal is met.
- Furthermore, it can be customized to match each organization’s unique dynamics.
Here is an overview of EI Design’s 10-step methodology and its key stages:
- Training Needs Analysis (TNA).
- Identify the Employee Training Metrics – L&D metrics and Business metrics.
- Establish measures to motivate learners.
- Communicate the relevance and value of the training to the learners.
- Gauge learner reaction to assess training effectiveness.
- Determine the right training format (Online, Blended, or VILT or supporting measures like Coaching and Mentoring).
- Identify the right learning strategy.
- Determine the gain by the learners and change in behavior.
- Assessing the gain for the business.
- Closing the loop – Summative review to identify supporting measures (like remediation) or moving on to approaches to sustain the impact and ROI determination.
Using their proprietary methodology, they will help you quantitatively evaluate the business impact of your corporate learning initiatives.
A Few Words About EI Design and Its Evolution
Founded in 2002, they started as a small team of three. Their main focus, above all, was always set on creating successful learning strategies and solutions that improve employee performance.
Over their journey of nearly two decades, they are now a knowledge leader and a learning experience strategic consultant.
Helping customers meet their mandate of achieving high employee performance and tangible business gains keeps them going. They do this by striking a balance between learner experience, technology, and business needs.
How These Learning Experience Consultants Add Value to Your Training Initiatives
As a learning experience strategic consultant, EI Design partners with worldwide businesses and enterprises. Their goal is to help them deliver high-impact Learning and Performance Support solutions.
Workforce development programs are essential in enhancing employee performance and, more significantly, driving business results. A majority of the trainings get delivered as planned and are normally tracked for registrations, completions, timely completions, and assessment scores.
Conversely, not much data is obtainable on the business impact of these trainings – and if they demonstrated a clear gain that was sought. With the precise strategies, you not only measure training effectiveness but also maximize its impact.
EI Design can collaborate with you in this mandate by providing a range of unique offerings. They do so by starting with how to boost learner engagement and motivation and then progressing to training effectiveness and its impact.
Using their proven methodology, they can help you quantitatively evaluate the effectiveness of your corporate training initiatives. Hence, with their insights, you’ll manage to determine the impact on learners and business KPIs.
Their training impact and ROI solutions include:
- Learning and Performance Consulting.
- ROI Determination.
- Predictive Learnability.
- Learner Analytics.
Valuable Resources on Training Effectiveness and Evaluation
As we’ve mentioned above, measuring the effectiveness of online training is a hot topic now more than ever. So, to get a better understanding of bringing theory into practice, we’ll share a few resources created by EI Design.
Measuring training impact is not something you can quickly determine. However, it is the only way to understand the impact your training has on learners and business KPIs.
If you find this whole process complex, you’re not alone. EI Design’s experts can help you achieve the long-term results you need.
Are you ready to adopt a unique and proven methodology to help measure and maximize the impact of your training spend? To learn more about how you can assess the impact of your training, do visit EI Design’s website.