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Insight

Measuring the Business Impact of L&D: Collaborate and Strategize

This is part two of a four-part series about how L&D teams can effectively evaluate, measure, and demonstrate the business impact of their learning and development programs. Read part one here.

To measure the impact of learning, you have to collaborate with other departments and align your learning and talent functions with the business strategy. This generally requires three steps:

1. Understand the business strategy and what the business needs from employees.

2. Plug into the talent development strategy to identify the skills and talent you need to deliver.

3. Evaluate where you have coverage, strength, and proficiency as well as gaps and opportunities.

If you don't have the right skills to meet the business needs, there may need to do some reskilling or upskilling and talent mobility before unleashing an effective training program. You don’t need to have it all figured out, but you should understand the full picture so you can create a path forward.

Start by setting benchmarks. It’s difficult to prove the impact of training without defined ones. Ask yourself how you know your training is effective. What does “effective” mean to your business? Is it compliance? Is it moving the needle on a KPI? How do you know what levers to pull to consistently drive the desired performance and business results?

Learning Analytics and Business Outcomes

Demonstrating learning’s impact is a high priority, but what exactly do we mean when we refer to learning analytics or learning impact? It means marrying your learning data with data from your business systems to better understand the bigger picture.

You can create the first layer of the foundation by taking inventory of employees’ business needs and linking it back to competencies, skills, behaviors, and attitudes.

If you understand what employees need from the business, you can layer that in. When you take a combined look, you can start to identify areas where you have training content and areas you don’t, and you can start more effectively bridging that gap.

What Is Your Level of Learning Analytics Experience?

It helps to know where you are currently on your learning analytics journey to discover the path ahead.

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Many L&D teams find themselves at level one. They rely on reports and export simple data from the LMS that is often limited to measuring compliance or completion rates.

If you’ve moved to the second tier, you’ve been able to partner with your IT team. Perhaps they’ve built something like a data lake or data warehouse where they combine data from all business systems to create a scorecard. However, in most cases, they’re still only looking at completion and compliance data from the LMS.

If you’re not building learning with a competency focus, you’re still not able to fully explore the business impact of it without drawing conclusions based on assumptions.

In other words, would you prefer to assume that turnover improved because training was at 100 percent compliance? Or would you prefer to know that a specific competency was affected that translated to an increase in impact and performance?

You have to determine which level of analytics will help you:

· Keep the business going and adapt at the same time.

· Keep people productive while reskilling and upskilling to improve performance in the new strategy.

· Strengthen skills and close gaps only where you need to.

· Understand the skills available and how learning impacts reskilling and upskilling.

In the next post in this series, learn how to connect your learning analytics to business impact. Discover which KPIs are most important to your company, how to plug your learning into those, and identify the touchpoints you can measure. Want to make identifying skills gaps easier? Download our free Skills and Competency Framework.

Editor’s Note: This is adapted from the Schoox corporate learning blog.

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