Learning & Development (L&D) continues to receive more attention and funding as the C-suite seeks to address a number of workplace challenges from skills gaps and AI integration to organizational agility and employee engagement. In the next six months, 9 out of 10 global executives plan to either raise or maintain their investments in L&D. 

As expenditures grow so do questions about the effectiveness of training programs. After all, when leaders expand development budgets, they are likely to ask for more supporting information about the tangible impacts of their funding efforts. 

L&D professionals have a great opportunity to showcase the outcomes of their work by diving into analytics that establish connections between their initiatives and the company at large. 

5 Questions to Identify Measurement Priorities 

#1 – What are the program objectives? 

Creating alignment with the targets that organizations are aiming for allows L&D teams to bring focus to both the metrics they will track and the offerings they will deliver. Review the strategic plans as well as short- and long-term outcomes that have been identified and assess the role that employee growth can play in the achievement of the targets.  

For example, if executives want to diversify the product suite, it may be wise to evaluate how learning programs support market analysis and innovation. Leaders who want to build a thriving workplace community may be more interested in development initiatives that tie to metrics like employee retention or engagement. 

#2 – Who is interested in the results? 

There are likely numerous stakeholders who want to understand the return that comes from learning programs. Each audience will have different expectations or needs when it comes to reporting. Consider your audiences and the benchmarks they might deem most important.  

For instance, executives might wish to see high-level connections between the programs and bottom-line outcomes on a periodic basis. Staff could review helpful data to understand the experiences others had in a particular training before signing up for the opportunity.  

#3 – What resources are required to track the metrics? 

With a clear picture of the objectives and audiences you are aiming to reach, outline what would be required to analyze the target criteria. Certain measurements may be more readily available based on the data that is already recorded, and depending on requirements, new practices may need to be introduced. L&D professionals may also find that certain measures could be retired if they no longer align with top priorities.  

Be mindful to reflect on the cost-benefit analysis of collecting certain benchmarks over others. Understanding the level of effort required compared to the value of the data points can help L&D teams identify reasonable measurements. 

#4 – What level of ambiguity is acceptable? 

Many professionals face challenges in measuring their work due to the number of variables involved in evaluating big-picture objectives like decreasing turnover or upskilling staff. While there are challenges in isolating the impact of training, it’s still worth measuring. 

Be clear about the elements that may alter the effectiveness of development programming and talk to leaders about their comfort levels with variability. Some executives will wish to see specific comparisons across a control group with demographics like those in the test groups, while others are likely to be comfortable leaning into trend data, knowing that there are multiple contributing factors. 

#5 – What are the leading and lagging indicators? 

Moving the needle on major workforce initiatives takes time, so it’s optimal to have early indicators of areas of strength or potential challenges. With these insights, L&D teams can make tactical adjustments as well as keep leadership informed along the way, so they feel confident that the investments they’ve made are generating returns. 

Consider what measurements will be your leading and lagging markers of success. For example, if the L&D function is striving to support succession planning, teams might focus on benchmarks like new skills acquired as near-term measurements and promotions as long-term criteria.  

5 Common Ways to Assess Training Impact 

For inspiration into potential Learning & Development metrics, reflect on these five big-picture outcomes that training can influence. 

  • Talent pipeline – Leaders seeking to build a sustainable workplace may wish to assess how personnel who are engaged in education initiatives fair in their career progression, promotions and internal mobility. 
  • Staff engagement – Organizations that pride themselves on creating a great place to work can use learning to influence engagement metrics like motivation and employee net promoter scores. See one powerful example from our case study with First Onsite. 
  • Tenure – Entities that have struggled with retention could look to development initiatives to support overall intent to stay and turnover statistics, which have a direct connection to the bottom line. 
  • Organizational agility – As in-demand skills change rapidly, hiring new employees cannot always solve the challenge. L&D can demonstrate the impact they have on workplace agility by measuring skills advancements and internal mobility related to new functions. 
  • Revenue generation – Most companies have growth targets, and training programs play a powerful part in advancing underlying factors to support the bottom line, such as customer service, innovation and problem-solving. 

As executives recognize the necessity of upskilling, reskilling and engaging personnel, training and development will be vital to the success of any entity. By aligning with business priorities, L&D professionals will be able to tell a compelling story to encourage greater investment while empowering employees with in-demand skill sets. 

How could Emergenetics support your training initiatives in advancing engagement, retention and productivity? Explore our website or fill out the form below to speak with one of our team members today!  


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