To showcase ROI, learning leaders may need to clarify L&D metrics

Despite growing interest in learning and development programs, L&D teams often struggle to demonstrate return on investment and the importance of measuring learning efficacy, according to a Feb. 7 report from McLean & Co.

In particular, a lack of clarity around appropriate learning models, metrics and assessments creates barriers for L&D teams when trying to show the value of learning programs.

“The current approach to measuring learning effectiveness just isn’t working,” Janet Clarey, practice lead for learning solutions at McLean & Co., said in a statement. “Learning measurement needs to be viewed holistically. From the impact on learners to the impact of the learning solution on the organization, all perspectives must be considered for effective evaluation to be possible.”

In a new guide, McLean & Co. outlined a three-stop process to help L&D leaders design a learning measurement approach strategically:

  1. Establish the purpose. From the outset, L&D teams should define why they are measuring the effectiveness of a learning program. This includes identifying how the learning measurement approach connects to organizational objectives, such as increased sales and customer acquisition.
  2. Identify the key players. L&D leaders should choose key people within the organization to be involved with the learning measurement process.
  3. Integrate key players’ perspectives. L&D teams should understand the different aspects of the learning measurement process as related to key players’ areas of focus and involvement. For example, the chief learning officer may assess the use of resources in the learning program, while managers may focus on developing employees.

In addition, when choosing a measurement solution, L&D leaders should connect with relevant people or teams to understand their needs, according to the report. 

As the business environment continues to shift, leaders must adapt by investing in employee development and creating a “dynamic organization,” according to a report by The Josh Bersin Co. As a result, vendors are now releasing new talent development and management solutions.

However, most companies in North America struggle to measure the ROI of employee training programs, according to a D2L report. In a survey, only 33% of leaders said their company measures the impact of employee training on financial outcomes, and 75% said they’re seeking better metrics in their future employee training strategies.

When it comes to leadership development programs, the average ROI is $7 for every $1 spent on training and coaching, according to a BetterManager report. The ROI stems from increased revenue and sales, as well as cost savings through better retention and lower recruiting costs.