The first question we ask our clients who want to measure their Learning and Development programs is: Why?
HR leaders usually have a fair idea of why they want to measure. Yet, the Why-question helps them sharpen their objectives. Measurement, like any intervention, begins with precision. A measurement process should yield relevant insights to identifiable decision-makers for them to take concrete actions.
There are many known pitfalls of collecting too much data, such as storage costs, regulatory and compliance risks, and increased distraction. Being judicious with the data to collect certainly pays off.
In Measurement Demystified, Vance and Parskey identify four reasons to measure Learning and Development (L&D): To inform, to monitor, to evaluate or analyze, and to manage. These purposes not only help us define what to measure but also guide us to present and report data. If the purpose is to inform (to simply know and show) a credible set of current data suffices, whereas if we want to manage (make decisions), a lens of “good enough”, and progress towards targets is added.
It is important to prioritize what you measure since scope creep is a perennial risk. For this we ask questions about what is more aligned with your strategy, for example, designing and implementing your programs at the desired pace (cycle time), or ensuring that the right people have access to the right programs (reach)?
Similarly, when measuring program effectiveness, what is our primary intention, to maintain scale and improve the program’s design, or to decide whether to expand or reduce the program?
Finally, when the why is clear, and we know what information is most useful, we can decide how to do this. The Human Capital function is yet to develop a universal blueprint for measurement and reporting. However, several approaches are available, and any of those is better than not having a method at all.
At Aartha, we recommend and help Learning and Development functions to apply the Talent Development Reporting (TDRp) framework. The TDRp framework includes metrics and measures for program outcomes, effectiveness, and efficiency. Nestled within the TDRp framework, we apply the ROI Methodology to uncover the effectiveness and outcomes of interventions. The ROI Methodology, the gold standard for Human Capital Program measurement, uncovers up to six levels of program effectiveness and estimates outcomes that occurred because of a program, or its impact.
If you want to measure and report the efficiency, effectiveness, or outcomes of programs, please contact us to know how we establish your WHY, WHAT, and HOW of measurement and reporting.