When it comes to measuring the impact of Learning and Development (LD) strategy on a business enterprise it ironically plays the second fiddle to factors that decide the business outcome of an organization. It is a pity. Instead of calculating how learning and development are impacting the growth of an organization the focus is rather on measuring the ROI and ROE (Return on Expectation). This is far from a desirable situation for an organization.
Survey on L&D impact
A Chartered Institute of Personnel Development Learning and Development (CIPD L&D), main professional body to accredit and award professional human resources (HR) qualifications survey in 2015 came out with factors that prevented organisations from measuring the impact of Learning and Development.
Obstacles to evaluating
Nearly 45 per cent of people surveyed cited ‘other business priorities’ as obstacles to evaluating the impact of L&D. About 32 per cent blamed it on the poor quality of analytical data. Another 25 per cent questioned the capability of L&D and HR in carrying out the evaluation process. But how can an organization circumvent such a scenario?
Role of L&D in-charges
The responsibility mostly rests with the L&D in-charges. They need to marshal resources like tools and processes to evaluate the impact of Learning and Development. It is also imperative to know what is and is not working for the organization. Benchmarking is also an effective process to identify opportunities within the business and carryout improvements to achieve the best results for growth in an organization.
Better measuring results
In the new post-lockdown Covid 19 situation, L&D in-charges have to make use of all their skills to arrive at better evaluation results. Businesses across the globe are grappling to survive the uncertainties of the times. The surge in the Covid 19 pandemic has forced many countries to impose lockdown as late as till March. That does not portend well for businesses and their shrinking bottom line. A workable L&D plan can help organisations make optimum and effective use of valuable resources.
Real problem and plan of action
The extraordinary situation makes it incumbent on L&D in charge to work out a plan to make the best use of available data on the impact of learning to drive businesses.
· The problem is: only a miniscule 7 per cent are measuring the impact of L&D strategy on businesses.
· About 17 percent of L&D in-charges in organizations are gathering and analyzing data on impact of learning.
· According to a report majority (71 per cent ) of L&D heads are engaged in tracking completion rates, 19 per cent are tracking reduction in study time, 12 per cent improvements in productivity and 10 per cent tracking Return On Investment (ROI).
Assessing real impact of L&D
The problem is that L&D is often used for all the wrong purposes. It mostly is focused on collecting data that measure the number of learning processes being initiated in an organization in a year, and the number of attendees and their preferences for a specific learning programme. There is hardly any exercise being undertaken to assess its real impact on and value addition to the learner and the business. What then is the way out of such a situation?
Need meaningful data
The answer lies in collecting meaningful data that is capable of making impact and facilitating an informed decision making process –
· L&D in-charges have to effectively deal with a deluge of complex data and analyse them for studying the impact of learning and development.
· They have to measure the impact of online or mobile learning. Thete is a need to keep pace with evolving new models, tools and techniques of learning.
· They also need to know about the learning methods that are working and learning interventions yielding desired results.
Strategy for desired result
To sum up, an L&D strategy may come a cropper in the absence of an inbuilt mechanism to measure its effectiveness for a business. A focused approach aimed at measuring the impact of L&D on employees and business will go a long way in making learning and development a useful tool for achieving the desired outcomes in an organization.