Choosing the right learning and development metrics to track the true impact of training

When it comes to training, traditional metrics tell what is essentially a pointless story. They don’t look at the ‘why?’ or the ‘what?’ of the training, they look at the attendance figures. Like 20 staff members went along to the session. Or five staff members. Or 100. But whether those are good figures or bad, did the people attending actually learn anything new?

Measuring attendance is just a way of crowbarring perceived value into training to justify the investment. But in reality, the number of people who attend a training day doesn’t really tell you anything at all. It doesn’t tell you what they learned. Whether it was relevant to their role. If people in different roles acquired the same new skills. And it doesn’t tell you whether they returned to work the next day and applied these new skills or shared what they learned with the rest of their team. Put simply, attendance figures don’t tell you whether the training added any value.

Here’s the problem: all too often, training is a box-ticking exercise. In some cases, training is cobbled together in a hurry solely to appease employees. That makes it not just an empty gesture but, worse, a missed opportunity. Because well-planned, strategically aligned work-based learning can be transformative for the organization.

With the right plan in place, Learning and Development (L&D) and the organization as a whole can realize a huge lift in ROI from training. But how do you hone and align the skills of an entire workforce, measure tangible outcomes, and deliver an organization-wide shift towards better ways of working?

Key questions for delivering value-added training

Organizations that thrive tend to be the ones that understand their priorities and how people (and training) contribute to meeting strategic objectives. They know that aligning everyone to get ahead of the curve rarely means reinventing the wheel. It just takes honest assessment. Two simple questions can reveal what you need and how to move forward through training:   

“Why are we doing this?” 

It seems simplistic—almost counterintuitive—but the ‘why?’ of training is crucial. Too many organizations cobble together a justification for training as though it’s an afterthought. Yet, the key to successful delivery is to have a clear strategic vision for the business and to ensure the training is directly aligned to it.  

“What is something of value we can achieve today?” 

This could be the daily mantra for any organization. As with everything, training should be designed to add actual value and be clear about what that value is.  

Why the right learning partner will make all the difference 

Training isn’t a quick fix and never should be. It’s something that teams should take on at their own pace. As and when they need it. With clear goals and a plan to measure the progress and impact of the program on the company.

The right learning partner understands this and the individual organization they’re working with. They’ll know there’s no such thing as ‘one-size-fits-all’ and that any learning needs to be tailored to very specific needs of the team and aligned with the strategic business outcomes of the business.

Emergn’s approach to work-based learning starts with understanding our client’s need and context and focuses on outcomes. Our programs and pathways support enhancing leadership, agility and product management skills – both the practical skills needed to deliver against strategic business outcomes and to adopt new ways of working. They also recognize that teams need complementary skills and capabilities to build world-class products and services, so structured to build skills over time while making an immediate difference to the individual learner’s work environment.

Over the years, we’ve applied work-based learning across large teams, small companies, public sector organizations, and multi-national enterprises. In every case, our approach has brought teams together, improved transparency among teams, and emphasized company-wide communication and collaboration.

It’s learning with a purpose. And the results speak for themselves.

Learn more at Learning Skills & Capabilities.