I have been facing difficulties in measuring the efficiency of my Leadership and Development programs. Since there are fewer metrics to assess my program’s efficacy unlike in marketing or sales. I am not entirely sure if I have been investing in the right L&D programs. As I intend to empower my employees to their productive best and hence, enhance business growth, could you throw some more light on ascertaining the progress of L&D programs?
L&D is in the midst of a revolution. Automation and Artificial Intelligence have brought about a radical change in the way we measure success. L&D too is no stranger to this digital transformation, especially, in the times of the pandemic as limited availability of jobs, courtesy, rampant labor market crisis, has made it even more important to analyze each one of our methods and programs.
Focusing on the Marginal Improvement
Let’s focus on the situation at hand. Companies’ ability to ensure employee growth on the job to enable them to retain their places in the COVID-19 era is consequential. This is contingent on the employee's ability to adapt to different situations and learn new skills. According to widely accepted Economic theories, rational people think at the margin. To make rational decisions, focus on the margin: rather than examining the overall improvement in your employee’s skill level, try to focus on the marginal improvements as a result of each new skill provided in your L&D program. This is a continuous process. Measuring the absolute success of your employee at the end of the program may not give you the entire picture. Instead, if you analyze at every step, you will understand which portions of your program are more impactful and which are the ones that require augmentation.
Focus More on Data than Feedback
Feedbacks and suggestions are not enough to make out the progress of your L&D programs. This feedback can be highly subjective and at times, inaccurate. In a world driven by data and governed by data science tools, there are plenty of ways to assess your program. First and foremost, employee testing is necessary both before and after the program. So you can be cognizant of your employee’s skill set concerning the program, that is, to see if there is a statistically significant difference in their knowledge-base after the program has been delivered.
In the world of Sciences such as Physics, Mathematics, and Economics, the word “behavioral” is frequently used. It involves psychological techniques to understand human behavior in decision-making. You can take the help of these behavioral tools and prepare psychometric tests focused on achieving certain goals to investigate whether your L&D programs have influenced the decision-making and thinking abilities of your employees.
Lastly, there is software such as R, Python, and STATA, which can give you a whole new way to understand data. You can put your data through regression analysis, which can give you far-reaching conclusions that merely graphs fail to give.
Focus on the Soft-skills
Your L&D programs not only inculcate employees with hardcore business skills but also with some soft skills: compassion for fellow employees, ability to respond to the crisis, ability to adapt to changes amongst others. Judging your program’s success in this regard shall depend purely on you. You can give them leadership-based projects where they have to either work with a team or manage a team. Use real-life simulations to identify how they go about their work under different situations: Do they work effectively in a team? Do they respect and protect their colleagues? Do they adhere to their seniors?
Scrutinize Quantitative Business Outcomes
Employee training as a part of your L&D programs must reflect in the organization’s eventual performance. You can quantify your program’s success through these outcomes. Basic numbers such as sales/delivery improvements, increased efficiency through cost reduction, reduced employee turnover, or increased employee retention can give you a clear indication as to what impact your programs had on employee productivity. However, you must realize that it may not be useful to look up such numbers in isolation. Try to rather look at them in relative terms. For example, if your program focuses on client management, you should focus on metrics related to it only.
Do Your Research
Lastly, you need to understand what exactly you are doing at your end. When you do research, you go through the existing literature, see if you are adding some value to the existing body of knowledge. You examine for procedural inaccuracies in the past research to prepare better methodologies for your research. Along these lines, see if your program is getting redundant or not; see if your program is adding some significant value to your employee’s skillset or not; see if your programs can be extended to various other skill sets; see if you are doing anything wrong in the way you are delivering your programs. All this can be achieved by keeping an eye on what’s happening across different organizations and keeping yourself thoroughly updated.
Hence, as you know, handling business conundrums are no child’s play. You cannot expect a program to turn your employee’s performance on its head. Neither is it a day-long process. As mentioned above, it’s a continuous process that needs to be analyzed in patches as one single look captures the picture only partially. You must show faith in your programs as well, don’t just rush to get instant results. Moreover, you can use tons of data available these days. You can approach the data analytics department to get noteworthy results. Also, try to use your judgment too because though numbers don’t lie, they are just numbers, they may not explain something significant going behind the scenes.
I hope it helps.
Mehak Jindal, VitalSmarts India