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Tips to improve the ROI of your L&D in 2015

When measuring an L&D campaign it may become clear that it is not meeting its targets. 

Are you measuring the right thing?

If you are trying to measure the financial impact of a training campaign which has no clear tie to the organisation’s bottom line then no wonder it isn’t meeting targets. Consider what a more appropriate measure of success might be; for example, measuring pass rates and performing subsequent self-assessment questionnaires for a business writing course is more appropriate than trying to tie these skills to a quantifiable return or skill increase.

Are the targets appropriate?

Make sure targets are not completely unrealistic; demanding a 100% first time pass rate on a company sponsored MSc or a 50% increase in short-term profits may be unachievable. But be aware, this can vary depending on the organisation, the industry and the intended outcome of the L&D campaign. Review your targets for each campaign and sense-check them. Do they make sense, are they achievable? If not, you may need to renegotiate.

Is the L&D campaign really necessary?

What organisational objectives are your L&D campaigns trying to fulfil? If your organisation is aiming to increase its profits by 20% next year, will your planned change management course affect this, or would a different campaign be more suitable? Analyse each training campaign and assess whether it is actively benefiting your organisation’s objectives, otherwise it may be just a ‘nice to have’.

Are you measuring too soon, or too late?

Skill/behaviour acquisition and retention isn’t always immediate, and can manifest itself over time depending on the individual. If you are assessing a learner only once, then you may be missing their development over time. Equally, it is important as to when you measure; too soon and you are likely to get a bias, too late and the learner will have no real memory of the training and its impacts on their development, so look to find the happy medium.

Is the training appropriate for the learner?

This is the level of difficulty and subject matter of the training. If training is too simple, learners will become demotivated and will gain no additional skills from the exercise; an extreme example is a company sending its website developers on a basic IT training course. This could also occur if the subject matter of the training is not targeted to the learner appropriately; another example would be young managers being sent on a high-level strategy course, while they would no doubt gain a lot from this exercise, they would not be able to implement their new knowledge and skills or effectively impact the organisation.

Is the delivery method appropriate?

Every learner is unique, some prefer learning one way, and others prefer another. If you are forcing ‘non-techy’ learners to use your latest mobile learning system, or trying to get your organisation’s top executives into the same room at the same time for four hours for a classroom session, you will know that there is resistance. When planning your L&D campaigns, assess the learners and how they will react to different teaching methods. Are they technologically proficient? Do they have free time? Are they geographically mobile?

Is the learner engaged?

Finally, check what the learner’s attitude is to learning and development. Are they enthusiastic or are they dreading it? Do they value development opportunities or are they sceptical? While altering perceptions can be difficult, being aware of them will help prepare you for potential challenges and create workarounds to suit individual needs. To counter learner anxiety for example, you can send materials to learners beforehand to help them understand and prepare for the training and reduce their level of anxiety.

 

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