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Last updated: 02.02.18

How organisations can measure the success of workplace learning

Employers need to have effective methods in place to measure the impact and success of their workplace learning and development programmes.

Ongoing employee learning and development can be a key contributor to the overall success of an organisation. As well as driving the company forward by equipping its workforce with new skills and knowledge, it can reduce staff turnover by helping people to feel happier in their jobs.

By introducing a dedicated learning management system (LMS), employers can maximise the chances of their investment in training delivering results. An LMS provides valuable structure for development programmes, but also allows the organisation to measure the effectiveness of its overall strategy.

Employee engagement, team effectiveness and staff turnover are some of the most powerful and reliable indicators of how big an impact workplace learning is having.

Making success criteria part of learning and development strategy

Workforce training schemes should be driven by a clear and carefully thought-out strategy. Getting these plans in place first will help to ensure that there is a distinct purpose behind the training that feeds into the organisation's overriding goals and long-term strategic ambitions. Problems the company has experienced in the past, or areas where clear improvement is required, could help to inform the strategy.

Learning and development plans should also be organised around criteria to define success. These benchmarks can provide crucial insights into whether workforce training is helping the organisation to reach its goals and delivering satisfactory return on investment (ROI).

By regularly returning to these success criteria over a set period of time, the company can build up an idea of whether its learning and development strategy is functioning well, or if there are changes required in how training is planned, designed and delivered.

Using the right metrics

Having the appropriate metrics in place to regularly measure performance and success is extremely important in practically all areas of business. It is one of the best ways to evaluate your methods and to ensure the organisation is achieving satisfactory ROI.

When you come to measure the impact of your learning and development efforts, levels of employee engagement and motivation can be much more telling than simpler metrics such as the number of people who finished a course or how much they enjoyed it. People who come out of training programmes feeling informed, inspired and ready to work are likely to make a valuable contribution to the organisation in the long term.

Tracking individual performance, team results, staff retention and revenue growth can also offer some useful insights as the company seeks to assess the impact its learning and development initiatives are having on workers, teams and the company as a whole. Results in these areas can be measured against objectives established as part of the overall learning and development strategy.

Maintaining relevance over time

Learning and development strategy should not be viewed as something that is set in stone, but rather as a fluid, flexible concept that can be adjusted over time to reflect the wider business environment. Business challenges and ambitions will inevitably change as the organisation grows and evolves, so training methods must adapt as well.

The team responsible for executing the learning and development plan and delivering training should be given the ability to regularly re-evaluate their strategy and the time required to keep up with the latest thinking in this particular area of business.

Furthermore, keeping training programmes relevant and fresh will help to ensure that people are always learning new things - regardless of how long they have been in the workforce - and are fully equipped to meet the newest challenges in their job.

This dynamic approach to learning and development, combined with the identification and application of the strongest metrics to measure success, can help to ensure that your organisation is getting the best out of its workers and laying the foundations for long-term success.

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