In the words of Peter Drucker "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it". This sentence refers to the undeniable importance of measuring results before and after the implementation of any change. Metrics fuel decision-making, decide budget allocations, and weigh the impact of our business choices — it is only natural that learning and development activities are dictated by them too.
We know that measuring the effectiveness of training can be a difficult task, because some of the end results will be intangible. The historical “effectiveness” KPIs of learning activities were limited to countable inputs: things like number of courses run, attendance and satisfaction scores are important. But these inputs are very unlikely to matter to the CEO, whose focus is on the business results instead of just training metrics. This requires a shift in perspective: instead of measuring only inputs, you need to measure (and report on) outputs as well.
Before you design the training programme, you should define your training goals. It is important to keep in mind you need to demonstrate the value of the training programme. Your goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) and aim for what interests the top hierarchical layer: think performance and improvement. This means you need to answer the question: how did your training programme impacted your business results?
You should build your training deliverables around what you want your trainees to do — the outputs we’ve mentioned before — and these need to be aligned with your business strategy. If you are struggling with how to make these measurable, you need to focus on the tasks and the results: think about everything you can measure! Number of errors, onboarding time, revenue generated, behavioural changes, numbers of orders/processes, stock shipped, number of returns, buying cycle length, skills attained… Having a baseline is essential, so all of these indicators should be measured before and after the training takes place. This will allow you to answer the big question of how training has impacted your business results with what your CEO wants to hear: “our training programme has reduced our onboarding time by x%”, "We have reduced the buying cycle length in x%" "Team A has increases sales in x%", and so on... How amazing is this?
Some more examples of meaningful metrics include training ROI, time-to-job impact, engagement (time spent on course, activity completion rates, training evaluation results), customer retention, increase in sales, operational efficiency changes, number and quality of leads, customer service results, net promoter score, revenue, retention rates, skills acquired… All of these can be built into your learning KPIs as valuable outputs to obtain from training.
Having a platform that facilitates the collection of metrics is a must-have: your training tool needs to be able to provide the data you need in an easy and digestible format. In addition to the platform itself, there are other resources to consider. Web analytics and social media platforms allow you to track learner engagement outside the traditional training environment. Workplace surveys, business reports and focus groups findings are also great sources of data.
Regardless of what KPIs you choose to measure, one thing is for sure: you must strive for accuracy and effectiveness. Make sure your training platform is top-notch and that your approach is focused on constant improvements. You should always interpret the data you collect, adjust your content based on the feedback you have and launch an improved version. Analyse, compare and decide what’s best. Never stop improving and don’t give up if you fail to succeed at first. You are sure to fail better each time until you reach the goals you’ve set out to achieve. And you’ll have the numbers to prove it!
In summary, the metrics your CEO wants to see are those related to the impact of training on the business results.
Calculate the ROI of getting an Online Training Academy
Here are Online Training Academy ROI Calculators that you can use to do the math, based on specific business unit metrics:
Download Online Training ROI Calculator for Customer Education (Customer Success)
Download Online Training ROI Calculator for Brand Academy (Marketing and Lead Generation)
Would you like to learn more about getting an online training academy to improve business goals?