While Procter & Gamble NA CBD Capability (P&G) boasts a substantial cache of continuing education courses and years of intensive on-boarding for new hires, learning leaders believe what sets the company’s learning culture apart is its three-year measurement and evaluation strategy for sales training.
“It is important to understand that moving to our measurement strategy changed everything about our work,” said Beth White Marshall, measures and evaluation manager for P&G. “It required a change in behavior, not just for the capability team, but for all stakeholders — managers, learners, channel VPs [and] senior leaders.”
Marshall said the strategy impacted everything about the way the company does business. “You have to assess differently, design content differently, drive manager engagement differently, etc.”
The measurement and evaluation strategy required a realignment in thinking, the scope of which was far-reaching. “It changed how we did our work — requiring more engagement, accountability and ownership than previous systems and processes. It also changed how we structured our team to ensure we had experts in all areas, but they were interdependent upon each other,” Marshall said.
P&G attributes much of the success in implementing its measurement and evaluation plan to the fact that the sales department’s training arm is run with the same tenets as the business one; there is a solid plan to meet direct goals that must always be backed up by return on investment data for senior leadership.
“We also capture payout of our training, ROI quantitative, the way P&G finance calculates it on volume with the same benchmark for P&G North America,” Marshall said.
An approximately four-month-long process was implemented to align senior management, develop the strategy, develop the evaluation, identify the external best-in-class benchmarks and execute the strategy. “Completing the M&E strategy was a difficult process, but our team is delivering the best business results for our P&G stakeholders because we are able to measure the value of our training,” Marshall said.
The fact that training value is measurable enables the strategy to remain a priority for senior leaders at the company. And with senior leadership support comes one of the most crucial components for any successful business venture: money. P&G leaders are willing to back learning initiatives with financing when they see results.
“We invest in ourselves regularly to make sure that we have the right skills in place,” said Associate Director Valerie Brantley, a key player in the company’s ongoing conversation between the learning and development area and senior leaders. “Senior leadership support is strong, and I think it’s strong because we’ve made a conscious effort to stay closer to the business and stay focused on those business strategies and priorities that are important to the company and to the functions.”
The value of learning and development is justified via results up front followed by a demonstration of how the learning and development area can enable some of the business’ key strategies. Further, company leaders can receive up-to-the-minute metrics on their learning investments with a business impact app developed for the executives’ iPads. Leaders have learning ROI data at their fingertips, which helps to ensure a culture of learning at the company well into the future.
Jessica Krinke is a former editorial intern at Chief Learning Officer magazine.