In the last blog post, my colleague Lindsay Edmonds Wickman brought up the issue of learning measurement, which also happens to be the theme of the Fall 2008 CLO Symposium taking place in Coronado, Calif., this week. She specifically pointed out that too few learning leaders are devising credible business-impact measurements that prove the function’s strategic contribution.
The CLO Symposium will already be in the past for many of the people reading this, but as I’m writing this blog, it hasn’t happened yet. That said, I think I can predict — with a fair amount of accuracy — what measurement experts at the event will say is critical for coming up with metrics that senior organizational leaders believe in and care about.!@!
Simply put, it’s all about alignment. Instead of coming up with impact or ROI measurements after a program has been rolled out, learning executives should talk with key leaders about what positive outcomes to look for before they’ve even started developing that program.
If they can get them to say up-front that the central objective of this or that learning initiative should be greater employee retention, faster time to productivity, improved sales or some other important goal related to organizational performance — and come up with some agreed-upon target around that — then that’s the critical measure, right there. Not butts-in-seats. Not smiley sheets. Not ROI.
If you can show the value of learning with measurements that you’ve devised in cooperation with fellow organizational leaders, then you’ll have much more credibility than if you come to them with learning industry jargon or half-baked financial metrics.
Have some thoughts on measurement you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the Comments section.