Measuring the business impact of learning

Measuring the business impact of learning was a key focus at the NetDimensions EMEA User conference in London in May. According to Fosway’s Learning and Talent Analytics: Practical Strategies to Drive Real Outcomes 2015 Study, 85% of companies say HR Analytics is a medium or high priority. In addition, recent research conducted by LEO found that more than 85% of L&D professionals want to use analytics to improve their learning programs, while over 77% believe that it’s possible to demonstrate learning’s impact. However, L&D departments are still unsure about how to effectively measure the business impact of their learning activities.

 

Why measuring the business of learning is important

As budgets inside large organizations are decreasing, it’s becoming increasingly important for L&D to demonstrate its impact to top management. We now have the capabilities and the tools to actually analyze the connection between Learning and Development activities, and business performance. According to the Brandon Hall Group’s Learning Analytics 2017 Study, as much as 51.5% of organizations only analyze their learning program’s data annually or on an ad hoc basis. Only 14.4% of organizations continuously analyze their learning program’s data. Organizations need to move away from a snapshot analysis, which quickly becomes outdated over time, to a more sustainable process where big data is used strategically to make business decisions.

The technology to measure the business impact of learning is now available in the market but organizations are struggling to put in place a sustainable strategy to measure and then demonstrate that impact.

In the interview below, Piers Lea, Chief Strategy Officer at NetDimensions’ partner company LEO and Donald H Taylor, Chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute, talk about why measuring the business Impact of learning is important and why L&D managers should begin the journey now.

 

Who needs to be on board in the organization for the strategy to be adopted?

The involvement from organizations’ top leadership in planning the L&D strategy is still pretty low, but it is growing quite fast. L&D should be leading the way and actively use big data to make business decisions. If L&D continues to lags behind, the business will take actions without involving the L&D function in strategic decisions. At the moment, there’s a huge opportunity for L&D to establish credibility and get a seat at the top management table. The trend clearly shows that L&D departments are becoming much more central to business strategy, but this won’t happen without L&D playing an active role in the process.

In the video below Piers Lea and Don H Taylor talk about the different stakeholders who should be involved in the organization for an effective L&D strategy to be adopted.

 

Is there any example of companies that are effectively measuring the impact of their learning activities?

MedStar is a US-based company in the Healthcare sector. They use learning analytics to evaluate the effectiveness of training on clinical metrics. In the video below, Piers Lea talks about this example.

 

What are the steps to start measuring the business impact of learning?

There is a step-by-step process to go through but every organization should start on that journey now.

The first step to measuring the business impact of learning is making sure your organization is collecting the right data. It might take years to gather enough data before it will actually be relevant for the organization. Look into that data to identify patterns and then progress up to advanced data evaluation. All this should be done before you can actually bring in correlating data from the business.

The L&D function is willing to take on that journey but there is a clear shortage of skills in terms of the ability to both organize and analyze data. According to Fosway’s Learning and Talent Analytics: Practical Strategies to Drive Real Outcomes 2015 Study, 90% of organizations see the lack of skilled resources as a challenge in progressing with HR Analytics. According to the Brandon Hall Group’s Learning Analytics 2017 Study, only 18% of organizations have a data analyst dedicated to learning.

In the video below, Piers Lea and Don H Taylor talk about the step-by-step process to start measuring the business impact of learning.

 

The importance of measuring the business impact of learning

The ability to deliver proven results is a huge focus for L&D at the moment, with a view to ensure that learning should be moving to the heart of the business strategy. Some experts think that the reason why large organizations will continue to exist is actually because of their ability to scale learning. Learning is becoming one of the key areas of competitive advantage, so measuring the business impact of learning is a vitally important subject, one which continues to grow in importance.

Did you enjoy this blog? Then you might also be interested in our “Maximizing the Business Impact of Learning” report from Fosway Group. Download it now. If you’d like to speak to a NetDimensions consultant about the importance of measuring business impact, get in touch here.

 

NextSteps North America 2017 Conference: Looking Back

The NextSteps North America user conference took place in New Orleans on May 16-18. NetDimensions clients, partners and event sponsors joined this inspiring event to share best practices and hear presentations from other users as well as NetDimensions product and solutions experts.

At the pre-conference workshops on May 16th, attendees had access to hands-on training for NetDimensions Talent Suite. These workshops equipped attendees with the knowledge to maximize the benefits of using their implementation.

NextSteps 2017 focused on different aspects of the business impact of learning investments and how to measure it. Keynote speaker David Wentworth, Brandon Hall Group’s Principal Analyst for Learning & Development, talked about the value of learning technologies far beyond their price.

Looking back at the NextSteps EMEA User Conference

The NextSteps EMEA user conference took place in London last week (on 10-11 May).

NetDimensions clients, partners and event sponsors joined this inspiring event to share best practices and listen to presentations from other users as well as NetDimensions product experts. The delegates also had the occasion to learn about the solutions provided by the other Learning Technologies Group (LTG) companies.

At the pre-conference workshops on May 10th, the conference delegates had access to hands-on training for NetDimensions Talent Suite administration. These workshops equipped attendees with the knowledge to maximize the benefits of using their Talent Suite implementation.

This year’s conference focused on different aspects of the business impact of learning and how to measure it. On May 11th, special guest Donald H. Taylor, Chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute, gave an inspiring keynote on what the CEO really wants from learning & development and how the L&D team can deliver it.

Don also moderated a panel discussion centered on the business impact of learning. The panelists included L&D professionals and experts from Fresenius Medical Care and Thales Learning and Development. Adrian Jones of Fosway Group, Europe’s leading HR analyst firm, was speaking on the panel as well. Drawing on their real-world experience of demonstrating value, the panel explored approaches that work, those that don’t, and the pitfalls waiting for the unwary.

In the afternoon Piers Lea, Chief Strategy Officer of LEO hosted a session on measuring the business impact of learning. He discussed practical strategies to drive analytics forward and deliver real benefits.

Talent and learning management leaders from global organizations including Moody’s Analytics, BAE Systems, BCD Travel, 3Shape, and GMC Software presented success stories and best practices that enabled them to reach their organizations’ strategic goals.

At the expo, delegates also had the opportunity to meet conference sponsors Speexx, eXact learning solutions, and Dreamtek.


In his session Mike Alcock, Managing Director of gomo learning showed the delegates how to solve multi-device learning delivery needs using gomo authoring and NetDimensions Talent Slate. Peter Dobinson, Solutions Architect of LEO gave a presentation on how to transform learners’ experience using learning portals.

The event was concluded with a networking reception, where we had a performance by 9-time Guinness World Record holder SamSam Bubbleman.

 

Overcoming Barriers to Mobile Learning Deployment

 

How can you overcome the challenges of deploying mobile learning in your organization?

The first generation iPhone, arguably the first smartphone, was released in June 2007. In the decade since then, the number of users continues to grow at an astounding rate.

Its ubiquity has allowed smartphones to become an effective learning tool especially in business environments, where learners are either located in remote areas with limited internet connectivity, work in manufacturing facilities with no access to desktop computers, or work in the field and are always mobile.

Mobile learning has been a hot topic for learning & development departments for years, however deployments of effective mobile learning strategies have been slow.

Building Global Virtual Teams and Virtual Learning Capability

A new model of global organization is coming to the fore. Traditional top-down hierarchies have been swept away in favor of agile and responsive ‘networks of teams’. These are virtual teams that are set up and disbanded as needed to create new products and services and meet fresh global challenges from new competitors.

The challenge organizations face is how best to build the skills base of individuals to optimize global virtual team working.

Deloitte has described this trend as ‘the rise of teams’. Many companies have already begun the move away from conventional functional structures – 92% of companies surveyed by Deloitte believe that redesigning the organization is ‘very important’ or ‘important’. Deloitte discovered that only 38% of all companies and 24% of large companies with more than 50,000 employees are organized function by function.

However, key to the success of contemporary, agile ways of working is ensuring that individual employees have the necessary skills for flexible working across borders.