We are pleased to bring you a guest blog post today from John R. Mattox, II, Ph.D., Director of Research for KnowledgeAdvisors, a learning measurement software and solutions company focused on improving the effectiveness of learning. John’s colleague, Jeffrey Berk, Chief Operating Officer for KnowledgeAdvisors, will be speaking during the Impact Analysis: Strategies for Success workshop at Perspectives 2012.
By John R. Mattox, II, Ph.D., Director of Research, KnowledgeAdvisors
Frequently, L&D professionals are challenged to communicate the impact of learning efforts to business leaders. They are asked to answer seemingly simple questions: How effective is our curriculum? Is training cost-effective? Is L&D supporting business initiatives?
Those simple questions often mushroom in voluminous reports that may or may not provide relevant answers to the executive audience. And L&D leaders who have presented to business leaders—CEOs, CFOs, COOs—quickly learn what this audience does NOT want—information about Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation, or knowledge gain scores, changes in behaviors or the number of people trained. The c-suite has a short attention, and L&D leaders don’t get invited back to the table if they don’t bring relevant information.
Wouldn’t it be useful to have a standard set of metrics for reporting L&D information to the c-suite—a framework that applies across all industries and all types of organizations?
Decades ago, the United States accounting industry developed a standard reporting framework called Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). It was (and still is) used to standardize the type of information auditors, business partners, and investors use to evaluate the performance of organizations.
During the past two years, KnowledgeAdvisors has worked with a variety of thought-leaders across the learning industry to develop a reporting framework similar to GAAP called Talent Development Reporting Principles (TDRP). The purpose of TDRP is to provide a standard set of reports about L&D for executives that is relevant and easy to understand. Currently, the TDRP is operational for L&D, and as the name implies, L&D is not the only topic covered. The TDRP framework is expanding to include all areas of human capital from recruiting to retirement. In this way all aspects of talent can be reported.
The key to the TDRP framework is simple, yet comprehensive, set of metrics:
- Efficiency: These metrics focus on training activities and costs such as the number of people trained, the percentage of the target group trained, cost of training per person, cost per training hour per learning methodology, etc.
- Effectiveness: These metrics target measures like learner satisfaction, knowledge and skill acquisition, intent to apply learning, and training’s expected impact on job performance.
- Outcomes: Business outcome measures address the key business metrics for the organization like client satisfaction, sales, risk management, cycle time, and revenue.
The foundation for the framework comes from a Beyond HR by Boudreau & Ramstad (2007). Additionally, thought-leaders have helped KnowledgeAdvisors craft automated reports that resemble financial statements—materials that the c-suite easily comprehends. By measuring, monitoring and managing the business according to these data sets, leaders can optimize the organization’s investment in training with the intent of achieving business goals.