HR Strategy

Four L&D metrics HR pros should measure

More employees want learning and development opportunities, and HR pros can use data to prove their strategic impact on an org.
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· 3 min read


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A job without learning and development opportunities? More workers are saying (to the tune of the Twisted Sister anthem), “We’re not gonna take it.”

Some 92% of candidates consider L&D opportunities when deciding between two job offers, according to UK-based magazine People Management. As HR teams evolve their L&D offerings, executives are starting to take notice of how “learning analytics can enable [L&D] to be a strategic lever for organizational success,” according to Deloitte.

Whether you’re starting an L&D strategy from scratch or expanding your current one, here are four L&D metrics HR pros should be measuring to prove their impact to the rest of the org.

Learning engagement. We know employees want L&D, and according to a LinkedIn report, “aligning learning programs to business goals” is a top priority for learning leaders.

It’s important to measure learning engagement, or “the degree to which a learner participates in the learning experience, by being effectively engaged in the learning process, taking responsibility for choices, engaging in learning opportunities and being proactive in taking feedback,” according to learning management platform Acorn.

These metrics include, but are not limited to, “course completion rates, time spent, repeat visits to content, feedback and survey results, and assessment scores,” per Acorn.

Skill improvement. Are employees getting better at their jobs? It’s critical to measure the impact of L&D on employees’ day-to-day tasks.

Whether you’re looking at a “specific tool (Excel), language (SQL), or skill (empathy)...the metric we want to capture is to see if we did in fact change or improve that skill,” Eric Grant, an L&D leader at The Trade Desk, told People Managing People.

Put your seventh-grade science-experiment skills to good use. Grant suggested running a small behavioral study. For example, by separating employees into groups—one that’s been learning a new skill or tool, and a control group that hasn’t—you can gauge the impact of the training.

Internal career advancement. It’s easy to get lost in the nuts and bolts of your L&D offerings and overlook if they’re helping employees move up within your company.

A measure of L&D’s success is “internal mobility metrics that show to what extent the organization develops and relies on internal hiring rather than over-relying on external candidates,” David James, CLO at 360Learning, told Forbes.

Before HR teams can measure career advancement, they should make sure their L&D offerings are aligned with the skills and experiences hiring managers are looking for in candidates. Then they can track who, across the org, by department and job title, took advantage of these opps before being promoted.

The price tag. It always comes back to the dollar bill, y’all. For HR pros, proving L&D is a smart strategy involves highlighting the cost.

For example, track the loss of an employee’s production per hour and how much they’re paid per hour while engaging in L&D. Combined, these costs equal the “total shrinkage” or “production hour loss,” Grant said in a LinkedIn post.

With this data, HR teams can show the cost of L&D as a retention strategy in comparison to the cost of replacing an employee—something that can end up being 100% to 300% of a position’s annual salary, according to Investor’s Business Daily.

“Expectations are much lower” for L&D, James told Forbes. “It’s up to us to lead from here and do the hard work now for a more fulfilling and successful impact for us all.”

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