HR Must Learn How to Prove ROI for Learning & Development: New Guide From McLean & Company

The firm explains that improving the approach to measuring learning effectiveness allows L&D teams to determine the return on investment (ROI) and value of the HR function for their organisations, including those that view L&D as a cost centre rather than a profit generator.

As organizations continue to undervalue measuring learning effectiveness, learning and development (L&D) teams are challenged to demonstrate the importance of learning measurement and its connection to the overall organizational strategy. Many methods for measuring learning effectiveness are subjective and often fail to establish a connection between investment in employee development and the organization’s bottom line. However, according to McLean & Company’s new resource, Guide for Measuring Learning Effectiveness, learning measurement is a crucial part of an organization’s L&D framework and should be prioritized as a vital component of organizational success.

The lack of clarity around appropriate learning models, metrics, and assessments presents an additional barrier for L&D teams in establishing the value of learning solutions. In response to the challenge, the global HR research and advisory firm’s guide includes best practices for measuring learning effectiveness and an overview of common learning measurement models, metrics, and assessments with use cases and examples.

“The current approach to measuring learning effectiveness just isn’t working. Learning measurement needs to be viewed holistically,” says Janet Clarey, practice lead for Learning Solutions at McLean & Company. “From the impact on learners to the impact of the learning solution on the organization, all perspectives must be considered for effective evaluation to be possible.”

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The new resource from McLean & Company offers a three-step process to help L&D leaders design the learning measurement approach strategically, outlined below:

  1. Step one: Establish the purpose. Define the purpose of measuring the learning solution’s effectiveness from the outset, prior to implementing the solution. Identify how the learning measurement approach relates to learning and organizational objectives and expected business outcomes such as increased sales and increased customer acquisition.
  2. Step two: Identify the key players. L&D leaders must choose the key players within the organization who need to be involved in the learning measurement process.
  3. Step three: Integrate the perspectives of key players in the approach. Understand the aspects of the learning measurement process relative to the key players’ areas of focus and involvement. The chief learning officer (CLO), for example, may assess the efficiency of the learning and the use of resources, while managers focus on developing employees.

McLean & Company advises that when choosing an appropriate measurement solution, L&D leaders should connect with relevant individuals or teams to understand their needs. The measurement method should be based on the identified purpose of measuring learning effectiveness, the learning and organizational objectives, and the feasibility of using these methods, considering the time, budget, and resourcing they require.

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