Article: Defining the impact - how can L&D demonstrate the needle has moved?

Learning & Development

Defining the impact - how can L&D demonstrate the needle has moved?

Leadership intent, understanding the organization requirements, creating a business case are key ways where L&D specialists can judiciously work on to be able to demonstrate the ROI of learning.
Defining the impact - how can L&D demonstrate the needle has moved?

Learning and Development departments in organizations are often told to measure the metrics or the ROI of the learning modules even before they start chalking the programs in the boardroom. The biggest challenge that L&D face today is ‘Where is the money?’. Defining efficacy and ROI of learning programs have been a long-standing debate in the HR forums. 

Aligning organization’s purpose with Learning

As HR professionals, be it L&D or TA, it is imperative to understand the organization’s business model – whether the company follows a B2B model or is it in the financial segment or FMCG etc. The L&D practitioner should be able to understand the requirements, structures, processes of the industry he/she is working on to strategize the steps for the Learning modules. Internalizing the needs of the organizations helps to come up with what are you trying to achieve through training, learning, and can answer what kind of L&D space you want to operate on. It helps in providing the right time about investing, and also helps L&D specialists to know is the quantum of investment right? This also requires the buy-in of the leadership – the CEO and the CFO. 

It is mandatory for the L&D department to understand the leadership intent, expectations of the CEO, his vision, and the values so that a learning project is created based on such inputs, and the required results are also targeted to achieve. Aligning with the CFO would mean to get him/her know that a learning program will contribute to the bottom-line of the organization. Building that visibility, with tangible and intangible benefits, is critical for the L&D. 

Success principles for L&D

Moving away from theoretical processes to a more practical understanding is the most important aspect of making L&D succeed. Align with the business heads’ thought processes, create the in-road in their thought processes, translate your needs and ROI in money terms, create a framework based on the diagnostic and standard operating procedure, then align the business with the strategic partners, and continuous quality checks throughout the programs. 

The intangibles count

Since there is a paradigm shift happening on how L&D is more becoming a department which assists in enhancing performances of employees, the focus also needs to be given to intangible benefits that come along with the tangibles. Intangibles can be culture building, change management, mindset changes, behavioural changes, inter-department and intra-department teamwork leading to optimal utilization of time, also reducing attrition levels, tenure of the employees. Measuring these intangibles are not difficult. The L&D department needs to see what works in that particular organization. Because employee demography or performance depending on the industry you are functioning necessitates to look for short-term training programme. And that’s where the purpose of L&D needs to be clarified. 

Create a space for failing & learning

Learning starts even before someone enters a classroom. Creating the learning culture in the organization, experimenting with the learning will have an impact on how employees feel about it. And that’s precisely why ‘pilot projects’ are initiated by L&D teams – to be able to surmise what can happen if taken on a large scale. An organization can create the learning safety nets for the employees and ‘pilot projects’ are good way to do that. The main intent should be to create experiential learning, on-the-job learning, training programs and establishing a strong learning culture. 

(This article is curated from the L&D Virtual Conference Session held on June 22, 2017– ‘Defining The Impact - If Not Yet, How Can L&D Really Demonstrate’. The speakers for the Session were Kamlesh Dangi - Group President-HR, UTI Mutual Funds, and Shipra Dawar Nagpal - Former Head of L&D, Ricoh India)

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Topics: Learning & Development, #LAndDVirtualConference

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