Here are some tips on how you can track the impact of learning activities.
As organizations strive to positively impact employee engagement, professional learning and development programs can be quite influential. In a previous post, we looked at how learning activities support employee engagement. This follow-up post looks at how you can measure their impact.
First, identify baseline metrics. If you don’t know where you started, you won’t know how much you’ve actually improved employee engagement.
Second, identify the learning metrics from your learning activities that correlate to engagement metrics.
Here are some examples:
Learning Activity: Provide learning as an HR benefit
Engagement Metric: “My organization has a mission and culture that I believe in.”
For organizations that want to make sure learning and development opportunities are available for employees interested in professional growth, two key metrics can help gauge the impact of providing learning as an HR benefit.
First, measure employee awareness of the learning and development opportunities your organization provides. Even if an employee hasn’t participated in a learning program, just knowing that the company provides the opportunity often changes the employee’s view of your organization’s support of their development.
A second metric to consider is program usage. This metric will help you determine how valuable the training provided actually is to employees and the organization as a whole.
Learning Activity: Social learning
Engagement Metric: “Help me build relationships with my colleagues.”
When an organization invests in supporting social or informal learning, these interactions are often seen as being unmeasurable. However, online tools can now capture peer-to-peer interactions, especially when social learning platforms, or features within a platform, can be shared with an audience beyond a one-to-one interaction.
Look for ways to measure the number of these interactions, as well how they were viewed, to determine their reach and impact.
Enabling the rating of content, courses or other learning activities is another way to solicit and measure social sharing, recommendations, and the viral success of a learning activity.
Learning Activity: Mentoring/coaching
Engagement Metric: “I know someone at work cares about me.”
Mentoring and coaching are notoriously difficult to measure, but are also viewed as one of the most impactful ways to support professional development and employee engagement.
A coaching/mentoring metric to determine reach and impact might simply be a survey to determine the types and frequency of mentoring and coaching events that are occurring.
For organizations with formal coaching or mentoring programs, collecting data on how many employees have a coach or mentor, how often they meet and how valuable the employee finds the relationship would be good metrics to begin tracking.
Learning Activity: Professional skill and leadership development
Engagement Metric: “My organization is investing in helping me grow in my career.”
The most important metric for this type of training might be simply dollar investment per employee.
A secondary metric would be whether employees are actually engaging in those learning opportunities (e.g., a learning library is being invested in, but employee usage is low).
Learning Activity: Personalized learning experiences
Engagement Metric: “Don’t waste my time with training that isn’t relevant to me.”
To measure the impact of personalized learning programs, a simple data point is whether employees feel their training is relevant to them and meets their needs. While this is an opinion instead of a quantitative data point, perception can often shape reality in employee engagement.
Learning Activity: Ubiquitous learning
Engagement Metric: “Let me learn whenever and wherever I want.”
There are two ways to determine the impact of ubiquitous learning: if multiple access points to training are available, and if employees are using those various access points.
Asking employees how and where they want to learn can help guide decisions about what access points would be most impactful.
Learning Activity: Immersive learning
Engagement Metric: “Let me practice without risk of failure.”
Immersive learning is best measured by looking at performance impact. For example, if you are training employees on resolving customer complaints, then customer service metrics that are already being measured as part of evaluating job performance would be the appropriate metrics to use in evaluating training impact.
As organizations focus on improving employee engagement and are seeking ways to positively affect employee metrics, it’s critical to know what metrics lie at the intersection of learning impact and employee engagement. By starting with employee engagement as an overarching business metric, learning professionals can track and communicate how each of their learning programs impact employee engagement.