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Study Finds, Better Metrics Needed to Measure Employee Training Effectiveness

Survey shows that most North American organizations need better metrics to evaluate skills training impact

Press Release

Global learning technology company D2L in partnership with Training Industry, a trusted source of information on the business of learning, today released the findings of a joint survey of hundreds of high-level individuals across a wide range of industries that shows organizations in North America are struggling to measure the return on investment of employee training programs.

The survey revealed that only about a third (33%) of organizations polled explicitly measure the impact employee training makes on its financial outcomes, and that nearly half (46%) find that demonstrating return on investment (ROI) from employee training is a challenge. Meanwhile, a large majority of respondents (75%) are seeking better metrics as part of their future employee training strategies. Respondents said they struggle most to consistently measure employee training program benefits, and to calculate resulting productivity gains. There was also little agreement across industry representatives on a clear definition of ROI for employee training.

The poll asked a series of questions to uncover the primary motivations of providing employee training, as well as the challenges organizations face in both delivery and in measuring its effectiveness. More than half of respondents (54%) said that keeping learners engaged during training was a challenge. Many (41%) felt that sustaining the impact of training was a challenge—the same proportion that were concerned about ensuring training content was relevant.

“The results of this survey are revealing in that they show how difficult organizations find it to quantify the benefits of employee training. The key to helping make this easier is to establish clear metrics and delineate closely the skills needed for success,” says Dr. Sasha Thackaberry, SVP of Wave at D2L. “Measuring the direct impacts of employee training—on productivity and skills development—is easier if the training is properly aligned with specific desired learning outcomes. Organizations need the right solution suite including technology, educational programs and content, and support services, like D2L for Business, in place. This way, companies can discover the true ROI of their learning programs.”

Importantly, the survey also revealed that the ROI-measurement gap that respondents said exists is present both in organizations that have relatively new corporate learning programs and those whose programs are mature—suggesting it is a systemic issue, rather than one that is solved over time.

Read the full survey report here.

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