Every year, significant investments are made on workforce development programs. However, assessing their impact on business is a tough mandate. This article showcases strategies and tips that can help you maximize their impact.
Workforce development programs are essential in enhancing employee performance and, more significantly, driving business results.
A majority of the trainings get delivered as planned and are normally tracked for registrations, completions, timely completions, and assessment scores. However, not much data is available on the impact of these trainings on business – and if they were able to demonstrate a clear gain that was sought.
To meet the mandate that the business seeks, you need to evaluate the effectiveness of workforce development programs not just through the basic L&D Metrics but by measuring their anticipated impact on business through Business Metrics. Then, the focus should shift (from measuring the impact) to how this impact can be maximized. This is a tough mandate to do justice to; there is a need for resources at several levels, over an extended period of time. Often, the data collation is hampered by the existing technology or there may not be adequate resources who can analyze the data and generate actionable insights for the business.
In spite of these challenges and intrinsic complexity, organizations can create frameworks to measure the business impact of workforce development programs and then identify how to sustain this momentum and maximize the impact.
Here are 5 strategies along with several tips that will help you measure the business impact of your workforce development programs and, more significantly, maximize the impact!
Strategy #1: Set the Right Foundation – Focus on both L&D as well as Business Metrics
During the Training Needs Analysis (TNA), L&D teams concentrate on the learning objectives and what strategy would enable them to achieve these objectives. Post the training, there are set parameters to measure its effectiveness (through the L&D Metrics).
TIPS: It is vital to ascertain the gain the business is seeking. At that point, you can take a gander at the effect of workforce development programs through the joined focal point of the L&D Metrics and, all the more essentially, the Business Metrics. In addition, you need to identify the Evaluation Model that will help you measure both.
Strategy #2: Choose the right Evaluation Model to measure the business impact of workforce development programs
Recognizing the Evaluation Model is imperative for workforce development. This helps gain clarity on what is being measured, how will it be measured, and how will the evaluation outcome be processed.
TIPS: The success also rests on understanding how to customize the Evaluation Model to diverse aspects:
- Different trainings: For instance, Compliance trainings would have a remarkably different approach than that for Soft Skills trainings or Tool trainings.
- Different learning/cognition levels: Measuring the learning acquisition does not amount to ascertaining the same as the application on the job. Likewise, the approach to validate the learning transference and behavioral change would be significantly different.
Furthermore, the evaluation should not be limited to summative assessments. You should also evaluate how the workforce development programs help learners apply the acquired learning on the job. Then, ascertain how the workforce development programs impacted the key on-the-job indicators.
Strategy #3: Work with a holistic approach – To drive employee performance and behavioral transformation
To ensure the workforce development programs create the requisite impact, many enablers need to be in action. Rather than focusing on discrete trainings, you should use a holistic Learning and Performance Ecosystem approach that has several components – that touch the learners at different points of their learning journey. This enables you to sustain and maximize the business impact of your workforce development programs.
In an Ecosystem-based approach, besides the Formal training, you can add measures to:
- Engage and motivate the learners.
- Provide strategies that inspire sticky learning experiences.
- Offer practice zones to gain further expertise in a particular area.
- Apply the acquired learning.
- Strengthen learning in order to offset the “Forgetting Curve.”
- Influence and trigger behavioral transformation.
- Continue ongoing connects (post the successful completion of the training).
You must add avenues for Social or Collaborative Learning, and don’t forget to add nudges for Self-Directed Learning.
TIPS: Leverage the 4 prime enablers of the Learning and Performance Ecosystem
- Integrate measures to keep the learners engaged – Before the roll-out of the workforce development programs – It is a tough challenge to motivate overwhelmed employees who are not interested in investing time for training. Hence, it is of utmost importance to ensure that measures to engage and motivate the learners are put in place. These could include videos with messages from leaders on the magnitude of the workforce development programs for the employees and the business. You can also add Teaser videos that give learners a view on the value of investing time on a given training (What’s In It For Me or WIIFM).
- Use an all-inclusive approach to design and deliver workforce development programs (including Performance Support intervention) – Don’t stop at just establishing the significance of the training and its value proposition to the learner; you should also look at further value adds that will ensure that learners register and complete the training. For instance, you could include Personalized learning paths that leverage bite-sized learning that is multi-device compatible (Microlearning-based training delivered on Mobile devices).
- Leverage the Learning and Performance Ecosystem-based approach to augment the Formal training with nuggets to reinforce the acquired learning as well as practice and apply it on the job.
- Leverage just-in-time learning aids or job aids that are accessible to the learners within their workflow and can help them when required (these aids do not need them to log on to the LMS).
Strategy #4: Spot-check periodically and showcase the impact and the value to the business
Post the training delivery and completion by the learners, determine its impact on the business. Use the Evaluation Model for the Business Metrics and collate and analyze the data on the impact.
TIPS: It is important to showcase this value to the business and based on the analysis, you can reconfigure or tweak the approach. Alternatively, based on the value or gain that the business is seeking, you could look at appending required components into the learning journey.
Strategy #5: Sustain and maximize the business impact
Once you start seeing the impact of the workforce development programs, start investing in measures that will help you sustain this momentum and maximize the impact.
TIPS: Here are a couple of techniques that would help:
- Besides Formal training, learners need to have ongoing connects with a range of resources to reinforce, challenge, practice, and gain further proficiency.
- Foster a sense of continuous learning through approaches like:
- Social Learning.
- Communities of practicing excellence.
- Self-Directed Learning.
- Curated content so that learners come back for more.
- Inclusive learning by encouraging active participation – through User Generated Content (UGC).
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, the task of measuring and sustaining the impact of workforce development programs is tough and there is no single approach that can help you achieve this. Hope these insights and strategies provide practical cues that you can use to maximize the business impact of your workforce development programs.