Few employers measuring ROI from employee training: Report

How can companies better quantify the benefits of employee L&D?

Few employers measuring ROI from employee training: Report

Do employers actually get something in return from providing training to employees? Only a few can definitively say yes, finds a recent report looking at North America.

Currently, 75 per cent of employers are seeking better metrics as part of their future employee training strategies, reports D2L in partnership with Training Industry.

As it is, nearly half (46 per cent) of employers find that demonstrating return on investment (ROI) from employee training is a challenge.

That’s because only 33 per cent measure the training’s impact on ROI/financial outcomes. Just over two in five (42 per cent) check for its impact on business goals/outcomes and just 25 per cent check for its effect on company/brand image, says D2L.

Comparatively, more employers are measuring the following training evaluation metrics post-training:

  • immediate, post-training knowledge assessments (59 per cent)
  • utility reactions (55 per cent)
  • pre-training assessments (52 per cent)
  • behavior/skill demonstration in training context (52 per cent)
  • post-training assessments (46 per cent)
  • transfer of learned knowledge to the job (45 per cent)
  • attitude reactions (42 per cent)

"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 Sasha Thackaberry, SVP of Wave at D2L.

Learning and development can be a retention tool, according to a previous report.

Effectiveness of training

Despite the ineffectiveness of the measure of training’s impact, most employers feel their training programs are effective, finds D2L’s survey of 329 learning leaders.

The majority say it’s always effective (26 per cent), frequently effective (35 per cent) or sometimes effective (29 per cent).

Far fewer are those who say their training is rarely effective (seven per cent) or not at all effective (two per cent).

"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,” says Thackaberry. 

“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."

Previously, Ontario-based Schneider Electric started using its AI-driven Open Talent Market (OTM) platform to match workers with projects and learning opportunities that interest them.

ROI from employee training

Here are some ways employers can measure ROI from employee training, according to D2L:

  • Get a general feel for what benefits come out of learning programs.
  • Understands variable costs of learning that can upend ROI if they’re not managed.
  • Calculate productivity and efficiency gains.
  • Recognize the costs of disruption, which can come from all sorts of angles, such as losing experienced L&D staff, changes in the competitive market, switching providers or trusted partners that provide learning content or services, and more.
  • Identify behaviours that can be monetized. 

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