How do you measure the value of your L&D investment?

This may sound like the age-old question that is asked within L&D circles and of L&D professionals across the globe. The perennial question has L&D departments scrabbling to justify their budgets, their spending decisions, even their very existence.

Some have contented themselves (and their budget holders) by measuring uptake of training, attendance levels and perhaps delivery against ‘appraisal form shopping lists’; others have come up with intricate internal metrics over the years to demonstrate the ‘before and after’ results, with varying degrees of credibility. Others accept that ‘sending staff on training’ will always be seen by the wider organisation as a cost, an inconvenience and at odds with the BAU (business as usual) agenda. However, as belts are tightened yet further and FDs tasked with finding further fat to trim, the question is not going away.

Learning is a necessity if organisations and the individuals who work there are to grow and get/keep ahead of the curve. And yet if you’re an L&D professional or a consultant/provider, you may have witnessed first-hand some of the ways in which learning can be undermined by managers, colleagues and even learners themselves whose priorities are at odds with those providing the learning:

  • Not showing up to a workshop/coaching session – not valuing the learning themselves or being re-deployed by a stressed manager at short notice

  • The registered learner being replaced by someone else to avoid late cancellation charges (or maximise the day rate by adding more learners)

  • Learners arriving unprepared to learn – no paper or pens, no personal learning objectives and sometimes little or no motivation to learn

  • Learners having to respond to phone calls and emails during the workshop, thus interrupting and devaluing their learning

We have even witnessed learners participating in an online workshop whilst on shift in a hospitality setting – serving customers, accepting deliveries and managing colleagues!

How do we ensure that the time, headspace and budget is ringfenced to allow individuals and teams to grow their skills, capabilities and confidence, both for the benefit of the organisation and for their own sense of identity? How do we ensure that we ‘never delay the learning’, that we make learning a journey not a destination, and that we elevate learning to a fundamental human right, rather than an afterthought, a ‘reward’ or a necessary evil?

In order for learning to be taken more seriously by the learner and their manager/sponsor, it is imperative we make the learning worthwhile for both the learner and the organisation. Learning must be seen as a process, not a one-stop destination; it must be supported, reinforced, sustained and rewarded by the organisation’s systems and processes, as well as by every manager and leader, irrespective of their level or department. Learning must be linked to ‘doing’ back in the workplace; doing something differently, better, faster or more efficiently, for example. Perhaps even doing something entirely new.

What is also paramount, is that there is a personal ‘payoff’ to the learning, in other words the learner has to derive a benefit from doing something differently, otherwise it will be nigh-on impossible to sustain the new way under pressure or when time is tight.

Here at ML&C Mission Control we have created a new learning methodology: Micromastery, which ensures that the learner is able to translate the learning into doing quickly, easily and repeatably. The Micromastery method is on course to take the L&D function by storm this year. To quote one L&D Head, ‘Micromastery is set to become as big as Mindmapping’.

Over the coming months we’ll give you more insights into how Micromastery works, how it benefits individuals and organisations alike, and how easy it is to use. Look out for further articles and papers on Micromastery.

Would you be interested in learning how you could become an accredited facilitator? Join a lunchtime mini session on Friday 21 April to find out more with Mike Mair, Senior Associate at ML&C.