How are you connecting the data you collect (after a learner finishes courses, etc. ) to a "Return on investment" for your company?

Jul 22, 2022

We design learning and collect data within an LMS, how are you turning this data into demonstrating to your company that they are receiving a return on investment?  How are you being "data-driven"?  I would love some ideas with how to connect the course completions, answers to questions, etc. into "This is what what have taught.....this is what they learned.....and this is how it helped the bottom-line of the company"

4 Replies
Tom Kuhlmann

There's a lot that goes into connecting the effectiveness of training to the org's bottom line. One challenge is that training interventions aren't always connected to the business data, such as increased sales, etc. And training is only one part of the process that impacts performance.

I think at the front end, performance based courses should be tied to a metric. From there you can show some impact. For example, if you did a pre-assessment of skills and then a post-assessment you can say that the training produced this result. The key is identify the metric and then ensure that training can impact it.

Another avenue is the cost of training. There's a lot of compliance and explainer type training that isn't going to have a performance metric. I'd look at the cost to hire that training out and the improvements in delivery/efficiency/production.

We produced 50 courses and delivered it to X people. It cost this much. If we didn't have our group and had to hire this out it would cost X.

We cut training time. We cut delivery costs. There's a lot of ways to show cost-effectiveness to something like the training to which is more of a fixed cost to the organization. They have to have one, but you want it to be the most efficient and cost-effective one it can be.

Ultimately, a lot of it is also internal alignment. Instead of being order takers, get a seat at the table and help steer the investment in training. That gives you more visibility and also shows you're a business partner and not just a cost center.


What Tom said. 

Another approach is to focus on business success metrics instead of ROI and perform an impact mapping exercise.

Step 1: Identify with the business unit their 3 big MEASURABLE metrics that define/determine success and are stated in a smart goal format. For example, a support org might have something like "Improve Customer Experience [CSAT] from xx% to xx% by December 31, 2022. (x% per Fiscal Quarter).

Step 2: Identify what is required to achieve this goal and bucket by People | Process | Tools. Some organizations will perform this step by looking at top performers to identify which tools they use and how they use them, what their process or processes are &/or how they organize themselves, and lastly, what their interpersonal or soft skill "inventory" looks like. This gives you your learning topics.

Step 3: create actionable objectives for the above topics and begin course development. I like to use Cathy Moore's Action Mapping process for this.

Voila! You've now tied your courses directly to company results and while you cannot state that you are the only reason a metric moves, you can infer that you are having an impact.  You can also seek to measure if doing the above improves the quality of your training program by demonstrating a reduction in the time that it takes to move a high potential employee to a high performing one.

Companies tend to like ROI because it is a results measure... but so is reducing time to high performance. Both measures show training value which is ultimately what the company is interested in.

Sarah Hodge

Hi Emily! Thanks for posting your question here. Tom Kuhlmann and Owen Holt already shared some really great insight. I just wanted to chime in with this article by Bianca Woods on 2 Ways to Show the Value of Online Training. It includes an example cost-savings breakdown and some other important things to consider. I hope that gives you more ideas for what you're looking for!