Measuring Return on Learning Investment


If you know much about what we stand for at TLC, you’ll know that we care passionately about measuring not only the commercial impact of what we do, but just as importantly, the cultural impact as well. It’s our company promise, in fact! In this video, we will talk about the measuring return on learning investment.


What fascinates me however is how some members of the HR and Learning & Development community do not always share our passions! There seem to be as many HR and L&D practitioners who are not bothered about measurement as those who are. And yet anyone in their organisation who holds an operationally-responsible position, anyone in sales or operations for instance, definitely IS interested! The same goes for CEOs and CFOs too!


So my colleagues at TLC and I got to wondering…why is that? Why are so many HR and L&D practitioners seemingly not bothered about measurement?


Could it be that after a lifetime of brainwashing they just don’t believe that learning and development can be measured? It’s not easy, we’ll grant you…but it is far from impossible. By planning the desired impact of the intervention or interventions in advance…in other words by being explicit about both the cultural as well as commercial objectives up front, plus how you are going to measure those objectives…you can justify the L&D investment by building a proper business case.


Or maybe that’s the other reason why practitioners are not so bothered…it all looks like too much hard work. We’ll, here’s a tip if you’re working with external suppliers…ask them to propose the exact methods by which the impact of what they’re designing will be measured. What, when, who and how. If you’re delivering the intervention internally, then you will need to do your homework to pull this off. But it’s far from impossible, especially with the free guide we are offering. More details on that at the end of the video.


In just a few cases that we’ve come across, there are operationally-responsible stakeholders who just will not be tied down to measurements. Hmmmm. They duck and dive, procrastinate, make excuses, say they’re not bothered…a whole host of obstacles they put in your way. Are they really not bothered, or not prepared to put up with the effort involved, or just plain fearful of what the measurement process might reveal? That’s a tricky one, we’ll grant you, but this situation calls for more of your influencing and coaching skills – doesn’t it? They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with that kind of behaviour.


So what do we mean by both cultural and commercial ROI? Let’s start with cultural. Here’s a list of typical soft measures that will tell you if the intervention or interventions have been successful culturally:
– Increased job satisfaction
– Strong net promoter score
– Increased organisational agility and commitment
– Improved teamwork
– Strong senior management team
– Robust succession planning
– Improved customer service
– Reduction in the number of complaints
– Reduction in the number of conflicts
– High employee engagement score.


The more obvious measures are termed: commercial. Here are some popular hard measures, depending of course on what you are delivering, to whom and for what objectives:
– Increased quality
– Increased sales
– Lower waste
– Lower returns
– Lower costs
– Shorter delivery times
– Reduced sickness and absenteeism
– Improved safety
– Improved customer and employee satisfaction
– Greater customer/employee retention
– Shorter response time to customers
– Improved employee engagement – this can be considered a commercial, ‘hard’ measure, as well as cultural.


So they are some of the “What’s”. As to who, when and how, you will need to see what existing measures are in place and integrate those with some new ones, but obviously the minimum amount of extra work the better. Enrol those who currently carry out any of the measures to monitor the results especially closely and keep you informed. For those measures where nothing is currently in place, consider co-creating something with your operationally responsible colleagues and your external supplier, if there is one.


In the end, your ability to evidence the cultural as well as commercial return on your organisation’s L&D investment will contribute hugely to your hero status and your fan base. If you prove the business case for your employer, you will stand a much higher chance of retaining or even growing your L&D budget for the following year.


Earlier on I promised you a free guide on this. If you go to TLC Global, you’ll see the ROLI™ booklet available for download. ROLI™ stands for Return On Learning Investment and contains pretty much everything you need to know about L&D measurement. There’s even a formula to show you how to calculate the monetary impact. Plus if you sign up online, you will gain access to six further emails, each one of which shows more detail together with case studies and examples on each of the key steps.


So go on, what are you waiting for! Sign up now!


By the way, if you would please use the space below to post a comment I’d be grateful. Maybe you disagree? Well, let’s hear your point of view. Contact us now! Maybe you have further measurement examples you can offer, just bring ‘em on!




Colin Newbold