At Training Magazine, Brandon Hall Group‘s principal learning analyst David Wentworth laments the dearth of measurement in learning and development functions:
Brandon Hall Group’s 2016 Learning Measurement Study found that few organizations are collecting metrics that help link learning to organizational and individual performance. In fact, only 6 percent of companies are truly measuring all different types of learning with an eye on business results. … More than 25 percent of survey respondents said they are doing only basic measurement or essentially no measurement of all. Approximately half are at what we call the Standardized level, where an array of metrics is collected and basic reports are run, but without much analysis or ability to link learning results to performance.
This lack of measurement effectiveness is evidenced by the study results, which show that companies are not very good at measuring learning that is not formal in nature, and they rely far too heavily on basic metrics such as completion rates and smile sheets. This shortsightedness is keeping these companies from building learning into a strategic influencer of the business. The study also finds that organizations perhaps should not be so concerned with the specific ROI of learning, but rather learning’s impact on business outcomes.
Wentworth’s final point—that businesses need to start thinking less in terms of ROI and more in terms of performance—is incredibly important, and applies to the challenges many organizations are facing in making effective use of talent analytics in all functions, not just L&D.
Two-thirds of organizations perform ad hoc reporting or descriptive analysis and many of them believe their next step should be investing in advanced data tools and technologies. However, these investments will yield minimal gains if teams are unable to translate data into insights that line leaders can act on. Our research at CEB shows that the best organizations build the right analytics capabilities and processes among their staff before investing heavily in analytics technology—they recognize that they can only reap the full value of technology when they have identified the right business problems and improved the HR team’s ability to use talent data to solve those problems.