The Quantifiable ROI: 7 Proven Tips For Effective Learning Programs

May 24, 2023
The Quantifiable ROI: 7 Proven Tips For Effective Learning Programs

7 Ways To Make Business Impact Of Learning Programs Better- MeasurableShowcasing how your program has impacted your organization's business is where the buck stops, when it comes to measuring its effectiveness.As a continuation to my previous post on tackling challenges in measuring impact of a learning intervention, here are a few practical tips for quantifying the impact of a program. The Quantifiable ROI.

  1. Be on the same page: Instead of asking participants or their managers to collect new data, try and choose metrics that are already in use and actively tracked by business. Build programs and convey effectiveness around them to make it easy for your target audience to understand how an intervention can help them.
  1. Foresee where your metrics lead- When you break objectives into metrics, make sure they do not lose purpose from a holistic perspective.
From our archive: One of our pharma clients classified doctors into Class A, B and C, in descending order of the doctors’ potential prescription volume of their product category.However, in a spree to meet their target of 6 doctor visits a day, their medical representatives met an average of 3 class C doctors, 2 class B doctors and only 1 class A doctor a day, leading to a lot of sales effort for little return. The reason this happened was that Class A doctors were usually present in larger, super-specialty hospitals, and it was difficult for the sales executive to gain access to them, or engage them in a proper conversation when meeting them. This could have been avoided if they received inputs on why it was more important to meet Class A doctors and engage better with them.
  1. Convey relevance to the participants: Your participants are your most important stakeholders for quantifiable ROI because they are the one who need to implement the learning. Make sure that your participants get to see the bigger picture beyond their roles – the why, what and how of the metrics. If they understand why these metrics are important to the business, what they need to achieve through the roles to contribute to its growth and how they can improve on the required metric- in terms of specific steps they need to take at work, they get started even before they actually do.
From our archive: Abbott PPD wanted their managers at various levels across all BUs to be vigilant and focus on two key attributes- driving profitability and improving cash flow. We designed an intervention that explained the why, what and how of key metrics to participants at all levels. After reviewing the post six months report, the Country Manager felt that even at the field sales level, people were able to take the right steps to increase average selling price, reduce discounts and credit period to distributors, resulting in better profitability and cash flow.
  1. Keep implementation time realistic: Some metrics take longer than others to show improvement. It is better to set a stretched evaluation period and measure impact at regular intervals. The more qualitative your desired outcomes are, the more difficult it is to link them to tangible results ( it could take longer time too). Retention exercises or modules can be excellent tools to sustain learning impact before you get the implementation or the result metrics.
  1. Make sure that you have accurate data: Data that backs your metrics in terms of numbers or feedback, needs to be verified for accuracy and authenticity.Remember, your quantifiable ROI depends on it.
We had a situation where one of our participants, the supply chain manager at a leading tyre manufacturing company was analysing impact of schemes on the sales to distributors, only to realize that the billing software did not prevent duplicates from appearing in the invoicing data, and hence a lot of data was meaningless and misleading

This one works- You could try and validate participant feedback on implementation with their reporting managers. This not only builds authenticity, but also helps you understand whether it can be correlated directly to the learning program or is there an external (positive or negative) factor causing the effect.

  1. Isolate impact of learning: To cut ambiguity, it is important that you know to what extent you can influence results with a learning intervention. Run the intervention for a pilot batch of participants, and use a control group which does not go through the intervention to measure the difference before and after the intervention. Make sure that you keep as many attributes similar as possible between the two groups. For example, they should ideally belong to the same geographies, have similar work experiences, share common roles, and have common external variables like competition, customer behavior, etc.
  1. Keep an eye for behavioral and mindset change as well: In pursuit of metrics and quantifiable ROI, do not lose track of bigger attributes of change. Change in approach, confidence, communication ability, team work etc cannot be quantified. But if you can bring them out using feedback and testimonials that are validated by relevant stakeholders like the reporting managers, present it along with the quantified metrics- like icing on the cake.
Six months after our Intervention on Product Management for a German architectural hardware firm, our long standing client for whom we do in-house business consulting as well, we went back with the impact analysis report to the CEO. During the 6 month duration of the intervention, the product managers reduced slow-moving inventory by 56%. However, the CEO said he would call the intervention successful only if the product managers developed the habit of tracking inventory every week without follow-ups from top management. It had to become a natural part of their planning, even when no one was monitoring them. Point noted!

Hope this posts helps in raising the "ROI" bar for your next programs. Don't forget to share how it goes!

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