Measuring Success in Learning and Development In HR 


In this dynamic crescendo, organizations relentlessly seek the harmony of learning and development in HR, aiming to orchestrate their success. 

Imagine a symphony of knowledge echoing through the corridors of corporate empires, each note a testament to the pursuit of excellence. 

To unlock the melodies of achievement, the Global Skill Development Council (GSDC) went on a journey to unearth hidden treasures. 

Guided by the feedback and polls from LinkedIn, we posed a profound query to the titans of the industry: “How does L&D currently measure success? What metrics are you currently using to measure the success of your L&D Function?” 

This report unveils the riches we discovered, shedding light on the metrics that compose the perfect score for L&D triumph, illuminating a path for organizations in their quest for excellence.

Anatomy for the Research Report in learning and development in HR:

Anatomy for the Research Report in learning and development in HR:

Understanding the Poll

Our research question was straightforward yet pivotal: “How does L&D currently measure success? What metrics are you currently using to measure the success of your L&D Function?” 

Through this inquiry, we aimed to unearth the methods organizations employ to assess the effectiveness of their L&D initiatives and gain insights into the metrics that hold the most significance.

Poll Results:

After conducting the poll, we collected data from a diverse group of professionals in the field of L&D. 

Researching for crucial areas has been to Learning and Development in HR 

The results offered a fascinating glimpse into the current state of L&D success measurement. 

Here’s what we found:

1. Change in Knowledge or Skills (49%): 

The majority of respondents, comprising 49% of the total, identified “Change in Knowledge or Skills” as the primary measure of success for L&D initiatives.

This statistic underscores the significance of not just imparting information but ensuring that employees are actually learning and developing new skills.

To provide you with a clearer grasp of this concept, let’s delve into a scenario:

  • Scenario: A company invested in a series of technical training workshops for its IT team.
  • Role: John, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the organization.
  • Objective: John aimed to enhance his IT team’s knowledge and skills in cybersecurity and emerging technologies.
  • Outcome: After the training sessions, John noticed a significant improvement in his team’s ability to identify and mitigate security threats, showcasing a clear “Change in Knowledge or Skills” as the primary measure of success for their L&D initiatives.
2. Employee Behavioral Change (20%): 

Approximately one-fifth of respondents, 20% to be exact, prioritized “Employee Behavioral Change” as their key success metric. 

This metric speaks to the profound impact L&D programs can have on the way employees behave and interact within their roles.

Allow me to illustrate this concept more vividly with the following scenario:

  • Scenario: A large retail chain introduced customer service training for its frontline employees.
  • Role: Sarah, a store manager responsible for customer service training.
  • Objective: Sarah’s goal was to transform the behavior of her staff to provide exceptional customer experiences.
  • Outcome: Through the training, Sarah observed that her team’s interactions with customers became more courteous, proactive, and solution-oriented. This transformation in employee behavior served as a tangible indicator of “Employee Behavioral Change” and L&D success.
3. Course Net Promoter Score (18%): 

A notable 18% of respondents considered “Course Net Promoter Score” as their primary indicator of success. 

This metric reflects the satisfaction and endorsement of training courses within an organization.

Let’s try to paint a clearer picture of this by presenting a scenario:

  • Scenario: A software development company introduced a new coding boot camp for its engineering team.
  • Role: Emma, the Director of Learning and Development.
  • Objective: Emma aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the coding bootcamp in enhancing her team’s programming skills.
  • Outcome: Emma implemented a Course Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey after the boot camp. The high NPS score and positive feedback from participants confirmed that the training was well-received, solidifying the “Course Net Promoter Score” as a valuable metric in assessing success.
4. No Systematic Evaluation (13%): 

Surprisingly, 13% of respondents admitted to having “No Systematic Evaluation” in place for their L&D initiatives. 

This revelation highlights a potential gap in many organizations’ approaches to measuring L&D success.

Let’s explore a scenario that will shed light on this topic for you:

  • Scenario: A mid-sized marketing agency conducted various training sessions on digital marketing strategies.
  • Role: Alex, the Human Resources Manager.
  • Objective: Alex’s goal was to determine the impact of these training sessions on the agency’s marketing team.
  • Outcome: Unfortunately, Alex realized that the agency lacked a systematic approach to evaluate the effectiveness of its L&D initiatives. As a result, they were unable to pinpoint concrete outcomes, highlighting the need for “Systematic Evaluation” to assess and improve their programs.

Analysis and Key Takeaways

The poll results provide a valuable glimpse into how organizations currently evaluate the effectiveness of their L&D initiatives. 

The clear majority’s emphasis on “Change in Knowledge or Skills” as the primary measure of success aligns with the practical impact that effective learning programs should have on employees’ capabilities.

Key Takeaway: 

Organizations need to prioritize tracking changes in employee knowledge and skills to ensure that learning and development in HR efforts lead to tangible improvements in performance. 

This shift in focus from mere participation in training programs to the actual application of acquired knowledge and skills is pivotal for achieving meaningful results.

GSDC’s Community Research Report highlights the need for organizations to adapt their L&D measurement practices to the changing business and technology landscape. 

By concentrating on the metrics that matter most, such as the change in knowledge and skills, organizations can ensure that their L&D initiatives contribute significantly to employee growth and overall organizational success.

If you found this exploration helpful in your journey, stay tuned for more ground-breaking research that illuminates the path forward and be sure to check out our previous report on Growth Mindset: Innovation in Learning and development (L&D) Strategy

Thank you for reading!

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