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Employee Training and Staffing Recommendations from Learning and Development Experts

Recently, the AllenComm team had the opportunity to attend the Association for Talent Development (ATD) conference. We were excited to share information about our new service offerings, as well as to learn more about the current needs of our professional community and clients. The yearly gathering brings together our professional community of L&D practitioners, certified TD professionals, team leaders, instructional designers, chief talent officers, consultants, and all professionals in roles across the spectrum that work together to deliver the learning experiences that level up careers and organizations.

In the following article, AllenComm Performance Consultant Randal Ellsworth shares insights from his recent experience talking with other professionals at ATD.

Introduction

While there were many new and exciting trends at ATD 2023 this year, one longstanding point of discussion for L&D leaders seemed to repeatedly come up in many of the conversations I was a part of: ‘How can we measure and communicate the business impact of our learning initiatives?’

Many attendees at ATD expressed their desire to have a meaningful ‘seat at the table’ in their organizations. We all know that our people are at the center of driving business results, but how can we best show the results that come from investing in our talent through learning?

Too often there is a tendency to measure activity and participation, rather than the actual impact on key business drivers and how an experience led to transformation for the learner. It’s much easier to talk about this kind of input and engagement, or how learners reacted to training that they participate in.

Here are three insights that stood out to me as part of those discussions, with practical recommendations for improvement.

1) Start with Defining Impact and Work Backwards from There

Telling the story of a successful initiative is most effective when you can speak plainly. What are the metrics that matter to your organization? What change to the status quo is needed? The easy thing to do is to jump right into coming up with solutions, but taking the time to define the problem being solved and the vision for success will both refine the training and give you direction for an evaluation strategy.

Learning initiatives should align with business goals from the very beginning. By taking the time at the beginning to define the desired impact, it becomes much easier to not only design an effective and relevant training for your learners, but to identify ways to gather the numbers and stories that will help you gauge how successful your efforts have been for your stakeholders. A formal needs analysis that is prioritized as part of your process can help bring clarity to the design, and to establish a strategy for evaluating success.

2) Understand Your Measurement Toolbox

The second part of establishing a measurement strategy and baking it into your learning initiative is to understand what tools are at your disposal. ATD had several sessions touching on the power gathering and visualizing data about learners. Some of these mechanisms were baked into technology tools, such as learning management systems or authoring tools. Others had to do with the skillsets of their people running the learning initiative.

My takeaway was that everyone’s toolbox for gathering and making sense of data varied widely. Some organizations had access to both software tools and data literate employees; many others were relying on their L&D people to develop this capacity.

Ultimately, a data-driven approach allows for continuous improvement and helps organizations make informed decisions about future training. That can start with something as simple as refining the types of questions you are asking in surveys and grow as you gain a better understanding of who you can bring into the process to help you gather and make sense of insights.  The important thing is to start small, look for partners inside and outside of your organizations, and build on those efforts from there.

AllenComm:  Let Us Help You Integrate an Evaluation Strategy

AllenComm can be a valuable partner in helping any learning leader create impactful learning experiences with clear stories to tell. Through our consulting services, we have a team of design experts who specialize in performance consulting, instructional design, technology, and evaluation. With our web services, we can also help organizations easily integrate custom dashboards and reporting for almost any technological ecosystem or LMS.

While I strongly believe every learning organization should be continuously improving their ability to integrate an evaluation strategy into their learning initiatives, it always helps to bring in a partner. Coming back from the conference and these conversations, I am more excited about helping organizations that are looking to 1) design learning initiatives that make a tangible impact on business needs; and 2) give learning leaders the ability to measure, evaluate, and communicate the impact of these initiatives to their stakeholders.

Author Bio

Randal Ellsworth is a Performance Consultant at AllenComm. He has more than 10 years of experience designing learning experiences for training programs across multiple industries. Randal works and live by the motto: ‘Learning is Living,’ and is passionate about the impact L&D can have on both performance and wellbeing.