Hold on tight!

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Much is offered in support of organisations and their efforts to increase employee engagement.

In my experience, I’m yet to find a universal panacea. Although there are “assessments”, “reviews”, and “surveys” purporting to be just that. These are all very well and can be useful, but it’s what you do before and after that really counts.

What seems to me to be true is that whatever the size of the organisation is, there needs to be essentially two plans:

1. An attraction plan

2. A retention plan

Whilst there is some overlap between the two, there are clearly some tangible and some non-tangible aspects of both.

At “Brand Learning”, for instance, they define an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) as: “the unique set of attributes and benefits that will motivate target candidates to join a company and current employees to stay”. What is also interesting is this can involve a combination of HR & Marketing.

What should then be considered as part of the two plans?

Attraction ………. your online presence, your efforts in terms of corporate social responsibility, your brand positioning,  career and development opportunities for your people and pay including benefits.

Retention ……….. how actual jobs fit into the organisation and add value. The communication styles and media you use. Again, under this heading, the career and development opportunities for your people. Each employee’s specific wellbeing needs. What leadership style prevails across the organisation and of course, how you recognise and reward people.

Start to make plans to manage the gaps and hold on tight!

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Training & Development Metrics – “what’s on your dashboard?”

This article presents some views and some background for those internal Learning & Development specialists seraching for the “holy grail” in terms of their own functions ROI on learning & development.

450,000 hits since we published this article!

Who are the “experts” in learning & development metrics? Who are the valuable contributors in the search for “ultimate evaluation” in learning & development functions?

I offer on my list:

Donald Kirkpatrick – Four level model of training evlauation

Dr Jac Fitzenz – The ROI of Human Capital

Dr Jack Phillips – The ROI Institute

Dr Laurie McBassi – Human Capital Analytics

Robert O Brinkerhoff – The success case evaluation method

Jay Cross – The power of informal learning/e-learning

R.A. Guzzo & B.A. Gannett – Inhibitors to effective task performance

What really matters to the organisation though? I would offer:

1. The efficiency of learning function itself

2. The organisation’s key performance indicators, its benchmarking & its capacity

3. Return on investment

4. Psychological capital

I’d like to look at each of these in turn and in doing so begin to offer some thoughts on what the L & D’s Return on Investment “Dashboard” might contain.

1. Learning function efficiency.

Here the choices are numerous and what suits one organisation, may not suit another. On offer as potential metrics are:

a) Training days per member of staff b) Training days per member of part time staff c) Training days per casual staff member d) Equality of opportunity/test of fairness across items a, b & c above e) Off-the-job training days f) Training spend as % of salary bill/payroll g) % of staff with personal development plans

Etc. etc. my list has another 12 items on it and it’s still going …………..

2. Key performance indicators, benchmarking & capacity

Here we begin to examine what the organisation’s vision, values and key performance indicators may be saying about the metrics it wishes to the L & D function to consider.

Again, here the choices are numerous and what suits one organisation, may not suit another. On offer as potential metrics are:

a) Revenue per employee b) Profit per employee c) Sales per employee d) Employee satisfaction survey e) Performance management review data – upward movements f) Management feedback g) Achievement of learning and development initiatives contributing to KPIs etc.

Etc. etc. my list has another 5 items on it and it’s still going …………..

3. Return on Investment

For me, this is the move in thinking from evaluating training to valuing learning. Firstly, this requires us to ensure that we have included provision for the type of evaluation in our training budget i.e. planned to evaluate as part of our plan. Secondly, it requires us to now consider some further possible metrics:

a) Time to competence b) Proportion of employees with required competence level c) Customer feedback data d) Employees engagement data e) Number of individuals able to move into key positions f) Organisational, team & indivudual achievement against performance management criteria g) Cost/benefit data for specific learning interventions h) Performance data on targets i.e. absence, retention, internal promotions etc

4. Psychological capital

As my mentors in CIPD would want me to point out, I’m sure, the other area for potential metrics is psychological capital. Let’s have a definition first:

““The sum of positive opinion about the organisation held by people OUTSIDE the organisation”

How the organisation is perceived is divided into 3 types:

– Producer of goods and services – brand image? Utility of product? Social acceptability of product?

– Employer – great place to work?

– Corporate citizen – ecological stance? Contributions to charity? Assistance to region/town

This effectively brings in to play, external benchmarking criteria and the opportunity to extend the metrics into areas such as:

a) Quality Awards

b) Business Awards

c) Egon Ronay/Michelin etc.

d) ISO 9000

e) Brand recognition studies

f) Fortune “Best Companies to Work for” Index

g) European Commission “Best 100 Employers”

h) Investors in People Framework

i) Sunday Times Top 100 Companies

j) FTSE Index of socially responsible companies

What should the metrics be on your L & D dashboard?

A Training Needs Analysis – at Organisational Level

Following on from our post, last week, identifying some of the key thoughts prior to setting out to produce a training needs analysis (TNA), this week we turn to the first of the 3 levels of analysis.

TNA – Organisational Level  

Put simply, our outcome is to provide a summary of the organisation’s training needs. The IIP framework offers an approach for undertaking this. There are several stages of activities listed below and we need to identify the important considerations to ensure that this activity continues to have an impact at strategic level.

With the overall goal of producing a summary of the organisation’s training needs, then the stages are as follows:

1. Identify priority needs from the top team’s view of their mandatory requirements, this completed via interviews with members of the top team

2. Where the organisation is values driven, then determine needs from organisational values. However, ensure that values are understood and are an integral part of the performance management process.

3. Where competencies exist, then determine the needs from organisational competencies (these can be simply “key” competencies). However, ensure that the competencies are understood and are an integral part of the performance management process.

4. It will also be necessary to determine the priority needs from the each functional/department team’s own training plans. At this point, make every effort to ensure that line managers retain “ownership” of their own team’s plan.

5. Remember that there will be competencies and/or values linked to leadership & management. These will need to be reviewed as they provide the rationale and basis of any management development activity.

The overall goal is also to maintain the strategic impact of any subsequent investment in meeting the identified needs. With this in mind the next steps become:

6. Meet with the top team (possibly representatives/steering group) to confirm training priorities for whole organisation in line with business plan. Be prepared to discuss allocation of spending and the process for validation and evaluation.

7. Produce draft training plan at organisational level. Consider the coverage, does it reflect the organisation’s diversity whilst at the same time enhancing its uniqueness?

8. The top team should then allocate budget to plan. Be prepared to discuss lost time and opportunity costs in the calculations. This may be useful in later considerations about applying different approaches to meeting the emerging needs.

9. The top team should review progress of their investment on a quarterly basis. Consider a simple pro-forma for reporting at top team level.

10. The top team review the impact of their investment at an annual review of the costs and benefits of training. It is important to consider all costs and to keep it simple, it may be that a focus on “perceived” benefits can be as useful as engaging in the complexity of finding “real” benefits.

11. The top team should also be encouraged to extend the discussion they have at an annual review and consider how that impact might provide changes to the plans for training & development in the next business cycle.

Next week –  producing a team training plan.

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“Making it everyone’s business” – Objective 5

Over the next 5 weeks, we will be sharing our experiences in working with organisations to develop and review employee engagement strategies using our framework of “making it everyone’s business.”

Organisations of all sizes and sectors have achieved substantial benefits working with our framework.

We previously indicated that the framework consisted of 5 objectives that form the basis of our “partnership” with the organisation.

Strategy_graphic

Objective 5 : SHARED INFORMATION

(employee engagement lever = future orientation)

Stage 1: Starting out

We set about surveying the effectiveness of communication in the organisation, how consultation works at a team level and what good habits and behaviours exist.

Stage 2: Our Interventions

We create the opportunity to agree with the organisation:

1. How the structure of employee participation works – where are the opportunities created

2. How employees are “taught” to contribute ideas

3. How employees are “taught” more widely about their organisation

We develop a plan to increase effective communication

Stage 3: Continuous development

We create a development strategy that seeks to stimulate:

1. Freedom of information to enable the delegation of decisions

2. To measure the extent to which each individual is truly a “knowledgeable worker”

3. To further enhance a climate where the team is the organisation

Over the last 5 weeks, we have shared our experiences in working with organisations to develop and review employee engagement strategies using our framework of “making it everyone’s business.”

Organisations of all sizes and sectors have achieved substantial benefits working with our framework.

Employee engagement is much more than reviewing a set of mathematical formulae from a survey and ticking a few boxes, hopefully watching your scores rise! Useful monitoring, but is it really helping your business?

So what is our framework?

It consists of 5 objectives that form the basis of our “partnership” with the organisation. We have explained our work in more detail in the last 5 weeks, with these 5 objectives focusing on:

1. SHARED DIRECTION …… “understanding the business we are in and want to be in”

2. SHARED CULTURE …… “agreeing our values and the good habits that bind us together”

3. SHARED LEARNING ……”how we continuously learn to improve ourselves”

4. SHARED EFFORT ……”developing one organisation driven by flexible teams”

5. SHARED INFORMATION ……”developing effective communication throughout the organisation”

 

“Making it everyone’s business” – Objective 4

Over the next 5 weeks, we will be sharing our experiences in working with organisations to develop and review employee engagement strategies using our framework of “making it everyone’s business.”

Organisations of all sizes and sectors have achieved substantial benefits working with our framework.

We previously indicated that the framework consisted of 5 objectives that form the basis of our “partnership” with the organisation.

ValueProposition

Objective 4 : SHARED EFFORT

(employee engagement lever = the importance of job to organisational success)

Stage 1: Starting out

We set about to establish whether managers are acting as team leaders and whether team performance measures actually exist. It’s also vital to discover where team problem solving opportunities exist in the organisation.

Stage 2: Our Interventions

We create the opportunity to agree with the organisation:

1. How teams are trained as effective units

2. How much discretion is given to teams.

3. What internal customer expectations exist

We develop a plan together with the organisation that provides for localised team building  with a focus on internal customer standards and good habits

Stage 3: Continuous development

We create a development strategy that seeks to stimulate:

1. Inter-team work

2. Ad hoc teams to facilitate corporate goals

3. A climate where the team is the organisation

Next week – Objective 5, SHARED INFORMATION

(employee engagement lever = future orientation)