How L&D Teams Can Move From Activity Metrics To Business Metrics

How L&D Teams Can Move From Activity Metrics To Business Metrics

Every month or quarter, and certainly at the end of the year, employees are asked to produce reports that show how their work is going. Considering how hard people work to deliver for their companies, it’s almost painful how many of those same people fail to report on their work in a way that shows their impact and value. 

This problem is especially evident in Learning & Development. In L&D, measurement often falls flat, and teams report on overly simple metrics like “courses delivered” and “number of participants.” The best L&D team leaders know they can get a seat at the table by measuring and reporting on the right metrics in the right way. 

To learn more about how reports can demonstrate the value delivered by a person, team, or even an entire business group, I spoke with John Constantine. Constantine is the Senior Vice President at Orchestrall, Inc. and the principal in Orchestrall’s U.S. consulting practice. He has over 25 years of experience in Learning & Development in the life sciences. In his consulting work, he frequently creates reports and dashboards that drive strategy and demonstrate business value. 

The following interview has been edited for clarity. 

How to Craft a Business Report, Not an Activity Report

Kevin Kruse: What are the biggest challenges and mistakes you see when it comes to reporting?

John Constantine: When I look at reports, I see a lot of activity reporting but very little business impact reporting. It’s the most common mistake, repeated over and over. People report on their project or initiative activity (things that they’ve done). It’s an understandable mistake. These operational metrics are important to manage daily business activities, but they mean very little to senior management. Senior management wants to know what impact your activities, projects, or initiatives had on the business.

Kruse: What tips do you have for people looking to move from activity-based reporting to business impact reporting? 

Constantine: No matter what your function is, the work you do matters. Why not report to management in a way that communicates exactly how much it matters? 

Here’s what you can do to start making the transition. When a business stakeholder asks for a new system, process, project, or initiative, don’t just take the order and start to deliver. Ask the following types of questions up front:

  • What are we trying to solve with this new initiative?
  • What, if anything, is broken?
  • If we do this new thing, how will we know we’ve been successful? 
  • What will we measure? 
  • How will we collect the right data?

Once you have answers to the above, seek sponsorship from the stakeholder on data collection and reporting.

How a Business Report Can Show Your Group’s Value

Kruse: What about business reporting on the group level?  

Constantine: I work with a lot of business support groups, such as HR, L&D, IT, and Compliance. All of these groups have a tremendous amount of work to do in support of the commercial or R&D areas of the companies. But, I never get called in to create a business dashboard. That’s usually the last thing on the client’s mind. Usually, I get called in for some sort of rescue mission. That could mean a response to an audit or inspection, or it could mean someone in senior management is unhappy with the way things are going and they’re looking for a fresh perspective. In almost every case, no matter why I’m being engaged as a consultant, I see that they haven’t put together a real business benefit dashboard.

A Case Example: Leveraging Reporting to Help a Medical Device Company Enter a Whole New Device Market

Kruse: What’s an example of a client you created a report with? 

Constantine: I worked with a medical device company that for years had been manufacturing Class I devices—exam room furniture and instruments. These devices come with the lowest level of FDA regulation. They were in the process of moving into manufacturing Class II devices—dental implant modeling and milling machines. Class II devices come with a much higher level of regulation. The client was concerned that their current sales and sales training practices weren’t going to meet the requirements of the new level of regulation. They approached us to help them review their trainings and practices.  

Kruse: What kind of reporting system did you create with them?  

Constantine: For sales, the heightened level of regulatory scrutiny for Class II devices meant that certain sales practices from the past were no longer allowed. We created new behavioral metrics around sales activity and set up a way to track those metrics.

For training, we created a plan to track training effectiveness and to tie training more directly to commercial outcomes. We adopted a model that focused on 3 levels of metrics:

  1. Organizational impact (business benefits)
  2. Learning effectiveness
  3. Operational efficiency 

We then created a reporting scheme that was semi-automated and designed so that the training group could present regularly to senior management. 

Here’s a snapshot of each:  

Organizational Impact. This is an example of the business benefit metrics for the training function expressed in cost saving, cost avoidance, productivity gain, and other business-specific measures. The data feeds the SVP’s larger business dashboard.

Learning Effectiveness. This is where traditional learning effectiveness metrics are tracked, such as engagement, improved competency, and return on investment.

Operational Efficiency. These operational metrics help the function make day-to-day decisions like resource allocation and capacity planning.

Start Using Reports to Level Up Your Career and Your Group

A lot of people are great at delivering what they’ve been asked to do. Take your work to the next level by creating a process that highlights the value of your work. You’ll likely find that taking the time to build these reports comes with an added bonus beyond demonstrating value. The reports will also act as a kind of reflection tool, helping you strategize, prioritize, and refine your processes around your work. 

Kevin Kruse is the Founder + CEO of  LEADx, a platform that scales and sustains leadership habits through micro-coaching and behavioral nudges. Kevin is also a New York Times bestselling author of  Great Leaders Have No Rules15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, and Employee Engagement 2.0.

Source link


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *