Five Steps to Help You Measure the Value of Your Development Programs

Many times, we get so caught up in the “doing” of a development program — finding it, selecting it, delivering it, and managing it — that we forget to do the most important thing of all: measuring the value.

That’s fairly common, however, because measuring value or results involves a different approach to the activity of “doing.” Measuring value requires an approach that is unique to your particular program and your organization and it also occurs over a period of time.

Its situational nature can make measuring results feel overwhelming or confusing and can therefore easily be left undone, or perhaps done superficially.

But without the evidence of results, it’s nearly impossible to prove that your development programs are working — and makes your job of suggesting new initiatives all the harder.

Luckily, there are specific steps you can take that will make measuring the value significantly easier, and it all revolves around building an effective measurement plan. Here’s how to build one:


Step 1:Get clear on the “why”

Why was (or is) your organization willing to spend money on the initiative you’re trying to measure? What issue or issues are involved that are driving this need? It’s important to have a firm grasp on the “why” so that you can home in on the best things to measure and track.


Step 2:Define what success looks like

What results does your organization want out of the initiative? What are they hoping it achieves? Again, having a thorough understanding of exactly what success looks like will help you pinpoint what you need to measure and track.


Step 3: Agree on the metrics you should use

Now that you know your “why” and what success looks like, it’s time to choose the best ways to show evidenceof success. For example, if your initiative’s goal is to decrease absenteeism, you could track measurements of the percentage of absenteeism from designated times before and after the initiative.

Likewise, if your initiative’s goal is to strengthen your leadership pipeline, you could choose to measure the percent of “ready now” successors from designated times before and after the initiative.

Choosing the right metrics will help to streamline your process and provide a clearer “yes” or “no” as to whether your initiative is working.


Step 4: Gather data

Once the metrics you need are nailed down, you will have to gather the data. What sources or methods are at your disposal for obtaining those metrics? Do what it takes to collect the necessary data, even if it means reaching out to other departments or spending time googling industry averages. Gather as much quality data as you possibly can.


Step 5: Convert your metrics and data to ROI

The last step is to put math to work for you and calculate ROI, using the following formula:

ROI = (Benefits Achieved – Leadership Development Cost) / Leadership Development Cost x 100

Start by calculating your “benefits achieved” or the money that’s been saved because of your initiative, and then subtract your leadership development cost from it. Finally, divide that number by the leadership development cost and multiply by 100 to get your percentage.

The resulting percentage is your ROI, the best indicator of whether your program provided the success outcomes you’d hoped it would.

For an example of how this formula — and all of the above five steps — plays out in a real-life scenario, click here.

By taking the time to effectively track the results of your programs, you will know that your L&D dollars are being well spent — and have a far better sense of what programs are worth investing in in the future.


Jamie Lane joined CRN in 2014 as a Senior Account Executive. Previously, she served as VP Talent & Organization Development for Hess Corporation, Ingersoll Rand, Miller Brewing, Fifth Third Bancorp and Motorola. Earlier in her career she worked extensively with Arthur Andersen. Jamie has a Bachelors degree in Accounting and a Master of Science in Organization Behavior.

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