21 May Measuring Impact of People Programmes
Looking around some of our larger organisations in New Zealand changing culture and growing capability are definitely on the strategic agenda of most organisations. Conventional wisdom dictates that a company should conduct some sort of measurement of the impact of people programmes if it is investing large amounts of resources into these initiatives.
Surely that means most organisations are conducting some sort of impact measurement?
Perhaps I am cynical, but I am not at all convinced activity on Engagement Surveys is driving value-add to our organisations.
I am also unsure we can be confident of effective measurement in the learning and development areas. Unfortunately, too often learning and development evaluation means “happy sheets” sprayed about at the end of a training programme as the participants are leave. These provide low-quality data with a half- life of about three hours.
It is also generally accepted fact that the management of a company’s Organisational Development/Learning and Development resources and its ability to align them towards strategic objectives plays a key part in a company’s level of business success.
After all, you would expect some measurement or a ROI on any other significant investment – wouldn’t you? Let’s look at it from another perspective. What about the consequences of not measuring impact?
Consequences of not doing learning evaluation:
- A lack of influence with the Executive
- Decisions based upon opinions and influence and not identified needs
- A process instead of an results orientation
- Capability building activities with a tenuous linkage to business strategy
- Poor understanding of an impact
- Poor continuous improvement
Anyway you look at it there is a need to focus beyond mere acceptance that investing in OD and L&D is good practice and common sense. Instead, conduct an evaluation to measure the actual value it brings. Doing this allows us to improve practice and impact over time.
Practitioners face the challenge of quantifying just what this contribution is, and the worth of people programmes to a company. Until we can do that more consistently, as a profession, we remain a cost centre rather than a strategic enabler. Therefore not a sure bet for future investment.