The State of Learning and Talent Measurement: A Work in Process

In April we published our bi-annual State of Learning and Talent Measurement research and again the news is mixed.  (Report available here at no charge.)  A few tidbits for you to think about:

  • Only 16% of the 400+ responding organizations have a strong learning and talent measurement program in place, and almost half (49%) have no real measurement strategy to speak of.  The remainder have measurement programs and program owners, but limited resources.

  • 28% of respondents have little or no clear view of the existing skills gaps in their organization today, and 77% have “some but limited” view of organization skills gaps.  This problem continues to challenge organizations as their organizations go through continuous change.

  • In the area of training, 86% of companies measure enrollments, only 57% measure class utilization (an important measure in today’s tight economy), and only 36% measure the cost of delivering training.  Only 30% measure the cost of developing training and only 9% regularly measure the job impact of their training programs (called Kirkpatrick Level 3).  7% try to measure business impact and only 4% try to measure ROI.  The whole challenge of measuring the impact of training continues to be a challenge.

  • In the area of cost reduction, amazingly we have a real challenge developing a “zero based budget” approach to training.  28% of organizations told us that they perform no reviews of low-performing training programs and 68% told us they have only “some” review of low performing programs for possible elimination.

  • Of the companies that do review training programs for elimination, they told us that they only look at about 40% of their programs (the other 60% are “grandfathered in”).

  • About half of training organizations have a written business plan with metrics for their L&D organization and overall these organizations told us that they allocate approximately 0.5% (that’s half of a percent) of their overall L&D budgets on measurement.

If you want to get inspired about the need, potential, and different solutions for training and talent measurement, please read this research.  It is an eye-opener.  What it tells me is that we can all learn a lot more about how to run our training and talent management programs like a business, focus on capturing actionable and consistent data, and spending just a little more money on the tools and resources need to measure these programs.

Remember that we spend about $55 billion a year on L&D in the US alone and HR departments spend upwards of $3000-4000 per employee on total HR spending.  If we don’t work hard to measure the alignment, efficiency, impact, and utilization of all these investments we aren’t providing good stewardship of our own organizations.   Our Impact Measurement Framework®, which is described in this research and in The Training Measurement Book, should help you think these things through.