Employee growth is inevitably entwined with metrics (that’s why, if you’ve spent any time around L&D people, you’ve probably noticed they are nuts about measurement). Being able to prove the value behind soft-skill learning and development programs is a tough but necessary job. To justify resources from the organization, and efforts from employees, number-crunching is part of the game. The main challenge is to somehow translate quality into quantity, and nowhere is this more important than making the effort to measure employee growth initiative outcomes.
The basics of measuring employee growth
There are a ton of potential employee growth programs, and each has an optimal measurement method. No matter what courses you are running, be sure you’ve covered the following steps:
Have an Overall Plan
Call it career management, or a growth strategy, or an engagement program – it still needs a framework. Any talent development plan must have two essential components:
- Tie in with organizational goals. A great way to start filling in the details of an employee growth strategy is with a skills gap analysis. This step will include looking at factors such as:
- The need for new skills due to organizational development
- Filling in weak points with upskilling and internal mobility
- Replacing predicted churn and succession
- Meeting employee goals. Now it’s time to cross-match what your company wants with the career path of workers. Figuring out where employees want to go is part of a career development plan.
List Courses and Initiatives
Growth programs aren’t only about employee skills. HR, managers, and the organization as a whole are also involved. After the initial planning step, you’ll wind up with a list of courses for improving skills, but there are a bunch of other steps to take, such as:
Managerial involvement – Feedback from direct bosses is critical to measurement. Simon Sinek talks about the importance of regular feedback mechanisms and open dialogue to get the necessary insights in real-time. Briefing managers on the main issues and then describing how they fit in is a must-do. Keep in mind that managerial behavior is an important factor in worker satisfaction, which is an element of employee growth as well. So leadership courses might be on your list too.
Internal recruiting – This is crucial for any organization that wants to retain employees. After all, a main part of growth is moving upwards as a professional. For HR people, it’s important to remind execs that lack of growth opportunities is the number one reason people quit.
Reward programs – According to Zippia, “recognition” is the most important factor in motivation. Making employees feel valued through benefits ranging from additional days off to a short round of applause during the weekly happy hour is a fundamental part of growth. (Just to give you more to think about, there’s a difference between being recognized and feeling valued.)
Determine and Apply Measurement Goals and Methods
There are a lot of metrics related to growth out there. For example:
- ROI for L&D courses
- The Job Insecurity Scale
- Employee feedback
Using any of them requires you to set goals. Many types of goals are possible, depending on your priorities, the method you choose, and the type of growth element.
Some tools, like the Job Descriptive Index, measure employee satisfaction according to several categories, and it results in various scores per category. Are you looking for an overall improvement? If yes, what is the average score that you want?
There are also “go-no go” measurements. For example, if you want to break even for any return on investment for an L&D program, then you either make it or don’t.
Once you have decided on a goal, it’s essential to:
Apply it immediately. Even before a course or initiative has begun, use the metric to understand the baseline. If you are running an engagement program, find out what the engagement rate is today.
Apply it in the middle. You might be a brilliant HR professional, but there’s no guarantee that everybody in your value chain is as competent. There’s a risk that, whatever program is in progress, things are not going as planned. Applying a measurement technique halfway through a course (or periodically for permanent initiatives) will tell you if anything has improved. If not, it’s time to review the plan and its implementation.
Apply it at the end, and then some. There’s a factor in many types of skills called the “forgetting curve,” which basically states “use it or lose it”. Measuring how a growth program has met the goal when the course has ended is essential. But don’t forget (ha ha) to apply it every few months to ensure that the employee still benefits from the particular growth element.
GrowthSpace Metrics Allow L&D to Grow
In addition to personalized learning experiences and a global talent pool of top-notch experts, GrowthSpace is known for intuitive and effective measurement functions. All GrowthSpace programs start with goal-setting and end with GrowthSpace’s proprietary metrics. By making measurement the heart of all of its courses, GrowthSpace enables HR to demonstrate L&D value and attract resources to grow company-wide learning and development initiatives.