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Measuring the value of training

Training should be linked to key business performance metrics.

Training should be linked to key business performance metrics.

Most organizations agree that training is important, but it's equally important to link training programs to key business performance metrics. This is the argument that Jenny Cermak and Monica McGurk of McKinsey & Company make in The McKinsey Quarterly

"[...] More and more, organizations need highly capable employees—90 percent of the respondents to a recent McKinsey Quarterly survey said that building capabilities was a top-ten priority for their organizations. Only a quarter, though, said that their programs are effective at improving performance measurably, and only 8 percent track the programs' return on investment," the authors note.

The Boys & Girls Clubs (BGCA) represents one of the largest non-profits in the U.S. However, in 2007, the company found that it did not have enough employees with leadership abilities. The organization decided to implement a 360-degree assessment of every local leader. It determined that four aspects disproportionately influenced performance, including: The leader's ability to build an effective board, define and pursue effective revenue-development strategies, use a business-minded approach toward programs and resource development and lead with tenacity and persistence.

Accordingly, the BGCA developed its training program, focusing on these four goals. By 2009, the organization had trained more than 650 leaders from its various member groups. When conducting analysis, the BGCA found that the leaders who received this training performed better than the control group. 

The impact was considerable. 

"If all 1,100 BGCA member organizations had matched the level of success achieved by the program participants, BGCA would see more than 350,000 new members and more than $100 million in annual incremental revenue—a 2 to 3 percent increase in the average location's budget, meaningful at a time of precarious funding."

As BGCA's experience demonstrates, training programs linked to clear business performance metrics can be especially useful. A learning management system can help improve organizations' training, safety and compliance.

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