How can learning executives get the C-suite to buy into their initiatives? The answer is in illustrating a return on investment. But the age-old question still stands: How can organizations link learning to bottom-line results?
This was one of the issues tackled during the panel discussion at Chief Learning Officer magazine’s Fall 2008 Symposium in Coronado, Calif. The conversation was moderated by Cedric T. Coco, vice president of learning and organizational effectiveness at Lowe’s Companies. Panel members included Michael E. Echols, executive vice president of strategic initiatives for Bellevue University and director of Bellevue University’s Human Capital Lab; Kent D. Barnett, CEO of KnowledgeAdvisors; and Patti Phillips, president and CEO of the ROI Institute. These same executives attended the 2008 CLO Think Tank.
One of the many highlights from the panel discussion included Echols’ suggestion to have an up-front discussion with stakeholders to determine which business outcomes are expected from specific learning initiatives. That conversation then determines what should be measured when learning initiatives are implemented.
Barnett queried participants to find out how many learning leaders in the room measure the effects of programs and communicate that to stakeholders. Those who did both were in the minority.
Barnett then proceeded to encourage everyone not measuring impact to “just start” somewhere. In doing so, CLOs or learning executives need to first understand what kind of data stakeholders need to make a decision about a program, then assess what data they are currently giving stakeholders and start by filling in the gaps.
Additionally, Phillips remarked that she is starting to see a trend where the chief financial officer is becoming involved in the learning space, as human capital is increasingly being seen as one of the most valuable assets in an organization. CFO involvement means learning executives are tied to the individuals with the purse strings, but it also means there’s a whole new level of accountability.
To add your voice to the conversation on ROI, visit our discussion thread on “Measurement” at https://www.clomedia.com/clo-forum/?action=vt&id=38.Filed under: Measurement