How to Measure the Outcomes of Development at Work

Dec 15 2023 | Insights
A woman is sat at her laptop with her headphones on, on a call with four other attendees, watching a screen shared presentation on YoY performance.

Development at work is key to any business looking to flourish. This development might be employee driven, team orientated or even business focused as a whole. Keeping on top of your company’s development and finding ways to measure its success is equally as important.

Development training, courses, and coaching can seem costly, but if you can quantify their positive outcomes and these outweigh investment costs, then upselling further development investment to senior business leaders is going to be far easier. That’s why we’ve put together some simple ideas on how to measure the outcomes of development at work, to have measures in place for business and employee development tracking.

Why is measuring development at work important?

1. Employee satisfaction & growth

Employees are central to every business. Without them, success wouldn’t be possible. Measuring development and having individualized employee development plans shows workers that they’re important to the organization and confirms that their growth and development is important to you. Something as simple as measuring their development can help reduce staff turnover dramatically; high turnover rates can cost businesses a lot of money, so any way of improving retention is going to benefit you.

2. ROI assessment

Another importance of measuring development, whether that be specific learning and development programs or just overall progress after any investment made, is ensuring you’re getting a return on that investment – otherwise, you could be losing valuable time and money. By measuring development outcomes, you can easily see the ROI and therefore the success of any development investments.

3. Identifying high-impact areas worthy of investment

By measuring the outcomes of development in the workplace, it’s possible to identify areas that are more worthy of investment. So, through your findings, you can prioritize your organizational needs based on where the opportunity lies.

Measuring development

Effectively measuring employee development can be as simple as:

  1. Setting SMART goals & objectives that can be assessed through a personalized development plan

  2. Evaluating them throughout the development process

From that, you can look at how each goal met is boosting your success in wider business goals.

There are also some traditional models that you could use to measure employee to business development as a whole, like Anderson’s Model of Learning Evaluation, Kaufman’s Five Levels of Evaluation and the Phillips ROI Model:

Anderson’s model of learning evaluation:

Unlike other models, this is a model of evaluation that is based around helping organizations align training and development with their entire strategy, goals and priorities. It’s based on three stages, which include:

  1. Identifying a company’s current training and development, and how well that aligns with and targets your business objectives

  2. Assessing the contribution of learning to achieving business objectives

  3. Choosing the most relevant and appropriate learning and development approach for your business

Kaufman’s five levels of evaluation:

Kaufman identified five levels of evaluation for learning which were:

  1. Input – assessment of the resources and training materials used to support learning and development, to ensure they are of high quality

  2. Process – ensuring the delivery of the learning experience is optimal

  3. Micro – understanding how well the individual learners acquire and apply the information they were taught

  4. Macro – understanding how the learning and development impacted the organization

  5. Mega – understanding how the learning and development program benefits society as a whole, and the clients or customers of a business

The Phillips ROI model:

The Phillips ROI model is far more focused on the financial component of development evaluation and measurement. There are four levels to this model which include:

  1. Reaction: how have participants reacted to development training?

  2. Learning: did participants learn anything from the program?

  3. Behavior: have participants put what they learned, if anything, into practice?

  4. Results: did the training meet your, or other stakeholders’, expectations?

The end goal is to determine the ROE – the return on expectations.

Other ways of measuring development

1. Employee feedback

How does the employee involved in the development process think it’s going? Using standardized questions, there’s no reason you can’t quantify self-assessment as success. We recommend having a number of points during the development program where this occurs, so you can measure the improvements or changes easily. Using something like the Likert scale survey can be helpful in evaluating training and its benefits.

2. Manager feedback

Equally, manager feedback can also be vital in tracking and measuring development and development success. Just like with employee feedback, you can track successes throughout, taking feedback and evaluating the changes that you see.

3. Tracking metrics

Metrics automatically allow you to quantify results, so they’re a great way to get measured outcomes from training and development. For example:

  • Track engagement – this could be through a scoring system before, during and after development coaching or training.

  • Calculate productivity – this is something that can be achieved as simply as using a basic formula like output/input.

  • Calculating the ROI of goals achieved – perhaps three goals are set within a period of employee, which costs x amount. If all three goals are met, forecasting how these might boost revenue and then calculating your return on investment is a clear way to visualize the outcomes of development.

4. Balanced Benchmarking

Balance benchmarking is a method of measurement where managers can assess the effectiveness of different areas of a business. Effectively, input variables should be balanced to benchmarked output variables. So, for example, the salaries of employees in a sales role should be balanced to how many sales those employees make. If they’re not, investments might outweigh returns – with balanced benchmarking this can be identified, and necessary changes can be made.

Investing in your business’ development is key to keeping up with the fast-paced business world that we’re in today. Development can come through many avenues, but coaching is a hugely effective and measurable solution. Looking to see how employee development can help your business flourish? Want to measure that success? With EZRA, our personalized coaching can be tracked session by session with our EZRA Measure tool to help you do just that. We also have personalized development coaching that can be made measurable, personal and practical.

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