A strong capability uplift program needs the right data to drive delivery improvements by ensuring that team skills and training align with business objectives. Here’s how to identify the performance metrics that make the biggest difference to delivery outcomes.
Globally, organisations spend more than US$350 billion per annum in employee training but only 46 per cent of organisations have a learning strategy that aligns with their business objectives. This means plenty of organisations are not getting good return on investment for their training efforts and have not secured the outcomes they need to achieve effective capability uplift. So how can you ensure that both your employees and your organisation are benefiting from your capability uplift program?
Use the right metrics
Measuring raw knowledge – understanding the theory – is less important than the alignment of the right skills with the business’ goals and the practice of that knowledge in the workplace.
To that end, it has previously been considered best practice to conduct qualitative surveys once training has been completed to find out if it was effective. Qualitative surveys are unfortunately one-dimensional: rather than providing concrete evidence, this method relies on a combination of trainees’ self-assessment and their level of confidence in their ability, and measurement also occurs after the training.
Experts now recognise that metrics need to be more strategic to affirm if L&D programs are aligned with the needs of the business. Organisations must identify and address specific skills gaps first, and then use quantifiable data to ensure that what was learnt matches with the business’ objectives, starting with a benchmark before training and then tracking skills and performance over time.
Measurements you could use instead of surveys include:
- Individual team member performance
- Team performance
- Project performance
- Process recall, such as knowing how and when to apply a process
- Behaviour, for instance, if and how team members apply their new skills.
Using comparative data throughout your capability uplift program will highlight areas of improvement or areas that need more attention. You can then feed these metrics back into the program and address them so you can optimise the alignment of your L&D program and business goals to drive an improvement roadmap.
Making data work for delivery improvement
Data from performance metrics, capability assessments and health checks/post-implementation reviews, taken periodically, will give you a clearer snapshot of how your capability uplift program is tracking over time.
Performance metrics can include anything from the standard time/cost/quality triangle to a cost/performance efficiency evaluation, or a stakeholder satisfaction measurement. Take measurements from your projects, individual team members and/or a whole department or team, for example the PMO. In this process you’ll be able to pinpoint the primary reason for the capability uplift program; for example, if your team is lagging on scheduling metrics then a refresher course on scheduling, prioritisation and time interdependency will work to address the gap.
Capability assessments bring together behavioural data and analysis to measure the impact of training, including whether team members are actively using the new skills in their roles. Conduct one at the beginning to identify areas that need upskilling and then periodically after training to track impact, ideally as a team via regular capability improvement workshops. This will give you metrics that go beyond training, so over time you can also measure maturity – how their experience shapes their skills. These assessments will then allow you to map improvement or areas that still need work and execute longer term capability uplift plans.
Project health checks and post-implementation reviews, done regularly, will give you data that will help feed the capability uplift program on an ongoing basis. Analysing reviews should show you where knowledge and best practice is being (or not being) applied, so you can drive improvement by addressing any weaknesses in the next stage of your program.
Develop a dynamic improvement plan
Compare data from the beginning of the process and use the metrics over time to track improvement. If you’re not seeing any improvement, then make adjustments – for example, try a different course, bring in a coach, or create other learning opportunities – to get the result you need. This process gives you a quantifiable return on investment.
To leverage the data you’ve gathered and analysed, you need to develop a dynamic improvement plan that accounts for the business’ objectives, changing project conditions, skills maturity and growth, and personnel changes that may affect capacity and capability levels as well as social dynamic. Use the data as a form of feedback to prompt iterative improvements to the program and to give stakeholders a transparent overview of results.
The best capability uplift programs are closely aligned with an organisation’s business objectives. At present, less than half achieve good return on investment because they do not measure and track training outcomes in a meaningful way.
To drive delivery improvement, start by capturing the right data at the beginning of the process so you know what skills gaps you’re trying to address and can plan the L&D activities that will best bridge those gaps. Then, take measurements on these metrics periodically and use them to feed back into your capability uplift program to drive iterative improvement. Only then will you have a clear overview of your strengths and weaknesses and which activities are working to align capability within your organisation with its objectives.
PM-Partner’s capability uplift framework offers a proven method of leveraging data to drive delivery improvements. To find out more about our in-house training and uplift services, contact us with your requirements or call 1300 70 13 14 today.