As we enter the dog days of summer, our thoughts undoubtedly turn to the 4th quarter, while simultaneously thinking about planning for the upcoming year and reflecting on the past year. Reporting on the impacts of the investments in learning you made in the current year – and asking for new investments in the upcoming year. It can all be a bit nerve wracking. In a recent HBR article “Make Sure Your Company’s Reskilling Efforts Pay Off”, the author shared four measures of success that we believe apply to reskilling – or any learning project.
The first metric is cost. That is not just the cost of the program/training, but, also, the cost of not doing the program/training. For example, if you are a hospital and you are running a reskilling program to train new clinical medical assistants and you train 50 new CMAs for $3,000 per person – your cost of delivering the program is $150,000, add another $30,000 to account for staff time and facilities, and you are at $180,000. But that is not the end of the cost discussion. Now ask what the cost would be if you had not done this reskilling program. For example, what would it have cost the organization to recruit 50 new CMAs? What metrics (revenue, patient satisfaction, etc.) would be negatively impacted by having to recruit new CMAs versus reskilling – and add up those costs. Let’s say for the purpose of this example those costs are $300,000. Well now the math is clear – the reskilling program provided the organization with $120,000 in cost savings.
The second metric to measure is productivity. For example, are the CMA’s that you reskilled able to be proficient in their role in the organization faster than those who you are hiring from outside? Were you able to shorten the speed to proficiency? Are you able to see a decrease in the number of errors that are made? As with costs, it is important to look at all aspects of performance to measure the gains you make in productivity and to then calculate those impacts. For example, the 50 CMAs enter service and that corresponds with an increase in patient satisfaction ratings, and in clients paying their bill on time which impacts the hospitals revenue cycle management. While it may be hard to quantify the financial impact of this example, if the correlation is strong, it certainly supports the measurement of success of the program.
The third metric is your people metrics. There are several people metrics to consider here, for example retention (are your employees staying longer because you reskilled them?), employee satisfaction (are they happier in their new role?), employee engagement (are they more engaged?), and even talent attraction (are more employees attracted to working for you because of your investment in reskilling?). Talent attraction might seem like an odd metric, but consider the example of a leading hospitality management company who found that they had several new senior leaders who joined their organization and shared that one of the reasons for them joining was that the organization had recently launched a debt free college program for all hourly employees. The lesson here is to not just look for the obvious metrics, but also those like talent attraction.
The fourth, and final metric, is sponsor satisfaction. This may seem like a no-brainer – obviously you want to ensure your sponsor is happy with the program, but we would add a piece of advice here – always begin with the end in mind. When launching a new reskilling or learning program, begin by asking your sponsor what is their vision of success? What does it look like? How will they know it has been achieved? How will they know when they see it – what metrics will they be looking at?
Understanding the scorecard your sponsor will be keeping will help you to better align the program to their vision of success and to ensure they view the reskilling or learning program positively.
Are there other measures of success you are using in your organization? What are they? We would love to hear from you because as we say around here, we are all in this together, and together we learn.