There’s no satisfaction in a task half done. Unless you can show the impact of your efforts, it’s difficult to know whether you’ve successfully achieved what you set out to do in the first place.

In the past, learning and development (L&D) leaders have largely struggled to demonstrate the impact of our training programs in a way that aligns with business objectives. The good news? There is a way to measure success. By shifting your mindset, asking the right questions and leveraging the right learning platform, you can prove how you’re improving employee performance.

In this article, we’ll share why shifting your mindset to one of performance-driven L&D matters, how to analyze the gap between performance reality and expectations, and why leveraging employee key performance indicators (KPIs) and your learning management system (LMS)’s analytics features should be a priority.

Let’s start with the shift in approach that makes measuring impact so much easier.

1. Shift your mindset to performance-orientated L&D. 

The initial challenge is shifting focus from simply fulfilling training requests to addressing the factors that impact performance company wide.

A learning and development function that goes beyond delivering on requests for training and focuses on how L&D can help boost business KPIs will have a much easier time measuring and reporting success to stakeholders. This means focusing on how L&D can enhance employee performance and streamline business processes, going beyond what employees may have learned in an eLearning course.

The shift starts by identifying the pain points or evergreen problems affecting performance and making it hard for employees to do their work.

2. Find out what’s going wrong — today.

To prove the impact of training, addressing the problems or pain points causing the company to lose time, money and valuable employees is crucial.

Here are four common pain points that you should keep an eye out for, sooner rather than later:

  1. Teams that are underperforming and costing the business.
  2. The organization, department or tenure level with a high attrition rate.
  3. New hire numbers are high because internal candidates aren’t being supported.
  4. First-time managers are affecting production or retention.

By asking these types of questions, you can work toward solving key organization issues. For example, a business problem might be a sales team falling short of their targets, significantly impacting business goals. With the problem front of mind, you can work toward solving this business challenge.

However, you can’t measure the success of a learning intervention if you don’t have a comprehensive understanding of where you started. Identifying the problem is the first starting point.

The second starting point? Harvesting the data to prove the problem is affecting performance and highlighting the baseline that you will target with intentional learning interventions.

3. Analyze the performance gap.

Now that you’ve confirmed the problem, you need to confirm the expectations of those responsible for the affected performance and gather your data.

Engaging with those responsible for the work enables you to understand the challenges and requirements within the role. Having the right conversation with them will show you how the work is done today and what needs to be improved. This is known as a performance gap analysis.

To get started on your gap analysis, you can ask questions like:

  • What are the KPIs of those who are struggling to do the work?
  • What are they failing to achieve in the day-to-day routine of their role?
  • What is the effect on performance and business KPIs of this failure?

By answering questions like these, you can gather the required data and understand which individuals or teams need additional training to improve their performance. Your performance gap analysis will also help you design learning interventions that make sense for your learners.

4.Collaborate with subject matter experts to create great learning experiences.

Your performance gap analysis should identify the top performers within your organization. If we go back to our sales example, this might be salespeople who are consistently reaching their quota.

In an ideal world, it’s these employees that become your subject matter experts (SMEs), sharing knowledge with the rest of the team to help improve performance. In reality, we know that SMEs are some of the most in-demand people within the organization. So, how can you win them over?

Again, the gap analysis data gathered in the previous step plays an important role in this process, as it demonstrates how your collaboration will solve key organizational issues. By doing so, your internal experts are more likely to contribute their time and support.

Ensure that there is a streamlined process once SMEs agree to participate to save them precious time. A LMS that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and L&D controlled prompts to empower and streamline course creation will help the collaboration go as smoothly as possible.

5. Leverage your LMS’s analytics.

Having identified the problem and gathered the baseline data, you have now deployed specific and intentional learning interventions to help resolve issues.

Now, it’s to show that your learning solutions are moving the needle and impacting performance by assessing the change in performance. For example, has there been an improvement in the sales team achieving their quotas since the intervention was put in place? With the baseline data as your ground zero and the new data identifiable, it should be relatively easy to measure the impact of your learning solution.

You can also use your LMS’s learning metrics to find indicators of success to help you prove your impact. For example, you can leverage your LMS’s completion rate analytics. This metric is a great indicator of the quality and efficacy of your content’s delivery and how learners engage with the learning solution.

You can also use engagement metrics to understand what works for your learners and iterate content to meet their needs. For example, relevancy scores, reactions, and qualitative feedback in discussion forums highlight what learners found effective and valuable in the course.

Demonstrate Impact in a Meaningful Way

If you shift your mindset to one of performance-driven L&D, you and your team will be able to demonstrate the impact of your training in a way that aligns with business objectives.

By applying this approach, your focus will be on identifying specific issues and designing learning interventions to improve performance in those areas.

Remember, your baseline data is critical. Not only does it highlight those performance areas that need improvement but it also helps you show you’ve moved the needle by comparing where you started with where you are now.

With the right LMS, you can leverage those internal experts to help design training easily and use its learning metrics as key indicators of success, combined with employee KPIs.