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Decoding the ROI of an L&D Intervention

Written By Bhuvi Kathpalia

What started with an amusing anecdote about almonds, believed to have a positive effect on boosting a child’s memory, turned out to be an insightful session on calculating the ROI.

He focused on measuring the effectiveness of training by determining the ROI of L&D programs.

He noted that calculating the ROI of an L&D program could be as ambiguous as knowing if the almonds did have any impact on the learning ability of a child!

No discussion on calculating the ROI of L&D programs was complete without acknowledging the two most celebrated models, Kirk Patrick & Jack Phillips, he said. While Kirk Patrick was the go-to model for training evaluation, Jack Phillips went a step further, adding ROI to this model. ROI had been an elusive concept, and Jack Phillips’ contribution added a great deal of depth to the model.

Whether calculating the ROI was a work of science or art was a topic of meditation. Yet, Vikrant Bhatnagar believed ROI to be a bit of both - science was in the ‘what’ of the ROI calculation, and art was in the ‘how’ of it, he elaborated. He suggested that while it was easy to pinpoint the result in some cases, usually, one needed to plough through a massive amount of data to calculate the ROI of any L&D initiative.

He shared the vital components of how to effectively measure ROI, associate monetary value to various outcomes, and isolate different factors and effects of the training.

Vikrant Bhatnagar shared insights on a training program that ended with a revelation - that the program was, in fact, not required if the KPIs of the employees had been modified to accommodate a minimal change. He stressed on accumulating data to be ever-prepared to calculate the ROI of any undertaken program. 

He emphasized on visualizing the endpoint of the training program, listing down expectations, objectives, and business impact right at the beginning of the intervention. This exercise was going to help understand whether ROI was needed to be measured at all. Calculating the ROI of every program wasn’t always feasible, he believed. In fact, it needn’t be done.

He spoke at length about ROI and ROE, and whether it was essential to attribute a monetary value to every L&D program. Every L&D intervention was unique and needed to be designed keeping in mind its objectives, he added. Every stage of the L&D program should be able to feed data into the final evaluation of the effectiveness and the ROI, he believed.

Every L&D intervention had more than one contributing factor to its success, he noted. An organization needed to distill those factors and define what percentage could be attributed to each one of them. A series of compelling real-life examples throughout the session kept the audience engaged.

Topics: News and Events

Originally published December 30 2019,updated April 01 2020

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