The old L&D measures are not just wrong: they should now be seen as negatives

Following on from my post about ‘greening L&D’ I’ve just listened to the recent L&D podcast from David James (with guest Kevin Yates).

I’ve heard Kevin speak before and it is difficult to disagree with his focus on metrics.  Indeed I fear I’ve even scared some recruiters off in the past when talking about what the organisational goals/metrics are when being interviewed by the learning department, when they would rather talk about preconceived ideas about what the best ‘learning solution’ may be.

Kevin mentions the business/organisational problem with the traditionally captured L&D metrics – like smiley sheet feedback and attendance numbers – i.e. that they are not business/organisation measures but L&D management measures.  However, I would take this further and say many of these measures are now active negatives in a world where we need to ‘green’ our ways of working.  I would argue we have to take the Learning Reducer mindset to be brutal with our activity – not just for the money spent on the activity but anything involving travel (face-to-face training, instructional design meetings, etc), printing, digital tool use (electricity), etc in terms of their contribution to our organisations’ carbon footprint.

I’m happy to support training if it actively builds networks in the company, increases confidence (especially considering the mounting mental health crisis) and other measures which may not be directly company related metrics (i.e. not hard ROI or ‘bottom line’) BUT the expectations need to be clear and measurable up front.  Indeed Kevin does mentions that for difficult things like putting metrics to tricky areas like behaviour change – ‘metrication’ (if I use that phrase) – we should still aim to do it (when appropriate).