Posted by Caveo Learning ● June 20, 2014

Cross-Departmental Collaboration is Key to Showing Impact of Learning


Cross-departmental collaboration is critical to developing alignment and driving business value across the organization. This is true for strategic training initiatives, and especially true when it comes to demonstrating the impact of learning when engaged at the appropriate time and at the appropriate level.

You know the impact that learning solutions can have on the entire business, but how can you help other C-level executives at your company appreciate and leverage this value?

Better still, how can you make sure learning and development is included in the initial planning stages of corporate training initiatives? By speaking their language—the language of business.

Creating Impact That Speaks Their Language

Many learning leaders use learning KPIs with non-business terms when describing their measurement of  employee engagement and impact of learning. These often include:

  • Hours of training programs
  • Number of people trained
  • Modules completed by learners
  • Employee engagement scores
  • Training satisfaction scores

For example, the language of business for the sales department may include “increased sales,” “retention,” “close rates,” and “account penetration,” while the language of L&D may include “learning objectives or outcomes,” “learning interventions,” "performance solutions," or “gamification.”

When two business areas are attempting cross-departmental collaboration, it hurts the communication process and the learning function's credibility when learning leaders fail to speak the same language as their customer.

To successfully pave the way for a new learning and development program and measure training impact, use the same measurement and key performance indicators (KPIs) that the organization uses to show business value.

Tie Training Effectiveness Metrics to Business KPIs

What metrics do your business colleagues prefer in terms of how to measure training impact? You'll need to ask them.

Have your business colleagues tell you their most pressing goals or key initiatives. Find out:

  • The opportunity behind the program
  • The ideal outcome from the program
  • Their KPIs (what will they see as success from the program; how will they be measured)
  • Their year-end goals for the department

Once you find out what they are looking for, you can better explain the impact of learning on their department, the program, and the business—echoing the same KPIs and reporting metrics/language that they use.

When you can connect training effectiveness metrics to the KPIs they use regularly, executives will better understand and appreciate the importance of your training solutions, which will ultimately help the learning department more tightly align training initiatives to their desired outcomes. They will become your cross-departmental champions and, over time, bring you into programs earlier.

But it all needs to start with openly communicating with each department head, understanding their goals, what keeps them up at night, and how the learning journey fits into the picture.

Creating that collaboration is key—not only to better show the impact of the learning strategy, but also for the business as a whole. When learning leaders can more tightly focus their efforts on impacting business value, the entire business wins.

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Topics: Metrics & Measurement, Managed Services, Learning Strategy