The L&D ROI challenge

The L&D ROI challenge

Are you being increasingly asked to make a ROI case for learning and development?

You may not be alone.

In a series of emailers over the next few months, I will be attempting to capture the As-Is when it comes to L&D ROI. I will also propose pragmatic approaches to pitch and deliver L&D ROI.

It isn’t easy, though. But the trend for L&D ROI is up. Because of the following.

Internal Company Reasons

Broadly, there are two reasons.

  • L&D Budgets, traditionally, have been determined as a % of revenue or costs. Ironically, in many companies, L&D has limited say in these budgets. How do you make the business case for your budgets at your company?
  • L&D’s measurable contribution to business is still is in the realm of subjectivity. While there are correlations to employee engagement, it is difficult to measure and assess the impact on business metrics. How have you been able to go beyond employee engagement to ROI and get management attention?

External Industry Reasons

The rise of the CLO (Chief Learning Officer) and increasing thought leadership on this subject has animated the ROI conversation at the CXO level. Are you seeing this at your end? How are you responding to these conversations?

In-Between Reasons and Belief

And then there a hundred reasons between the ‘Internal’ and the ‘External’. But, a few stand-out. Would you agree that the path to pursue L&D ROI takes effort? Does it not require going down into the business trenches, getting dirty and truly understanding ‘real’ issues that L&D can solve? (For the movie Argo, Ben Affleck requested that the actors playing the embassy refugees live together for a week in a house dressed with 1979 decor in order to get acquainted and to better understand the period)

I look forward to hearing back from you on your specific challenges.


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