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How to Create and Implement a Learning Scorecard

Organizations of all sizes need employee training to improve skill sets, increase job knowledge, and boost performance. The most common way of doing so is with a dedicated training program.

But, how do you know how these training courses are performing? By implementing a learning scorecard.

What is a learning scorecard?

A learning scorecard is a performance management tool that is used to visually see how goals will be met across your organization. It looks at how your goals are being measured, how you are managing to meet these goals, and what improvements will need to be made along the way to achieve these through employee learning. Plus, it ties together the various audiences both internal and external who are responsible for achieving your company goals. Everyone can see what role they play in the process and understand what the company direction is.

Think of it as a snapshot of how your training program is performing in direct relationship to your company goals while holding training accountable. So each training objective should be tied to a company goal and shown how it supports and helps achieve these goals.

Plus, a learning scorecard is meant to be fluid. As an organization shifts its goals, the scorecard must also change.

But what goes into a learning scorecard?

Components of a learning scorecard framework

Learning and Growth: This section or learning scorecard is a look at your company culture. What do your employees know? Are they up on the latest industry trends? If you have a central place for training like a learning management system, is it effective? Do your employees have the technology to do their jobs effectively?

Internal Business Process: This portion of the learning scorecard looks at how your company is running both internally and externally interacting with your customers. Basically, how is your process? Can it be faster or more efficient? Are there areas that are wasting time converting sales? How quickly can your business implement changes? If new ideas are brought to the table, can they be executed?

Customer: While it’s important to do everything you can to improve your internal process, it’s equally important to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What do they want from your company? Are your current customers happy enough to become repeat customers? Is your sales team converting new leads? What would your customers say about you that would differ from your competition?

Financial: Scorecards were created so businesses would look beyond the financials for business success metrics. However, the goal is to be profitable, so financial must still be part of the equation. Ask yourself some simple questions. Are you making the money you are projected to make? If you have shareholders, are their expectations being met? Do your employees feel fairly compensated compared to their industry peers?

Here's the step by step process for developing your own learning scorecard.

How to build a learning scorecard

  1. Draft and refine learning objectives
  2. Add each objective to a strategy map
  3. Assign training KPIs to objectives
  4. Modify objectives based on learning styles
  5. Segment employees into learning groups
  6. Connect objectives to other departments
  7. Measure and improve training programs

Once you've identified what needs to go into a learning scorecard, it's time to build one that will benefit your organization. Although different companies and industries train their employees in specific ways, this learning scorecard is meant to act as a template to track, measure, and improve training programs.

Step #1: Draft and refine learning objectives

As the head of training, it’s important to discuss with the other C-suite managers what they hope to gain from training. Basically, what does each department want their employees to learn and know.

For example, for a sales director, does he or she need their team trained in a certain sales tool that the industry leaders are now using to gain customers? Or is the head of marketing starting a collateral redesign and needs employees trained in a certain design software?

Remember to keep these objective high level and each objective should be tied to an overall goal for the company. Aim for at least two or three objectives that help solve for each company goal.

After receiving these learning objectives, it’s time to further refine these. Sometimes it’s difficult for each department to pinpoint their learning and development needs. It’s your job to help define these so the end result is beneficial for the department, company, and the employees. By asking these questions to each department, you can better tailor each learning objective.

  • What is the current level of competency or skill, knowledge, and values (SKV) of your employees?
  • What is your expected level of SKV for each of your employees to perform their jobs at the level needed?

Step #2: Add each objectives to a strategy map

A strategy map is a diagram that shows your company’s strategy on a single page. This visual will show all employees how their job and their personal development help achieve the overall company goals. It should be divided into four sections that we mentioned above, financial, customer, internal business process, and learning and growth.

So to begin, take each of your learning and development objectives and place these under the learning and growth section of your strategy map. Also, make sure you coordinate with the other department heads so that your learning objectives are compatible with those for the other three sections. Remember you don’t want to overcomplicate this process, so don’t use more than 20 or so objectives.

Step #3: Assign training KPIs to objectives

To effectively judge the value of your training programs, assign a key metric to each objective or group of objectives. This will be your primary means of measuring training success while basing the numbers off a benchmark.

A learning scorecard is exactly how it sounds, a card to "score" or add value to specific learning or training activities. These training activities need a numerical value that can be connected to the completion of each objective.

Continu’s Learning Amplification Platform™ provides your organization with the right tools to measure employee learning.

Step #4: Modify objectives based on learning styles

Each employee learns differently. Some employees may have more knowledge of a subject over their peers. And some employees may pick up a new skill faster than others. So it’s crucial to cater your training programs for different employee learning styles.

It’s also important to survey employees to find out what they hope to gain from this new training initiative:

  • Are they looking to advance within the company?
  • Do they want to build out a certain skill set?
  • Do they see themselves moving departments in the future? 

Basically, how is this training fulfilling their learning needs.

Step #5: Segment employees into learning groups

In order to simplify your training process, define a system for assessing each employee prior to training. You could use a simple point system to apply to each employee. Score them on their current skill set. Once you compare apples to apples you can begin to put each employee into the proper training program.

By segmenting employees into different groups, they'll be able to learn in a fashion that's effective and engaging. Without groups or segments, some employees won't retain what they've learned or struggle to keep up with highly-skilled coworkers.

Another benefit of learning groups is it encourages collaborative learning, while creating a social and engaging learning environment.

Step #6: Connect objectives to other departments

One of the most important parts of creating a learning scorecard is ensuring that objectives compliment other departments. By isolating your objectives to individual departments, you'll cause a rift within your organization's learning process.

Blending these learning strategies into other departments ensures a seamless and streamlined learning experience for all employees.

Also, an employee who's learned aspects from another relevant department will get a better understanding of the organization as a whole. For example, your marketing team is enrolled in the same product training as both support and sales, giving all participants the same understanding of the product. Now they can efficiently market, sell, and support the company's product or service while being on the same page.

Step #7: Measure and improve training programs

Since 80% of organizations using a learning scorecard reported improvements in operating performance, this is a great tool to analyze your level of success in your training initiatives.

So how do you take your strategy map and test that your objectives are working? There are several ways you can analyze your results:

Color code your objectives

A very simple solution is to color-code your objectives red, yellow or green based on how you see these objectives being carried out.  This is an easy way for the organization to see which objectives need to be worked on and where others are excelling.

Add measures to map

For example, your objective is to train developers on a new software program. Your measure maybe for every employee to be certified by year-end in this new program. Then add the completion rates, names of attendees, or who still needs training to your map.

Create subheads

If you have a more complex company structure or you need more detail, you can add subheads under each of the four categories. For example, under the learning scorecard, you could have train employees, new software rollout, and new employee assessment. Then each of these subheads would have objectives underneath that would solve for that particular subhead.

Company goals listed

Since the objectives you listed are meant to support your company goals, you can add these goals directly to your strategy map. Place these goals at the top of your map. This will provide a double check to make sure you are solving for these goals.

Finally, after parsing through data, use these analytics to further improve your training programs. Simple tweaks to training material development, delivery methods, and scheduling can provide significantly better results the next time training is given.

Why is a learning scorecard important?

A scorecard for learning provides your organization a detailed view of how training and development initiatives are completing company goals. Without a learning scorecard it's harder to judge the value that training programs have on the improvement of employee skills and knowledge gained.

Plus they help answer common questions from employees, managers and stakeholders, such as:

Employees - Why are we taking this training? How will this learning course help me on the job? What is the point of our new learning and development push?

Managers - Is this worth the budget we allocated to training? How will training our employees help with more sales? What is the goal of training and development?

Stakeholders - How will employee training increase my ROI? How does your training and development impact your customers?

If you’ve received some of the following questions, then you know you need to implement a learning scorecard.

The power of learning scorecards

Now that you've realized how powerful learning scorecards can be for your organization, it's time to implement one. By using the steps above, you'll be able to create a solid scorecard to measure employee learning and how it affects business goals.

Luckily, Continu's learning platform comes with useful features and solutions to create, share, connect, and measure your entire organization's training efforts. Our LMS allows admins to do the following:

  • Create entire online training courses
  • Consolidate all learning materials into one place
  • Track employee training process
  • Generate detailed reports on learning processes
  • Integrate with all your favorite business tools
  • And much more!

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