The Language of Business and Why You Need to Speak It Fluently

In the previous post, we described the difference between efficiency metrics and effectiveness metrics.

Let’s talk more about that.

Efficiency vs. Effectiveness

Efficiency metrics only describe how many, how fast, and how much. You can list off the courses you delivered, the number of students that attended, and the cost of delivering the classes. None of those metrics measure the business value of training.

Effectiveness metrics, on the other hand, speak the language of business. These metrics provide details about how the capability and bottom line of the business has been improved.

What Is the Language of Business?

Why do we say these metrics speak the language of business?

All companies use metrics to measure business success. You’d be hard pressed to find any organization that doesn’t use specific measures to mark their growth and improvement.

Use of metrics is widespread because they provide consistent benchmarks. It’s easy to see how well or poorly a business is doing just by looking at these measures over time.

Nearly all departments—sales, marketing, production, HR, R&D—have measures like this. The metrics describe the health of each department, as well as the health of the business. They are barometers for the success of the company. If a metric goes haywire, that’s a clue that something needs to be fixed.

Rarely, if ever, does the learning and development (L&D) function use metrics like this. As I’ve discussed before, there’s a crazy and false notion that training can’t be measured this way.

Here’s the Secret: L&D is Looking for Improvement in the Wrong Place!

L&D keeps trying to measure the L&D function. However, effective training improves the capability of the business—not the capability of L&D. That means the metrics you are measuring are found outside of the training department, not inside.

For example, with training that teaches sales staff to find, qualify, and convert more leads, you would expect the number or quality of leads to improve. This metric would be found in the sales department and would be impacted by the training.

The effectiveness of this training will NOT be found on opinion surveys. The effectiveness is found in measuring the qualified sales leads produced.

Effectiveness results in producing at a high level and with high quality results. These measures show clearly the quality of the training product. They show how training impacts various jobs in the organization. The following are measures you would expect to change in response to a corresponding training program:

  • Quality of leads generated (sales)
  • Number of closed sales (sales)
  • Quality of orders produced (call center)
  • Errors in cases processed (drug safety)
  • Quality of pain management (healthcare)
  • Retention by department (management)

Create training with a goal of improving these measures. Your business leaders will see the training function in a new light. You’ll become a partner in the business, as you should be. Your value will be tangible and provable.

Do you want to learn how to quantify training results and choose metrics that will show the true value of your training programs? Contact us at eParamus if you need help transitioning from efficiency metrics to effectiveness metrics. We’d love to help.

Please follow eParamus on LinkedIn and feel free to connect with me, Laura Paramoure, PhD. I’d love to know more about your training challenges.