Measuring the ROI of Leadership Development: 5 Tips

By Darleen DeRosa



Most companies understand the benefits of leadership training and development programs. In fact, in a recent survey of more than 500 executives, 27 percent of those who said their company was “currently winning in the market” attributed that success to great leadership, while another 25 percent credited powerful and distinct capabilities.

Unfortunately, the knowledge that leadership development is crucial to success doesn’t prevent these programs from being axed when budgets are tight.

CEOs want hard facts upon which to base the efficacy (and likewise, the value) of a leadership training and development program. They want quantifiable proof that success is directly related to training and not to some change in the internal or external environment such as a new product release, changes in technology or an improved economy.

Demonstrating the connection between participating in training and development initiatives and an improvement in leader behavior or department performance requires creative information gathering by HR or talent managers, but it’s not impossible.

One of the most credible and widely used systems for measuring the ROI of leadership development is called the Kirkpatrick/Phillips Model, which consists of four levels:

  1. Reaction: How the trainee responds to the program
  2. Knowledge: Assessing the trainee’s new knowledge and acquired skills
  3. Behavior: Trainees, supervisors and direct reports assess the trainee’s leadership skills
  4. Impact and ROI: Trainees, supervisors and direct reports assess improvements in productivity

Based on this model and our own experience in this area, here are some guidelines we recommend for measuring the impact of leadership development programs.

Conduct A Pre- and Post-Training Assessment

Ask trainees to complete a knowledge test before and soon after the training and compare results to determine what they’ve learned.

Additional follow-up leadership evaluation programs can be conducted six months to a year after training to determine how well the trainee has retained the information. In addition to true and false or multiple choice questions, the trainee could be asked to answer questions that test situational judgment.

You can also use assessment tools like tests, role-playing, skill practices or simulations to grade trainees on new knowledge and skill acquisition. We offer a wide range of these assessments in addition to the leadership development programs we’ve fine-tuned over more than two decades.

Collect 360 Feedback

Post-training assessment does not have to be limited to what you can measure from trainees. One of the most telling ways to measure the effectiveness of leadership training is to seek feedback from others who work with the trainees, including their supervisors.

HR managers should gather information about the trainee from supervisors and direct reports to determine what behaviors have changed and how new behaviors are being applied to key areas that impact the company’s bottom line. This can be done through online questionnaires or in-person interviews.

To derive a numerical value, HR managers can collect an aggregate score from each participant regarding a single question dealing with overall effectiveness. Or, if you complete evaluations annually, compare post-training evaluations with evaluations from years past to identify improvements.

Gathering this feedback takes the post-training assessment a step further, offering even more substantial data. If possible, Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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