McKinsey Quarterly recently had an article on the value of training. Rather than repeating what we already know about the value of training—in terms of employee satisfaction and retention, professional development, leadership development, and much more—the article focused on the business value of training. In other words, good training had a value that could be measured in results and profits.
The article focused on a case study with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). In 2007, the BGCA faced “an incipient shortage of leadership capabilities.” They put together a leadership development program based on a “capability model” and a 360-degree assessment tool. The program focused on four key areas of leadership that needed work: building an effective board at the local level, finding and pursuing revenue producing strategies, using “an investor’s mind-set toward programs and resource development,” and leading “with personal tenacity and persistence.”
All four areas were clearly defined and easily measurable. And the results were compared against those of leaders who had not taken the leadership course. According to the article:
“On average, locations where the leaders had been trained bested the control group on every performance outcome measured. If all 1,100 BGCA member organizations had matched the level of success achieved by the program participants, BGCA would see more than 350,000 new members and more than $100 million in annual incremental revenue—a 2 to 3 percent increase in the average location’s budget, meaningful at a time of precarious funding.”
In short, the results speak loudly and clearly for themselves.
This study got us thinking about the real business value that we provide. In our next newsletter, we plan to feature an article of early but positive outcomes of our Managing Innovation program at a Fortune 500 company. But what of our very popular Exercising Influence program? A number of Fortune 500 companies have invested a lot in making this program available to their employees. Just off the top of our heads, we came up with a few suggestions for measuring the real business value of influence skills:
- Marketing and sales teams can measure results against groups that have not taken the course
- Medical providers can measure increases in patient/client compliance
- Projects and product development that depends on cross-functional teams can measure timeliness of meeting deadlines and staying on or under budget.
We get a lot of positive feedback from individuals and people responsible for training and skill development, but we’d like to hear more. What has the business value of Exercising Influence—or any of our programs—been to your organization?
All quotes from “Putting a value on training” by Jenny Cermak and Monica McGurk, McKinsey Quarterly, July 2010. The complete article is available online with registration.