Is Your Upskilling Program Paying Off? | BCG

Talent Development

Numerous organizations are reskilling and upskilling their workforce. Given the substantial time, resources, and financial investments involved in these initiatives, it is imperative to pinpoint reliable measures for assessing the business impact of these efforts. However, organizations often struggle to find effective ways to gauge the effectiveness of their upskilling initiatives. This article proposes a three-step approach to assist companies in better evaluating the “return on learning investment” (ROLI) of upskilling and reskilling. The suggested steps include: 1) Clearly define upfront the business outcomes or impact they intend to achieve; 2) establish metrics to hold the program accountable and measure progress; and 3) determine whether the desired impact has been realized. Exhibit 1 showcases various metrics for assessing the impact of learning programs. When defining metrics and timeframes, it is crucial to be realistic about when the impact is expected. As noted in the article, improvements may not be apparent until year-end or later when reviewing key performance indicators (KPIs). Alongside developing “end state” metrics, I recommend incorporating “mini indicators” that would help measure directional progress throughout shorter intervals (e.g., months 1-2, 3-6, 9, etc). This approach provides an ongoing measure of progress while acknowledging that the true impact might take a longer duration to manifest.