Corporate training: It’s time to enter a new frontier

How to measure, understand, and continuously optimize the business impact of learning

Here’s the startling truth: business leaders spend $140B globally on training each year, but they have no idea whether or not training is moving the needle on any business initiative.

Ridiculous? Yes! There’s no way in heck this lack of accountability would fly in any other functional area of the organization, so why does this happen in corporate training?

Well, the answer is simple. Without the data and technology available to tie training to business results, it’s impossible to measure. So, while other business functions have become metrics focused—attributing every dollar spent to whether it achieved an objective—corporate learning has been left out of the equation.

After all, with typical, one-and-done training metrics like session durations, completion rates and grades used in a classroom or in a traditional LMS (Learning Management System), it’s impossible to do much (other than prove training occurred). These metrics don’t tell you anything about how much knowledge each employee has at a given period of time, let alone if this knowledge translates to behavior that impacts key business objectives.

No big data means no big insights

To be frank, organizations have a big learning data problem. So, while other business functions continue to do more to quantify their impact, corporate training just falls further and further behind. That’s because big data and machine learning have transformed virtually every function in every industry:

  • Retailers collect data on customer preferences to personalize in-store experiences and drive conversions
  • Financial institutions know your shopping patterns and can mitigate a fraudulent transaction in real time
  • Call centers detect emotion to help increase customer satisfaction
  • Manufactures proactively replenish inventory to better meet global demand on supply chains

But probably the best example of the kind functional transformation we’re talking about is in marketing. Marketing was in the same boat as training just a few decades ago. The leaders of this department would spend big bucks on ads but, because they couldn’t tie their spend directly to sales, they couldn’t quantify their value to the organization in metrics that the business cared about. Then the internet came along and changed all that. Because marketing now has the ability to tie digital behavior to the metrics that matter most to the business, instead of just talking about tactics, leaders can prove how these tactics influence leads, pipeline and sales revenue. Technology has transformed marketing from a cost center into a highly valued strategic, data-driven, revenue-generating powerhouse. And there’s no question anymore about the direct impact every marketing activity has on the business.

The future of corporate training is measurable

Learning leaders finally have the technology and data they need to measure, understand, prove and continuously optimize the business impact of training. By leveraging technology that combines the power of big data with the intelligence of machine learning and the context of business data, organizations can continuously measure, understand, and prove the impact of learning while optimizing its effect on the business. Together, this intelligent trio provides the insights needed to take learning measurement to the next level—finally bridging the gap between training and business objectives.

How is this possible? Well, the power lies in the data. Axonify captures massive volumes of real-time data as each employee engages in daily learning, then uses this training data, along with your business data (like an individual monthly sales target or safety incidents), and processes it through sophisticated machine learning to uncover the true impact. So organizations can understand quickly and easily the precise effect of every training program on a particular business objective.

But what truly sets Axonify apart is the fact that it self-heals the chain. Besides serving up real-time actionable recommendations to frontline managers, it also adapts training content automatically to the people that need it the most, in the areas that matter the most, to close critical knowledge gaps in a way that always seeks to lift your bottom line.

Finally, there’s a way to measure and understand the impact of training and prove the value of the corporate learning function! But more than that, Axonify transforms learning into an agile and strategic tool that delivers unprecedented control and visibility, so you can pull training levers to yield the greatest business impact every time and help the business achieve its goals.

Proof organizations can understand the precise impact of training

Don’t believe this is possible? Well, while it may sound too good to be true, organizations are already seeing results. Take Bloomingdale’s, for example:

Bloomingdale’s is an American chain of luxury department stores owned by Macy’s and has more than 10,000 employees in 12 states. After using Axonify to roll out safety training to 10,000 Bloomingdale’s employees, the company reduced safety claims by 41% which resulted in a savings of more than $2 million a year since its launch. Chad McIntosh, Vice President of Asset Protection and Risk Management, wanted to go deeper and find out exactly what training content impacted these results and how much of it could be tied back directly to his team’s efforts. He wanted to leverage Bloomingdale’s success story in safety and challenge all other departments of the company to achieve the same phenomenal results.

With only 3 months into the Axonify trial, McIntosh and his team were already able to see that out of all the factors impacting the positive results the company was experiencing in the last year, about a third could be confidently attributed to the knowledge learned and maintained through Axonify. More specifically, 36% of the overall business benefits in general liability and 24% in worker’s comp are a direct result from training efforts on Axonify. When Johnson looked at last year’s safety claim numbers, these numbers translated to an incredible savings of $3,008,160.

Take your corporate training to a new frontier

No more excuses. It’s time to welcome to the new frontier in learning measurement: one that uses the power of big data to prove impact and drive business results.

If you’re ready to experience out-of-this-world results, check out the learning measurement page to learn more.

Watch out marketing. It’s time for training to shine.

Carol isn’t your typical leader. She’s driving a revolutionary approach to employee knowledge, but she’s also a doors-open, come-see-me-anytime kind of executive. Carol doesn’t just talk the talk—she definitely walks the walk. You can read more from her on Training Industry Magazine, ATD, CLO and as a regular contributor for Fortune.

Let’s work together to drive frontline performance in all the right ways.