Measurement, Modern Training

Achieving agility through data: lessons in learning measurement from Sage

Posted on: May 13, 2024By: Andrea Miller

If it seems like L&D has struggled forever to measure the impact of learning programs, that’s because, well, it’s been a journey.

There is light at the end of the L&D tunnel. Sage, a global software provider based in the U.K. with offices in 23 countries, has managed to make a significant impact on its contact center KPIs in just three months. Its secret? A data-driven approach to learning, onboarding and communication. 

Maxine Grundy, Sage’s Global Learning Support Manager, recently sat down with JD Dillon, Axonify’s Chief Learning Architect, during Learning Technologies Show 2024 to spill her secrets about how she designed her employee training strategy (in Axonify!) to tie directly to business KPIs. These are the key takeaways from their dynamic discussion:

As Dillon put it during the session, if traditional approaches to learning measurement were going to work, we would know by now. With all workplaces—including frontlines—being more data-driven, it only makes sense that L&D teams are able to leverage similar intel to identify and fill knowledge gaps before they become a problem for their organizations. 

For Grundy, the old approach at Sage was familiar and uninspired: one-off training events in response to new tax legislation, for example, without consistent follow-through.

“What we found was that we weren’t really testing the knowledge. At the end of the training, maybe [employees] do a quick quiz and they score quite highly, but we didn’t really know one month down the line, two months down the line, how they’re doing,” she revealed. 

“I was tasked with finding a piece of technology that would help us improve those business metrics, but at the same time increase the colleague expertise.”

From 1,000 training topics down to 200

When Grundy was designing Sage’s call center learning solution with Axonify, which they call Quizzical, she was asked how many topics (i.e. training modules) she thought she’d need to build. With over 150 products, she was very quickly looking at 1,000 topics before she realized that wasn’t possible. Time to zoom in.

To take a targeted approach with her training content, Grundy looked at customer data to identify the topics that were having the most negative impact on the customer experience. She specifically looked for what training would move the needle on three KPIs: first-time-call resolution, tNPS and average handling time. 

“I was trying to match this call taxonomy and I wanted to have the results to know that this particular task that the [employees] did matches to that particular topic. We have got a lot of topics in there, but I’m not at 1,000 yet. I’m thinking about 200,” she admitted with a laugh.

Real-time data = superior agility

Leveraging a speech-to-text tool to transcribe customer call conversations and then pulling out sentiments and common challenges, Grundy’s team was able to respond with tailored training that hit the bullseye—in record time.

“It highlighted that we had an issue and they came straight to the team and said, ‘Can you add these extra questions into Quizzical because there’s an issue?’ We added the questions, people were answering those for two weeks and we noticed straight away that all of the sort of negative sentiment changed, the scores went back up,” she said. 

“That whole process from realizing we had an issue to getting questions in the system was about three hours. Previously, that would’ve taken about three weeks because people would’ve had to go and listen to lots of calls, work out what it was and then figure out what the questions should be to add them into the system. That’s been a really quick way for us to be able to get more out of [the solution].”

Sage’s commitment to letting data tell the story should inspire other L&D practitioners to take the guesswork out of how training moves the needle and bolster buy-in across the board.

Keen to watch the full session? Check it out below:

Andrea Miller

Andrea Miller is a creative content leader, writer and editor focused on making compelling content that connects with frontline audiences.

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