I was recently reading this article centered around the idea that managers tend to be the least likely people in an organization to prioritize their own learning and development. As a self-proclaimed lifelong learner, I’ve really been leaning into this topic of development in the workplace and what it currently looks like versus what it should look like.

The author provides a handful of tips — spoiler alert — that ultimately are entirely the responsibility of the manager. I couldn’t help but wonder, what responsibility does the business have in ensuring that managers have ample time and opportunity for development? It doesn’t help that this article was juxtaposed in my mind with one of the most famous quotes on this topic from Richard Branson which is, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

Mr. Branson’s quote has some serious merit. Consider these stats:

  • 45% of workers would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development
  • Businesses with strong learning cultures have an increased retention rate of 30-50%
  • 94% of employees won’t quit if they’re offered training and development opportunities
  • Companies with comprehensive training programs have a 24% higher profit margin

Despite this evidence, 59% of employees report no formal workplace training.

As business leaders, it’s time to take control of learning and development and not leave it up to individuals to seek out new opportunities and find the resources (both time and money) to invest in themselves.

It all comes down to data and measurement strategies.

In our work, we help leaders of People, Culture, and Inclusion build custom, game-changing strategies through the lens of data. Our process includes things like…

  • Zooming in on an initiative aim—the area that most needs crafting, strengthening, or revolutionizing
  • Collecting data and feedback to shape the initiative (we hold focus groups and design thinking workshops, create and disseminate surveys, and analyze existing data)
  • Co-creating a new definition of what success looks like
  • Creating a blueprint of the frameworks and day-to-day behaviors needed to implement each to reach the new definition of success
  • Building custom KPIs to measure the impact of the new actions and strategies

While new progressive KPIs are the end goal, it’s inevitable that this process unearths new ideas and builds entirely new strategies.

Let’s dive into an example…

Earlier this year, SQA Group was commissioned to create KPIs that organizations of all sizes and industries can adopt to drive new day-to-day team behaviors and actions that create more equitable career advancement for women. You can read more about that project here, but in short, we created 10 new workplace KPIs, along with some tips to get started, and sample goals and data visualizations.

Three of the KPIs created during that project immediately came to mind as I was reading the aforementioned article.

Self-Investment Score

Self-investment looks different for everyone. Some want to attend trainings or seminars. Others prefer networking with someone new over coffee or at an event. Some wish to listen to podcasts, and so on. Self-Investment Score (SIS) focuses on expanding the definition around “investment,” encourages companies to support investment taking place during “office hours” versus after hours and focuses on crafting cultures that promote time taken to learn, get curious, and invest in self-development. The goal is to measure the ability for employees across all titles, departments, and seniority levels to use self-investment time, and to choose the ways they wish to invest rather than corporate-mandated, one-size-fits-all training.


Career Pathway Optionality

Retain and develop your top performers by ensuring you’re continually creating multiple pathways for advancement, self-development, and career equity. Instead of creating singular career pathways — e.g. the leadership track — organizations focus on creating multiple advancement pathways for employees to grow their careers and impact the organization, while directly strengthening retention. Against this methodology, singular ascension pathways become de-prioritized. Career optionality and multiple advancement pathways become the norm.


Personal Opportunities to Learn and Lead

Subject matter experts within companies are traditionally identified by seniority and title, rather than potential. This can often generate hierarchical mentorship constructs, the gatekeeping effect, limited knowledge transfer, and disadvantages for newer employees and re-entry workers to cultivate skill sets and lean into interests. Personal Opportunities to Learn and Lead (POLL) focuses on expanding traditional definitions of leadership by creating more opportunities for employees to lead, learn, inspire, connect, and reach potential — regardless of one’s title, seniority, tenure, etc.

There is a clear business case for owning the learning and development of your employees, but without an intentional measurement strategy, understanding the ROI and seeing correlations between L&D and things like retention will be impossible.

These are just three of the 11 metrics we created. Click here to download the full report and get sample goals and visualizations for the KPIs above.


Interested in measuring more progressively or learning more about our new workplace KPIs? Our Data and Analytics team is ready to help you get started. Click here to learn more about our Metrics Finder and reach out to the team to set up a demo of additional KPIs you can start tracking immediately.