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KPIs for corporate learning platforms

Convincing senior leadership to invest in corporate learning programs requires a great deal of data. 

In addition to setting detailed goals for each department, most human resources and corporate education professionals compile estimated participation and usage metrics, as well as completion targets and test passing rates to advocate for learning platform investments.

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These traditional metrics are valuable for tracking usage and adoption. But just because employees actively consume educational content doesn’t mean the coursework automatically translates to meaningful ROI. So, the most important question business leaders should be asking is: is are these the right educational KPIs and do they translate to growth? 

What matters most in digital upskilling

Digital skills that help employees do their jobs in more innovative and productive ways should be the focus of any corporate learning initiative. This can set your people up for success throughout the rest of their careers. It also helps companies get better mileage out of other digital transformation products they’ve invested in, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Giving employees a customized education to use emerging digital tools, and a do-it-yourself mentality to create their own solutions, can also empower them to make meaningful contributions. Plus, it gives them more time to do higher-value creative and strategic work so they can approach business challenges with an innovative mindset.

Identifying and tying specific business initiatives to an educational platform that uses growth-focused KPIs often results in more relevant upskilling programs—as well as roadmaps for measuring effectiveness and impact.

What traditional KPIs miss

Most learning management systems focus on usage metrics. These are important, but don’t always resonate across the C-suite. Traditional KPIs are geared toward managers, and show  how people take advantage of educational programs.  They usually measure: 

  • Utilization Who is consuming which modules? How often are they logging in? What’s the most popular course?

  • Completion How often do learners quit or drop out of a course before finishing? What are the “most completed” or “most dropped” courses?

  • Achievement Are users passing the tests? Are they achieving certain badges, module levels or milestones?

  • Evaluation/User Satisfaction Are learners rating courses as useful, engaging and interesting?

  • Time spent Which individuals, groups or departments spend the most time on the platform? 

What these KPIs miss is the outcome and business impact.

A junior broker at a commercial real estate company may spend 20 hours taking courses on data automation and blockchain, making her one of the most prolific consumers of the company’s learning platform. But if she can’t put that new knowledge into practice in her daily workflow—such as using blockchain to track proposals and lease drafts through final execution by tenant and landlord—the training doesn’t create much value for the business.

Employees can help identify needed skills and KPIs

One mistake companies make is not identifying the right skills employees need to do their jobs in smarter ways that help grow the business and improve productivity. Many companies don’t even have the means to identify skills people need, which can be a major roadblock to workforce transformation.

They also miss the chance to identify the right KPIs, but employee input can be key. Start by carefully evaluating each department that will participate. Talk with employees to understand specific skills gaps and business challenges the training can help solve. Ask about repetitive tasks eating into their time and where they get stuck. Then discuss what tools they wish existed to help them do their jobs more efficiently. 

Be sure to include leadership development and soft skills training, as well as manager feedback tools and engagement surveys. Determine which groups would benefit from learning design thinking, service design, change management and agile project management, even if those skills aren’t central to current roles.

Companies can also measure impact on recruitment and retention costs with KPIs such as time spent to move candidates through the interview-to-hire process, fully onboard new hires and conduct career-path planning. Other time-consuming processes, such as employee evaluations and 180-degree management surveys, may also benefit from digitization training. This is especially true if the processes involve large amounts of data or performance metrics.

Use case: Those who work in finance often have numerous compliance reports, investor relations materials, audits and other requirements that eat up a ton of time.  

These are ideal for before-and-after-measurement—and automation becomes more pressing when other growth initiatives suffer because of lack of time.

If a compliance report took 250 hours to produce in the past, and data automation tools can help cut that in half, it’s a valuable KPI to track. 

Lean on your employees to help determine which learning KPIs make the most sense for them. They often have the best insights about what’s inefficient and could benefit from digital transformation.

Our 2020 Global Digital IQ study identified the top 5% of companies who say they’re getting significant value from their digital initiatives –payback that includes efficiency, innovation and cost and time savings. Among these “Digital Transcenders,” 92% act on ideas from everyone in the company, not just the higher-ups. Employee input can be a major growth driver. 

Digital Transcenders invest 33% more in digital initiatives.

Some growth-focused KPIs to consider:

  • Revenue gains: The ultimate metric for market competitiveness and successful upskilling

  • Headcount: Are you increasing revenue while adding fewer employees than in the past?

  • Operating margin: A barometer of productivity

  • Net Promoter Scores: A good indicator of client satisfaction for service business and the speed of those outcomes

  • Recruiting: Are you able to attract the best talent?

  • Employee satisfaction: Are surveys, 360 reviews and other indicators improving?

  • Attrition: Are fewer employees leaving for jobs elsewhere?

  • Digital Lab use: Are people spending more time in your digital lab to create and test their ideas?

  • Digital asset creation: Is your library of digital assets growing?

  • Workflow runs: How many workflow actions benefited from digital assets and tools?

  • Estimated hours automated: Can you quantify how many hours are saved by using new digital tools?

  • Data gathering and reports: How many of your key reports can be populated with automated data or upskilling?

  • Dashboard impact: Can dashboards be reimagined with data visualization tools that tell a better story?

  • Automated asset adoption: Is there higher usage of automated assets across the enterprise?

  • Citizen leaders: Are employees participating in chat boards and internal forums to share and discuss their solutions?

  • Progressive innovation: How many of the new digital assets created by employees are downloaded by other employees and later enhanced by other people in the organization?

Digital Transcenders engage in behaviors that drive growth. In fact, they reported 17% higher growth in profit margin than digital laggards in the past three years.

Put your learning KPIs to work

Treat your company’s upskilling journey, and the companion KPIs that measure impact, as a continuously evolving effort that grows over time.

There ought to be short-term goals, like learning specific skills or digital tools. Longer-term, stretch goals could include initiatives like migrating more workstreams and cloud to implementing more complex tools as part of an ongoing digital transformation.

You may discover certain curricula turn out to be a bad fit for some employee groups. Having the right growth-based KPIs can help you pivot and provide more relevant training. You may also be surprised to find that a single module that teaches a core digital skill—such as how to create simple data automation bots or a piece of code—has a far greater impact than you imagined. 

Sending detailed information requests to a short list of vendors can also help assess which skills are most needed. Then you can see which platforms have specific features and benefits that meet your business needs.

Over the past three years, in our own digital journey, PwC reduced the cost of running the business by an amount equal to 3% of total revenue. We also automated more than 6.5 million hours worth of work through digital and automation tools, and increased employee productivity by 6-8%. Now, we’ve created an upskilling platform to help other organizations. 

ProEdge helps companies identify the skills they need to stay relevant, compete and deploy learning plans to help prepare for the future. 

There are four components to ProEdge:

  • Plan identifies acute skills gaps and digital needs across the workforce in addition to the skills needed in the future.

  • Learn helps employees navigate a self-led learning environment to build role-specific digital skills and earn credentials that can advance their careers and enable them to contribute to organizational goals. Mobile-friendly modules are tailored to their skill level with gamification features that keep people engaged.

  • Create gives access to a cloud-based sandbox where employees can practice their new skills and tools (like data visualizations and automations).

  • Share provides employees with an internal social exchange where they can find and share digital assets across the organization. They can also submit new ideas for digital solutions and collaborate with others with the know-how to build on their ideas. It scales innovation and creates a lasting culture of knowledge-sharing and collaboration.

ProEdge helps companies close their digital skill gaps, plan for tomorrow and drive organization-wide innovation.

A collaborative culture can help improve adoption

To get greater adoption and ROI from upskilling, give employees a way to share their success stories with others. When people see others succeeding it drums up enthusiasm, piques curiosity and even sparks healthy competition to be the next company rockstar. 

To foster a collaborative culture, ProEdge includes a social exchange where people can find and distribute digital assets. The component also serves up relevant digital solutions for individual employees based on their role and function. They can see what’s worked for others in their departments on similar projects and apply those tools to help make everyday tasks easier. 

For example, if a finance employee shared a data automation tool her team created allowing them to produce compliance reports in half the time, an employee in the logistics department might be inspired to use that asset to automate crew and equipment scheduling. That could attract the attention of another employee in inventory management who is inspired to add more functionality for purchasing supplies and pricing comparisons. 

The possibilities grow exponentially across an organization. And each of those activities can be tracked through KPIs focused on efficiency gains and process improvement to demonstrate  upskilling’s impact.

Measurable growth and outcomes should be the center of corporate learning. These drivers can give senior leadership more meaningful KPIs to assess ROI than participation and usage data. Growth-focused KPIs can also help improve adoption and the overall success of upskilling programs across your enterprise.

Stay ahead of the curve with PwC ProEdge, the revolutionary way to upskill your people and prepare your organization for tomorrow. This unique platform allows you to pinpoint critical skill gaps and effectively help close them with automatically generated personalized learning pathways. Leading curated content, coursework and hands-on learning empowers your workforce to make an immediate impact at scale. ProEdge enables your people to perform at their highest level—giving them the power to help transform your entire organization.

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Take the first step on a new path toward transforming both your organization and the learning experience of your employees.

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