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Measuring the Intangibles of Training


A colleague here at work is conducting a study as part of an assignment for his MBA, into how an organisation might best go about measuring the benefit where investment in people development has been made. Not necessarily the hard face of ROI, perhaps more the intangible benefits that are harder to measure but are I feel generally accepted (within the L&D community at least!) as the true benefits of L&D interventions.
In his words, "What would be really useful is an example of an organization that is particularly good at measuring the outcome of training / development activities.
The theme of the assignment I'm doing is the measurement of intangibles - eg value added by investing in people development etc."
If you are in an organisations that is especially good at this, or know of case study articles etc that would illustrate and support, or even offer an alternative view, then this would be really useful and greatly appreciated.
Many thanks,
Andy Tattersall

4 Responses

  1. Hope this helps
    Hi Andy

    I am a trainer myself – training in Positive Stress Management and thought I might share the measures I build in, which gets great feedback from delegates and their companies alike.

    Prior to my seminars, I undertake a questionnaire, which allows me to make the seminar more relevant to the people attenting and also gives me useful feedback on current trends, feelings etc.

    I also include feedback forms at the end of the sessions.

    This allows me to write a general analysis for the company, although I nly give personal information relating to specific individuals with their permission.

    Each delegate is asked to make commitments to 3 changes in the seminar and they each get one to one feedback from me following the course, which often prompts them to take specific actions.

    Following this, I arrange a meeting with the company to discuss any feedback and have so far, received extremely positive results, including people finding they have kept key members of staff as a result of attenting or have taken remedial action to make their employees feel more valued etc.

    That’s roughly it, but if I can be of further help, please contact me on [email protected]

    Best wishes


  2. Measuring training outcomes
    Hi Andy,

    I worked in a large company where the line manager had to get involved and report back on the progress of any staff member who attended training. This happened twice.

    Once after returning from the training course where they had to assess that the training had covered the right areas and then form a plan with the staff member about how they would implement their learning within their role.

    The second time was three months later when the manager had to review the progress against the agreed plan and assess if the training had been effective.

    The 95% returns showed that 85% of managers felt the training was right and effective.

    The high return rate was partly down to the fact that managers who did not do or return their assessments could not nominate any other staff from their teams onto training.

    The other factor that helps this process is to get managers and staff to describe the improvement in simple terms – what will the trainee, manager and trainee’s colleagues or customers see, hear and feel which is better after the training?

    All the best.

    Nick Hindley, Perspectives Consultancy Ltd.

  3. Measuring intangibles?
    Interesting question…

    Surely by definition intagibles are, well, intangible, and therefore not up for being measured.

    Otherwise they’d be tangible!

    In terms of adding value by investing in people development, what is meant by ‘value’ and who defines that? Why?

    A less tangible benefit may be staff satisfaction measures (OK, tangible, but very much subjective!)

    A way to do this is to find out what matters most to staff, which of these factors are not being addressed too well, and then see how these have improved (?!) as a result of training and other people development interventions – which means you need to understand the drivers and links between these satisfaction factors and the outcome of these interventions. You’ll perhaps also want to find a similar link to the bottom line.

    Out of interest, look at and follow up on some of the research quoted in it.


    Good luck,


  4. Thank you for responding
    Dear Annie, Nick and Martin, thank you all very much for taking the trouble to respond to my query. I realise that in some ways the question is now somewhat “old hat”, but I was looking for an outside view on it rather than merely giving my colleague information on what we do in our own company (which is largely along the lines of your response Nick – less for the no return, no training embargo! Some of our managers might view that as a way of saving budget! (joking, of course!).


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