Kirkpatrick Principle 2. Return on expectations (ROE) is the ultimate indicator of value. No, it’s not ROI, it’s ROE! Unlike ROI, which looks to isolate the value of training, ROE looks to create and deliver the value element that stakeholders are really interested in.
ROE are the desired results of any program based on stakeholder input. However, ROE recognises that training alone will only ever contribute to the results actually obtained in the workplace and that a complete package will be needed to gain the desired results. Performance and, in the end, the results, are the role of the staff member and their manager, L&Ds role is to assist and support the on-the-job performance and where possible to be the architects of change. So how does this work? It starts by building trust and credibility with senior executives as well as line managers and supervisors (which we’ll come to in principle 3). All too often the L&D team are asked by managers “I want training”, we pick up the baton and go ahead and deliver training. This may result in some great training, but little in the way of results and return on what the stakeholders really wanted to see happen in the workplace. What we have to do is to ask the right questions at the beginning of the process before we start the design and development of any learning. It may be necessary to push back on the business and say “no, I’m not going to deliver training until everyone really understands what is required to solve the problem” and I can guarantee it will not just involve training as the answer. This honest approach will help us to build strategic partnerships with the senior executives.
In our leadership development work, we have built up a series of questions that we use when first working with an executive management team and which we can share with you here - see the link below. Only once we have these answered do we feel we can start the design process for learning. And it’s surprising when we first ask these questions how often the answer is not as clear as first thought and what differences there are in the expectations of different managers!
So, Kirkpatrick principle 2 is making sure we engage with senior stakeholders and not just accepting the request to deliver training. We must find out what is really needed before we start to head down the learning path, learning may not even be the right answer. In principle 3, business partnership is necessary to bring about positive ROE, we’ll head back to my previous comment of developing great relationships with the business at both strategic and tactical levels.