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Proving the Value of L&D: An interview with Jo Rapley

Proving the Value of L&D

Are you interested in measuring the ROI of training but curious to know how other organisations are doing it?

We spoke with Jo Rapley, the People & Culture Manager of BPS World which was a finalist in the HR Excellence Awards for Best L&D Strategy in 2017, to learn how she measures and communicates the business impact of L&D.

Why is proving the value of L&D so important for your organisation?

L&D is appreciated as a contributing function that supports and impacts our business with hitting our goals and objectives. This appreciation is a result of our senior team understanding how the development of people, teams and leaders directly affect our business’ bottom line.  It is fueled on an underlying belief that ‘People can be more.

How do you measure the ROI of L&D within BPS? And how do you communicate this to the company?

Every employee has a Personal Development Plan (PDP) which links closely to our ‘Stars’ career development programme.  In order to receive a promotion, individuals have to achieve two consecutive sets of quarterly objectives.  This year alone, 42% of our employees have been promoted.  Monitoring our retention rates provides an additional insight into the effectivity of L & D within the business; at the last count - in July this year - we were proud to share our retention rate of 94%.

How is demonstrating the value of L&D different across organisational levels?

At BPS World, we do the same for all organisational levels as we have a strong learning culture running through the business.  For example, all our employees have access to a LinkedIn Learning licences and we provide monthly activity statistics for the whole organization.  This is supported by the monthly commentary of our learning dashboard.

What are the top challenges of proving return on investment and how are you overcoming them?

We’re primarily a sales organization so when we have had a successful quarter there will be a number of people/factors that try to ‘own’ that success.   We therefore set clear qualitative and quantitative objectives at the start of any programme.  Participants are asked to keep a learning log of how that learning has had an impact on their job/team/business and it’s collated  when calculating ROI.

How are the learning logs are used to calculate L&D ROI?

At BPS World each department sets their business plan and submits a budget annually. This feeds into the overall business strategy. During the planning stage, we use the information detailed in our employee’s learning logs to calculate ROI to allow us to justify investment in further L&D interventions. An example of this was an increased retention rate for a team that was struggling with high staff turnover following the manager attending a leadership development programme. The leadership development programme focused on coaching and motivating others. The financial return came from increased revenues generated by the team due to an increase in their motivation.  Additionally, there were cost savings in the recruitment of new team members as the retention rate had increased.

How would you recommend L&D departments get their senior management team engaged with learning/supporting initiatives?

I would recommend that they have an L & D representative at Board level who drives the L & D strategy and ensures the company embodies a learning culture.  Additionally, L & D should adopt a consultative approach with senior managers whereby they seek to understand their L & D needs.  It is paramount that there is open and honest communication, gaining feedback, and acting on it, in pursuit of continuous improvement. Working with Senior Managers to identify subject matter experts in the business - who can deliver relevant training - can help engage managers in creating a learning culture.

Can you describe a moment when you realised employees were recognising the value of training?

At BPS World, our ‘Stars’ career development programme has a clear L & D schedule that sits alongside, and supports, it.  As soon as employees realized that their own careers were hugely impacted by embarking on the L & D programme, we noticed a rise in training requests.  In addition to employees requesting internal training courses we observed an increase in employees wanting to deliver training (peer to peer), more individuals interested in buddying new starters and a rise in demand for LinkedIn Learning Licences.  All clear indicators that employees recognize the value of training.

Could you please briefly explain your ‘Stars’ career development programme?

BPS created the Stars training programme in 2012 to enhance the internal learning and development culture, provide opportunity and drive growth through the organisation. This was in line with their approach to employee development, which enable existing recruiters to develop their skills and progress through the organisation. The opportunities created through the development of the Stars Programme allowed BPS to implement their plans for international growth with their staff, keeping aligned with the company values.

The Stars programme is a three tier Learning and Development programme focussing on developing recruiters from apprentice level to director level.  Each tier has clearly defined career pathways, business objectives and an associate Learning and Development programme, the stages of the programme are called: Rising Stars, Shining Stars and Rock Stars and every member of the organisation is involved with the programme at one of these levels.

What's next in your L&D strategy to further prove the value of talent development at BPS?

A  focus on global strategy; in particular retaining culture through company L&D initiatives whilst remaining agile and embracing regional cultural differences.

Jo Rapley

About Jo Rapley

Jo is responsible for embedding HR within the culture of BPS World.  Working closely with the senior team - and in partnership with managers -  she endeavors to enhance their culture, promote their values, deliver and develop the L&D offering and manage employee relations.

About BPS World

BPS World is a global resourcing partnership, focussed on delivering TTM (Total Talent Management) based in the UK with offices in America, Singapore and central Europe. Their aims and objectives focus on international growth and staff  development – the overarching goal to grow the company and create opportunity for their people.

This interview is part of the U.K. L&D Report 2018.

Download the full report below:

L&D report

What's included?

  • The employee training budgets, training topics, and training methods of organisations in 2018.

  • Practical advice from L&D leaders to help you adopt new technologies, nurture a learning culture, get the most from the apprenticeship levy and measure and promote the value of workplace learning.

  • How learning professionals rate the executive engagement in learning, assess the impact of training and more!

U.K. L&D Report: 2018
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Last updated: 18 Jun 2018

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