Learning Analytics

Can employee self-development be measured?

how to measure employee self-development

The working model of many organizations has changed dynamically in the last year. Remote working and digitalization of business processes are establishing new development directions for companies. This is the point at which L&D analytics should be optimized and aligned with what competencies you need in the organization. In the era of remote work, L&D strategy rarely involves training alone. So, the question arises – how do you measure employee self-development?

Self-development in MBO (Management By Objectives)

One source of information for L&D analysis may be OKR management. The established performance or result indicators show whether the development activities implemented in the organization allow it to achieve its objectives. The idea is to provide answers to specific questions, such as whether the development plans of salespeople translate into the number of contracts secured. Or whether knowing how to run projects affects the pace of project completion.

Management By Objectives can also provide the information needed to measure self-development. In learning analytics, it makes sense to consciously use the development OKRs established in companies. When establishing an OKR, focus not only on the goal and its measures but also on how to achieve it.

If you want to measure self-development, it should be considered as early as the stage of defining development OKRs. The first way is to engage the employee is by establishing an OKR. Then they can define for themselves what will the change mean for them and what is the level of self-development they want to achieve. Another way is to impose developmental OKRs on employees while giving them the space to decide for themselves how they would like to achieve the goal. The second approach will work well in organizations where employee autonomy is valued and where the idea of empowerment is alive. In both the first and second cases, the measure included in the OKR is sufficient to assess self-development. 

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Comparing the situation to the baseline

It is important to remember that some of the data that can help assess the growth of employee self-development is already being collected within the company. Then we do not need to conduct any additional research. Learning Analytics can be based on comparing information that has already been gathered over time.

This is well illustrated by the following example. If a company’s goal is to develop managerial competencies, a good measure of whether employee self-development in this area is actually growing is to monitor what percentage of the company’s leaders come from internal recruitment. That is, whether the competencies acquired by your employees grow and are used, or whether the development actions taken translate into talent retention in the organization.

Other data that companies often have is the content of offboarding interviews. It is worth noting how often a lack of self-development opportunities is a reason for leaving a job, and whether this rate changes over time. The turnover rate is also valuable information. As many as 70% of employees report that development opportunities positively influence their decision to stay with an organization. Companies with employees who are not engaged in acquiring new knowledge are twice as likely to see an employee leave in the first 3 years of employment.

Employee engagement as a measure of self-development

Self-development often involves individual characteristics or work methods that may not even be visible at first glance. Change can occur within a person’s way of working or preferred form of relax. Then the employees theoretically perform the tasks over the same period of time, but they are is less stressful or exhausting for them. But this particular self-development can also be measured by data.

Employee engagement surveys, and also their periodic assessment (or one that is conducted within the company), can also provide insights into the level of employee self-development42% of L&D Professionals confirm that employees who are actively engaged in company development programs demonstrate higher overall engagement. This is why an engagement survey can tell us a lot about employee self-development. 

Employee Feedback, especially one in which supervisors or co-workers have the opportunity to express their opinions, also provides information about self-development. This is because you can monitor how an employee has performed in the past and how they are doing now. Colleagues are also the source of information about the level of soft skills in teams.

Self-aware employees

The best source of information about the level of self-development is the employees themselves. They are the ones who know if the development activities they undertake translate to their daily work. To obtain such information, however, the employee must be aware that such a change is occurring in them. They must see they are growing and be able to recognize the results of such growth. Leaders are a good example because their competencies and directions can vary widely. Each team requires a different approach, application of different skills, and a different workload.

Self-awareness is necessary to evaluate one’s self-development over time and under changing conditions. It affects the pace of learning itself, but also allows you to draw more accurate conclusions and evaluate the developmental steps you have taken. This is why the key to measuring self-development of managers may be their sense of self-efficacy.

Learning on the job evaluation

Employees learn most on the job. It is important for them to be able to recognize this knowledge and be able to use it to their advantage, and thus to the advantage of the company. Measuring the effectiveness of learning on the job is possible, for example, in the context of changes that employees have proposed. The number of initiatives and improvements reported will show that employees are looking into their job to find more effective ways to use it to their advantage – it is an evidence of self-development.

Employees, regardless of the positions they hold, have great potential in terms of creativity and development. It can be strengthened while performing daily duties. However, this process needs to be enabled for them. The role of managers is to help value self-development and evaluate the knowledge gained through learning on the job. Employee development conversations during which employees are asked what solutions they have developed and what aspects they would like to work with in the future can prove effective. After such conversations, the managers are the people who can provide information about the level of self-development of the employees on their team.

Self-development can be measured

Measuring employee self-development is much more challenging than checking the effectiveness of training or the level of familiarity with new tools or technical issues. In fact, to measure self-development you need to know what questions you are trying to answer. Do you want to see if employees are satisfied with their self-development? Or does it translate into meeting business objectives? Once you define this question, it becomes much easier to find ways to measure employee self-development in a specific context.

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