Ever since my graduation from the Return on Investment program by the ROI Institute, I’ve been a part of the Dutch Community of ROI professionals. We meet about five times a year to discuss our work in proving and augmenting the value of learning and development.

Recently we met at the Dutch Railways’ head office. Our hosts had told us of their desire to make our meetings more action oriented than they had been before. So, right off the bat, we began sharing what we’re working on. There was a tangible energy in the room pretty much as soon as we started.


Working principles
I started doodling some of the things that were being said. The doodle turned into a mind map. My notes into working principles. Here’s a first draft.

Next one of the participants presented a real-life case for us to work on.

A real-life case
The case turned out to be the stuff of dreams. Our fellow professional introduced an annual and compulsory three-day training with two days covering the topics required by law and one, plenary, day that covers who knows what. There were so many wishes for that third and final day that it became a collection of tiny topics. None of which were given the time required to deliver any true performance change.
Here our intrepid ROI professional came to the rescue and offered a workplace solution. Training on the job, augmented with a low threshold performance support tool. The business embraced the idea enthusiastically and it’s already on the verge of being rolled out. High time, really, to start thinking about capturing the ROI of this solution.

The question I’d like to pose in this blog, is ‘where’. Where to capture the ROI of this learning solution? During our meeting four instruments were proposed whereby workplace coaches or team leaders could measure the performance gains. But would we be confusing learning / performance measurement with performance management? The former lies clearly within our remit, but the latter would be more the role of management. If we embrace the first option, we build the tools, if we go for the second, we might have to do some organizational development work for the workplace performance management to be as effective as we’d like it to be.

What do you think? Where should the ROI of workplace learning in this case be captured? At L&D, or during the dialogue between leader and team member? By taking the required measurements ourselves, or by helping the business assess workplace performance gains?