Ideas On Global Learning
To date, more than 24,000 employees have been trained on the fundamentals of Sun Sigma. More than 1,000 executives have been trained as Sun Sigma "Champions" through online learning and classroom experiences. And more than 100 employees are Sun Sigma "Black Belts," signifying the highest level of leading Sun Sigma projects.
To effectively deploy a global learning program for thousands of employees, the company needed to integrate testing and assessment tools throughout the learning process. Program coordinators began by identifying the desired skills for a successful outcome and then identified where the gaps needed to be filled. They measured the performance of employees as they completed learning segments. They rigorously tracked results of on-the-job improvements through verifiable cost reduction, product improvement and customer satisfaction.
"In today's corporate world, most learning takes place outside of a managed learning environment, and the ROI for learning is universally overlooked," said Mike Wenger, senior director, Center for Learning Innovation and Effectiveness at Sun Microsystems. "Companies need to design an overall plan for bringing learning systems into the corporate vision. Testing and assessment is a key component to building accountability into the system. Organizations need a clearly developed assessment strategy with measured results to achieve this desired accountability."
How effectively organizations can measure the results of their training objectives has caught the attention of the financial community. What a company knows—what its employees know—and what those employees do with that knowledge has real value. Yes, knowledge is intangible, but much of today's corporate value is associated with intangible factors. The more effectively you can measure and prove knowledge, the more likely you can turn learning into a tangible corporate benefit.
Consider this: A four-year study by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) shows that firms that invest $1,500 per employee in training compared to those that spend $125 experience on average 24 percent higher gross profit margins and 218 percent higher income per employee.
In today's economy, all expenses require justification. You are faced with a daunting challenge. You need to implement a learning program that will successfully educate employees on key objectives, provide course designers and facilitators with timely feedback to improve quality and offer senior management bottom-line justification. Furthermore, you must implement twice as many programs with half as many resources as you had last year. It seems an insurmountable task. Consider that the complete integration of testing and assessment tools and programs can give you the data and feedback you need to prove not only that your program is meeting its objectives of training employees effectively, but also that the organization is receiving some real, tangible benefits because of its existence.