learning and development: loop 2 of 6 in talent management

How do you measure learning and development?

The Greeks believed that the “rope of one’s life” was defined by three fates, who spun the thread of life, measured it, and then cut it.

Instead,  imagine that your career can be described using a 10’ long piece of rope. If you dropped the rope at your feet it would look like several messy loops. Most of us choose to believe that we have some impact on the “rope of our careers.

Now imagine that you have a work team of 5 people. If they each had a 10’ long piece of rope and dropped those ropes at your feet, then how would you describe that messy image?

Talent management is a cyclical model frequently described with three loops: attraction, development and retention.  Some of those key metrics include efficiency, effectiveness and outcomes.   A tremendous resource for talent managers who want to demonstrate accountability, like any CFO or business leader, is at

The ultimate goal of talent management should be to retain desired employees, not all employees.

There are actually 6 loops in talent management. Think of your process as 6 inter-related loops that include: talent acquisition, learning and development, leadership development, performance, total rewards, and succession planning.  Here is a definition of each loop, plus some comments.

  1. “Learning and development” services support all of the organizational activities aimed at improving the performance of individuals and groups within the organization. The learning and development process includes addressing gaps in skills, knowledge and competencies, and then building the strategic talent capabilities of the organization through a systematic focus on competence required to meet business objectives. Aspects of learning and development may include job profiles, competency mapping, knowledge management, behaviors, skills, ability tracking, learning content, training, coaching and assessments.

Despite the trend toward digital content delivery, adoption of digital content remains below 20% in most industries. Make certain that you are using short, sensational videos, interactive quizzes, and social followers or gamification to promote goals of instructional designers.   The bottom line? Be careful if investing in digital solutions and expecting high user adoption rates.

The 70:20:10 model for learning and development is a guideline or frame of reference that is now used to both 1) promote learning and 2) restrict learning.   Let us assume that learning results from 70% on-the-job or self-directed learning, 20% from managerial or client feedback, and 10% from courses and reading. Then what does that mean in your organization?

  •             Do you expect to foster innovation internally, by engaging employees or actively managing their professional development plans?
  •             Do you restrict that manager who spends more than 20% of her time and energy on that direct report that has high potential, but lacks procedural knowledge of customer delivery?
  •             Do you invest in external coaching and consulting for your top 20% producers, as a development tool to increase retention some 14 months on average?

We do not need any insight from the Greek fates to measure the impact of learning and development on the “rope of our careers.”

We do need to foster learning communities in order to increase engagement, retain desired employees, and serve our clients and customers.  

If you need help measuring the impact of learning and development for individuals or organizations, then contact us today.