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TRAINING

Are you measuring the right metrics for your law firm training program?

By Doug Striker bio

I recently attended a fabulous webinar hosted by LearnUpon, the award-winning company that serves as the platform for our Savvy Academy Learning Management System. This webinar was designed to help learning and development (L&D) professionals quantitatively assess the impact of their training programs.

Let’s face it—this is the biggest challenge of any training or educational program. Are you adding value to your firm? More important to upper management: Does your work contribute positively to the firm’s bottom line?
During the webinar, Frances Kleven, Manager of Customer Success for LearnUpon, discussed:
  • The key reasons leading L&D teams calculate the success of their learning programs.

  • The most valuable metrics you should be recording.

  • How to align your L&D metrics and business goals to develop a high-impact strategy.

If I had to sum up her entire presentation, it would be this: The ROI of your training program must be measured through the financial value it provides the law firm. As she explained, post-training surveys that give your training a 5-star rating do not prove any financial value to your firm. It may simply mean that the content met the learner’s expectations, or that they found it interesting. Both of those are very good measures of the training’s merits, but not whether it provided any financial value to the firm.
But how do you measure training ROI at a law firm?

I personally wanted Frances to map this out for me, step by step. I wanted her to say, “You should measure this metric and this metric, then map that to the firm’s bottom line like this.”

She didn’t do that. Why? Because each company’s goals are different, and your training program must be directly mapped to your firm’s goals. This means that, in order to figure out what metrics you should measure, you need to take a few steps back and ask your firm’s manager what their goals are for the year, or the next five years.
Of course, managers want the firm to be more profitable. Everyone wants that. But how are they planning to achieve that? Examples may be:
  • Improved staff retention: Training can directly support this goal

  • Increased innovation and technology adoption: Training can directly support this goal

  • Increased billable hours: Training can directly support this goal (increased efficiency = more time to add new clients)

Find out what your firm’s business goals are and align your training program to support it. Then, find the data that will prove you are adding financial value to the firm. Frances said that this can be difficult at first. Often, she says that people say the “data doesn’t exist.” She says that it does, but you don’t know it.
Talk to human resources. What data are they collecting about staff retention? What trends could training support? Talk to your CIO about tech adoption plans. What role could training play in streamlining adoption? Talk to your timekeepers. What strains are they facing in their productivity? What improvements could training deliver?
Notably, Frances said, “There may not be a one-to-one correlation between training and the metric you choose, such as employee retention. That doesn’t mean you don’t start measuring!”
 
Essentially, if you don’t start trying to measure your financial impact on the firm, you will never be able to prove its value. So, start somewhere and see where it takes you. Soon, she said, you will find the nugget that delivers the information you need.

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