Talent Development Reporting Principles Part 3: The Three Reports

Talent Development Reporting Principles Part 3: The Three Reports

Last week I introduced the three statements recommended as part of the evolving standards for L&D called Talent Development Reporting Principles (TDRP). Those three statements are business outcomes, effectiveness, and efficiency. This week I want to discuss the three recommended reports which are the L&D Summary Report, L&D Program Report, and L&D Operations Report. These are intended for managers and decision makers to use in managing and overseeing the L&D function. Each report is designed to answer the same questions: how are we doing versus plan and how is the year going to end.

Recall that the three statements are intended to organize and standardize all the important L&D measures just as the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement do for accounting measures. The reports are intended to pull key measures from the statements to be used in the management of the L&D function. Consequently, they will be highly customized to reflect the measures that are most important for a particular function. Although the chosen measures will differ by organization, each report should show the same columns or information: last year’s results, this year’s plan, year-to-date (YTD) results, YTD results as a percent of plan, and a forecast for the year. These are the same columns in a statement with the addition of a forecast column. The reports may have additional columns but these are the minimum. These reports should be produced at least quarterly and, in most cases, monthly. They should be 1-2 pages in length and should be interpreted for the audience either in a face-to-face presentation or in writing with a focus on summary conclusions and recommendations.

The Three Reports

The first report is the L&D Summary Report which includes key measures from all three statements. It is designed to be used by business and learning executives (CEO, CLO, etc.) and will contain higher-level, aggregated information about the most important initiatives and measures. Typically, the L&D Summary Report will include key business outcome measures (including the impact of learning), key effectiveness measures (like feedback, learning and application), and key efficiency measures (like number of unique and total participants, number of courses and hours, reach, utilization rates, cycle times, budget and opportunity costs, and cost reduction).
The second report is the L&D Program or Initiative Report. The target audience for this report is learning executives who manage programs, people and budget, including the CLO, directors and program managers. The report is designed to manage programs and initiatives on a monthly basis to deliver the planned results. Consequently, it will be more detailed and focused than the L&D Summary Report. Typically, it will include the organization goal, learning’s impact on that goal, number of participants, number of courses, completion dates for development and delivery, and levels 1-3 (including the sample size).
The third report is the L&D Operations Report. The target audience is the same as the L&D Program Report: learning executives. The purpose of the report is to manage L&D operations efficiently. This report will contain the most important measures from the efficiency report, focusing on those key efficiency measures which will be actively managed on a monthly basis.
Hopefully, these three blogs have piqued your interest in this effort to bring reporting standards to our profession. Read more about TDRP at KnowledgeAdvisors.com where you can link to the full report from the home page and let me know what you think.

David Vance is the former President of Caterpillar University, which he founded in 2001. Until his retirement in January 2007, he was responsible for ensuring that the right education, training, and leadership were provided to achieve corporate goals and efficiently meet the learning needs of Caterpillar and dealer employees. Prior to this position, Dave was Chief Economist and Head of the Business Intelligence Group at Caterpillar Inc. with responsibility for economic outlooks, sales forecasts, market research, competitive analysis, and business information systems.

Dave now consults with organizations on learning and performance issues with a particular focus on designing effective strategies for managing the learning function, including alignment, governance, organization, and measurement. His firm is Manage Learning LLC. Dave is a frequent speaker at learning conferences and association meetings. He also conducts workshops and simulations on managing the learning function.

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