Responsive Orgs: What the Literature Says

Posted on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019 at 7:00 PM    

It feels like every time we turn around another post, article, video, or report is discussing the changing nature of, well … everything. We’re constantly inundated with information showing the dynamic and ever-evolving world in which we live and work.

Rethinking How We Do Business: Responsivity

In previous times – when organizations could reasonably predict their environment for the foreseeable future – it was easier to set a course of action and revisit the plan every 3 or 5 years. That no longer works today. Businesses must now find a way to adapt and to change in ways that don’t become obsolete in the same amount of time it took to strategize about those changes.

So, what kind of organization will survive in the future?

Our prediction – the responsive organization.

But what exactly is a responsive organization and what steps can organizations take now to be more responsive?

Our current (working) definition of a responsive organization is:

An organization that identifies change, determines trends, and responds in ways that turns change and disruption into a distinct organizational advantage.

To begin understanding these organizations in more detail, we looked at more than 50 academic and business articles, reports, and books for this literature review.

What we saw

It may not come as a surprise that academic literature isn't flooded with research on the concept of “responsive organizations.” However, the concept has loosely been described throughout popular press and the foundational ideas have been rigorously studied. We looked at any concept we thought would help us uncover what makes an organization responsive (i.e., agility, decision-making, engagement, motivation, rewards, learning, empowerment, technology, performance management).

In reviewing the literature, we uncovered 5 themes of responsive organizations:

  • Structure is still needed, but rigidity won’t work
  • Authority and power can’t be held by the few
  • Empowerment leads to chaos if learning is lacking
  • The human element is a distinct advantage, now more than ever
  • Technology has an increasing role as a supporting actor

Structure is still needed, but rigidity won’t work

There's a general agreement that traditional hierarchical structures are barriers for organizations wanting to be more responsive. These organizational structures were set up to address efficiency – as though humans would always just make widgets on an assembly line. However, work is no longer done in a linear manner and efficiency limits responsivity – to customers, changing market conditions, new technology, etc. The modern world of work requires a network of individuals and teams that balances stability and flexibility.

More specifically, responsive organizations remove layers – opting for flat, more networked, team-based structures. Working in a network enables businesses to organize around what matters most (i.e., specific challenges, products, knowledge, customers, markets) and to remove traditional notions of control and authority. Yes, there are some decisions that should be made by leaders and within a centralized structure but, by in large, there's a lot more opportunity for the employees who are doing the work on the frontlines to identify problems and take action on solutions.

Regardless of the actual structure, the key point is that old models which primarily emphasize command-and-control operations will become increasingly less effective in the future. Instead, organizations have to provide enough structure to direct work but be flexible enough to evolve in real-time. This idea of flexible, network-based organizational structure is central to the idea of the responsive organization.

Authority & power can’t be held by the few

One of the key benefits of more network-based, flexible structures is the ability to facilitate decentralized decision-making and shared leadership. In traditional models, authority is held by the few and decisions trickle down to workers lower in the hierarchy in a (slow) process. Responsive organizations recognize that power can no longer be held just by the few and embrace the idea of shared leadership. Power – the authority to make decisions and to act on behalf of the organization – has to be pushed down to the people closest to the challenges being solved.

A cautionary note: This doesn't mean that managerial roles or leadership roles should become obsolete. In fact, they’re more important in responsive organizations. However, their roles will continually evolve into coaching and developing people rather than managing tasks and timelines.1

Responsive organizations trust their employees and provide the psychological safety necessary for employees to know they won’t be punished if they act – in good faith – on behalf of the organization. This is critical. Evidence suggests that, when employees feel trusted, it positively impacts performance and these employees are more likely to make extra effort outside of their role.2

Decentralized decision-making and sharing authority are more than simply telling employees they can make their own decisions. Responsive organizations create cultures that value entrepreneurialism and encourage – even reward – employees for coming up with solutions.

“The need for organizational sharing of information, decision making and responsibility among project team members requires a new paradigm of how data and personal relationships will flow.”3

All that said, responsive organizations also understand that strong organizational norms, articulated accountability, and organizational controls are still needed. These set boundaries for employees and help them interpret shared authority through the same lens – ensuring that employees know when leadership needs to be involved.

Empowerment leads to chaos if learning is lacking

Traditional command-and-control models can impede how quickly individuals identify and address skill gaps. When individuals have little insight on strategy and no authority to make decisions, in real-time, they're simply doing a job. They’re not as often confronted with the reality of what’s needed next for them to be able to succeed.

On the other hand, responsive organizations are pushing individuals to operate in roles not easily defined. They're giving employees insights on the vision, strategy, and goals of the organization so employees can better respond to customers. But to respond effectively to customers, employees need to have the skills, capabilities, and knowledge necessary to meet customers’ existing and future needs. This requires employees to be continuously learning both the skills they need to perform today and those necessary to prepare for the future.

Unfortunately, our recent research suggests that a majority of organizations are falling short in helping employees learn and prepare for the future. Less than 50% of organizations are providing an environment to facilitate information-sharing, encouraging continuous learning, or helping employees identify what's needed for future success (see Figure 1).


Figure 1. Developing and Preparing Employees for the Future | Source: RedThread Research, 2019.

Employees in responsive organizations are constantly faced with the reality of their own limitations and must work quickly to address these. This requires responsive organizations to place learning and development (L&D) at a premium for 2 reasons:

  1. Giving employees the power and authority to act on behalf of the organization and to take charge of problem-solving is great, unless they don’t have the necessary skills and abilities to actually do this.
  2. Expecting individuals to operate in roles, not jobs, means they need to also identify where the skill or knowledge gaps are among the team and find a way to fill those.

Responsive organizations are also learning organizations that push individuals to continuously build upon their capabilities and teach employees how to learn.

The human element is a distinct advantage – now more than ever

It would be great if we could read the “Responsive Organization Playbook” and see a few chapters on structure, authority and decision-making rights, and L&D, and call it a day. But the truth is, there’s a human element in responsive organizations that is often overlooked when reading up on organizational agility (a term similar to and highly related to responsive organizations).

Responsive organizations balance profit with purpose.4 Sure, organizations have to make profit to survive, but “rather than viewing profit as the primary goal of an organization, progressive leaders see profit as a byproduct of success.5” That means, responsive organizations are clearly attuned to the human side of their organization – creating 2-way channels of communication to understand their talent beyond the profit they provide.

This enables responsive organizations to create cultures that are intrinsically motivating6 – creating an employee experience that minimizes control and micromanagement, and increases individual agency and competence. These cultures recognize and reward progress, not just goal attainment.

Technology’s role as a supporting actor

The sheer volume and speed of information coming into and out of organizations necessitates the use of technology. In fact, many of the articles we read highlight a need for organizations to leverage technology to capture and interpret data both within the organization and external to the organization. This is especially true for responsive organizations. Next-generation technology has to be embraced by the organizations of the future.7

This doesn't mean that technology should be seen as something which will come in and disrupt the human element of the workforce. In fact, responsive organizations will need to identify the unique attributes that humans bring to the workforce and leverage technology in a way which enables people to do deeper, more creative work.

Just as responsive organizations need to create flexible, networked, and agile structures – they also need to invest in technologies, systems, and tools that will evolve with them. More importantly, disparate technologies have to be able to seamlessly integrate with each other. Employees are tired of leaving one system to manually enter data into another system about what they just completed in the first system. Unfortunately, this is the reality in many organizations – technologies aren’t integrated with each other and many don’t fit into the flow of work.

The truth is, there are a lot of great technologies out there, and many solutions are trying to provide seamless integration in the flow of work. But we aren’t sure we’re quite there – yet. This suggests to us that responsive organizations may need to think differently about their technological architecture and use a buy-and-build approach to ensure they're arming their people with access to the right information, at the right time, and in the right way.

What caught our attention

Of the literature we reviewed, several pieces stood out to us. Each of the pieces below contained information that we found useful and / or intriguing. We learned from their perspectives and encourage you to do the same.

The Operating Model That’s Eating the World

Aaron Dignan

“These companies are lean, mean, learning machines. They have an intense bias to action and a tolerance for risk … They are obsessed with company culture and top tier talent, with an emphasis on employees that can imagine, build, and test their own ideas. They are driven by a purpose greater than profit….”


  • Discusses the responsive organization from 5 key components, including purpose, process, people, products, and platforms
  • Highlights the shift in each component of the responsive organization
  • Gives an example of an organization that has made the appropriate shift in each area

This article gets us excited about the responsive organization of the future. It gives a simple overview of the components of the organization that need to be reimagined and calls out the organizations that have made shifts in these areas.

The Future of Organizations is Responsive

Mike Arauz

“This difference – between optimizing for certainty vs. optimizing for uncertainty – is at the core of what separates successful organizations from everyone else.”


  • Illustrates that organizations are thriving – and will continue to – because they are responding to disruption by creating new ways of working
  • Argues that traditional structures impede resource availability
  • Suggests that responsive organizations optimize for uncertainty, rather than certainty

This video presentation (slides and transcription provided) illustrates why work isn’t working anymore and provides a compelling argument for organizations that embrace uncertainty. In addition, the presentation highlights where technology is best-suited to support organizations and where the qualities unique to human (creativity, collaboration, etc.) should be leveraged.

Elements of a Responsive Organization

Dean Kimpton

“The idea of placing purpose before profit, is not about blind altruism, but attracting the interest of people.”


  • Gives a short review of the ideas central to responsive organizations
  • Discusses the potential upside in risk and failure
  • Outlines the link between engagement and responsiveness

This quick read offers a fast skim of what makes an organization responsive and outlines a few reasons why. It also highlights what organizations should consider when trying to measure responsiveness.

The Four Intrinsic Rewards that Drive Employee Engagement

Kenneth Thomas

“ requires workers to make a judgment – about the meaningfulness of their purpose, the degree of choice they have for doing things the right way, the competence of their performance, and the actual progress being made toward fulfilling the purpose.”


  • Argues that intrinsic motivation is essential when workers are asked to self-manage
  • Highlights the factors involved in whether a worker is likely to experience intrinsic motivation
  • Discusses each fact in the context of how organizations can create a high-engagement culture

This article provides an overview of current thinking about intrinsic motivation. It highlights the 4 components that help individuals determine whether they are intrinsically motivated, including meaningful purpose, choice, competent performance, and progress toward purpose. It also provides 7 recommendations for how to build a more intrinsically rewarding environment to boost engagement.

The Darkside of Transparency

Julian Birkinshaw and Dan Cable / McKinsey & Company

“We’re getting used to transparency in our lives … But transparency can also cause pain without much gain.”


  • Summarizes the potential benefits of transparency within organizations, but cautions where this can go awry
  • Suggests there are certain times and internal practices that shouldn't be open to radical transparency
  • Discusses the role of transparency in daily activities, employee rewards, and creative work

There's an increased discussion around sharing information and pushing it down to the right levels. With that discussion comes the debate around transparency. This article highlights that debate, suggesting there might be times when privacy wins out over radical transparency.

Overall impressions

When we started this research, we weren’t sure what we’d find. To be honest, there isn’t a lot of information outside of the popular press to help organizations understand what the idea means. It’s still a bit of a muddy concept, and we had to get creative about the avenues we took to research topics that supported this concept. However, in taking a step back, we see that yes, it is a thing – a real thing that’s more than just organizational agility.

Responsivity requires organizations to:

  • Rethink how they're structured
  • Invest substantially in learning
  • Give up control, and push leadership and decision-making down
  • Embrace technology
  • Rethink the importance of the qualities unique to the human-side of their enterprise

Additional readings

  1. "Responsive Organization Practices: Lessons from Pepisco, AirBNB, and Charity: Water," Responsive Organization Practices – Responsive Org – Medium, Seidman, D., 2018.
  2. "Adaptability: The New Competitive Advantage," Harvard Business Review, Reeve, M. and Deimler, M., 2011.
  3. "Linking Empowering Leadership and Employee Creativity: The Influence of Psychological Empowerment, Intrinsic Motivation, and Creative Process Engagement,” Academy of Management Journal, Zhang, X. and Bartol, K.M., 2010.
  4. "Knowledge Sharing in Teams: Social Capital, Extrinsic Incentives, and Team Innovation," Group & Organization Management, Hu, L. and Randel, A.E., 2014.
  5. "The 5 Trademarks of Agile Organizations," McKinsey & Co., the McKinsey Agile Tribe, 2017.

Frontline Workers: Differences in Performance Management Practices?

Posted on Tuesday, October 15th, 2019 at 8:18 PM    

This article is a continuation of our recent study, The Makings of Modern Performance Management. Specifically, it explores the practices of performance management (PM) as they relate to frontline workers: Are they currently treated differently? Should they be?

Frontline workers are those in customer-facing or product-making positions. While they're often overlooked, frontline workers play a fairly significant role in providing a great customer experience. And, as markets get more competitive and customers become more informed, organizations are relying more heavily on customer experience to compete.

The Criticality of Frontline Workers

Forward-thinking organizations have looked at frontline workers differently in the last few years. Whereas they were once seen as cogs in a machine (who, it was believed, just work for a paycheck, are inherently disengaged12), they're now seen as a source of future leaders, innovation, and a strong customer experience.3

We think that, as the focus on these workers increases, organizations will take a closer look at their PM practices – perhaps reevaluating how these workers are measured, engaged, and developed.

We recently looked at more than 20 academic and business articles, reports, and book chapters to better understand these changes. Not surprisingly, some of the things we learned align nicely with what we found in our modern performance management model.

What we learned

From our review of the literature, it appears that organizations are waking up to the notion that many workers on the frontlines have significant impact on customer experience,4 and as such, need more attention. As an example, a 2018 study by The Institute of Customer Service shows that increasing employee engagement also increases customer satisfaction.5

In general, we uncovered a collective urgency to move frontline performance management away from traditional operational-driven approaches to more modern development-driven ones.

Three overall themes emerged from our review of the literature:

  • Frontline workers need empowerment
  • Frontline managers play an important role and should be held accountable for performance development – their own as well as their workers
  • Frontline engagement likely requires moving away from industrial-era performance management approaches

We take a look at each of these in the following sections.

Frontline workers: Empowerment

With the current focus on customer experience and its perceived role in driving market competitiveness, there is a general sense that frontline workers need to be better empowered.

To do this, forward-thinking organizations are using development to equip frontline workers – especially those directly serving customers – with soft skills (anywhere from emotional intelligence and communication skills to problem-solving and conflict resolution) so they can better address customers’ needs.6

Additionally, real-time and individualized feedback are also seen as ways to empower frontline workers7,8 – including those in manufacturing roles – to think critically, solve problems, and make effective on-the-spot decisions.9

Frontline managers: Accountability for performance development (theirs and their workers)

The bulk of the literature on frontline performance management focuses on managers. The idea that frontline managers play a crucial role in the development of frontline workers is widely accepted (and aligns with what we found more broadly in our recent research as well). Most of the pieces we read mentioned the lack of accountability for the development of their people as a pervasive problem among frontline managers.

Some advocate for offering more formal training to frontline managers in traditional performance management aspects such as: giving and receiving feedback, engaging in frequent 1:1 conversations, setting goals, and addressing performance concerns. This suggests that organizations are beginning to rethink the role of frontline manager from enforcer and doer to manager as coach. While it may seem generally appropriate, it will require changes to their responsibilities and mindset, not to mention to the systems and processes that support them.

Frontline engagement: Leave behind industrial-era PM approaches

The literature suggests that performance management practices for frontline workers are somewhat stuck in the industrial era. And if we ever want to build a fully engaged frontline workforce, then organizations need to re-think how they currently evaluate and address frontline performance.

For example, there is a tendency to measure frontline workers against operational efficiency metrics such as: hours clocked, calls handled, and products assembled. While tracking these metrics may be necessary at times, organizations are itching to improve frontline performance in a more developmental manner,10 and as such, bring more value to customers. Some recognize the importance of connecting frontline workers’ performance to the organization’s mission and making sure that frontline workers see the big picture.11

There also seems to be a desire to make performance management for managers and employees more meaningful – moving it away from only a transactional process focused on hard skills to a developmental process also focused on soft skills.12 This is in large part driven by the current focus on providing a positive and compelling experience for both employees and customers.

What we read

Several pieces stood out from the literature we reviewed. Each of the following pieces explored ideas that we found useful in expanding the way we think about frontline performance management.

Frontline Workers and the Skills for Tomorrow’s Economy

College for America

“Even jobs considered ‘entry level,’ or frontline, such as call center customer service reps, require workers to do more than merely handle a transaction; technology now handles those straightforward processes.”

This article defines U.S. frontline workers. It also describes industries with the greatest number of frontline workers and the specific skills they need to be able to fill market needs.


  • Defines frontline workers, their demographics, current skills, and the skills they need to develop to compete in the marketplace.
  • Offers a framework for evaluating frontline workers' skills.
  • Recommends developing frontline workers in higher-level cognitive and soft skills such as: problem-solving, critical-thinking, and relationship-building.

Developing America’s Frontline Workers

Kevin Oakes and Kevin Martin / i4cp

“Companies need to be clear on the positive business impact of frontline worker development, provide the support mechanisms to reinforce this, and measure it through the performance review process and reward (or hold accountable) managers accordingly.”

This report presents findings from a study on development practices for frontline workers among 365 US-based businesses. It describes the increasing demand for skilled workers to fill US-based jobs. It discusses the need for greater frontline manager involvement and accountability for frontline worker development.


  • Shows a high correlation between bottom-line business impact and when frontline workers take advantage of development opportunities.
  • Examines the current skill level of frontline workers and emphasizes the need to upskill this segment of the workforce for future growth.
  • Supports the idea that managers serve as coaches and mentors to those on the frontlines.

Ten Steps to Supercharge Performance Management

Tony DiRomualdo / American Management Association

“HPOs replace annual or semiannual formal performance reviews with regular (monthly or quarterly) informal discussions between frontline managers and their direct reports. This establishes better communication and helps to both maintain consistent focus on what needs to be done and gauge progress.”

This article outlines ten ways in which organizations can improve their performance management practices. It also provides ideas on how organizations can improve the effectiveness of performance management practices for frontline workers and their managers.


  • Discusses the importance of creating an environment of ongoing frequent conversations between frontline workers and managers.
  • Proposes maintaining a consistent performance management culture throughout the organization to gain buy-in and enable high performance.
  • Emphasizes the need to train frontline managers on effective performance management practices.

Frontline Managers: Are They Given the Leadership Tools to Succeed?

Harvard Business Review Analytic Services

“…feedback managers receive is largely punitive: ‘Only negative feedback when failures happen. Punishment in the form of bad performance reviews, notices of corrective action, and terminations are the rewards for failure’…”

This article highlights findings from an online survey to HBR’s readers aimed at understanding the importance of frontline managers to organizational success. It discusses frontline managers’ influence on key organizational outcomes. Yet, it contrasts frontline managers’ importance to organizational success with the lack of managerial effectiveness.


  • Describes how frontline managers are crucial in helping organizations reach business goals.
  • States that few organizations invest sufficient time and resources in the professional development of frontline managers.
  • Argues that frontline managers lack basic leadership competencies and need further development.

Unlocking the Potential of Frontline Managers in Global Health

Arnab GhatakSrishti Gupta, and Ying Sun / McKinsey

“…the typical frontline manager is time strapped, multitasking, and lacking critical elements needed for success: an understanding of priorities, management skills, motivation, autonomy, and information.”

This article examines frontline managers in a healthcare setting. It outlines specific challenges that frontline managers face in their role and suggests six ideas for improvement. It also provides examples of successful frontline management development programs in health-related facilities globally.


  • Mentions the adoption of a service industry framework to better understand and relate to customer-facing employees.
  • Suggests a 6-pronged approach to support frontline managers in healthcare settings throughout developing countries.
  • Advocates for disciplined performance management practices to motivate and develop frontline managers.

Other good reads (if you have some time)

1 “Developing Skilled Workers: A Toolkit for Manufacturers on Recruiting and Training a Quality Workforce,” The Manufacturing Institute, 2019.

2 “How to Motivate Frontline Employees,” McGregor, L. & Doshi, N., Harvard Business Review, 2018.

3 “Front Line Staff, the Patient Experience and Your Bottom Line – Avoiding the Cultural Hourglass,” Warren, B. & Kinney, T., Select International, 2015.

4 “Maximizing Frontline Sales in Retail Banking,” Maxwell, M, Derraik, R., & Ross, E., McKinsey, 2014.

Employee Experience: What the Experts Say

Posted on Thursday, June 27th, 2019 at 6:41 PM    

Why is employee experience so sizzling?

Employee experience (EX) is hot. Don’t believe us? Just check out how it has trended on Google over the last decade.

While the term “EX” just sounds smart and snappy, there are more substantive reasons for the increased focus on employee experience, such as changing demographics,1 a hypercompetitive talent market,2 and business’ ravenous need for innovation.3 The heightened emphasis on EX is such that, in a global 2018 study of five hundred CHROs, 83% of organizational leaders emphasized a positive employee experience as crucial to organizational success.4

All this EX talk led us to some “burning” questions like, what exactly is this secret “employee experience” hot sauce? And if your organization chooses to focus on it, how do you approach it? And will it live up to all the hype?

To get our answers, we read the most relevant published works on employee experience, ranging from as early as 2011 to as recently as a few months ago (though the bulk of the articles were from the past three years). We also looked at related topics, such as employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and technology. In all, we examined over 60 scholarly and business articles, reports, blogs, and books.

This article gives you the highlights of what we learned and suggests publications for further reading. Here’s what you’ll find below:

  • What we saw
  • What caught our attention
  • Additional literature we recommend

What we saw:

We identified six primary themes within the literature we reviewed:

  1. Employee experience: A combination of employees’ perceptions and interactions
  2. Employee experience and engagement: Related but different
  3. Symbiosis: At the heart of employee experience
  4. Multi-method listening: Key to understanding employee experience
  5. HR: Not the only one responsible for employee experience
  6. Technology: Clarifying and enhancing employee experience

1. Employee experience: A combination of employees’ perceptions and interactions

It turns out, lots of folks have different employee experience “recipes” – meaning there’s no universal definition for employee experience. Instead, we found a range of definitions, such as:

  • How difficult it is to get work done and how people are expected to behave5
  • How the work environment and work habits enable employees to perform their jobs6
  • How employees interact with the physical environment, social connections, and work tasks7

We found the most convincing definitions, though, to be those that took a macro-level perspective and argued that employee experience originates in employees’ perceptions and interactions.8, 9 These perceptions are subjective interpretations of what employees encounter, observe, or feel in their interactions with the organization.10 Interactions are further described as the intersection of cultural, technological, and physical elements of the work environment with employees’ expectations, needs, and wants.11

2. Employee experience and engagement: Related but different

Employee experience and engagement are often used as synonyms, but our review of research-based articles underscores that these are different (though related) concepts.

For example, engagement and employee experience differ in their top-down vs. bottom-up approach.12, 13 Employee engagement is seen as a top-down concept because organizational leaders choose strategies that impact engagement scores. On the other hand, employee experience is seen as a bottom-up concept because it focuses on those perceptions and interactions employees have – not just on the measured engagement score.

Another difference between employee experience and employee engagement is that experience is described as the cause, whereas engagement is described as the effect.14 The combination of what organizations do, say, and give (experience) influences what employees see, feel, and hear (engagement).

These perspectives bring the employee front and center. They highlight the influential role that organizations play in how employees behave and approach their work.

3. Symbiosis: At the heart of employee experience

Just like honeybees and flowers, a positive employee experience results in a mutually beneficial relationship for both employees and organizations. This relationship is based on the impact that a positive employee experience has on engagement:

  • Organizations with transformational leaders and a supportive work environment – both aspects of employee experience – have better employee engagement, based on a comprehensive review of 214 studies.15
  • Employees with a high level of engagement are healthier and feel an overall sense of wellbeing. In contrast, employees with a low level of engagement experience more illnesses, stress, and burnout.

While this is great news for employees, they are not the only ones that benefit. While there is plenty of research that indicates a positive relationship between employee engagement and business outcomes, there is also research that indicates organizations receive business value directly from a positive employee experience. Specifically, companies with a strong employee experience have twice the innovation and customer satisfaction and have higher profits than organizations with a weaker employee experience.16

4. Multi-method listening: Key to understanding employee experience

More organizations are starting to recognize the dynamic nature of employee experience and the need to account for spontaneous and deliberate interactions.17 A dynamic employee experience evolves when employees interact with the organization in organic ways or through specific touchpoints.

To view the entire employee experience picture, organizational leaders increasingly want effective ways to measure both constant and sporadic interactions. Thus, a multi-method listening approach is gaining popularity.18 In addition to pulse or touch-point triggered surveys, organizations are also exploring the use of wearable technology devices and social networking applications to collect frequent data from various sources.19, 20

5. HR: Not the only one responsible for employee experience

Employee experience is often viewed as the primary responsibility of human resources or talent management functions. However, that viewpoint is changing.

HR does not own most aspects of employee experience, whether you measure it via “touchpoints” (42%) or “moments of truth” (78%).21 Instead, business managers or other non-HR support functions own them.

Thus, some authors recommend building a cross-functional coalition where members can approach employee experience from different, yet complementary angles based on their expertise.22 This cross-functional coalition includes shared accountability across HR, marketing, IT, finance, and facilities to design a positive employee experience.

6. Technology: Clarifying and enhancing employee experience

Technology provides an opportunity to better understand employee experience. It clarifies what employees want, value, and need. In fact, most CHROs (57%) believe that technology enables them to prioritize budget and time investments on employee experience.23

Organizational leaders also recognize that technology enables them to analyze, automate, and collaborate when designing a positive employee experience. For example, more technology vendors are offering artificial intelligence capabilities that provide a deeper view of employee experience than ever before.24

There is also an increased focus on providing a personalized digital experience that resembles what employees encounter as consumers. Employees want technology that enables them to communicate and connect with others in the organization.25 They also want technology that anticipates their needs and streamlines administrative processes. A large global survey highlights that most workers prefer digital as opposed to personal interactions to handle HR tasks.26

But there is a large gap between the technology that employees encounter at work and the one they encounter as consumers. To address it, organizations want to offer digital solutions that enable collaboration, anticipate employees’ needs, and appeal to individual preferences.

What caught our attention:

Of the literature we reviewed, we found the articles below particularly intriguing and useful. We learned from their perspectives and encourage you to do the same.

Maximizing the Employee Experience: How Changing Workforce Dynamics are Impacting Today’s Workplace

Dr. Brad Harrington

"Taking a systems-oriented approach as the foundation of an organization’s people strategy will require more cross-functional collaboration with HR’s various functions and much greater alignment and integration with organizational leaders."


  • Summarizes the significant workplace trends that influence organizations trying to positively impact employees' experience.
  • Describes the importance of developing and establishing an integrated people strategy that considers the organization’s mission, values, and workforce expectations.
  • Suggests that using a seven-step change management model may help in maximizing a positive employee experience.

Building Business Value with Employee Experience

Kristine Dery and Ina Sebastian

“In our research, companies with great employee experience  (i.e., low work complexity, and strong behavioral norms for collaboration, creativity, and empowerment) were more innovative and profitable and had higher levels of customer satisfaction.”


  • Discusses findings from MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research’s recent global survey on employee experience.
  • Defines employee experience according to work complexity and behavioral norms.
  • Connects a positive employee experience to innovation, customer satisfaction, and profitability.
  • Provides recommendations on how to build a positive employee experience through digital capabilities and leadership.

Employee Experience vs. Engagement, and 3 Things You Should Start Thinking About Now

David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom

“As leaders, employee experience is something we all should start looking at seriously… because, like it nor not, there’s a silent revolution taking place with employees all over the world. And, if we do our best, we will see those engagement scores move in the right direction.”


  • Discusses differences between employee experience and employee engagement.
  • Provides examples of ways in which organizations have tried to foster a positive employee experience.
  • Offers suggestions to build a positive employee experience by focusing on organizational culture, flexibility, and storytelling.

With CX, Engaged Employees Mean Everything

Bruce Temkin

“In companies that lead in CX, 75% of employees are highly or moderately engaged.”


  • Connects customer experience to organizational culture and internal processes.
  • Substantiates the notion that a positive customer experience is linked to highly or moderately engaged employees.
  • Recommends specific actions to increase engagement via the “Five I’s of Employee Engagement.”

Designing Employee Experience: How a Unifying Approach Can Enhance Engagement and Productivity

Eric Lesser, Janet Mertens, Maria-Paz Barrientos, and Meredith Singer

"Applying a holistic, iterative design approach to change can help ensure that employees see improvements relevant to their work and can set their expectations for continuous intervention."


  • Identifies factors that shape employee experience such as work-based relationships, the design of employees’ physical work environment, and the tools employees use in their work-related activities.
  • Emphasizes the importance of personalization, transparency, simplification, authenticity, and organizational responsiveness as ways for organizations to enhance employee experience.
  • Offers suggestions to design a positive employee experience through using analytics, understanding and investing in crucial touchpoints, and building a coalition.

How AI Can Help Redesign The Employee Experience

Forbes Insights

“The hope isn’t simply for AI to ensure smarter, faster hiring, but to improve the entire lifecycle of the employee experience, from job application to exit interview. In other words, can AI make workers happier?”


  • Identifies ways in which AI can create a positive employee experience.
  • Mentions specific tech vendors that gather data and provide insights into an organization’s employee engagement, manager effectiveness, communication, talent development, and organizational culture.
  • Describes how AI technologies can provide a “consumerized” employee experience to address HR needs.

Additional Recommended Reads:

  1. The Employee Experience in 2019,” Charong Chow, SocialChorus, 2019.
  2. The Heart of the Matter: Emotions in the Employee Experience,” Christina Zurek, ITA Group, 2019.
  3. Employee Experience: Enabling Your Future Workforce Strategy,” Kristine Dery, Nick van der Meulen, Ina Sebastian, MIT Center for Information Systems Research, 2018.
  4. The New CHRO Agenda: Employee Experiences Drive Business Value,” Pat Wadors, ServiceNow, 2019.
  5. Employee Experience Reimagined,” Michael Liley, Patricia Feliciano, and Alex Laurs, Accenture, 2017.
  6. 2018 Employee Experience Report,” Toluna Group & Udemy, 2018.

While we have identified the articles above as being the most crucial for readers to review, we read many others. If you’d like a full list of the articles we covered, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].



Where Are We in the Great Performance Management Experiment?

Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 at 10:42 AM    

It has been a tad shy of a decade since organizations began redesigning their approaches to performance management (PM). While previous approaches focused mainly on top-down, annual, staid processes, organizations now have to go beyond simply managing performance: they need to enable it. More specifically, organizations need practices that motivate, engage, and develop employees through a more collaborative, dynamic, and personalized process.

Yet, with all the changes made to PM, people are still unhappy, unmotivated, and disengaged. In addition, practices hailed as innovated and forward-thinking haven’t shown themselves to be the “cure-all” they may have been touted as.

So, the question remains – Where are we in the great PM experiment?

We have partnered with Glint to answer this question and looked at 40 academic and business articles, reports, and books for this literature review.

What we saw in the literature

Not surprisingly, the literature shows a general consensus that the traditional annual PM process isn’t enough. As it turns out, most traditional processes don’t drive engagement, often don’t encourage development, and don’t focus on the employee experience. While the research recognizes that some of the more traditional aspects of PM are still very necessary, organizations have experimented with ways to better engage employees in the process.

And experiment they have. We found literature on everything from completely ditching the performance review to facilitating continuous conversations, to adaptable goals. And while the sentiment is right, we think that there is an overemphasis in the literature on the process (i.e., the nuts and bolts of how we conduct performance management and its individual components), and an under-emphasis on the changing relationship between employee and employer (manager and up) and what that means for  performance. Specifically, four general themes emerged:

Traditional approaches are no longer appropriate

The traditional model of performance management – the one introduced in the mid 1990s and discussed ad nauseum as an evil necessity – is unlikely to yield the results organizations want because it doesn’t focus on feedback as an informal, real-time way to engage and develop talent. It also disregards the importance of developing and maintaining a relationship between manager and employee, and instead, rigidly sticks to a standardized cycle that is not aligned with how and when work gets accomplished or when feedback is needed.

A “one-size-fits-all” approach to performance management can’t handle the highly dynamic and customized world we live and work in because it doesn’t take into account the work type nor the people in the organization.

Because of this, organizations are shifting performance away from a complex, top-down system to a mechanism that can enhance employee experience – turning something that happens to the employee into something that happens for the employee.

Ratings aren't the problem – we are

Over and over again, authors, particularly in more recent publications, urge caution about removing ratings. In fact, some authors say that organizations have reached premature conclusions about ratings: instead of fixing them, they’re buying into the myth that they serve no purpose and should be removed.

However, the literature also indicates that removing ratings does not exonerate organizations from providing feedback or evaluation; and it may make it harder. Evaluation is necessary to provide meaningful and personalized feedback so employees can improve.

A bigger problem appears to be managers’ inability or unwillingness to diagnose and confront performance problems1. This is particularly challenging in situations where ratings have been removed. And as organizations remove ratings, they need to rely more heavily on more frequent feedback in order to guide employees. Unfortunately, many organizations aren’t sure that their managers are either willing or able to have those feedback discussions2. Which brings us to our third theme.

Relationships are increasingly important

As organizations have replaced annual performance reviews with more regular feedback conversations, there has been a necessary renewed focus on the relationships in organizations – particularly those between employees and managers.

To do this effectively, organizations have to trust their managers to move past just managing projects to truly managing people. This has expanded the role of managers from beyond simply assigning work to one that also includes motivating and engaging team members and holding individuals accountable.

The literature also addresses the growing trend of peer reviews – the practice of employees providing open feedback to each other. This has prompted organizations to begin to think about how best to create a “culture of feedback” where everyone is able to provide quality feedback.

Fairness matters

Finally, fairness. As organizations adopt more frequent feedback and more open conversations, they also need to think through how they create an environment of trust and fairness. More specifically, employees need to feel that the feedback they get is credible and fair – regardless of whether it comes from a peer or a manager.

The literature points out that in most PM processes, subtle forms of bias exist, and these biases can create different outcomes for different groups. For example, similarity bias may subtly influence a manager to provide slightly higher ratings for someone more like them (i.e., same likes/dislikes, same gender and race, similar background). These biases are particularly relevant when talking about the relationship between manager and employee. Most PM systems are not yet set up to protect against them.

Interestingly, removing ratings doesn’t remove the potential for bias – it can actually increase it. When organizations remove ratings, they often replace them with fairly ambiguous criteria for evaluation which allow for much broader interpretation. This broader interpretation can lead to perceptions of unfairness and violate norms of trust.

Articles that caught our eye

Of the literature we reviewed, several pieces stood out to us. Each of the following pieces explored ideas that we found useful and interesting. We found them helpful in expanding the way we have been thinking about PM, its challenges, and its possible solutions.

Performance Management: A Marriage Between Practice and Science – Just Say “I Do”

Paul E. Levy, Steven T. Tseng, Christopher C. Rosen and Sarah B. Lueke

“Spoiler alert: the fix is not to blindly get rid of ratings.”

This chapter discusses recent criticisms of traditional PM practices and reviews them in light of academic research. In an effort to reduce the gap between practice and science in PM, the chapter highlights what organizations can do to improve their PM practices and where scholars should focus their research efforts.


  • Argues that practitioners are driving the criticism of PM and that the gap between science and practice needs to be addressed
  • Suggests that solutions to address criticisms of PM should come from both a practical and research-based point of view
  • Advocates that removing ratings should be the rare exception and not the general rule

"Re-Engineering Performance Management"

Ben Wigert and Jim Harter / Gallup, Inc.

“Performance management has buckled because organizations have prioritized measurement over development.”

This report presents research on why traditional practices are not working, insights on how to improve them, and expectations that today’s employees have for their employing organizations.  The authors recommend that organizations should create a culture of performance development by establishing expectations, continually coaching, and creating accountability.


  • Presents the research behind why traditional PM is not effective in today’s organizations
  • Discusses the changing nature of what employees expect from their organizations and how organizations can think through what (if any) changes are necessary in their approach to PM

"Straight Talk About Employee Evaluation and Performance Management"

Lucia Rahilly, Bryan Hancock and Bill Schaninger / McKinsey

“…there is still no substitute for the direct feedback and coaching that happens day in and day out…”

This podcast, with transcription provided, discusses recent research by McKinsey on what drives effective PM. The discussion focuses on the role of the manager to engage in quality performance and development conversations with direct reports, the need for some sort of evaluative component, and the finding that perceptions of fairness impact the degree to which PM is seen as effective.


  • Discusses the current trends in PM and the necessary reliance on the ability of managers to provide coaching and feedback
  • Explains that people still want to know how they’re performing and that some sort of evaluative component is likely necessary
  • Illustrates the importance of perceptions of fairness in the PM approach

"3 Biases that Hijack Performance Reviews and How to Address Them"

Beth Jones, Khalil Smith, and David Rock

“…not all biases make us actively malicious. The key is how we manage our biases.”

The article discusses bias from a neuroscience perspective, highlighting that bias is our brain’s constant search for efficiency. While bias is not inherently bad, it can lead to negative outcomes if left unexplored. The authors discuss three biases – expedience, distance, and similarity – and how managers and organizations can mitigate their impact on performance appraisal.


  • States that bias negatively impacts performance appraisal and briefly discusses the impact of three prevalent biases
  • Provides high-level suggestions on how to mitigate the influence of these biases in performance appraisal

"Putting the System into Performance Management Systems: A Review and Agenda for Performance Management Research"

Deidra J. Schleicher, Heidi M. Baumann, David W. Sullivan, Paul E. Levy, Darel C. Hargrove and Brenda A. Barros-Rivera

"…much work is yet to be done in developing a body of scientific knowledge about performance management systems that can better inform practice."

While this article isn’t particularly provocative or stirring (it's why we put it last), it does provide a foundational summary of current PM research, which is helpful in understanding more progressive and innovative perspectives. The authors present a model of PM and summarize research from 1980 to 2017. Based on this review, they provide recommendations for future research in PM. This article is great for leaders and practitioners that want to geek out on the history of PM.


  • Presents a model of PM to organize components of PM and to integrate perspectives
  • Suggests that there are only seven core tasks involved in PM
  • Illustrates the importance and value of both formal and informal components of PM
  • Builds a case that we’ve excluded the examination of important variables in PM
  • Argues that more research is still needed on PM

Overall Impressions

The literature on PM is vast and varied, and there are many, many smart people with different perspectives. We’re pretty sure no one perspective is the “right” perspective. That said, we’re starting to see large-scale agreement for the notion that traditional, top-down, annual-driven PM is less likely to reign supreme in the workforce of the future. With this shift, we think we’ll also see an increased emphasis on the role of relationships in organizations, the expectations of managers, and the importance of trust and fairness in PM approaches.

Learning Impact: Anything New?

Posted on Friday, March 8th, 2019 at 1:55 AM    


If you have been following our Learning Impact project, you know that the main premise of this research is that we’re evaluating “learning” in organizations all wrong. Therefore, in conducting a fairly in-depth review of existing literature on the topic, we were not at all surprised about the state of learning impact – only somewhat disappointed.

We looked at over 50 academic and business articles, reports, and books for this literature review, which has given us a decent understanding of the known world of evaluating learning. This short article will summarize:

  • What we saw
  • What we learned
  • Overall impressions

Learning Impact: Anything New?

Word cloud of the learning impact literature: Most prevalent words in literature reviewed.

What we saw

What we hoped to see in the literature were new ideas – different ways of defining impact for the different conditions we find ourselves in. And while we did see some, the majority of what we read can be described as same. Same trends and themes based on the same models with little variation. We have highlighted four of those themes below.

Models, models, models!

Much of the literature focused on established evaluation models. These articles generally fell into three main categories: use cases, suggested improvements, or critiques.

By far, the most common model addressed in the research is Kirkpatrick, although, given the number of articles written on how to use it effectively, adaptation is still a challenge. It was frequently called the “industry standard” (including by Kirkpatrick Partners themselves).1

Articles on Kirkpatrick appeared to be fairly passionate, either for or against. While many authors doubled down on it, we also ran across several articles, like this one or this one, that offer what we consider to be fair critiques of the model, including that there is a lack of empirical evidence for existing learning evaluation models and their tie to business results.

Other models, including Phillips’ Chain of Impact, Kaufman’s 5 Levels of Evaluation, Brinkerhoff’s Success Case Method, and Anderson’s Return on Expectation, among others, were also explored. In total, we looked at over 20 models. They are summarized in the table below.

Evaluation Model Summary


Model Year Incredibly simplified steps  Read more
Kirkpatrick 4 Levels of Training Evaluation


1976 Termed “the industry standard” by many of the articles we read, Kirkpatrick’s four levels are used widely to determine learning effectiveness.

  • Reaction
  • Learning
  • Behavior
  • Results
“The Kirkpatrick Model”
Kaufman’s 5 levels of Evaluation

Kaufman, Keller, Watkins

1994 Kaufman’s model adapts Kirkpatrick’s original model to include 5 levels and is used to evaluate a program from the employee’s perspective.

  • Input and process
  • Acquisition
  • Application
  • Organization Output
  • Societal outcomes
“What Works and What Doesn’t: Evaluation Beyond Kirkpatrick”
Success Case Method

Robert Brinkerhoff

2006 Particularly effective in assessing important or innovative programs. It focuses on looking at extremes: most successful and least successful  cases, and examining them in detail.

  • Needs assessment
  • Program plan and design
  • Program operation and implementation
  • Learning
  • Usage and endurance of training
  • Payoff
“Success Case Method”
Chain of Impact

Jack Phillips

1973 Adapts the Kirkpatrick model by adding a fifth step: ROI. Purpose is to translate business impact of learning into monetary terms so that it can be compared more readily.

  • Evaluation
  • Reaction
  • Learning
  • Behavior
  • Results
  • ROI
ROI Institute
Value of Learning Model

Valerie Anderson

2007 Consists of a three-stage cycle applied at the organizational level. One of the few models that does not necessarily use the course or initiative as the unit of measurement. Anderson also introduced the term, “Return on Expectation” as a part of her work.

  • Determine current alignment against strategic priorities
  • Use a range of methods to assess and evaluate the contribution of learning including learning function measures, ROE – expectation, ROI, and Benchmark and capacity measures
  • Establish the most relevant approaches for your org
A new model of value and evaluation: A new model of value and evaluation
CIPP Model Daniel Stufflebeam 1973 Framework was designed as a way of linking evaluation to program decision-making (i.e., making decisions about what happens to the program). Has a use case for resource allocation and/or cost-cutting measures. Utilizes the following areas:

  • Context
  • Input
  • Product or results
  • Analyze
“The CIPP Evaluation Model: How to Evaluate for Improvement and Accountability”
UCLA Model

Marvin Alkins

Dale Woolley

1969 Five kinds or need areas of evaluation – each designed to provide and report information useful for making judgments relative to the categories:

  • Systems assessment
  • Program planning
  • Program Implementation
  • Program Improvement
  • Program certification
“A Model for Educational Evaluation”
Discrepancy Model 1966 Used in situations where there is an understanding that a program does not exist in a vacuum, but instead within a complex organizational structure.

Program Cycle Framework:

  • Design
  • Installation
  • Process
  • Product
  • Cost-benefit
“ABCs of Evaluation”
Goal Free Evaluation

Michael Scriven

1991 Focuses on actual outcomes of a program rather than only those goals that are identified. Scriven believed that goals of a particular program should not be taken as a given.

  • Goals and objectives
  • Processes and Activities
  • Outcomes
“The ABCs of Evaluation”
LTEM: Learning Transfer Evaluation Model

Will Thalheimer

2018 Designed to help organizations get feedback to build more effective learning interventions and validate results.

  • Tier 8: Effects of Transfer
  • Tier 7: Transfer
  • Tier 6: Task Competence
  • Tier 5: Decision-making Competence
  • Tier 4: Knowledge
  • Tier 3: Learner Perceptions
  • Tier 2: Activity
  • Tier 1: Attendance
“The learning-transfer evaluation model: Sending messages to enable learning effectiveness.”

Justification as the goal

Much of the literature reviewed focused on utilizing learning evaluation, measurement, and analytics to either prove L&D’s worth to the organization or to validate L&D’s choices and budget. Words and phrases like “justify” and “show value” were used often.

Interestingly, according to David Wentworth at Brandon Hall Group, the pressure to defend L&D’s decisions and actions appears to be coming from the L&D function itself (44%), rather than other areas of the business (36%),2 which means, while business leaders may not be explicitly asking for “proof”, L&D departments most likely feel the need to quantify employee development in order to have that proverbial seat at the table.
Literature also focused heavily on Return on Investment, or ROI. How-to articles and research in this space continues to attempt to tie the outcomes of a specific program or initiative to financial business results.


Almost all of the literature we reviewed utilized the ‘course’ or ‘program’ as the unit of measurement. While several models address the need to take into account environment and other variables, they appear to do so in order to either control the entire experience or be able to isolate the “learning” from everything else.

To date, we have not been able to find any literature that addresses evaluating or measuring continuous learning as we understand it (i.e., individuals utilizing the environment and all resources available to them to continuously develop and improve). We feel that this is a shortfall of the current research and should be addressed.

Finally, the research focused heavily on learning from the L&D function’s point of view. Few appear to be looking at the field of learning evaluation/measurement/analytics from a holistic viewpoint. We expected to see more literature addressing L&D’s role in delivering the business strategy, or at lease providing information to other functions that could be helpful to them in making decisions.

Aged ideas

While we do not disparage any of the great work that has been done in the area of learning measurement and evaluation, many of the models and constructs are over 50 years old, and many of the ideas are equally as old.

On the whole, the literature on learning measurement and evaluation failed to take into account that the world has shifted – from the attitudes of our employees to the tools available to develop them to the opportunities we have to measure. Many articles focused on shoe-horning many of the new challenges L&D functions face into old constructs and models.
We realize that this last finding may spark a heated conversation – to which we say, GOOD! It’s time to have that conversation.

5 articles you should read

Of the literature we reviewed, several pieces stood out to us. Each of the following authors and their work contained information that we found useful and mind-changing. We learned from their perspectives and encourage you to do the same.

Article 1:  Making an Impact3

Laura Overton and Dr. Genny Dixon at Towards Maturity

“96% are looking to improve the way they gather and analyze data on learning impact. However, only 17% are doing it.”


  • Points out areas where L&D functions measure and what is important to them
  • Provides an interesting discussion on evidence to understanding impact
  • Shows compelling data about benefits of those who measure vs. those who guess
  • Gives some good hints for getting started

Towards Maturity’s 2016 report provides some interesting statistics about the world of learning metrics / measurement / analytics / evaluation. This article provides a sound platform for continued research on learning measurement and evaluation, as it provides a good summary of how learning leaders are currently thinking about the space.

Article 2:  Human Capital Analytics @Work4

Patti Phillips and Rebecca Ray at The Conference Board

“Aspirational organizations use analytics to justify actions. Experienced organizations build on what they learned at the aspirational level and use analytics to guide actions.”


  • Outlines an analytics maturity model for organizations to gauge their evolution when it comes to using data.
  • Provides a good discussion on “converting data to money”, or utilizing data to provide a comparison of cost savings
  • Identifies four key elements to help organizations make analytics work: Frameworks, Process Models, Guiding Principles, and Capability, all of which should be considered when putting together a learning strategy
  • Recounts some good examples and case studies

This article broadens the discussion about learning measurement to people analytics in general – something that L&D functions should be considering as they revamp their measurement and evaluation methods.

Article 3: The Learning-Transfer Evaluation Model5

Will Thalheimer at Work-Learning Research, Inc.

“For too long, many in the learning profession have used these irrelevant metrics as indicators of learning.”


  • Honest (yet biting) assessment of the current 4-level models and their success to this point in time
  • Section about the messages that measurement can send
  • Discussion on measuring negative impact, as well as positive impact
  • Introduction of the first new model for learning evaluation in about 10 years

Will addresses several points that have evolved our thinking. On top of that, Will is a witty writer who is easy to read and downright entertaining.

Article 4: Making data analytics work for you – instead of the other way around6

Helen Mayhew, Tamin Saleh, and Simon Williams

“Insights often live at the boundaries.”


  • Emphasizes the importance of focusing on “purpose-driven” data, or data that will help you meet your specific purpose.
  • Introduces the idea that large differences can come from exploiting and amplifying incrementally small improvements.
  • States that incomplete information is not useless and should not be treated as garbage – it has value and can be essential in helping people connect the dots
  • Provides a good discussion on using feedback loops instead of feedback lines

This article addresses data analytics in general, but provides several applicable points that L&D departments can incorporate.

Article 5: Leading with Next-Generation Key Performance Indicators7

Michael Schrage and David Kiron

“Measurement Leaders look to KPIs to help them lead — to find new growth opportunities for their company and new ways to motivate and inspire their teams.”


  • Provides a decent discussion on Key Performance Indicators and what they currently mean in organizations
  • Points to Chief Marketing Officers and their increasing accountability for growth-oriented objectives (we think CLOs and L&D in general are close behind).
  • Has an excellent discussion on leading versus lagging indicators, and the importance of both in “measuring”.
  • Recounts several good case studies that helped us think differently about what a KPI is and how it can be used

We found this article eye-opening. While it is not geared specifically to “learning”, it provides several, adaptable ideas that we feel will be important for next-generation learning measurement and evaluation.

Bonus: 4 Measurement Strategies That Create the Right Incentives for Learning8


“As human beings, we are compelled to adapt our behavior to the metrics we are held against.”


  • Has a great discussion on how even the act of measuring learning can be a motivation.
  • Introduces several non-traditional ways to “measure” learning
  • Makes the point that measurement strategy should be a part of the learning strategy, not as a way to measure its effectiveness.

Yes, we know it’s a blog, and yes, we realize it was written by a vendor. But this piece made some interesting points – particularly, how what we measure impacts the business.

Overall Impressions

If we were to sum up all we read into a short statement, it would be this: L&D has a long way to go. That said, we are also hopeful. As L&D functions further integrate into the rest of the business, as tools for analytics and measurement get better, and as we begin to define new models that incorporate new ways of learning and new environmental variables, we can imagine a world, in the not too distant future, where we finally – after more than 50 years of trying – maybe crack this nut.

We would love to hear what you think – what did we miss? What else should we be looking at? Comment below.

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