Analyst Angle: The power of persistence

by | Feb 14, 2019 | Articles, General, Resources

Laura Overton provides the 5th expert Analyst Angle on the Transformation Journey. In this article she explores the power of using benchmarking to bring the outside in.

The Transformation Journey 2019 outlines that a critical foundation for building L&D readiness is the ability to bring the outside in. Specifically it highlights that a stunningly small sample of learning leaders are aware of the power of persistently benchmarking to improve L&D performance. The new study highlights that:

  • Benchmarking to improve performance is more powerful than benchmarking to compare with peers. It has a stronger correlation to improving employee engagement, increasing staff retention, reducing time to competency and delivering greater value for money
  • Awareness of this is low – only 11% of learning professionals today are proactive in using benchmarking to explore new ways of improving performance
  • Organisations with a high performing learning culture are 9x as likely to be actively benchmarking to improve performance than those at the earliest stage of their transformation journey.


The Towards Maturity Health Check – a performance improvement tool

The Towards Maturity Health Check has been dynamically designed and refined over 15 years to monitor change, cut through the hype and surface effective practices that lead to improved business impact. It has been designed to help participants engage in a 3-part benchmark process:

  1. Review their current strategy against validated effective practices
  2. Compare with high performing peers (via the Health Check dashboard)
  3. Act on the findings (this one is a critical step in evidence based decision making!)

The process is designed to support continual long term improvement and yet many organisations complete the Health Check just once and fewer than 25% come back year on year.

Those that return, demonstrate the power of persistence.

The benefits of using the Towards Maturity Health Check for persistent improvement

In 2018, over 500 of the Health Check participants were new to the process, whilst a sample of over 100 had been using the Health Check to reflect on and improve their learning progress year on year. In the Transformation Journey we have highlighted that persistence with the process really pays as those taking part over three years are nearly 2x more likely to report benefits of agility, productivity and process improvement.

Digging deeper into the evidence, we compared those who were new to the Health Check process vs those who had participated for two or three years in a row and identified some interesting differences to illustrate how diligently comparing with high performing teams can make a long term difference.

Difference in progress

The learning maturity journey is complex and the Health Check tracks progress across a framework of complex factors using the Towards Maturity Index (TMI).

The TMI steadily improves each year for those who are returning to the Health Check progress (from an average of 46.88 for those who are new up to 57.15).

What does this progress improvement lead to?

Improvement in impact

Here is just a glimpse of the way that persistent benchmarkers are reporting a real business impact.

Improvement  in L&D readiness

One of the interesting outcomes in using the Health Check year on year is the impact on L&D the way that L&D teams interact with business. Compared with the first timers in the Health Check, those who have been using it for three years are twice as likely to:

  • Analyse business problems before recommending solutions
  • Agree their L&D teams research the impact of emerging technologies on learning
  • Use analytics to improve service.

And these are a tiny fraction of the changes that the Health Check is tracking are making over time

Improvement in learning culture

The persistent Health Checkers are also reporting a positive influence on developing learning culture.

And are half as likely to report barriers linked to:

  • Poor learner engagement
  • Poor past experience of using technology
  • Poor L&D skills.

This is the first time in 15 years that we have isolated the performance and L&D readiness of those who have been persistently benchmarking over the years and have been greatly encouraged.

In summary

The Health Check itself does not create the improvement but it is clear that it’s consolidation of evidence-based practices are helping persistent learning leaders create long term change in volatile times.

This Analyst Angle was one of a series to accompany our The Transformation Journey. Download the full report here.

Compare your L&D strategy with the Towards Maturity Health Check

Compare your L&D strategy

Review your L&D strategy to discover your strengths and opportunities for improvement with the Towards Maturity Health Check.

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