At ManyWorlds, we look at organizational growth holistically. Whether its hard science in research and development, targeting new customer groups and needs, or ‘softer’ areas such as learning and leadership development. I’ve recently been speaking to CLOs on these topics, and especially how you can integrate ‘harder’ metrics that satisfy a business unit’s need for quantative data as well as qualititative.

One example is at financial services provider Barclays (UK). I was talking with the head of Barclays University last week and he said that the original case for the program was to save $30M from the $80M budget. They have been very successful in doing that, and can reinvest $15M of the savings. Some of the most interesting results have been from a somewhat smaller part of the program to give every employee 150 GBP each (about $300) to spend on any kind of learning they want – no line manager permission or authorizations required. They are instead trying to see employees as ‘whole’ people with ‘whole lives’ so this money can be used in any way the employee chooses. But then the question comes back – how do you track this kind of benefit to performance?

In our research and methodology on Real-Time Learning, we’ve found that having an integrated or holistic system that measures the competencies of the individuals and looks at their contribution to the competencies required for the organization. Of course this needs to be managed as a dynamic portfolio management exercise, because you cannot know what is needed in the future – but you can build strategic options for it. If you look at in this hollistic fashion – many ‘hard’ metrics are more readily available and quantified.