Measuring behavioral change

Human Resources (HR) and Learning & Development (L&D) departments have access to a vast array of indicators regarding the training and transformations implemented. Collecting this quantitative data provides a factual overview of the results of these initiatives to estimate their impact. However, the data available to HR and L&D departments today only offer a partial measure of this impact.

Indeed, the data currently available primarily remains limited to describing the effort devoted to training and transformations:  

  • Satisfaction rates
  • Completion rates,
  • Participant attendance,
  • ...

While these measures are important for evaluating the effectiveness of deployed initiatives, they are insufficient to precisely describe their impact, namely how the organization has actually changed.

This change can only be measured in terms of a concrete, palpable, observable change in the way employees work, interact and make decisions in their day-to-day professional lives. 

Indeed, to be able to claim that feedback training has been successful, you need to be able to see a real change in the way employees give each other feedback. The ability to "see" the new behavior is key: just because I know someone is athletic (without seeing them practice) doesn't mean I can measure their ability to play sports. With this in mind, some organizations use other types of indicators: 

  • Evaluation of acquired knowledge,  through quizzes ;
  • Self-assessment or peer evaluation using Likert scales ("This person delegates effectively: 1. Strongly disagree / 2. Somewhat disagree / 3. Neutral / 4. Somewhat agree / 5. Totally agree").

Nevertheless, the use of the latter has shown significant limitations, explained by behavioral science, notably due to our cognitive biases, leading to a gap between "Knowing" and "Doing" (just because I know doesn’t mean I do), overconfidence or underconfidence (which skew Likert scale results).

But how do you effectively measure a change in behavior?

Behavioral sciences allow us to answer this question.

They teach us that behavior is, in fact, a series of simple gestures, actions. It follows that if we can measure the implementation of a set of actions, we can deduce a precise measure of the establishment of a behavior.

Behavioral sciences also indicate that, to be reliably measured, these actions must have specific characteristics. They must be:

  • Simple
  • Easily observable
  • And leave no doubt as to their performance (or non-performance).

For example, if an employee needs to embed a behavior associated with active listening, such as "showing the interlocutor that you are fully listening," a measurable action would be "rephrasing what the interlocutor just said before responding during your next exchange." It's simple, observable, and either done or not done.

Measuring behavioral change with Fifty

Fifty precisely applies this method to measure behavioral change, by providing HR and L&D managers with a set of relevant data on the implementation of the training and transformations deployed. Here are some examples: 

  • Implementation rate (the proportion of employees who successfully implemented target behaviors),
  • Least successful program actions (actions where employees encountered the most difficulties): to highlight areas requiring additional effort or organizational blockers.
  • ...

Fifty, through its approach centered on real data of behavioral change in professional day-to-day life,enables its clients to measure the effectiveness of their training and transformation.

To find out more, read our white paper on measuring behavioral change HERE.