1 in 2 L&D leaders are under more pressure to demonstrate the impact of their learning initiatives, according to Fosway’s 2021 Digital Learning Realities research. When it comes to compliance learning, the core staple of most L&D deliverables, you’ll typically need to report on your team’s compliance rate. But what about your team’s time to competence?

The rise of measuring ‘time to competence’

As businesses look for efficiencies in the ways of learning, the need to reduce learning seat-time is greater than ever before. There is pressure for L&D teams to be effective both in the value of content and the efficiency of delivery. To calculate time to competence, find the answer to this question:

How quickly are your learners actually absorbing and actively using their learnings in the workplace?

First, let’s remind ourselves, what exactly is ‘compliance rate’?

The traditional way to evaluate the effectiveness of your training programmes is the ‘compliance rate’. This refers to the percentage of learners who have completed a required training programme or course.

A typical example is required training like health and safety. A company may require all 100 employees to complete this training, but only 80 of them have completed it. In this case, the compliance rate would be 80%. The compliance rate is essential to measure as it’s a way to ensure all employees are aware of the company's policies and procedures, have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their job, and know how to act in a safe and ethical way.

Compliance rate can help you identify which learners may need additional training or support and help you to meet any legal or regulatory requirements.

So, then what is ‘time to competence’?

In comparison, ‘time to competence’ refers to the amount of time it takes for an individual to become proficient or skilled in a particular task or field. It can also refer to the amount of time it takes for an organisation to achieve the desired level of performance or competitiveness.

Time to competence is important for several reasons like efficiency, performance, cost, engagement and competitive advantage.

There are several ways to calculate time to competence, depending on the specific scenario and what is being measured. Here are a few examples:

  • For an individual employee: This can be calculated by tracking the amount of time it takes for a new employee to complete specific tasks or reach certain milestones.
  • For a group of employees: This can be calculated by tracking the average amount of time it takes for a group of new hires to complete specific tasks or reach certain milestones.
  • For a company or organisation: This can be calculated by tracking how long it takes for the company to achieve specific performance metrics or goals, such as increasing market share or revenue.

It's important to note that time to competence can vary based on factors such as prior experience, aptitude and access to resources.

So, what does this mean for L&D teams?

  • ‘Compliance rate’ is always going to be a standard measurement and will give organisations quick data and help them measure attendance of essential training.
  • However, ‘time to competence’ takes us one step further and provides more insights into where your L&D effort is best spent. This is essential too!
  • The marriage of these two data points may be the sweet spot for L&D teams. If you have data for both areas then you will be armed with the appropriate information to improve seat time and course duration and efficiency.

Do you want to learn more about reducing learning seat time?

Check out our guide: Effectively reducing seat time in elearning to learn more about how to improve both your compliance rate and time to competence.

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