SELECT THE MEDIA
Consider the best means for asking what is needed. As in other steps in the ROI Methodology, there are many options—meetings, internal publications, electronic media, program brochures, case studies, and formal reports. The choice of media is important, especially in the early stages of implementing the ROI Methodology. Make sure to select the appropriate medium for the particular communication need and target audience.
When considering meetings as the medium for communication, look at staff meetings and management meetings. If possible, plan for communication during normal meeting hours so as to avoid disrupting the audiences' regular schedules. However, this approach does present the risk of having to wait to present the report until some future meeting when it can be added to the agenda. But, key players will be so interested in the ROI study that getting a slot on the earliest possible meeting agenda should not be a problem. Another meeting might consist of a discussion that includes a participant, and maybe a participant's manager to sit on a panel to discuss the program. Panel discussions can also occur at regularly scheduled meetings or at a special meeting focused on the program. Best practice meetings are another opportunity to present the results of the learning program. These meetings highlight the best practices in each function within the organization. This might mean presenting the ROI study at a large conference in a panel discussion, which includes managers who oversee learning programs and managers from a variety of organizations. Business update meetings also present opportunities to provide information about the program.
Internal publications are another way to communicate to employees. Use these internal publications—newsletters, memos, postings on bulletin boards—to report program progress and results, as well as to generate interest in current and future programs. Internal hard copy communications are the perfect opportunity to recognize participants who have provided data or responded promptly to questionnaires. If incentives were offered for participation or for prompt responses to questionnaires, mention this in these publications. Be sure to accentuate the positive and announce compliments and congratulations generously.
Electronic media, such as websites, intranets, and group emailing, are important communication tools. Take advantage of these opportunities to spread the word about the activities and successes related to programs. When using group email, whether organization-wide or targeting certain audiences, make sure that message content is solid and engagingly crafted.
Program brochures are another way to promote learning offerings. Reporting results in a brochure that describes a program's process and highlights successes can generate interest in a current program, stimulate interest in coming programs, and enhance respect and regard for the team who owns the programs.
Case studies are an ideal way to communicate the results of an ROI evaluation. Case studies demonstrate the value that learning brings to the organization or to provide others an opportunity to learn from your experience. There are multiple outlets for case studies, including books (such as this one) and learning courses offered within an organization. The ROI Institute uses case studies as a key component in training others in evaluation. Through case studies, others can learn what worked and what didn't.
A final medium through which to report results is the formal report. There are two types of reports—micro-level reports and macro-level scorecards—that are used to tell the success of programs. Micro-level reports present the results of a specific program and include detailed reports, executive summaries, general audience reports, and single-page reports. Macro-level scorecards are an important tool in reporting the overall success of technology-based learning programs.