Through a monetary conversion of benefits and costs, a return-on-investment (ROI) forecast projected calculations of the anticipated impact of coaching and mentoring to improve data entry processes. The overarching problematic issues involve complex data entry processes performed through a court system's case management system and ambiguous, convoluted expectations and help tools.

Patricia Pulliam Phillips and Holly Burkett (2008) contend in their book, "Data Conversion: Calculating the Monetary Benefits," that intangible measures play integral roles in the ROI evaluation process. To clearly ascertain the effectiveness of the program, it is critical to investigate the impact on the reduction of data entry errors and the coaching or mentoring program. To do so, it is also important to measure employee attitudes and engagement because their intangible benefits are strongly linked to productivity (a tangible benefit).

After the conclusion of coaching and mentoring training classroom sessions, survey results yielded both tangible and intangible benefits. For example, survey results showed that participants valued their exposure to coaching and mentoring techniques, with 70 percent stating that they would highly recommend the sessions to others. About 55 percent of survey respondents listed productivity (tangible benefit) as an anticipated business impact of coaching or mentoring, while 50 percent noted employee satisfaction (intangible benefit) as a business impact.

How were these specific intangible benefits revealed?

Using five-point Likert scale surveys, the human performance improvement and technology consultant collected data that assessed the organizational, environmental, and job design. Based on the survey results, interviews were conducted for the purpose of understanding the conveyed perceptions regarding the performance gap(s). Discussions also involved obtaining employee input regarding possible barriers to effective implementation.

Why is it important to place a value on these intangible benefits?

According to James Pershing (2006), the three universal motivators of employee engagement are helping people develop levels of self confidence in their work skills, creating a positive emotional environment at work, and asking people to accept and value their own performance goals.

Although enhancing motivation and employees' commitment and loyalty through informing and inclusive methods are intangible assets, they may influence the production of valuable tangible results, such as improving performance by decreasing data entry error rates. Effective coaching and mentoring motivates case managers to achieve expected levels of performance by fostering an understanding of task responsibilities and goal identification.

How do you intend to calculate the monetary value of these benefits?

A mathematical analysis of past and present behavior will help determine if achieved behavioral change remains constant, and whether the quality of case termination data will continue to improve. Because the needs assessment identified an existing relationship between time management and employee engagement, this behavior change measurement will be indirectly linked to the conversion of the monetary value correcting data entry errors.

Example

The median salary of case managers is $40,000. If a case manager is 100 percent proficient in performing data entry for case termination reporting, then an assumption of the value of a case manager is estimated at approximately $56,000 (40 percent of the median salary, or $16,000, which represents an estimate at market rate value equal to employee wages and benefits, according to Payscale for Employers, 2009).

The following provides a demonstration of how to calculate the difference between a case manager's skill level and the target skill level - the skill gap is multiplied by the skill value to determine the cost of the skill gap.

If salary and benefits=$56,000

If providing work guidance=10 percent weight

If a case manager is rated as 50 percent proficient in time management, then:

$56,000 x 10% skill weight=$5,600 (the value of case manager with excellent time management skills), and

$5,600 x 50% rating=$2,800 (the dollar amount of the gap from the desired performance).

Assuming that the case manager is rated as a skilled employee representing 50 percent of the desired performance after completing the coaching and mentoring training (and possibly becoming a coach, coachee, mentor, or mentee), it is estimated that the case manager would likely progress to an advanced employee rating of 85 percent of desired performance (a 35 percent improvement). Thus, estimated case manager (employee)-value of the coaching and mentoring initiative is $3,360:

Proficiency after initiative: 85% x $5,600=$4,760

Proficiency before initiative: 50% x $2,800=$1,400

Benefit: $4760 - $1400=$3,360

Total costs for 25 case managers: =$14,200

Cost per person: =$ 568

Net gain: =$2,792

Yielding a forecasted, improved business result of 492 percent indicates a good return of investment resulting from the case manager's participation in coaching and mentoring programs. Specifically,

BCR = Benefit/Cost

= 3360/568

BCR = $5.92

ROI=Benefit/Cost x 100

=2792/568 x 100

ROI=492%

The above forecast clearly depicts the monetary value of improving a case manager's time management skills. The value of employee engagement or behavior, however, is hidden in the demonstrated conversion - it is the effectiveness of the case manager's engagement in the coaching or mentoring program that controls the overall behavioral changes of time management efficiency.

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References:

Payscale for Employers (2009). Market rate report. Paralegals - salary by skills, Seattle, WA: Payscale, Inc.

Pershing, J. (2006). Handbook of human performance technology. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Phillips, P.P., & Burkett, H. (2008) Data conversion: Calculating the monetary benefits. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

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Joyce L. Walden is a doctoral student (specializing in Training and Performance Improvement) at Capella University. She holds a Master of Public Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies, and an Associate in Arts in Business Administration. She currently works for the federal judiciary wherein she has held various positions. She previously worked for the Supreme Court of Florida as a senior court analyst.

Disclaimer: The assumptions and analysis represented in this article are the sole views of the author and are not intended to represent the official policy, procedures, or position of the referenced court system, or any of the author's current or former employers.