Workplace professionals who achieve certification through the ROI
Institute have a professional responsibility to educate colleagues
on the ROI methodology process that was created by Jack J. Phillips
and Patti Phillips.
There are many leadership roles and responsibilities that ROI
Certified Evaluators must meet when educating organizational
stakeholders. They also have an obligation to identify interests
and needs that must be met through various educational methods.
It is the responsibility of the evaluator of an ROI project to
educate the evaluation team members as well as the executives,
managers, and sponsors of an evaluation and measurement project.
Members of the evaluation team may not have this background and
training since this is not part of their day-to-day roles and
responsibilities. The project sponsors typically do not have formal
training in ROI methodology and depend on the certified evaluator
and the project team to inform, guide, and communicate throughout
the process, and provide project results. Executives, managers, and
sponsors expect either positive or negative ROI results based on
credible data collection. Project results must be communicated to
all key stakeholders, but more importantly, the evaluator must
maintain open project communications from the planning phase
through the results reporting phase.
An essential component of the process is the use of open and
effective communication. A cursory review of the ROI methodology
may lead one to believe that educating colleagues begins when it is
time to report project results. This is no doubt a teachable moment
because the stakeholders will be ready to listen to what the
evaluator has to say about the results of an ROI study, but this is
not the only time that communication is essential. Communication
should be timely, geared toward specific audiences, supported by
carefully selected media, unbiased and even modest, consistent with
data, provided by respected individuals as testimonials to the
findings, and based on the stakeholders' opinion of the overall
program, according to the Phillips.
The evaluator also educates the team responsible for the evaluation
and measurement through both formal and informal means. The
opportunities to educate colleagues on the impact and value of ROI
evaluations are available throughout the ROI methodology process.
The education of colleagues begins during the preparation of the
evaluation team and continues from the evaluation planning phase,
through data collection, and analysis and the reporting of results.
During each phase of the process, the same guidelines should be
used as recommended during the reporting of results phase. The
evaluator also is responsible for educating colleagues. Although
emphasis is often given to the communications and education of
executives and decision makers in organizations, strategies also
need to focus on building the capacity of a project team within
organizations to conduct future ROI evaluations.
The need to educate colleagues during an ROI project is based on
the interests of the stakeholders. The evaluation team and sponsors
have different interests, which must be addressed by the evaluator
through a variety of educational strategies. The following table
lists stakeholder interests in the ROI methodology process.
Educating the evaluation team
Evaluators are responsible for helping program team members develop
expertise in measuring and evaluating through formal training,
including planning the evaluation, collecting data, isolating the
effects of the program, converting data to money, tabulating costs
and calculating ROI, reporting results, and forecasting ROI.
Much of the effort to educate colleagues is accomplished during the
actual implementation of the ROI methodology. By involving team
members in each step of the process, the evaluator is educating and
increasing the competency levels of colleagues for the purpose of
gaining their support, adding their expertise to the process, and
enabling others to be able to lead similar efforts within the
During the skills and knowledge preparation phase, the evaluator is
the messenger of the ROI methodology and takes on the role of
trainer while conducting a recommended workshop for this team.
During the evaluation planning, data collection and data analysis
phases, the evaluator takes on roles as facilitator and coach. The
evaluator educates the evaluation team on how to write and review
objectives for a project; develop evaluation plans and baseline
data; collect data during solution implementation; and after
implementation, isolate effects of solution, convert data to
monetary value, capture costs of solutions, identify intangibles
and calculate the return-on-investment, according to the Phillips.
The role of the evaluator is to provide the structure and process
for the group to be able to make informed decisions during the
process. This support leads the team members to greater levels of
self-sufficiency to take on these roles over time.
The evaluator uses facilitation and coaching during the ROI
methodology process in the context of action learning and
experiential learning. While accomplishing the tasks of each phase
of the ROI methodology process, the members of the evaluation team
"share, question, experience, reflect, make decisions, and take
action" with the evaluator facilitating this process and coaching
members every step of the way, according to Darlene M. Van Tiem,
James L. Moseley, and Joan Conway Dessinger in a 2001 International
Society for Performance Improvement article.
In addition, members of the evaluation team discuss their reactions
to their work, identify useful knowledge and skills gained from the
activities, and anticipate how they would conduct their ROI
methodology process in future projects. The experiential learning
activities that the evaluator leads the team through include
"inductive learning through a five-stage cycle: experiencing
(complete an activity), publishing (share observations of what
happened), processing (interpret why the activity unfolded as it
did), generalizing (connect what happened to real life), and
applying (plan for change or next steps) the content learned in the
activity to real life," according to Elaine Biech's article in the
The following table summarizes the roles of the evaluator during
the major ROI process phases along with the methods used to educate
Educating project sponsors
The evaluator serves in a performance consultant role when
educating executives, managers, and sponsors on implementation
plans of an ROI project. As a performance consultant, the evaluator
"provides needed information, help, and perspective because of
competence, status, reputation, or experience," according to Biech.
The evaluator prepares the sponsors for what to expect in the
project, provides ROI forecasts after collecting data for Level 1
and Level 2 measurements, and reports results of the project
through presentations and discussions.
All of these activities are conducted for the purpose of not only
gaining support and providing information on the current project,
but also to gain support for future ROI projects. The following
table summarizes the roles of the evaluator during three key steps
of the ROI methodology process along with the methods used to
educate the executives, managers, and sponsors of an ROI project.
Aligning organizational goals and business results
The education of the evaluation team and project sponsors must be
tied to the objectives of the ROI project and aligned to
organizational goals and business results. The organization is
dependent on the leadership of the evaluator to conduct a
successful ROI evaluation. The evaluator uses every opportunity to
educate the stakeholders during all phases of the process.
Successful engagement of the stakeholders requires continuous
communication and education by the evaluator. This is accomplished
by addressing the interests and needs of the stakeholders. The
interests and needs of the evaluation team must be addressed
through formal and informal education since the team members are
responsible to accomplish the tasks for the project with the
The education of the evaluation team and sponsors depends on the
process rigor that the evaluator upholds throughout the process,
including holding the evaluation team accountable for their tasks
during the facilitation and coaching of these tasks by the
evaluator. The rigor of the ROI methodology process is based on the
systematic approach to the process with the intent of improving the
performance of the individual stakeholders, the ROI process, and
Kevin Freer and Karen
Minchella teach a graduate level course on Return on
Investment in Training and Performance Improvement at Capella