How PinnacleART Proved the ROI of Online Learning: An Impact Survey

June 25, 2018

See how PinnacleART showed the ROI of online learning/elearning and LinkedIn Learning.

Six months after it launched, executives at PinnacleART – a Houston-based asset reliability company that serves the oil and gas, petrochemical, wastewater, electric power, mining and fertilizer industries – asked for evidence that LinkedIn Learning was delivering on their investment.

“We didn’t care too much about the usage stats,” PinnacleART Learning and Development Lead Brandi Deleon said. “What we wanted to see was the impact LinkedIn Learning was having on both individuals and the business.”

So, Deleon looked at LinkedIn Learning from both a financial and employee level. On the financial side, she compared the cost of their project managers preparing for PMP® certified via LinkedIn Learning, versus those employees attending an in-person course. The difference: a savings of $189,390 and 2,880 manhours by using LinkedIn Learning – and that was just one use-case for the product.

On the employee side, Deleon created a survey she sent out to PinnacleART employees on their experience with the online learning tool. The results were staggering: 88 percent said they were immediately able to apply what they learned on LinkedIn Learning to their job, with 41 percent saying it helped prepare them for an advanced role within the company.

The survey also captured quotes from PinnacleART employees about their experience with LinkedIn Learning. Here are four:

  • “I really appreciate that it is a fast and simple way to apply continuous learning to my job. I'm always looking to improve myself and this is an easy way to do so. I also want to improve my Excel skills, which will directly impact my ability to do my job effectively.”
  • “LinkedIn Learning has helped me learn how to navigate Microsoft Office more efficiently, making me faster at getting things done.”
  • “I know that when I have a question about something, I have another resource. There are so many topics that almost everything I need is there.”
  • “Due to the fact that it is own my own time, it has allowed me to develop faster than if I was waiting for a specific class to occur.”

Deleon showed the results of the survey to PinnacleART executives. Immediately, it turned even the biggest skeptics into believers.

“It made me feel like all the hard work we did meant something,” Deleon said. “There were a lot of people who were skeptical of the value it brought. But this survey was ammunition for me to keep LinkedIn Learning.”

Why PinnacleART invested in LinkedIn Learning: To deliver on their employee value prop of owning your own development   

PinnacleART’s employee base is one that’s hungry to learn, Deleon said. And, in 2016, the Learning and Development team – composed of three people, to serve a company of 700 – was being flooded with requests from employees for a variety of one-off requests.

“Our employees are curious in general, as we are focused on innovating and how to become more effective,” Deleon said. “So, there is a spirit of valuing learning, and they were always asking for more. And though we didn’t have the bandwidth at the time, we still needed to fill that need somehow.”

So, PinnacleART began to look for an online learning solution. That’s when they came across LinkedIn Learning, which had what they wanted: an on-demand platform with the right breadth and depth of content.

"Most of the company wanted something they could access on their own schedule,” Deleon said. “LinkedIn Learning was something they could access anytime. So, we felt it was something that would be used more and have a bigger impact because they had that access."

LinkedIn Learning also fit perfectly into PinnacleART’s employer brand. The company prides itself on being a place where employees can grow and advance quickly, so long as the employee is willing to put in the time.

That’s one of our philosophies – you own your own development,” Deleon said. “We have the philosophy that people will help you along the way, but you have to be the one who drives it.”

After a small pilot, PinnacleART launched LinkedIn Learning to its employees in February of 2017. The launch was announced at a company all-hands meeting, as well marketed on banners in the office, via popups on people’s desks and through an internal email campaign.

Additionally, Deleon began weaving LinkedIn Learning into existing development programs. For example, PinnacleART has a comprehensive eight-day onboarding process. At the end of that process, new employees are now instructed to log into LinkedIn Learning and pick three courses they are interested in taking over their first six months.

“We are all about having employees taking accountability, and we stress that in onboarding,” Deleon said. “That includes being accountable for developing yourself. So, logging into LinkedIn Learning reinforces that.”

Thanks to those measures, PinnacleART’s usage of LinkedIn Learning was strong out of the gate and has remained strong since.  

The takeaway: An impact survey is an easy, effective way to quantify online learning ROI

According to survey data in our Workplace Learning Report, showing the ROI of learning is one of the top challenges talent developers face today. And it was a problem Deleon was facing – yes, usage metrics are great, but ultimately the C-suite wanted to see what impact LinkedIn Learning was having on the business and if it was really helping employees do their job.

The impact survey changed that. By proving with hard data that LinkedIn Learning was delivering on the promise of providing their employees with actionable learning on their own schedule, Deleon was able to confidently demonstrate the ROI of her investment and prove what she inherently knew – that LinkedIn Learning was a necessary tool to deliver the employee experience PinnacleART was looking to create.

“[Our leadership was] pleasantly surprised,” Deleon said. “They were like, wow, this is really working.”

In the beginning of 2018, PinnacleART re-upped with LinkedIn Learning and is now focused on driving even higher engagement of the product.

“We give a lot of responsibility to people and believe in the people we hire, and we expect them to grow quickly,” Deleon said. “And, in order to do that, you need to be able to grow and develop yourself. That’s where LinkedIn Learning fits in.”