How to Show the Value of Just About Anything

“Ever wondered what those folks in the marketing department do all day?” chuckled the operations manager at the company’s water cooler conversation.

Have you ever overheard a comment like this? If you’re part of the marketing department, this is your cue. It appears that another department in the company isn’t quite aware of the value you bring to the table. 

But here’s the thing – whether you’re part of the marketing department, HR, finance, or any other team, there’s a universal need to showcase the value you bring to the table. It’s a key factor in ensuring your stability and growth within the organization.

A Time-Tested Model for Effectiveness

The Kirkpatrick Model has been used for decades to show the value of training programs. It has stood the test of time because of its elegant simplicity and universal applicability. The key to using the model is thinking through your program or project at each level, starting with Level 4 Results.

Identify Your Targeted Results 

Let’s start by outlining the results you’re aiming for in your value-building plan. Begin with a clear understanding of your organizational purpose, considering it from a high-level perspective. In a for-profit company, it means efficiently delivering products or services to the marketplace for profitability. In a not-for-profit, government, or military organization, it signifies achieving your mission within allocated resources. Your mission statement is a good place to look for clues. 

Every organization has just one Level 4 Result. A good test of whether the correct Level 4 Result has been identified is a positive answer to the question, “does this align with what the organization exists to do, deliver, or contribute?” 

The next step is to define how your program or project specifically supports your organization’s highest-level results. Common examples include increased customer satisfaction, employee engagement, sales volume, cost containment, quality, or market share. 

While many projects commence with a clear vision of their desired outcomes, that’s only the beginning. To ensure success, you must also consider the specifics of how program participants will turn these goals into tangible achievements.

Define the Required Actions to Get Results

Level 3 Behavior is, simply stated, what people need to do for this particular project or program to be successful. 

Level 3, while often forgotten, can actually add the most value to any initiative! Take the time to define precisely what key individuals or departments should do, using terms that are both observable and measurable. For instance, if you’re launching a new product, the marketing department’s responsibilities might include creating a comprehensive list of features and benefits, launching online advertising campaigns, and developing a sales package for representatives to present to potential customers.

Once these critical behaviors are defined, then think about how you will support the marketing department in accomplishing them, and how you will verify that they have been completed. 

Pro Tip: This support and accountability package is the most important factor in the success of any initiative. 

Once you’ve established a clear set of critical behaviors and devised a plan to ensure their execution, think about whether there’s a need for additional education or information to enable people to excel in their roles.

Determine if Training is Required

Now, let’s explore Level 2 Learning and its role in your project. It might or might not be a significant component, depending on your specific situation. Your task here is to determine whether the key participants in your program possess the necessary knowledge, skills, confidence, and commitment to carry out the behaviors identified in Level 3.

If it becomes evident that there’s a gap in any of these areas, find or create the necessary training materials. Whether training is formal or not, your primary objective is to ensure the key people are ready to perform their roles. At the same time, you can check the Level 1 Reaction, which is the degree to which participants find the training favorable, engaging and relevant to their jobs. 

Focus on What’s Important

As you create or revisit the plan for your program or initiative, keep in mind that stakeholders and other departments will be primarily concerned with the program’s performance and results. Therefore, your efforts should be centered on supporting on-the-job behaviors and the tangible outcomes they produce.

Use the Easy Button

Think of the Kirkpatrick Model as the “easy button” to create and demonstrate value for any initiative or program. If you’re looking for further understanding of the model and how to effectively apply the model, consider becoming a Kirkpatrick certified professional! 

In Kirkpatrick bronze level certification you learn the four levels in detail, apply them in interactive activities throughout the program, and earn your certification by creating a complete plan for a real initiative. 

In Kirkpatrick silver level certification, you learn how to gather and analyze data to make informed decisions and create compelling reports for your stakeholders showing the program’s value. 

Gold level certification is your recognition for a job well done, and encouragement for others to implement programs with high value. To earn gold level certification you simply share your case example or best practices with people outside your organization. 

Not sure if these programs are right for you? Contact us to discuss your needs

Learn more on our free resources page

Get inspired by success stories

About the author, Wendy Kayser Kirkpatrick