Tip #788: How to Measure Intangibles

Almost every talent development program has a variety of intangibles connected to it in some way. For many programs, the intangibles actually form the basis for the program in the beginning.” Jack J. Phillips and Patti P. Phillips

In their article “Intangibles and Talent Development” Jack J. Phillips and Patti P. Phillips explain that it is possible to measure intangibles. They define intangibles as measures that cannot be converted to money credibly with a reasonable amount of resources. Most intangibles are perceptions, such as measures of customer satisfaction, job engagement and job satisfaction.

They indicate that teamwork, stress, communication, trust and other intangible measures “can easily be connected to a talent development program by following seven easy steps.”

Step 1: Identify the intangibles that are most likely to be connected to the training program. For example, for a team building program some of the intangibles might be teamwork, interpersonal communication, decision making, meeting management, and conflict management.

Step 2: Design the training program to influence these measures- and let the participants know that these outcomes are expected.

Step 3: Develop a data collection questionnaire that lists the intangible measures on the left and provides 5 rating options on the right, from 1. No influence, 2. Some influence, 3. Moderate influence, 4. Significant influence and 5. Very significant influence. Direct the participants to indicate the extent to which the program has influenced the listed measures.

Step 4: Collect the data by giving the questionnaire to program participants about two months after program completion.

Step 5: Check that the data collection is completed in a nonthreatening and nonbiased way.

Step 6: Decide what the minimum participant response needs to be to conclude if the program had an influence (possibly 3 or higher) and what percentage of participants must connect the program to an intangible at that level (possibly 20%).

Step 7: Present the data in a chart showing the intangibles connected to the program.

I find this fascinating. It never occurred to me that intangibles could be measured. How about you?

May your learning be sweet.


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