The Best Way to Measure the Impact of Leadership Development Programs

How do you measure the success of a leadership development program? It’s a qualitative measurement, but it’s also very possible to achieve. While it’s not always as clean cut as watching a number go up and down, there are ways to determine if your last leadership development retreat was successful. Every leadership development retreat should deliver tangible results, and what those are will vary from company to company, often being impacted by the goals of the business, its leaders, and the overall retreat agenda. 

Struggling to figure out if your leadership development program was successful? Follow this rubric to gauge how your leaders are taking to the program. 

Have Clear Goals

One of the issues many organizations run into when it comes to measuring the success of their leadership development program is not having clear goals set from the beginning. How can you measure success if you haven’t even defined what success looks like? Start with asking questions like: 

  • What are the needs of the business? 
  • Where are there performance gaps in your leadership team? 
  • What are the skill requirements to fill these performance gaps? 
  • What needs to be learned? 
  • What behaviors need to be changed? 

After you have determined what needs to be accomplished piece together a group of key performance indicators that can be measured either quantitatively or quantitatively, then design your leadership development program to target those specific KPIs for success. 

Some of these KPIs can include: 

  • Sales numbers 
  • Employee turnover and satisfaction 
  • Employee productivity 

After the Retreat: Measuring the Success of Your Program

There are four major ways to measure the success of your leadership retreat: 

  1. Measuring employee reactions to the event 
  2. Measuring employee learning 
  3. Measuring employee behavior 
  4. Measuring employee results 

Measuring Employee Reactions to the Event

Taking surveys and conducting interviews or roundtables are a highly effective way to gauge the effectiveness of the program or retreat they have just completed. How did they feel about the retreat? What did they learn from it? Did they find it valuable? While a person’s opinion on the leadership program is not the most concrete way to evaluate its effectiveness, it’s a great starting point. These qualitative measurements can help you answer one very simple question: did your employees believe that this was worth it? 

Measuring Employee Learning

What new skills did your leaders learn? Can they demonstrate those skills in the workplace? While this is still an opinion-based metric—leaders must self-report what they have learned—it has some roots in quantitative measurement. Can your employees do or accomplish things that they weren’t able to do before? This is a more measurable way to gauge success. 

You can also measure this metric through post-program checks, tests, evaluations, etc. 

Measuring Employee Behavior

Keep in mind that behavior changes can take time, but this is another viable way to track success. These results can be tracked in two different ways: via self-reporting from employees or progress reports from higher leaders. This is really where you ascertain whether your employees are actively using the skills they have learned on a day-to-day basis, implementing change across your organization. 

Measure Employee Results

Measuring results is where you return to your initial list of KPIs, and it’s where you can get the most quantitative results in your program’s evaluation. Are your employees actually making a difference? Is what they have learned impacting the way your organization does things, your bottom line, or the overall culture of your workplace? It’s more where you attach a hard-dollar value to your leadership development program; have you gotten the results you wanted or achieved the goals you set out to achieve. 

Test, measure, then refine your leadership development program for the coming years. You’ll get far more out of them if you look to identify their results rather than simply sending your employees because it’s what you’ve always done. 


Looking to send your leaders to an open enrollment leadership retreat? Want to rent out a Minnesota resort to run a retreat of your own? Get in touch with us to discuss how we can make your next leadership retreat a success.