10 Years of Progress: The Evolution of TDRp as an Industry Standard

The Center for Talent Reporting was created ten years ago to be the home for Talent Development Reporting principles (TDRp) and serve as an advocate for measurement and reporting standards for L&D in particular and HR in general. Central to this effort has been the TDRp framework which has evolved and improved over the last ten years based on user feedback.

Drawing Inspiration from GAAP

When we were developing the TDRp framework, we knew that it would have to be simple, easy to use, and easy to remember. At a high level, we drew inspiration from the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) framework used by accountants in the United States. The GAAP framework includes four basic types of measures (income, expense, assets, and liabilities) and reports these in three standard statements (income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement). On a learning level, we appreciated how successful the Katzell/Kirkpatrick/Phillips five-level model for evaluation has been. In both cases, there are a limited number of elements in the framework which makes it both easy to use and remember.

We began with three types or categories of measures (efficiency, effectiveness, and outcome), similar to the four types of accounting measures. We also began with three types of statements (program, operations, and summary) to show actual results, similar to the three statements used in accounting. In addition to the statements, we added management reports (program, operations, and summary) to be used in the active management of programs and the department to produce planned results. These reports include columns for plan and forecast, which is similar to internal reports organizations use to manage. So, three types of measures, three statements, and three management reports.

How TDRp Has Evolved

The first significant evolution occurred as we received feedback that the statements and reports overlapped quite a bit. Each showed the actual values for the chosen measures. If the user was going to manage for results and wanted to use the management reports, which included plan and forecast data, did they really need the statements which contained only actual results? We decided they did not. So, our new recommendation was to use statements if you only want to share historical data (for example, by month, quarter, year-to-date, or year) and use the reports if you want to actively manage the measures to a plan, in which case you need the plan and forecast columns.

The second significant evolution was the addition of more report types. Most begin their reporting journey with scorecards and dashboards, not statements or management reports. In an effort to meet practitioners where they were and to provide more comprehensive reporting guidance, we added scorecards and dashboards to the framework. We also added program evaluation and custom analysis reports to help users brief the results of their program evaluation (program evaluation report) or statistical analysis to explore relationships among measures (custom analysis report). So, we now had five types of reports with all three of the original management reports being lumped into a single category of management reports.

The last significant evolution was the addition of four reasons to measure. It became increasingly obvious that practitioners needed guidance on which type of report to use and that guidance depended on the user of the data and their reasons for measuring. While we identified 15-20 very specific reasons to measure, our principle of simplicity dictated that we keep the number of reasons to measure under five. We settled on four broad reasons (inform, monitor, evaluate, and manage) and tied these directly to the five types of reports. For example, if measurement is to inform, then a scorecard or dashboard is recommended. If the reason to measure is to show the value of a program, then a program evaluation report (likely a PowerPoint) is recommended. And if the reason to measure is to manage a program to successful conclusion, then a monthly program management report is recommended.

Summing it Up

In summary, the TDRP framework now includes four broad reasons to measure, three types of measures, and five types of reports with the selection of reports tied to the reasons to measure. Users tell us it is easy to use and easy to remember, and that it provides great direction for their measurement and reporting. We hope you agree, but we also hope you will let us know how you believe it can be improved so that it will continue to evolve to meet your needs.

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