In this installment of our L&D Audit series, you’ll learn how to calculate and audit your training team’s capacity.
In a recent update to an ongoing ATD study on the time it takes to create training, the researchers added some survey questions to the study. They asked respondents to name the top barriers to faster production of training.
An overwhelming 67% of respondents named limited resources (including time, budget, or L&D team headcount) as the biggest barrier to producing training faster.
It makes sense. No matter how advanced your learning tech stack or how hard you work, team capacity is a finite resource. There are only so many hours in a day and there are only so many people on your training team.
An L&D audit is the perfect time to quantify your team’s capacity as precisely as possible so you’re better placed to make strategic decisions and to assign projects and tasks for maximum efficiency.
The researcher behind this ATD study, Robyn Defelice, PhD, recently joined us for a webinar. Check out the full recording on demand here:
Boosting Operational Efficiency for L&D: A Data-Based Recipe for Accurate Planning & Scheduling
What is Capacity?
When it comes to learning and development, capacity refers to your team’s ability to meet their proposed workload. Capacity can be broken down into different metrics depending on which is most applicable to the way your team works.
For example, you could calculate capacity in relation to the number of projects that can be completed in a specific time period. Or you could calculate it based on hours of proposed work and hours of availability.
More specific parameters (such as hours) will give you a more accurate estimate of your team’s true capacity, especially as it allows you to take more variables into account. Higher level parameters such as number of projects can be easier to calculate based on past performance.
Why Calculate Your Training Team’s Capacity?
Calculating the capacity of your L&D team benefits your entire learning organization.
Capacity Vs. Demand
When you have concrete data backing you up, it becomes much easier to rationalize your response to training requests and the prioritization of specific projects over others. When a request lands in the team inbox, you’ll know immediately whether this is something your team is capable of taking on immediately, or if it will have to wait.
Committing to Training Projects and Scheduling Deadlines
When the time comes to schedule a project, your team capacity calculations will enable you to make an informed decision on when the project can be scheduled to begin and end. You’ll be able to assess the demand each project will place on your resources and decide which can run concurrently and which should be scheduled for a later date.
Strategic Decision Making
Knowing your team’s true capacity enables managers to make strategic decisions about budgets, hiring extra resources, or onboarding new technology to lighten the load.
How to Calculate Training Team Capacity
Calculating your team’s capacity can get complicated, but it’s an exercise well worth completing and it can be done to varying degrees of complexity.
The core elements you need to capture and measure when assessing capacity are:
Team availability (by hours)
When calculating the amount of hours of availability of your team, you can include full time, part time, contract, and freelance staff. You can also take annual leave and time off into account to get a full and accurate picture of how many hours your team can dedicate to their workload in a given time period.
The availability of specific skill sets at the team level
Your training team is likely to consist of a diverse set of experience and skills. Different projects will require different skill sets. As part of your capacity assessment, you can calculate the availability of specific skills within your department by hours. This can include design expertise, skills with particular sets of technology such as authoring tools, etc.
Experience and speed
Depending on the experience level of an individual team member, some will work much faster at different tasks than others. Incorporating the speed and proficiency of individual team members in relation to different tasks provides a more accurate picture of your team’s capacity for fulfilling project requirements.
Calculate your team’s current workload, whether you have the capacity for more training projects, or whether you’re already stretched too thin:
Interactive Capacity Gap Calculator
Auditing and Assessing Your Team’s Capacity
Many L&D teams struggle to keep up with the demand for training. Prioritizing projects and managing stakeholder expectations is a common challenge. So it probably won’t come as a surprise if your calculations show that your training team is stretched to capacity or working well over it to keep up with demand.
Once you’ve got some hard and fast capacity numbers to work with, you can leverage that data to audit for operational efficiency and strategic decision making, such as:
- Budget increases or reallocation
- Increasing headcount in specific areas or skills
- Onboarding new technology to free up team capacity
Learn how to optimize your entire learning operations to maximize your training team’s output:
Free eBook: How to Optimize Your Training Operations for Increased L&D Output