Case study

Measuring Learning & Development (L&D) effectiveness at St James’s Place


St James’s Place


UK and Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, China)


Initially 400 people in the SJP Academy Training Programme, building out to 9,500 learners and potentially more across the company.


Explorance Metrics That Matter


To move towards a standardised approach of L&D and ensure that programmes are designed and delivered with evaluation in mind.

Key benefits:

  • Automated insights
  • Data-driven evidence
  • Real-time analytics
  • Flexible and agile reporting
  • Consulting support

A transformative organisational approach to L&D

St. James’s Place (SJP), a FTSE 100 company offering wealth management and financial planning advice to individuals and businesses, appointed Explorance to support its drive to increase the efficiency and impact of its Learning and Development (L&D) programmes.

SJP adopted Explorance’s Metrics That Matter (MTM) and completed an initial six-month proof-of-concept project. With MTM, and the provision of quality data, SJP is benefitting from meaningful impact in its L&D programmes by continually measuring, evaluating and increasing the effectiveness of its learning portfolio. It has now rolled this out to over 9,500 learners, with the potential to expand to other parts of the company.

“Our aim from the outset was to move towards a measurement approach of L&D that examines a clear understanding of our objectives, whether we are fulfilling those, and designing our training with evaluation in mind from the start,” explained Peter Clarke, Head of Learning Performance and Innovation at SJP. “We want to see the result in terms of employee or business performance, but to do that we needed to gather a much stronger understanding of what makes a good training or development experience.”

Accelerating learner engagement and performance

Testing Explorance MTM in the SJP Financial Adviser Academy Training Programme, which inspires, trains and supports 400 prospective financial advisers every year via an initial 12-week roadmap, SJP has gone on to build its evaluation enhancement, supporting regulatory and compliance training such as anti-money laundering, as well as leadership and skills development, “deepening and broadening this out across the organisation”.

SJP is on what Peter describes as an “accelerator journey”, pinpointing the areas of L&D that are making the biggest difference and those that may require adjustment or recalibration. “If we take regulatory and compliance training these are traditionally delivered via static ‘text and next’ e-learning,” he said. “But if we are making a big investment into a different approach to learning, we want to know what people’s experiences are really like and the sustained impact of any training behaviours. Learning performance and impact on individuals, teams and the business as a whole are the key drivers for us, and if engagement is good that tends to follow.

“We want to make sure every single person is on the same scale and supporting our clients effectively – to achieve this we require insight.”

Data-informed evidence driving prompt action

Through MTM, SJP can diagnose areas of L&D with the highest and lowest impact and is able to be “agile and jump on any issues”. “Everything in L&D is a test-and-learn approach,” Peter admitted. “The difference is that we are now able to show what is working. We have got good data so can see the areas that are knocking it out of the park, and focus on any area which requires tweaks to its design. MTM gives us the platform to see what is valuable: quick analytics to understand the changes required there and then, rather than six months after a course, and also see the impact of those changes.”

Explorance’s measurement experts have created a suite of reports to better inform all stakeholders so that they can drive meaningful ROI. “What narrative can we tell for our course owners, trainers, and at senior level – and what data do they need to see?” Peter said. “We have flexibility and the ability to drill down on data. The best story when looking at L&D, what we do, and investing x amount of money into y area of training, is that we can see what is working and put time and energy into another area. The strategic focus on effort and energy is informed by data rather than intuition, which is giving us a shift in dial. This is especially important for the regulatory training that everyone has to do, and so decisions on digital learning are not made blind or on an ad hoc basis.”

SJP has also utilised Explorance Consulting, a team of experienced HR, L&D and talent practitioners from a wide range of industries and companies, to provide data analysis services and coaching hours. “Stephanie Johnson and the team have been invaluable as we are evolving, shaping and developing our work, and provide excellent counsel,” Peter revealed. “L&D can feel isolating, and they are a cool hand. We are currently evaluating our executive coaching, and Stephanie is helping with her experience of what works well, accelerating our journey. They have brought focus and support on our shoulder.”

Award-winning recognition by profession

In February 2023, SJP was the Gold Winner for People Development Programme of the Year (Private Sector) for its work with the SJP Financial Adviser Academy Training Programme, as well as Silver Winner for the Digital Learning Transformation Award, at The Learning Awards (operated by the Learning Performance Institute).

“This is the first time we have entered any awards, and we did that because we have a huge amount of data from Explorance MTM to evaluate our learning effectiveness,” Peter said. “There were 660 submissions from 61 countries, so to be even shortlisted was a significant achievement. When we set out on this project, we wanted to challenge the way that learning was thought about and delivered. Innovation and impact were at the heart of our thinking, so to have this recognised and celebrated is incredible.”

Employee insight solutionsL&D effectivenessLearning and developmentMetrics That MatterPeople insight solutions

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