The importance of measuring the long term impact of your CISL programmes

Corporate International Service Learning (CISL)* programmes offer leaders the opportunity to test their abilities and develop global leadership skills by applying their work based skills to a project or assignment that serves a third-party constituency. Most often, companies seek to understand the immediate responses and outcomes of these programmes through post programme surveys, but very little evaluation is undertaken to establish the longer-term impact.

To address this gap, Emerging World designed and implemented the first CISL Impact Benchmark Study in 2015 which was repeated in 2016 and 2017. The Study is designed to explore the long term impact of corporate international service learning programmes. In order to understand the longer term impact, all participants selected to be surveyed had completed a CISL experience at least 12 months prior to participating in the research.

The Study has evolved since inception, and now provides powerful data that shows how CISL programmes impact leadership development, career mobility, retention, employee engagement, business performance and responsible leadership. As a result of this research, an industry benchmark has been created from 688 employees of 6 global organisations including BD, Credit Suisse, EY, GSK, Merck and Microsoft.

For participating companies, impact assessment reports are provided at an individual organisation level. This enables participating organisations to understand the strengths of their programmes and identify focus areas where changes could be made to increase impact. Further analysis of the benchmark data provides insights which areas of design changes create the most impact on outcomes and bringing all participating companies together for benchmarking sessions provides opportunities for exchange and continuous improvement.

The impact on the participant, and ultimately their business is a key driver for stakeholders. Being able to clearly show how new skills have been developed and what impact this learning has on subsequent behaviour and work performance is essential to ensure executive buy in and programme growth.

Measuring the long term impact of CISL programmes has provided useful statistics that, not only demonstrate the powerful impact on participants and their business, but that through measuring long term outcomes, immediate programme design changes can be made in the appropriate placed to ensure programme efficacy.

*Also referred to as Global Pro Bono and International Corporate Volunteering (ICV)