The benefits outlined in the previous step can be difficult to quantify. But assigning, or at least estimating, dollar amounts to these outcomes is necessary to measure and track the financial ROI of your WIL program. For each of the benefits listed, your organization will need to determine a representative indicator used to measure its impact. Indicators need to be relevant, understandable, unbiased, and easy to measure. Some benefits will have straightforward indicators, such as sales and increases in production or retention rates. Others may be more challenging to calculate.
Skilled Talent Pipeline Benefits
There are several ways to ascribe monetary value to increased access to a skilled talent pipeline for your organization. One common metric is the WIL retention rate at your organization, i.e. the number of students you hire once they have finished their diploma or degree. Studies show that students joining organizations who have already spent time there have stronger technical and social-emotional skills than new hires without workplace experience. They also have a built-in sense of belonging at the organization and are easier and less expensive to onboard.
Your organization has determined that it saves $1,000 for each WIL student it hires versus hiring someone external. This value was calculated as the difference between the cost to attract, interview, onboard, and train external applicants compared to your WIL students. You’ve hired 6 students out of the 12 that interned at your organization and you therefore saved $6,000.
Productivity indicators can look different depending on the industry (note: tracking sales is a common example but not universally applicable). In many cases, your WIL students are completing projects for your organization, whose monetary value can be quantified. Other indicators can be focused on the efficiency of tasks or alleviation of work from full-time employees. Rather than having to hire a contract employee, WIL students can be hired during peak seasons. Your organization can, in turn, profit from their professional development, especially if they are hired post-graduation.
1. A WIL student takes on some of the lower intensity tasks of a more senior employee, allowing the senior employee to dedicate their time to higher value or more productive tasks.
2. You increase your productivity by having a WIL student complete work that would have been outsourced to an external vendor at a higher cost.
Note: These calculations are overly simplified but give you a sense of how to calculate productivity benefits.
Innovation and EDI Benefits
Assigning monetary value to intangible benefits received from your WIL program, such as innovation or diversity and inclusion, can be challenging. But with some practice you can develop indicators to estimate how many new ideas, perspectives, and recommendations suggested by WIL students made a significant difference at your organization. Did they suggest a new way of processing orders, saving the organization time and money? Did they identify a new software tool that automates repetitive tasks and allows staff to spend time on more important tasks?