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We know by now that workplace learning and development programs are essential to any company’s long-term success. But how do we know if a training program is effective?
The short answer is data, and more specifically, something called learning and development (L&D) analytics.
L&D analytics allow us to analyze the effectiveness of training and understand how it correlates to employee engagement, productivity, and overall company success.
What is L&D Analytics?
L&D analytics lives under a broader umbrella of workplace data science, which uses predictive and prescriptive analytics and machine learning to help us make predictions and decisions. Adopting this kind of data-driven approach to learning can help your company answer a number of complex skills training questions, including:
- Which employees require more support?
- What is the rate of employee turnover in relation to trainings completed?
- Which style of learning is most effective for my team members?
- How have these trainings affected overall business revenue?
This approach can also help create personalized learning experiences, and improve comprehension and subject matter retention. BrainStation’s Synapse, for example, is a fully data-driven learning platform, which tracks course comprehension and progress, and encourages student feedback, allowing instructors to develop personalized learning experiences for each student.
How L&D Analytics Can Benefit Your Business
Implementing L&D analytics and a more data-driven approach to employee training can help your company develop a culture of learning, which can benefit your business in two key areas: improved employee engagement and better business decision-making.
Put simply, when employees feel that their long-term career goals are supported by their employers, they are less likely to leave. In fact, 70 percent of workers today cite job-related training and development opportunities as a reason for staying at a job. This goes up to 87 percent for millenials, who, it should be noted, now make up the largest portion of the workforce. This is made all the more important when you consider that 43 percent of employed Americans are concerned about the changing nature of work.
With a data-driven approach to learning, companies can now make informed decisions about what sort of training to provide – is this what the team wants and needs? Will it address the team’s weaknesses? Once you’ve identified gaps and relevant skills to develop for the future, L&D analytics can then be used to compare training and revenue, with questions like these:
- How do training results compare at our best performing stores, versus the worst?
- What impact, if any, does the amount of training hours have on sales?
- What impact does the amount of training hours have on employee turnover?
The answers to questions like these will often justify, and in fact encourage, investment in employee training and help create long-term growth strategies – for both your employees and the company as a whole. TELUS, one of Canada’s fastest-growing telecommunications companies, provides a good example. The company used a number of employee surveys to develop a culture of learning, and a robust training program, featuring a number of contextual learning tools and platforms, including its own internal versions of YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Following these kinds of investments, the company saw employee retention improved by 30 percent.
How do I Implement L&D analytics Into my Workplace?
Adopting a data-driven LMS platform like Synapse is the easiest way to start benefiting from L&D analytics in the workplace, particularly if you don’t already have a Data Scientist or data team in place. If you’d rather have someone on board to dig deeper into the data, we recently wrote about how to hire a Data Scientist. That post took a look at the hiring process, and highlighted the importance of developing a strategy. The same approach is useful when it comes to implementing L&D analytics into the workplace.
First, you’ll need to map out your goals and objectives, as well as a timeline. Identify the key stakeholders in this decision, developing an approach that would appeal to them. It’s extremely important to ensure that your strategy aligns with your company’s overall business objectives: organizations that “are good at strategic alignment get between three and five times higher performance output.”
Be sure to consider the context of your company’s work environment (read: office politics!) and any cultural factors that may come into play. Identify your resources and the current capacity of team members who may take on this project. If you’ve got someone on your team who is a whiz at Excel or Python, this may be a great time to retrain or promote a junior employee into a new position as a Data Analyst.
Finally, develop an evaluation system. That means that you are monitoring the results of L&D programs, and also how well your new system is working for your team internally. Schedule regular reviews to make sure your system is running as effectively as possible.
Implementing a system of L&D analytics is crucial for today’s businesses, not only in the area of professional development but also in business growth. By working with a skilled Analyst to collect and analyze relevant data, your business can begin to make informed, data-driven decisions, resulting in higher employee engagement and, ultimately, increased revenue.