Building a Data-driven Learning Strategy to Streamline People Development

team development

By Christian Foerg

Organisations find themselves in a tricky situation at present. Reports of the talent crisis continue to dominate the headlines, yet at the same time, an economic crisis looms large. Some are suggesting that older workers need to return to the workforce to resolve this climate, whilst others posit that benefits packages should be improved to attract top talent. Businesses must take tough decisions as they adapt to the challenging economic climate and attempt to recruit and train top talent.

At the same time, employees increasingly value professional development when joining an organisation. Nearly two thirds of staff said that Covid-19 had made them reflect more deeply on their purpose in life, resulting in people tending to see their jobs as more than just an economic necessity. Workers are demanding a complete range of benefits from their employers, and so to remain competitive, organisations must include a strong professional development offering.

When designing a professional development strategy, organisations should aim for an approach that is both cost-effective and attractive to employees. A data-driven learning strategy is the answer here, allowing businesses to deliver programmes efficiently and at scale. But what is the real impact of data-driven learning, and how can organisations create a data-driven culture?

Designing personalised programmes to suit the individual

At present, almost three quarters (74%) of CEOs are concerned about a lack of skills within their organisation. Indeed, as technology continues to revolutionise the parameters of the majority of job roles, there is a greater need for upskilling within the workforce. In addition to this, there are those who want to develop completely new skills, as well as those who are onboarding to a business for the first time. As such, there are a wide range of requirements for people development programmes these days, because people are no longer focused only on learning enough to do their job well but want to learn to progress their career.  

For businesses to successfully fulfil their workforce’s range of requirements, personalisation is the best way forward. Blanket learning programmes cannot respond to individuals’ needs effectively, resulting in wasted resources and persistent knowledge gaps. Typically, organisations do not have the ability to design targeted training programmes for each employee, especially if the workforce is large. So, they must look to automation and the use of data. 

Leveraging data to everyone’s advantage

We are seeing a rapid growth in the popularity of Learning Management Systems (LMS), and for good reason. An LMS is a software application that allows a business to host everything related to learning in one place, including learning content, tracking progress data, and administration. 

Before LMSs became widespread, learning was either tracked manually or not at all. Employers mandated courses from time to time, but these rarely formed part of an overall professional development journey. This meant that employees often felt obligated to undergo training that they then never embedded in their day-to-day work. Not only was this a waste of resources, but it was not at all motivating for the employee. 

When using an LMS, it becomes much easier to create relevant, personalised learning pathways for everyone, thanks to the data contained within the LMS. When employees engage in learning activities through an LMS, the software collects data on what they have completed and their level of engagement. This is not to reprimand employees for not completing training, but rather, allows organisations to understand what the employee wants to learn and how they learn best. As such, line managers can make training recommendations based upon how employees have interacted with the content on the platform thus far, ensuring that learning is always relevant to both the individual’s needs and the business’ needs. 

Embedding learning tools within the organisation

A strong LMS enables employees to learn in a way and at a time that suits them. Sending everyone on a training course for a full day is not only inconvenient, but rarely results in effective learning experiences because of the lack of personalisation. On the contrary, allowing individuals to log onto the LMS and complete bitesize learning activities within the flow of work is significantly more enjoyable for the learner and garners better results. 

At the same time as embedding learning into an employee’s workday, learning should be embedded within the HR systems of an organisation. The aim here is to reduce the barriers to learning as much as possible, and given that humans are creatures of habit, we like everything to feel unified. Employees want to enjoy the same user-friendly experience when they are learning as when they are booking holidays or updating personal information, and it makes them much more likely to use the platform when this is the case. 

Data-driven learning is a process of leveraging technology to enable employees to learn how they want to, therefore streamlining people development. Learning at work should not be a chore, it should be an opportunity for individuals to get inspired and design a career journey that suits them. Data and automation make this process easier, allowing individuals to focus on the most important thing – learning!

About the Author

Christian FoergChristian Foerg joined Access Learning from Saba in October 2021, having spent his career as an HR and IT professional in high-tech, chemical, and retail industries. Christian prides himself on being a hands-on executive with a successful track record of leadership in both international and domestic roles. He has in-depth experience in SaaS and M&A through his time successfully executing large-scale HR integrations.

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