6 Ways Learning Analytics Can Inform Your Workforce Strategy

At Watershed, we are no strangers to understanding what drives the need for learning analytics. There is no shortage of L&D data to analyze. But what burning questions do we keep hearing?

In this blog post, our Sales Director Brandon Brodkin explores how to use learning analytics for a winning workforce strategy.

Let’s do something crazy. Let’s recognize that learning within an organization isn’t only for learning’s sake. It’s for the betterment of the company, of the people, and of the culture.

It’s holistic.

Now, how can we have a truly holistic view across a company? It may not be the end goal, but it’s a starting point. Let’s connect Learning and Talent.

I love Lori Niles-Hofmann’s analogy around the pizza factory and the importance of tomatoes. In a nutshell, a pizza maker needs tomatoes. So do you grow the tomatoes yourself, or do you buy them?  And just like a pizza maker, L&D can either grow or source the necessary ingredients for success with its talent strategy. There are inherent trade-offs in either direction.

Regardless, Learning and Talent must communicate to ensure a well-equipped, continuously improving workforce through upskilling.

And that brings us to the possibilities. What can we achieve by building this bridge?

Optimize your workforce strategy with L&D data and learning analytics

Learning data and analytics will inform an organization’s talent strategy by providing insights into employee performance, skill gaps, training effectiveness, and learning preferences. By analyzing this data, organizations can:

  1. Identify skill gaps (I like to call this knowing your bench). Learning analytics can help pinpoint areas where employees lack the necessary skills or knowledge, allowing HR and talent development teams to design targeted training programs to address these gaps. From there, you can identify an optimum learning pathway or inform talent recruitment or acquisition strategies.
  2. Personalize learning paths. By analyzing individual learning data, you can personalize learning paths for employees, ensuring they receive the right training at the right time. This approach replaces the one size and modality fits all. We see the convergence of AI, just-in-time learning, and feedback loops across learning.
  3. Measure and analyze training impact. Analytics can track the impact of training programs and initiatives, allowing you to invest in those that yield the highest ROI and adjust or eliminate ineffective ones.

    Note that when considering ROI, you should use a blend of metrics to build a rounded picture. Traditional L&D metrics are useful, but tend to use easily attainable data points that focus on output and learner satisfaction (e.g., courses created, hours completed, happy sheet scores, etc). Align this data along with business KPIs, and you can paint a more powerful picture of "ROI" that will engage business leaders.
  4. Forecast future talent needs. By analyzing learning trends and performance data, you can forecast future talent needs and proactively develop or acquire the skills required to meet those needs. This approach takes a more forward-leaning approach, incorporating trends and emerging skill data, rather than a lagging approach where it always feels like there’s a fire.
  5. Inform recruitment strategies. Learning analytics offer insights into the skills and competencies that are most valuable to the organization, helping HR departments refine their recruitment strategies to attract candidates with the right skill sets.

    I like to reference skill adjacency here, where we may be looking for five specific skills for a role, and we have a candidate with four of them. It’s more efficient to upskill that one area rather than start by training a candidate on all five skills.
  6. Retain top talent. Increase employee satisfaction and retention rates by understanding employees’ learning preferences and providing opportunities for continuous growth and development. This process feeds into a learning culture and growth mindset.

Shape your workforce strategy with learning analytics

Overall, L&D data and learning analytics enable organizations to make data-driven decisions about talent development. As a result, they ensure they have the right people with the right skills to achieve their strategic objectives. They also empower learning leaders to bring actionable insights and strategies to executive discussions.

You can catch Brandon in person at any of these 2024 events: Degreed LENS, Learning Technologies UK, ATD, and DevLearn. You can also connect with Brandon directly on LinkedIn.

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