Align Learning to Drive Business Results

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Learning and Development is increasingly accountable for achieving results that tie directly to meeting overall corporate objectives. That is only going to continue to intensify as L&D leaders and HR as a whole continue to grapple with challenges related to the future of work.

To that end, Dana Palmblad and Roben Graziadei, segment directors for   Leadership and Professional Development with Kaplan, will explore how technology and data can be utilized to identify business challenges in order to prioritize your learning investments.  As part of HR Exchange Network’s HR and Future of Work online event, the two will discuss how this information can be used to create consistency and alignment, improve business acumen, and develop better decision-making skills.

Dana Palmblad

Segment Director for Leadership and Professional Development

Kaplan

Roben Graziadei

Segment Director for Leadership and Professional Development

Kaplan

Below is an interview I conducted with the team from Kaplan about the topic and a preview of the online event planned for March 24-25, 2020.

Mason Stevenson

Make the business case for me – why use data in learning and development?

Kaplan

The right data can help you prioritize your learning, to focus in areas where it is needed most and ensure the most effective use of your learning investment.  It provides a pre and post-assessment to measure the effectiveness of learning and training initiatives.  Importantly, we will also discuss an approach that goes beyond typical approaches that only provide pass/fail results, to provide a much better predictor of behavior.  We will explore the use of data that measures a person’s level of understanding - and how their knowledge is being applied within the context of the work they do every day.

Mason Stevenson

L&D leaders are under pressure to achieve results.  How can a data-driven approach help? 

Kaplan

Leveraging the right data, L&D can clearly identify the value drivers and KPIs needed to ensure focus on business activities that will have a meaningful business impact, creating better alignment with business goals and objectives.

Mason Stevenson

While metrics are different from organization to organization, generally speaking, what metrics should all L&D leaders track?

Kaplan

L&D leaders should measure the effectiveness of initiatives that are tied to the businesses’ strategic goals and objectives and integrated with professional development performance metrics/review. Asking two questions:

  1. Are learning initiatives aligned with overall business objectives to drive results?
  2. Are there meaningful KPIs in place to measure the expected/needed behavioral changes needed, to ensure learning is not just an “event,” but is creating sustained performance improvement?

Mason Stevenson

Kaplan takes a two-dimensional diagnostic approach in that it measures competence and confidence.  Why these specific dimensions and what is gained?

Kaplan

People development should focus on both skills and behavior - this is a well-known concept. Our diagnostic translates skills into measures of competence and the ability to apply these skills with confidence. This provides a clearer picture of where you have hidden talent or possible performance gaps and allows you to tailor learning to the individual, team or the entire organization.  Unlike other assessments, Kaplan’s unique diagnostic tool is an online assessment that creates real-life scenarios, providing participants with decisions that are relevant to their work and asking them to determine if a given response is true or false.  Additionally, they are asked to rate how confident they are in their answer. 

This confidence measure provides insight into their level of understanding; their ability to make the right decisions in their day-to-day work.  The resulting data provides heat maps and other reports provide a foundation for identifying hidden talent and uncovering risk; the ability to develop personalized learning interventions that align behavior with corporate goals and objectives to drive better individual, group and corporate performance.

Mason Stevenson

How can diagnostics and assessments be utilized to identify risk?

Kaplan

The data provided from this diagnostic identifies areas where individuals have indicated they would make the wrong decision in a given situation, but strongly believe their decision is correct.  This indicates areas of risk that need to be addressed.  Providing heat maps and other reports that show this information on an individual, group or organizational level, allows L&D to create learning initiatives that are targeted to the greatest area of need.

It can help you identify skill gaps that could impact whether or not the company meets its strategic business goals and objectives.  Not prioritizing learning initiatives related to these areas could hinder the company’s ability to meet its goals and objectives.  Mason Stevenson

What about learning investments?  How can diagnostics and assessments drive those?

Kaplan

Where many organizations struggle to allocate training investments solely based on budgets that are intended to cover a wider range of areas; often focused primarily on “High Performance” candidates, etc., Diagnostics provide the ability to more accurately assess the learning needs and invest in the people and groups with the greatest need.  This provides for real democratization of learning - to develop the skills and behaviors needed across the business - at all levels, to drive more consistent overall performance improvement.

Mason Stevenson

Hidden talent?  Can data help find those “diamonds in the rough”?

Kaplan

Yes, a diagnostic heat map can reveal individuals with high competence but low confidence in a specific competency or skill.  A tailored learning journey (perhaps coaching the employee) can be designed to specifically address talent and/or confidence gaps.

Mason Stevenson

Can a diagnostic/data-driven approach help in other areas?  In succession planning, for instance, or leadership development?

Kaplan

Yes, by working with an organization we are able to identify development needs in these areas and others, whether for a functional population or to address specific organizational challenges.  For example, we are all facing change at a rapid pace today, with more and more people required to work from home. This is challenging for the business, leaders and employees. The ability to present real decision points for everyone as they adapt to changing processes, technology and work environments, helps identify where people need the most support. This helps leadership to respond with key messaging and tailored learning journeys that specifically address these needs.

 

Dana Palmblad and Roben Graziadei, segment directors for leadership and professional development with Kaplan, will speak on March 25, 2020 at 1:30p ET.  The title of their session:  Data-Driven Insights - How to Align Learning to Drive Business Results.  To sign up for FREE, click here.

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