Is your organization looking at the right data? When it comes to talent management and leadership development, it’s really easy to focus on the wrong data. And it happens all of the time. Companies can get over-focused on development dollars per employee, or hours of time spent in training. They can focus on metrics and performance data that invent the wrong behaviors, like average handle time over first call resolution.
In the world of talent development, we look at all types of data, attrition rates, termination rates, lateral movement, time to fill metrics, cost per seat in training and all kinds of other metrics. I can go on and on, but that’s not the point. The point is, when was the last time that you questioned the data in front of you and asked, are we focused on the right outcomes?
Let me give you a very basic analogy. We all know that water covers approximately 71% of the earth’s surface. Interesting point, but tell that to the 800 million people who don’t have daily access to clean, potable water and ask them what that means to them. Again, being very simple here, it means that 97% of that water is brackish, salty, polluted, or too far away to access and as such can’t be readily consumed. Another 2% of that water is locked in the polar ice caps. That leaves 1% of total water available on earth as drinkable. So when you start talking or listening to others talk about data and the impact it has on your people, ask yourself if what’s being measured is what we should be focusing on. Ask yourself can we drink this water? Or is this data unfit for human consumption or practical use.
An example that I often see of this data misuse is in the training space. We get so focused on how many hours of training that we offer an employee that we never stop and ask, who cares? What’s the impact? What have they done as a result of that training? How many of those participants went back to their day to day, and let everything they learn come undone?
How are you measuring impact, what is your organization doing to make sure that knowledge is sticking? In order to make sure that your organization is not stuck in the middle between spending time and energy on training, and not having the knowledge from the training programs sticks try the following:
- Build programs that are experiential
- Focus the learning on real world issues
- Align the learning to business strategies
- Create action plans as part of the learning
- Build a culture of support … challenge your leadership to support the learning
If your organization is set up to lose the boomers over the next few years, how are you making sure that the critical knowledge and skills they possess aren’t leaving with them? The best way to stay unstuck from the middle is by embracing the opportunities that will exist in the future, by leveraging this expert knowledge today.