Strategic Planning

How To Expand The Influence Of The Training Team With Data

Caleb Shull 5 minute read
business professionals shaking hands in agreement.

It can be difficult to fully communicate the importance of the Training team to the success of the business. Training operations spend a lot of money, but for most enterprises, don’t typically lead directly to revenue. Business leaders can see costs, but aren’t often given the data needed to connect costs to the value Training generates. Unless they make the connection, they see training operations as an expense to be minimized, not as a strategic source of value.

Let’s make one thing clear – that disconnect has nothing to do with training professionals, and everything to do with training software. Software that seems purpose-built to provide maximum complexity for minimum capability. Software that’s a decade behind other industries.

Most training professionals don’t realize just how much Training could contribute to business success if it was more influential within their organizations. That’s because they’re used to working with software that has never been able to communicate their importance.

Getting buy-in from the rest of the organization starts with getting the right tools for the job – software that can link training operations data to the big-picture goals that business leaders care about.

Comprehensive Internal Training Metric Reporting

The first step in communicating the strategic importance of Training is reporting on and analyzing internal training metrics. Reporting might seem like a very basic function, but doing it well is critical to any team’s success.

Many enterprise Training teams struggle with a reporting architecture that isn’t efficient, comprehensive, or customizable. With datasets often spread out across incompatible software systems, simply getting all of the training data that needs to be reported on can be a time-consuming manual process. And many training software systems only support a few pre-generated reports.

This boxes training teams in, limiting your ability to fully explore your data. Searching internal training metrics for insights and intelligence requires flexibly comparing and analyzing data. Every team’s situation is unique, and reporting should be precisely tailored to meet your needs.

Unlocking the full potential of internal training metrics requires software that’s up to the task. A training management platform, designed to provide customizable and comprehensive reporting, is a foundation for effective communication about the Training team’s operations and value.

External Metrics and KPI Linking

Effective reporting on internal training metrics, such as learner grades, is key to ensuring that training operations are monitored and improved. But this descriptive category of data is missing something fundamental – whether the training being delivered is achieving its goals.

The goal of a course on workplace safety should (unsurprisingly) be to make the workplace safer. Training metrics, such as course completion rates, can provide insight into the delivery of that training, but not into whether learners are safer at work after taking it.

Demonstrating that training has had an impact requires reporting on metrics that lie completely outside of the training function. Have workers compensation claims declined since the course was introduced? Is the lost-time accident rate lower? Do workers and managers report feeling safer on the job a week, a month, or a year after they were trained?

These kinds of metrics, drawn from the rest of the business, capture the actual goals of training initiatives, unlike internal training data that can only report on the training itself. Many Training teams struggle to incorporate these external metrics into their reporting – or don’t include them at all. But they are an essential part of proving the relationship between training initiatives and business success.

Internal training metrics can demonstrate that learners are succeeding in the learning environment. But on their own, they don’t prove that training impacted KPIs or business goals. Data from outside the training function can track changes in departmental KPIs. But alone, it can’t prove that those changes were caused by a training initiative. Combined, however, these two sources of data can prove that success in the learning environment enabled learners to be more effective in their roles.

Handling data from outside of the training function involves connecting a wide variety of unique software systems from across the organization. To enhance the developer experience and reduce the need for manual data entry and spreadsheet management, it’s essential that your tech stack is built for ease of integration. If your software can’t manage the data you need, it makes it much more difficult to utilize that data effectively.

Earning Influence with Data-Driven Decisions

Once your learning technology infrastructure can handle your data needs, you’ll be able to draw the connections that prove the Training team is bringing value to the business. The next step is being aggressive and proactive in applying those connections to the future. If Training can use data analytics to identify and solve problems that would limit future growth, business leaders will recognize it as an area where further investment creates a strategic edge.

Projecting future trends and preparing a response that includes the training function requires a high level of data literacy within the Training team, and a willingness to take the initiative. Done properly, however, it can make the Training team into a powerful data-driven decision-making engine for the entire organization. That kind of success is a foundation for increasing Training’s influence.
Asserting more control over budget, personnel, and operations requires a Training team to be influential in their organization. Luckily, with the right approach to data and reporting, that kind of influence is achievable.

Interested in getting a detailed assessment of your team’s data management, business intelligence, and other key factors? Take Administrate’s Scalability Index Assessment to learn how these and other factors are impacting your ability to expand and deliver training at scale.

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