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Can you use analytics to improve your workforce and how

Organizations often focus their analytics toward external parameters. You can use similar techniques to improve your workforce. But should you?

The short answer is “yes”, but of course, there’s a caveat. You can’t rely entirely on analytics to create a data-driven workforce, Harvard Business Review notes. You need more. You need a plan.

And this plan should focus not only on initial trainings and adoption. It should review the entire organization’s structure and core tech. With analytics you can see not only how teams and divisions perform, but what they could need in the future.

But then there’s the next step, says Adele Sweetwood, senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Shared Services at SAS. “Any good adoption plan should focus on continual learning. This might include online or recorded refresher sessions; mentors; online resources for questions, feedback, and new ideas; or a certification process”, she writes in her column.

She writes this when it comes to analytics training. But in reality, you can and should, employ this process for all types of trainings. Many people still have the “one-and-done focus”, Sweetwood writes about. But with the constantly changing and developing tech scene, this approach is not enough. Plus, with the information overload that all people endure on a daily basis, you can’t expect to have high results after only one training.

School might be out, but learning isn’t

This is where the continuous approach comes. It creates a setting of a continuous information flow which keeps refreshing. Plus, it helps to foster a culture of constant improvement and development, something which many IT professionals care about a lot.

It’s also important to provide different training formats. Variety means more employees will find something that suits their personal preferences more. And this means they will approach the trainings with more interest and engagement, rather than going through the motions because they have to.

You can then use analytics again to see what the results are and how trainings have changed them. This will also help you see in which way you can point the next set of trainings or the company direction as a whole. Again, don’t rely entirely on analytics for that. Don’t forget to actually talk and communicate with the employees and hear their two cents. You might also need analytics pros who can read the data properly and help you come to the right conclusions. There’s always a risk of reading the data the way you want to see it which might not be what it actually says. This is were analytics professionals can help you read the data and see how it relates to the employees’ actual opinions.

Setting up such a process will be tricky. But it can be very beneficial if done right. And, as Sweetwood says, change is a difficult journey and training is a starting point.