Corporate Executives and the New Secret Weapon: Learning Data
CEO, Axonify Inc.
(Originally published in Learning Solutions Magazine)
If you ask most C-level executives in 2014 what keeps them awake at night
you’ll likely get a combination of the following: sales growth, competitive
positioning, and product innovation. However, for the savviest executives today,
a rapidly emerging concern is heading to the top of the list: employee
motivation and retention.
Data is the key
Today, learning data is the Holy Grail. For years, executives have been
searching for a way to truly measure learning outcomes in a cost effective and
meaningful way that can enable strategic decisions in the enterprise. Figuring
out whether an employee actually “got” what was conveyed to them, and
translating that into performance, has been thought of for years as virtually
impossible. And looking forward—wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to predict
behavior ahead of time based on historical learning data and then tie it to a
forecast financial result?
Learning, in 2014 and beyond, is about bottom-line results and quantification.
It is also about meeting the deep needs of a mobile and fearless workforce to
better equip them with the learning they crave and demand.
Like many other things at work, today’s employee isn’t just sitting back and
waiting for professional development opportunities to be offered to them. They
expect training and information—on demand, in a way that they can digest it,
specific to their knowledge gaps, and using the latest in technology. Who would
have thought five years ago that satisfying a demand for continuous education
would become a critical element in the attraction and retention of a top-drawer
To date, measurable learning outcomes have tended to be more of the undesirable
kind—an employee’s lack of knowledge manifests through negative
consequences—they don’t do something they were supposed to, or actively do
something they shouldn’t have, and a visible loss results.
Failure to operationalize a procedure that results in a medical accident, for
example, is a very visible way to learn that an employee didn’t understand the
right way to do something. But many other types of loss that result from lack of
learning transfer aren’t so visible—like the employee who fails to follow proper
customer-service principles and ends up driving a loyal customer away, or the
sales rep who can’t recall the latest product features and pricing in a complex
sale and loses to the competition. This results in a negative feedback loop that
doesn’t work for the executive who lost the sale, or for the customer, or for
the employee who is increasingly looking for positive reinforcement and
So, how to invert the learning conversation so that everyone wins?
Read the rest of Carol's article