“Because they are so effective, executive dashboards are gaining popularity as the most significant influencer to win over the C-suite and earn the L&D team a strategic seat at the table,” explains Preethi Anand, author of the February 2017 issue of TD at Work. In “Executive Dashboards to Win Over the C-Suite,” Anand explains how to design a dashboard with analytics that will clearly spell out to your organization’s executives the impact of training initiatives. 

For the purposes of the TD at Work, dashboards show the metrics and data on various L&D initiatives, along with the overall performance of business functions. To map out your dashboard, you need to know what business outcomes you want to influence with your L&D. Rather than writing an objective for a dashboard, write down the outcomes and work backward. Use these questions to help you figure out: 

  • What is the main purpose of the L&D function? Is it engagement and retention? Performance acceleration? Ensuring quality of products and services?
  • Are there specific business metrics that are tied to the performance of the L&D team? These might include things such as time to resolution of a customer issue, or time to full productivity after an employee comes on board.
  • What decisions does the leadership team usually make with L&D reports? 

Answering these questions is an important step in developing dashboards. However, the maturity of your training metrics will directly affect the maturity of your dashboard. Early on, you may only have feedback metrics, for example, and not trends and year-over-year data. 

Once you have the outcomes you wish to influence, then you can write your objectives. These might include: 

  • communicating the value of L&D initiatives to business leaders 
  • showing the progress of L&D projects, or validating the direction that is being taken 
  • presenting the degree to which L&D contributes to achieving business targets 
  • listing organizational roadblocks to moving programs forward. 

Who are you “talking to” with your dashboard? Are you addressing the head of the sales department? Is the operations lead your targeted audience? Perhaps the director of the finance team? Keeping your audience in mind will help you determine which data to highlight and how deep you want to dive into those data.  

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You want to select the right data for your audience based on outcomes and objectives, along with the maturity of your L&D function. “One way that I recommend is to look at data through the eyes of a design thinker, because it ensures business alignment every time,” writes Anand. That is, consider the desirability, feasibility, and viability of the data and metrics. 

Once you have the data and metrics you wish to present, you can design the prototype based on the appropriate tool and key design characteristics.  

One critical element to having a dashboard is to make it easy for the executive team to take action based on the data you present to them. You’ll also want to give execs the opportunity to communicate with you, offering ways to improve the dashboard—visually, frequency of reporting, or data reflected. 

Want to learn more? Take a look inside this issue.