Many of us have to deal with data in some form to perform our jobs. For you, the data you work with might help you assess skills gaps, determine the effectiveness of a training program, or identify trends associated with hiring and retention at your company. Personally, I've used data to find out the popularity of certain magazine columns, how readers prefer to consume our content, demographics about ATD members, and advertising trends. Whether it's for a talent development professional or a magazine editor, data give us insights on how to do what's best for our organizations.
So, as much as some of us might not love the idea of poring over data, the exercise could do a lot of good. Lucky for me, ATD has a research team to help make sense of the numbers. Hopefully there are teams or individuals in your company that can help you dissect your data. Reach out to them; use their skill set to your advantage.
"To be successful, talent development practitioners will need to cut across silos and tap into the talent of analytics teams—HR, IT, finance, marketing, and so forth—so that we are able to help leaders, and hence, our workplaces as a whole," writes author Patty Gaul in the cover story. Her article stresses the importance of using data to increase the quality of a company's leadership.
And MJ Hall, author of "Make Your Data Dance," details a framework to use when crafting messages related to learning data that could drive business results. Put another way, you have the data that tell a story and now you have to make the case to stakeholders—what's an effective method to present those numbers in a compelling and engaging way? Hall provides that guidance.
"A typical place to start thinking about a message to make data meaningful is with your intent," Hall explains. "The intent should always demonstrate a path that leads to driving business results, either directly or indirectly."
Gaul concludes that making use of big data will be "the reality for everyone in the future." Are you ready?