People analytics and learning and development (L&D) have become buzzwords in HR and the professional workforce. However, these buzzwords can be elusive. So, we took it upon ourselves to unpack these concepts. We sat down with Vivo Team’s EVP of People Analytics and Talent Activation, Dr. Jim Sellner, to discuss how people analytics in L&D apply to you, and why you should care. Check it out for yourself with our FREE Team Assessment!
Question: What is people analytics in L&D?
Dr. Jim: MIT Sloan defines people analytics as: “a data-driven approach to improving people-related decisions for the purpose of advancing the success of not only the organization, but also of individual employees”.
To be more specific, Vivo Team’s people analytics focuses on Team and Leader Development Programs and Coaching, aka learning and development or L&D.
The term people analytics is used in HR to measure a wide variety of elements including: retention, time spent onboarding, attendance, etc.
Q: Why is people analytics in L&D important?
Dr. Jim: People analytics in L&D provides the data our clients require to measure the growth, development, and successes of their team and/or leader development programs and coaching. This is done in terms of behaviors and dollars (by measuring a decrease in the cost of lost productivity*). People analytics in L&D is highly accurate in diagnosing the effects of behaviors on teams. That’s why people analytics in L&D is so important!
*The cost of lost productivity, in simple terms, is loss of work/revenue/production caused by the unavailability of an employee for any reason in terms of dollars.
Q: How is people analytics used in L&D?
Dr. Jim: People analytics in L&D is a machine learning (or ML) process to identify the need for training and the specific areas that need to be addressed first. Traditionally, in L&D, it’s called a training needs analysis. Within people analytics, the training needs are identified by the participants, and the machine learning builds a more accurate, detailed diagnosis.
Q: How does people analytics support leaders and their teams?
Dr. Jim: People analytics provides teams and leaders the tools to diagnose, analyze, predict, prescribe, deliver, and evaluate their learning and development efforts.
Q: How does L&D support a productive workplace people want to be a part of?
Dr. Jim: By including people in the diagnosis of what’s happening in the team dynamics. They identify the most important areas for improvement which increases the probability that they will be engaged in committing to making performance improvements—the WIIFM principle, What’s In It For Me?
Q: Specifically, can you describe how Vivo Team uses people analytics in their learning development program?
Dr. Jim: People analytics form the foundation of Vivo Team’s proprietary, award-winning VSR (Vital Statistics Report). Validated by the University of British Columbia’s Statistics Department, the VSR measures team effectiveness through the 6 key indicators of high performance (i.e., communication, interactive feedback, accountability, structures, emotional intelligence, and cohesion). These indicators provide leaders and teams the ability to diagnose, analyze, predict, prescribe, deliver, and evaluate their L&D efforts.
Q: Can you discuss the science behind it?
Dr. Jim: The science is machine learning—a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows software applications to become more accurate at predicting outcomes without being explicitly programmed to do so. Machine learning algorithms use historical data as input to predict new output values.
Thanks for chatting with us, Dr. Jim!