There’s been a lot of talk around the concept of “Data-driven Professional Development” recently. You might have heard about how it’s used by schools to make teaching easier and more effective. But data can be used to help professionally develop your employees as well. Through all of this discussion, you’re probably still left with some pretty big questions about it.
● What is data-driven professional development?
● Do you really need it?
● How should you implement it?
We have the answers, and more, right here.
What Data-Driven Professional Development Is
The topic comes up mostly in regards to education, where teachers can use it to help their students learn. When we talk about data-driven professional development, however, it has a different meaning. Using many of the same kinds of talent acquisition analytics you’re already familiar with, we can help professionals in the workplace learn how to work and learn better.
Because education uses data to help students learn, it makes sense that you could employ the same tactics to help your employees grow professionally. This type of data-driven development is simply collecting data from past work experiences and using it to create informed developmental goals in the workplace, rather than just personal reflection and judgement calls. When you have data to back you up, you can make decisions knowing they have a solid and factual foundation.
Use what you already know to fuel development in professionals. Here's how:
Why You Need Professional Development
Even if “data-driven” seems like a buzzword, most of the problems data-driven solutions try to solve are real issues. Professional development, as one of these issues, is no different. No matter what field you’re in, employees need to feel like they’re valued and know their goals going forward. When you provide them with the professional development they crave, employees are less likely to leave for greener pastures. Teachers struggle with a deficiency in this type of development. The most-cited reasons teachers leave their jobs include a lack of support, feeling overwhelmed, and not knowing their expectations.
Depending on your internal battle with employee retention, turnover is a very real reason to adopt professional development as a way to entice your staff to stay. High turnover can impact your bottom line by draining your resources (since it can cost as much as twice a person’s salary to replace them), slowing down your overall productivity and impacting employee morale. This makes it one of the biggest problems managers face today, and a problem they must face with laser-like precision.
Turnover may be a reason to adopt professional development as a way to entice employees to stay.
Why it Needs to be Data-Driven
If you want to introduce data into your employee’s work life, you’re going to need to change a few things. Specifically, how you think about how your employees work. In the office, using data to measure the amount, speed and variety of work done is a boon to some, and a problem for others. The Harvard Business Review breaks these work groups down into four categories:
1. Highly regarded, high performing
2. Highly regarded, low performing
3. Lowly regarded, high performing
4. Lowly regarded, low performing
In general, numbers 2 and 4 will be your biggest problem. See the commonality? They’re both low-performing groups. This means that not only will data-driven performance management help you find ways you can make your current high-performers better, but it will also give you a breakdown of who might not be pulling their weight. And, once again, when you let data drive the process, you can be sure you have data to back up your decisions.
So there’s a short lesson on what data-driven professional development is, what it can do, and why you need it. There’s lots more to learn about its impact on your business, but this is just about everything else you need to know about how data can help you make better employees, even after you hire them.
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