How to Put Critical Questions When Analyzing Skills

I don’t remember who made the quote: “People Make Companies”, but it is well said and goes straight to the point. Before discussing about the detailed skills of the personnel, we have to touch the subject of company assets, but very briefly.  Companies take good care of their funds and because of that use sophisticated financial reporting for visualising the sources of their incoming and outgoing money flows, hoping for positive results, as required by the management.  

”Required by the management” means, that somebody in the organisation has set the targets, because the targets display the performance needs of the organisation and the company has to follow these guidelines in their operations.  Data management follows similar guidelines and in this writing we focus on systematically deploying HR training data by drilling deep into measuring learning issues. 

Ensuring good learning results in companies requires in the long run a systematic approach to ambitious target setting of learning results and full utilisation of collected training scores in Human resources.  By doing so, great opportunities open for companies. Putting all this into practise requires only a few simple procedures for collecting, treating and analysing the gathered training scores.  It is worth doing this, because of the big benefit – a possibility to increase product sales by systematic and targeted training of the employees.

As discussed above, HR training data is comparable to the company’s financial assets, accumulating from various sources.  Data, gathered from training courses designed by different content providers, can be compounded easily in a structured way, without endless work.  The real challenge is in making the training scores commensurate and comparable.  To be able to conclude this, you need correct tools or a toolbox for making scientifically solid comparisons between present, historical datasets giving you a possibility to make valid forecasts. These tools are available in the Boudin Analytics software.

One key element in the commensurate toolbox is a company specific baseline data for training scores, against which all comparisons are made. The personnel needs to have a certain level of skills, for being able to operate efficiently and to be able to bring the business home.  In this exercise both sample data and base line data have to be commensurate for compounding.  There are also strict requirements for base line data quality, which has to be solid in every respect and thoroughly verifiable. In other words, you have to rely on solid base line data for making training score results of different trainings comparable with each other. 

Let’s continue by starting to analyse training score results and observing, how the benefits can be extracted from the massive amounts of data. A comparison of test scores against the company´s base line data helps us to discover in which product, product line, business, or business location the skills of the personnel are not yet in line with set targets. This analysis can be done on a continuous basis, or when required, or needed, as ad-hoc analysis. 

All this is based on company specific, tailored dashboard views, which show you the status of product related skills in every business location with a granularity, which is in sync with your normal financial reporting.  Those locations, where the skills of the personnel are statistically different from the base line data are subjects for further analysis to clarify the reasons for this.  Getting this kind of alerts very early about locations where measures, like some extra training is needed, helps significantly training professionals to provide financially important results. Insights of skills are handled according to the same reporting structure, which is normal in the company’s product sales reporting.  The value of the analysis arises from wrapping of the products with the skills of your personnel.  Training your personnel with a clear product focus in mind for targeting improved product skill scores, results in significant possibilities to increase sales. 

There are many ways to proceed in this process.  We start by asking questions for getting unequivocal answers which ensure possible business benefits.  We like to see increased sales through improved product skills.  To be able to achieve this we have to understand the relationship between the product skills and the product sales.  When searching for relationships between these we can run what-if analyses in our skills pools to find out, how different skills are related with financial results.   When we know the relationships between skills and sales, we can see following valuable benefits arising from our databases by asking following questions:

  • What is the status of skills in the sales organization?
  • Where to make training investments for getting increased sales?
  • What are the estimated increased sales?
  • What is the rate of saturation in training?
  • How does the law of diminishing returns affect the training for different products and   locations?

After going through these critical questions shown above and taking the proposed actions, we can be sure that the sales are not restricted by lack of skills, or lack of training. The sales management doesn’t have to listen to the eternal allegations of training deficits and can concentrate in managing increased sales.

Written by Antti Kurki, Sales, Boudin Oy