By Emma Engel
Sometimes a Picture Saves a Thousand Words
We have all heard the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Now try to imagine how that phrase could be used to describe the myriad of activities that a corporate university conducts…yet that’s exactly what Unisys did.
Like many organizations, Unisys needed to share the highlights of its performance in a succinct and impactful way but we couldn’t do it through a long report or a three-hour presentation. No one has that kind of time anymore and most of us are suffering from shortening attention spans. So my team and I set out to design a dashboard.
A dashboard format could quickly highlight our key results while not undervaluing the energy it took our team to achieve them. I’d seen other HR dashboard formats before…many appeared to be too lightweight…others were far too detailed.
In the technology field, a dashboard is a user interface that presents vital performance indicators in a way that is easy to understand, digest and action. Their forms and formats are numerous, but their uniform goal is to briefly show improvement over time and progress toward targets. Dashboards do so by aggregating disparate metrics into one view, helping organizations understand where they are and enabling better data-driven decisions going forward.
The tricky part is that there are no set formulas for how to construct a dashboard for the learning and development field. Also I did not want to reflect the standard level 1 data that so often is the only L&D data included in HR dashboards. I wanted something meaningful and actionable. So we turned to Skillsoft for inspiration.
Skillsoft advised us to leverage the spirit of the Talent Development Reporting Principles by organizing our dashboard into three areas—efficiency, effectiveness and outcomes.
In the efficiency section we showed how our University’s employee reach was expanding through the use of Skillsoft’s Skillport® 8 platform and vast elearning content. We also illustrated how content accesses have increased since we migrated to the Skillport platform.
Under the effectiveness area, we highlighted select questions from Skillport’s evaluation capability. Here, we show response ratings that indicate how well the content is meeting needs, if the content is helping people perform better in their jobs and if associates would recommend the resource to a colleague.
In the outcomes section, we spotlight the ways in which our resources are being used in alignment with the Unisys corporate competencies as well as progress within the learning programs most imperative to the fulfillment of our strategic company goals.
Wondering what the response to our dashboard has been? It’s been overwhelmingly positive. I was able to step through the dashboard at a recent HR leadership roundtable meeting. Within a few minutes, my peers and our SVP of worldwide HR had an excellent grasp of what we’ve been up to at Unisys University and how synchronized we are with what’s important to our business. We also now have a clear communication for our new CEO in a language that reflects the business. My advice for anyone who is considering an L&D dashboard? Don’t wait…make 2015 the year your picture saves a thousand words.
Emma Engel is UU Director, Unisys University, Unisys. Emma is a degree educated professional with over 18 years of international experience in learning and development. Emma has held key roles in corporate L&D, consulting organizations, business focused and sales roles—in Johannesburg, London, Singapore, Sydney and now calls Blue Bell Pennsylvania her home. She is passionate about enabling organizations to achieve growth by ensuring a ready source of highly skilled and engaged individuals and managers.