Academy Xi Blog

How to embrace data in 6 ‘non tech’ roles

By Academy Xi

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Data skills might not feature on your current job description – but to think they aren’t an important part of the future of your work could be a costly oversight that could stifle your career progress, or the success of an organisation.

Now more than ever, essential data skills should be leveraged across all industries, teams and job roles – not just within the confines of IT departments. Data is literally everywhere and chances are you’re already collecting and using it in some form, perhaps without even realising it. The power is in learning how to identify and use it meaningfully.

So how can we embrace data in what might be perceived as ‘non-data’ roles? We’ve rounded up six jobs where data can and should be embraced. Let’s dive in to find out how.

#1 – The account manager
#2 – The creative
#3 – The marketer
#4 – The HR manager
#5 – The strategist
#6 – The leader

The account manager

Truly knowing the target customer of your client is the magical power every account manager needs to be successful. If you can speak to your clients with the solid knowledge and insight provided to you by customer data, they will be more inclined to trust your guidance.

Ultimately, your clients are looking to you to offer strategic advice on how they should manage their brand. If you are armed with data analysis and data presentation skills, you will be able to clearly and quickly articulate to clients which aspects of their business need to be prioritised and show them how you can add value to campaigns and outcomes.  

Gaining data analysis skills will put you ahead of the curve professionally and bolster your offering to clients.

I hear a lot of our clients say that Data is King! A key responsibility in my role as a CSM is to analyse data across our clients and deliver regular reports and status updates. I am always keen to use data to ensure our customers are aware of the value that is being delivered.

Amanda Sims, Customer Success Manager, Academy Xi

The creative

Data-inspired creativity is catching on, with new ways of approaching challenges emerging by combining data within the creative process. Any creative within an organisation will have stories of senior management not being convinced that a particular creative approach is the answer, or should be pursued at all. When combined with data that supports the approach, an element of ‘proof’ or backing becomes apparent, and can validate a creative idea that otherwise might not have been approved.

Data can be used to direct and fuel your creative work.

Creativity will always be our superpower. But data is our compass. Compelling narratives and storytelling will remain paramount. But rather than limit ourselves to a single universal thought, data used well enables us to unlock the full potential of an idea…

Kimberlee Wells, CEO TBWA/Melbourne

The marketer

Marketing and communications teams are often sitting on a gold mine of data. If they are well versed in how to collect and analyse it, they can experience greater rates of reach to their target audiences, which could then result in higher sales and brand awareness, amongst other benefits depending on your business marketing goals. 

Standing out in highly competitive and often saturated markets is a real challenge for all marketing functions today. Yes, there are more platforms and channels on offer, but there’s a lot of noise out there and to get noticed requires solid strategy. 

Using data effectively needs to be at the foundation of that approach. Three areas of data that can benefit any marketer: 

  • Customer data (the behavioural kind – where they are online, what times etc)

  • Financial data (sales and marketing budgets, costs for campaigns)

  • Operational data (where can improvements be made to satisfy customers more?)

The HR manager

Strategic insights can be gained with effective use of recruitment and employee data. The key is learning how to integrate it. By combining HR data with other aspects of the business you can identify behavioural trends, performance outcomes linked with specific departments, retention rates across the business and where additional measures need to be made to attract and retain key personnel, for example.

Performance trends and employee engagement can also be identified by using data. Collating responses to internal surveys completed by managers and staff, reported personnel issues, rates of absence, all of these sources of information are data. Used effectively they can help to pinpoint where you need to focus more energy into learning and development, or other support measures for management and everyone across your business.

The strategist

Data is deemed to be one of the most important assets to any business. With this in mind, it is imperative that any strategy developed is driven by data to ensure that the approaches proposed are built on a solid foundation. 

Embracing data can help to clearly define priorities within an organisation, which can then inform a strategic approach. 

Strategy not driven by data is likely to be inefficient, not targeted effectively and ultimately can waste resources.

Better still, as a strategist, why not develop a data strategy? This strategy will underpin how you want to use data as an organisation and define the approach you should take to make it effective.

The leader

Evidence based decision-making is the top benefit of embracing data as a leader. You’re not relying on opinions or trends, but the facts as delivered via data. This results in faster decision making and notably more accurate or impactful decision making at that.

Tracking business growth is another perk, along with gaining powerful insight into employee performance and management. This information can inform approaches you take to staff development, which is particularly important in the current times where retaining talent can be challenging.

When it comes to target markets, customer data can enable you to make powerful changes to your product or service to offer target markets something that is truly responding to their needs, which will in turn boost profits.

The wrap up

Used correctly, data can have an incredible impact on the bottom line of any organisation, ultimately because it can drive faster and better decision making. By getting your teams trained in basic data skills, they will know how to identify, gather and present the relevant data that they come into contact with daily in their jobs to support the function of their department and make it more productive and effective. For any organisation wanting to ensure they remain relevant in their industry, arming their people with data skills is a sound learning and development move to make.

Empower your people with data skills

Academy Xi offers highly practical, mentor-led training to equip you and your people with the tools and techniques needed to harness the power of data. Packed with industry approved content, the Data Analytics: Elevate course has been designed for professionals who want to be more data driven and is taught by practising industry experts. 

Contact the Enterprise team today to discuss how we can train your teams in house or online.

Make better business decisions, backed by data today.

Academy Xi Blog

Why the traditional corporate training model is broken (and three powerful fixes)

By Academy Xi

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It is well documented that investing in quality corporate training solutions can offer numerous benefits to organisations. Many offerings promise to support closing the digital skills gap, increasing staff retention, and boosting innovation and overall productivity. Unfortunately, the reality of many corporate training models is that while the participants might be ‘achieving’ new skills, often these new learnings aren’t translating into solid outcomes back at headquarters.

What’s the reason behind this disconnect?

At Academy Xi, we believe that the value of corporate training exists in the practical application of skills within the learning environment. Often, corporate training events offer single-dimensional products which focus on skills achievement, as opposed to the application of them while learning. While achievement might look good on paper, hands-on based training is what will result in a true return on investment and deliver the real-life outcomes needed for individuals and consequently organisations to thrive.

How to ensure the learning is integrated into your workplace post training? We have established three powerful fixes.

#1 Measure what matters

When it comes to learning and development, it is commonplace that senior management want to understand the following metrics:
  • Training cost per employee
  • Completion rates
  • Return on investment (ROI)
CEO’s want to know that the training is in alignment with organisational needs and supports the overall business strategy. However, when it comes to ROI, research shows that a large portion of organisations don’t evaluate the true outcomes of corporate training programs and therefore don’t gain an accurate insight, if any at all. This is often due to the evaluation not being prioritised – it consumes more time and resources that are already scarce within the business, yet it can ultimately result in wasted time and training budget. If you want to drive meaningful impact in training your workforce, it’s essential to be measuring and evaluating continually, with hard business metrics such as quantitative business-performance indicators, to honestly understand what is needed to elevate organisational performance. Which workforce trends do you need to engage to drive your organisation’s competitive edge and therefore what style and content of training will support this? The more detail you can gain from evaluating training outcomes, the clearer you will be on what is helping to deliver organisational success, or not. At Academy Xi, we focus on metrics that matter. We help your organisation to identify skills gaps and then tailor and design engaging, practical, hands-on training that truly aligns with critical business priorities.

Traditional training metrics (like ease of access to content and course completion rates) were meant to remove hurdles for employees. These should now be seen as table stakes.

Linda Cai. Vice President of Talent Development, LinkedIn

#2 Never go full generic

Sourcing quality hands-on training for teams will empower your people to be proactively engaged, which increases the level of information being retained. Individuals who get to apply their learning as they go within a setting that is closely designed to their workplace scenarios, will walk away with more confidence in their ability to apply their new knowledge meaningfully when they return to the work environment. Recent research revealed that people going into tech roles who invested in ‘traditional’ training approaches were less productive than those who participated in hands-on training in internship roles. In-training skills application also provides opportunities for learners to get immediate support and feedback from the industry experts leading the learning – which further aids the anchoring of new concepts. Ensuring that the training you invest in is run by industry practitioners is important, so you can be assured that you’re receiving proven practices, frameworks, and toolkits. Experiential training is by far the most effective approach to learning and development. Whichever training provider you select, do your research to discover as much as possible about their training approach so you can reap the benefits of hands-on learning for your workforce. Actively investing in employees with relevant training that boosts their digital skills is also vital in the current recruitment climate. Ensuring teams receive practical learning experiences will assist with retention of your staff.

#3 Application over achievement

Off the shelf training courses are all about skills achievement. While this might initially seem to be what your workforce needs, think again. If a learning experience is presented within a real-world context, you are setting your people up for success.

What is a real-world context?

Ultimately, ‘real world context’ is when training is created so that learners can carry out tasks and activities in a way that represents problem solving in their real world. Students are encouraged and supported to connect new learning within a frame of reference that reflects their workplace.

If content is king, then context is god!

Gary Vaynerchuk, Entrepreneur and CEO of VaynerMedia

While this quote originated from a marketing angle, it also carries weight when viewed through the training lens. If learners are actively participating in a training context that is very similar to the environment they need to apply it to in the real world the outcome of their performance, or application of the new learning, will be exponentially better.

If you want your workforce to do new things, give them an environment to learn and practice the new thing.

We worked closely with the Academy Xi team as our strategic design partner to co-design a customer-centric ‘Way Of Working’ framework, set of supporting capabilities and a guidebook containing tools and templates. Academy Xi contributed hugely to our program’s success

Carmelina Senese, Director of Customer Experience, EDConnect, Department of Education

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The bottom line

Skills application based training is the most effective learning and development approach organisations can invest in for genuine return on investment. By engaging with a training provider who focuses on metrics that matter to design learning experiences that reflect what your organisation truly needs to thrive, you will ensure your L&D budget does not go to waste.

Ready to transform your workforce from within?

Get in touch with the team at Academy Xi to discuss how we can support your workforce by designing bespoke training solutions that will meaningfully engage your people and impact your business bottom line. We can transform your workforce through the delivery of highly contextualised programs to suit individuals, teams, and organisational needs, all guided by world class experts.

Academy Xi – trusted to help solve critical organisational challenges