What I’ve Learned About Measures, Metrics & People Analytics While Training for My First Triathlon (series start)

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

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Trish Uhl, PMP, CPLP

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Senior Project Manager, Data Science & People Analytics | Globally Certified Professional in Learning & Performance

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

More than six years post cancer and chemo, I was finally able to find my balance again on my bicycle. Within a handful of weeks, due to an exceptionally warm Chicago winter, I was back on the trails easily cycling for ten miles or more just to clear my head.

I did not know it then, but it was the start of a deeper (and more personal) understanding of people and performance analytics as I took the next significant steps on my journey from post hospitalization mobility issues and dependence on a metal walker, back to life as an athlete competing in multisport – training for my first Triathlon.

This post is meant to be foundational; to ground future posts in this series in the analogy of athletics and sport, to make it easier to understand (and apply) key data science and people analytics concepts so they can be more easily grasped and put into immediate practice.

It introduces a series that uses my journey back to health & fitness to frame practical application of training measures, metrics and advanced analytics in the promotion of positive people impact, human performance and organizational outcomes – featuring a vocabulary, methodology, toolkit and a set of skills every learning professional needs to familiarize him or herself with as we advance further into the domains of data-enabled decision-making, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

Subject matter here comes from my first-hand experience with managing data science and advanced analytics projects over the past two years – triggering a return to my roots in information technology; a career that began for me at Xerox in the mid-1990s where I worked as a Senior Application Specialist on the development and deployment of the very technology systems and architecture we’re mining for data today.

It is also derived from having the privilege and pleasure of invitations to attend and participate in business and workforce analytics showcases and conferences, where I’ve spent time getting to know the people behind data science and advanced analytics projects at Microsoft, Facebook, Zappos, LinkedIn, HSBC, McGraw-Hill, Amazon and Walmart – amongst others.

And from reward and recognition for my project team’s work in analytics on multiple continents – from the USA, to the UAE, and the UK – earning an Excellence in Practice Award citation from the Association for Talent Development (ATD); presenting at conferences and facilitating workshops in the UAE; and holding finalist positions in two (2) categories (Health & Well-being and Data Analytics) in the UK Utilities Week Awards (final placings to be announced in June!).

So regardless if you’re focused on increasing training effectiveness, implementing xAPI, or driving learning transformation, the next super power REQUIRED in the fields of learning & performance and talent development is analytical capability – meaning, the ability to measure, monitor, and manage short-term progress toward long-term results – using foresight (over hindsight); leading indicators (over lagging); leveraging quantitative and qualitative data; and predictive models (beyond descriptive measures) to forecast, make recommendations for, and take action on individual employee, executive and manager behaviour.

We’re short on time.

Although authorities such as David Green, Global Director, People Analytics at IBM suggests that no more than 15% of organizations worldwide today currently have people analytics capabilities, he is quick to note (as are others) that what is specialized competitive differentiation now will quickly become central (and standard) to how we run people development within the next 3-5 years.

No time to waste!

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

Next post, we’ll explore some of the basic people measures and metrics attendant to Triathlon training — to illustrate how to identify problems worth solving, ask questions, assess and set a baseline — and define what success looks like.

Let’s begin!

: People Analytics, Talent Analytics, Behaviour Analytics, Workforce Analytics, Learning Analytics, Workplace Learning Analytics, Talent Development, Talent Management, Learning Metrics, Learning Transformation, Learning Effectiveness, HR Metrics, Data Driven HR, Data Driven L&D, Data Enabled, L&D Metrics, Employee Engagement, Performance Management, Future of Work, Evidence based L&D, Training Transfer, Scrap Learning, Predictive Analytics, Data Science, Advanced Analytics, Learning & Performance, Learning & Talent Development, Organizational Learning


Trish is an award-winning Senior Project Manager leading project teams in leveraging data science and advanced analytics applied to one (or more) of the following domains: organizational learning, project management and/or change management. A long-time speaker featured at professional events such as Training magazine, HR.com, HRDQ, the Training, Learning & Development Conference (TLDC), Training Magazine Network (TMN), and the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), Trish works with clients around the world to assist them in upskilling, new skilling and reskilling incumbent L&D teams to shift from a focus on instructional products to capabilities in providing data-enabled insights, in service to promoting positive people impact, improving human performance and driving organizational outcomes.

#learn #unlearn #relearn

Senior Project Manager, Data Science & People Analytics | Globally Certified Professional in Learning & Performance

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