Transforming Skills Data from Digital Badges into Actionable Insights

    Organizations are adopting upskilling and reskilling initiatives to meet changing demands, but measuring their impact is a challenge. Our blog shows how digital badges can turn learning strategies into actionable insights.
    user-circle Credly Team
    hourglass-01 5 min read
    Manager analyzing data from digital badges for an upskilling program

    In today's fast-paced and ever-evolving workplace landscape, more organizations are responding to the skills change and offering upskilling and reskilling opportunities.  The World Economic Forum is working with over 350 organizations to provide 1 billion people with better education, skills and economic opportunities by 2030.

    However, while organizations embrace this exciting journey, they often encounter a persistent challenge: demonstrating the tangible impact of their learning initiatives.

    Sometimes, the issue stems from learning and development (L&D) efforts being reduced to mere checkbox exercises, failing to address genuine organizational needs or bridge critical skills gaps effectively. Additionally, constraints such as budget limitations and time pressures can hinder organizations from adequately measuring and evaluating the outcomes of their L&D endeavors. To truly enhance the efficacy of L&D, there's a critical need to shift focus towards measuring tangible business outcomes.

    In this blog post, we discuss the pivotal role that data, particularly that captured through digital badges, plays in transforming L&D strategies into actionable insights.

    The Pitfall of Unmeasured L&D Approaches

    There are various approaches to upskilling and reskilling within organizations, each with its own merits and considerations. Some organizations adopt mandatory training programs, ensuring all employees receive essential skill enhancements regardless of their proficiency levels.

    On the other hand, voluntary upskilling initiatives empower employees to take ownership of their professional development journey. These programs allow individuals to choose the skills they want to acquire or improve. Voluntary programs often foster a culture of continuous learning and self-improvement, leading to greater engagement and motivation among employees. [More on Employee Empowerment vs. Mandates approaches in our blog]

    Some organizations might also encourage managers to suggest upskilling and reskilling opportunities for specific employees.

    Regardless of the approach chosen, the bottom line is without clear objectives and metrics for success, training programs risk becoming ineffective checkbox exercises. By adopting a purpose-driven approach to upskilling, organizations can maximize the return on investment in employee development and drive sustainable growth.

    Collecting Data for Actionable Insights with Digital Badges

    This is where digital credentials come into play. Unlike traditional certifications, digital credentials provide a granular and verifiable record of an individual's skills and achievements. Credly offers a built-in analytics tool that allows organizations to track and analyze credentialing data in a centralized dashboard. These analytics provide valuable insights into credentialing trends, completion rates, skill gaps, and other metrics that inform strategic decision-making.

    Here's how they facilitate better measurement and offer additional insights:

    • Granular Skill Tracking: Digital credentials provide a detailed record of an individual's skills, competencies, and achievements. By capturing data at a granular level, organizations can track the development of specific skills over time and assess their impact on job performance.
    • Data-driven Decision-Making: By aggregating and analyzing credentialing data, organizations can identify trends, patterns, and correlations that offer insights into the effectiveness of L&D programs. This data-driven approach empowers decision-makers to make informed choices about resource allocation, program design, and strategic priorities.
    • Integration with HR Systems: Many digital credential platforms seamlessly integrate with existing HR systems, enabling organizations to combine credentialing data with other HR metrics such as employee performance evaluations, career progression, and succession planning. This integration enhances the depth and accuracy of data analysis, providing a more comprehensive view of employee development.

    Constructing a Holistic Skills Landscape & Demonstrating ROI

    By aggregating and analyzing credentialing data, organizations can identify trends, pinpoint areas of strength or weakness, and tailor L&D initiatives to address specific needs. For instance, if a certain department consistently exhibits low proficiency in a critical skill such as data analysis, targeted training programs can be designed to bolster competency in that area.

    Then, combining digital credentials with other data analytics offers organizations a powerful means of better measuring L&D program outcomes and gaining deeper insights into employee development. By correlating digital credentialing data with business outcomes such as increased productivity, reduced time-to-competency, or improved customer satisfaction, organizations can demonstrate the tangible return on investment (ROI) of their L&D programs. This evidence-based approach helps justify continued investment in employee development initiatives.

    Digital credentials can be combined with various other data sources to create a comprehensive skill map or picture for organizations. Some of these data sources include:

    • Performance Reviews: Combining digital credential data with performance reviews provides insights into how acquired skills translate into job performance. It allows organizations to identify correlations between skill proficiency and employee effectiveness.
    • Employee Surveys: Combining digital credential data with feedback obtained from employee surveys offers a holistic view of the impact of training programs on employee satisfaction and engagement. It helps identify areas for improvement and optimize future L&D initiatives.
    • Performance Metrics: Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to the training objectives can provide insights into the impact of L&D efforts on job performance and productivity.
    • Customer Feedback: Gathering feedback from customers or clients regarding the quality of service or product delivery post-training can indirectly assess the impact of L&D efforts on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    ‘As L&D teams create a comprehensive, data-driven picture of the effectiveness of learning across their organizations, they can combine this with data from other areas in the business to start building evidence of business impact.’ - Tim Dickinson, director of learning analytics strategy at Watershed

    It's important to recognize that digital badges are just one piece of the puzzle. To truly harness their power and derive meaningful insights, organizations must embrace a holistic approach to data-driven decision-making.

    By focusing on business outcomes and harnessing the power of digital credentials to measure and track skills data, organizations can gain invaluable insights into their workforce capabilities. This enables them to not only address current skills gaps but also stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive business environment. As L&D professionals embrace this paradigm shift, they hold the key to unlocking the full potential of their organizations and driving sustainable growth in the digital age.

    To learn more about implementing digital badges for upskilling and reskilling your workforce, download our whitepaper 'Strategies for Overcoming Challenges in Employee Upskilling and Reskilling'.

    Download whitepaper


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