Skillsoft Blog

Expert Interview Series: Kieran King on New Approaches to Learning and Talent Management


By Kelley Noblet

Kieran King, the Global Vice President of Loyalty Strategy at Skillsoft, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series, sponsored by TechnologyAdvice, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.

In this episode, Kieran discusses the changing HCM industry, the skills gap crisis, Skillsoft’s new partnership with IBM and more.

Below are Kieran’s six biggest insights from the conversation.

  1. The biggest source influencing the dialogue today is the looming global skills gap.

Employers are rapidly awakening to the fact that they simply can’t hire their way out of the talent shortfall. In fact, McKinsey estimates that by the year 2020, there will be 85 million fewer skilled workers than businesses need to succeed. That is really unprecedented and the implications are pretty massive.

On a day-to-day pragmatic basis, this means it’s literally going to be impossible for any organization to hire its way out of the skill deficit. And what’s also interesting is that if an organization takes steps right now to accelerate that talent development strategy, they can actually stay ahead of this challenge and attain a better competitive advantage than they have today.

  1. The traditional way that software has addressed talent management has been a bolted together strategy.

Historically, there have been stacks of systems wherein interoperability is a huge headache. The end user experience is tremendously disjointed. This is a travesty because the learning resources that an organization has get lost in the shuffle and they get orphaned. The opportunity right now for us in terms of responding to this has a lot to do with what we refer to as the Self-Developing Organization approach.

  1. The Self-Developing Organization is a game changer for HR.

We know that the talents and skill deficit is only one piece of the problem. We also know that HR, as a function, has received steady criticism in terms of HR’s ability to respond to the workforce requirement, and especially, the skill gap crisis. A Deloitte reports earlier this year gave HR a D+ in terms of making the grade and meeting expectations. It’s because HR is often stuck. They’re supporting some out of date, older paradigms that aren’t adequate to address the capability gaps that loom ahead of us.

So this Self-Developing Organization uniquely puts Skillsoft in a position to do something that no other provider can do. And it’s because we have world-class content, lots of digital learning resources, and a wide variety of modalities and languages. Then we combine it and marry it with an award-winning talent and learning platform.

  1. HR’s biggest challenge is inaction.

HR has a bit of a credibility issue to overcome in most organizations. The field needs much more execution and less hesitation. It’s essential for HR teams to really act with a sense of urgency in order to address the needs of their workforces.

  1. Companies must adapt their technology to the changing workforce.

There’s a stampede of millennials entering the workforce. By 2020, millennials will represent about half of any workforce, which is changing the conversation in terms of how they want to be professionally developed. Their expectations for development are insatiable. In terms of technology, they really demand a very slick user experience, very modern, and of course, it has to be instantaneous. They have zero tolerance for any clunky user experience. They have no patience for anything that isn’t instantaneous. For our field, addressing the needs of millennials is really another imperative and another challenge.

  1. We need an intimate understanding of our workforces.

Another recent Deloitte study revealed that less than a third of enterprises out there truly understand their employees’ current skills, their career goals, their preferences, and their prior work experience. And when I think about that, I begin to say to myself, “How in the world can you build capabilities to address the talent shortfall if you don’t even understand what you’ve got in-house?” And it’s somewhat analogous to having a warehouse without basic inventory management.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice, an Inc. 5000 company looking to help buyers find the best HR software, payroll systems, and more. The interview was conducted by Josh Bland.

Kelley Noblet is a Marketing Manager at Skillsoft.

Kieran King is the Global Vice President of Loyalty Strategy at Skillsoft.

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