Skillsoft en-us Fri, 26 May 2023 12:32:11 -0400 Fri, 26 May 2023 12:32:11 -0400 Skillsoft’s New ChatGPT Courses Teach the Abilities and Limitations of AI Tue, 23 May 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

While generative AI is only in its infancy, the cross industry uses already seem limitless. From industrial and healthcare functions, to launching a beer brand, AI’s potential applications span far and wide.

While AI is rapidly expanding, ChatGPT is widely regarded as one of the most popular generative AI applications. According to a UBS study, OpenAI’s chatbot is the fastest growing app in internet history, achieving over 100 million users in its first two months of public operations.

However, while skills associated with ChatGPT are highly in demand, the current talent pool of workers with those skills is tight and highly competitive. According to the Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary Report, AI is among the top 10 most difficult skills to hire for.

To reap the benefits of AI, tech leaders have few options: compete in a tough talent pool or upskill their existing teams. "IT teams and their leaders have to think strategically about how to upskill workers so that they can reap value from these tools," stated Prasuna Atreyapurapu, Curriculum Strategist and AI expert at Skillsoft.

As use of ChatGPT grows, so does the need to responsibly use this powerful application. Skillsoft, an early adopter of AI, is launching a new series of courses designed to help tech workers use this new tool in an ethical, productive way. All these courses are brought together in a single journey helping engineers, developers, and others make best use of the model.

Additionally, in the spirit of exploring generative AI, the ChatGPT journey itself was written by several AI technologies paired with Skillsoft’s trusted instructional design experts. Generative AI was used to help draft the curriculum plan and on-screen text; it helped with narration and course assessments; and translations of the course in multiple languages.

The ChatGPT Journey is comprised of six courses:

  1. What is ChatGPT and what can we do with it?
  2. Practical Prompt Engineering Examples and Use Cases
  3. Advanced ChatGPT Prompts
  4. The Impact of ChatGPT in Various Industries and Its Potential for Future Use​
  5. The Ethical Considerations and Challenges Surrounding Advanced AI Models​
  6. The Role of ChatGPT in Shaping Our Future

A Learning Path on Productivity, Ethics, and the Potential of ChatGPT

ChatGPT holds great value when it comes to many functions — whether it’s writing an email, or a first draft of code. However, there are still a lot of questions around how to get the most out of using the app in a sensible and ethical way.

While the app isn’t perfect, many are pushing the boundaries of ChatGPT in multiple industries.

Skillsoft’s new learning journey on ChatGPT is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the technology, its potential impact on various industries, and its role in shaping the future.

The six courses cover the basics of ChatGPT, its architecture and training, advanced prompts, practical use cases, and the ethical considerations and challenges surrounding advanced AI models.​

"After completing the courses on ChatGPT, users will gain a comprehensive understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the AI language model, as well as practical knowledge on how to effectively utilize and interact with ChatGPT for various purposes, including natural language processing, chatbot development, and content generation,” said Atreyapurapu.

This learning journey will provide valuable insights into the potential of ChatGPT while serving as a model for how your company can use AI and machine learning to automate and accelerate business practices.

1. What is ChatGPT and what can we do with it?

In this first course, we’ll define what ChatGPT is, its purpose, and how it can be utilized by a workforce. Providing an understanding of ChatGPT, we’ll explain the transformer architecture used to make ChatGPT’s language model and how it functions.

The course will also cover:

  • Key differentiators of ChatGPT from other language models.
  • Identify potential benefits of using ChatGPT.
  • Describe different uses for ChatGPT.
  • Evaluate the ethical considerations of ChatGPT.
  • Discuss the potential impact of ChatGPT on society and culture.

2. Practical Prompt Engineering Examples and Use Cases

In order to get the most out of using ChatGPT, learners need to first understand the concept of prompt engineering.

When provided with clear, detailed prompts, ChatGPT can express highly informational responses. However, when prompted poorly, the responses may be incorrect or flawed.

This course will examine how to analyze and write effective, high-quality prompts.​ Additionally, we’ll help learners identify and discuss the ethics of using ChatGPT.

3. Advanced Prompt Writing

When a higher level of response is required, an advanced prompt is needed. These responses offer more complex and nuanced responses from the chatbot.

These prompts often require a broader amount of information and have many real-world applications such as providing healthcare information or educating users on complex topics.

Additionally, learners will be challenged with using advanced prompts in real-world applications. Learners will then address and evaluate the impact of accurate advanced prompts and their impact on the accuracy of future ChatGPT responses.

Ultimately, learners will consider and measure the relationship between ethical use and the overall societal impact advanced prompts will hold.

4. The Impact of ChatGPT in Various Industries and Its Potential for Future Use

As previously mentioned, ChatGPT has nearly limitless uses. While uploading a prompt may seem simple, crafting the right prompt to return desired results can be challenging. Currently, software engineers are finding numerous efficient ways to use of GPT-4, the largest and most powerful version of ChatGPT yet.

In this course, engineers will learn to identify the ways ChatGPT can affect their industries and address positive ways it can improve their business, industry, and society a whole.

This course will also address security in depth and evaluate potential security implications and vulnerabilities that come with using ChatGPT within their industry.

5. The Ethical Considerations and Challenges Surrounding Advanced AI Models

One of the core concerns of AI are ethical uses and developments. In the spirit of exploration, we asked ChatGPT to define ethical use, to which it responded, “Ethical AI seeks to promote the development and use of AI systems in ways that are aligned with ethical values and principles, and that promote the well-being and welfare of individuals and society as a whole.”

Learners who take this course will analyze the potential consequences of misusing ChatGPT and similar language models.

Furthermore, they will gain in-depth knowledge about the ethical uses and applications of using ChatGPT.

Most importantly, learners will:

  • Discuss the role of government, industry, and society in regulating AI models​.
  • Analyze the potential impact of AI models on human rights and dignity​.
  • Explain the risks and consequences of sharing sensitive intellectual property in the ChatGPT corpus​.
  • Assess the role of AI models in creating and perpetuating bias​.
  • Discuss the measures to protect company and personal data and intellectual property when using ChatGPT​.

6. The role of ChatGPT in shaping our future

The final course outlines various features of ChatGPT, including designing innovative use cases, addressing societal challenges and improving accuracy in underrepresented languages.

Learners will be tasked with evaluating the impact of ChatGPT on human-machine collaboration and assessing further ethical and social implications that were not covered in the previous chapters.

The course seeks to address these concerns through training interdisciplinary teams to develop prompts that align with both user needs and contribute to the AI’s ongoing research and training.

Ready to Start Learning About ChatGPT?

If you’re one of the thousands looking to upskill their workforce and adapt ChatGPT and generative AI to your organization’s needs, this new Aspire Journey on ChatGPT may be right for you.

In that same spirit of exploration and to best support hands-on coding and programming with the AI language model, we’re offering a free Intro to ChatGPT course (with an existing Codecademy subscription). Coders can now learn how to use ChatGPT and understand the ethics, risks, and limitations of generative AI with this free course as an introductory guide into the subject.

Interested in learning more about ChatGPT? Request a free demo now to check-out our Skillsoft and Codecademy courses and unlock the world’s most extensive course library in the world.

GDPR: The Forefront of Ethical AI Mon, 22 May 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

Last year, Skillsoft General Manager, Global Compliance Solutions, Kevin Kelly took some time to reflect on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). He said that “GDPR has prompted significant improvements in the governance, monitoring, awareness, and strategic decision-making regarding the use of consumer data. Not only that, but GDPR legislation has pushed the topic of data privacy to the forefront.”

Then he asked: “Has that been enough to drive meaningful change in data protection?”

We’ve Come a Long Way in Five Years – But We’re Not There Yet

As we mark the five-year anniversary of GDPR, I took the opportunity to chat with Jonathan Armstrong, Partner at Cordery Legal Compliance, a UK-based law firm focused on helping businesses manage an ever-increasing compliance burden. Armstrong has handled hundreds of GDPR matters across the EU. He believes that GDPR has demonstrated mixed results. On the one hand, he said that it has not done many of the things it promised, including streamlining and unifying how businesses handle data.

However, he believes that GDPR has accomplished some remarkable things initially outside its intended scope. Importantly, it has persevered through a period of massive innovation. According to Armstrong, “GDPR has been able to cope with rapid technological change, including the growth of artificial intelligence.”

As a result of GDPR, regulators have collected more than €80 million in AI-related fines alone. In fact, many organizations are now considering best practices for making AI GDPR compliant. Italy, for example, recently became the first Western country to block advanced chatbot ChatGPT while regulators investigate whether it complies with GDPR. Although the suspension has now been lifted after high-level talks with ChatGPT’s owners, the investigation continues

Focusing Our Efforts on Ethical AI

In looking at GDPR fines levied over the past five years, organizations can learn a lot about where to focus our efforts for maximum impact. Keeping data secure is an essential objective of GDPR, but the past five years have taught us that a foundational part of compliance is a drive to do the right thing.

“Before GDPR went into effect, many companies assumed that most cases would relate to breaches in security,” said Armstrong. “However, it’s been interesting to note that most of the higher fines have been about transparency – about simply being honest with people about how you use their data.”

“Artificial Intelligence (AI), in particular, has been a popular topic of discussion,” said Armstrong. “As more companies develop AI-powered tools and services, we hear that ‘AI is the Wild West’ and ‘there is no regulation around AI.’ But, this couldn’t be further from the truth.”

AI is regulated through GDPR as it pertains to personal data.

GDPR requires organizations to let individuals know what information is being held about them and how it is used. That means that when any kind of automated decision-making takes place, organizations are obligated to provide affected individuals with information about the associated logic of those decisions, including:

  • Alerting them to the fact that there is an automated decision being made;
  • Educating them on the significance of the automated decision; and
  • Sharing specific logic about how the algorithm works as it makes automated decisions.

If organizations relying on AI can prove they adhere to the above requirements, they are likely on the right track. But they’ll have to look at other aspects, including fairness, transparency, and putting measures in place to deal with individual requests.

Transparency Is Key In GDPR, and Especially AI

Armstrong provided some fascinating examples of the types of cases he is seeing around AI and GDPR in court:

Food Delivery Apps Face GDPR Fines Over AI Algorithms

Italy’s data protection authority, Garante, fined two of the country’s largest online food delivery apps for using algorithms to favor delivery drivers who could work during hours of high demand – especially Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Workers unable to work on these days due to religious observance of the sabbath (for example) were penalized by the algorithms.

GDPR prohibits automated decision-making, including profiling.

Italian Data Protection Authority Bans ChatBot

Replika is an AI-powered chatbot simulating virtual friendships with users through text and video. The chatbot had no age verification, and regulators from Garante were concerned about the potential of sharing sexually inappropriate content with minors.

Garante ultimately said that Replika processed data unlawfully because children cannot enter a valid user contract. This fell under GDPR’s requirement for data transparency.

“We will continue to encounter conflicts around AI and GDPR unless we begin considering these types of issues in advance,” said Armstrong. “When we try to shorten the delivery cycle, people will take shortcuts.”

Legislation to Rein in AI’s Use in Hiring Grows

Many organizations are adopting AI chatbots as part of the talent acquisition process – including candidate discovery, screening, interviewing, and hiring. As this practice continues to grow, regulators are worried that this might intrude on job seekers’ privacy or introduce existing biases related to race and gender.

As a result, in the United States, Congress is considering the federal Algorithmic Accountability Act. This would require employers to perform an impact assessment of any automated decision-making system that significantly affects an individual’s access to, terms, or availability of employment.

The Impact of GDPR on Compliance Professionals

It’s becoming clear that compliance professionals will play a key role in adherence to GDPR – especially regarding AI. We must champion transparency and fully consider the intersection between our organizations’ technology and its impact on our users. Topics to consider include:

  • What types of technology are we using across our organization?
  • Who provides this technology, and is that organization reputable and compliant?
  • How, exactly, does the technology work?
  • Is the technology fair and impartial?

Only by educating ourselves on this information can we protect our employees and users – and mitigate the risk of GDPR-related fines.

Preparing a Plan of Action for Your Organization

Said Armstrong, “Something I’ve noticed across all of my clients who are doing well with respect to GDPR is that they understand that bad things will happen, and they have implemented a plan to stop them.” He suggests compliance professionals take small steps to address potential issues.

1. Complete a data protection impact assessment (DPIA).

Review the impact of your current tech stacks, including the types of information they collect and how they use it. Put a procedure in place to carefully consider the risks of technology that will be launched in the future. A formal DPAI may provide the legal basis for some of the proposed uses of technology solutions, including AI.

“This is becoming more important than ever, especially given the potential impact of breaches,” said Armstrong. “A recent security breach at one organization impacted 900 corporations.”

So, even if your systems are foolproof, your outsourcers may not be. And organizations are outsourcing critical business needs – payroll, travel, time management, customer interactions, and more. As a result, we must be more thoughtful about reducing and acknowledging risk and dealing with bad things when they happen.

2. Put systems into place to address current and future issues.

No matter how diligent your organization is, bad things can happen. You need to create procedures that will make an immediate impact – especially since most organizations only have 72 hours to provide regulators with a report after they have been warned of a GDPR issue.

“Organizations need to keep it simple,” said Armstrong. “Your policies and procedures should be straightforward and to the point, just like the exit signs on the back of a hotel door. In an emergency, you need to understand how to get out. That’s it.”

3. Rehearse your response plan as an organization.

Once you’ve established simple policies and procedures to safeguard your organization against risk, rehearse them. Your whole organization must understand how to respond instinctively to a crisis.

GDPR and Ethical AI: Thinking About What’s Next

As generative AI becomes more advanced and widely adopted, organizations must develop and update governance around its usage in the workplace, considering the security, privacy, confidentiality, and ethical implications. For some organizations, the response will be to lock down its use altogether. However, this will only create adverse incentives.

We don’t need to regulate generative AI’s existence; we need to regulate and govern its use.

Having the proper governance structure around the development and use of AI, which includes policies and procedures, education,* and testing and monitoring, is critical. Companies should start with a risk assessment, understanding the risks generative AI poses to and in their company—misuse, misappropriation, bias, or plagiarism—before creating policies for employees around corporate use.

And those policies, once created, must be clear and prescriptive at the start, explaining to employees what is and is not permitted. AI education and training will also help organizations explore the fundamental principles of AI governance, including common uses and benefits, potential for bias, and the global AI regulatory landscape.

Above all, creating a holistic generative AI governance structure that is sustainable, trustworthy, and transparent will require shared accountability between those developing the tool and those using it. Stakeholders must come together to understand the risks, how they manifest themselves, and what protocols are, or should be, put in place.

Compliance professionals shouldn’t shoulder all responsibility, but they can bring together the correct stakeholders to start the conversation. Generative AI offers a massive opportunity for organizations, so all employees have a part to play in regulating its use to ensure we’re developing and using it responsibly.

* Skillsoft courses are intended to guide and incorporate best practices that derive maximized value from the use of artificial intelligence. They are not intended to endorse or advocate for the methodologies, tools, or outcomes of the artificial intelligence tools referred to or utilized.

5 Takeaways to Optimize Your Upskilling Strategy Thu, 18 May 2023 01:22:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

Organizations today are faced with a myriad of challenges in keeping employees engaged while improving skillsets. According to Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary Report, employees reported they are 41-percent more engaged while 36-percent work faster and report less errors after receiving certification training.

Interested in Reading the Full Report? Download the IT Skills and Salary Report 2022

While training employees should a core function in every organization, having an optimized strategy that provides employees the skills they crave in a palatable presentation can be difficult.

In order to address how to optimize upskilling strategy, Greg Fuller, Senior Director of Tech & Dev Content Development at Skillsoft, recently joined Lumen’s Director of Talent, Marianne Goth, and VentureBeat Writer, Art Cole, for an immersive webinar. In this interview, which can be viewed here, Cole, Fuller, and Goth covered topics including:

  • Why it's critical to address the skills gap now.
  • How reskilling and upskilling can future-proof company strategy.
  • Why benchmarking is critical for a robust learning program.
  • Optimizing and implementing reskilling curriculums.

Here are 5 key takeaways from their discussion on how you can optimize your upskilling strategy:

1. Find a trusted training partner.

The most important aspect in your upskilling strategy is to ensure you have a trusted training partner. Organizations should ask themselves these 3 questions when it comes to choosing their training partner:

  1. Does your partner have the content you need today?
  2. Is the content timely? Given the fact that we have so many emerging technologies today, your partner needs to provide updated learning solutions quickly.
  3. Can your content partner align with whatever skills framework your organization is working with?

2. Understand your skills inventory and technical skills baseline.

With any learning development program, you first need to understand your skills inventory. “Organizations are trying to leverage different types of assessments to help them understand what some of their skill gaps are and their skill needs,” says Greg. “They’re also trying to identify some risks they may have, if they are maybe weak in specific areas and want to take that to the next level of really assessing themselves so their people can actually do the job and not necessarily just retain the information.”

The more variety of learning modalities that your training partner offers, the better. Why? Because once you’ve determined your technical skills baseline, you’ll want to ensure you have different types of learning experiences blended together to meet your learners where they are, and where they want to go next.

“What organizations are finding out fairly quickly today is the fact that there's so many different personalities in the organizations. As we work with customers closely, they give us feedback and more variety of learning modes that we can make available to them, the better the skill acquisition. So, it's kind of like one-plus-one equals three type scenario.”

3. Remember that every company is a technology company.

In today’s digital-first world, even if you’re not a company that’s devoted to technology, you’re still a technology company. That means you must be hyper focused on upskilling your digital skillset at a rapid pace. “One phrase we use here [at Skillsoft] is every organization is a tech company; it doesn't matter if you're in sales or marketing, or engineering tech,” says Greg. “You must really be on top of your digital game to really be effective at your job and actually move your career forward.”

This is becoming increasingly clear as we look to new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) becoming more prevalent throughout every industry. “It's not that AI is going to replace human skills necessarily, but it's going to allow us to leverage our skills in a different way,” says Greg. “Think about all those monotonous pieces of our job that we don't like to handle day to day. Hopefully that's where automation and AI can come in, and that way we can maximize the skill sets of our tech workforce.”

As Art points out, it’s not just about maintaining the hard skills of working in a technical environment, but you also need to train your workforce to focus on the soft skills, like interpersonal skills, to understand how to function in a large, complex workforce. “This is actually becoming more and more important, especially in the tech space,” says Greg. “Think about Agile transformations, for example. We have these teams working more across multiple business functions, and there are a number of communication skills—those more human skills—that are really critical for tech workers today.”

4. Use data to measure your progress.

Another key component to optimize your upskilling strategy is to be able to measure success. It's not just measuring whether learners completed a course or not, it's really, [it’s] about getting smart with the data,” says Greg. "What's the pace of acquiring skills? Are these measuring skills actually being applied to the job, and are we getting value out of our content partnership?”

We talked about digital-first earlier. At the forefront of that is a company’s ability to collect and analyze data. Learning platforms, such as what Skillsoft offers, can help you aggregate your learning data and make it easily reportable and understandable for your learners as they are progressing on their journeys.

5. Recognize that customization is key.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all template when it comes to upskilling strategies. Every organization is different. Every group of employees is going to have its own issues and challenges. That requires a customized approach to learning. “There's great off-the-shelf training programs, but hugely successful customers have been able to take those off the shelf training curriculums and really customize it for their specific use cases,” says Greg.

Are you interested in taking optimizing your organizations upskilling strategy? Sign up for a free demo account today and unleash power of transformative growth on your workforce now.

The Top 9 Software Developer Skills for 2023 Wed, 17 May 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

The skills IT pros need to succeed in the software development field are constantly evolving. Learn the most necessary skills for developers today.

Whether they’re building apps for customers or developing internal tools to support their colleagues, software development teams can’t afford to ship buggy, broken products. But skills gaps threaten to throw a wrench in their efforts.

According to the 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report from Skillsoft, 66 percent of IT leaders are dealing with skills gaps, and software development is one of the top-ten skill areas that IT decision-makers are investing in right now.

While skills gaps are never good news, there is a silver lining here. By creating opportunities for people to build key developer skills, IT leaders can support the kind of mutually beneficial growth that employees want today.

How are software development skills training mutually beneficial? The benefits for organizations are fairly obvious: They cultivate the skills they need to stay competitive in the era of digital transformation. Additionally, professional development opportunities improve talent recruitment and retention, which are also among IT leaders’ biggest challenges.

On the other hand, employees benefit because building the skills needed to become a software developer offers them a path to a lucrative and rewarding career. According to the IT Skills and Salary Report, app developers and programmers in North America have an average base salary of $77,698, far higher than the median US salary of $54,132. As a bonus, IT pros tend to be happy at work: The IT Skills and Salary report found 74 percent are satisfied in their fields.

Download the 2022 IT Skills and Salary report to learn how IT professionals feel about compensation, certification, job roles, and challenges today.

What Are the Top Skills for Software Developers?

The organization and its employees grow together when IT leaders invest in software developer skills. But that raises an important question: What are the best skills for software developers to have?

The answer depends on many factors, including what kind of software the company develops, the tools the company uses, and the particular software engineering roles an individual is interested in.

That said, by using data from the IT Skills and Salary Report, along with broader trends in the IT industry, we can pinpoint some of the most universally useful hard and soft skills for software developers:

  1. Coding languages like JavaScript, C++, Python, and others
  2. Data science, algorithms, and machine learning
  3. Cloud computing
  4. Git and GitHub
  5. SQL and other database technologies
  6. Cybersecurity
  7. Project management and software development lifecycles
  8. Communication and collaboration
  9. Problem-solving

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Hard Skills for Software Developers

1. Coding Languages

Writing code is a fundamental skill required for software developers. But there are a lot of languages a person can learn. Which ones should developers — and their organizations — focus on? That depends on the kinds of developers the organization needs.

Front-end developers create and maintain the user-facing parts of apps and websites, like dynamic visuals and interactive fields. The most useful languages for front-end developers include HyperText Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and JavaScript.

Back-end developers focus on the server side of a site or application — that is, the under-the-hood elements that power the service. Organizations can use many different languages for back-end development. Some of the most common include Java, Python, and the C family of languages (C, C++, and C# in particular).

When looking at data from the IT Skills and Salary Report, C languages seem to be some of the most in-demand tech skills today. Three of the most widely held software development certifications are C Certified Professional Programmer (CLP), C Programming Language Certified Associate (CLA), and C++ Certified Associate Programmer (CPA).

Full-stack developers do both front- and back-end development, so IT pros in this field typically learn a blend of both front- and back-end languages. Many full-stack developers also use Node.js, an open-source runtime environment that allows them to use JavaScript for both front- and back-end development.

Mobile developers build apps for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Accordingly, they specialize in mobile-focused programming languages like Swift for iOS and Kotlin for Android.

Interested in learning more about coding languages? Check out these resources on Skillsoft:

2. Data Science, Algorithms, and Machine Learning

As artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms reach new levels of sophistication, more organizations are looking to incorporate these features into their products and services. Data from the IT Skills and Salary Report reinforces the idea that these are critical skills for software developers: 27 percent of IT decision-makers are investing in data analytics, data management, and data science skills, and 30 percent are investing in AI and machine learning.

Of course, data science, algorithms, and machine learning are massive topics with broad applications in everything from cutting-edge innovations like ChatGPT and AI art to more established fields like content recommendation systems and social media feeds. That can make learning these important tech skills feel daunting. However, learning Python is one of the best ways to get started. This simple, flexible language is the foundation for many of the most sophisticated machine learning, data analytics, and data visualization algorithms.

Interested in learning more about data science, algorithms, and machine learning? Check out these resources on Skillsoft:

3. Cloud Computing

The rise of the cloud is the hallmark of the digital transformation era, the technology that separates IT today from the IT of the past. It makes sense, then, that 41% of IT decision-makers are investing in cloud computing skills, according to the IT Skills and Salary Report. The report also found that Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications are the three most popular non-cybersecurity certifications.

Platform-specific certification is likely the best way for new and experienced software developers to learn cloud computing skills. The cloud isn’t so much a singular technology as it is a whole new infrastructure with new ways of developing, hosting, and delivering apps. To comprehensively understand cloud computing, software developers must thoroughly engage with the specific infrastructures their organizations use.

Interested in learning more about cloud computing? Check out these resources on Skillsoft:

4. Git and GitHub

“Version control” refers to the processes developers use to track changes to software code over time. It’s an invaluable skill for software developers because it allows them to collaborate on projects, quickly find and fix bugs, and avoid major derailments.

Most software engineers use two tools for version control: Git, a version control application, and GitHub, a web-based platform for Git repositories. For that reason, familiarity with Git and GitHub is practically a required skill for software developers.

Additionally, using Git and GitHub can help developers learn to read and understand code, making them better at identifying issues, fixing problems, and communicating with others. As we’ll see below, these are vital soft skills for engineers.

Interested in learning more about Git and GitHub? Check out this course on Skillsoft:

5. SQL and Other Database Technologies

Databases are fundamental parts of how so many apps and websites function today. For that reason, software developers need to know how to work with these databases, including how to search for information, add and update data, and keep databases secure.

Many of the most popular database management systems today, like Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft SQL Server, use a programming language called Structured Query Language (SQL) to perform functions. Learning SQL is a great place for software engineers to start with database management.

There are, however, other database management systems that don’t use SQL, like MongoDB. Software developers need to keep in mind the specific databases their organizations use.

Interested in learning more about SQL and other database technologies? Check out these resources on Skillsoft:

6. Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is top of mind for many IT decision-makers: 31 percent are currently investing in cybersecurity skills, according to the IT Skills and Salary Report.

While cybersecurity and software development are separate fields, developers do have a role to play in keeping their organizations and customers safe by ensuring the software they build follows cybersecurity best practices.

Plus, holding cybersecurity certifications can help software engineers boost their pay. Four of the ten highest-paying certifications in North America are cybersecurity certifications, according to the IT Skills and Salary Report. These include Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and AWS Certified Security - Speciality.

Software developers can take a few different approaches to strengthen their cybersecurity skills. Earning cloud security certifications can help them build more secure apps for cloud environments. Learning about cryptography can help them protect sensitive data. A secure software lifecycle certification, like the Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP), can help developers build cybersecurity into their products.

Interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Check out these resources on Skillsoft:

Soft Skills for Software Developers

While tech skills development is critical for software engineers, soft skills are equally important. Software development doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Apps and websites are built by people — people who need to work effectively together to ship the best products they can. Toward that end, here are some key soft skills for developers to have:

1. Project Management and Software Development Lifecycles

Whether Scrum, Agile, DevOps, or some combination thereof, every software development cycle follows some methodology. The better a developer knows that methodology, the more efficiently they can work inside it. Different organizations use different methodologies, so software engineers and IT decision-makers should focus on whichever one forms the basis of their particular process.

On a broader level, developers may also pursue generalized project management certifications like Project Management Professional (PMP). These can equip them with skills they can use in nearly any software development cycle. Plus, PMP certification can increase a developer’s salary, according to the IT Skills and Salary Report.

Interested in learning more about project management and software development lifecycles? Check out these resources on Skillsoft:

2. Communication and Collaboration

Software development is a collaborative process. Developers need to explain their code to team members, document their code clearly, and understand the code the other people are writing. They must also communicate with clients and customers to understand what they need from a product and incorporate their feedback into the build. Learning the fundamentals of effective communication can go a long way.

Interested in learning more about communication and collaboration? Check out these resources on Skillsoft:

3. Problem-solving

At its core, software development is about solving problems. Software engineers must design and build apps and services to help customers solve their pain points. Furthermore, developers will inevitably run into bugs, broken code, and other challenges when making software.

Problem-solving, then, is one of the most critical software developer skills. Developers must learn how to think creatively and critically, invite and use feedback, and analyze their code to fix the issues that arise.

Interested in learning more about problem-solving? Check out these resources on Skillsoft:

How Do You Gain the Top Developer Skills?

Software developers need a broad set of skills to succeed in their roles. Cultivating those skills can seem daunting, but the good news is that tried-and-true resources are available to help. Whether you’re an IT decision-maker looking to close team-wide skills gaps or an individual employee who wants to level up, here are a few software developer training resources to explore:

Online Training Programs

Online training programs are particularly popular among IT pros. According to the IT Skills and Salary Report, 63 percent of IT pros have used web-based, on-demand training sessions in the last 12 months, and 37 percent have used live instructor-led online training.

What makes a great online training program for software engineer skills? The IT Skills and Salary Report can offer some insight here. According to the IT pros surveyed, the most important factors are quality of content (cited by 46 percent of respondents), opportunities for hands-on practice (41 percent), updated content (33 percent), and multiple learning methods (24 percent).

Attending Webinars

Webinars can be another effective tool for learning the skills needed to be a software developer. While webinars don’t offer the same kind of comprehensive instruction as full training courses, they can provide deep dives into specific topics. Plus, webinars are often free and relatively brief, making them easier to fit into a busy schedule.

Learning From Peers

Research shows that peer-to-peer learning can be an effective way of building new skills. It can also help build camaraderie among teammates, which in turn helps software developers learn vital communication and collaboration skills.

According to the IT Skills and Salary Report, many IT pros already embrace peer-to-peer learning: In the past 12 months, 25 percent have joined an online community like GitHub or Reddit, 26 percent have attended informal learning sessions at work, and 23 percent have engaged with influencers and other professionals on social media.

IT leaders can support peer-to-peer learning by establishing formal opportunities like mentorship programs, weekly lunch-and-learns, or setting aside time during meetings for shareouts.

Choosing the Right Software Developer Training

As the software development industry continues to evolve, keeping up with the latest trends and technologies can be a challenge for both individuals and organizations. With the right professional development opportunities, however, employees and employers can close their skills gaps and grow together.

Yet finding the right IT training provider can be difficult. Organizations and their employees need training solutions tailored to their unique needs. That’s where Codecademy for Enterprise comes in.

Codecademy for Enterprise is an online training solution that has helped many businesses and individuals build the software developer skills they need. Featuring interactive practice opportunities, personalized learning, and peer-to-peer communities, Codecademy for Enterprise can level up your organization’s tech skills with hands-on, immersive training.

Learn more about Codecademy for Enterprise.

Top Workplace Training Takeaways from Waystar Royco Tue, 16 May 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

Is anyone else watching Succession? Currently streaming its fourth – and final – season on HBO Max, Succession is an incredible series to add to your list of shows to binge watch. Trust me.

The show is about a fictional media empire and the complex dynamics of a family-owned business. And while it might not directly address the topic of workplace training and education, it does provide valuable insights into the consequences of ignoring rules as well as the importance of ethical behavior in business.

Here’s a quick plot synopsis:

  • Media conglomerate Waystar Royco is a family-owned business.
  • Logan Roy is the CEO of Waystar Royco and the head of the Roy family.
  • Throughout the series, other members of the Roy family vie for control of the company – engaging in unethical behavior in the process.

From the illegal wiretapping of a competitor’s phone line to characters sifting through the personal belongings of others and accessing private computer files, many of the “business” decisions depicted in the show are clear compliance breaches. They violate privacy laws, damage the company’s reputation, and lead to legal repercussions. As a result, Waystar Royco faces an investigation by regulatory authorities, which could result in hefty fines and further damage to the company’s reputation.

Learning to Do “The Right Thing”

So, what can we learn from the plot of Succession? For me, the show reinforces the importance of training your employees to do “the right thing.”

What does it mean to do the right thing? Everyone’s answer to that question is different. Which is why — to maintain ethical and legal compliance — an organization and its leaders must define “the right thing” for employees. That means articulating standards, explaining what you believe, and defining how you conduct business.

Following are some compliance courses that employees of Waystar Royco could really benefit from as they navigate what’s right – and what’s not quite right – at work.

Waystar Royco uses bribery to secure contracts in foreign countries. The use of bribery not only puts the company at risk of legal consequences, but it also damages its reputation and undermines its credibility.

Not to mention, bribery violates the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) which prohibits companies from paying bribes to foreign officials to gain a business advantage.

Succession depicts characters engaging in various forms of financial misconduct, such as hiding payments or misrepresenting the nature of transactions. If these actions were real and occurred within a company subject to the FCPA, they could potentially violate the law. The FCPA requires companies to disclose information about their operations and financial performance.

The characters on Succession are seen withholding information from shareholders and engaging in insider trading. Insider trading is a serious offence that can result in significant penalties and legal consequences for individuals and the companies with which they are associated.

Effective insider training courses help employees to identify examples of inside information; the potential consequences of unlawful insider dealing for both companies and individuals; and the consequences for individuals and companies involved in insider dealing and recognize how to avoid them. Courses should also educate learners how to recognize circumstances in which an insider can legally trade securities.

Throughout the series, several characters engage in harassing behaviors that include sexual harassment, bullying, and verbal abuse. Logan Roy, for example, regularly belittles and demeans his children and other members of the Waystar Royco business – showcasing cutthroat and toxic corporate culture where harassment and abuse are prevalent.

Harassment in the workplace can affect any employee, regardless of the organization they work for. All companies are responsible for creating an environment free from harassment, and in most countries, the law requires employers to take significant measures to prevent harassment. After all, harassment can result in costly legal claims, including lawsuits and settlements, and it can impact employee morale and productivity.

Employees who experience harassment may feel demotivated or pull away from their work due to fear, leading to decreased productivity and increased rates of absenteeism and turnover. Bottom line? Workplace harassment is bad for business. And businesses can start to address this by building a culture of inclusivity that puts a stop to this behavior.

The Importance of Preventing Unethical Behavior at Work

The episodes of Succession illustrate the consequences of ignoring regulations and employment law. While the examples in the television show are fictional, this type of unethical behavior could – and often does – happen in real life.

Compliance training helps by educating employees about the laws and regulations that govern their work, as well as the consequences of violating them. It can also empower employees to understand the importance of ethical behavior in business, including how it benefits the company and its stakeholders.

In Succession, the consequences of unethical behavior are severe, leading to legal and reputational damage, loss of trust, and (spoiler alert!) Waystar Royco’s downfall. Compliance training can help prevent such consequences by ensuring employees understand the importance of following rules and regulations and acting ethically in all aspects of their work, while leadership training can help your leaders develop the power skills they need to build a psychologically safe culture at work.

The Impact of Leadership on Ethics

Perhaps the most important way to do this is to effectively train your leaders. Compliance programs require strong leadership to be successful – and this requires effective education. But where do you start?

There’s no time like the present to embrace the idea of ethical leadership. Here are some ways to incorporate it into your corporate culture today:

Be a role model. Show your team what good behavior looks like. Often, people won’t recognize it until they see it firsthand. Good role models live at all levels of an organization.

Encourage learning and transparency. Don’t hide your mistakes. Learn from them and share them with others so they don’t have to learn the hard way. Create a culture where people are comfortable sharing their missteps.

Learn about psychological safety here.

Provide opportunities and feedback. Challenge your team with respect to ethical leadership. Give them opportunities to be role models, themselves. What is working well, what can they do better?

Reward progress over perfection. Establish a growth mindset. Ensure that your team understands that we are all a work in progress, and we can only do the best we can do on the journey we are on.

Create a safe space. Managers must provide employees the time to process and ask questions. They need to create a safe space so that the team can think critically about the situation they are facing, take a moment to weigh possible outcomes, and then act accordingly.

What’s the bottom line? Toxic workplace cultures share some common traits. They are typically observed in organizations with a lack of role models, where there is no safe space, and it is not okay to be vulnerable or ask questions. A toxic workplace culture is a result of a failure in leadership, and it is very likely to lead to a compliance failure.

In Succession, most ethical failures stemmed from the behavior of family patriarch, Logan Roy. Imagine if Roy had access to Skillsoft’s extensive course library?

Skillsoft offers legal compliance training, workplace safety training, leadership and business skills, and even leadership coaching!

Coaching Your Leaders on Ethical Leadership

Leadership coaching is an important way to ensure that your employees are actively working to develop leadership skills such as communication, decision-making, and strategic planning, which can enhance their ability to drive your organization forward.

The Roy family c-suite is not the only group that benefits from professional leadership coaching! To retain top talent and maintain a strong talent pipeline, businesses must prioritize the development of all employees throughout their organization.

Skillsoft Coaching allows businesses to deliver executive-quality leadership coaching at scale in order to develop the behaviors and skills needed to lead successfully.

Here’s how it works:

  • Tap into a global network of hundreds of executive coaches across six continents speaking more than 20 languages.
  • Provide your employees with personalized coaching experiences where they work one-on-one with a coach to define their goals and develop strategies tailored to their needs.
  • Drive behavioral change and accelerate leadership development with customizable assessments, personalized guidance, and action plans.
  • Track coaching engagements, satisfaction, and performance across all employees to drive measurable business impact.
  • Leverage video sessions and in-app messaging to drive engagement, enablement, and measurable improvement.

So, how about it? Are you ready to mitigate risk by developing your organization’s leaders? Let’s show the “Logan Roys” of the world how it is done.

How (and Why) to Get Started with Python for Beginners Mon, 15 May 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

Welcome to "Python for Everyone"! If you're not a programmer, rejoice! This blog is for you. When most people think of programming languages, they imagine long lines of complex code and programmers working tirelessly through the night. While some programming languages can be complicated, this is not the case for all of them. Python is an excellent language for beginners and can be used for various daily tasks to improve both your work and home life.

You don't need to be a programmer to understand the basics of Python and streamline many regular, time-consuming activities. For instance, Python can help you do all the following tasks with ease:

  • Preschedule emails and other messages
  • Automate the creation of PowerPoint presentations, marketing campaigns, and Excel pivot tables
  • Organize your music library
  • And even buy concert tickets online

What is Python? (And Why You Should Learn It)

So, what exactly is Python, and why is it important to have a basic knowledge of coding and programming languages?

Python is an easy-to-learn, general-purpose programming language that emphasizes code readability. Skillsoft reports that Python is their online learning platform's #1 consumed course. It is one of the most popular programming languages in the world due to its comprehensive standard code library and its power and versatility. Python is integral to web and software development, data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. It is the only programming language that consistently grows in popularity year after year.

The IT Skills and Salary Report reveals that IT leaders' top concerns are their organizations' lack of machine learning and AI skills. AI is a powerful tool but can cause harm if misused. To ensure that AI and machine learning continue to benefit everyone, it is crucial to have a diverse group of people who can think critically about these technologies and contribute to their development.

Education helps prevent potential harm and ensures that AI and machine learning are used responsibly for the greater good. In addition, as organizations push for incentives to draw women into the tech industry, analytics, AI, and machine learning are consistently among the top topics engaging women in tech.

What can I do with Python?

AI, data science, analytics, and machine learning rely on Python. Therefore, we want to show you the types of things you can do with it and how easy it is.

PowerPoint presentations are something that many professionals deal with regularly, including sales and marketing professionals, business analysts, teachers, trainers, and coaches. With just a few hours of training, which you can get in any beginner Python course, you can have Python create PowerPoint decks, populate them with the information you need to share, and automatically send it out to stakeholders.

Marketing professionals rely on regular analytics reports and market segmentation data to develop successful campaigns. Python can help automate these reports, saving time and allowing experts to focus on doing what they do best.

Python is not only for business use. Ever wonder why concert tickets always sell out so quickly? It's probably because people who know Python are building scripts to search for and get their tickets for them. With just a few lines of code, Python can also help you get those elusive concert tickets.

You can also use Python to migrate a YouTube library to create a Spotify playlist. These may sound like niche examples, but they show Python's versatility. Learning the basics in just a few hours is easy and can help you automate regular, time-consuming tasks and even create complex applications.

Access a Free, On-Demand Python Training Session

Click through to view our "Python for Everyone" webinar, where we share more of our love for Python and how easy it is. We’ll also give you best practices and recommended resources to help you get started!

Winning The Long Game: Coaching at Scale Takes The Field Wed, 10 May 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

Have you been watching Ted Lasso? Just in case you've been marooned on a desert island and are thinking "Ted who?,” the lovable, Emmy-winning show is about an American coach who beats the odds to take a hopeless UK soccer team and make them great. He doesn't do it immediately — there's a learning curve, and he's playing the long game. As Ted says,

“For me, success is not about the wins and losses. It’s about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field.”

Lasso is, frankly, the best kind of coach: he's a visionary. And, like Ted, I believe that a team becomes great when each player, regardless of their position, is seen for their potential — and then given the chance to grow. Simply put, individual growth leads to organizational growth.

But, growth doesn't happen in a vacuum. That's why the right professional leadership coaching program can make all the difference.,

Businesses are now turning to coaching to accelerate the development of leadership competencies across their organization, not just for executives, but for individual contributors, too. In essence, organizations are practicing what my Skillsoft colleagues and I fundamentally believe — creating a modern company culture requires emphasis on mutual growth.

The landscape of the workforce has changed dramatically over the past few years, greatly accelerated by the pandemic. As businesses look to retain top talent and fill their pipeline, building effective leaders becomes an integral part of skilling across organizations. Coaching helps leaders at all levels develop strong power skills, such as empathy, agility, emotional intelligence, and problem solving, which, in turn, helps them lead through change and build a stronger, more diverse company culture.

To meet the evolving needs of a distributed workforce, Skillsoft digital coaching can play a critical role throughout the employee lifecycle. Our ICF-accredited professional coaches work one-on-one and in groups with employees to help them develop and enhance their leadership capabilities. More than 350 executive coaches speaking multiple languages and spanning six continents provide support, guidance, and feedback as employees work towards achieving their goals and objectives. Throughout their journey, employees apply those skills to their day-to-day roles, bringing both exponential and real-time value to their workplace.

And at Skillsoft, we’ve seen coaching delivers demonstrable behavioral change — at scale — that organizations can measure and track. The stats are in, and coaching is paying off in a big way. In fact, typical six months’ results bear this out:

More adept at the behaviors they chose to focus on with their coach

More equipped to advance in their careers

Percentage of goals achieved that they worked on with their coach

Now, if coaching at scale sounds overwhelming, take a note from Ted: "Be curious, not judgmental." Listen to the ATD fireside chat to learn how to build a coaching program from the ground-up — from getting stakeholder buy-in, to launching the platform across the entire business, to truly delivering coaching at scale.

Sounds like a win to me.

Inequality in Tech: the Industry Loses Without Women Mon, 08 May 2023 02:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

The tech industry affords seemingly limitless possibilities for career advancement and mobility, high-paying jobs, flexibility — but not for everyone. Job dissatisfaction among women in tech roles has grown since last year, according to new findings from Skillsoft's latest report.

Overall satisfaction has dipped, and it's the worst in areas like growth potential and current pay. What's more, the report reveals the gender gap has gotten worse too.

Issues of equality persist in an industry that often claims to be progressive but also craves talented professionals. Despite historic layoffs, employers across industries need technologists with skills in security, cloud, data science, and many other fields. And still, a great disparity exists.

In the U.S., for example, women make up roughly 27% of the tech industry. As women try to break into the field or advance within it, our research shows they often face an uphill battle against ineffective leadership, a lack of equity in opportunities and training.

One respondent to the survey shared her experience:

"Tech-related careers can be challenging at the start of learning. Advancing in this career to positions of leadership is even more discouraging because of male dominance and lack of diversity inclusion."

Barriers like these create a lose-lose scenario for the field at large. The industry misses the chance to fill critical roles where gaps exist today. And, technologists face ongoing inequality that prevents them from pursuing a career in a prosperous field.

So, what must be done to achieve parity in tech?

Skillsoft's new report goes deep into this topic. The report compiles the findings of 1,321 women who work in the industry before zeroing in on a group who work specifically in tech roles.

You can find the complete report here:

In this blog, we cover some of the report's highlights. Read on to learn more.

The Gender Gap in Tech Has Gotten Worse

Despite the efforts of organizations to make diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace a greater priority, our research shows that the gender gap remains quite wide, and significant work is needed to achieve true parity at all levels.

This year’s report finds that women are still greatly outnumbered at work. This year, only 12% of the women surveyed reported an equal ratio of men and women in the workplace — down one percentage point from last year.

Consider these stats…

  • The gender gap grew. 45% of women technologists say men outnumber them at ratios of four-to-one or greater. This climbed 20 percentage points from 2021.
  • Women see inequities standing in their way. 42% report a lack of equal pay; 39%, inequity in opportunities; and 26% cite a lack of representation.
  • The main reasons women explore new opportunities: Better compensation (41%), a lack of equity in opportunities (36%), and ineffective leadership (25%) — to name a few.

In tech, some of the leading challenges organizations face have to do with attracting and retaining skilled talent. As an employer that struggles with skills gaps or hiring workers, it's important to scrutinize your training programs and recruitment strategies to ensure they're equitable and built with purpose. Doing so can help identify ways you can elevate women and support their advancement.

Women Want More Opportunities to Use (And Sharpen) Their Skills

Largely, women in tech aren't getting enough opportunities to further their careers and build a future for themselves.

Survey findings show a lack of equity in opportunities and professional development remain among the top challenges women in tech face.

Issues like these have consistently stifled success and career advancement. Women deserve access to more opportunities, and they want to take advantage of learning new skills and earning certifications.

Women surveyed said earning certifications helped them gain more responsibility at work, land new jobs, and earn promotions. In Skillsoft's IT Skills and Salary Report, the highest percentage of IT leaders say certified staff add more than $30,000 in value to their organizations over non-certified employees.

For organizations of all kinds, investments in professional development and training lead to win-win scenarios, like higher employee engagement, faster resolution times, and a competitive advantage.

For reasons like these, companies stand to miss great opportunities by not investing in women's development.

As far as benefits go, professional development was marked as either very or extremely important to 92% of respondents. More than half (55%) of technologists surveyed say organizations should provide more training opportunities to attract and retain women in the industry.

In particular, women are most interested in developing skills in these areas:

  • Leadership and Management
  • Analytics, AI, and Machine Learning
  • Project management
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Science

Women in tech roles are calling for more opportunities to advance their careers via leadership development, technical training, coaching, and mentorship. Meanwhile, organizations are facing a critical need for technology and leadership competencies. This presents a mutual growth opportunity that helps organizations thrive and empowers women to increase their impact by filling these critical gaps.

Employers and Women Alike Can Take Action To Bridge The Gaps

Women in tech are hungry to learn new skills and apply them. Companies continue to struggle with talent gaps in Technology. How do we solve this challenge and create a win-win?

For employers, you must help create pathways to advancement and remove barriers along the way. The tech industry risks losing skilled, capable workers at a time when companies are already desperate for talent.

In parallel, women must look out for one another. Connect with mentors, find a sponsor, embrace new opportunities, and advocate for yourself. For those who wish to pursue a tech role, one woman gave this advice:

"Pursue, pursue, pursue. Never give up!"

Read the entire report and see the complete findings by gaining access today:

Become the Norm: 3 Best Practices to Establish Your Company as an ESG Leader Fri, 05 May 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

By leveraging learning, companies can stay on top of the evolving ESG landscape — and become trailblazers in the field.

Earlier this year, the European Union finalized its Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), one of the most far-reaching environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting requirements to date. The CSRD, which goes into effect in 2028 and will apply to nearly every company active in EU markets, will mandate that organizations disclose how sustainability factors like climate and pollution impact their businesses — and how each business affects these factors in turn.

CSRD is only one of many noteworthy recent developments as ESG principles rapidly evolve. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is also working on its own climate disclosure rules.

Of course, there has been pushback. Some U.S. lawmakers have tried to curtail the use of ESG criteria in retirement funds, and some surveys show corporate executives fear the impacts of ESG mandates on their organizations. But this is not so different from Sarbanes-Oxley, which also received pushback when it first passed. Now, it's widely lauded as the standard for financial transparency.

ESG is likely to follow a similar path. While the rules and regulations are still taking shape, ESG will one day be the norm. This presents a powerful opportunity. Organizations that begin acting on ESG today will not just avoid any potential consequences of not complying; they will position themselves as ESG leaders in the future.

Let's take a closer look at how you can prepare yourself and your organization for the ESG mandates on the horizon.

3 Best Practices to Drive ESG

I realize that, even under the best circumstances, starting an ESG journey can be daunting. It doesn't help that so many regulations and frameworks are still in flux or actively contested. But, the good news is that you don't have to start from scratch or wait for all the guidelines to be finalized.

Many ESG principles are based on voluntary standards that have been around for some time. For example, the EU's CSRD draws heavily from preexisting frameworks put forward by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). If you familiarize yourself with these and other relevant standards, you won't be blindsided by formal regulations when they do arrive.

You can also draw on your corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to help shape your ESG strategy. To be sure, CSR and ESG, while related, can represent different approaches. CSR efforts are typically defined internally, focusing on how companies hold themselves accountable to employees, customers, and other stakeholders. ESG is driven by external rules and focuses more on data and objective reporting.

Yet both CSR and ESG are concerned with how companies can do good in the world. So, prior CSR initiatives can be good starting points for your ESG journey. For example, if your company supports non-profits promoting solar energy, you could explore how it might incorporate more solar power into its own supply chain.

Beyond these broader considerations, you can consider adopting three specific best practices:

1. Treat ESG Like a Team Sport

In the past, some companies handled CSR as an HR or marketing initiative. ESG, however, benefits from involvement across the whole organization — from procurement, product management, and finance to technology, communications, talent strategy, and more. That means ESG also requires the participation of leaders from various stakeholder departments.

Some organizations are tackling this challenge by creating ESG review boards or oversight committees. Participants often include a range of leaders or C-suite officers, each of whom can address the specific ESG challenges — and opportunities — facing their particular team or function. And ESG initiatives should also proceed with the approval and, ideally, participation of the Board.

That said, many organizations have realized that their commitment to ESG is best served when it is owned at the executive leadership level. A Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), or head of ESG, ensures that the organization is held accountable for the goals it sets and the outcomes it achieves.

And ESG is more than just a concern for leaders. Because ESG initiatives typically require changes in company culture and business processes, employees at all levels should be part of the journey, even if they don't sit on official committees.

Learning can be a powerful tool for equipping your employees with the skills and knowledge they need to contribute to ESG goals. For example, companies often use Skillsoft's Global Code of Conduct training solution to help reinforce their positions on social responsibility and regulatory compliance.

You and your team can also benefit from compliance training to understand any new regulations your company must adhere to. Leaders in rapidly evolving roles, like CSOs and chief ethics officers, may also benefit from learning leadership and business skills to help them confidently navigate the changing landscape.

2. Centralize and Digitize Reporting

While CSR often entails some level of reporting, ESG reporting standards tend to be more stringent since they're imposed by investors and government regulators who want to prevent practices like greenwashing. Your ESG data must be as comprehensive, consistent, and verifiable as financial data. In fact, a current standard involves what’s called, “double materiality.” This refers to organizations reporting on issues that financially impact the value of their enterprise and issues that affect the greater economy, environment, and society.

Today’s investors are already making decisions based on sustainability. And, more and more companies are demanding that their suppliers disclose ESG goals and — more importantly — outcomes. The truth is, ESG reporting and rankings will only become more important in the future.

For this reason, you need to ensure the integrity and accuracy of your approach to tracking ESG metrics. New tools and specialists are arising to fill this need, and third-party organizations and consultants can be valuable partners. If you’re just getting started, you might look at some preexisting frameworks — like GRI or the Carbon Disclosure Project — to understand what you need to report and how. You might also consider providing data science skilling so employees can develop the skills and competencies to accurately track and report on key ESG metrics.

3. Operationalize ESG

While ESG initiatives are driven to some extent by reporting requirements, it's important to remember that reporting is only part of the picture. ESG, at its core, is about setting objectives that lead to operational changes and measurable outcomes. In other words, what are we all trying to achieve together for ourselves, for our communities, and for the planet?

Operationalize ESG by reviewing your processes and practices for opportunities to implement meaningful ESG goals. Are critical parts of the supply chain vulnerable to climate risks? Are recruiting efforts too concentrated in certain socioeconomic strata? Ask these kinds of questions to identify organic ways to bring ESG into your business strategies.

As with most ESG best practices, operationalizing ESG isn't just a good thing to do. As more laws like Germany's Supply Chain Due Diligence Act are passed, it becomes a business imperative. Regular compliance training can help leaders and employees stay on top of these new regulations.

ESG Requires Workforce Transformation

Any new social change brings some push and pull, but in the long term, the principles of ESG will be normalized. To keep up with ESG as it evolves, companies must transform their strategies, cultures, and workforces.

That's why learning is such a crucial part of ESG success. Learning helps employees across the organization — from entry-level to the C-suite — gain the skills and knowledge to meet ESG goals and comply with ESG regulations.

Moreover, learning can even play a role in ESG reporting. Companies have included details on Skillsoft ESG programs, like Pollution Prevention for Employees, The Effects of Environmental Change on Business, and Building a Strategic Commitment to Sustainability, in their disclosures to demonstrate commitment to and progress on ESG objectives.

We’re proud to help customers take these important steps. If we are to effect lasting and meaningful change now and in the future, we need to work together for both the greater good and more responsible business. We’re on a sustainability journey together.

Are you still curious about how your company can address the complexities of ESG and CSR?

Feel free to view my recent conversation with Doug Henschen, principal analyst at Constellation Research, and Kevin Kelly, general manager, compliance, at Skillsoft. The free webinar addresses the crucial questions that boards, CXOs, and environmental and social leaders are grappling with to meet the changing expectations of stakeholders including employees, customers, partners, communities and investors.

7 Ways the Tech Industry Can Help Close the Gender Gap Wed, 03 May 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

Pursuing jobs in tech can lead to a promising career with high pay, enviable benefits, and the chance to work on innovative solutions. However, the tech industry has shown a lasting bias toward men, creating a growing gender imbalance in the field.

"Starting in IT 43 years ago, there were extremely few women. AND pay, opportunity, equity were not even considered at that time," wrote one respondent to Skillsoft’s annual Women in Tech survey.

Skillsoft's 2023 Women in Tech Report shows women believe organizations could — and should - do more to encourage others to pursue careers in the field. The report is the result of a global survey that 1,321 women who work in the industry participated in (621 work specifically in tech roles).

The report reveals the growing and stark gender imbalance in tech. Findings show the imbalance has increased since the year prior, with 45% of women saying men outnumber them at ratios of four-to-one or greater in the workplace. It's a 20-percentage point increase from the 2021 report.

In the U.S., the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows women made up roughly 27% of the workforce in 2022. Why so few?

Why is there a gender imbalance in tech?

Women in tech roles often face challenges that perpetuate inequity and prevent them from advancing. As a result, many women end up leaving the industry. According to Forbes, more than half leave by the midpoint of their careers.

For many, it's an uphill battle to break into the field — especially for those switching careers. However, the challenges persist throughout women's careers, as some face headwinds without adequate support from their employers.

As a result, this gender imbalance creates a series of problems, ranging from hampered company performance to lacking innovation and attrition.

To overcome these challenges, women in this year's survey believe employers should do the following to encourage others to join the industry:

What could organizations do to encourage more women to pursue careers in tech?

“Providing these benefits will not only help organizations engage and retain women technologists but will help them fill critical gaps for technical skills and leadership competencies,” said Orla Daly, CIO at Skillsoft. “By investing in upskilling and reskilling initiatives, formal mentorship programs, and leadership coaching, organizations are not only empowering women on their tech teams but helping their businesses grow.”

Some Women Say the Problem Starts Earlier

And while these ideas and benefits are a start, some women say we - as a collective industry - must start long before women begin job hunting.

Consider this response:

"The problem with women in tech starts way before hiring. There just aren’t enough women choosing IT as a career — unless they come from a country where IT is one of the only professional options for ambitious women as is the case in some of the European nearshore countries.

After that we lose many of the woman we have because childcare is so difficult, particularly in Switzerland and particularly in IT consulting where projects can change. Young parents need stability in their workweek and the burden often falls on the mum."

Another said:

"Promote STEM programs for all ages showing women in engineering roles. You need to see yourself in the role."

And another:

"Activities to cater to students (high school and university) so that we make sure younger ladies do not abandon their interest in tech."

From Skillsoft’s CIO, Orla Daly:

“When there is already a shortage of women in the industry, especially in leadership roles, it becomes harder to attract and encourage women to pursue career paths in technology. By supporting women in tech as they grow and advance their careers, we can better engage and retain those currently in the workforce, while also inspiring a new generation of female tech talent through more visible examples of successful women in the industry.”

Continue reading to learn what actions employers can take to help encourage more women to join and advance within tech.

Access the entire Women in Tech Report to go deeper into the data.

1. Provide Professional Development Opportunities

Women in tech roles crave growth and opportunity. They want to put their skills to work as they continue to learn. Much like in our 2021 report, professional development and training rank as the top benefit employers could offer to women in tech.

In the survey, 98% of women say this benefit is important to them. And yet, 40% say they lack the opportunities to further their skills.

Importance of Professional Development

Findings from Skillsoft's IT Skills and Salary Report show gaps in skills cause employers a number of issues — longer project delays, added team stress, impacts to revenue even. To name a few.

By withholding these opportunities, employers hamper their staff's ability to grow and advance. And if you as the employer stand in their way, you risk losing talent at a time when the industry desperately needs it. Our Women in Tech survey found 28% of respondents are likely to switch employers in the year ahead; 38% are likely to switch job roles.

2. Offer Coaching, Mentoring and Career Counseling

Overwhelmingly, women in tech roles advise employers to offer more coaching, mentoring or career counseling, with 95% saying they are important benefits.

Women who pursue tech roles enter a male-dominated industry. Those who took Skillsoft's survey shared experiences of overt skepticism, disproportionate criticism, and even sexism and harassment.

Having a support network and coach to help navigate not only the day-to-day but challenges unique to women would undoubtedly help as they continue pursuing their aspirations in the field.

One respondent shared her advice to women pursuing careers in tech: "Find a female mentor to help navigate the landscape, assist with career planning and advise on specific situations."

As a part of Skillsoft's annual Lean Into Learning Report, Bailey Borzecki, Leadership Development Program Manager at Boston Beer Company, shared how her organization includes coaching into their talent development strategy:

“We naturally follow the 70-20-10 model for learning and development. Seventy percent comes from hands-on experiences. About 10% comes from coursework. The final piece, that critical 20%, is exposure to coaches, mentors, and masters. Skillsoft Coaching represents a huge piece of that practical magic — through relationships, conversations, encouragement, feedback, and shared expertise.”

See the entire story in the Lean Into Learning Report here.

3. Guarantee Equitable Pay

When asked about the challenges they've faced in pursuing a tech career, almost half (42%) of women said pay was a problem — actually, the second-greatest problem behind ineffective leadership. What's more, current pay and growth were the two areas women in tech roles expressed the greatest dissatisfaction.

The pay gap has been a longstanding issue, with women making 82% of what men make in the U.S., according to research by the Pew Research Center. The tech industry isn't exempt either. Another study found men are offered higher salaries than women 63% of the time. It's an issue across industries, at all ranks.

Employers must review their pay structures and policies to weed out inequitable practices that prolong this issue. Being more transparent and clearly communicating and documenting what factors go into pay and raises may also help.

"In general, it seems that transparency is instrumental in decreasing a range of inequities in the wage allocation process," Tomasz Tadeusz Obloj, associate professor of strategy at Indiana University, told Forbes. “Organizations and legislators have much to gain if they take a stand early on instead of waiting for people to find other ways of ensuring that they are getting fair treatment from their employers."

4. Foster an Equitable Work Culture

Employers that struggle with talent acquisition or retention may have problems with inequity at work, according to Gallup. Their research also shows only 28% of employees see their organizations as being equitable.

Fairness and impartiality are tied to how people feel, which can impact their perceptions of their employers and their work. Do they see resources as being allocated unfairly? Is judgement against their decisions or actions disproportionate to others?

If employees feel like they're judged unfairly or being excluded in some way, it could lead to a series of issues that end up hurting retention rates.

One respondent shared her advice:

"Offer a safe working culture so we are not pushed from our roles or prevented from growing. Hiring more women and other underrepresented groups is good, but being able to really include them and make them want to stay is key.

"Also promote girls to go into tech studies, eliminate the pervasive idea that girls are 'bad at math' and fight discrimination in schools and universities."

Equity, or fairness and impartiality, should be reflected in the culture of your organization but also demonstrated in practice and policy.

Read Next:Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Starts with Actionable Steps

5. Offer Family-oriented Benefits

Research shows that 76% of mothers say it doesn't make financial sense for them to continue working while bearing the brunt of childcare costs.

In IT, this should sound an alarm.

The leading issues IT leaders face today have to do with attracting and retaining employees. For many, they can't afford to lose any.

As an employer, offering inclusive, supportive benefits like child-care and family leave could go a long way toward easing the stress women, parents and caregivers often experience. At Skillsoft, we recently increased our parental leave to 12 weeks fully paid and offer this benefit to all new parents to ensure we’re meeting the needs of our workforce.

One respondent shared her experience:

"It is extremely hard to compete with a man if women still remain the main family care[giver]. We cannot rest well, we cannot grow interest in career-related areas because we don't have any free time. Having a child with extra needs puts us at an impasse. There is no growth. It's like having 2 jobs and falling behind in both.”

6. Increase Diversity at Work

According to Deloitte, employees who recognize their organizations as inclusive and a proponent of diversity realize an 83% boost in business performance when it comes to innovation.

"Compared to their peers, high-gender-diversity companies deliver slightly better returns, and they have outperformed, on average, less diverse companies over the past five years," writes Elaine Montilla, the Assistant Vice President and CIO for IT at the Graduate Center, CUNY. "Companies that not only hire but also manage to retain more women put themselves in a position to automatically gain a competitive advantage, a benefit that extends to all stakeholders."

In tech, this is crucial. While the pace of tech only seems to speed up, it's important to remember the real engine behind innovation: People.

"By nature, interacting with a diverse team forces individuals to prepare better and anticipate alternative viewpoints," writes Montilla. "This enables better problem solving, which can boost performance at the business unit level."

7. Provide More Internships

Internships provide prospective tech professionals the chance to gain real-world experience, lean into hands-on learning, and capture a glimpse of the industry. What's more, they offer the chance for interns to network with peers, inroads to potential employers, and add to their resume.

Without internships, students or those changing their careers see their entry to tech blocked with many obstacles.

One respondent shared her experience:

"For career changers, there are no internship opportunities to get tech experience AND continue working a full-time typical business hours job, and when in that situation, I was unable to afford to quit my job to pursue an internship. It's exceptionally hard to get the first tech job without experience, but there's no way to get experience without the first tech job."

Like many of these benefits, internships are also a win-win for employers and employees. Employers add staff where they need extra help, while employees gain experiences that will stay with them throughout their careers.

To Close the Gap, Employers Must Center Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

For employers to overcome skills gaps, improve retention rates, and reap the benefits of a diverse team, they must review their culture, policies and practices to ensure equity remains at the center.

Otherwise, these pervasive issues — inequity in opportunities and pay, for example — will continue marginalizing women who are skilled, capable and eager to solve the very challenges companies are dealing with.

To dive deeper into this topic, read Skillsoft's Women in Tech Report today.

The 5 Highest Paying Google Cloud Certifications Wed, 03 May 2023 06:13:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

What is a Google Cloud Certification?

In today’s highly competitive job market, having essential certifications in relevant fields sets you apart from other candidates. For example, one of the most in-demand certification areas is cloud computing, and Google Cloud certifications are among the most sought-after.

A Google Cloud certification is a credential demonstrating an individual’s expertise in using and managing Google Cloud technologies. Google offers a range of certifications for professionals at various skill levels, from entry-level to advanced, across different areas of cloud computing, including infrastructure, data, machine learning, and application development. These certifications formally recognize an individual’s knowledge and skills and help professionals advance their careers, making them more attractive to employers looking for skilled talent.

The certifications listed here are among those that earn IT professionals the highest reported salaries in the industry. This list is the result of thousands of IT professionals graciously participating in Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary survey. The survey is distributed to technology providers, vendors, certification bodies, and individuals worldwide.

The cumulative results are fascinating insights into the value of skills and certifications. To see how we compiled this list, find our methodology at the end.

Want to read the IT Skills and Salary Report? Click here to go to the report.

Why Get Google Cloud Certified?

There are several reasons why getting Google Cloud certified can be beneficial for your career:

Industry recognition: Google Cloud certification is an industry-recognized credential showing that you have the skills and knowledge required to design, build, and manage cloud solutions using Google Cloud.

Increases job prospects: Google Cloud certification helps you stand out in a competitive job market and makes you more attractive to potential employers. It also demonstrates a commitment to your profession and a willingness to learn and keep up with new technologies.

It makes you a more competitive candidate: Google Cloud-certified professionals are in high demand, so they often earn higher salaries than their non-certified counterparts. The Skillsoft IT Skills and Salary report states that Google Cloud certifications are among the highest-paying certifications in the IT industry.

Personal development: Preparing for and earning a Google Cloud certification requires significant time and effort. This process helps deepen your knowledge of IT technologies and enables you to learn new skills that can be applied to your work.

What Are the Different Types of Google Cloud Certifications?

Google Cloud offers a variety of certifications at different skill levels and across different areas of cloud computing. Having many options means you can find a certification that aligns with your interests and career goals and allows you to specialize in the areas you’re most interested in.

Several types of Google Cloud certifications are available to individuals who want to demonstrate their proficiency in using and managing Google Cloud technologies. Here is a brief overview of the different types of Google Cloud certifications:

  1. Associate Cloud Engineer: This certification is intended for individuals who have experience working with Google Cloud and can demonstrate their ability to deploy applications, monitor operations, and manage cloud resources.
  2. Professional Cloud Architect: This certification is designed for professionals with advanced Google Cloud experience who can demonstrate their ability to design, develop, and manage Google Cloud solutions that meet specific business requirements.
  3. G Suite Google Cloud certified: Designed for professionals who want to demonstrate their proficiency using G Suite tools and services. This certification validates the skills required to perform common G Suite workflows, such as configuring and managing G Suite, collaborating with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and working with Gmail and Google Calendar.
  4. Additional Professional Certification: Google Cloud offers various certifications for professionals looking to demonstrate their expertise in specific areas of cloud computing. These include Professional Cloud Architect, Professional Data Engineer, Professional Cloud Developer, Professional Cloud Network Engineer, and Associate Cloud Engineer.
  5. Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer Certification: Developers will learn and explore the development lifecycle of using Google-recommended methodologies and tools in this certification exam course. Learners will learn how to build and deploy software and infrastructure delivery pipelines, proficiently maintain and improve production systems, and harmonize service reliability with delivery speed.

The Five Highest-Paying Google Cloud Certifications

Below, you’ll find five of the highest-paying Google Cloud certifications. While the data shows these certifications have higher salaries, it’s important to remember that salaries are the culmination of several factors, including the ability to apply your certified skills at work, your job role, continuous professional development, tenure, and hard work.

The list also provides a snapshot of the typical person holding certification for each credential, including the average number of certifications held, if they hold cybersecurity-related certifications, if they are in management and their average age.

#1 Professional Cloud Architect


The Professional Cloud Architect certification is popular among IT professionals who work with cloud technologies. The Professional Cloud Architect certification offered by Google Cloud is designed for IT professionals who want to demonstrate their expertise in designing, developing, and managing robust and scalable cloud solutions using Google Cloud technologies. It’s one of the highest-paying IT certifications overall in the U.S.

To earn the certification, candidates must pass a two-part exam that tests their knowledge and skills in several areas, including designing and planning a cloud solution architecture, managing and provisioning a cloud solution infrastructure, and ensuring the security and compliance of a cloud solution.

Professional Cloud Architect certification can lead to career advancement opportunities and higher salaries. It can also help organizations identify individuals with the skills and knowledge required to design and manage cloud solutions using Google Cloud technologies.

The certification is valid for two years, after which candidates must recertify to maintain their certification status. Candidates can recertify by passing the current Professional Cloud Architect exam or earning a related Google Cloud certification.

The exam consists of multiple-choice and multiple-select questions and must be taken at a testing center or via online proctoring. The cost of the exam is USD $200.


Learn more about this certification

See Google Cloud Certification Training

Average Certification Holder

Average Age


Works in Management


Has a cybersecurity certification


Average Number of Certifications


#2 Professional Cloud Network Engineer


The Google Cloud Professional Cloud Network Engineer certification is designed to test the skills and knowledge required to design, implement and manage secure, scalable, and highly available network solutions on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The certification is intended for network engineers, cloud architects, and professionals responsible for implementing and managing network solutions on GCP.

To earn the Professional Cloud Network Engineer certification, candidates must demonstrate proficiency in several key areas, including designing, implementing, and managing enterprise-grade network infrastructure on GCP, configuring network services such as Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Cloud Load Balancing, Cloud DNS, and optimizing network performance and reliability.

The Professional Cloud Network Engineer certification is among the most popular Google Cloud certifications, as network infrastructure is a critical component of any cloud deployment. By earning this certification, network engineers and cloud architects can demonstrate their expertise in designing and managing secure and scalable network solutions on GCP, a highly sought-after skill in the IT industry.

The exam for this certification is three hours long and consists of multiple-choice and scenario-based questions. The exam fee is USD $200, and candidates must achieve a passing score of 70% or higher to earn the certification.


Learn more about this certification

See Google Cloud Certification Training

Average Certification Holder

Average Age


Works in Management


Has a cybersecurity certification


Average Number of Certifications


#3 Professional Cloud Security Engineer


The Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification is designed for IT professionals who specialize in security and have experience working with Google Cloud Platform (GCP). This certification validates an individual’s expertise in designing and implementing secure infrastructure on GCP, managing access and identity, ensuring data protection, and managing compliance.

To earn the Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification, candidates must pass a single exam, which covers a range of topics, including designing and implementing a secure infrastructure on GCP, implementing security policies and controls, managing access and identity, ensuring data protection, managing compliance, and responding to security incidents.

The Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification is ideal for security engineers, security consultants, and IT professionals who want to enhance their skills in cloud security and work with GCP. With the increasing demand for cloud security professionals, this certification can help individuals stand out in the job market and advance their careers.

The exam consists of multiple-choice and multiple-select questions and lasts for two hours. Candidates are required to pay a fee of USD $200 to take the exam and must recertify every two years to maintain their certification status.


Learn more about this certification

See Google Cloud Certification Training

Average Certification Holder

Average Age


Works in Management


Has a cybersecurity certification

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Average Number of Certifications


Read Next:The Top 5 Highest-Paying AWS Certifications

#4 Professional Data Engineer


The Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer certification is designed for data professionals who work with Google Cloud technologies to design, build, and manage data processing systems. In addition, it is intended for individuals who have experience working with big data technologies and are familiar with machine learning concepts.

To earn this certification, candidates must demonstrate their proficiency in designing, building, and managing data processing systems, focusing on the Google Cloud Platform, including skills such as creating data processing systems, managing and monitoring data processing infrastructure, and implementing machine learning models.

The Professional Data Engineer certification exam consists of multiple choice and scenario-based questions that test a candidate’s knowledge of various Google Cloud Platform services, including Cloud Storage, BigQuery, Cloud Dataflow, Cloud Pub/Sub, and Cloud Dataproc. The exam also assesses a candidate’s ability to design, implement, and manage data processing systems using these services.

The Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer certification fee is USD $200. This certification is valuable for data engineers, analysts, and scientists who work with large-scale data processing systems and want to demonstrate their expertise in Google Cloud technologies.


Learn more about this certification

See Google Cloud Certification Training

Average Certification Holder

Average Age


Works in Management


Has a cybersecurity certification


Average Number of Certifications


#5 Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer


The Google Cloud Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer certification is designed for individuals who want to demonstrate their ability to build and deploy applications using Google Cloud technologies. In addition, this certification tests an individual’s expertise in continuous delivery and automation, service monitoring, site reliability engineering (SRE), and security.

To earn the Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer certification, candidates must pass a single exam covering various topics such as configuring and deploying infrastructure, implementing continuous delivery and release management, monitoring and logging, and managing incidents.

The fee for the Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer certification is USD $200. The exam consists of multiple-choice and multiple-select questions; candidates have 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete it. Candidates can take the exam either in person at a testing center or online from the comfort of their own home or office.


Learn more about this certification

See Google Cloud Certification Training

Average Certification Holder

Average Age


Works in Management


Has a cybersecurity certification


Average Number of Certifications


Certifications That Missed the Cut



The Cloud Digital Leader (CDL) certification was released in 2021 as a foundational-level certification that validates a professional’s knowledge of the Google Cloud Platform, its services, and capabilities in supporting an organization’s cloud initiatives. It may also benefit those in a business-facing role, who work collaboratively with technical professionals, or those who work with multiple cloud providers and must understand the services of each. It also ranks among the top-paying IT certifications overall in the U.S.

To earn this certification, professionals must familiarize themselves with these areas:

  • Digital transformation with Google Cloud
  • Infrastructure and application modernization
  • Innovating with data and Google Cloud
  • Google Cloud security and operations

The exam costs $99 and gives professionals 90 minutes to complete the questions. There are no prerequisites for this exam.

See certification training

Professional Machine Learning Engineer

$ 133,933.33*

The accreditation covers various topics, including data collection, preparation, analysis, feature engineering, model building, and model optimization. Candidates must also demonstrate proficiency in deploying machine learning models and ensuring their ongoing performance and scalability. The certification exam consists of multiple-choice and scenario-based questions, and candidates must pass with a score of 80% or higher to earn the certification. This certification is designed for experienced machine learning engineers, data scientists, and developers with strong machine learning, data analysis, and software engineering background.

See machine learning training

Professional Cloud Developer

$ 133,805.89*

To be eligible for this certification, candidates should have at least three years of industry experience, including one year of experience designing and managing solutions using the Google Cloud Platform. The exam covers building scalable and efficient applications, managing application performance, debugging and troubleshooting applications, and managing application security. The exam fee is USD 200, and the certification is valid for two years.

See certification training

Professional Google Workspace Administrator (Formerly Professional Collaboration Engineer)


The certification exam evaluates the ability to configure and manage the Google Workspace environment and to leverage automation to streamline workflows and enhance productivity. In addition, successful candidates will have expertise in integrating Google Workspace with other systems and applications and experience with identity and access management, security, and compliance. The certification is valid for two years, and the cost to take the exam is USD $200.

Learn more about this certification

How we built the List

Our North America (U.S. and Canada) list of the top-paying Google Cloud certifications is based on survey responses from the Skillsoft 2022 IT Skills and Salary Survey conducted from May 2022 to August 2022. The survey asks respondents about their current jobs, experience, certifications, salaries, etc. In addition, respondents encounter multiple choice and multi-select, open-ended, rank choice, and other types of questions while taking the survey.

The survey is distributed to IT professionals worldwide by technology providers, certification bodies, and Skillsoft. There were 2,859 IT professionals in North America who participated. Of that group, 610 reported certifying in Google Cloud.

In order for a certification to qualify for our list, Skillsoft looks for at least 50 survey responses to be considered. Then, we consider relevance, demand, and certification requirements. Salaries are not normalized for cost of living or location (e.g., California vs. Montana).

Whenever the number of survey responses didn’t reach our minimum threshold, we’ve indicated the data with an asterisk. Instances are presented here as anecdotal results and might be subject to fluctuation with more responses.

Tools, Tips, and Tricks: Training in the Government Sector Thu, 27 Apr 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

Federal agencies have traditionally faced challenges in acquiring, developing, and retaining talent. These issues are often attributed to a long hiring process (averaging 98 days), a lack of workforce planning (reactionary hiring), and ineffective recruiting practices.

One of the most important ways to address this obstacle is through training and employee development. However, developing training programs that are effective across all federal agencies takes some effort and coordination – as you might imagine.

How to establish an effective Federal Training Program

Federal agencies that take a strategic approach to training and employee development have a higher probability of driving efficiencies, reducing risk, and keeping employees safe – yielding a greater opportunity to further their mission.


A well-planned strategy can help government agencies drive efficiency in many ways, such as:

  • Enhancing their image and reputation
  • Attracting high-caliber employees who want to work for an agency with a reputation and culture they can be proud of
  • Driving positive business impact: motivated employees are more productive and make decisions that benefit the organization and their fellow employees

Improved compliance may lead to fewer safety issues, reducing claims, fines, penalties, injuries, or death. Agencies that adequately manage workplace safety and health perform better than those that do not, according to a study by Harvard Business School.


Keeping employees safe reduces lost time incidents (LTI). Improved safety records may result in reducing the economic impact of workers’ compensation and related expenses, lost production time, employee absenteeism, job accommodations, and restricted work efficiency.

Mandated Training: Key Questions for the Federal Government to Consider

A common mistake from agencies planning their mandated training programs is that they spend too much time and money on training that does not support their mission. Compliance training for low-priority goals should be minimized.

Here are two key questions to consider:

What do your employees need to know, and when?

Your mandatory training program needs to target the right job roles for each training format. Nothing will turn employees off faster than wasting time taking a training course that is of no help to them in their role.

Are we streamlining access to training?

It’s imperative that employees in various positions throughout the federal government receive standardized training and information – no matter where they are located. This ensures that everyone is on the same page about how to mitigate risk in the federal workplace.

That said, there is still a requirement for customization. A good example of this is training around The No FEAR Act, which requires that federal agencies be accountable for violations of anti-discrimination and whistleblower protection laws.

Skillsoft’s course on The No FEAR Act enables configuration. Your agency can tailor course materials to align with its unique objectives. Adapt courses for specific audiences — including your own policies, videos, and other resources.

How to achieve Results through your Federal Mandated Training Program

When done thoughtfully, aligning your training program to support key agency objectives can become standard operating procedure for your agency. Here are some tips to help achieve results:

Get Leadership Buy-in:

Your compliance journey must start with commitment from the leadership team to achieve behavioral change. Executives need to define and own the risk management process.

Identify Risks:

Risks to the organization should be identified and prioritized. High-risk issues will require the greatest commitment to training and to achieve behavioral change. Low-risk issues should receive minimal attention.

Be Ethical:

Many compliance training programs overlook the emotional aspect of training. Emotional training messages help team members feel that the organization is looking out for the safety and well-being of the employee, their co-workers, and even their families and loved ones. With pride in working for an ethical organization, employees will stay longer and work harder to support your mission.

Consider Psychological Safety:

Training is one of the most impactful ways to encourage ethical leaders within a federal agency environment. While most of us are familiar with physical workplace safety training, psychological safety is a newer concept. Psychological safety involves the feeling of being accepted and respected – believing you can present your true self at work without fear of negative consequences to your self-image, status, or career. When there’s a high level of psychological safety, there is a culture of inclusion. People feel safe to speak up, to offer ideas, and to ask questions.

Develop Metrics:

Meaningful metrics for the compliance program should be established at the onset and aligned around your organization’s mission. Ensure that data for the metrics can be easily collected and reported. Targets for the metrics should be realistic and achievable. Because, when targets are unachievable, people are not motivated to reach them.

Stay Up-To-Date:

Federal regulations are constantly evolving – especially with respect to mandatory training. Skillsoft maintains and develops training courses that are relevant, up-to-date, and accurate. That means you don’t have to.

Top Skillsoft Courses taken by Federal Government Employees Last Year

As the federal government continues to operate in a hybrid work environment, training topics related to ethical leadership, psychological safety, remote work best practices, cybersecurity, and others will become increasingly popular.

Some of the top courses completed by learners in the government sector in FY23 reflect this change. From Understanding Unconscious Bias to Preventing Bullying and Violence, it is clear that the federal government is interested in reducing workplace harassment across the board.

Other top courses across government clients included everything from Telework for Government Employees and Contributing as a Virtual Team Member, to Network Security Threats and Their Impact, and more.

Other topics that our federal customers have shown interest in include Embracing Equity and Cybersecurity training to reduce risk.

Learn about other courses for federal government compliance training here.

Curious about the training that your agency needs to more fully embrace hybrid work?

What’s the First Step to Preventing Workplace Harassment? Understanding It Wed, 26 Apr 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

Author and Motivational Speaker Zig Ziglar said, “The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist.” Let’s take a look at the problem of harassment at work so that we may begin to address it.

Here at Skillsoft, we’ve long known that workplace harassment exists, and we are committed to taking action to prevent it. One way that we’ve been able to do this is to share real stories – like those shared by Fabricio, Rula, and Ron – as part of our compliance training to show the true impact of harassment on employees and their employers.

Here’s the Problem

A few months ago, Lloyd’s Register Foundation distributed a World Risk Poll report – Safe at Work? Global experiences of violence and harassment – which introduced new data on workers’ experiences of violence and harassment at work, including the main barriers that prevent people from talking about it.

Notably, the report shows that one in five people globally have experienced some form of violence or harassment at work, with psychological harassment being the most common form of abuse globally. Foreign-born workers are at higher risk of violence and harassment than their native-born counterparts, as are workers who are financially insecure.

See a more in-depth report on the specific impacts of workplace harassment on migrant workers, ‘Focus On: The impact of income and migration on violence and harassment at work.

Barriers preventing people from reporting this harassment include things like unclear procedures, not understanding what to do, believing that making a report would be a waste of time, and more.

I had the opportunity to discuss the findings in more detail with Dr. Sarah Cumbers, Director of Evidence and Insight at Lloyd's Register Foundation. Dr. Cumbers told me that violence and harassment at work is not “somebody else’s problem.” It will not go away if it is ignored. In fact, violence and harassment at work is a global, recurring issue. And if it happens once, it is likely to happen again and again.

Understanding Workplace Harassment

Would you believe that 90% of webinar attendees think that workplace harassment is underreported in their own workplace?

Understanding how your employees are experiencing harassment is the first step to effectively addressing it. And from the data, we learned that workplace harassment is a global issue. It is also a recurring issue – with 61% of people who have experienced psychological harassment having experienced it between one and five times.

So, how can we use this information from the World Risk Poll to take actionable steps to create safer, more inclusive workplaces? Dr. Cumbers shared the following suggestions to help organizations address harassment at work:

  • Level the playing field. Businesses should be active in pushing for ratification of International Labour Organisation Convention 190 in the countries they operate in, levelling the regulatory playing field by ensuring the adoption of appropriate laws and policy frameworks.
  • Raise awareness. Organizations should work to raise awareness around what constitutes violence and harassment, encouraging more people to report their experiences and leading to more accurate data and greater impetus for action.
  • Protect the vulnerable. Using the World Risk Poll data, complemented by additional local data where it is available, policymakers and employers can tailor and target their interventions to protect the most vulnerable groups.
  • Intervene early. The World Risk Poll findings on the recurring nature of violence and harassment make clear the importance of intervening early – with visible and credible consequences – to stop an emerging issue, rather than dismissing it as a “one off.”
  • Establish clear procedures. Data on why people don’t report their experiences reinforces the importance of establishing clear procedures for reporting and seeking help, and communicating these proactively, especially to vulnerable groups, and in different languages where required.

The Importance of Education

Creating a comprehensive compliance training program for your organization is one of the most important ways to prevent workplace harassment. It effectively does the following:

  • Improves knowledge of regulatory frameworks and legal support.
  • Helps employees and managers recognize and report violence and harassment.
  • Improves understanding of at-risk groups to target interventions.
  • Encourages early intervention.
  • Ensures employees and managers understand and follow reporting and intervention procedures.

Obviously, workplace harassment training requirements vary by country, and in some cases, by jurisdiction within a country. In the United States, for example, employers are required by federal law to provide a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. In addition, some states and cities have their own laws regarding harassment prevention training. Yet only 20% of U.S. workers live in a state where workplace harassment training is mandatory.

In the United Kingdom, employers have a legal obligation under the Equality Act 2010 to prevent harassment and discrimination in the workplace. And while there is no specific legal requirement for harassment prevention training, the UK government's Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) recommends that employers provide such training to their staff.

The European Union has adopted legislation that prohibits discrimination and harassment in the workplace, such as the EU Equality Directives. However, there is no EU-wide requirement for harassment prevention training, and each member state has its own laws and regulations.

In Australia, employers have a legal obligation under the Fair Work Act 2009 to provide a safe and healthy work environment, which includes preventing workplace harassment. Some states and territories have also enacted their own occupational health and safety laws that require employers to take steps to prevent and address workplace harassment. However, there is no federal or state legislation that specifically mandates harassment prevention training.

Regardless of legal requirements, it is a best practice for every organization to provide its employees with regular, relevant, and empowering workplace harassment training – a crucial first step in creating a workplace culture that values diversity, promotes respect, and fosters inclusivity.

How Skillsoft Can Help

Here at Skillsoft, our goal is to empower our customers – and the world at large – to address workplace violence and harassment. In addition to covering issues around physical and sexual harassment at work, our comprehensive library of online training covers psychological safety.

Psychological safety involves the feeling of being accepted and respected – believing you can present your true self at work without fear of negative consequences to your self-image, status, or career. But it also goes beyond that to trusting that your team and your workplace is safe for interpersonal risk taking, which is crucial to being in an energized workplace of learners and problem solvers.

When there's a high level of psychological safety in your organization, there is a culture of inclusion. People feel safe to speak up, to offer ideas, and to ask questions. At the very core of psychological safety is a mindset that welcomes diversity of thought, whether it brings good news, bad news, or a puzzle.

Nurturing a mindset of psychological safety and building a skillset that supports it is key to enabling a healthy corporate culture that is free from harassment – but it all starts with acknowledging the problem.

From there, ensure that your employees understand what acceptable and unacceptable behaviors look like in the workplace. Remind them about your reporting procedures. Take immediate action on all complaints. And above all, make it clear that harassment at work is unacceptable.

Redefining the Role of the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer Mon, 24 Apr 2023 12:50:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

What’s the future of learning? In one section of Skillsoft’s 2022 Lean Into Learning Report, my colleagues and I shared some insight to help demystify the year ahead with respect to digital learning and workforce transformation. Our goal was to provide predictions on how employers and employees will move forward with a mindset of mutual growth.

One of the themes that emerged throughout our discussions was adaptability. Employees don’t view work in the same way they did even just a few years ago. And pressure has never been greater for employers to proactively plan for the future to stay current, relevant, and competitive.

That’s why so many organizations are looking critically at their compliance function to find better ways to reduce their risk exposure – and continuing to shift the role of Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) beyond ownership of regulatory compliance and further into stewardship of corporate culture.

What Is a Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer?

Years ago, the executive role of Chief People Officer (CPO) rose in popularity. Organizations realized that if they were going to refer to their people as their most valuable assets, then their people deserved executive-level representation. CPOs are responsible for overseeing human resources and ensuring that employees have what they need to effectively do their jobs.

I predict, and admittedly hope, that 2023 will be the year of the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer (CECO) — a nod to the increasing value that organizations are placing on both ethics and compliance. The role of CECO has been on the rise for many years, but it continues to accelerate.

CECOs are responsible for ensuring an ethical and compliant culture throughout an entire organization so that employees understand the behaviors expected of them and are accountable to those behaviors — at every level. For many CECOs, this responsibility starts with developing the organization’s code of conduct and creating employee training programs to ensure compliance. It continues as CECOs are responsible for setting up the infrastructure and guardrails (also known as controls) to operationalize, measure, monitor, and report on compliance requirements, protections, and corporate culture.

What Should a CECO Be Responsible For?

As the CECO role is being elevated around the world, we need to think carefully about the responsibility it shoulders – or should shoulder.

CCOs have traditionally been responsible for adherence to laws, rules, regulations, and policies. Compliance tends to be all or nothing – you are either “in compliance” or you are not. But as we’ve seen over the last 5 - 7 years, the role of a CECO introduces ethics into the equation.

Ethics is all about doing “the right thing.” As a result, CECOs are the stewards of corporate culture. They have become responsible for regulatory, societal, cultural, and legal risk – an objectively more complex job description than that of a Chief Compliance Officer, which has traditionally focused on regulatory compliance alone. Basically, CECOs do more than make sure people comply with laws. They shape corporate culture and integrate ethics and ethical decision making into business practices.

Exploring the Role of Ethics in Corporate Culture

So, what role do ethics play in your business practices and corporate culture? Ethics are a crucial way to establish a standard of behavior for your organization, its employees, and stakeholders. Ethics refer to a set of principles that guide individuals and organizations to do what is right, fair, and just, even in the absence of rules, laws, regulations, or policy guidance.

When companies prioritize ethics in their culture – by appointing a CECO, for example – they create a positive work environment that is built on trust, integrity, transparency, and accountability. In turn, this enhances the company's reputation, improves employee morale, and increases stakeholder confidence.

Here are some ways ethics can shape corporate culture:

Establishing company values: Ethics help companies establish a set of core values that reflect their purpose, mission, and vision. These values can guide employees in their day-to-day work and help them make decisions that align with the company's goals.

A CECO can expect to work with other executives and stakeholders within your organization to develop a code of ethics that can be used to guide employee behavior and decision-making. They will also be responsible for communicating this information to employees, customers, and stakeholders and taking the lead on monitoring the company’s performance on ethical issues. A CECO may also be tasked with reporting on progress in this area.

Building trust: When a company adheres to ethical principles, it builds trust among employees, customers, and stakeholders. This trust can help to foster positive relationships and create a strong reputation.

The CECO’s role in building trust is to foster open communication by creating channels for employees to report ethical concerns or violations. This is a useful way to ensure that issues are addressed in a timely and effective manner. It can also be an important way to hold employees accountable for their actions.

Encouraging accountability: A culture of ethics encourages employees to take responsibility for their actions and decisions. When employees are held accountable for their behavior, they are more likely to act in ways that align with the company’s values and principles.

Your CECO can encourage accountability by communicating clear expectations for your team through training programs, company-wide meetings, and other communication channels. When employees have the resources they need to act ethically and make ethical decisions they are better equipped for success. Don’t forget to establish channels for employees to report ethical concerns or violations.

Enhancing transparency: Ethics also promote transparency within your organization. After all, when employees understand the company’s values and principles, they are more likely to communicate openly and honestly with each other and with stakeholders.

One way for a CECO to enhance transparency is by encouraging employees to disclose any conflicts of interest, financial interests, or other relevant information that may affect their decision-making. Another way is to take the lead in publishing your organization’s ethical guidelines and annual sustainability reports.

Ensuring compliance: Finally, ethics help to ensure that companies comply with legal and regulatory requirements. This helps to protect the company's reputation and avoid legal or financial penalties. CECOs need to stay informed about changes in laws and regulations that may affect the company’s compliance obligations.

Overall, incorporating ethics into corporate culture can help to create a positive work environment that fosters trust, accountability, and transparency. It can also help to improve your organization’s reputation, increase stakeholder confidence, and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

And while the Chief Compliance Officer role is in no danger of going extinct, I do anticipate ethics being an increasingly important component in the year ahead. After all, it already has created a solid foundation for acceleration.

What’s the Deal With ESG? Everything Your Organization Needs to Know Thu, 20 Apr 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) initiatives are impacting companies on a global scale. ESG encompasses everything from how an organization thinks about sustainability to how it measures success, how it looks after its employees, and how it fundamentally affects the communities it serves.

And while most organizations understand the importance of bringing ESG into the fold, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why I was thrilled to partner with the Skillsoft team to help provide some context and insight that I’ve gained through working with organizations to help operationalize their values, develop their ESG strategies, and prosper with purpose.

ESG Means Understanding Your Organization’s Impact

At a very high level, ESG is the criteria that investors use to evaluate the sustainability and ethical impact of a company and its long-term value. As your organization begins to look critically at its environmental, social, and corporate governance efforts, you should carefully consider the following questions.

The E Factor: How Does Your Organization Impact the Natural Environment?

Environmental factors that you might be considering as part of your ESG efforts might include:

  • Energy consumption and efficiency
  • Carbon footprint
  • Waste management
  • Air and water pollution

Understanding how your organization impacts the natural environment is an important way to level-set and begin filling in gaps. Who is doing this well? Google and LEGO are leading examples of strong environmental programs.

Since 2007, Google has operated as a carbon-neutral company. By 2018, it reached 100% renewable energy for its global operations, making it the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy on the planet. The company is currently moving toward running on carbon-free energy – everywhere, at all times – by designing more efficient data centers.

In 2020, LEGO was the first large toy company to announce a science-based emissions reduction target – allocating $15 million to reducing its carbon footprint. Additionally, the company is working to find sustainable solutions for LEGO bricks, having unveiled a prototype brick made from recycled plastic in 2021.

The S Factor: How Does Your Organization Interact with Its Workforce, Customers, and Communities?

Performance indicators for your organization’s social impact might include diversity, pay equity, workplace safety, philanthropy efforts, human rights, and labor practices. Starbucks, Bridgeway Capital Management, and Coca-Cola are social impact leaders.

Starbucks holds its executives accountable by tying executive pay to meeting specific diversity and other ESG metrics . By 2025, the company aims for 30% of its workforce to identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). It also plans to nearly double its annual spending with diverse suppliers and vendors to $1.5 billion by 2030 – in addition to allocating 15% of this year’s ad budget to minority-owned media companies.

While it's too early to determine whether these initiatives have made an impact, there has been some pushback. Starbucks was sued in 2022 for its decision to make race-based decisions. The case is still pending.

Another example is Bridgeway Capital Management, an asset management firm that donates 50% of its profits to charitable organizations.

Coca-Cola has a rigorous human rights compliance process and is committed to fair labor practices throughout its supply chain. It engages third party auditors who, in 2021, conducted 2,848 independent human rights audits of, not only Coca Cola’s operations, but also their tier 1 supply chain vendors.

The G Factor: How Does Your Organization Make Decisions? How Does It Report On – and Ensure – Ethical Behavior?

From a corporate governance perspective, organizations need to think about how they make decisions and govern their corporate practices. Zappos and Salesforce are great examples.

Zappos is committed to transparency – going so far as to open its organization to outsiders to better share its culture of “WOW!ing customers and employees.” Zappos answers questions online, offers management education courses, and even provides vendors with the same information as buyers.

More broadly, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was a strong advocate for Prop C, drafted by San Francisco’s Coalition on Homelessness. This proposition charges companies operating in San Francisco with annual sales above $50 million about 0.5 percent on their gross revenue to support homeless services and housing. Salesforce pays $11 million a year to fund this program.

The Evolution of ESG

The idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been around since the 1980s and gained traction when the Exxon Valdez, an Exxon Shipping Company oil tanker, spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1989.

After the oil spill – the second largest in history – a small group of investors and environmentalists began to re-evaluate the role of corporations as stewards of the environment and agents of social and economic change. Initially called the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies, the group later became known as Ceres.

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The term ESG was first mentioned in 2006 as part of the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment, which provided a voluntary framework to help investors incorporate ESG issues into their decision making. And the concept took off from there.

2020 saw a dramatic acceleration of attention toward ESG. COVID-19 brought economic disparities to the forefront, gaps in our healthcare system were highlighted; awareness of systemic racism was amplified by the Black Lives Matter movement; violence against women was spotlighted through the #metoo movement; global labor shortages brought labor rights to the forefront; and we turned our attention to pending environmental disaster.

Companies around the world were forced to take a hard look at their policies and take a stand as customers demanded products that aligned with their values, employees insisted on working for ethical and inclusive companies, and investors saw the higher returns from companies that advanced ESG responsibilities.

Why ESG Matters

Did you know that – of the largest 200 economies in the world 157 (or 79%) are corporations and, not governments?

Corporations have an outsized influence on the world around them, and that is one reason why ESG has become a moral imperative. ESG measurement and reporting are one of the most impactful ways that your organization can assess how you are contributing to society at large.

Here are some other reasons why ESG matters to your company:

  • Values Alignment: Alignment between purpose and profit is key. Just look at how Skillsoft is reimagining what it looks like to be a responsible business through the lens of our corporate values.
  • Profit: Studies show that strong ESG alignment leads to higher profits.
  • Customer Loyalty: 77% of consumers surveyed are motivated to purchase from companies committed to making the world a better place.
  • Investor Attraction: ESG is the number-one topic investors want to discuss with directors during shareholder engagements.
  • Employee Retention: 90% of employees who work at companies with a strong sense of purpose say they’re more inspired, motivated, and loyal.
  • Compliance: ESG reporting mandates have increased 74% over the past four years. To date, there are nearly 400 provisions in 80 countries, with more coming.

Should training be a part of your ESG strategy? Read more.

  • StrategicPlanning: There is some advantage to being prepared for the future; ESG will soon become a requirement, and when that happens your organization needs to be ready.

Perhaps most importantly, ESG is the right thing to do.

ESG Program Best Practices

Many organizations are still figuring out how to implement an ESG program that reflects their values. But as we’ve learned, ESG is quickly becoming a necessity to remain competitive in the business world. So, you’re likely wondering where you can start.

Below, I’ve outlined a clear process for kicking off your organization’s ESG efforts:

  1. Decide on an ESG framework. Choose which ESG framework you will use to report on your environmental, social, and corporate governance efforts. If you’d like, you can construct your own framework, but as regulations around reporting become more unified, it would be beneficial to stick with the preferred industry standards so you don’t have to start from scratch later.
  2. Conduct a materiality assessment. Figure out what ESG issues are important to your organization and stakeholders, using this insight to guide your strategy.
  3. Establish your ESG goals. Look at the current state of your efforts. Determine where you would like to be in the next five years. Conduct a gap analysis to help you figure out how to get where you want to go with the resources you have available.
  4. Allocate resources and prioritize. A successful ESG program is properly resourced and funded. Empower key stakeholders across your organization to collect data, report, monitor, and make an impact.
  5. Track progress and hold yourself accountable. Ensure that you are tracking your efforts with precision so your data is reliable and actionable.
  6. Report on and promote your progress. Let investors, employees, vendors, partners, and the community at large know how you are doing with respect to your ESG goals. Be accurate. Be transparent. Be honest.

And that’s it! Easy enough, right?

To double-click on any of the important issues that I covered during the webinar, “Corporate ESG and Sustainability: Understanding ESG Program Best Practices,” feel free to watch the recording on demand.

Lean Into (Green) Learning: Earth Day 2023 Tue, 18 Apr 2023 08:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

Never in its 53-year-history has Earth Day and sustainability initiatives been more in the spotlight. The appetite for businesses to make the world a better place – across multiple facets – is growing, and with it many organizations’ commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social, and governance (ESG). Our recent CSR at Work Report found that since the pandemic, 72% of working professionals say CSR has become more important to their organization and 68% say their leadership team has increased its CSR investment.

This year’s Earth Day theme – “Invest In Our Planet” – highlights the impact we can all make as individuals. Every person can do something - dedicating time, talent, or treasure - to address climate change and its effects. But, organizations also have a role to play.

More than 198 countries have signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreeing to work together to take immediate action to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations by focusing on nature, food, water, industry decarbonization, and climate adaptation. At the same time, businesses of all sizes and in all sectors have aligned with the UN Global Compact’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a set of objectives meant to serve as a blueprint for policymakers to achieve peace and prosperity for people and the planet.

Together, countries and companies are doing this work – and more – to drive measurable sustainability initiatives that are helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next few years. But by all accounts, the world is not on track to meet our established goals. To continue driving transformation, we need to lean into, and on, education.

In our second annual Lean Into Learning: Earth Day Report, we explored sustainability learning consumption trends among the millions of learners using Skillsoft, including how they are acquiring sustainability and green skills, which of these skills are most in-demand, and the industries that are leading the charge in sustainability learning. The data shows a significant surge in learning activity as corporate sustainability and green-skilled workers rise in demand.

Entering a New Sustainability Skilling Frontier

With greater focus on sustainability, quality learning opportunities are increasingly being made available, and utilized, to all who want to champion a sustainable vision at their organization. In fact, the top way businesses are addressing issues related to CSR is by offering training to employees. The more everyone supports and buys-in to this vision, the greater the impact that can be made.

As organizations and employees emphasize learning as a critical means of tackling the climate change challenge and transitioning to a greener economy, we observed a 60% year-over-year (YoY) increase in the number of new learners acquiring green skills and competencies via Skillsoft. Additionally, learners collectively spent 115% more hours on sustainability skilling over the past year and Skillsoft issued 87% more badges in recognition of their achievements.

Analyzing how sustainability and green skilling is playing out across industries is illuminating. The chart below shows organizations in the business services, government, education and training services, manufacturing, and energy and utilities industries engaging in, and completing, the highest volume of sustainability content and courses. This is quite a significant shakeup from the previous year.

Overall, we observed a 16% increase in net new organizations accessing sustainability training content. While still a positive increase, compared to the 63% increase the year prior, it’s somewhat discouraging to see this number wane.

Learning Trends Shaping a Greener Workforce

When we dissect the top five trending courses over the past year, it appears that learners are focused on better understanding what it means to be a responsible business, as well as the risks that come with not embracing sustainability. Ranked by the most overall completions over the past year and showing YoY consumption increases:

Meanwhile, we see a similar pattern looking at the top digital badges learners earned via Skillsoft and publicly celebrated on social media over the past year. Two additional surging skills round out the top five list as learners seek information about local regulations and global agreements that affect how businesses operate and tangible ways to implement sustainable business practices into corporate strategies.

Turning our sights to learners’ top keyword searches shows strong and growing interest in sustainability and climate topics. We observed a 46% YoY increase across all sustainability-related searches (ex: “sustainability,” “climate change,” “recycling,” “environmental awareness”) on Skillsoft. Unsurprisingly, “sustainability” was Skillsoft learners’ top search for the third consecutive year, but what is surprising is the sheer increase in search volume: 53% YoY and 337% since 2021. We see similar spikes across the other four keywords rounding out the top five list:

  1. Sustainability (53% YoY | 337% since 2021)
  2. OSHA (65% YoY | 135% since 2021)
  3. Climate (39% YoY | 382% since 2021)
  4. Climate Change (15% YoY | 269% since 2021)
  5. Solar (81% YoY | 102% since 2021)

Building a More Sustainable Future

We’re all on a sustainability journey together. Learning has proven itself time and again to be an invaluable tool for driving transformation, and these skilling trends are indicative of a new environmental social compact that has emerged between employers and employees.

So how do we move further and faster? Key ways to future-proof CSR and ESG efforts include:

  • Offer training to employees where each individual is taught how they can make the company – and the world – a better place to be. Skillsoft’s Environmental, Health, and Safety Compliance training can help. Learn more here.
  • Invest in long-term plans that incorporate one, three, and five-year roadmaps, making it easy for new team members to come into the organization and pick up where predecessors leave off.
  • Commit time and people, even moreso than money, to give everyone a sense of purpose, as well as a connection to the mission and each other. Align your purpose to that of your employees and vice versa.
  • Break down silos by making it the responsibility of your entire workforce to promote, engage in, and reinforce your CSR and ESG priorities. From there, work with the team to better understand what skills they utilize in their current roles and how these may translate into ongoing initiatives (and where gaps may exist).

Developing meaningful ESG goals and programs is a journey Skillsoft has already started, and one we are intent on continuing. We are committed to developing specified sustainability goals, and to creating relevant, up-to-date content that emphasizes ESG, DEI, and more to guide our customers’ sustainability transformation initiatives. Read more about Skillsoft’s ESG mission here.


The Lean Into Learning: Earth Day 2023 Report analyzes data from thousands of Skillsoft customers and millions of Skillsoft learners around the globe. We looked at learning consumption of sustainability-related courses available on the Skillsoft learning platform from March 2022 – February 2023. For data points referring back to 2021, we calculated the percentage growth from March 2020 – February 2021 to February 2023.

An IT Director's Guide to Finding the Right IT Training Provider Fri, 14 Apr 2023 15:08:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

With so many options, finding the IT training provider that meets your organization's unique needs can be tricky. Here's what to look for when evaluating your options.

IT leaders are increasingly prioritizing training and development — and it's easy to see why. In the era of digital transformation, IT has become a key strategic driver for many organizations. The rapid rate of technological change means IT pros need continuous learning to stay on top of the latest trends and ahead of the competition. Plus, research has repeatedly linked training with improved employee retention and performance.

In Skillsoft's IT Skills and Salary Report, 72 percent of IT decision-makers said their companies provide formal training, a 12 percent increase from the previous year. Additionally, 55 percent of IT leaders said training was a key part of their plans to close their companies' IT skills gaps.

But developing a tech training program is no simple matter. There's no one-size-fits-all blueprint because each company has its own unique needs to consider: the preferences of employees, the specific skills they need to cultivate, budgetary constraints, and much more.

That's why the first and most important step is finding the right IT training provider. The right partner can help design and deliver learning experiences that solve your company's particular problems. Yet, with so many IT training options out there, how can IT leaders find the best fit for their organizations?

This brief guide is meant to make the search a little easier by using benchmark data and industry research to give IT leaders a sense of direction.

Read Next:IDC MarketScape: U.S. IT Training Services 2023 Vendor Assessment

Understand Your Challenges

The quest for the right IT training provider begins with understanding your challenges. What problems are you looking to solve with training? When you can clearly articulate your business challenges, you can evaluate potential IT training providers against that criteria.

The more specific you can be, the better. For example, if you need to close some skills gaps, identify the particular skills you need. "IT skills" is broad. "Cloud computing" is better. "AWS architecture" is best, as it gives you a specific learning experience to look for in every provider you consider.

Of course, challenges will vary from business to business. Still, it can be useful to look at some of the biggest challenges IT leaders are facing right now and how IT training providers might help with each. Even if these aren't the challenges your organization needs to tackle, they can give you some insight into evaluating training providers in light of your business needs.

Closing Skills Gaps

In the IT Skills and Salary Report, 66 percent of IT leaders said their organizations were dealing with skills gaps. These gaps can have far-reaching repercussions, increase stress on employees, slow down project completion rates, interfere with IT's ability to meet business objectives, and more.

What causes skill gaps? A lot of factors are at work, but the sheer speed of technological change deserves much of the blame. Technology evolves at such a rapid clip that IT pros' skills can quickly become obsolete. Training, then, is a natural solution to closing skills gaps. Connecting employees with the right learning experiences can help their skills stay relevant, allowing the organization to stay competitive.

What to Look for in an IT Training Provider

First, map the IT skills you need to cultivate, including the skills you need today and those you're likely to need in the future. According to the IT Skills and Salary Report, cloud computing, data analytics, AI and machine learning, and cybersecurity are among the most in-demand IT skills today, but yours may vary.

Once you've mapped out the skills you need, look for an IT training provider that offers authoritative, comprehensive content for each of those skills. It's also worth considering the total breadth and depth of the training provider's IT library because you never know for sure what IT skills your organization may need in the future.

Recruiting and Retaining IT Talent

Simply hiring people with the right skills is one of the biggest challenges IT leaders face. It's also one of the major drivers behind skills gaps. And when IT leaders do find talent, it can be difficult to keep them around: More than half of the IT pros surveyed for the IT Skills and Salary Report said they're likely to leave their roles in the next year.

The good news is that training and development can help solve both problems. Compensation was the top reason why IT pros said they were considering leaving, but a lack of learning opportunities was a close second. That means training can both attract new IT talent to your organization and keep your existing talent engaged.

What to Look for in an IT Training Provider

Training will only be an effective recruitment and retention tool if it actually meets employees' needs and preferences. To that end, it's helpful to think about what makes an engaging learning environment. In particular, employees tend to want personalized learning experiences, guidance that helps them connect with the right content, and the option to engage with content in multiple modalities, among other things.

Balancing Training Needs With Business Objectives

When people think about training, they sometimes default to a long-term view: Training helps employees grow so that, in the not-too-distant future, they'll reach their full potential. That's true — but in the meantime, the business does have certain objectives it needs to execute today.

IT training programs need to strike a balance between employees' individual career aspirations and the business's current needs. That can sometimes be harder than it sounds, especially when employees have relatively limited time for training.

What to Look for in an IT Training Provider

As noted above, it's essential that your training provider can cultivate the specific skill sets your business needs. Beyond that, it's also worth considering how training content is delivered. Employees don't always have time to sit for long, formal training programs. They need to be able to access content on the go through mobile apps or mobile device access.

Perhaps even more importantly, employees need to be able to learn in the flow of work — that is, they need to quickly access bite-sized learning opportunities that can be incorporated seamlessly into their days. If an employee runs into a challenge they don't have the skills or knowledge for, learning in the flow of work allows them to gain those new competencies and immediately apply them to the task at hand. Learning in the flow of work draws a direct connection between business objectives and training, ensuring that what employees learn has a real impact on organizational performance.

The Common Traits of Great IT Training Providers

We looked at evaluating IT training providers against specific business challenges, but it can also be helpful to think about training providers in terms of more general criteria. That way, if you come across multiple providers that seem capable of meeting your business needs, you can use these qualities to select the most effective one.

Here are a few hallmarks of great IT training providers:

1. Instructor Quality

On-demand and self-paced learning options are critical for busy IT pros, but they also like having instructor-led training options. In fact, Skillsoft research found that 72 percent of IT professionals prefer instructor-led training when they need to learn work-related skills.

Look for an IT training provider that uses highly credible subject matter experts as instructors. It's a good sign if the provider's instructors hold relevant certifications and have extensive histories of actually practicing in the disciplines they teach.

2. Overall Content Quality

Whether delivered by instructors or accessed on demand, content needs to be comprehensive, up to date, and authoritative.

Look for an IT training provider that regularly updates content to ensure it's always relevant. Also, look at who creates the content. If the content deals with a specific technology, was it created by or in collaboration with the vendors? For example, is the provider's Microsoft Azure training authorized by Microsoft? Content that doesn't deal with a specific technology should be authored by relevant subject matter experts.

Finally, consider how that content is delivered. Does it come in a variety of high-quality formats, like microlearning videos, scenario-based labs, ebooks, and virtual and in-person instructor-led training? Different people learn in different ways, so it's best to have a training provider that offers multiple modalities.

3. Hands-On Practice Opportunities

According to Skillsoft research, hands-on training is the second most important factor that IT pros look for in training programs, behind overall content quality. Hands-on practice opportunities, like labs and simulations, allow learners to move from theory to practice and test their skills in safe environments. They can try things out, learn from their mistakes, and even retain more of what they learn. One report found that average knowledge retention rates are about 5 percent for lectures but 75 percent for hands-on practice.

Which IT Training Provider Is Right for You?

IT leaders have options when it comes to finding an IT training provider — and hopefully, this guide has given you some insight into what to look for.

For additional guidance, check out the IDC MarketScape: U.S. IT Training Services 2023 Vendor Assessment. IDC publishes this report to help leaders in HR and IT quickly assess the pros and cons of providers in the market.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that IDC named Skillsoft one of the leaders in the IT training services market. In particular, Skillsoft received recognition for its comprehensive library of original and vendor-authorized content, including 28,000 hours of technology and developer instruction, and its blend of virtual and on-demand courses, instructor-led training, hands-on labs, real-world challenges, and certification prep for more than 170 technical certifications.

Download the report to learn more about how Skillsoft compares to other IT training providers.

What’s the Future of CSR? Wed, 29 Mar 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

People are talking about the future of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Optimists believe that CSR will fundamentally change the role that companies play in society – making “doing good” a corporate norm. Pessimists argue that CSR efforts will stagnate and fail to move beyond their current baseline.

No matter where your organization stands on the topic, it’s likely that CSR is on your radar in some capacity. And while no one can truly predict what the future of CSR holds, it is safe to assume that your organization will incorporate some aspects of corporate social responsibility into its ethos.

But, how?

Four Ways to Future-Proof Your CSR Efforts

Skillsoft’s recently released 2022 Lean Into Learning Report includes a piece about how organizations are currently making an impact with their corporate social responsibility efforts. Much of the data is based on our Corporate Social Responsibility at Work report, which provides an in-depth look at more than 1,000 survey responses from people across various industries, geographies, and job roles.

One of the major takeaways from the CSR at Work report is that CSR efforts continue to evolve. There is no “right” way to approach CSR, but there are some ways to ensure that your CSR program is successful.

Here are four ways to future-proof your CSR efforts:

Offer training to employees.

Companies that create cultures of learning and talent development not only support individual employee growth, but also see better business outcomes that propel the organization forward. In fact, when done correctly, learning is the most utilized and most effective control that your organization has at its disposal.

Learning ensures that your team is equipped with the:

  • Technical skills they need to be competitive
  • Business and leadership skills they need to respond to new and unexpected challenges
  • Compliance and ethics training they need to stay safe and support your company’s mission

In fact, 42 percent of professionals who responded to our CSR survey shared that offering training opportunities is the best way to engage employees in corporate sustainability efforts. Your team wants to know how they can help make your company – and the world – a better place to be. Teach them how.

Invest in long-term plans, not short-term campaigns.

For CSR initiatives to be successful, they must incorporate a one, three, and five-year plan or there will never be any real progress. The average corporate executive’s tenure is about 4.9 years. Yet, our research found that the c-suite typically manages CSR priorities.

Unless an actionable long-term plan is in place, it is incredibly difficult for organizations to gain CSR momentum when faced with changing leadership and competing priorities. A long-term plan makes it easy for new team members to come into your organization and pick up where their predecessors left off.

Forget money. Commit time and people.

Believe it or not, donating money is one of the easiest ways to “give back” when it comes to corporate sustainability efforts. It is exponentially more difficult to find people within your organization who are willing to commit their time and energy to your CSR initiatives.

On the flip side, when your team does volunteer to participate, it goes a long way in inspiring others to do the same – it gives them a sense of purpose and a connection to the mission and each other. Consider offering incentives for employee participation and make it a point to recognize achievements. Employees want to “do good” and they want to work for an organization that feels the same. Align your purpose to theirs and encourage the reverse.

Break CSR silos and integrate throughout all departments.

A few months ago, my colleague Norm Ford, VP, Skillsoft Compliance, wrote a post about minimizing compliance risk by eliminating silos. Here, he talked about the problem with silos . . . how they “prevent collaboration, leaving an organization unable to see all of its risks from a high level.”

He said: “When we talk about breaking down compliance silos, we're talking about more than just bringing together the leaders of formerly separate compliance functions. That's an essential part of the process, of course.

“But, to create and implement compliance policies and procedures that holistically address risk across the organization, HR, IT, and compliance leaders must collaborate closely. But the most effective way to break down silos is to make compliance everyone's job — from front-line employees to top executives.”

This is spot-on, and good advice for your organization’s CSR program as well.

To avoid CSR silos, your organization needs to establish its CSR priorities and communicate them to every employee. It should be the responsibility of your entire team to promote, engage in, and reinforce your CSR priorities. From there, work with your team to better understand what skills they utilize in their current roles, and how these may be translated into ongoing CSR initiatives.

Check out this conversation I had with Gwen Lee, Chief Compliance Officer at Cordant Health, and Pooja Knight, AVP of Enterprise Risk Management and Climate Change Initiatives at Gallagher. Both Gwen and Pooja talk about learning about CSR and ESG on the job.

Start Now

Organizations’ CSR efforts are changing rapidly. Right now, there’s an appetite for businesses to make the world a better place. And as Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) efforts continue to become more standardized and reporting becomes a requirement, it is likely that organizations’ efforts will further evolve.

Put into place a strong foundation. Then, ensure that your organization keeps pace with industry standards by being flexible and committing to learning as you go.

What Are the Most Popular Tech Skills This Year? Thu, 23 Mar 2023 14:14:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

Technologists are focused on honing their skills in cloud computing, cybersecurity and programming more than any other area. That should be music to the ears of HR and tech leaders who struggle with gaps in these disciplines.

Skillsoft's latest Lean Into Learning Report shows the most popular skills technologists focused on last year, revealing many sought to expand their skill set.

The report compiles platform data from Skillsoft Percipio — our LXP — to analyze what learners completed in the past year. In many ways, it delivers the state of skills and shares notable trends in learning and development.

This year, you'll find (on page 24 to be exact) a year-over-year comparison of the trending topics in technology.

Cloud security remains at the top of the list as organizations adapt to new ways of working and prioritize projects that help transform operations — with an emphasis on protecting their data and securing their platforms.

What's more, Scrum has stuck to this list for good reason. Completing big, difficult projects takes an organized, disciplined approach to be successful.

But what about the rest? Let's break them down.

#1 Cloud Security

Cloud security at the top of this list validates what many organizations say are top priorities in 2023. "As more companies migrate to the cloud, security becomes even more important," says Mike Hendrickson, Vice President of Technology & Developer Products at Skillsoft.

Skillsoft's annual IT Skills and Salary Report found most IT leaders struggle with skills gaps in cloud and cybersecurity, making these two areas top investments in the coming year — with a focus on Microsoft, AWS, Google Cloud, VMware, among others. (See the data here.)

Part of the reason for these major gaps in cloud and security is due to talent scarcity.

Many thousands of jobs remain open in cybersecurity, and skills in cloud have been steadily in demand as more organizations realize the benefits of a cloud, hybrid or multi-cloud environment.

#2 Networking Core Concepts

Having at least a baseline knowledge of networking concepts helps open doors to many careers in IT.

Naturally, a network administrator or engineer must have more advanced knowledge, but it's also essential for cybersecurity professionals and systems architects. People in these roles must have a holistic understanding of an organization's infrastructure to help strengthen vulnerabilities or make improvements by way of efficiency or cost savings.

The demand for network admins is climbing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS projects 24,000 new admin jobs opening every year through 2030.

Read next: 10 of the Most In-demand IT Jobs — and Why

#3 IT Hardware Admins, Specialists, Techicians

Installing, servicing and troubleshooting IT devices — from phones to computers and servers — are skills that a professional will bring with them throughout their careers.

According to CompTIA, IT support specialists are among the most popular job listings in tech. Job growth projections for computer specialists or technicians will remain steady throughout the decade, with an estimated 75,000 job openings each year.

The demand for tech workers is ceaseless, and that's true at virtually every level. CompTIA's A+ certification is the industry's most popular for those starting their careers, serving as a credible indicator of one's knowledge in managing IT hardware.

If you're after a job in IT or an organization reskilling talent, this certification is the beginning to a fruitful career in IT.

#4 Java

Java is among the most popular programming languages. It's true for those who learned with Skillsoft Percipio last year too.

Learners spent the most time with Java on average, just ahead of Python. However, it's worth noting that Python attracted the most unique learners to Skillsoft Percipio, where as Java came second.

Even so, Java is at the top of the list for many due to its versatility, longstanding use, and high-paying jobs. Many enterprises keep Java in play to develop apps, manage data, create AI models and more.

Interested in Java? Read whether it's the right programming language for you. If you're already learning Java, check out these code challenges from Codecademy:


There are 50+ tests available in Skillsoft Percipio to help you assess your abilities and find courses to hone your skills.

#5 Cloud Basics

As mentioned, cloud is the top investment area for IT leadership — but it's also the toughest to hire for. Many in IT leadership say they struggle to hire candidates with the right skills. Instead, many look at their existing teams and invest in training.

Having basic cloud computing knowledge provides a jumping off point for roles in administration, development, architecture and cybersecurity.

What's more, some of the highest-paying roles in tech focus on cloud computing. Naturally, this benefits technologists interested in cloud, but reskilling or upskilling in this area also serves their employers by adding needed capability to the organization.

Read Next: 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications of 2022

#6 Scrum

Regardless of what a team must accomplish, it'll go smoother if there is a process in place. Scrum is a project management framework. Popular among software developers, Scrum helps break large projects into smaller bites and provides more flexibility for change.

It helps people work together closely to complete work, assess what went well and what could be improved, and continually burn down the backlog.

At Skillsoft, there are dozens of courses on Scrum that teach the foundations of the framework, how to successfully implement it, and more effectively tackle projects.

Visit the Scrum learning channel >

#7 Security Core Concepts

Essential security training benefits all digital citizens today. Foundational training like this can help lower the risk of a breach and prevent the consequences that follow.

As cybersecurity threats rise and more data passes between people online, having a clear understanding of the following will help protect employees and employers alike:

  • Compliance — Whether it's the law or company policy, everyone must be aware of what it means to remain compliant. Doing so protects data from falling into the wrong hands.
  • Attack Types — Phishing, malware, insider threats. These are all common types of attacks that target people at every rank in an organization. Knowing how bad actors will try to access data can help people discern what's cause for concern.

Further Reading: How to Improve Adoption of Cybersecurity Training

#8 Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE Programmer

As mentioned in #4, Java has remains a popular programming language, especially at enterprise organizations. It's a reliable, powerful language that can be applied to numerous business cases from application development to data analysis and more.

Becoming a certified Java programmer comes with several advantages. Many who earn certifications feel more engaged at work, while others enjoy a promotion or pay raises. And according to Glassdoor, Java developers can make in excess of $170,000+ annually.

At Skillsoft, you can find 11 prep courses — spanning 8+ hours — to help learn the concepts, study for the test, and earn this certification.

#9 Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals

With investments in cloud taking priority, IT staff who are trained in confidently managing their Azure instances will add value to their organizations. In fact, most IT leaders agree certified staff add more value — up to $30,000 or more — to their organizations over non-certified staff. (See more on that here.)

This certification benefits those starting their careers in cloud or planning to specialize in Azure services. It validates a professional's knowledge of cloud computing concepts and models, as well as specific ways Azure supports security, identity, compliance and more.

You should have some experience with these concepts before you sit the exam:

  • Networking
  • Compute
  • Storage
  • Application development
  • Application support

But, if you're ready to start the process, check out this study guide to help pass the test.

Further reading: 6 Tips For Passing a Microsoft Certification Exam (From Someone Who Hates Taking Tests)

#10 Linux Administration

With more organizations migrating their applications to the cloud, it's important for them to employ professionals who can administer web servers and know how to work with the Linux operating system (OS), Mike says.

As the world's largest open source project, the Linux OS remains reliable and widely distributed for a number of uses: servers, computers, smartphones and far more. For companies and people, getting started with Linux can have its advantages over proprietary operating systems — namely accessibility, cost, security and a vast network of contributing talent.

At Skillsoft, learners can find courses that teach everything from Linux installation to advanced management.

These Top 10 Tech Skills All Work Together

Within an enterprise, all of these skills come together to help push the bounds of what's possible.

Think of the recent AI buzz. Leaps in innovation, breakthroughs in technology — these don't happen overnight. The progress looks more incremental, iterative. It's the result of blocks built on top of one another over time.

As people continually work toward the goal, a recipe comes together for something truly great. You could say that's true for this list as well. All of these skills build off one another, working together in a way to help businesses, employees and patrons thrive in today's tech-driven world.

However, deficiencies in these areas could slow progress and delay desired results. As an organization, it's important to understand your workforce's capabilities.

"Have a concerted effort to get benchmark data and understand where you are today," says Mike. "If your people aren't proficient, create a prescriptive plan to remediate those skills and help them get to the next level."

Doing so will continue diversifying your organization's capabilities in these critical areas.

Download Skillsoft's annual Lean Into Learning Report to learn more about the top skills people are building.

The Role of CIOs in Modern Business (and Why You Should Never Stop Learning) Tue, 21 Mar 2023 01:48:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

Business and technology have become inseparable, with the latter playing an increasingly critical role in shaping the former. New technologies are disruptive, but they also bring great opportunities.

As a result, companies across the globe now rely heavily on e-commerce platforms, cloud-based services, and AI to drive innovation, enhance productivity, and achieve their business objectives.

Technology has transformed how businesses operate, communicate, and interact with people. At the heart of this transformation is the Chief Information Officer (CIO), who stands at the crossroads of business strategy and technological innovation. The CIO must balance the needs of the company, the employees, and the information and technology that are vital to the modern working world.

CIOs direct technological innovation and people to effectively manage business strategy, data literacy, and more. Being effective in this role helps drive transformation and allows organizations to thrive in an increasingly technology-driven world, where everyone works together to achieve common goals that are aligned to company priorities.

Success in the modern business world depends on the organization's ability to optimize across people, processes, technology, and data. To successfully lead their organizations, CIOs must chart a path toward the integration of business and technology. And, one of the most effective ways to achieve this integration is to develop a culture of learning.

Transforming an organization hinges on the CIO's ability to take what they learn and adapt their strategies to accomplish goals. Adopting a mindset of continual learning can make all the difference.

Read Next: What Do Great Leaders Have in Common, and How Do You Nurture More of Them?

How to Affect Change as the CIO

Learning and development should be a core focus for CIOs – both for themselves and their teams. Through a robust learning and development program, CIOs can build a fused organization where the business and technology strategies are one and the same.

Learning fosters curiosity and stokes the desire for continual learning, while ongoing training helps to build knowledgeable, resilient, and adaptable teams who can work cross-functionally and drive change at scale.

This takes an individual who is engaged, curious and comfortable with technology but can also build strong partnerships across complicated business environments.

A CIO must be comfortable with the following:

  • Experimenting
  • Speaking truth to power
  • Facing confrontation with grace

When an organization works in unison and free of silos, strategy aligns and goals are achieved. However, promoting this unity requires effective communication. IT and business stakeholders need to share ideas without reservation. Otherwise, intentions can become confused, goals languish, and strategy needs redevelopment.

5 Tips to Foster a Culture of Learning at Work

Driving transformational change across an organization is difficult, but it gets easier if the employees — including your C-suite peers — embrace a learning mindset.

At the most basic level, you can look at it like this:

Technology will never wait for us to catch up. We must ensure our teammates have the information and skills they need to keep pace.

Ultimately, because technology keeps evolving, you must continuously learn how to drive change successfully. There is no “finish line” in being a learning-centered organization. It takes commitment and long-term investment in learning and development programs, but it's worth the effort with results like constant innovation, highly skilled talent, and a more satisfied workforce.

Here are 5 best practices for creating a learning culture and mitigating the disruption that can come with being a change agent:

1. Reward learning.

Enforce the value of learning by using positive affirmations and good-natured competition. Then, recognize and celebrate successes. At monthly team meetings, leaders at Skillsoft recognize the achievements of their staff who dedicated the time to earn a new badge or learn a new skill.

2. Make resources available for all employees.

Availability becomes even more important in remote or hybrid work environments and for those organizations that span time zones. By offering resources that accommodate location and time, mobile devices, work and lifestyle preferences, it builds bridges to learning.

Read 4 tips for encouraging your teams to learn and practice their skills at work.

3. Give employees time and space to learn.

At Skillsoft, our employees have time blocks during their week to learn. What's more, departments set goals for learners to earn badges or work toward a set number of learning hours, ensuring employees know this is a part of their role and benefits their career and the greater organization.

See how T-Mobile improved adoption of cybersecurity training here >

4. Adopt a dynamic learning solution.

Not everyone learns the same way. Some prefer self-paced courses or modules, whereas others would rather sit in a live class with their peers. It's important to offer a solution that can work for everyone.

Read 3 considerations for developing tech training programs >

5. Turn failures into successes.

Not everything always goes as planned. We must understand that other initiatives or priorities may slow our efforts. But failure is not the end. Often, it's the beginning. Position failure as an opportunity to learn and improve. Model this for your team.

Read next:5 Ways to Empower Your Team in the New Year While Tackling Business Objectives

Read How 5 Enterprises Solved Specific Use Cases Through Purposeful Training

Research firm IDC profiles five enterprise organizations in this report to understand how they've relied on Skillsoft's technology and developer training solutions to solve their distinct use cases:

  1. New skill building
  2. Upskilling
  3. Reskilling
  4. Ongoing
  5. Lifelong learning

Read through the different use cases to understand the importance of purpose-built training programs and how they can impact the organization.

How to be an Ethical Leader in a Hybrid Work Environment Thu, 16 Mar 2023 12:51:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

How can organizations ensure that their employees are set up for success in making ethical choices, while also empowering them to speak up when things go awry? The key is to empower employees to become ethical leaders by leading with emotional intelligence, actively listening, and accepting personal accountability. The question is: Do the topics, approach, or strategy behind that empowerment change in a hybrid work environment?

Throughout 2022, I spoke with a variety of leaders in different industries about how they communicate their organization’s ethical beliefs and values to team members so that everyone is aligned on the behaviors expected of them. I learned how they promote a safe workplace and employee safety and well-being across their companies, and how they make hard choices to do the right thing every day – and encourage others to do the same.

Of course, leaders rely on different tactics for encouraging their team to do the right thing. But, the strategies my industry peers shared with me boil down to some common ideas.

Here are some ways to become a more ethical leader:

  • Show your team what good behavior looks like so they can replicate it (even on Zoom).
  • Don’t hide your mistakes; learn from them and share them so others so they don’t have to learn the hard way.
  • Give your team opportunities to be role models.
  • Ensure that your team understands that we are all a work in progress, and we can only do the best we can on the journey we are on.
  • Provide employees with time and a safe space to make informed, ethical, and measured decisions.

Applying Principles of Ethical Leadership to Remote Work

While many ethical leaders have the benefit of influencing their teams from a physical office, more organizations than ever before are turning to remote work. McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey said that 58% of Americans reported having the opportunity to work from home at least one day a week in 2022.

Author C. S. Lewis said, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” And when employees are working from home, it can be more difficult for leaders, or anyone for that matter, to watch them – so it becomes more important than ever for them to do the right thing.

See how the Hill International team embraces integrity at work.

But before hybrid employees are able to do “the right thing,” employers must show them what good behavior looks like . . . at home. And give them opportunities to be role models . . . at home. All while acknowledging that they have their own personal lives to contend with while working . . . at home.

This means that managers may have to adapt their leadership styles a bit.

In Skillsoft’s recently published Lean Into Learning Report, Holger Mueller, VP and principal analyst at Constellation Research shared some hybrid work trends that he believes employers will consider in the coming year, and beyond. Here’s what he said:

  • Leaders will create new best practices to help their teams succeed, foster a sense of purpose for team members, and create a sense of belonging — ultimately fostering a higher level of resilience.
  • Because it is no longer a given that everybody is in the office Monday through Friday, physical offices will need to provide a better employee experience on-site.
  • Enterprises may start requiring leaders they hire to have two to three years of experience in successfully managing hybrid working teams.
  • Organizations will need to foster experimentation for the sake of better best-practices evolution and must allow leaders to fail, recover, learn, and experiment until new best practices crystallize.

“A more flexible workforce will be more productive, more successful, and more motivated and will show more resilience than ever,” said Mueller. “It is time for leaders to create environments that will unleash these key qualities for their teams.”

Changing Your Leadership Style to Accommodate Hybrid Work

Mueller encourages leaders to adopt the following tactics in a hybrid or remote work environment:

  • Find ways to see employees and spend time with them in their homes or other out-of-office work locations.
  • Make yourself available via calendar and chat, so your employees have an open line of communication with you.
  • Take advantage of larger talent pools for hiring and augmenting talent – no time zone is off-limits anymore.
  • Hybrid work has effectively democratized the promotion pool; because everybody is working hybrid, remote workers are no longer subject to stigma (and the risk of being overlooked).

Addressing Inequity in Hybrid Teams

Employees bring unique strengths and talents to the workplace which have potential to lose visibility in hybrid environments. To empower them and drive success, many leaders are embracing the components of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs to promote employee respect, diversity, and equity.

Here are some steps that can help leaders acknowledge DEI across hybrid teams:

  • Establish clear communication channels: To ensure that all team members have equal access to information and can communicate effectively with one another, establish clear and consistent communication channels. This might include video conferencing, instant messaging, email, or other tools that facilitate real-time communication.
  • Set expectations for participation: Establish clear expectations for how team members are expected to participate in meetings, contribute to projects, and communicate with one another. Make sure that these expectations are equitable and take into account the different needs and constraints of remote and in-person team members.
  • Provide training and resources: Provide training and resources to help team members develop the skills and knowledge they need to work effectively in a hybrid team environment. This might include training on virtual communication, project management tools, or other relevant topics.
  • Foster an inclusive culture: Create a culture that values diversity and inclusivity, and that encourages all team members to contribute their unique perspectives and ideas. This might involve setting up affinity groups or other initiatives to help build connections and foster a sense of community among team members.
  • Monitor and address issues: Monitor team dynamics and be proactive in addressing any issues or concerns that arise. This might involve setting up regular check-ins with team members, conducting surveys to gather feedback, or other strategies to ensure that everyone feels heard and valued.

By taking these steps, you can help to ensure that all team members, regardless of their location or work style, have an equitable and inclusive experience working in a hybrid team environment.

Even if you are not watching in-person, taking these steps will also ensure your employees can show integrity, do what’s right, and thrive as ethical leaders in a hybrid workplace.

Real People, Real Impact: Racial Discrimination Wed, 15 Mar 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

In February, The New York Times reported on an extensive study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggesting that childbirth is deadlier for Black mothers – even when they’re wealthy. The research serves as another proof point for racial discrimination in the United States.

But racial discrimination is not only an issue in healthcare:

  • It happens in schools, where 15.8% of students report experiencing race-based bullying or harassment.
  • It happens in the criminal justice system, where Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested – and once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted and experience lengthy prison sentences.
  • It happens in the job market, where Black individuals are twice as likely to be unemployed than white individuals.
  • And it happens in the workplace, where a recent poll showed that one in four Black employees in the U.S. report having been discriminated against at work in the past year.

Racial discrimination in the workplace takes a serious toll on the individuals it effects—the victims—causing anxiety, depression, fear of going to work, and physical or emotional harm. It can be overt or subtle – often involving stereotyping, being overlooked for promotions, and being subjected to implicit or unconscious bias, overly critical managers, and even open hostility. And it happens to most racial minorities, unfortunately.

Ron’s Story

Ron was working as the International Sales Manager and IT Director at a startup when he experienced racial discrimination at work. At first, he didn’t realize how toxic his work environment had become. He worked long hours, but isn’t that everyone’s experience of a startup?

It wasn’t until Ron began to receive overtly abusive treatment from his coworkers and superiors that he realized he was the victim of workplace harassment.

“If I was negotiating a deal and somebody’s computer went down, he would start whistling like I was a dog over the intercom,” Ron admitted.

And the harassment wasn’t limited to his skin color. Ron identifies as a homosexual male, and his coworkers used this as fodder for their abuse. This type of discrimination is known as homophobia. Homophobia and racial discrimination can manifest in various ways, including verbal or physical abuse, exclusion from social or professional opportunities, and discrimination in hiring or promotion decisions.

“I was made to feel selfish. I was made to feel stupid,” said Ron. “[They would make up] horrible narratives regarding Black gay men . . . it was just foulness.”

To add insult to injury, Ron noticed that he wasn’t being paid the whole amount he was promised. “At that moment,” he said, “I realized I was the proverbial frog in the boiling pot.” He finally had enough. After 23 years spent establishing his career in the tech industry, Ron just . . . left.

“I didn’t realize that it was killing me,” said Ron. “That’s why I left the industry, because I was done.” Ron remembers his anxiety at work: “I was being publicly shamed, publicly attacked by people who ultimately, in hindsight, hated themselves. But needed to have someone like me around so they could make themselves feel better.”

Today, he urges anyone experiencing workplace harassment to: “Know that you are so much more valuable than what you are experiencing. So the question is, when is your suffering going to end? That can happen now. You don’t have to wait for it.”

By speaking up and advocating for themselves and others, he urges employees and employers to play a role in ending workplace harassment.

Guidelines for Building Civility in a Workplace Free of Harassment

The goal of an anti-harassment and bullying program is not merely to prevent hostile conduct but also to inspire positive behavior in the form of collaboration, open communication, and civility. This requires a multi-faceted approach that engages the organization at all levels.

Here are some essential steps to consider:

Get leadership involved. It is critical that corporate leadership fully buys into and supports any effort to foster a healthy, harassment-free work environment for employees. Corporate cultural norms typically originate at the top of the corporate ladder, so leadership must “walk the walk” of appropriate behavior and “talk the talk.”

Put it in writing. A clear workplace civility policy should clarify not only what’s unacceptable regarding discrimination and harassment, but also what is expected in terms of positive behavior. This policy should incorporate any necessary legal guidance and best practices.

Provide training. Policies are useless if they sit on a shelf. Confirm that every employee and manager understands what’s expected of them with a comprehensive training program, regardless of their role or level within the organization. This will ensure that everyone understands the importance of treating people with respect in the workplace and is held to the same moral standards.

Teach managers how to respond. While every employee should be trained to recognize and avoid inappropriate conduct, managers and supervisors must also understand how to respond to a complaint or inquiry when it arises. Equipping them with the muscle memory to understand how to listen, respond appropriately, and communicate next steps to the reporter is key.

Create a transparent reporting and escalation process. Employees who feel harassed or intimidated should know precisely how to report their concerns and have faith that they will be acted upon appropriately and promptly.

Establish appropriate investigative procedures. Organizations can minimize – and hopefully avoid – bias and treat all claims fairly by defining a straightforward process for investigating complaints . . . and by sticking to that process in all circumstances and with all people within the organization.

Protect employees that speak up. Employees who come forward should be assured that they will not suffer retaliation, punishment, or negative impacts simply for raising a concern related to discrimination or harassment.

Hold people accountable. Employees must know that actions have consequences and that starts with making clear what the potential consequences are, communicating those consequences, and enforcing those consequences, at every level.

When your employees understand the consequences of discrimination and harassment, your organization has taken an essential step toward developing an inclusive work environment. By embracing a continuous training program that discourages abusive behavior, you’ll create a positive feedback loop of inclusivity — and, in turn, attract employees who value diversity and respect.

This is the final installment in Skillsoft’s three-part series on workplace harassment, which includes intimidating, offensive, or abusive conduct. Whether it manifests as name-calling, physical assault, threats, or something else, workplace harassment can impact real people within your organization.

Ron is not alone. He is among one in four black workers who have experienced racial discrimination at work.

Learn why harassment training has historically failed and how you can make a real impact on your employees through effective training.

Canada Life enlists Skillsoft to develop new leaders Tue, 14 Mar 2023 09:00:00 -0400 (Ravi Gd)

Sometimes a casual, watercooler conversation develops into a fully formed company initiative.

Such is the case with Canada Life’s newest recruitment and leadership program, an idea that emerged during a casual chat between the organization’s CEO and Vice President for Talent Acquisition.

The challenge: Canada Life—a leading national insurance provider—needed a formal program to recruit recent university graduates and give them the necessary skills to be the next leaders.

“Corporate came to our learning team and said, ‘What have you got?’” says Canada Life’s Manager for Emerging Talent, Robert Craig. The leadership development program they envisioned didn’t yet exist. It was up to Craig to, in his words, “whip something up.”

A program is conceived

With five primary locations across the country, Canada Life already did ample recruiting of finance, insurance, and actuarial professionals. “But in our recent history, we haven’t done a general leadership program, something where we could bring in graduates give them exposure to all of our business,” Craig explains.

His team got to work on designing a pilot: a formal, two-year program where a cohort of six recent university graduates would embed within Canada Life’s three business units (individual customer, group health and dental, and advisory network), rotating throughout the year. “The goal is to give learners the broadest view of the business,” Craig explains.

While on-the-job learning would be a natural part of the program, Craig also needed to design content to accompany it, introducing the tools and skills to be leaders. But because there was—as always—a budget in mind, Craig had to examine the learning resources Canada Life already had.

“There was a lightbulb moment,” he says. “We already had a lovely array of content through the Skillsoft Leadership Development program. I thought, ‘Why can’t we use this?’”

Developing our candidates
Above: an overview of Canada Life’s Leadership Development program goals.

In walks Skillsoft’s Percipio

As luck would have it Skillsoft’s Percipio had an existing Leadership Development Program. Craig was able to modify the content with emerging leader-specific learning, and design it in a way that perfectly complemented the hands-on experience.

“There are already PowerPoints and guides to use,” Craig says. “The fact that I was able to grab them, create my own questions, add my own content, and refine the course was so beneficial.”

Learning activities
Above: an example of Canada Life’s Leadership learning content.
Our learning model
Above: Canada Life blended chosen tracks (left) with Skillsoft’s existing virtual workshops (right). The Leadership Development Program spent eight weeks on each track, with both formal learning and experiential activities, using Teams as the tool to collaborate and connect.

Off to learn

The first cohort kicked off in May 2022 with six new recruits stationed across Canada in Winnipeg, MB, London, ON, and Toronto, ON. Selected from a few hundred candidates, each new associate brought a depth of knowledge to the table - from social issues to app development and podcasting experience.

The group came together virtually to attend class and collaborate for about 3.5 hours a week, making Percipio’s online classroom crucial. “We couldn't bring everyone together physically in a classroom,” Craig says. “Skillsoft’s Leadership Development Program works so well because we’ve brought them together through Microsoft Teams. Not to mention the social aspect of the platform. Outside coursework, the cohort attends a monthly social with virtual activities, and has created their own virtual connections with each other. “We also engage and interact with three key executives in the company a regular basis,” Craig says.

As part of the program, each cohort is assigned a business challenge. “We've given them an assignment to research and tackle,” Craig says. “They've been taking advantage of a variety of resources within Percipio, which allows them to search and read up on topics.”

How it’s going

Craig says the blended program of virtual learning and hands-on application couldn’t be better. The cohort is not only engaged but making connections between the content and real-life meetings. “They’re building teams, joining teams, and connecting the content back to their roles,” he says.

Because the program is still live and active, evaluation has so far been surveying the cohort on the strength of the content and getting managers’ feedback. “So far, we’ve asked managers, ‘Would you hire them again?’, and the answer has been a resounding yes for all six of them,” Craig says.

Each associate has a goal to meet within the program and will complete a self-evaluation against the goal.

What’s next

At the beginning of this year, Canada Life began recruiting for the next leadership cohort. And in a full-circle moment, the original recruits will be using their “Developing People” course module to take on the role of “coach” to the new group.

While long-term ROI is yet to be reported, the company is already making good on its original goal to recruit and hire well-rounded leaders. “It helps to build the company’s leadership pipeline,” Craig says. “We’re not the big banks who hire hundreds of graduates each year, but we still want people to recognize us and want to work for us.”

With the high caliber of training and investment in career growth, they no-doubt will.

Six Things the Most Engaging Learning Environments Have in Common Fri, 10 Mar 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Businesses are investing in workforce transformation to stay competitive. Those investments won't mean much if employees don't seize the skill-building opportunities on offer.

Change is the only constant in today's economy. As markets shift and technology evolves, businesses must regularly reassess and readjust their goals and strategies to stay competitive. That's why workforce transformation has become a top priority. By closing skills gaps, companies can cultivate agile workers who can handle any challenge that comes their way.

But transformation is far from easy. According to one study, as many as 78 percent of corporate transformations fail. On the bright side, that research also identified one crucial factor for a successful transformation: employee engagement. The authors write, "Our findings revealed that companies that successfully transformed themselves shared a common focus on initiatives that prioritized employees."

Engagement is especially vital in learning and development (L&D). Workforce transformation requires employees to develop new skills, so businesses understandably invest in skill-building opportunities. But these investments won't amount to much if employees aren't engaged and actively seizing the chance to learn. On the other hand, when learners are engaged, they consume more content, participate in live skilling experiences, and retain more of what they learned.

To maximize the return on workforce transformation investments, companies need L&D programs that engage employees, motivate them to keep coming back, and inspire employees to encourage their colleagues to participate. But what does a genuinely engaging L&D program look like? Here are six things the most motivating learning environments have in common:

1. Personalization

In their everyday lives, learners are used to apps that make it easy to find content relevant to their likes and interests. Think about how platforms like Netflix and Spotify deliver tailored recommendations to users based on shows they've watched and songs they've listened to and marked as favorites.

Learners want the same personalized experience from L&D programs. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to training, employees want skill-building opportunities that meet their specific needs and help them reach their unique career goals.

Skillsoft Percipio, Skillsoft's immersive learning platform, helps learners personalize their training in various ways. For example, learners can use Skill Benchmark diagnostic assessments to gauge their proficiency levels and identify areas for improvement. Skill Benchmarks don't just help employees understand their personal skills gaps — they also provide personalized recommendations for videos, hands-on practice labs, and other learning experiences to help close those gaps.

Learners also get a personalized home page in Percipio. When employees log in, curated content recommendations based on their interests, activity, and learners with similar profiles welcome them to the platform. Learners can even personalize the language: All of Skillsoft's English-language video courses feature machine-generated closed captions so employees can read video dialogue in their native languages.

At a higher level, organizations can tailor training to better align with the strategic needs of the business. Companies can curate custom learning paths leveraging Skillsoft content, their proprietary content, and other providers' content in the Skillsoft platform. That way, organizations can manage all their training for all their learners in one location.

2. Encouragement

A sense of accomplishment can be a powerful motivator. It reinforces the idea that training isn't just an abstract exercise but an effective way for learners to progress toward real-world career goals. That's why it's important to build recognition into any L&D program.

Gamification is one way to encourage learners by rewarding their efforts. For example, in Skillsoft Percipio, learners can earn Digital Badges for completing courses, Aspire Journeys, and company-specific custom tracks and journeys. Digital Badges validate employees' skills, and that validation encourages them to keep learning. Digital Badges are proven to boost login rates by 28 percent, learner return rates by eight percent, and course completion rates by 10 percent.

Employees can also set their own weekly learning goals and achieve streaks by meeting those goals. Learners can also enable optional push notification reminders to help them stay on track. And when they want to reflect on how far they've come, they can visit their personal achievements page, where Skillsoft displays all of their accomplishments in one convenient location.

3. Guidance

It's essential to have a broad array of learning content that supports all kinds of learners, from new hires brushing up on communications skills to seasoned tech pros who want to master AI engineering. At the same time, turning employees loose in a massive content library can be overwhelming. If learners can't find relevant training materials when needed, they may log out and never return.

Of course, the solution isn't to limit the scope of an L&D program. Instead, it's to offer employees guidance to navigate all available options easily.

One way to effectively guide learners is to organize content into clear, structured paths. For example, Skillsoft curates all content into channels, which map to in-demand skills or competencies like machine learning, leadership foundations, and agile methodologies. Learners can simply head to the appropriate channel to find content in a specific domain.

For more focused learning experiences, Skillsoft offers Aspire Journeys. Aspire Journeys are pre-curated, role-based, and skill-based learning pathways. Journeys organize the experience into a simple linear path that takes the learner from Point A to Point B. — for example, from "Python Novice to Pythonista." Organizations can also customize Aspire Journeys to align with the specific skill sets needed to pivot their workforce.

Employees may also need guidance and encouragement to return to their skilling effort after a long period away. That's why Skillsoft sends automated re-engagement notifications to learners who haven't logged into the platform in the last 30 days. These reminder emails contain personalized recommendations that help employees dive back into their development.

4. Choice

It can be helpful — and even necessary — to assign required learning, but employees are generally more engaged when they can take an active role in their development. In particular, employees want a say in how they learn because the same experiences aren't practical for every learner.

Skillsoft gives learners choices by offering content in various formats: videos, books, audiobooks, practice labs, assessments, live events, and more. Learners can choose content based on their preferences and their needs. For example, learners who absorb information better through text can read books, while learners who prefer visuals can watch videos. Similarly, learners can reach for microlearning options when time is short and try hands-on practice sessions when they have space in their calendars for more focused learning.

5. Learning in the flow of work

Learners don't always have time — or a need — for long, formal training sessions. Sometimes they hit a minor bump in their workflow and need to quickly pick up a new skill or piece of knowledge to proceed.

Lynn Ross, senior director of global operations training and development at Equinix, uses the example of a person preparing to go on a bike ride only to have their chain fall off:

You probably wouldn't sign up for an in-person course on bike maintenance or take time out of your day to engage in a 45-minute training session with a quiz at the end. Instead, it would likely be most useful to you to watch a two-minute YouTube video showing you how to fix the chain.

Employees are more likely to seize learning opportunities incorporated seamlessly into their days. To support that kind of approach, the Skillsoft Percipio app for Microsoft Teams enables learners to access the full functionality of Percipio without leaving Teams. Similarly, The Embedded Learning Synchronized Assistant (ELSA) browser plugin lets learners find and consume content without leaving their browser tab. That way, employees don't have to drop what they're doing or sit through a lengthy, comprehensive session — they can learn what they need and immediately apply it to the task at hand.

6. Transformative Learning Experiences Anytime, Anywhere

Employees' schedules are hectic and unpredictable. They might sit down to start a training session only to be pulled away by a fire that needs putting out. By the time the crisis has been taken care of, the day is over, and they're closing their laptop, their training session left unfinished.

That's why convenience is key to learner engagement. The easier it is for employees to access skilling content when and where they need it, the more likely they'll take advantage of the skill-building opportunities available.

With the Skillsoft Percipo mobile app, learners can engage with content on the go or seamlessly switch between the app and the desktop version without missing a beat. For example, the hypothetical employee pulled away from their training can pick up where they left off on the mobile app during the train ride home. The mobile app also supports offline content, so learners can download books, videos, audiobooks, and other materials to dive into without Wi-Fi.

Learner Engagement Drives Workforce Transformation

Engaged learners complete more skilling experiences and retain more information, making it easier to achieve your organization's strategic business goals today and adapt as they evolve. The key to engaging learners is empowering them to learn what, how, when, and where they want. Remove the barriers, and employees will seize those skill-building opportunities.

After all, employees want to learn. Ongoing education is a top priority for talent today. According to Harvard Business Review, 86 percent of professionals would change jobs for a company that offered more professional development. If employees have an engaging learning environment, they'll take advantage of it — and your workforce will stay relevant no matter what the future holds.

From personalization to access anywhere, anytime, Skillsoft Percipio helps you engage learners and build the workforce your business needs to thrive in an ever-shifting economic landscape. Request a demo to learn more.

4 Analyst Firms Name Skillsoft a Leading Provider for Learning Thu, 09 Mar 2023 09:01:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Many industry analyst firms have recently published the results of their annual research that provides in-depth analysis of corporate learning providers. These reports serve as a buyer’s guide for those looking to provide their organizations with learning solutions.

Skillsoft was recognized as a leading provider in learning by IDC, Aragon Research, Constellation Research, and Fosway Group.

At a time when executives across industries are intently focused on upskilling, reskilling, and training a sustainable, future-fit workforce, Skillsoft’s solutions have never been more relevant or sought after.

Leaders widely view the current talent shortage as the number one threat to business, and they cannot simply “hire their way” out of skills gaps. Competencies must be developed from the inside out.

As organizations place a greater emphasis on learning and development to drive workforce transformation, they need highly engaging and career-oriented learning experiences that fuel skill mastery, buoy talent retention, and build competitive workforces.

According to Aragon Research’s Founder and CEO, Jim Lundy, “One of the fastest ways to improve the organization’s performance is to enhance the operational knowledge of the workforce. This makes learning much more of a strategic focus than ever, and that is why more organizations are realizing that they must invest more in learning, not less.”

IDC Marketscape Names Skillsoft a ‘Leader’ in U.S. IT Training

Skillsoft was named as a “Leader” in the IDC MarketScape: U.S. IT Training Services 2023 Vendor Assessment (doc #US49624923, March 2023) and a “Major Player” in the IDC MarketScape: European IT Training Services 2023 Vendor Assessment (doc #EUR150087022, February 2023).

IDC MarketScape criteria selection, weightings, and vendor scores represent well-researched IDC judgment about the market and specific vendors. IDC analysts tailor the range of standard characteristics by which vendors are measured through structured discussions, surveys, and interviews with market leaders, participants, and end users.. According to the report, “Skillsoft continues to demonstrate a strong ability for customization of content and learning paths and mentoring services and a strong opinion on how to optimize usefulness and business value of its training services.”

"As the IT skills shortage continues to worsen, it is more critical than ever to get the right people with the right skills into the right roles," said Gina Smith, PhD, research director for the IT Skills for Digital Business practice at IDC. "The IT training sector is tremendously competitive. Skillsoft is notable because of its high-quality instruction and powerful hands-on learning labs. That is why this year's IDC MarketScape named Skillsoft a Leader in U.S. IT training."

Aragon Research Named Skillsoft as ‘Leader’ in Globe™ for Corporate Learning Report

Aragon Research named Skillsoft as an industry “Leader” in its 2023 Globe™ for Corporate Learning report, noting

“[Skillsoft] offers a robust amount of learning content. Skillsoft has microlearning video content and 1,000+ skill-based and role-based learning paths, including compliance, leadership development & business, and technology & developer, which now supports multiple languages. With Global Knowledge and Codecademy as part of the overall portfolio, the amount of learning content offered, which includes certifications for cloud and many other IT certs, Skillsoft is a notable provider in the learning market.”

Constellation Shortlists Skillsoft as Learning Solutions Provider

Constellation Research included Skillsoft on its Constellation ShortList™ for Learning Marketplaces for Q1 2023. Constellation evaluated more than 40 solutions categorized in this market, naming Skillsoft as one of seven solutions supporting the creation, delivery, and monetization of online learning.

Learning providers named to the Constellation ShortList meet the threshold criteria for this category as determined through client inquiries, partner conversations, customer references, vendor selection projects, market share, and internal research.

Fosway Group Positions Skillsoft as One of Top Strategic Leaders in Digital Learning

Fosway Group positioned Skillsoft as one of the top seven “Strategic Leaders” in its March 2023 Fosway 9-Grid™ for Digital Learning report. Fosway analyzed 55+ digital learning providers to determine the highest performing and highest potential vendors.

Additionally, Fosway Group identified Skillsoft’s platform for transformative learning experiences as a “Core Leader” in its February 2023 Fosway 9-Grid™ for Learning Systems report.

It also noted that: “Skills continue to be a business-critical fixation for HR as well as Learning & Development, and from recruitment to performance and talent retention.”

The Fosway 9-Grid™ for Learning Systems is a multi-dimensional model designed to understand the relative position of solutions and providers predominantly in the UK, European, and North American markets. Solutions are assessed based on Fosway’s in-depth five-dimensional grid analysis, which examines performance, potential, market presence, total cost of ownership, and future trajectory across the market.

12 ways Skillsoft Percipio Uses AI to Enhance Learning Wed, 08 Mar 2023 09:50:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Article authored by:

  • Potoula Chresomales, SVP Product
  • Murali Sastry, SVP Engineering
  • Troy Collinsworth, Chief Architect

We often get the question: how does Skillsoft’s Percipio platform use AI to improve the user experience?

At Skillsoft, we have incorporated AI into our Percipio platform in meaningful ways. We continually experiment and test so that we can innovate, learn, and share those insights with our community. We’re proud to be at the forefront of providing AI-driven, transformative learning experiences – efforts of which were recognized by Business Intelligence Group’s 2023 Artificial Intelligence Excellence Awards.

We use AI to do four things that benefit users of the platform and users that access Skillsoft content through learning management system (LMS) integrations:

  • Personalize learning for each user, helping them to progress from Point A to Point B quickly and efficiently;
  • Improve search and discovery, making it easier for learners to find what they need;
  • Link skills, roles, and learning together to guide career paths; and
  • Generate new content and curation, enabling users to assess their skills as they build confidence and understanding and to curate learning paths for trending topics automatically.

Let’s go over the 12 ways we are using AI today. And for those that like to look under the hood, we’ll share the AI model we used and any lessons learned from the experiments.

Personalize Learning

AI is used to personalize learning for each user based on their profile, search behavior, learning activity, skill assessments, and role. In addition to personalized learning paths generated from Skill Benchmark Assessments and interests, Percipio uses AI to:

Recommend content based on recent activity (in production) – Percipio learns a user’s behavior, finds other similar users, and recommends content based on “most similar” users' behaviors. This is modeled after how Amazon recommends products (you might have noticed the “people also bought” section). These recommendations personalize the homepage and the automated re-engagement notifications.

AI model used: collaborative filtering, feedforward

Lesson learned: These recommendations are used most often and users who access them spend 59% more time learning indicating value and relevance.

Recommend content in specific patterns and sequences (in QA testing) – Our AI specialists have spent the last quarter testing and training a new collaborative filtering model that recommends content based on common sequences inherent in the way learners have consumed content.

AI model used: collaborative filtering, feedforward, trained on consumption sequences

Generate New Content and Curation

AI models are being used to generate content and images and to curate content to meet specific customer needs.

Customer-specific curation of content (in production) – Customers often have specific curation needs that may include aligning content to their own taxonomy or identifying content for inclusion or exclusion from their programs so they can customize the experience to their learners and culture. . An AI model scans and ranks content based on customers’ needs. The customer reviews the content before deploying.

AI model used: GPT-3, fine-tuned

Generate assessment questions (experiment) – Percipio currently assesses skills and knowledge using many different methods including Skill Benchmarks, course assessments, final exams for Aspire Journeys, and mobile flash cards for learning reinforcement. These require a very deep pool of assessment questions to enable each user to assess and reassess without seeing the same questions. Skillsoft is using AI to generate assessment questions to be used for these different platform features.

AI model used: GPT-3 fine-tuned and GPT-3.5 zero-shot

Lessons learned: The GPT-3 quality was mediocre: 50% were usable, 40% needed edits and 10% had to be discarded. The GPT-3.5 zero-shot performed worse, yielding only ~21% acceptable questions. We are exploring ChatGPT and post generation reflection (PGR) techniques which are showing promise in improving yield.

Curation of learning paths (experiment) – Curation of learning paths is typically done by expert curators in each domain and based on sound instructional design. We've collected a tremendous amount of data about how users actually learn and all of this data will be used to automatically curate learning paths for skills and roles.

AI model used: Collaborative-Filtering, GPT

Chatbot for learners (in production) – Percipio has a chatbot currently deployed to select customers that provides Level 1 customer support to learners answering the most common questions. This will be available to all customers in 2023.

AI model: Salesforce Einstein Chatbot

Lesson Learned: For participating customers, 45% of the level 1 common questions were answered by the chatbot.

Create unique images for blog posts and course thumbnails (experiment) – We used DALL-E 2 to create the image for this blog post and plan to experiment with creating eye-catching thumbnail images that will engage and energize the learner. These will appear in Percipio and through LMS integrations.

AI model: DALL·E 2

ChatGPT early use

Skillsoft’s AI team is already using ChatGPT internally to improve our productivity and accelerate our own AI efforts. The AI team has been utilizing GPT-3 and ChatGPT to generate code to implement Percipio features. These features include enhancements to the AI collaborative filtering model and improved search features (auto-suggest and type-ahead). It has been found to be quite effective. The team is exercising great care to ensure we are not violating copyrighted code.

Using these models, the possibilities are endless.

AI model: ChatGPT and GPT-3

What’s behind this growing trend: Chief Sustainability Officer Tue, 07 Mar 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Skillsoft recently published our first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report. As part of our research, we uncovered that 46% of survey respondents believe their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) efforts are replacing their CSR efforts. The data got us thinking more deeply about sustainability—often accounted for under the “E” of ESG, and how it is managed.

The quest for quantifiable data that measures progress against sustainability goals is accelerating as regulatory, consumer, and employee pressure mounts.

  • According to a survey from IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), 71% of employees and employment seekers say that environmentally sustainable companies are more attractive employers.
  • The same study showed that 55% of consumers describe sustainability as “very” or “extremely important” to them when choosing a brand. This is a full 22% higher than consumers surveyed pre-COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In addition, regulations continue to advance. For example, on January 5, 2023, enforcement began on the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which standardizes reporting on sustainability for large companies in the European Union (EU). And in the United States, the office of the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, states that part of its Net-Zero Emissions Procurement by 2050 initiative will “require major Federal suppliers to publicly disclose emissions and set reduction targets” if they hope to do business with the Federal Government. These are just two examples of the many that are propagating around the world. (We won’t even mention the SEC enforcement of ESG disclosures.)

All of this to say that the appointment of Chief Sustainability Officers (CSOs) is becoming more necessary, and thus more common, throughout organizations across the globe. While the first Chief Sustainability Officer was hired by Dupont in 2004, only recently has there been a jump in hiring for this role. This is because organizations are responding to the pressure from regulatory bodies, customers, and employees by hiring a full-time leader to focus on, manage, and enhance sustainability initiatives.

Do you need to hire a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)?

In 2021, we saw a significant jump in the number of companies appointing a CSO. The number of CSOs holding an executive-level position, alongside board members, hit 28% in 2021—more than tripling from 9% in 2016..While the data for 2022 is still be collected, we expect it to show growth as it did last year. What’s more, CSOs are increasingly pulling a seat up to the executive table.

More critically, there is a clear correlation between assignment of a CSO and attainment of sustainability goals. A PwC study found that virtually all, 98%, of companies with a top sustainability rating by third-party assessment, had an executive with at least some sustainability responsibility.

Like all things in business, if you want to make significant strides, it is important to put someone in a position of accountability to drive particular initiatives forward. Elevating the CSO role to an executive position demonstrates organizations’ commitment to sustainability in a meaningful way.

What does a Chief Sustainability Officer do?

The CSO works across the leadership team, employees, customers, and other interested parties, such as suppliers, to build a vision and plan for environmental responsibility. They catalyze the actions needed across the organization and report on progress against the company’s overall vision.

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, summarizes the position well: “The chief sustainability officer, sometimes known by other titles, is the corporate title of an executive position within a corporation that is in charge of the corporation's ‘environmental’ programs.”

Responsibilities often include:

  • Assess and monitor environmental impact across the organization. This includes setting measurable goals that inform both regulatory and internal reporting standards.
  • Educate department leaders on their role in meeting sustainability goals and proactively set policy to aid implementation of more sustainable practices.
  • Galvanize employees to seek out and support new ways of reducing their environmental impact across the organization.
  • Develop company policy related to improved sustainability efforts across the enterprise, including setting standards for supplier selection and energy consumption.
  • Prioritize investments to meet both sustainability and business goals by creating an impact framework that can be applied across projects and functions.

What skills do successful CSOs need?

A CSO’s goal may sound simple – minimize the organization’s environmental footprint – but the systems, policies, and processes they build to address that vision are anything but straightforward.

To be a great CSO you will need to develop and foster a wide spectrum of skills.

  • An understanding of sustainability principles is essential for this role. A successful CSO must understand the interaction of economic, social, and environmental factors.
  • CSOs set a company-wide vision and must influence action through education and policy, rather than having direct authority over all impacted employees. Exceptional collaboration skills are a must. This includes building empathy within their team and across the company.
  • The ability to clearly document the likely impact and business benefit of programs is essential as CSOs apply for grants and manage the allocation of internal resources.
  • Data is at the foundation of effective sustainability programs. A CSO must possess strong analytical skills that connect challenges with actions that can mitigate risk.
  • Visionary, creative thinking is necessary to inspire sustainable progress. A CSO won’t know the solution to every opportunity that presents itself, but they must be able to inspire others across the company to act. While the CSO should be familiar with effective models, and common-sense practices, truly long-term results require creative solutions to everyday activities. A successful CSO must hone these skills in themselves and in the others around them.

Sustainability learning opportunities worth exploring

With increased focus on sustainability, quality learning opportunities are available to CSOs and others who want to champion a sustainable vision at their organizations. Programs should be made available for sustainability leaders, but also for every employee in your organization. The more people who support your vision, the easier it will be to drive policy adoption.

  • The International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) offers two certification options that are acknowledged globally. One certificate recognizes core competency with sustainability practices; the other recognizes more advanced sustainability knowledge and skills.
  • At Skillsoft we have partnered with expert instructors to deliver multiple courses and an Aspire Journey dedicated to sustainable business learning. These self-paced courses make it easy to build a strong foundation that can help all employees across the organization become better stewards of the environment and your organization’s goals.
  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Professional: This certification is offered by the US Green Building Council and is recognized internationally as a standard for sustainable building design.
  • ISO 14001: This internationally recognized certification is for environmental management systems.

Don’t forget to include a comprehensive approach to leadership skills development to hone communication and collaboration basics that will allow a CSO to thrive.

Like you, we believe in holding ourselves accountable for protecting our environment. We hope you will join us on the journey. A copy of Skillsoft’s 2022 ESG Impact Report can be read here.

The Top 10 Challenges IT Teams Face in 2023 Wed, 01 Mar 2023 10:51:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Any who tried recruiting tech workers in the past year knows the immensity of the challenge.

Findings from Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary survey show hiring tech workers has proven to be one of the greatest problems that IT leaders have endeavored to solve this year. Despite headlines of layoffs and economic uncertainty, the skills that these workers possess remain very much in demand.

The annual survey gathered data from nearly 8,000 IT professionals, revealing the top challenges in the IT and tech industry going into 2023. You can get the entire 81-page IT Skills and Salary Report here to dive deeper into the data.

In the report, you’ll find hiring workers isn’t the only challenge. IT departments globally struggle with a slew of issues ranging from heavy workloads to morale and team communication. The consequences of these challenges vary but often overlap (and the same could be said for the solutions too).

Top Workplace Challenges

1. Talent Retention

Even amid historic layoffs, the tech labor market remains a trying, highly competitive landscape for employers.

The IT Skills and Salary survey revealed that over half of IT professionals say they’re either somewhat likely (27.64%) or extremely likely (25.21%) to leave their post in the next year.

The main reason for leaving? To get a raise. Almost half of tech workers feel underpaid, according to research by Dice.

But, pay wasn’t the only reason for moving on.

A lack of professional development opportunities has consistently ranked among the top reasons why workers choose to leave, along with work-life balance.

Factors for Changing Employers

IT and tech workers are hungry to learn new skills — and apply them. For their employers, this means they want opportunities not only to build new skills and learn but find productive ways to make an impact at work.

Otherwise, they may just leave.

Read next: How to Overcome the Tech Talent Shortage

2. Talent Recruitment

The majority of IT decision-makers — those who manage teams and budgets — say hiring talent is the toughest in these areas:

  1. Cloud
  2. Analytics, big data, data science
  3. Cybersecurity, information security
  4. DevOps
  5. Application development

This problem branches out, creating a chicken-and-egg challenge in IT. Two-thirds of IT leaders say they struggle with skills gaps on their teams, which impact morale and stress, project durations and resolution times.

The top reason given for skills gaps? “We struggle to hire candidates with the skills we need.”

Just below that, retention.

For those in IT leadership racking their brain, many have found answers by re-examining their own team’s capabilities. More than half of leaders surveyed plan to take matters into their own hands and train existing staff to close gaps.

Learning and development leaders at organizations like Leidos, Peraton, Johnson & Johnson — among others — say the key to overcoming this challenge has been a holistic approach to talent development.

Read this blog next:Can’t Hire Enough Tech Workers? Johnson & Johnson Found a Solution

3. Workload

Today, essentially every company is a tech company. The reliance and need for tech - whether it’s mobile devices or impressive new AI models - has driven up demand for the skills IT and tech employees have.

Said differently, they have their work cut out for them.

Workload is a leading barrier to training and has a compounding effect when factoring in employee turnover and skills gaps.

Whenever a teammate quits, it can cause disruptions and increase the amount of work for others. Further, skills gaps often lead to a decreased ability to meet business objectives.

This is where effective leadership, coaching, and project management can make a significant different.

Check in with your team or teammates to have open, honest conversations about workloads, projects and opportunities to go beyond surviving the day-to-day grind. Further, a disciplined approach to project management may be the ticket to quelling a never-ending stream of requests, tickets, bugs and more.

Further reading: The Value of Agile Methodology, Design Thinking and Visionary Application to Future-proof Your Organization

4. Skills gaps

When it comes to skills gaps, there is some good news and some bad.

The good? Last year, 76% of IT decision-makers reported having skills gaps on their teams. This year, the percentage dipped to 66%. The decline is due in part because last year, the lion’s share of leaders claimed they would focus on upskilling their teams to close gaps. The 10 percentage-point decline is evidence of their efforts.

And still, the pace of change proves difficult to overcome. Almost one-third of IT leaders say the rate of technological change is just too fast. The field changes constantly, and it’s hard for their teams (or almost anyone) to keep up.

However, this problem is made even worse for one-quarter of decision-makers who say their organizations haven’t invested enough in training. The leading training inhibitor, according to IT professionals, is that management doesn’t see the value.

Only, the impacts of skills gaps can lead to losses in revenue or business to competitors, increase security risks, and far more. All of these consequences have a price tag — some greater than others.

The majority of IT leaders still plan to train their existing staff to close gaps. Although, more work must be done to understand capabilities, take inventory of skills, and upskill or reskill as appropriate.

Reasons for Skills Gaps

5. Lack of Career Development, Growth

Tech workers are an ambitious group. They want to learn. They want to advance their careers. They want to apply their skills to complex problems.

And they will, with or without their current employer.

As mentioned, behind a desire for higher pay, a lack of career development opportunities ranks among the top reasons why IT professionals leave their jobs. It’s a make-or-break benefit for them.

Mentioned earlier, the biggest hurdle for IT professionals who wish for more training opportunities is that management doesn’t see the value. According to IT decision-makers, nearly 30% of organizations don’t offer training at all.

All this in mind, the costs of recruiting and retaining talent likely outweighs what it costs to offer training — especially when you factor in other benefits that come from ongoing development. An example: Most workers (68%) say they would remain loyal to their employers and stay with them long-term if given training opportunities, according to reporting by SHRM.

Naturally, workload and resources can prove challenging — more on that later — but for some organizations, there are few other choices in today’s current climate.

“Given the global talent shortage, the only thing you can do right now is look to your internal people and train them into the jobs you want to have,” says Mike Henderson, vice president of technology and development products for Skillsoft in this report.

Read Next: Training Day: Close the IT Skills Gap with a Well-Scripted Reskilling Plan

6. Resources and Budget Constraints

When the IT Skills and Salary Report was released in fall 2022, almost 60% of IT leaders reported budget increases for their departments — a positive sign for those who need to hire staff, train employees and more.

In the months since, news of an economic recession have many concerned. The 2023 State of IT Report by Spiceworks Ziff Davis (SWZD) shows 83% of organizations share concerns over what’s to come, with many taking actions to reduce non-essential spending, scrutinize existing contracts, or decommission underutilized infrastructure.

Like Skillsoft’s report, the SWZD research shows similar budget trends, with most forecasting an increase but a significant portion remaining the same. The good news? Not many foresee decreases as IT budgets will remain a priority for business leaders.

The challenge then becomes choosing very carefully where to spend money to overcome problems. During times of uncertainty and scarcity, all must make do with less. For IT and tech executives, this is where close alignment with the business becomes critical so the allocated budget matches what’s expected. “Otherwise, you’ll always be allocated a budget that’s insufficient to meet the [new] business initiatives,” says Mike Puglia, chief strategy officer at Kaseya, to

Further, this is also a time to look within at your own team. Take stock of skills and capabilities. Find ways to upskill or reskill staff to save on outsourcing or recruitment costs and open new doors for your team.

7. Unclear Job Roles and Responsibilities

Unclear job roles or expectations has been attributed to the greatest cause of stress among workers, according to a 2016 study by ComPsych, a Chicago-based employee assistance provider.

When change happens at work — and in IT, there is always change — it can set some on edge, especially when their manager doesn’t communicate what’s happening. "Employees are telling us that much of the disequilibrium around change is coming from managers," says Richard A. Chaifetz, founder and CEO of ComPsych, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

In today’s hybrid world, communication has risen to the top of team challenges. More than one-third of IT staff say team communication is their greatest challenge in hybrid scenarios, followed by interpersonal communication and communication with leadership.

Given the challenges preceding this one, it’s a must for team leaders to make time with their staff — together and individually — to check in, talk through changes that will impact them or the team even if all the information isn’t there. Clear, honest communication can help quell fears that stem from speculation or rumor.

In the coming year, almost 60% in IT plan to work in a hybrid fashion. Still, 32% will stay remote full time. Less than 10% will go into the office regularly.

What this means for team members and their managers is learning how to communicate to remain on the same page about roles, changes, and expectations.

8. A Lack of Effective Leadership

It’s hard to overstate the importance of effective leadership. Good, stable and effective leaders can make or break a team.

When leaders lack the skills to grow and nurture their teams, it can cause mutinous friction that leads to disjointed workflows, poor relationships, and attrition. Almost one-quarter of IT professionals quit their jobs because of management.

But what are the most important skills for those in IT leadership?

By a long shot, team communication is the single most important skill for IT leaders, according to 66% of survey respondents. Interpersonal communication (15%), emotional intelligence (6%), business (5%) and technical skills (4%) follow.

Team communication can help clear up issues of misaligned expectations (read number seven on this list), department priorities and challenges, and more.

“Leadership skills are essential to understanding and delivering business outcomes,” writes Orla Daly, CIO at Skillsoft, in a recent report. “Whether that’s the skills to understand and appreciate the business challenge, decipher which areas are most important to focus on, or identify and deliver the best solutions, it all requires the ability to communicate effectively, prioritize and influence, while being resilient and adaptive to change.”

Orla goes into greater detail about the importance of leadership skills in IT. See Skillsoft’s annual Lean Into Learning Report on page 36 to read it in full.

9. Communication

While technical skills remain in demand, soft skills — we call them Power Skills at Skillsoft — have an elevated importance in today’s workplace. Skills like these make a big impact in team dynamics, especially when fusing teams or working cross-functionally.

However, communication can prove challenging, especially in hybrid work. It’s the greatest challenge affecting hybrid teams as noted earlier. While effective communication can help solve the big, complex problems facing IT departments today, poor communication can have the opposite effect.

Evidently, many recognize this.

Of the nearly 16 million digital badges learners earned by training with Skillsoft in 2022, these ranked among the top 10:

What all of these courses have in common is they teach how to interact effectively and appropriately with others to reach an outcome. In business, working cross-functionally becomes paramount in completing large projects and reaching goals that carry far-reaching impacts for the organization, like transformation and growth.

See more about learning consumption trends by downloading the Lean Into Learning Report. It covers in-depth 2022 learning data, trends, and the state of upskilling.

10. Employee Morale

Developing stronger teams is a leading challenge for one-quarter of IT decision-makers as they try to fortify their departments with the capabilities to transform their organizations.

In doing so, employee morale must be a part of the effort.

“Great leaders hold themselves and their teams accountable. You can't do this successfully without empathy,” writes Rashim Mogha, General Manager, Leadership and Business, at Skillsoft. “Understanding where your team members are coming from, helping them fail fast, and stay engaged is an essential leadership skill. Empathic leaders connect with their team members beyond business outcomes to ensure good work.”

If feelings of apathy or dissatisfaction set in, it becomes harder to rally the team around strategic initiatives or even inspire workers to continue trudging through the daily grind.

For those in leadership, you must work within your means. Naturally, you can’t always give out promotions and raises to increase employee morale. But even smaller, sometimes overlooked, steps can help.

Consider taking these actions to help your team thrive:

  • Recognize your employees’ efforts and praise their work.
  • Validate their contributions, suggestions and opinions.
  • Grant them more opportunities to work on skills that matter to them.
  • Encourage them to pursue a new certification. (41% of IT professionals say they felt more engaged at work after earning a certification.)
  • Work on the team culture by listening, gathering feedback and enacting change when it makes sense to.

Read next: What Do Great Leaders Have in Common, and How Do You Nurture More of Them?

Real People, Real Impact: Sexual Harassment Wed, 01 Mar 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

“Do you really think that educated grown men need to be taught not to grope their coworkers?” asked Louise Fitzgerald, a psychology professor and sexual harassment researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Do congressmen really not know that they aren’t supposed to pull their genitals out or greet a staffer at the door wearing a towel? The fact that people don’t know, well, that is nonsense.”

According to Fitzgerald, the point of sexual harassment training should not wholly be to educate employees on what constitutes harassment. Instead, it should help victims better understand what they can do about it.

This is especially important when we realize that one in fifteen in fifteen people (6.3 percent) have experienced sexual violence and harassment at work – with women being the most exposed (8.2 percent of women compared to 5.0 percent of men).

Yet, roughly 58% of women harassed at work do not file complaints, whether from fear of retaliation or concern that their managers will not believe them. Why is this happening, and what role can sexual harassment training play in improving women’s comfort and trust in reporting the harassment they experience?

Let’s take a look at one woman’s story.

Rula’s Experience

Rula had just gotten a job at a large corporation when she was approached by a coworker who claimed he was her mentor. He had a secure position at the company and was very friendly and personal with Rula – the first day they met, he walked her to her car and asked for her phone number.

As a new hire and mentee, Rula assumed that the coworker wanted to learn more about her professionally. However, it soon became clear to her that this wasn’t the case.

Rula admitted: “Anytime you invade somebody’s personal space, it’s uncomfortable. When it’s a member of the opposite sex, even more so.”

She was concerned that her mentor was not teaching her what she needed to know to be successful in her new role. Instead, he consistently talked to her about himself and began saying things like, “You’re so hot,” or “You should come over and take a dip in my pool.” He even made inappropriate remarks about her body.

“It’s not a good feeling,” Rula said. “It wasn’t flattering; it was creepy.”

Rula tried to advocate for herself and told him to stop, but it didn’t make a difference. When she finally decided that she’d had enough, she spoke with her manager -- not about the harassment, but about getting a new mentor. Her request was granted, and two other women at the office approached her and mentioned they were grateful that somebody finally spoke up.

Because Rula didn’t go into specifics about her experience, nothing happened to the coworker until a different female coworker filed a sexual harassment complaint against him. He was eventually fired. This time, Rula was among the women at the office who expressed gratitude to that female coworker for speaking up.

Encourage Employees to Speak Up

Sexual harassment is difficult to navigate. As we can see from Rula’s experience -- and that of the other women at her office -- it can be difficult to know what to say to your harasser in the moment or how to help or intervene as a bystander.

Rula advises anyone experiencing this kind of treatment to be firm in the moment, know yourself, and know your boundaries. You should never be afraid to speak to someone and tell them precisely what happened, whether it is a coworker, manager, or supervisor.

This is sound advice but, as we know, hard to execute for many reasons. Knowing how you can help encourage your employees to speak up and not be afraid is important.

As an employer, it is essential to implement sexual harassment training that accomplishes three things:

DEFINES SEXUAL HARASSMENT. Training should help employees identify victims and the legal criteria for unlawful harassment. They should also be able to discern instances of sexual harassment that fall short of illegal harassment but are nevertheless unacceptable to your organization.

HELPS EMPLOYEES RECOGNIZE SEXUAL HARASSMENT. Through real-life examples, employees should be able to recognize unlawful sexual harassment whether they find themselves victims, onlookers, supervisors, or even those who may be misbehaving. Training should also expose unconscious biases that could lead to unintended discriminatory behavior.

PROVIDES A PATH TO ENDING THE HARASSMENT. Finally, the training should help those who feel they’re being harassed address the issue, from talking to the harasser, to seeking the help of a manager or HR, to understanding their right to seek redress with an outside agency, such as the EEOC. Further, those who observe inappropriate behavior should be encouraged to report it, knowing they are protected from retaliation.

Effective Sexual Harassment Training

Workplace harassment can have severe and lasting impacts on individuals. It can lead to physical and emotional stress, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, and decreased productivity. Additionally, victims of harassment may experience financial and career setbacks.

Creating a respectful and inclusive environment starts by educating employees on their pivotal role in eradicating harassment from the workplace. The best way to do this is through practical training, which needs to be:

EMOTIONAL. Explaining the legal ramifications of non-compliant behavior is essential; however, it is just the start. Effective anti-harassment training should spark a respectful dialogue about what behavior is inappropriate by providing an emotional relation to the examples presented in training.

ENGAGING. Regardless of rank, sexual harassment training is for everyone in the organization. Being transparent and vocalizing that an organization’s sexual harassment prevention policies apply to all levels is particularly important — sexual harassment is often pegged as an act of lust but, in reality, it is, more times than not, an abuse of power.

DIVERSE. Training should demonstrate cultural competence by instilling values and principles that promote behaviors, attitudes, and structures that enable employees to work effectively and cross-culturally. It should also communicate the value of diversity, the importance of self-assessment, and how employees can personally manage differences among coworkers.

Organizations need to prevent harassment through compliance training because it creates a safer and more positive work environment for all employees, leading to increased productivity, morale, and retention.

It is also crucial from a legal perspective, as harassment can result in costly lawsuits for organizations. By providing training and making it clear that harassment will not be tolerated, organizations can protect themselves and their employees from the harmful effects of harassment.

Creating a safe work environment where everyone -- from top to bottom -- feels protected from harassment will significantly improve the office dynamic, keep your team happy, increase productivity, and help your organization be as successful as possible.

This is the second installment in Skillsoft’s three-part series on workplace harassment, which includes intimidating, offensive, or abusive conduct. Whether it manifests as name-calling, physical assault, threats, or something else, workplace harassment can impact real people within your organization.

Rula is not alone. She is among more than eight percent of women globally who have experienced sexual harassment in their working life.

Learn why harassment training has historically failed and how you can make a real impact on your employees through effective training.

5 Things You Need to Know About Your Global Code of Conduct Thu, 23 Feb 2023 10:38:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Have your favorite ‘90s sitcoms aged well? If they haven’t, you probably know why. Content we considered acceptable 30 years ago simply may not hold up today – from outdated cultural references to insensitive jokes.

When you know better, you do better.

This is also true with respect to your organization’s code of conduct. The values that your company held to be true five years ago may not reflect your current zeitgeist. That’s why it is so important to create an effective code of conduct that holds up.

But how? I recently presented a 90-minute webinar for the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) on this topic and wanted to share some takeaways. You can sign up for the full webinar below to receive Compliance Certification Board (CCB) CEUs.

How to Create an Effective Code of Conduct

Some of the things that made for good television in the 90’s – relatable story, good writing, memorable, great cast, important life lessons – are some of the things that make for an effective Global Code of Conduct today.

For example, it is not effective to rely on long-worded, outdated Word documents written by your legal team. Today, the most performant codes feature good writing. They are shorter, easier to understand, and encourage interaction and feedback.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself as you look at your existing code:

Is it relatable? Is it tailored to your employees? Does your code clearly communicate any expectations for behavior for everyone at your organization? Does its tone and style reflect your organization’s culture?

Is it understandable? Is it written in plain language? Are your employees easily able to grasp the concepts that you are introducing? Is it searchable? Dynamic? Do you welcome feedback?

Is it memorable? What will your employees remember about the code? Are there key takeaways? Will they consult it beyond their annual required certification? Why would they consult it? For what should they consult it? How frequently do you update it?

Is it data-driven? Does data drive your code’s organization, prioritization, and effectiveness? Are the activities in your code actionable and measurable? Do you know whether anyone is reading your code? And if so, what sections?

Is it supported? Is your code supported from the top, down, ensuring that managers across the company demonstrate consistent leadership styles and meet employee expectations? What are the code’s “back up” documents? How are the messages in the code highlighted and reinforced?

Is it well-communicated? How are you sharing your code with your organization? Your team? What do you communicate about its relevancy and applicability? How frequently do the leaders in your organization mention and rely on your code? Do your suppliers and business partners abide by your code?

Why Does This Matter?

While it may seem like a lot to consider, understanding how your Global Code of Conduct might impact your organization can help you think through how to build, reshape, and enforce it. Compliance officers grapple with many of the same questions:

  • How does your code impact your organizational culture?
  • How frequently does it need to be updated?
  • How can you use data to inform updates?
  • Who is impacted by the training? What do they do? Where do they live?
  • Is your Global Code of Conduct rules-based? Values-based?

Training is something we all must do, and what we train on is largely a reflection of what’s in our code – the first impression we share with the world about what we believe matters in our organization.

During the live SCCE webinar, 43% of attendees cited a lack of relatability as the main challenge they are facing with their current code of conduct. At the same time, they pointed to relatability as being one of the most important elements of a successful code.

What’s the best way to address this gap as you’re looking at your own code? Think about your answers to the following questions:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What is your objective?
  • What hasn’t worked before?
  • What are your risks?
  • How will you measure effectiveness?

Your responses will impact how you communicate your code, and to whom. They will influence the tone of the document, the topics you cover, how often you make updates, and how you conduct necessary training.

Five Things You Need to Know to Develop an Effective Code


Is your code meant to be employee-facing or regulator facing? Is it meant to reassure investors or empower your team? Is it rules-based or values-based? It is up to you to decide what you need people to take away from it, who those people are, and to think about what this says about your organization.


Serving as a central reference point for all employees and stakeholders, your organization’s global code of conduct ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to making decisions in your workplace. It helps employees from diverse backgrounds work more effectively across geographic and cultural boundaries. Is that what you are working towards, or have you created a code of conduct to fulfill a legal requirement?


Does your code of conduct provide employees with the opportunity to provide feedback? Are they looking at it? Do they understand it? Does it resonate with them? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you might want to take another look. Sometimes, noticing what is not working for you is an easy way to figure out what might.


You need to complete regular assessments to understand any risks your organization is facing. Even if it is an informal risk assessment where you look at similarities across your cases to determine what topics your team might need to brush up on . . . you need to have a starting point, and a risk assessment provides that.


Encourage employees and others who have serious concerns about any aspect of your work to come forward and voice those concerns. Provide them with simple ways to raise those concerns and receive feedback on any action taken. Reassure employees that they will be protected from possible retaliation. Measure risk and improvement. This is how you know if you are making an impact.

An important note: Most companies don’t expect their team to memorize their entire code of conduct. It is meant to serve as a living, breathing resource that reflects your organization’s beliefs and expectations at any given time. Encourage employees to consult it. To ask questions about it. To think about how these risk areas apply to the work that they do.

At the end of the day, the most important thing that you can do to further your code of conduct is to meet learners where they are at. Communicate it in a way that they can understand. And remember: training is a teaching behavior. Learning, on the other hand, is an acquisition of knowledge.

Our goal should always be to learn and evolve. Just like our favorite television shows. What have you been watching lately – does it hold up?

Need assistance with your global code of conduct? We’re happy to help; contact us today.

Delivering a partnership built on learning solutions Wed, 22 Feb 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

How does a global manufacturing company rethink its compliance training for seven industries across five countries? With a lot of help from a partner in learning.

With 10 U.S. locations, plus operations in Belgium, Germany, Singapore, and China, consistent compliance training is obviously a non-negotiable for a global organization like Teknor Apex.

But there’s added challenge: “Because we’re a manufacturing organization, most of our frontline employees don’t regularly access a computer,” explains Rayna Sheldon, senior HR generalist for Teknor Apex, North America. “Previously, we would hold group training sessions, but of course, with many different locations, we wanted to ensure all employees were receiving a consistent message.”

A complete redesign

Teknor Apex needed a holistic, transformative solution. “One that covered compliance, but also provided our employees with training content to support their career development and growth,” Sheldon says.

Also a necessity: content that refreshed and updated as employment law changed, particularly with anti-harassment training in the U.S.

“We wanted an automated solution to keep the manual work out of it and reduce human error,” Sheldon explains. “We also needed a solution that would accommodate our global organization, so providing training in multiple languages was key. And then we needed an easy way to track course completion and be able to provide metrics out to the organization.”

It was a tall order, but Skillsoft had the solution.

A true learning partner

The ability to deliver a multi-language, automated learning program with reporting and data privacy made Skillsoft the best match for Teknor Apex’s needs. But there was another factor that tipped the scale in Skillsoft’s favor: From the beginning, Teknor Apex recognized Skillsoft as a partner in learning.

“Partnership is one Teknor’s core values, so it's something we weight heavily in new vendor selections,” Sheldon says. “It was clear from our initial conversations that Skillsoft had the same shared values and was looking for the right partnership as well.”

See how Skillsoft partnered with a global logistics company to deliver training in multiple languages.

What did that mean in practice? From planning to implementation, a Skillsoft implementation team worked with Teknor to brainstorm solutions within Percipio. Jessica Clement, Skillsoft’s implementation consultant, made sure Teknor Apex had the tools and resources to keep all parties on the same page.

“It was a complex, but smooth process,” Sheldon explains. “Jessica created a shared resources site, held weekly implementation meetings, and spent the time needed to address our questions and concerns. In that way, it felt our weekly meetings were really tailored to meet our needs.”

Teknor and Skillsoft designed a learning program with built-in e-mail notifications to keep employees and managers on track to complete their assignments on time. They also set up reporting capabilities that gave local HR teams full transparency into completion rates.

“It was important for us to have a way to communicate with our frontline managers about their employees’ upcoming compliance training assignments and training completion status,” Sheldon says.

See how Canon Business Process Services keeps managers “in the know” through engaging Q&As.

On the career development end, Teknor Apex launched a robust content library so employees can take meaningful training courses that align with their career goals.

Proof is in the polymer

At this point, Teknor Apex has successfully automated both initial and reoccurring compliance training. “It's almost like a set it and forget it type of deal,” Sheldon says.

The organization has tracked multiple wins.

“From a user experience lens, we've received such great feedback on the platform and learning experience,” Sheldon reports. “We have seen a tremendous amount of learner activity and employees are really excited about what Skillsoft has to offer.”

Reporting has helped Teknor Apex see how employees perform from a compliance standpoint. “We’ve had incredible completion rates with our compliance training, especially considering that the majority of our manufacturing employees, again, aren’t in front of a computer all day,” Sheldon says.

And on the content end, Teknor Apex successfully fulfilled its goal to offer employees a content library focused, in part, on career development – with some surprising results.

“We've had a lot of employees taking Excel training,” Sheldon says. “It makes you realize how hungry employees are even for basic training, as well as business and soft skills content.”

Support in numbers

What Teknor Apex’s HR team gathered about its employees’ learning consumption follows a national trend.

In Skillsoft’s 2022 Lean Into Learning Report, we looked at learning by industry, most popular learning topics, and more. The top five trending topics across disciplines via Skillsoft Percipio?

  1. Cloud Security
  2. Virtual Work in the New Normal
  3. Written Communication
  4. Excel
  5. Communication Essentials

While the need for basic skills may have surprised Teknor’s HR department, they’re totally in line with what learners seek right now.

Skillsoft’s ‘Lean Into Learning Report’ also found that employees want to work for organizations that can provide growth opportunities and learning and development that leads to more enriching and rewarding careers.

If organizations want the kind of growth that comes from dedicated, long-term employees, it’s up to them to provide these enriching opportunities.

Want to learn how Skillsoft can help redesign your organization in compliance training and leadership & business skills? Visit us to learn more.

Tech Layoffs Aside, Workers (and Skills) Remain in Demand Fri, 17 Feb 2023 09:30:00 -0500 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

You've likely noticed posts on social media from some of the 60,000+ tech workers who've been laid off in just the past month (or 100,000+ in 2023 so far). Some felt blindsided or insulated from cuts — only to realize the sinking feeling of being let go.

Survey data from Skillsoft's annual IT Skills and Salary Report shows most tech professionals felt at least somewhat good (47%), or even extremely good (36%), about their job security in the fall. Seemingly, not many would've guessed big-tech companies letting thousands go amid concerns of an economic recession.

But a common theme found in the endless scroll has been an outpouring of encouragement, with people offering to make introductions, pass along resources or even lend their time to talk. (If you're in the market, search #Hiring on LinkedIn to see for yourself.)

While it's left many feeling like the rug has been pulled from beneath them, these difficult times also give way to new opportunities.

This wave of tech layoffs comes at a time when tech skills are in demand and the labor market remains trying for organizations across industries, many desperate for skilled talent.

"Every company is in some sense a technology company right now. And for coders, engineers and AI experts and data experts, these people can find a place in so many other industries," Carolina Milanesi, a consumer tech analyst for the research firm Creative Strategies, told NPR.

For those impacted by the tech layoffs, this may come as some semblance of good news. For employers, perhaps less so.

Atta Tarki, founder and chairman of staffing firm ECA Partners, put it this way: "Instead of having an abundant talent pool to recruit from, companies find themselves fighting over a tiny talent puddle."

In this way, workers impacted by these historic layoffs may find an organization that has an immediate need for their skills sooner rather than later.

Jobs in Cloud, Data Science and Cybersecurity Are the Hardest to Fill

IT leaders listed talent retention and recruitment as their leading challenges going into 2023, according to Skillsoft's annual report. The areas with the greatest need? Cloud computing, data science, cybersecurity, DevOps and application development.

These same IT leaders say they struggle to hire candidates with the skills they need or find it difficult to attract talent to their industries. In turn, these gaps in capability strain their departments by adding more stress to team members.

All this is to say that while many have felt the sting of these tech layoffs, there are organizations out there (right now!) eager to extend an offer letter to skilled workers. A win-win for many.

Read next:Can't Hire Enough Tech Workers? Johnson & Johnson Found a Solution

Tech Workers Want Opportunities to Learn and Grow Their Careers

Most IT leaders (66%) say they struggle with skills gaps. While the lion's share of these leaders say they plan to train their existing staff to close gaps, almost 20% have plans to hire more team members.

Now that tens of thousands of highly skilled workers landed on the market, this may be the opportunity for some businesses to close their gaps.

However, this may also be a time to scrutinize their hiring requirements.

Millions of tech workers in the United States have been passed up by companies that require a college degree for employment, while dismissing the important tech skills that candidates have.

Resume-scanning bots and arbitrary hiring standards overlook candidates who don't meet requirements like these, keeping hard-working, qualified candidates out of tech roles. This so-called paper ceiling enables gaps and disparities in tech to grow, in spite of a great need for workers.

Recruiting teams must constantly find ways to promote equity in their hiring practices. Doing so will benefit their clients or organizations, while also giving someone the chance they need to break into a life-changing career.

Once organizations manage to recruit the talent they need, they must invest in employees' ongoing skills development, their careers and future. This investment in talent can lead to several benefits for not only the individual but the organization as a whole, including a greater competitive advantage. It also helps build a team's confidence and loyalty.

Consider this data from the IT Skills and Salary Report. Many IT professionals end up leaving their employer due to a lack of professional development opportunities.

Impacted by the Layoffs? Consider This Next…

Being laid off from a job can feeling dizzying at first. It's disruptive, scary, frustrating. Naturally, take the time you need to process the situation and work through the ramifications before taking on anything extra.

When you're ready to start sending out resumes or connecting with recruiters, consider taking the actions below to stand out in the job market.

Read also:4 Steps to Take After Being Laid Off [Codecademy]

Diversify Your Skillset

Adding new skills to your toolkit can open new opportunities, boost your confidence, and help attract recruiters. By taking the initiative to learn new skills, it demonstrates to potential employers your drive and commitment to furthering your career.

In between applying for jobs or interviewing, consider exploring courses on topics you've been interested in learning more about. Skillsoft offers a deep portfolio on a number of courses — many you can access for free — on topics ranging from cybersecurity and cloud computing to Agile or Python, Java and more.

Work Toward a New Certification (or Badge)

Much like adding new skills to your portfolio, certifications can help attract recruiters and potential employers. The highest percentage of IT leaders believe certified staff add $30,000+ in value to their organizations versus non-certified staff. They see certifications as a trustworthy sign of one's skillset and clearly value them.

If a certification is too much to take on right now, work toward a badge. Learners earn badges when they complete courses with Skillsoft. Like a certification, once you've successfully completed a course, usually after passing a test, you get a digital badge that serves as a mark of completion.

As you earn new certifications or badges, make sure to add them to your LinkedIn profile and brag about your progress.

Heads up: Skillsoft has dozens of free prep guides for popular certifications from Microsoft, AWS, Google and others. Find them here.

Build a Portfolio that Reflects Your Work

If you don't already have one, consider building a website to showcase your work. A portfolio like this helps demonstrate your capabilities to hiring managers. A website or portfolio is a great way to extend and complement your LinkedIn profile and share more about your experience.

Our friends at Codecademy offer 6 tips on what to include on your website to land a job in tech. Read them here.

Learn About More Trends in Tech

Read Skillsoft's annual IT Skills and Salary Report to learn how IT professionals rate their job satisfaction, key challenges, and compensation.

Real People, Real Impact: Workplace Violence Wed, 15 Feb 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

More people than you know experience workplace harassment. Even at your organization. Maybe even you.

Workplace harassment is prevalent and pervasive. It may include physical, verbal, sexual, or emotional harassment. Today, we’re talking about workplace violence – a type of physical harassment at work.

Here are some characteristics of workplace violence:

  • Workplace violence is pervasive. There are roughly two million victims of workplace violence each year in the United States alone.
  • Workplace violence is dangerous. Assault – physical harm or unwanted physical contact – is the fifth leading cause of workplace deaths.
  • Workplace violence is scary. Would you believe that 68% of workers worldwide do not feel safe at work? At least a fourth of victims do not report workplace violence incidents out of fear or embarrassment.
  • Workplace violence is expensive. Workplace violence costs organizations up to $330 billion every year.

Violence at work creates a toxic environment that leads to decreased trust and morale among employees, as well as a lack of respect for authority. Particularly if violence is allowed to permeate, it will lead to reduced productivity and lower output and quality of work.

But more importantly, workplace violence has a profoundly negative impact on employee mental health and well-being – especially among its direct victims.

Fabricio’s Experience

Meet Fabricio. Fabricio is a victim of workplace violence. He’s a real person – just like you and me.

Almost immediately after Fabricio started a new job at a hotel, one of his coworkers expressed discomfort about working with him. The coworker began making remarks that were unrelated to work. In a particular incident, he said to Fabricio, “Why don’t you go back to your country?”

This wasn’t an isolated comment. Fabricio dealt with verbal harassment on multiple occasions, including in front of his supervisor. “He didn’t do anything about it,” Fabricio said. The offensive comments intensified, soon targeting Fabricio’s sexual orientation.

And the harassment didn’t stop there. It only escalated.

What could Fabricio’s manager have done? Learn about ethical leadership here.

The coworker physically attacked Fabricio during an overnight shift at the hotel. While he was taking a break in his car, the coworker came to the parking lot and began circling the vehicle. The coworker knocked on the window and tried to open the door. Fabricio defused the situation by telling him they should talk later.

Later, at the end of Fabricio’s shift, the coworker stormed out of the hotel unprovoked and began repeatedly punching him in the parking lot. Fabricio was defenseless and tried to protect himself by dodging as many punches as possible, but eventually, he was stabbed in the heart. With his life still in danger, Fabricio managed to push off his attacker and drag himself back inside the hotel.

Understand the Impact of Workplace Violence

Although Fabricio’s life was miraculously saved, the incident still impacts him today: “I had open-heart surgery. I have a scar that reminds me every single day of the event. And I take some medications because of the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) that it caused me.”

One of the most significant adverse impacts of workplace violence is its permanent effect on employee mental health and well-being which inevitably, particularly if they are suppressing it, leads to decreased job satisfaction, motivation, and performance.

In severe cases such as Fabricio’s, physical violence in the workplace can even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.

“It feels like I am less of a person,” admits Fabricio. “It feels like I was dealt a bad hand. It was very hard.”

Learn How Your Organization Can Address Workplace Violence

While workplace violence is more common than any of us would like to believe, there are steps that your organization can take to protect employees.

Adopt a zero-tolerance policy.

Set expectations across your organization that workplace violence will not be tolerated. Create specific punishments for breaking this rule that will immediately apply to all employees. Ensure that even people in positions of authority do not have the power to punish employees for infractions subjectively.

Stop it before it starts.

Preventing and stopping workplace harassment and punishing employees who commit harassment can have a direct benefit to preventing workplace violence. Educate your employees on what harassment looks like, what to do about it, and how to intervene as a bystander are key components to preventing harassment that turns to violence.

Educate employees on workplace violence.

Would your employees know how to diffuse the situation if workplace violence occurs? Many organizations incorporate workplace violence into their compliance training programs to help prepare employees to stay safe when/if workplace violence occurs. Help your employees to practice procedures and develop the skills they may need to diffuse a challenging situation.

Look for warning signs.

Warning signs of workplace violence include volatile behavior, excessive absenteeism or lateness, disregarding the health and safety of others, disrespect for authority, unsatisfactory work quality, and more. Educate your employees on these warning signs and provide them with clear directions on reporting potential issues.

Conduct regular risk assessments.

It is your responsibility as an employer to assess your worksites and uncover potential risks. Once you have done this, you can work to implement controls to mitigate the risk of violence.

Provide employee support and resources.

Help employees understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to preventing and reporting acts of violence in the workplace. Ensure they have the knowledge and skills to prevent and address violence in the workplace so they can help your organization create a safer and more productive work environment.

Workplace violence is a serious issue that impacts people's lives and livelihoods and can also negatively impact organizations and their employees. By implementing practical compliance training and other measures, organizations can help prevent and address workplace harassment and violence, creating a safer and more productive work environment for all.

This has been the first installment in Skillsoft’s three-part series on workplace harassment, which includes intimidating, offensive, or abusive conduct. Whether it manifests as name-calling, physical assault, threats, or something else, workplace harassment can have a real impact on real people within your organization.

Fabricio is not alone. He is among 44% of people who have experienced harassment at work.

Learn why harassment training has historically failed and how you can make a real impact on your employees through effective training.

What Did We Learn About Learning in 2022? The Employer-Employee Social Compact Reigns Tue, 14 Feb 2023 08:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

While many employees have returned to a changed office culture — be it remote, hybrid or in-office — the philosophy around work is the real change in 2022.

Catchphrases like The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, and Quick Quitting proved it was a year in of shifting power to employees. With employers under intense pressure to stay abreast of — and ahead of — digital transformation, they needed to constantly stay competitive. And employees often looked elsewhere for new opportunities.

In Skillsoft’s just-released 2022 Lean into Learning report, read about those changes, key trends, and ways organizations can stay relevant in 2023. Here is a glimpse into what we’ve learned about learning over the past year.

A New Social Compact

How has the philosophy around work evolved? The biggest difference is that big paychecks are no longer the only draw for employees. In addition to compensation, they want company purpose, vision, social responsibility, and investment in their own future.

And for employers, staying competitive means finding, hiring, and retaining a skilled workforce. In this market, it’s more difficult, time-intensive, and expensive than ever.

The answer? A new social compact between workers and companies. If employers want the best skills and retention from their people, it’s up them to prove how they can invest in employees’ futures and help them grow. In practical terms, that means learning and skilling opportunities.

As the report indicates, building a culture around learning not only closes skills gaps, but signals to employees “we’re investing in you.”

Yes, There Is a Talent Shortage

These days, every company is a tech company and businesses constantly need new talent to stay relevant. Which is why leaders named the talent shortage — or “skills gaps” — as the No.1 threat to their business. And unfortunately, those gaps will only grow. “ According to Korn Ferry, by 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people.

Because recruiting is difficult and hiring is expensive, the most sustainable way organizations can combat against these gaps is by upskilling and investing in current employees.

Employees Want to Power Up

According to the report, Business & Leadership learning hours on the Percipio platform are up 32% from last year, showcasing the growing importance of power skills.

Employees are savvy and want to be great leaders. While tech skills will always be crucial, it’s the people skills — adaptable to any role — that truly make employees invaluable.


  1. Written Communication
  2. Unconscious Bias
  3. Virtual Work in the New Normal
  4. Working Remotely
  5. Communication Essentials

DEI Is Paramount

Forward-thinking organizations now recognize that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is much more than a “nice to have.” Making inclusivity a priority leads to innovation, and innovation leads to growth. And this year proved that a robust DEI learning program - designed for learners and leaders alike - is a foundational first step.


  1. Workplace Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Action
  2. Becoming a DEI Ally and Agent for Change
  3. Understanding Unconscious Bias
  4. Moving from Bias to Inclusion in a DEI Journey
  5. Adopting an Inclusion Mindset at Work

Gender Equality Goes On

According to the report, “women who work for companies that focus on gender equality experience a higher percentage of productivity, mental well-being, job satisfaction, inclusive behavior, and loyalty to their employers.”

So, it stands to reason that gender education is a win-win for both employer and employee.

While the 2022 top courses on women and leadership remain consistent with those from 2021, the real story is the number of people investing their time in these courses.

According to the report, in 2021, nearly 1.7 million learners were curious to know how women could be valued more in the corporate world. In 2022 that figure rose to 12%. It’s not a huge jump, but it’s a start.

Let’s Talk It Skills & Salary

Lean into Learning also dives into the findings from Skillsoft’s 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report. For IT employees globally, North America continues to lead salaries with an overall base of $108,165. EMEA was next with $67,711, Asia Pacific followed with $57,710, and for Latin American, the average base salary for IT employees was $48,771.

One of the most important takeaways is that IT professionals see real value in the connection between professional development and training, and salary.

Happiness at Work

Of the IT professionals polled, 73% said they’re satisfied with their chosen field and 37% say they feel extremely good about their job security.

Across industries, employees are more likely to switch job roles than employers. While less than a quarter switched employers in the past year, more than half of our respondents are planning to make a switch. The No. 1 reason for doing so? Compensation.

All this shows that employers need to invest in employees now, before their talent looks for job satisfaction elsewhere.

Prioritizing CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) — or the way organizations behave ethically, give back, and safeguard the health and welfare of people and planet — is a trend that’s here to stay. While CSR is typically spearheaded by executive leadership or human resources, in this new era, it resonates with employees as well.

More than 60% of the respondents from Skillsoft’s 2022 CSR Report saw an uptick in CSR interest and investment from both employers and employees. In fact, the vast majority report that they would leave a company that didn’t support CSR efforts.

And when it comes to getting employees involved, 37% of survey respondents say that offering training opportunities to help scale CSR initiatives across the organization makes a big impact on a program’s success.

The Future of Learning: What About 2023 Predictions?

While 2022 has been a wake-up call for both employers and employees, what does 2023 have in store?

Mark Onisk, Skillsoft Chief Content Officer, says employees will need a high level of proficiency in multiple skills. “In the tech world, for instance, developers can’t just be focused on building front end applications,” Onisk says. “They also need to be able to do the back end, or full-stack. Now, full-stack extends to every function whether it be sales, marketing, operations, product, or technology.”

Asha Palmer, Skillsoft SVP of Compliance Solutions, says 2023 will be the year of the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer (CECO). “Even if your organization has the most gorgeous code of conduct that has ever been written, if you have not moved ethics and compliance to an executive role responsible for the cultural stability in your organization, you’re at risk for misconduct,” Palmer says. “Your CECO should be critically analyzing what’s working — and what’s not working — for your organization and helping to build your corporate culture.”

The key takeaway of the 2022 report? Organizations need to take stock. Are in-house learning opportunities all they could be? What can you do to be the type of employer that attracts and retains workers? And if you’re not where you want to be, what’s the best place to start?

Get answers, useful insights and more predictions from 2022.

How Does Your Role Influence Your CSR Perspective? Fri, 10 Feb 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Sometimes I think about how people learn to do the right thing. Is it innate? Do we learn it from family or friends? School? Work? Our chosen occupation?

For me, it’s been a combination of these factors. But I can pinpoint with some precision where I began to fully recognize the value of corporate citizenship and expect the company I work for to make a positive impact on society. That was at United Parcel Service (UPS).

I spent the first ten years of my career at UPS, holding various leadership assignments in sales and operations. While I was there, I learned that UPS does a lot of philanthropic work. Most recently, the company donated $2 million to the United Way’s COVID-19 relief effort.

From the website:

Together, UPS and United Way have been building stronger communities across the country since 1982. Every day, UPSers are volunteering, donating, and speaking up to make their communities better places to live and raise families.

UPS was the first global corporate partner to raise $1 billion in contributions to United Way . . . our partnership helped almost 80,000 children get literacy support, more than 34,000 youth with job skills training, and connected some 1,200 veterans with jobs. At the same time, UPS partners with United Way across the country to put an end to human trafficking, training their drivers and community agencies to spot the signs and donating to that cause.

When you know better, you do better. And what I liked about UPS was that it encouraged employees to do better every day. That idea has become foundational to my approach to corporate citizenship today.

As human beings we have a responsibility to each other – and to ourselves – to do the right thing. To help where we can, and to make an impact from the platform on which we stand – whether that be the company at which we work, a community group, or our own conscience.

I’m heartened to see that companies around the world are increasingly philanthropic these days.

To name a few examples, Bosch announced that 400 of its global locations are now climate neutral. Canvas shoe brand, TOMS, donates one-third of its profits to grassroots campaigns. And Frito Lay created a solar power plant to reduce its manufacturer’s dependance on coal-powered electricity – ultimately reducing its carbon footprint.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) — or the way organizations behave ethically, give back, and safeguard the health and welfare of people and planet — is a trend that’s here to stay. And while CSR is typically led by executive leadership or human resources, it resonates deeply with employees as well.

The Skillsoft team recently surveyed more than 1,000 people across various industries, geographies, and job roles, to learn how they believe the organizations they work for are impacting society with their CSR efforts, big and small.

While our CSR at Work report focused on high-level trends, we saw an opportunity to dive deeper. We wondered: How does your role at work influence your perspective on CSR? Here’s what we found.

C-suiters are overly optimistic about CSR maturity

When polled about the maturity of their organizations’ CSR program, employees at different levels had very different opinions. The c-suite is most likely to define their CSR program as “quantitatively managed,” while VPs are most likely to define their CSR program as “managed.” Directors, managers, and individual contributors — on the other hand — are most likely to define their CSR program as merely “defined.”

Why the gap in perspective? Could it be that the c-suite is out-of-touch with the reality of a mature CSR program? Or is it overconfident about the organization’s output?

Either way, our research shows that the higher up you are in the corporate ladder, the farther along you assume your CSR program is in maturity.

A Frontiers research study on organizational psychology points to the root of this over confidence. The study shows that a CEO’s prior CSR experience may positively affect the firm’s current CSR activities. According to the study, “…CEO overconfidence influences the diffusion of CSR activities. The authors theorize that overconfident CEOs are influenced more by the corporate strategies they experienced on other boards and less by the corporate strategies experienced by other directors.”

Individual contributors feel out of touch with CSR programs

When it comes to steering CSR initiatives, who exactly is in the driver’s seat? According to our research, it’s the higher-ups. When polled, 47% of c-suiters said CSR priorities come from their own department. Other stats:

  • VPs say that VPs (18%) and the c-suite (17%) drive CSR priorities
  • Directors say directors (14%) drive CSR priorities, as well as the c-suite (12%)
  • Managers say the c-suite (24%) drives CSR priorities, followed by managers (19%)
  • Individual contributors say the c-suite (24%) drives CSR priorities

While most respondents agreed that the c-suite is primarily responsible for driving CSR priorities, manager-level employees and above took a significant level of ownership over this responsibility.

Individual contributors overwhelmingly believe that the c-suite drives priorities —perhaps suggesting that they don’t feel ownership over the CSR agenda at their level or their organization.

One thing’s for certain: transparency is key to setting and meeting CSR goals, and helping all employees feel involved. I recently wrote about how publishing an annual CSR report is one of the main ways that organizations can share their CSR progress. It can help to communicate key information about their corporate culture, commitment to employees’ mental health, and social responsibility efforts.

What’s the CSR plan? It depends on who’s leading it.

When it comes to an organization’s internal strategy, studies show that employees from the top down are not clear. In fact, according to an article by MIT Sloan Management Review, most organizations fall short when it comes to strategic alignment. “Our analysis of 124 organizations revealed that only 28% of executives and middle managers responsible for executing strategy could list three of their company’s strategic priorities,” state the authors.

The same applies to CSR priorities — in our research, employees said it’s less about an overarching plan, and more about who’s managing backstage.

Both c-suite and managers say that sustainability roles drive CSR priorities. On the other hand, VP and director-level roles say that HR drives priorities. And individual contributors name compliance, followed by HR and sustainability roles as CSR priority-leaders.

The results also show that when sustainability roles lead, the CSR priority tends to be reducing carbon footprint. When HR has its say, CSR priority is DEI. And when the compliance team is king, CSR priority is participating in fair trade.

Based on these results, an organization’s CSR program might focus on any number of priorities, depending on who’s in charge.

Good news: CSR interest is on the rise

More than 60% of our respondents report an uptick in CSR interest and investment from both employers and employees. In fact, according to a Gartner survey, 68% of employees would consider leaving their employer for not taking a stronger stance on CSR.

And when it comes to getting employees involved, our Skillsoft survey reported 37% of respondents say that offering training opportunities to help scale CSR initiatives across the organization makes a big impact on a program’s success.

For employers, that means providing CSR learning opportunities could give your organization the competitive edge — both in hiring and retaining talent.

Skillsoft offers a complete learning catalog with more than 1,000 assets on Environmental, Social Responsibility, and Corporate Governance (ESG). From “The Effects of Environmental Change on Business” to “Activating DEI Culture Shifts,” there’s truly a course for every area of CSR.

But not only that, Skillsoft is a good corporate citizen – reimagining what it looks like to be a responsible business through the lens of our corporate values. I can only hope that our efforts can inspire others in the way that UPS inspired me. We all have a lot to learn!

Who Is Responsible for Toxic Workplace Culture? New Ruling May Surprise You Thu, 09 Feb 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Last month the Delaware Court of Chancery ruled that the duty of oversight applies to both officers (executive-level employees) and directors (members of the Board of Directors) of an organization.

Here’s an overview of the decision, what it means, and how it might impact you.

Diving Deep: McDonald’s Corporation’s Culture & Its CHRO

David Fairhurst, former chief people officer at McDonald’s Corporation, was fired in 2019 for both participating in and “consciously ignoring red flags” about pervasive sexual misconduct at the company. He wasn’t necessarily an ethical leader, but was he the one ultimately responsible for upholding McDonald’s corporate culture?

Oversight has traditionally been the obligation of an organization’s board of directors. But, on January 25, 2023, the Delaware Court of Chancery decided that shareholders will be able to sue Fairhurst for allowing a culture of sexual harassment during his tenure.

This is the first time that a corporate officer may be held accountable for oversight – bringing up some necessary questions about what happens next.

Ask the Experts: What the Ruling Means for CHROs

To get some additional clarity on this issue, I sat down this week with Partners Jonathan Stemerman and Andrew Lolli of Armstrong Teasdale LLP, a prominent law firm.

According to Lolli, “There are really two kinds of claims that have existed under Delaware law for a long time.”

  • Red Flag Claim: According to a decision in 1963, Graham v. Allis-Chalmers, a company’s Board of Directors has a duty to do something about any information it receives to protect the company. “But, the Board of Directors doesn’t have a duty to go out and actively seek that information,” said Lolli.
  • Information Systems Claim: Fast forward 33 years to the In re Caremark Intern, Inc. Derivative Litigation case, which expands the duty of the Board of Directors to put Information Systems in place to actively seek information – and then act on it.

The McDonald’s decision said – for the first time – that officers owe these same duties to their corporations as a Board of Directors. “The reason everyone is talking about this decision is because a Delaware court has said for the first time that corporate officers – like directors – have the duty of oversight,” said Stemerman. “This means that corporate officers now have a legal obligation to report and address red flags within the area of the company they operate.”

Some familiar with the case are wondering why the duty of oversight has been extended to officers.

Lolli assured me: “A company’s Board of Directors doesn’t typically run the day-to-day operations of the company; that’s the role of professional managers and the c-suite. In the real world, the c-suite executives are the people that implement information systems and take action on any red flags they may uncover internally – not the Board of Directors.”

The McDonald’s decision extends the role of oversight explicitly to officers, but this is something that ostensibly takes place now. Lolli said, “There might be CEOs and CFOs looking over their shoulder that weren’t before, but this ruling just formalizes an existing framework that many people thought should already be applicable to officers.”

Stemerman agreed, adding: “It’s not a huge leap to say that officers also have duty of oversight. It just took a long time to get there legally.” But, for those who might be worried about potential repercussions, he hastened to add: “As an officer, as long as you do something in good faith when you learn of a situation to address it, you’ve probably insulated yourself to being found liable down the road.”

Learning from What McDonald’s Corporation’s Officers Did – and Didn’t – Do

According to the court records, McDonald’s displayed a pattern of bad behavior that started around 2016. It is likely that the #MeToo movement helped to bring the company’s pervasive culture of sexual harassment into focus, and by 2018 employees in ten cities went on strike in protest.

At that point, the company finally acted – putting policies and training programs into place to address employee concerns. Fairhurst was a part of those efforts, so the court will limit his liability to before he acted. But is it reasonable to infer that even though Fairhurst was a part of the remediation process that he only paid lip service to it?

Does your organization have training programs in place for a safe, inclusive workplace?

Lolli posed the question: “When an officer, or a director for that matter, has taken action to address a known problem – is that good enough? Do we take them at their word?”

The McDonald’s decision suggests otherwise. What McDonald’s was saying it was doing to mitigate sexual harassment was at odds with what employees said was happening on the ground. That’s one reason why it is so important for organizations to do a 360-degree review of the systems they have in place, their corporate culture, their work environments, how they deal with big problems. Talk to individuals on the ground, in your offices. Empower people to understand what sexual harassment looks like and how to report it.

McDonald’s had a zero-tolerance policy in place against sexual harassment. Yet, instead of enforcing the policy as it was written, the Board of Directors simply docked Fairhurst’s compensation – essentially giving him a slap on the wrist.

What is your organization’s policy on workplace harassment?

“If your policy is zero tolerance, and you respond with something other than zero tolerance, have you addressed the problem at all?” questioned Lolli. “As [Stermerman] correctly pointed out, traditionally, taking any remedial action to address a red flag provided directors with a degree of insulation from liability. But McDonald’s took remedial action against Fairhurst and the claim still survived a motion to dismiss. In theory, the decision opens up a potential crack in the foundation of the law as it has existed until now. It’s possible that remedial action which is inconsistent with the company’s own policies is incapable of providing a safe harbor to officers and directors in the wake of the McDonald’s decision. Only time will tell.”

What Can CHROs do to Limit Liability Right Now?

Lolli urges corporate officers to be proactive in light of the McDonald’s decision:

  • Review your Directors & Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance. D&O is often issued to protect the personal assets of corporate directors and officers, and their spouses, in the event they are personally sued for actual or alleged wrongful acts in managing a company. Lolli suggests that officers “get out your D&O policy, read it carefully, bring to your General Counsel, or private outside counsel, and make sure there is not some exception to coverage. Carriers may rewrite policies, challenge coverage, etc. You need to know where you stand.”
  • Meet with your General Counsel/Chief Legal Officer. Work with the legal team to perform a total review of your company’s existing information systems (which include your compliance systems) to ensure they are functioning properly. “No system is perfect, but companies need to demonstrate in good faith that they are following the law,” he said. “They can do so by periodically reviewing their information systems and reforming them where necessary. Additionally, it may be advisable to review any red flags that have been addressed recently to ensure that any remedial action is consistent with the company’s policies,” he added.

At the end of the day, Stemerman isn’t too concerned. “The business judgement rule is alive and well in Delaware,” he said. “The court will not second-guess good faith decisions made by the Board of Directors or other corporate officers. If you act in good faith and try to do what is right, you will be insulated from liability.”

The takeaway for directors and officers? If you find out about sexual harassment in your organization, do something about it. “If you can show you are actively handling the problem, you can likely have the case thrown out at the pleadings stage,” said Stemerman.

In closing, Lolli echoes this sentiment. His advice to companies? “Mean it. When you put company policies in place, mean it. You have to have real corporate values, to put in the work internally. Don’t be a test case. Nobody wants to be a test case.”

About Jonathan Stemerman

Jonathan Stemerman advises clients in a wide variety of complex litigation, transactional and insolvency matters. He concentrates his practice in the areas of corporate, commercial and bankruptcy litigation, as well as corporate transactions, workouts and restructurings.

Jon has represented clients in numerous corporate and complex commercial litigation cases in Delaware and Pennsylvania. He frequently litigates matters in Delaware’s Court of Chancery, including actions involving breach of fiduciary duty, business divorce, receiverships, and books and records requests. Additionally, he represents both plaintiffs and defendants in breach of contract actions and other complex commercial disputes in state and federal courts.

About Andrew Lolli

Andrew Lolli primarily focuses on complex commercial litigation, including securities, corporate, partnership structure and dissolution matters. He also has extensive experience with construction litigation, estate litigation, insurance litigation and electronic discovery.

Andrew is admitted in New York, but has appeared pro hac vice in Delaware.

The Value of Agile Methodology, Design Thinking and Visionary Application to Future-Proof Your Organization Thu, 09 Feb 2023 07:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

According to the World Economic Forum, closing the global skills gap could add $11.5 trillion to global GDP by 2028. Yet, in the technology space, as Skillsoft's 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report found, 66 percent of IT decision makers worldwide are facing critical skills gaps in their departments, specifically as it related to IT ops, agile product management, and agile project management.

The need to adopt agile practices is now imperative for the business to both create and develop leaders and transform the technical workforce to remain viable in the marketplace.

With this in mind, Skillsoft has developed a broad selection of agile learning resources and curated them into one clear and concise learning journey that enables agile stakeholders - individuals, teams, and organizations – to actively engage in the delivery of value in a complex and rapidly changing world.

And the journey is purpose-built for technical and non-technical learners with guides to direct the learning and build competencies:

  • Agile Collaboration -> Design Thinking: courses that teach how to help businesspeople and developers work together while adopting a customer-centric viewpoint and providing opportunity for all contributors to add value – thus, removing silos and improving collaboration with agile methodologies and practice.
  • Project Pathing -> Thought Leadership: content that initiates learning which leads to skills development with guided learning paths, that in turn, can be apply in practice to create a starting point and clear path across projects, transformations, roles and responsibilities – cultivating a digitally fluent and agile organization.
  • Learning that Extends the Team: Exercises that can be extended to on-the-job applications, putting learning into practice with verifiable, shareable, and portable digital badges to track and celebrate personal and team accomplishments along the way.

The Beginner: Learn Agile Fundamentals

Agility is needed for an organization to adapt to change, and agile thinking must be fostered and realized across the organization. Developing agile thinking will help ensure your organization doesn't get left behind, unable to compete in a market that is constantly changing.

Skillsoft Agile Career Journey introduces beginning learners to agile methodologies and provides a path to learning to apply agile for all those working across projects -- fostering agile project management and organizational change management, along with an agile practice guide for comprehension and retention.

As learners progress, they will learn that mindset matters as they develop the mental agility and resilience to thrive in uncertainty, while managing transformation without chaos.

Agile basics are also provided as a foundation to embrace agile at scale, drive agile product development and management, all while cultivating enterprise agility. By building agile capabilities in the organization, learners foster a setting to build collaborative product roadmaps aligned to customer feedback and needs, all to support the organization's goals.

The Practitioner: Expand Agile Knowledge

For the practitioner that has experience with agile methodologies and practice, Skillsoft Agile Career Journey focuses on design thinking positioned as a customer-centric approach to determining how to best meet customer needs. The course content advocates early stakeholder engagement in the co-creation and development of solutions.

Design thinkers enable organizations to deepen customer and supplier relationships and uncover a broader set of possible products and services to better meet customer needs. Practitioners will develop an understanding of the people for whom they’re designing their products or services and can pass that knowledge to their colleagues; thus, providing a positive and fruitful end user experience and happy customers.

Throughout the journey, practitioners will apply design thinking to master stakeholder engagement, customer service, while being trained to be a professional scrum master and product owner. Courses provide the necessary agile toolkit to cultivate business resilience, along with a practical guide to sustaining progress delivered at the needed pace.

Competencies include agile transformation of structures, processes and mindsets needed to transform the organization for the digital age, and the ability to leverage the power of uncertainty to build long-term resilience – leading to the use of design thinking and agile methodologies to determine how best to meet customer needs and encourage design thinking and agile methodologies in your organization.

The Expert: Tailor, Scale & Guide Company-Wide Agile Transformation

Today’s leaders must become digitally literate, develop an adaptable mindset, and embrace new tools. And in conquering these digital challenges, they grow as leaders. There are always new devices, systems, and programs being developed – and, as such, they need to be digitally fluent.

Skillsoft Agile Career Journey provides the thought leadership needed to cultivate digitally fluent visionary leaders to drive digital transformation strategies and a digital visionary mindset with a focus in technical communications essentials and scaling agile in the organization to remain technically competent, competitive and relevant.

With an agile approach, visionaries and leaders can transform the enterprise through collaborative leadership, dynamic strategy, and organizational flexibility, building a better organization and fueling growth to lead in a digital era – all by learning to navigate the swirl and manage crucial conversations for business transformation.

The agile leader is adaptive, can sense and seize opportunities, and is constantly on the lookout for change. Discover how agility can make you, your team, and your organization more innovative, more responsive, and more successful.

The a la Carte Learner: Incrementally Acquire Tools, Skills, and Specializations

For the focused learner who has experience with agile methodologies and practice, Skillsoft offers optional courses and a bookshelf to provide an opportunity to select from precise topics of interest. Whether you are building leadership skills, pursuing a certification or job role, or determining how to apply agile to your specific industry. Skillsoft’s free-standing courses, books, and audiobooks provide an opportunity to quickly expand your agile knowledge.

The Aglie Career Journey From Skillsoft

For organizations interested in investing in agile practices to transform their business, leaders and technical workforce to remain viable in the marketplace, look no further. Get started with Skillsoft Agile Career Journey today by requesting a demo.

The Most Effective Sexual Harassment Training Puts People First Wed, 08 Feb 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Most U.S. states don’t legally require anti-harassment training, but every company should make it a priority. Here’s why — and how — you should do it.

The sexual harassment scandals that hit the headlines tend to be the most shocking ones, characterized by long-term coverups and massive fines. In 2022, for example, television network CBS agreed to pay a $30.5 million settlement after it was determined that the company’s executive leaders knew about and covered up multiple sexual assault allegations against its former CEO. Likewise, in 2020, Google paid a $310 million settlement over accusations that the company hid the misconduct of Google executives and failed to prevent sexual harassment.

But actually, harassment is even more pervasive — and yet less visible — than these stories suggest. According to a report from the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO), 6.3 percent of employees worldwide — 205 million people — have experienced sexual violence and harassment at work. Many of these victims never go public. The ILO found that only 54.4 percent of victims share their experiences. When they do, they’re far more likely to tell close friends and family than to file official complaints.

Sexual harassment often goes undiscovered and unpunished, but its adverse effects are felt all the same. Studies show that sexual harassment damages team cohesion; increases employee turnover; hinders long-term financial performance; and stymies diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. And that’s to say nothing of the effect on employees. Research has linked sexual harassment with low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Sexual harassment is widespread and dangerous. It may even be happening in your organization right now, but employees may be too afraid to speak up. And yet, only 20 percent of U.S. workers live in states where sexual harassment training is mandatory.

Regardless of legal requirements, every company should provide employees with regular, relevant, empowering sexual harassment training so they know what harassment looks like, what to do if you see it or experience it, and where to go for refuge and relief. Here’s how to do it.

Where to Start with Sexual Harassment Training

While some states legally require training, the details of those requirements can vary widely. Some states clearly specify what training must be offered and when. New York, for example, requires that every company provides annual, interactive sexual harassment training.

Other states are less specific. Washington law requires sexual harassment training only at companies that employ “isolated workers” like housekeepers and security guards; it doesn’t stipulate the kind of training or set a schedule for when training must happen.

The takeaway is that laws and regulations can be useful guidelines when they exist, but only following mandates won’t lead to an effective anti-harassment program. So where should a company start?

At a basic level, a sexual harassment training program needs to clearly define what harassment is. Employees can’t recognize and stop misconduct if they don’t know what to look for. Courses on understanding & recognizing unlawful harassment, including applicable federal and state laws, should form the bedrock of any program.

Next, employees need to know what to do about harassment when they see it. Unfortunately, many people don’t have that knowledge. According to the ILO survey, a lack of clarity on proper reporting procedures is one of the main reasons people don’t speak up about harassment. Effective anti-harassment training must include courses that clearly explain how employees can report harassment, including both company-specific policies and legal avenues, and what happens after an employee reports harassment – importantly, what will be done about it and how the company promises to handle the claim.

But employees can only do so much on their own. An organization’s managers, executives, and Board pf Directors are responsible for ensuring harassment complaints are handled effectively. If they don’t have the knowledge and the tools they need to help employees, employees will lose confidence in the company and stop reporting altogether. For that reason, anti-harassment training must include courses tailored toward managers.

3 Keys to Creating an Empowering Anti-Harassment Program

But as we all know, covering the right topics is only the first step in crafting effective sexual harassment training. The topics need to be presented in ways that resonate with employees. How training is delivered can be the difference between a learning experience that is run-of-the-mill and one that makes the workplace safer for everyone.

Relevance, meaning, and emotion are the key ingredients to effective learning. Here’s how you can incorporate those factors into anti-harassment training.

1. Focus on People, Not Compliance

First, a caveat: It’s crucial that anti-harassment training complies with all relevant laws and regulations. Be sure to check the legal obligations in your state.

But anti-harassment training needs to be more than just “complying” or a tick-the-box exercise. Employees don’t find those kinds of programs very engaging, and if they aren’t engaged, they won’t retain what they’ve learned.

Instead, sexual harassment training should focus on the needs of the employees. For workers, sexual harassment isn’t an abstract legal concept. It’s an all-too-real problem that they, their coworkers, and their loved ones might face. The more human your training is, the more absorbing it will be. Employees will want to engage with the content rather than see it as a chore.

In particular, training should empower employees to advocate for themselves and others and intervene or escalate when needed. Consider grounding training in real-life examples, and include courses exploring nuanced topics like why people hesitate to report. Include bystander intervention training to help employees understand, empathize with, and intervene for coworkers facing harassment.

Courses on the benefits of creating a harassment-free workplace can also be helpful. Culture, productivity, DEI, and employee well-being all flourish when people feel safe at work. If employees understand this in concrete terms, they’ll be more invested in doing their part to end harassment.

2. Make Training Relevant

It’s common wisdom that training should be tailored to the individual learner to achieve the best results. Why, then, do so many sexual harassment training programs still take a one-size-fits-all approach?

You know your culture and your workforce. You know what kind of content resonates best with them. Employees trust training more when it reflects their lives, so consider adopting an anti-harassment training program that allows you to customize learning most relevant to your employees.

For example, Skillsoft’s workplace harassment training features an extensive library of interchangeable video content representing various workplace settings and audiences. Program leaders can choose from “standard” options, more aligned with typical training, and “edgier” options that more closely reflect the real world. The library also contains real people who have experienced, firsthand, the impact of harassment

It’s also important to deliver training and learning experiences frequently—on a regular, recurring basis. The language we use to talk about harassment and the practices we use to deal with it change over time. Those changes can happen quickly: Think about how rapidly the public conversation around sexual harassment evolved in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

By making training an ongoing activity rather than a one-time thing, you can ensure your employees can respond appropriately in real time to the situations in front of them.

3. Connect Training to Your Culture

No matter how engaging and relevant your anti-harassment training is, it won’t mean much to employees if they feel like the initiatives aren’t being supported and enabled within your organization. Employees need to see that the company takes harassment prevention seriously, and leaders and managers have a crucial role to play here.

Leaders and managers should exhibit the practices discussed in training, make space for employees to share their concerns, and communicate the importance of deterring and stopping harassment. When employees see their leaders modeling anti-harassment behaviors, they’ll find it easier to do their part in speaking up when they see harassment.

As a bonus, making anti-harassment training a real, lived part of the company culture can also encourage employee loyalty. When employees see the company walking the walk, they’ll feel more valued, respected, and cared for. That, in turn, fosters greater retention.

For Effective Anti-Harassment Training, Look Beyond the Law

Engaging, empowering anti-harassment training can have a massive return on investment for an organization. Employees experiencing harassment are roughly $22,500 less productive than their coworkers, and they’re 6.5 times more likely to leave their jobs.

Replacing these departing employees can cost as much as twice their salary. Effective training can significantly mitigate these costs while creating a culture of readiness in which employees feel safe, valued, and encouraged to act. All of that leads to a more efficient — and thriving — organization.

As a first step toward implementing impactful anti-harassment training, take a look at this interactive map of workplace harassment mandates by state. Familiarize yourself with any legal requirements your company may be under.

But don’t stop there. Compliance is just the beginning. Skillsoft can help you build a workplace harassment training program that meets your state’s mandates and empowers your employees to create a better workplace for everyone.

Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact™ Study: Organizations that invested in Skillsoft Leadership and Business Skills saw a 263% return on investment Mon, 06 Feb 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Organizations worldwide are seeing an increased need for leadership training and general business skills. The hybrid working model has proved valuable for employees and organizations, but leading remote teams and in-office workers simultaneously is an entirely new skill set. New leaders entering the workforce need training, and incumbent leaders need refreshed skills to deal effectively with an ever-changing working landscape. It’s not just leaders, either -- teams and individual contributors need up-to-date business skills, or they’ll struggle to thrive.

The way forward is by embracing continuous learning and development

The only thing we can count on is that things will change. New tools, industry philosophies and processes will invariably emerge to reinvent the business landscape. Organizations that can learn fast at scale will be able to turn change into opportunity. Therefore, a flexible, automated and comprehensive transformative leadership experience is essential for building, training and retaining a future-ready workforce.

This year, Skillsoft commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study to examine the potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises may realize by deploying our Leadership and Business Skills solution. As a result, a composite organization representative of interviewed customers that invested in Skillsoft’s solution saw a 263% return on investment over three years, and was able to instill a comprehensive set of company-wide leadership goals.

There is no more flexible or sustainable resource in an organization than its employees. Research shows that organizations can drive high achievement rates throughout their business by investing in an active learning and development program. Employees reward organizations with loyalty and productivity when they’re given the opportunity to learn at their own pace, explore the topics that excite them, and hone and expand their skills and knowledge.

To accomplish this, your organization needs a customizable, intelligent learning platform to build a true culture of learning and leadership. We’ll lead the way.

The Total Economic Impact™ of Skillsoft Leadership and Business Skills

The following findings by Forrester were the aggregate result of interviews conducted with six individuals from four organizations with experience using Skillsoft’s Leadership and Business skills training. Forrester combined their experiences to represent a single composite organization to demonstrate the potential ROI that can result from adopting Skillsoft’s solutions.

The Forrester study determined that using Skillsoft Leadership and Business Skills solutions provided the composite organization with significant benefits – adding up to a net present value (NPV) of $52.56M and an ROI of 263 percent over three years.

Here are some other insights we gleaned from the TEI study for the composite organization:

  • Upskilled employee base allowed organizations to fill skills gaps.
    Employees were more likely to learn and build skills after the deployment of Skillsoft. With fewer gaps to fill, the organization did less recruiting and saved $27.8 million in hiring and onboarding costs.
  • Eliminated legacy solutions saved $25.9 million in training costs.
    With Skillsoft in place, organizations eliminated subscriptions to legacy learning platforms and reduced demand for offsite training.
  • Increased end-user productivity freed up $9.2 million worth of time across the organization.
    Learners saved time whenever they logged on to Skillsoft’s intelligent learning platform, Percipio. They saved even more time using Skillsoft pre-populated learning pathways, Aspire Journeys, to deliver the optimal curriculum to prepare them for their next ideal job with virtually no planning effort on their part.
  • Reduced employee turnover saved an additional $9.2 million in recruiting costs.
    Investing in Skillsoft enabled the organization to deliver more significant employee benefits and culture improvements, leading to better employee retention.

After the investment in Skillsoft Leadership and Business Skills, the interviewees agreed that their development programs paved the way for a cohesive vision of leadership competency, empowered employees to seek the skills they needed, and allowed development professionals to be more productive and strategically focused.

Follow the link below to download and read the Forrester Consulting TEI study to learn more.

10+ Highly Rated Cybersecurity Courses to Take This Year Wed, 01 Feb 2023 10:58:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Cybersecurity demands professionals in the field stay up to date with what's happening around them because the stakes are high. Organizations across sectors see the cost of breaches rising year after year as bad actors refine their tactics.

(See the 7 Skills Cybersecurity Professionals Should Learn in 2023.)

The work and constant need to remain engaged can feel unrelenting, often taxing, but it's also what excites many analysts, engineers and practitioners about this line of work.

These professionals don't waiver from the challenge. They welcome the opportunity to learn something new, which can give them a leg up on threats or bad actors, while diversifying their unique skill sets. The security of their clients or employers depends on their knowledge to protect people, data and resources.

But what are security professionals learning? Which certifications or skills are they after? Even more important, which classes did they find truly helpful?

Cybersecurity professionals who train with Skillsoft can rate the course. Learners often base their ratings on several factors, like instruction, engagement, overall credibility and rigor, and more.

The courses below stand out from the rest as being some of the highest rated at Skillsoft, according to end-of-course survey results.

(You can gain access to them all for free by starting a trial of Percipio. Learn more about that here.)

CEH v11: Vulnerability Assessment, Management & Classification

This course will help those studying for the Certified Ethical Hacker exam learn about the main responsibilities of an ethical hacker at work. The focus, however, is on vulnerability assessments: what they are, how to carry one out, and the tools that will aid you along the way.

Learners who took the course favored it for the presentation of material and overall organization of the class, in addition to learning more about the subject itself. Here's another popular course from the CEH Channel: CEH v11: Web Application Hacking & Login Attacks.

What you'll learn:
  • The basics of vulnerability assessments
  • Vulnerability management lifecycle
  • Common tools and resources
Good to know:
  • Length: 52 minutes (3 videos)
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prep for CEH v11

CEH v11: Cloud Computing, Containers, Hacking & Security Controls

For those preparing to sit the CEH v11 exam, here's another that's worth your while. This covers why and how cloud services have been susceptible to security issues and provides instruction for how to reduce risk using common controls.

Much like its predecessor for the v10 prep, this course still covers the foundations of cloud computing that ethical hackers must know, but also delves into containers and technologies like Docker.

What you'll learn:
  • Cloud services, deployment models and architectures
  • Containers, Docker, orchestration
  • Using security controls to reduce risk
Good to know:
  • Length: 1 hour, 26 minutes
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prep for CEH v11

Read next:What spikes in cloud security training tell us

CompTIA PenTest+: Professionalism & Integrity

Professionalism and integrity should be at the very core of a penetration tester's mission to expose vulnerabilities and report them. This course emphasizes the importance of integrity as a penetration tester and how to maintain a legal, ethical approach to this work.

What you'll learn:
  • Why adhere to the scope of engagement
  • How to identify and report breaches
  • Which tools work best for engagements
Good to know:
  • Length: 1 hour (10 videos)
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prep for CompTIA PenTest+

CompTIA PenTest+: Social Engineering Attacks

Another popular choice in the CompTIA PenTest+ sequence, this course focuses on social engineering, the term used for the psychological manipulation bad actors use on their victims.

Bad actors use social engineering tactics to trick information out of people in order to access and steal data. This courses illustrates the journey a bad actor may take to carry out schemes and describes the various methods one could encounter, like phishing and vishing, tailgating and badge cloning.

What you'll learn:
  • The phases of social engineering
  • Various methods used by bad actors
  • Common tools used in attacks
Good to know:
  • Length: 2 hours
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prep for CompTIA PenTest+
Going after your PenTest+?

Learners also favored this course from the CompTIA PenTest+ prep series: CompTIA PenTest+: Application-based Attacks

Pen Testing for Software Development: The Penetration Testing Process

This course covers the best practices of penetration testing, shows the tools to perform tests, and teaches the types, stages and methods used to carry out testing. As learners progress through this 16-video course, they uncover more of the nuance of penetration testing, its importance to exposing known or unknown vulnerabilities and more.

What you'll learn:
  • The phases of social engineering
  • Various methods used by bad actors
  • Common tools used in attacks
Good to know:

CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst+: Intrusion Detection & Traffic Analysis

The purpose of this course is to teach cybersecurity analysts how to detect malicious activity and does so through a series of videos that demonstrate how to use investigative tools, provide instruction on installation, and walk learners through concepts like steganography. It's also one of 16 courses that help prepare learners for the CompTIA's Cybersecurity Analyst+ exam.

What you'll learn:
  • Use tools, like nikto, Kismet, Kali Linux, Nessus and others
  • Monitor, capture and analyze logs and traffic
  • Techniques to identify suspicious activity
Good to know:
  • Length: 1 hours, 27 minutes
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prep for CompTIA CySA+

CISSP Bootcamp

This bootcamp helps prepare advanced cybersecurity professionals to sit the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam. It's broken up into five parts, each running roughly three hours. The sessions move fast to cover the eight domains of CISSP.

After going through the course, many learners lauded the instructor for his real-world examples and ability to teach the breadth of this material in digestible ways. One learner shared this feedback:

"The instructor provides nice real world examples and presents the CISSP content in a digestible way. Engaging instructor."

What you'll learn:
  • What's expected of CISSP candidates
  • The nature of the exam
  • The eight domains of CISSP
Good to know:
  • Length: 17 hours
  • Level: Advanced
  • Prep for CISSP

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA): Digital Evidence Gathering

A part of a series of prep courses for ISACA's CISA, or Certified Information Systems Auditor, this course teaches learners how to properly gather, handle and store digital evidence so that it's admissible in court.

The instructor teaches about how the chain-of-custody laws may impact evidence gathering. Learners also see first hand how tools like Kali Linux can help them.

While this course is a few years old, many learners still rate it highly for its easy-to-follow flow and applicable material. However, you can also find a more recent bootcamp to help prepare to the CISA exam here.

What you'll learn:
  • How to properly handle digital evidence
  • Key concepts related to digital forensics
  • Evidence gathering techniques
Good to know:
  • Length: 34 minutes
  • Level: Expert
  • Prep for CISA

The CISA certification ranked 11 on our list of the 15 highest paying IT certifications in 2022. See the full list here.

Secure Programmer: Software Modeling Techniques

Those starting their careers in programming will find this course helpful as they build software from the ground up. This course focuses heavily on the Unified Modelling Language (UML), a standard visual language used to show how software works.

The instructor, computer expert Chuck Easttom, also teaches about Systems Modelling Language (SysML), which is similar to UML but can be applied more broadly. "You'll see just how effective these tools can be," Chuck says.

What you'll learn:
  • Gain insight into UML and SysML
  • Learn specific UML and SysML diagrams
  • Understand use cases for each
Good to know:

Defensive Programmer: Secure Testing

This is your introduction to security testing methods. This course teaches programmers how to conduct tests, track bugs and work with security metrics. What's more, it offers a framework for testing that can be tailored to the programmer's work style and preference.

What you'll learn:
  • The basics of security testing methods
  • A framework for testing
  • Tracking bugs, working with metrics
Good to know:

See how Skillsoft helps organizations upskill their teams with personalized training solutions.

Reliable Training Builds Durable Skills in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity professionals sometimes struggle to balance the demands of work with the need to stay on top of the latest developments in their field. Because of this, it's imperative that when they make time to train, the material and instruction meet their expectations and needs.

For these reasons, cybersecurity teams and professionals need a dependable training curriculum to build the skills that will make the greatest impact at work and in their careers.

Further Reading: Skillsoft interviewed T-Mobile Cybersecurity Training Manager Adam Gwaltney to learn how to support cybersecurity professionals and improve training adoption. Read that interview here.

4 Ways to Encourage Learners to Practice New Skills at Work Wed, 01 Feb 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Employees want career development. Employers want to close their skills gaps. These four tips can help both sides reach their goals.

A new paradigm for the employee/employer relationship emerged in the wake of the Great Resignation. Employees now look to employers for not just a paycheck but a chance to grow in their careers. Likewise, employers need workers who can help their companies evolve to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Unfortunately, many organizations are struggling to make this vision of mutual growth a reality. According to The University of Phoenix's Career Optimism Index 2022, 40 percent of employees don't currently have clear paths for career advancement. Twenty-nine percent don't feel optimistic about their training opportunities.

Employers aren't faring any better. ATD's 2022 Bridging the Skills Gap whitepaper found that 83 percent of companies face skills gaps, and 78 percent expect to continue facing such gaps in the future.

The good news is that employers and employees have the same goal. If employees get the career development opportunities they want, employers will get the workforces they need. Put another way: Organizations can close their skills gaps by connecting workers with transformative learning experiences that help them build new skills.

And practice is the key to a transformative learning experience. As author and skills acquisition expert Josh Kaufman puts it, it takes about 20 hours of practice for a person to go from "knowing nothing" to "being pretty good."

So how can companies create space and opportunities for employees to practice — and eventually master — new skills? Here are four tips.

1. Make It Easy to Find Relevant Training Content

To build new skills, employees need access to robust training programs with relevant content and hands-on practice exercises. That may seem obvious. But it's not enough to offer training. People leaders must make it easy for employees to find the right content when they need it.

Employees want a learning experience that's efficient, productive, and immediately relevant to their career development goals. That's where a solution like Skill Benchmarks can help. Available within the Skillsoft Percipio learning platform, Skill Benchmarks are diagnostic assessments that measure learners' skills against objective learning standards. In addition to helping learners understand their current proficiency levels, Skill Benchmarks identify areas for improvement and offer personalized recommendations for videos, hands-on practice labs, and other learning experiences.

Employees don't have to spend time searching through irrelevant content or practicing skills they've already mastered. Instead, Skill Benchmarks put the practice opportunities they need to close their own personal skills gaps right at their fingertips. Employees are much more likely to seize learning experiences if they don't have to hunt them down first.

2. Have Leaders and Managers Act as Advocates for Practice

Leaders and managers have a strong influence on employee motivation and performance. In fact, according to Gallup, the quality of a team leader is a crucial driver of employee engagement. Companies can leverage this fact when it comes to skill-building by having leaders and managers act as champions. Employees are more likely to make time for practice when leaders actively encourage them to.

Communicating the value of skills practice is important, but leaders should do more than make motivational speeches. They should actively help employees create opportunities to practice. For example, managers can work with their direct reports to set goals for skill development and make plans for reaching those goals. Managers can even help employees block out time in their schedules for focused practice or institute recurring team-wide learning periods.

Leaders can also use Skill Benchmarks to support employee practice. For example, once managers know their employees' career goals, they can assign relevant benchmark assessments. That way, employees can assess their current skill levels and identify the most efficient way to grow.

3. Run a Skills Challenge

Research has shown that friendly competition can be another powerful motivator at work. Companies can encourage employees to practice new skills by turning it into a comradely contest.

For example, some of our clients have had success running Skills Challenges. These are team- or company-wide exercises in which learners compete against one another — and themselves — to see who can progress the most in a set amount of time.

Skills Challenges start with the employees taking Skill Benchmark assessments to get a baseline understanding of their current skill proficiency. Then, employees spend the next few weeks working through the personalized content recommendations they received from their assessments. At the end of the challenge, employees retake their initial Skill Benchmark assessments to see how much their proficiency levels rose.

Skills Challenges can be an exciting, engaging way to make skills practice a part of employees' routines. Companies can align their Skills Challenges with pressing skills gaps — for example, running a challenge based around crucial tech skills the organization is missing. For added motivation, companies might even offer prizes for employees who hit certain milestones.

4. Create Clear Connections Between Practice and Advancement

Ultimately, employees want to learn new skills to grow in their careers. If employees put in the work but don't advance as a result, they'll quickly lose interest in practice. They may even look for that advancement elsewhere — say, with a new employer. According to SHRM, lack of career development is the second most common cause of turnover.

That's why it's essential for leaders and managers to create clear connections between skills practice and professional advancement. We mentioned above that leaders should help employees set goals and find relevant training content. However, the relationship between practice and progress needs to be more than just an abstract concept. Leaders must ensure their employees understand the concrete steps they can take to reach their goals.

Once again, a solution like Skill Benchmarks can come in handy. Once employees have set their career goals and identified the skills they need, Skill Benchmarks empower them to inventory their existing skills and see what competencies they already have. Crucially, Skill Benchmarks also help employees identify their gaps, and the personalized content recommendations give employees a targeted plan for reaching proficiency in their desired role.

Once employees have completed training journeys, leaders can find ways for them to use their new skills on real-world projects. People managers don't have the power to unilaterally promote employees to their dream roles, but they can let workers take on new responsibilities that showcase some of their new strengths. Team leaders might even consider creating opportunities for employees to collaborate with teams and departments they don't usually interact with.

If employees see that practice makes a real difference in their daily work, they'll be more likely to continue investing effort in their professional development.

Clear the Path to New Skills for Your People

Ultimately, empowering employees to practice new skills is all about removing the barriers in their way. Don't make employees hunt for relevant training content — deliver it straight to them. Show employees the company values development and reward employees who invest in themselves with new opportunities and other incentives. The easier it is for employees to find time and space to practice, the more practice they'll do.

Skill Benchmarks can play a vital role in connecting employees with transformative learning opportunities and hands-on practice. Skill Benchmarks take the guesswork out of the equation by helping employees identify the skills they're missing and offering customized recommendations to close those gaps.

And when employees close their own personal skills gaps, they're also closing the company's skills gaps. Now that's mutual growth.

Learn more about how Skill Benchmark assessments can help you transform the workforce you have into the workforce you need.

What Do Great Leaders Have in Common, And How Do You Nurture More of Them? Mon, 30 Jan 2023 12:57:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

When I speak with executives worldwide, three specific attributes are often cited as sure signs of a great leader:

  • Authenticity
  • Inclusivity
  • Empathy

These attributes contribute to less turnover, higher customer satisfaction, and a more flexible institution overall. Broadly, here's how these attributes matter in a business context.

Authenticity: The culture of an organization is a reflection of its leadership. Authentic and engaged leaders inspire others to be involved and genuine. If you're going to lead, people need to see that you can walk the walk.

Inclusivity: It's only possible to grow by exposing yourself to new things. Building diversity of thought into your teams helps those teams iterate fast and overcome challenges faster. In addition, inclusivity ensures your organization reaches the widest possible customer base.

Empathy: Great leaders hold themselves and their teams accountable. You can't do this successfully without empathy. Understanding where your team members are coming from, helping them fail fast, and stay engaged is an essential leadership skill. Empathic leaders connect with their team members beyond business outcomes to ensure good work.

Evolutions in business and technology have spurred change for everyone. Continuous learning and development solutions are proven to drive success.

Explore the latest leadership training insights from our education experts

A new world demands new leadership skills

Today's working environment is vocal, seemingly always on, and fragile. It's an era of working differently and virtually anywhere--a very different world for the workforce. That means it's a different world for leaders as well. Many leaders already have the skills and knowledge to excite their teams but lack the confidence and resources to lead in such a changeable environment.

Am I doing it right? What does this new environment require me to pay attention to? How do I balance leading in-person with virtually? They don't have answers to all the questions and don't know what they don't know—which can be an unsettling position for a leader.

Authenticity, inclusivity, and empathy are not mystical powers; they are entirely teachable skills, and new and old leaders alike must become competent to adapt to modern business practices. Ten years ago, leaders were expected to have all the answers. We understand that organizations are much more team-oriented today, and effective leadership is more about relationship building. Great leaders reach out into the broader organization to pull in resources or crowdsource the right solution.

If there is one thing we have all learned in the past few years, it's that a crisis can emerge at any time, and it's nearly impossible for a single person to navigate a crisis alone. However, a team with effective leadership has a better chance of steering the company through successfully and building resilience for the future.

Nurturing future-ready leaders with “soft skills”

The talents that great leaders share are often on the softer side, which means that they deal with interpersonal skills, communication skills, listening, and understanding skills. In a business context, these abilities are difficult to measure, so it can be difficult to get a holistic view of if leaders are applying them properly. One very practical way to tell if your leaders have the right skills is to see if business goals and strategies are being effectively executed. Often, failure to achieve goals stems from a lack of communication, understanding, or competency training.

Without the ability to communicate a vision and connect with coworkers, leaders will be hard-pressed to motivate their team effectively. When challenges occur, a great leader seeks to understand the issue at hand and solicits perspectives on the problem to mitigate or eliminate the risk as quickly as possible. And they do it all with solid business acumen, keeping in mind the organizational processes that need to happen in tandem with other work.

It's true that great leaders are made, not born, but how do you measure creativity? How do you test for compassion? How do you ensure your leaders receive the resources that will help them lead?

46% of new employees fail within 18 months, and of these, 89% fail because of a lack of interpersonal skills. Nurturing the next great leader is not just about imparting knowledge; it's about building confidence and strong relationships throughout the organization. An effective way to help leaders build confidence is through coaching. Coaching allows leaders to fine-tune their knowledge, understand their blind spots, and leverage that insight to build trust with their team.

In business, nurturing leaders often means making space to bounce back from challenges, fail fast, and learn from mistakes or disappointments. Great leaders instill a sense of ownership in their team and create a feeling of psychological safety by allowing teammates to communicate their different ideas and experiences.

Organizations struggle with developing effective leaders – and relying on a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership development doesn’t work. When you develop leaders, you need a combination of formal training, personalized coaching, and practice.

Listen to this on-demand webinar with Rashim Mogha, to explore Transformative Leadership and how to develop effective leaders at all levels.

Good relationships build solid businesses

Business has always been about relationships, and today's companies can build a relationship directly with a global customer base. It's no longer about simply providing a product or a service; your business has a brand identity it needs to protect. That identity is often an expression of your company culture. As leaders, you want to ensure it's a culture that resonates with customers and partners but also with employees.

Every member of the team needs basic leadership skills. To succeed in the global marketplace, organizations need to meet the expectations of customers, partners, and employees and be transparent and socially responsible simultaneously. That takes great leadership skills to navigate.

For a while, the global market prioritized tech skills, and that focus led to an explosion of new technologies and ways of doing business. Now we're seeing organizations struggle to hire, keep, and train leaders that can execute those new strategies. Improperly trained leaders don't last. There's a 30% turnover rate per year at the leadership level. This 30% costs the organization time, emotional investment, and 8% of a company's annual revenue.

Effective leaders need effective training

Leadership skills must be present at all levels of your organization; managers and executives that lead authentically ensure their team feels valued, proficient in their role, and safe to explore ideas with the team. But building great leaders takes investment in a solid leadership program with clear business outcomes. Therefore, the leadership programs organizations should look to implement must include a long-term approach. It should be developmental, not supplemental, and must smoothly integrate into how your leaders are already working.

Once you're helping leaders develop knowledge, it's essential to reinforce and contextualize what they're learning, which is best done through coaching. Most critically, if you want your leaders to engage fully in a leadership development program, it must be robust. It must be reactive; you need to make space for your leaders to execute like leaders but still be flexible enough to meet challenges head-on and either learn from failure or accomplish goals despite adversity.

For great leaders to thrive, they must be comfortable sharing their ideas, questioning old processes, or innovating new ways of executing strategy. We all have to rise together in an organization, and tying leadership development programs to strategic initiatives is a smart idea. An organization needs to be clear and transparent with what the expectation is and how leaders should use their skills to strengthen the leadership pool.

Everyone in the organization must be prepared to handle this new technology-driven force entering the workplace. If great leaders do not channel it, it can cause much disruption. Still, when conducted properly, it will help organizations accomplish their long-term objectives, scale and succeed in the global marketplace.

The future of work is here, and for leaders, the skills needed to succeed in today’s hybrid workforce continue to evolve at an exponential pace. To keep up, we must develop tomorrow’s leaders today, and digital coaching will play a crucial function in nurturing leaders at all levels. Check out this on-demand session with Chief Coach & Learning Advisor, Latarsha ‘Coach Tarsh’ Horne to learn how coaching could work for your organization.

Digital Coaching: The future of leadership development

5 Ways to Empower Your Team in the New Year While Tackling Business Objectives Thu, 26 Jan 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

For both businesses and individuals, January is the month of goal setting on planning for the year ahead to set ourselves up for success throughout the year. As a leader, it’s your responsibility and privilege to empower your team to take stock of their current skillset and look for ways to promote their professional growth and development. By doing this, you are setting your team and your organization up for success in the year to come.

The term “upskill” has been tossed around in many different ways, but what it really means is learning new skills that prepare you for your next role. With a 12% increase from last year making it 72% of organizations providing formal training, it’s clear that organizations are increasingly seeing the value of upskilling their employees. Ensuring your team is staying up-to-date with trends and growing their skillsets is crucial to organizational success.

While the thought of wanting to encourage your team to continuously upskill is good, knowing where to start and ensuring it can map back to your organizational objectives isn’t always easy. The good news? In our digital world, there are countless opportunities you can take advantage of right now, and it isn’t too complicated to do so.

Encourage Your Team to Grow While Meeting Business Goals with Simple Ways to Upskill

Learn something new.

Being a continuous learner is an essential part for career growth, and it is a catalyst for business development. Investing is building new skills helps your team to better perform their roles and add value to your organization. By adopting a growth mindset, they will be able to leverage their skills and diverse experiences to create innovative solutions and meet business goals.

Earn a new certification (or two, or three).

IT and business certifications are great tools to encourage your team to seek out to enable them to build their own credibility while enhancing their business impact. Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary report shows that 56% of people with certifications said the quality of their work significantly improved, demonstrating the benefits for both the employee and the employer.

Earning a new certification can help individuals feel more empowered to apply their knowledge to discussions with colleagues and play a more engaged and active role within your organization to implement growth opportunities.

An important note: you don’t need to be in IT to gain a certification. There are countless certifications in fields like social media, marketing, human resources, compliance, leadership, and more. Gaining certifications is simply one of the most recognizable ways to help your team showcase their professional skills development.

Check out our list of the 15 top-paying IT certifications of 2022 to learn more about how investing in certifications can boost your career.

Work on your power skills.

Upskilling could lead to the creation of 5.3 million new jobs by 2030. To be successful in these jobs, people will need power skills such as communication, problem-solving, adaptability, and leadership.

If you are looking for ways to help your team build power skills, you can encourage them to ask for feedback from their peers, self-reflect, and take online courses that give them more formal ways to learn and grow. Challenge them to build power skills that are required for their career progression. The opportunities for growth are endless. Before you know it, you will have a team that is skilled to take on new challenges and go above and beyond.

Assess and hone pre-existing skills.

They say practice makes perfect, and they’re right. What better way to help your team to boost their careers than encouraging them to hone the skills they already have and apply them to their everyday lives? Skillsoft’s skills benchmark assessment tool gauges your current skillset and provides suggestions on areas for improvement. It’s a great way to check in with yourself and invest in your future success.

While guiding your team to enhance their current skills, challenge them to ladder those skills back to your organizational goals and encourage them to map out how their personal growth in an area will also help them achieve their goals. Helping your team to build on their current skills can add value to their career growth and your organization all at once.

Find a mentor or seek out coaching.

Mentorships and coaching can give employees guidance, support, and help build confidence. A mentor can provide advice based on their own experiences, and help build a professional network. A coach can guide you along your career path and help you understand what you want your next step to look like. Setting goals, creating a plan, and implementing that plan with the guidance of a coach is a great way to level up your career. Check out our coaching options to help your team achieve their career goals.

Encouraging your team to invest in themselves through upskilling is a win-win. They will learn something new and boost their career all while making more significant contributions to your organization. New skills, certifications, and enhancing pre-existing skills are great steps to grow. Ready to start encouraging your team? Here’s to making 2023 your best year yet.

10 TOP-PAYING IT CERTIFICATIONS Wed, 18 Jan 2023 09:30:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)


  • CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional
  • CISM – Certified Information Security Manager
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
  • Google Cloud – Professional Cloud Security Engineer
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate
  • PRINCE2 Foundation
  • Google Cloud – Cloud Digital Leader
  • Google Cloud – Professional Data Engineer
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate

Recruiting and retaining top talent in the IT industry has become increasingly tough amid a rapidly changing labor market and higher competition for skilled, certified professionals.

As the skills gap continues to impact businesses in critical areas like cloud, data science and cybersecurity, organizations seek out those professionals with reputable credentials that validate their experience and capability. In turn, these certified professionals tend to enjoy more leverage in the marketplace because they’ve earned certifications recognized as trustworthy affirmations of their skills.

The certifications listed here are among those in IT that earn professionals the highest salaries reported in the industry. This list is the result of thousands of IT professionals graciously participating in Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary survey. The survey is distributed to IT professionals worldwide by Skillsoft, technology providers and vendors, certification bodies, and individuals.

The cumulative results are fascinating insights into the value of skills and certifications. This year in EMEA, 2,552 professionals took the survey. That’s how we’ve arrived at this list.

Read the full report with all insights and comprehensive findings in the 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report.

Below, you’ll find 10 of the highest paying certifications in EMEA. In this year’s list, you’ll see a trend similar to last year, with continued emphasis on cloud and cybersecurity certifications — likely due to the sustained demand for professionals with these skills.

“This year’s list is notable first by what topics continue to be hot this year – cloud foremost, supplemented by a couple of key certifications in cybersecurity and data,” says Michael Yoo, Customer Market Leader - T&D at Skillsoft. “Not surprising, given how nearly every company in every industry of every size in every geography is relying upon cloud computing to power their technology strategy.”

While the data shows these certifications have higher salaries associated with them, it’s important to remember salaries are the culmination of several factors, including the ability to apply your certified skills at work, job role, continuous professional development, tenure, and hard work. Furthermore, it’s good to keep in mind that salaries can largely depend on where you work in EMEA. In the 2022 IT Skills & Salary Report, you can find which countries lead in salary.

The list also provides a snapshot of the typical person holding a certification, including the average number of certifications held, the most popular cross-certification, if they hold cybersecurity-related certifications, if they are in management, and their average age. In order for certifications to make the list, they must have had at least 40 responses in the survey. See more on our methodology at the very end of this blog.

#1 CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional


While last year this certification ranked second, this year the CISSP ranks first in the list of top-paying IT certifications – with a 10% gain in salary. It’s no surprise information security ranks high, as cybersecurity professionals are high in-demand and (ISC)2’s certifications are known as the gold standard in the industry worldwide.

Earning the CISSP certification has been compared to earning a master’s degree in IT security, as it proves professionals have what it takes to effectively design, implement, and manage a cybersecurity program.

The CISSP exam is based around eight domains in information security:

  1. Security and Risk Management
  2. Asset Security
  3. Security Architecture and Engineering
  4. Communication and Network Security
  5. Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  6. Security Assessment and Testing
  7. Security Operations
  8. Software Development Security

To achieve this certification, candidates also need at least five years of paid, relevant work experience in two or more of the CISSP domains.

If you lack the necessary experience, you can still take the certification exam and become an Associate of (ISC)2 if you pass. Then, you’ll have up to six years to obtain the required experience to earn your CISSP.


Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.


#2 AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional


Cloud computing skills are in demand – 43% of IT decision makers are investing in cloud computing and 29% report cloud computing is one of the hardest areas to fill positions.

Second on the list is the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional. This AWS certification proves you have advanced knowledge of AWS solutions and the skills to solve complex problems, optimize security, save costs, improve performance and automate manual processes.

A candidate will need two or more years of experience in designing and deploying cloud architecture on AWS. And, according to AWS, candidates should have the following:

  • Familiarity with AWS CLI, AWS APIs, AWS CloudFormation templates, the AWS Billing Console, and more
  • Serve as a subject matter expert on enterprise, architectural design and determine cloud application requirements
  • Comfort designing hybrid architectures, using a continuous deployment process


Learn More About This Certification

#3 CISM – Certified Information Security Manager


ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification has made appearances on this list several times. In the years that followed, it’s kept a presence on the top-paying list at varying positions.

CISM sustains its presence this year for good reason. Cybersecurity continues to remain a top priority for organizations who must protect sensitive data from ceaseless threat actors. This certification signals to organizations and industry peers that a professional can lead security teams and efforts effectively.

CISM validates the ability to manage, design and assess an enterprise’s information security. It proves expertise in these domains: information security governance, information security risk management, information security program, and incident management.

To earn this certification, professionals must first have five years of professional work experience in the required domains before they can sit the exam, which costs $575 USD for ISACA members and $760 USD for non-members.


Learn More About This Certification

#4 AWS Certified Sysops Administrator – Associate


As mentioned earlier, cloud computing skills are in demand. This associate certification is a fantastic starting point for your AWS cloud computing career.

The AWS Certified SysOps administrator – associate certification shows that you have the skills to implement cloud initiatives and you know how to deploy, manage, and operate workloads on AWS.

To pass for the exam, the candidate needs to have the knowledge to pass the written tests and the skills to build solutions in exam labs. Prior experience in cloud computing is highly recommended for this AWS certification.


Learn More About This Certification

#5 Google Cloud – Professional Cloud Security Engineer


With the increasing demand of cloud computing, it’s no surprise to find the cloud security engineer on this list. This role is critical for organizations using Google Cloud solutions, because the Cloud Security Engineer designs, develops and managers a secure infrastructure needed for today’s business processes and operations.

The candidate is required to have expertise on cloud security, identity and access management, defining structure and policies, using Google technologies to provide data protection and collecting and analyzing Google Cloud platform logs. It is recommended to have at least one year experience in using google Cloud solutions as well as three years of industry experience. Achieving this certifications shows the candidate’s expertise in the Google Cloud Platform and cloud security.


Learn More About This Certification

#6 Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate


In today’s digital world using incredible amounts of data, data scientists have become key in achieving business goals. Data science is among the top five areas IT decision makers are investing in next year, showing how great of an opportunity it is for professionals seeking a career in this field.

This certification demonstrates a professional’s ability to design and prepare machine learning solutions and workloads on Azure, as well as exploring, preparing and deploying data models.

To earn this certification, individuals must pass the DP-100 exam. It’s recommended that professionals having experience with Azure before attempting this exam.


Learn More About This Certification

#7 Prince 2 Foundation


With more than one million certified professionals globally, PRINCE2 is an internationally recognized project management method that’s scalable and can be used for any project.

To ensure any project’s success, PRINCE2 was developed according to the principles, themes and processes that professionals use to effectively manage projects.

The PRINCE2 Foundation certification measures the candidate’s knowledge of the PRINCE2 method so that the candidate is able to work in a project management team.

It’s meant for those who either are or plan to become a project manager, as well as those who support the delivery of projects. The Foundation certification is a prerequisite for the Practitioner certification.


Learn More About This Certification

#8 Google Cloud - Cloud Digital Leader


The Cloud Digital Leader (CDL) certification was released in 2021 as a foundational-level certification that validates a professional’s knowledge of the Google Cloud Platform, its services, and capabilities in supporting an organization’s cloud initiatives. It may also benefit those in a business-facing role, who work collaboratively with technical professionals, or those who work with multiple cloud providers and must understand the services of each.

To earn this certification, professionals must familiarize themselves with these areas:

  • Digital transformation with Google Cloud
  • Infrastructure and application modernization
  • Innovating with data and Google Cloud
  • Google Cloud security and operations

The exam costs $99 and gives professionals 90 minutes to complete the questions. There are no prerequisites for this exam.


Recommended Course:

#9 Google Cloud – Professional Data Engineer


Data-driven decision making is made possible by data engineers who can transform terabytes of data to valuable, comprehensive insights. Earning this certification requires several years of professional experience, some of which should be with Google Cloud specifically. A data engineer must know how to build and management data processing systems.


Learn More About This Certification

#10 Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate


This certification shows the practical skills and experience to implement and manage the operational aspects of cloud-native and hybrid data platform solutions built with Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Azure Data Services.

For this certification, candidates should have a thorough grasp of the concepts covered in the Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals course and exam.


Learn More About This Certification

Certifications That Just Missed the Cut



The ITIL Practitioner is an expired ITIL®v3 certification that shows a professional’s advanced, practical skills in guiding businesses to adopt and adapt the ITIL framework for meeting business goals. It has now been replaced with ITIL® 4, which is designed to help IT professionals support organisations in their digital business operations and helps them stay flexible in a changing and complex market. By considering the impact of technology on business and how the framework integrates with Agile, DevOp and supports digital transformation (AXELOS), ITIL® 4 is a great certification for any business and IT professional.

Unsure which ITIL® certification is right for your next step? There are five levels within the certification scheme. Click here to learn more and find the course that’s right for you.


Learn More About This Certification

Cisco Certified Design Associate Exam


While the Cisco Certified Design Associate no longer exists, its equivalent the CCNA tests the candidates ability to install, configure, and operate a small to medium-sized network. On top of that, the CCNA exam also tests your knowledge in network fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, security fundamentals, and automation and programmability.

While experience with Cisco is recommended, there are no prerequisites for this exam. If you’re interested in a career in networking solutions, the CCNA and DevOps Associate certifications are great certifications to demonstrate skill and will support career development.

CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor


System auditors are invaluable to companies looking to stay compliant in today’s digital age. This security certification demonstrates your knowledge and skills in information security and IT auditing, as well as building and implementing privacy solutions. In order to earn this certification, professionals must have knowledge and experience with these the five domains:

  • Information systems auditing process;
  • Governance and management of IT;
  • Information Systems Acquisition Development and Implementation;
  • Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience;
  • Protection of Information Assets.

Candidates for the CISA certification are expected to have a minimum of five years experience in professional information systems auditing.

Learn More About This Certification

More Findings From the It Skills and Salary Survey

This list is compiled of a subset of data from the 2022 IT Skills and Salary survey. Globally, the total response count exceeds 7,900 responses. This data focuses only on those respondents whose residence is in EMEA.

  • The average salary of the 2,552 EMEA respondents is $67,711. Microsoft certifications are the most widely held by those in EMEA, with the most common credential being the Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals.
  • More than half (59%) of IT professionals say the nature of their training in the last 12 months was certification focused, while the main reason for training was to prepare their organizations for a new technology, product migration or deployment. Despite this, roughly one-third say their management doesn’t see the value in training — which is cited as a leading inhibitor to training.
  • Most (56%) IT professionals in EMEA say the quality of their work improved after earning a certification, while more than one-third say they’re more engaged at work and perform their duties faster. Some reported promotions, raises or new jobs too.
  • Training offered most by companies are online third-party training (72%) and live instructor-led training, either class room or virtual, provided by an outside training provider (67%)

How We Built the List

This EMEA list of the top-paying certifications is based on survey responses from the Skillsoft 2022 IT Skills and Salary Survey conducted May 2022 to August 2022. The survey asks respondents about their current jobs and experience, certifications and salaries, and more. Respondents encounter multiple choice and multi-select, open-ended, rank choice, and other types of questions while taking the survey.

The survey is distributed to IT professionals around the world by technology providers, certification bodies and Skillsoft, among others. 2,552 IT professionals in EMEA participated.

To qualify for our list, a certification must have at least 40 EMEA survey responses to be considered. Then, we consider relevance, demand, and certification requirements. Salaries are not normalized for cost-of-living or location (e.g., Finland vs. Portugal).

Learn even more about IT certifications in our latest report, the 2022 IT Skills & Salary Report.

Smith & Nephew and Skillsoft partner to develop new leaders. Thu, 12 Jan 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Imagine the pressure of being new to a management role. Not only is every team leader responsible for their team’s output and workflow, they are also expected to help their people develop and grow. It’s a lot to take in, which makes it so stressful for any new leader. This stress is compounded by how the new leader has gained their position. For example, they may have been part of the team they are now leading and must contend with managing people who used to be their peers. However, being brought in from outside the company is no less stressful because they must build new relationships at the same time as they learn their ways around the organization and the new job.

These were the situations the leadership development team at Smith & Nephew, a UK-based global manufacturer of medical equipment, had in mind as they set about creating a program to help new leaders feel more prepared for the role, and they partnered with Skillsoft to do it.

Developing the program

At Smith & Nephew, there were lots of onboarding guides and tools for new leaders to help then them understand company culture and business, as well as key Talent procedures that leaders are responsible for, such as hiring, onboarding, performance review, development planning, etc. But to execute these procedures effectively and to lead their teams to create great products and services for their customers, new leaders need to be equipped with some fundamental leadership and managerial skills. They need to master leadership behaviors that support collaboration, teamwork, creative problem solving and process improvement. They must be able to have difficult conversations, when needed, provide timely feedback and coaching support – tasks that many first-time leaders struggle with, especially when they get promoted from an individual contributor role where they were responsible for their own performance only. This is why the leadership development team got to work on creating a program to initiate a learning journey for new leaders, help them develop fundamental skills and competencies and build relationships with other first-time leaders from around the company.

To start the process of developing what would become their Leadership Beginnings program, the team compiled a comprehensive list of leadership competencies aligned with their culture pillars of Care, Courage and Collaboration. The list was then reduced to the skills and competencies that the development team referred to as “leadership fundamentals” or “leadership essentials’’ – just what new leaders need in the first year in the new role.

From there, they worked with Skillsoft to develop the program framework and curate the content from Skillsoft’s Leadership and Business portfolio in a variety of learning formats – videos, courses, book summaries and articles. The team added some bespoke content on the S+N-specific processes and procedures, such as their SAID feedback model. The focus was on making the program content pragmatic and applicable. They wanted new leaders to walk away with skills they could apply right away. To help them practice new skills in a safe environment before they begin to apply them in the real world, the team incorporated the elements of experiential and collaborative learning by including assignments and small learning group meetings where participants could practice the skills and techniques they learned about in the course of the program. Finally, they added several live webinars in every program section to complement self-paced online education with instructor-led learning experiences. And with that their program was set up and ready to go.

Leadership Beginnings

To understand if the program structure and content meet the needs of the target audience, the team ran a pilot for 25 new leaders from various departments and locations. While overall the pilot was a great success, there was one area that required improvement – participant engagement. It was clear that some participants dedicated time and made every effort to review the program content and complete their assignments. They were the ones who were most active during webinars and calls with their LSG’s. At the same time, a small share of the pilot group engaged in part or didn’t engage at all. Based on their feedback, it turned out that they were “volunteered” for the program by either their managers or HR and, for a variety of reasons, they weren’t ready to commit to the program. So, the design team decided to rethink their approach to nominations.

Prior to the program launch, the team reached out to all those new leaders who qualified for Leadership Beginnings and shared detailed information about the program, including the time commitment required to complete it, and asked them to enroll in the program if they were interested and ready to commit. About 80% of the target group expressed interest and registered for the program.

Initial results

By now, the Leadership Beginnings program has been delivered twice, for the total audience of 137 new leaders. The main theme in the attendee feedback was that every leader at Smith & Nephew, regardless of their experience and length of service, should go through the program to learn what they have learned. They also suggested that the program will be open to aspiring leaders – individual contributors who are being developed for their first leadership role.

What’s next?

The next round of the program is scheduled to launch in Q1/2023 to include new and aspiring leaders. In the meantime, in the spirit of continuous improvement, the team is working on further enhancements to the program content and portal to accommodate participant feedback and make it a truly exciting and useful learning experience for future delegates.

Toronto Police Court Services unit is creating leaders and driving growth throughout the organization Tue, 10 Jan 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Using Skillsoft to create customized learning journeys, Toronto Police Human Resources are training the leaders of the future

The Court Services unit of Toronto Police Service discovered the power of Skillsoft when they needed to provide leadership knowledge and training to a large group of managers and supervisors. Half were new to the supervisory role and half were long-tenured employees. The Court Services unit was also in a transitional period. Due to a large organizational design change, the unit needed to transition management of the department to civilian leadership. The newly appointed civilian leadership team and all levels of supervisory staff required heavy training to understand how to successfully transition, while shifting culture and increasing morale of all courts services staff.

The Court Services unit employs more than 600 people, making it the largest civilian unit within the Toronto Police Service. Therefore, to ensure that everyone was on the same page, they needed a custom learning and development program that could provide knowledge and training to a large group of learners—who required instruction at all levels of leadership to understand what was expected of them.

Court officers, supervisors, shift supervisors, and location administrators all required some form of custom leadership development training, and Skillsoft had the tools they needed to scale learning across the department.

Crowd-Sourced Goals and Group-Coaching Yield Success

There was some frustration from the team, as the program was mandatory. Many felt that it couldn’t possibly help them get up to speed or that they would not have enough time to complete the course load while also working. Toronto Police Human Resources understood that for every member of the unit to succeed, they would need a robust and flexible leadership development program.

Toronto Police HR decided to use Skillsoft Percipio to create that customized learning program. The HR team wanted every role to have a customized journey that worked for that job level. So, they worked closely with courts services leadership to develop custom journeys for specific roles within the Court Services Unit. For example, senior management identified the need for their supervisors to be trained in courses like decision-making, conflict resolution, change management, diversity/equity/inclusion and accountability.

The HR team then launched a survey for each group to crowd-source course ideas and hone in on what would get members excited. When asked what they would like to see in the learning journeys, members selected courses they felt would help them succeed. Emotional intelligence was one area many members were interested in. Based on all the responses, HR put together journeys of about 20 hours each.

Management and HR then set expectations with presentations explaining the goals of the initiative and outlining the components that members would be responsible for. Each journey was comprised of approximately 20 hours of online learning, reflection learning (where members were encouraged to reflect on their experiences and all they’ve learned via group “triad” calls led by an in-house leadership coach) and a 360-degree assessment. At the end of their training, members completed an individual development plan, requiring members to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based) development goals and outline specific actions to achieve their goals.

Engaging in all components of the program helped create a culture of ongoing learning and development at Court Services. Members became intentional about their own career development and began speaking the same language.

Capable Leaders Boost Morale

Through those small group-coaching calls, HR heard directly from participants on how they applied their new skills and how each journey translated effectively throughout different levels of management. It was during these calls that HR realized they had truly built a granular training program that had the same results across a wide variety of members in diverse roles. Because leadership fundamentals are industry agnostic, they are easily transferrable skills, and the Toronto Police Court Services Unit is living proof of this.

Now members who have been through the program are recommending Skillsoft to the people they manage. They are eager to see others participate in the program because they have experienced first-hand how beneficial it has been to their own development. Overall, members are appreciative of the training they received. Being exposed to the platform has been an incredible opportunity for many employees.

In fact, as the initial learning sprint was winding down, members completing the program became competitive with each other, boasting about their completions, compared to their peers. This light-hearted competition provided a positive shift in morale. Members now know where they’re going, and they feel supported and appreciated because they know the unit is investing in their future--and that continued development is a priority for leadership.

Close the IT skills gap while achieving a 274% return on investment Thu, 05 Jan 2023 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

As our recent 2022 IT Skills & Salary report shows, most IT leaders around the world (66%) are still experiencing skills gaps on their teams. With a constantly evolving technology environment, and intense competition for specific skillsets, a transformative learning experience, focused on technical skills gaps, can provide a real competitive advantage for organizations across every industry.

Understanding the impact of Skillsoft’s Technology & Developer Solutions

For organizations considering which transformative learning experience to implement for their organization, Skillsoft commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study to examine the potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises may realize by deploying Skillsoft Technology & Developer Solutions.

For the purposes of this study, Forrester interviewed five representatives from four companies with experience using Skillsoft Technology & Developer solutions and aggregated the interviewees’ experiences and combined the results into a single composite organization, a $10 billion multinational technology company called GlobalBeta.

Results at-a-glance

After conducting the study, Forrester found that deploying Skillsoft Technology & Developer solutions will help businesses to:

  • See a 274% return on investment over three years.
  • Expand their employee skill based by $11.8M over three years.
  • Obtain a net present value of $15.75M over three years.
  • Achieve a payback in a period of < 6 months.

Diving deeper into the numbers

While all organizations interviewed came from distinct industries with unique business challenges, after their investment in Skillsoft Technology & Developer solutions, the main quantifiable impacts include:

  • Expanded employee skill base added value to the organization. Skillsoft attracted incremental learners who gained valuable new skills, and it also helped retain current employees, saving GlobalBeta over $11.0 million in costs to onboard those skills.
  • Freed up over $460,000 of professional time. Skillsoft’s transformative learning platform, Percipio, features an intuitive interface, simple reporting functions, and the ability for learners to manage their own enrollments—freeing up the learning team from administrative tasks to focus on the organization’s learning goals.
  • Broadened technical knowledge of non-technical personnel. Several interviewees noted that, since the advent of cloud computing and more technology-driven business processes, even their non-technical employees needed to understand technological concepts. Skillsoft’s solutions included courses that allowed financial, procurement, and other executives to ask the right questions of vendors and hold their own in conversations about technological advances.

See for yourself

To get the complete and detailed analysis, we encourage you to download the full Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study here.

Top 6 Trends for Compliance Officers to Consider in 2023 Mon, 26 Dec 2022 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

“How’s work?” It’s one of the most common questions I was asked during this year’s holiday festivities. Unfortunately for those who ask me this question rhetorically, I love to talk compliance – and I have a lot to say in response to that question. For me “work” is mission-driven and mission critical for organizational culture and for life.

It’s been a busy year, for compliance professionals especially. Many of us spent more time than we care to admit addressing new regulatory requirements, supply chain challenges, and cultural conflicts, many of which are residuals from the COVID-19 pandemic. We had to meet the new risks presented by an increasingly hybrid workforce. And educate on how to protect our organizations from the increasingly present data privacy and cybersecurity threats.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been “fun” — eventful to say the least — however, many of us have only had time to be reactive. Yet to truly build a world-class compliance training program in 2023, compliance officers need to be proactive.

So, let’s look forward together. Below, find some of the top trends that compliance officers should be looking toward in 2023.

1. Continuing Digitization Efforts

Most organizations measure their digital transformation efforts by the return on investment these efforts provide. Because compliance training isn’t typically a revenue generator (it never is!), it may not receive the same attention as other parts of a business. But between ever-changing regulatory requirements and increasing complexities in the way we approach work, it’s become clear that this point of view needs to change.

In 2023, more organizations will move away from storing compliance training data in Excel spreadsheets – and further toward digitization. This won’t be easy; but when the difficult process of digitization is complete, organizations will gain efficiencies they never thought possible. Not only that, but they will be able to scale a more effective and efficient compliance program by reaching more people with training than ever before – when, and where, and how they need to be reached.

Hot Take: Digitization is about the data. When we use data as a starting point to see and understand the key trends in our workplace, it is then that we can think critically about these trends, identify root causes, and be proactive in getting ahead of any potential risks.

2. Getting Better-Acquainted with Our Supply Chain

Compliance officers tend to look at the supply chain through the lens of third-party due diligence. That is, we conduct “background checks” to better understand our suppliers: Are they corrupt? Do they pay to play? Do they associate with shady people?

However, recent European regulations suggest that we should dig deeper. The list of things we need to know about our supply chain is increasing to the point that we need to fully understand our supply chain’s footprint and impact. What do they do? How do they do it? To whom do they do it with? Specific questions might include:

  • What are the human rights practices of our suppliers?
  • Where do they get their raw materials?
  • What is their stance on child labor?
  • Are they environmentally friendly?
  • Do they have proper controls in place?

On January 1, 2023, the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act will take effect. It will require all companies with head office, principal place of business, or administrative headquarter in Germany – with more than 3,000 employees in Germany – to comply with core human rights and certain environmental provisions in their supply chains. From 2024, the number of employees will be lowered to 1,000. Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the European Union also have drafts of this type of regulation in the books.

Hot Take: We might be getting ahead of ourselves with this one. While this issue is extremely important and necessary, compliance professionals have yet to get foundational supply chain issues like anti-bribery and corruption diligence right. Yet, we’re being asked to figure out how to operationalize new requirements – often without a budget, regulatory oversight, or appropriate resources. It will take some thought. But, compliance professionals are in a unique position to take a stand on human rights issues – implementing controls to ensure that human rights are not violated on their watch. We need to be proactive in defining and addressing the problem.

3. Incorporating ESG Into Our Compliance Training Programs

Skillsoft recently moved our environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) efforts forward with the launch of our first annual impact report, “Living Our Values: A Responsible Business for a Sustainable Future.”

As we compiled the report, we realized just how many stakeholders are involved – both in defining and advancing our efforts, and in consuming the information. ESG pressures are coming from every direction: customers, partners, employees, investors, and society as a whole. But where do you start? Who leads it? What infrastructure is needed to ensure its successful?

While many ESG initiatives are voluntary right now, government regulations in the United States and Europe are evolving rapidly. That’s why a focused approach to ESG is fast-becoming a corporate necessity. But how does creating value through ESG initiatives go hand-in-hand with mitigating risk as part of an effective compliance training program? Does it?

In 2023, if you haven’t already, compliance officers need to help their organizations figure out who owns ESG, how to create a sustainable program around it, and what will reporting look like, among other things.

Hot Take: At the very least, compliance professionals can look to ESG initiatives to help identify and manage overlapping risks and minimize blind spots. And while compliance will most certainly serve as an input to your organization’s ESG efforts, ownership is still to be determined depending on your organization and where you are in your ESG journey.

4. Surfacing Ethical Concerns around Artificial Intelligence

Humans and animals are intelligent creatures. So, when systems or machines mimic human intelligence, we refer to that as artificial intelligence (AI). From developments in predictive analytics, the launch of better automated systems, and use of digital avatars, AI capabilities are improving every day across industries around the world. But as organizations increasingly rely on AI, compliance officers must start thinking about AI ethics. How can we ensure that we are developing and using AI responsibly?

Potential AI issues for our consideration in 2023 might include:

  • Safety. Are AI technologies aligned with human values, and will use of AI technology put human beings in harm’s way?
  • Security. Is your organization sure that the data used to fuel its AI initiatives is accurate and clean, and that no one has tampered with it?
  • Human concerns. Does the use of AI reduce human beings’ control over their own lives? Will AI displace human jobs? Will AI impede human social and survival skills?
  • Environmental considerations. There are many ways that AI may improve environmental sustainability – from managing the supply and demand of renewable energy to reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. But are we ready to address issues related to planning, accountability, transparency, or bias?

Hot Take: Though it is important to consider the ethical implications of artificial intelligence, compliance professionals are just one piece of the puzzle. Certainly, we need to educate ourselves on the potential risks and weigh in on our AI policies and guidelines to ensure they are built with an ethical lens, but at the end of the day our role is primarily monitoring and enforcing – and probably not owning this issue on behalf of our organization.

5. Looking at Data Regulation Laws in the United States

Even if an organization is not physically located within the European Union (EU), it must still comply with GDPR if it handles personal data that is identifiable to a resident that is located within the EU.

Right now, GDPR impacts companies based in the U.S. because it is designed to protect the personal data of individuals. And as U.S. data privacy law evolves, global companies may be able to take learnings from their European divisions and replicate some of the best practices in the U.S. And we must learn now. Because although only five states have comprehensive consumer data privacy laws, consumer data privacy is showing to be a trend other states plan to adopt and enforce.

Hot Take: How can organizations comply with data privacy laws as they evolve? In the U.S. we need to take a consumer-facing approach and educate individuals on their rights as it concerns their personal information. We also need to make sure our companies respect those rights.

6. Preparing for Increased investigation & Enforcement

Wow! What a year 2022 has been with respect to investigation and enforcement for regulatory agencies. And it’s only going to increase from here.

Think about this: The SEC reported over 12,300 tips of potential wrongdoing in 2022 and it filed 760 enforcement actions, up 9% from 2021. The Department of Justice has made clear that it is hiring more prosecutors and intends to aggressively root out bad companies and individuals within those companies. And the Serious Fraud Office in the UK has secured its largest fine in its 35-year history.

So, what does this mean for 2023? Compliance officers need to ensure they are keeping a clean house; your compliance program must consider whether it is effective and ask the appropriate questions – taking the appropriate actions to ensure a culture of compliance.

Why? Because what we can expect in 2023 are more prosecutions and higher fines. More cross-border cooperation and more, more, more.

Hot Take: Properly resource your compliance program. In the words of Kenneth Polite, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the DOJ: “Support your compliance team now or pay later.” Train your employees and your directors on what is expected of them and how to do the right thing—in the role they play. And be thoughtful in your approach.

By getting these trends on your radar now, you can begin to address them head-on rather than reacting to them in the moment. And the next time someone asks you – “How’s work?” – you’ll have a lot to say as well.

What are you looking forward to in 2023? Let us know.


Starbucks ensures that 99 percent of its coffee supply chain is ethically sourced. Ben & Jerry’s supports grassroots movements that drive social change. Tom’s of Maine invented the first recyclable toothpaste tube.

Global organizations are making an impact by making a commitment to social responsibility and sustainability. In fact, the term “corporate social responsibility (CSR)” has gained popularity in recent years to describe how organizations demonstrate accountability to all aspects of society – including their economic, social, and environmental efforts.

Of course, CSR initiatives look different to different organizations. They range from consideration of how many – and what types of – jobs you are making available to the extent your organization gets involved with social issues like climate change, racial inequity, hunger, poverty, or homelessness. And a multitude of issues in between.

And while a recent study mentioned that 90% of the world’s largest companies are now producing CSR reports to quantify these efforts, there is no one way that this is being done. That means we have a lot to learn from each other.

The Skillsoft team recently surveyed more than 1,000 people across various industries, geographies, and job roles, to learn how they believe the organizations they work for are impacting society with their CSR efforts, big and small. Take a look at what we learned.

Putting A CSR Strategy Into Place

Perhaps one of the most interesting things we learned through our CSR survey is that only 54% of organizations have a CSR plan in place for the upcoming year. More than half of these organizations are private companies.

CSR priorities – for those who plan to pursue CSR initiatives – include diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts (31%), improving labor policies (26%), and participating in fair trade (25%). Yet, the ways that these organizations are executing and measuring their CSR efforts are diverse.

So much so that you may feel like there are more questions than answers with respect to CSR. Here are some of the questions our survey respondents helped to clarify:

  • Where Do Your CSR Efforts Live?
    The majority of companies (75%) consider CSR efforts to be a part of their corporate governance program.
  • Who Owns CSR At Your Organization?
    Executive leadership teams tend to manage CSR programs (20%), followed by HR (16%) and operations (12%). Philanthropy (5%) and investor relations (8%) are not responsible for CSR programs as often as other groups.
  • How Do You Gauge CSR Success?
    Despite differences in CSR priorities by geographical region, survey respondents were aligned on the factor that primarily influences their CSR priorities: 40% say it is a commitment to “doing the right thing.”

But what does it really mean to do the right thing? In speaking with our clients, the Skillsoft team has learned that this means something different to everyone. So, it becomes your organization’s role to define “the right thing” for its employees through a comprehensive Global Code of Conduct that articulates who it is, what it believes, and how it conducts business.

In fact, 42% of our survey respondents said that offering training opportunities is the best way to engage employees in CSR efforts.

The Difference Between CSR And ESG

Many companies have only recently established CSR programs, yet they now face expectations to have measurable Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments and related reporting. How do CSR and ESG initiatives compare, and can they coexist – especially when 54% of our survey respondents report using the terms “CSR” and “ESG” interchangeably?

Our data addresses the crucial questions that boards, CXOs, and environmental and social leaders are grappling with to meet the changing expectations of stakeholders, including:

  • Who really owns an organization's ESG efforts?
  • How do you create a sustainable program around ESG initiatives?
  • How can we report on ESG?

While 54% of survey respondents reported having a CSR plan for the coming year, 46% said their ESG efforts are replacing their CSR efforts. In fact, 74% of survey respondents reported having an ESG program in place.

Should Training Be a Part Of CSR And ESG Efforts?

According to 42% of survey respondents, one opportunity for improving CSR and ESG efforts and buy-in is to offer training to employees. Companies that create cultures of learning and talent development not only support individual employee growth, but also see better business outcomes that propel the organization forward.

At Skillsoft, we’ve also seen organizations including learning metrics as an input into their overall CSR and ESG reporting. Here are some recent examples that were included in corporate sustainability reports:

  • Altus Group reported that nearly 85% of employees accessed Skillsoft in 2021. The most-viewed content included mandatory compliance training, as well as courses on enhancing productivity tools during remote work and improving communication skills to support role and career development.
  • American Airlines mentioned partnering with Skillsoft Percipio to enable team members to further their skills.
  • Berkley added over 8,000 courses from Skillsoft to its online training and virtual classrooms to create certification paths for employees.
  • BWX Technologies shared that 21% of its employees use Skillsoft Percipio’s e-learning tools, and that the organization has seen a 27% increase in Percipio users in 2021.
  • Manpower Group wrote: “During COVID-19 shutdowns, we ensured that furloughed staff and associates could continue to benefit from free access to online training so they could build their skills and enhance their employability as we emerge from the crisis.” They were able to do this through their relationship with Skillsoft.

While it is clear that offering opportunities for learning and training are good ways to enhance your sustainability efforts, many organizations are still in the early stages of developing a formalized program for measuring and reporting on success.

At the end of the day, CSR and ESG extend beyond coffee, ice cream, and toothpaste. And while every organization approaches CSR and ESG differently, what we have in common is the desire to do the right thing when we can, how we can.

Top 5 Highest-Paying Microsoft Azure Certifications Wed, 14 Dec 2022 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

As the demand for cloud services continues to rise, many organizations find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to sourcing and keeping skilled talent.

A couple years ago, IT decision-makers shared that the hardest area to hire for was cybersecurity (50%), with cloud computing a close second (44%). That’s changed in the past year. According to the 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, cloud computing is now the top priority for 41% of decision-makers; with cybersecurity falling to second place with 31%.

That’s why it’s no surprise to see Microsoft Azure certifications associated with some of the higher salaries in the industry. In compiling this list, we found that hundreds of IT Skills and Salary survey respondents in the US and Canada hold Microsoft certifications. So, we dug into the data to learn about the people who hold these certifications, how much they make (on average), and how you can get started.

Snapshot: Top 5 Highest-Paying Microsoft Azure Certifications in North America*

Certification2022 Average Salary

Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert


Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate


Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate


Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals


Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals


*A certification must have had at least 45 North American respondents to make this list.

Below, read about some of the leading certifications in North America and how to earn them.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

The average salary for those holding the Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification is $133,185. To achieve this certification, candidates should be able to:

  • Implement and monitor an Azure infrastructure
  • Implement management and security solutions
  • Implement solutions for apps
  • Implement and manage data platforms

Popular Courses for this Certification:

Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification boasts an average salary of $129,705 in the United States and Canada. This certification validates technical expertise in designing, building, testing, and maintaining cloud solutions, such as applications and services. Candidates should have a thorough understanding of concepts such as:

  • Developing Azure compute solutions
  • Developing for Azure storage
  • Implementing Azure security

Popular Courses for this Certification:

Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate

Azure Security Engineers implement security controls and threat protection; manage identity and access; and protect data, applications, and networks in cloud and hybrid environments as part of end-to-end infrastructure. Based on our 2022 IT Skills and Salary Survey, the average salary for those holding Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate level in the United States and Canada is $127,505. A few concepts candidates should know prior to taking the exam include how to:

  • Manage identity and access
  • Implement platform protection
  • Manage security operations
  • Secure data and applications

Popular Courses for this Certification:

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals

The average salary for those holding the Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals certification is $121,570. This certification is intended for candidates beginning to work with data in the cloud. Candidates seeking this certification should understand concepts such as:

  • Describe core data concepts
  • Describe how to work with relational data on Azure
  • Describe how to work with non-relational data on Azure

Popular Course for this Certification:

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals certification offers an average salary of $113,576 in North America. This certification is intended for candidates who are just beginning to work with cloud-based solutions and services or are new to Azure, as its designed to help candidates build foundational-level knowledge of Microsoft Azure cloud services

Candidates should have a brief understanding of concepts such as:

  • Describe cloud concepts
  • Describe core Azure services
  • Describe core solutions and management tools on Azure

Popular Courses for this Certification:

Start Earning Microsoft Azure Certifications

To jumpstart your Microsoft Azure certification training, we encourage you to check out our Cloud Career Journey.

Should Training Be a Part of Your ESG Strategy? Tue, 13 Dec 2022 10:03:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Consumer and regulatory demands have elevated environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives to a necessary component of every organization’s DNA. And while many ESG initiatives are voluntary right now, government regulations in the United States and Europe are evolving rapidly. That’s why a focused approach to ESG is fast-becoming a corporate necessity.

So, how does creating value through ESG initiatives go hand-in-hand with understanding, managing, and mitigating risk as part of an effective compliance training program? I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Gwen Lee Hassan, Chief Compliance Officer at Cordant Health and Pooja Knight, AVP of Enterprise Risk Management and Climate Change Initiatives at Gallagher to discuss the synergies between ESG, compliance, and training in more detail.

Most of Us Are Learning About ESG As We Go

To kick off the conversation, we asked attendees where they are in their ESG program. The majority of respondents reported being in the “toddler” stage – still working on developing a formalized ESG program and learning as they go.

This wasn’t a surprise to Pooja, who became responsible for her organization’s ESG program over two years ago while she was managing its global enterprise risk program. She said, “I expressed interest in sustainability to my leadership team… they had been looking at corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives for a number of years and wanted to formalize our efforts and measurement.”

After raising her hand to work on ESG initiatives, Pooja was able to get her feet wet and do a lot of research to kick off the program. But this begs the question: Who is responsible for an organization’s ESG efforts?

Participants in our live webinar said that ESG was likely a compliance (29%) function. But 23% admit that they are still figuring it out – just like Pooja had to do.

Her first step? She performed an informal materiality assessment and was able to gauge her organization’s priorities – in this case, the environmental aspect of ESG – and then began piecing together a more comprehensive program that put the “E” at the forefront.

Her advice to anyone in her position? Partner with others in your organization.

Pooja met with many people in her organization before she learned who could provide her with the emissions data she needed. Many of the people she spoke with had no idea what ESG meant, so she was responsible for a certain level of internal education, as well.

She has compiled her organization’s carbon footprint since 2019 and is currently working on issuing her organization’s 2021 carbon footprint.

Companies Should Focus On The “Why” and Not The “Who”

Gwen mentioned anecdotally that many people in compliance have been “volun-told” to handle ESG. Since they are already familiar with issues related to policy, risk, and control mechanisms, employers believe that ESG is a natural extension of their role.

However, compliance is not the same as ESG. While there are many overlapping skill sets required, a compliance professional would need to assess, based on their company’s ESG priorities, whether they would need to substantively learn a new skill in order to stand up an entire ESG program. Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes the answer is no.

So, who is responsible for ESG? Where are companies in their ESG journeys?

Different organizations will answer these questions in different ways. The responses don’t matter as much as your company’s why. Why are you pursuing ESG efforts in the first place, and how do these efforts inform the way we conduct business?

“When you look at it that way,” said Pooja, “we’re all ESG managers. We’re all risk managers. No one owns ESG, but we all have a part in it. Our role is to do better, to address risks where they sit, and how to put controls into place to help mitigate risks.”

Gwen agreed: “Education and training never stops because issues related to ESG continuously change. We need to educate ourselves and our peers. And when they clearly understand their role in our ESG strategy, they become managers as well.”

Training Must Play A Role in Your ESG Program

For organizations looking to operationalize their ESG efforts moving forward, training should be a key part of your strategy. This is important because many people are just figuring out what ESG will mean to their organization now … it is not a concept that has been on our radar for a long time, so education is required.

Not only do we have to educate ourselves on the components of an ESG program, including ever-evolving regulations, but we need to educate our teams as well. “ESG is a risk to every single company, whether they like it or not,” said Pooja. “It’s time to start thinking about it.”

So, how do you create learning culture where people are working toward a goal – like ESG – and also learning something?

“Before you delve into ESG issues like emissions and governance,” said Gwen, “there has to be a curriculum in place – materials, courses, newsletters, articles.” She outlined her idea of effective ESG training:

  • Train your team to be safe and compliant
  • Train your team based on role and responsibility
  • Audit your process

Gwen believes that the people on the front lines of your business are the ones creating the risk in your organization, so they need to learn how to be compliant with your organization’s culture and be empowered to learn what they need to know to be successful. At a basic level, they need to understand their role in how to identify, escalate, and manage risk. They need to know they are being held accountable.

Next, your team needs training based on their role and responsibility. How can they better do their jobs? What are they specifically responsible for? What do they need to know? This is where ESG-specific training may fit in.

Finally, you need to audit your processes. What’s working? What’s not working? How can you iterate and improve to enable your team to do the right thing?

Gwen mentioned that a strong ESG program is one that invites various corporate functions to participate. Between ESG, compliance, cybersecurity, operations, and other departments, your organizations must identify top risks across departments, see where they overlap, and create synergies so you can best address your “why.”

Traditional Learning Plus More Is Good For ESG Learning

Webcast participants agreed that the best way to train organizations in ESG is via “non-training training materials.” Finding effective ways to educate the team should go beyond traditional web-based training where participants watch a video, take a test, and report on their learnings. Instead, organizations should look for ways to take learning offline in order to meet learners where they are.

Further, we should look to educate employees in the ways they best retain information. And then we need to find effective and actionable ways to report on this.

“We need to push the envelope when it comes to ESG sustainability reporting, said Gwen. “I’ve seen a lot of data on who completed compliance training… honestly, it doesn’t tell me much. I want to see things like – after we did this training, what percentage increase did we see in calls associated with the helpline on this issue? How did employee understanding increase when we followed up with them?”

Pooja agreed, talking about the importance of understanding your why. She said: “When we understand our drivers for training, we can pinpoint the metrics we need to share with leadership. We know what is important to the organization.”

Final Takeaways

The topic of ESG is a complex one, so at the end of the conversation I asked Pooja and Gwen what information they wanted to leave viewers with. Here’s what they said:

Pooja: “Be engaged! Ensure you know your organization’s direction and strategic mission with respect to ESG. What’s really important? This will change, but it is a good first step and it will drive your initial efforts. You can revisit this purpose as you made progress.”

Gwen: “Communicate! There is nothing more important than transparently sharing your efforts – between functions, teams, and other organizations you work with. The more people you can get to align with your ESG efforts and purpose, the better off you will be. Collaborate.”

My takeaway for viewers? Get feedback. Did people learn anything from your ESG training efforts? Were they valuable? If they weren’t, reassess!


According to the World Economic Forum, closing the global skills gap could add $11.5 trillion to global GDP by 2028. Yet, in the technology space, as Skillsoft's 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report found, 66 percent of IT decision makers worldwide are facing critical skills gaps in their departments.

With this in mind, Skillsoft has designed its technology & developer solutions to help companies build the technical skills they need—at scale—to operate, innovate, and transform for today’s digital world. Skillsoft’s technology & developer solutions provide:

  • Complete coverage of technology skills. Our courses span across Cloud, Cybersecurity, Data, Infrastructure, Software Development and Programming, with 75% of our top 500 most used courses updated in the past 12 months.
  • Multimodal learning options. We optimize skill acquisition, retention, and application through the largest collection of multimodal learning which includes 2,800 interactive hands-on lessons, 3,000+ ILT courses (available for additional purchase), and 30 live Bootcamps each year.
  • Clear paths to accelerate mastery. With over 500 comprehensive skill benchmarks, you can assess skill proficiency and provide tailored learning guidance for improving that proficiency.


In the past year, we have made dramatic improvements to our technology & developer solutions, delivering far more value to our learners and their organizations.

As part of that mission, now, Tech & Dev Expert and Skillsoft Expert both include access to Codecademy content and interactive platform, providing the most comprehensive interactive learning curriculum the market has to offer. The result empowers learners to accelerate the application of new technical skills in a real-time environment.

Codecademy offers interactive, hands-on courses in 15 programming languages across multiple domains such as web development and data science., including HTML & CSS, Python, JavaScript, Java, SQL, Bash/Shell, Ruby, C++, R, C#, PHP, Go, Swift, and Kotlin. Delivered through Skillsoft Percipio, these courses are bolstered by additional administrative and planning benefits, as well as links to critical tools like Skill Benchmarks Assessments and Career Journeys that allows learners to rate their level of proficiency in a particular skill and see where they can grow.


Below are just a few of the benefits of Codecademy being included in Tech & Dev Expert and Skillsoft Expert:

  • Hands-on experience. Codecademy offers a hands-on learning methodology, which helps non-tech learners make the move to tech and have an easier time onboarding.
  • Highly-trusted content. Codecademy’s content has been created by seasoned subject matter experts with pedagogical knowledge, and is proven to build durable competencies, with 100+ projects that provide real-world examples for advanced learning.
  • Designed to uplevel and upskill. With an onboarding program and train-to-hire program, you can level up new engineers and get them job-ready or leverage the fullstack bootcamps which are designed to upskill your team quickly in programming and data.

For organizations looking for that safe, technical learning environment to reskill and upskill their employees, look no further. Get started with Tech & Dev Expert or Skillsoft Expert with Codecademy today by requesting a demo.

Join us to learn what makes Codecademy’s approach to learning so effective in establishing a baseline of coding knowledge and helping your workforce meet enterprise objectives.

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful! 4 Tips to Keep Employees Feeling Delightful this Winter Thu, 08 Dec 2022 10:57:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Baby, it’s cold outside. And while winter is the best season to get cozy with a mug of cocoa by a roaring fire, the reality is that many people work 40+ hours per week in freezing temperatures. Consider this:

  • Nearly 70% of the U.S. population lives in snowy regions
  • According to the CDC, about 1,200 people die per year due to extreme cold stress

Employees working in frigid conditions can experience cold injuries ranging from frostnip to hypothermia. These types of injuries are dangerous to workers, but cold temperatures may also cause numbness in the hands that can lead to workplace accidents – if, for example, a worker loses their grip on a tool or control of heavy machinery. To learn more about the risk factors and symptoms of cold stress, Skillsoft offers a microlearning course, Cold Stress Impact: Symptoms.

Who is at risk? Depending on the time of year, geography, and industry, workers in construction, road work, agriculture, landscaping, and other outdoor occupations may be at an increased risk. Additionally, jobs like truck drivers, Emergency Medical Technicians, and police officers may be unexpectedly exposed to the elements for long periods.

Employers are responsible for keeping employees safe and warm during the winter months. However, employees themselves should also be aware of their risk and take appropriate precautions. Here are some tips to keeping warm at work in the winter.

1. Understand the hazards in your work environment.

With over 1,300 people killed and more than 116,000 injured annually in vehicle crashes during snowfall or sleet, driving to work during the winter can be quite dangerous. Whether it’s getting caught in a blizzard, sliding on black ice, or being stuck in freezing rain, traveling by car in the winter months comes with risks to take into consideration regarding employee safety and wellbeing. Drivers should always remember to check their tire pressure before getting in the car, increase their following distance, and drive at slower speeds when in dangerous winter weather conditions.

Check out a few of our driving courses to learn more about the safety measures you can take.

As the sun sets earlier in many parts of the world during the winter months, ensuring areas are well-lit and clearly marked is an important step to keep employees safe. Along with this, make sure you have proper snow removal and de-icing products along with slip-resistant footwear. In the winter, snow and ice are hazards that we must be equipped for at all times, and ensuring you are wearing the proper footwear and have the proper equipment readily accessible will ensure you are safe from preventable injuries.

Check out our guide on the dangers of working in extreme temperatures to learn more about how to best manage cold exposure and extreme temperatures

2. Ensure all employees are thoroughly trained – including site-specific training.

All employees and supervisors should be provided with the general knowledge and training they need to recognize the hazards, risk factors, symptoms, first-aid treatment, and prevention options for temperature stress — and to know what to do when they identify symptoms in themselves or others. However, training should not end here.

Site-specific training is also crucial as it outlines the administrative controls put in place for an individual workplace — including acclimation schedules, work duration between breaks, hydration requirements, and instructions on where to find water, warming areas, and other support. Workers most at risk for accidents are people working outside in the cold, particularly in the snow, although cold or wet indoor environments can also lead to cold-related hazards.

Symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by taking an affected individual to a warm location or by removing wet clothing, but severe exposure can require emergency medical attention. For more specifics, Skillsoft offers these micro learning courses:

Check out our Cold Stress course for comprehensive guidance and information on risk factors, symptoms, and treatments, and how to prevent cold stress injuries and fatalities.

3. Set your workers up for success by building the workday around the weather.

While no one can control the weather, we can control when employees work in it. Monitor workers’ physical conditions, schedule work during the warmest part of the day, provide warm beverages, and add radiant heaters to work areas. Accommodate workers with frequent opportunities to warm up, whether that means having a warming area outside or an indoor area accessible for employees. If you typically have workers outside in the early morning or late evening and are not able to change this, these precautions are especially crucial to prevent symptoms of cold stress like frostbite and hypothermia that could cause irreversible damage to employees like numbness, damaged skin, sensitivity to extreme temperatures, discoloration of skin, problems with hair and nail growth, and more.

4. Prepare for emergency situations.

Every year, we know hundreds of people suffer from injuries or die from winter weather. Whether it’s a power outage or a blizzard, preparation is key. Creating an emergency response plan for potential winter weather hazards like snow or ice storms is imperative to keeping all employees safe at all times. Your plans should be clearly documented with concise instructions and steps that should be taken to keep everyone safe in these unpredictable situations.

Consider purchasing more generators, designating employees to help carry out emergency plans if they are needed, and ensure your facilities are always up to code and getting the care they need to run properly. If you have not yet come up with a winter strategy to ensure your employees are safe and protected from the outside elements, now is the time to get started and get your employees trained for the winter months ahead.

By recognizing the hazards, employees and employers can then work together to identify ways to protect workers from the harm of winter weather. By doing so you are signaling to your employees that they are your first priority. In turn, they will feel more appreciated and taken care of by the organization, leading them to want to help others to feel the same.

So, while you’re sitting inside by the fire this winter to stay warm, remember to get the chimney inspected and to open the damper. If you need, check out our course on fire safety to make sure you keep you and your loved ones safe this winter.

Top 5 Highest-Paying AWS Certifications Tue, 06 Dec 2022 10:39:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications have become a leading credential, partly because the need for cloud professionals is so great today and these certifications provide an excellent way of validating one’s proficiency in a specific domain.

A couple years ago, IT decision-makers shared that the hardest area to hire for was cybersecurity (50%), with cloud computing a close second (44%). That’s changed in the past year. According to the 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, cloud computing is now the top priority for 41% of decision-makers; with cybersecurity falling to second place with 31%.

As the demand for cloud services continues to rise, many organizations find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to sourcing and keeping skilled talent.

That’s why it’s no surprise to see AWS certifications associated with some of the highest salaries in the industry. For example, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional ranks highly on our 15 Top-Paying Certifications List. In 2022, professionals with this certification reported making an average of $158,485, ranking it in the top five.

In compiling this list, we found that hundreds of IT Skills and Salary survey respondents in the US and Canada hold AWS certifications. So, we dug into the data to learn about the people who hold these certifications, how much they make (on average), and what makes them successful.

The data shows that on average these professionals make $128,467—ranking as one of the highest-paying certification categories in North America.

But what goes into a salary like that? What skills or knowledge do you need to reach these levels of expertise? We break it down.

Snapshot: Top 5 Highest-Paying AWS Certifications in North America

2022 Average Salary

AWS Certified Developer


AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional


AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate


AWS Certified Security - Specialty


AWS Certified Big Data — Specialty


Below, read about some of the leading certifications from AWS in North America (US and Canada) and how to earn them.

AWS Certified Developer

Ranking No. 2 on our 15 Top-Paying Certification List, the average salary for those holding the AWS Certified Developer – Associate certificate is $165,333. To achieve this increasingly popular certification, candidates should have:

  • A good grasp on choosing the right AWS services for the application
  • Leveraging software development kits (SDKs) to interact with services from your application
  • Writing code that optimizes performance
  • Code-level application security

Popular Courses for this Certification:

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

Amazon Web Services offers both associate and professional levels of its AWS Certified Solutions Architect certifications. You must earn your associate-level certification before advancing to the professional level.

Associate Level (No. 8 on our 15 Top-Paying Certification List)

Based on our 2022 IT Skills and Salary Survey, the average salary for those holding AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate level in the United States and Canada is $148,348. A few concepts candidates should know prior to taking the exam include:

  • Designing and deploying scalable, highly available systems on AWS
  • Selecting the correct AWS service based on requirements
  • Deploying on-premises apps to AWS

Popular Courses for this Certification:

Once you have obtained the Associate certificate, IT specialists should consider the Professional level as the next step. It has an average salary of $158,485, according to the 65 survey respondents who hold this certification. Candidates should have:

  • Experience designing and deploying scalable and reliable applications on AWS
  • An ability to migrate complex multi-tier applications on AWS

Popular Courses for this Certification:

AWS Certified Security - Specialty

The average salary for those holding the AWS Certified Security - Specialty certification is $146,300. This certification enables tenured cloud security professionals to demonstrate their ability to secure the AWS cloud. Candidates seeking this certification should understand concepts such as:

  • Specialized data classifications and AWS data protection mechanisms
  • Data encryption methods and AWS mechanisms to implement them
  • Security operations and risk

Popular Course for this Certification:

AWS Certified Big Data - Specialty

The AWS Certified Big Data — Specialty certification boast an average salary of $134,793 in the United States and Canada, based on a total of 60 respondents. This certification validates your technical skills and experience in designing and implementing AWS services to extract and demonstrate value from data. The exam is for individuals who perform complex big data analyses and validates the ability to:

  • Implement core AWS Big Data services according to basic architectural best practices
  • Design and maintain big data
  • Leverage tools to automate data analysis

Popular Courses for this Certification:

How to Stay Dedicated to Earning AWS Certifications

When it comes to earning any certification, you can count on it taking time and resources (perhaps several cups of coffee), to acquire the knowledge or skill that will help you pass the exam. Not only is it important to study the material, but it also helps to reinforce these concepts with everyday tasks, hands-on labs, or even with a colleague. By constantly challenging yourself and training on new practices and principles, you separate yourself from the rest.

To jumpstart your AWS certification training, we encourage you to check out our Cloud Career Journey.

4 Takeaways for Compliance Officers in 2022 Fri, 02 Dec 2022 09:00:00 -0500 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

A couple of years ago, someone named Jared posted what he called “The Shopping Cart Theory” on Twitter and it exploded on social media. Jared proposed that we can assess a person’s moral character – essentially whether they are capable of self-governing or not – based on whether they return their shopping cart.

He wrote:

To return the shopping cart is an easy, convenient task and one which we all recognize as the correct, appropriate thing to do. To return the shopping cart is objectively right. There are no situations other than dire emergencies in which a person is not able to return their cart. Simultaneously, it is not illegal to abandon your shopping cart. Therefore the shopping cart presents itself as the apex example of whether a person will do what is right without being forced to do it. No one will punish you for not returning the shopping cart, no one will fine you or kill you for not returning the shopping cart, you gain nothing by returning the shopping cart. You must return the shopping cart out of the goodness of your own heart. You must return the shopping cart because it is the right thing to do. Because it is correct.”

Even the New York Times weighed in on shopping carts.

And while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that returning your shopping cart makes you a moral person or not, there are some interesting parallels we can make with respect to compliance.

  • Will people take the correct actions when there is no law prohibiting it, or no one watching?
  • Are there factors other than legality or mortality that motivate people to do the right thing?
  • How does human behavior, emotion, experience, etc. play into one’s decision about the about the action they choose to take?

The best indicator of whether a person will do the right thing is when the person does the right thing. But what’s right for some may not be right for others. This is exactly why companies must tell their employees what is right, what is wrong, and what is expected of them. At Skillsoft, we see many of our customers doing this through their compliance training program and code of conduct.

Skillsoft is grateful to have worked with some amazing clients in 2022, many of whom have established effective online compliance training programs and, dare we say it, successfully gotten their employees to return the shopping cart.

Here’s what we learned from them this year!

Train Your Team “In the Flow of Work”

In 2022, organizations increasingly saw learning take place when – and where – learners need key information. Lynn Ross, senior director global operations training and development at Equinix, shared her thoughts on this topic as part of a webinar on building a successful global safety program, and she hit the nail on the head.

Imagine you are about to go on a bike ride and your chain falls off. Maybe you have a general idea how to fix it, but you can’t remember the details. But you are all dressed in your gear and you’re planning to leave soon, so you need access to the information you’re looking for as soon as possible.

You probably wouldn’t sign up for an in-person course on bike maintenance. Or take time out of your day to engage in a 45-minute training session with a quiz at the end. Instead, it would likely be most useful to you to watch a two-minute YouTube video showing you how to fix the chain.

Not only would you get the information you need when you need it, but you would learn what you need to know by seeing and hearing it. Chances are, you’ll be able to recall that information more accurately later because you were able to learn it in the flow of work – when you needed it.

Compliance professionals who want to truly impact employees and mitigate risk understand that these learners need information at their fingertips. This requires an investment in multi-modal training courses that can be utilized when needed—just in time.

Remove Training Silos

There is a logic to compliance silos. The IT or Security team handles cybersecurity because they have the requisite expertise. By the same token, IT likely doesn't know much about bloodborne pathogen safety — that's a job for the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) experts. Anti-bribery and corruption, that for sure lies in the expertise of the Compliance or Legal team.

The problem is that silos often prevent collaboration, leaving an organization unable to assess risk holistically. Under a more collaborative approach to compliance, disparate teams could more easily share information and insights, ensuring that every segment of the organization takes the necessary precautions to protect employees and the company. In turn, that can help the organization see and mitigate compliance risks faster — before they snowball out of control.

Global packaging leader TricorBraun has been partnering with Skillsoft to centralize its legal compliance solution for some time. However, the organization’s overall program was still decentralized with various managers owning different aspects of compliance training. To combat inefficiency, Director of L&D Kary Gilkeson and L&D Specialist Sarah Rinne completed a compliance audit with the goal of consolidating compliance training across the board.

Gilkeson and Rinne started with cybersecurity, a critical component of any modern compliance program. “TricorBraun used to issue cybersecurity training through a different system, as cyber compliance fell under IT,” said Gilkeson. “When we moved the training to Skillsoft, ultimately reaching 1,400 to 1,500 people across global regions, we started realizing the benefits of compliance across the board.”

The non-siloed, Skillsoft compliance training was able to boost confidence and awareness for team members that previously worked without critical risk-mitigating insights.

Incorporate ESG into Compliance Training Initiatives

Many companies have only recently established Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, yet they now face expectations to have measurable Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) commitments and related reporting. How do CSR and ESG initiatives compare, and can they coexist? How can organizations evolve their programs and meet compliance requirements?

As compliance officers look to navigate these complex issues, many are finding that incorporating CSR and ESG programs into their compliance training initiatives is an effective way to enable employees, customers, partners, and other stakeholders to take part in work that is bigger than all of us, and manage the risks better and differently.

“In business, we keep score with money. But business isn’t about money — it’s about people. And people long for something way bigger than just money. I’m so proud and thankful to be on a team with associates and owners who continue to use their business success as a springboard to be significant in their communities,” said Ace Hardware President and CEO John Venhuizen in a recent sustainability report.

Publishing an annual sustainability report is one of the main ways that organizations share their progress in these areas – and communicated key information about their corporate culture, commitment to employees’ mental health, and social responsibility efforts. Compliance must be a key component in that culture.

Cultivate a Community of Ethical Leaders

How does one communicate an organization’s ethical beliefs and values to all team members so everyone is aligned on the behaviors expected of them within their organization? How do they promote employee safety and well-being across the company? How do they make hard choices to do the right thing every day?

These guidelines are often communicated via the organization’s Global Code of Conduct, which is a necessary first step for every manager and leader, but not sufficient to fully encompass the behaviors an ethical leader must exhibit.

“Ethical leadership is a long-term win,” noted Catherine Razzano, Head of Global Legal Compliance at TikTok, in a recent conversation on the topic. “There is an enormous amount of pressure in our global environment to make fast decisions.” She recounted watching the Hulu series, The Dropout, about Elizabeth Holmes and her company, Theranos.

The evening before Theranos’ meeting with pharmaceutical giant Novartis, Holmes made a decision to falsify an important blood test – likely thinking that the poor test results would ultimately be resolved, and the short-term ethical breach would justify the long-term gains. However, this decision soon ballooned out of her control.

No decision is ever black and white. Catherine said, “Macro- and micro-environments in the world impact our ability to make the right decisions and show vulnerability. To compensate for that, we need to be more deliberate about the decisions we make.”

It is important for leaders to be able to communicate an organization’s ethical beliefs and values to all team members, so that everyone is aligned with the behaviors expected of them within their organization. They must promote employee safety and well-being across the company and be able to make difficult ethical decisions on behalf of the company.

Here’s a Quick Recap of What We Learned in 2022

So, here you have it. Four things that our clients taught us in 2022 that we plan to take with us into the New Year:

  • Train Your Team “In the Flow of Work”
  • Remove Training Silos
  • Incorporate ESG into Your Online Compliance Training
  • Cultivate a Community of Ethical Leaders

Let us know if you have any questions about how to get started on any of these initiatives – we’re happy to pass along some of the tips and tricks we’ve learned, as well.

In the meantime, as holiday shopping moves into full swing, remember to return your shopping carts.

How to Improve Adoption of Cybersecurity Training Thu, 01 Dec 2022 09:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Cyber-attacks continue to assail organizations of all kinds, with as many as 43% reporting more incidents than the year before, according to ISACA’s State of Cybersecurity 2022 Report. As organizations defend against more and more attacks, many have dialed up their training efforts to improve awareness and advance skills development internally. At Skillsoft, training consumption data shows an uptick in cloud security in particular. (Read more on that here.)

However, as security leaders and training professionals roll out programs, they often face a common set of challenges. Security training can feel like checking a box or too “doom and gloom.”

When this is the case, the consequences can include poor adoption, disengagement, or even erratic decision-making that doesn't support the goals security leaders set for training – which, first and foremost, is creating more secure infrastructure.

The good news?

Security training doesn’t have to feel like this.

We recently spoke with Adam Gwaltney, Cybersecurity Training Manager at T-Mobile, who is responsible for implementing security training across the organization for employees in storefronts, working at home or from a corporate office. He shared his approach to security training, challenges he has faced and how he overcomes those obstacles.

These tips will help security leaders and technical training professionals successfully deliver cybersecurity programs that align with your organization’s priorities and goals.

Read Next: 3 Considerations for Developing Tech Training Programs

1. Set Clear Goals, Define Success for Your Security Training

In order to implement a successful training program, you must define what success looks like. In other words, what's the goal?

If there is a specific goal, such as fulfilling compliance requirements or building skills in a particular discipline, it provides a clearer path to deliver training that reaches the right audience in a purposeful way.

Training efforts that have vague goals can feel unorganized and difficult to measure. Many organizations focus their goals on building new skills, upskilling or reskilling, ongoing development, and lifelong learning. Having metrics readily available to monitor utilization, course completions, skills development and more can help demonstrate progress, influence planning, and eventually judge success.

2. Personalize Your Security Training to Create a Lasting Impact

“Learning the audience as much as you can and as early as you can is key to successful training implementation,” Adam said. “What training looks like for someone on the technology side is going to look vastly different than training for someone people-facing like HR which is why having a content library that is relevant to a wide audience like Skillsoft is important.”

Tailoring the information to the audience depending on their role is crucial to making it as relevant as possible. If you want to affect lasting change, people need to see themselves in the training, not just hooded attackers. Therefore, messaging and content must be diverse and inclusive.

At T-Mobile, security training is delivered to people across the enterprise, including HR, finance, customer service, retail, and IT. The training across these departments is adapted to a professional's respective role because how they experience security risks often looks different.

A person at a call center or in a retail store may be more likely to experience social engineering schemes, whereas software engineers must focus on rooting out vulnerabilities in their programming. Because threats vary, the training must be adapted to have the greatest impact.

3. Time Is Often Against Us — Offering Variety Can Help

When it comes to challenges, Adam says time is often the leading factor to consider. Whether it’s trying to schedule training into the workday, ensuring it's completed by set deadlines, or demonstrating the importance, time is one of the largest issue at hand.

Security professionals listed workload and resource constraints among their top five biggest challenges at work, which means they're often short on time.

How Security Professionals Prefer to Train

Most tend to gravitate toward self-paced training. It affords them the opportunity to learn when it works for them. In the past year, less than half (42%) of security professionals took virtual, live instructor-led training, whereas 69% participated self-paced training, according to Skillsoft's 2022 IT Skills and Salary survey.

“Busy professionals need to balance work and studying,” wrote one respondent in the survey. “Self-paced helps you learn at your pace, at your speed level, giving you the ability to research and learn with many different resources.”

This isn't to say security professionals won't sit for in-person classes, but rather they need to complement their training with other resources. With this in mind, it helps to offer learners a variety of training options to meet them where they are.

It's most common for security professionals join webinars, read books or technical guides, and look to free online tools to supplement their learning. Ultimately, what’s most important for these professionals is the quality of the content and opportunities for hands-on practice.

Read Also:7 Ways to Transform Your Cybersecurity Training and Influence Lasting Change

4. Build Relationships with Stakeholders Across the Enterprise

Make a point to connect with internal stakeholders across departments to build relationships. Doing so will help bolster the impact training has.

"When I first started at T-Mobile, I tried to meet everyone in all these other departments to network and build relationships," Adam said. "There's not a fast way to do it, but the relationship is worth the time."

In doing so, you learn about what challenges each department has, what they need, and their impression of training. By developing these partnerships, it becomes easier to give and receive feedback, deliver training at optimal times, and align team goals with supportive training.

As Adam says, the time you invest in relationships pays off by:

  • Improving communication
  • Clarifying expectations
  • Supporting training goals

Security Training Has Become Increasingly Important as Threats Affect Everyone

Nearly everyone and every organization has been impacted by cybersecurity attacks. Bad actors exploit vulnerabilities, stressed employees, and skills gaps. In fact, 80% of organizations say they’ve experienced cybersecurity breaches due to skills gaps, according to research by Fortinet. According to IBM’s 2022 Cost of a Data Breach report, 83% of organizations have had more than one data breach.

Bad actors can create a hyper-targeted attack that looks real just based off spending a few minutes on someone’s social media page. And they come at times when people least expect them. “Phishing attempts don’t come on Tuesday morning, they come late Friday afternoon when people have their guard down,” Adam says.

Frontline employees are often the first to notice the signs of an attempted data breach, whether it be a suspicious email or a mistake they made. Because of this, your employees are an essential defense against cyberthreats. The faster they report incidents to the IT department, the sooner those incidents can be addressed.

Through successful security training programs, you help employees identify red flags and prevent breaches. It’s critical to make sure employees understand the importance of security training and see themselves as playing a role in upholding the organization’s defenses.

Skillsoft can help you build an engaging cybersecurity training program that will benefit your organization. Our Cybersecurity Career Journey includes instructional variety to accelerate the on-the-job application of new skills through a fully integrated experience, including live, on-demand, and hands-on learning.

Factoring Total Cost of Growth Into the Workforce Transformation Equation Wed, 30 Nov 2022 05:11:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

In an increasingly services-driven economy, knowledge leads to growth. Employers and employees both strive for that growth, illustrating the importance for talent organizations to create cultures built upon a foundation of learning and development (L&D). Yet, we find that investment in L&D lags far behind appropriate levels, leading to skills gaps, challenges with retention, and lower levels of workforce engagement and productivity. According to our 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, one-in-four IT decision-makers said a lack of investment in training is a primary reason behind departmental skills gaps. And, when there is some investment, it is often wasted in undirected spend that does not measure outcomes.

Consider for a moment a well-known industry term called the “Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).” It is the cost of acquiring and owning capital equipment, software, real estate, laboratories, etc., inclusive of maintenance and upgrades. TCO can vary widely, but it often ranges between 5-20% of the initial capital outlay or the yearly fee for licensed assets like software. Now, consider an employee’s fully loaded cost as the yearly license cost for the intellectual output of the employee. Software and SaaS license price increases are akin to employee compensation increases; investment in employee learning and growth is akin to yearly spend in maintenance and upgrades. Let us call this the “Total Cost of Growth (TCG).”

TCG factors & considerations.

While TCO ensures that capital investments are in good working condition, TCG ensures that employees are in “good working condition.” This means that they remain competitive with technological, social, and regulatory changes around them. Just like lubrication in machines protects them against environmental atrophy, L&D protects employees against intellectual stagnation or decline as the environment changes around them.

The benefits of investing in TCG cannot be overstated. On average, the overall voluntary turnover rate across all industries was 32.7% last year. Gartner notes that the rate is likely to jump by another 20% by the end of 2022. It’s important to note that this can vary significantly depending on industry. A 90% employee retention rate / 10% employee turnover rate is generally considered “good.”

Loss of productivity, recruiting costs, and wage inflation with new hires cost companies big. SHRM reported that it can cost a company six to nine months of an employee’s salary to find a replacement. Employee replacement costs can be as high as 50 – 60%, with overall costs ranging anywhere from 90 – 200%. For an employee making $60,000 per year, that means it costs an average of $30,000 - $45,000 just to replace them, and $54,000 - $120,000 in overall losses to the company. And this isn’t even factoring in the intangible costs such as impact to culture, productivity, and momentum.

Even if a company spends 3% of total compensation on training and development, filling more roles internally—it pays off the cost of L&D and more. In general, companies do not spend anywhere close to 3% of employee compensation on L&D.

An outcome-oriented approach to TCG investment.

Many companies spend on L&D as if they are buying a “box of chocolates.” It is treated as an employee benefit, and “learning content by weight” is the philosophy adopted where investment is measured by how much content is bought rather than on quality, assessment, and curation. Such spend can be considered worse than not spending anything at all because there is no measurable ROI in terms of retention, internal mobility, and workforce development that maps back to strategic goals.

Companies that are effective with TCG investment are deliberate about employee development for strategic business needs. They assess critical skill needs aligned with company strategies and plan workforce transformation accordingly. They benchmark employee skills, build and maintain individual development plans, and provide individualized learning programs that make the employee ready for jobs and roles of the future. For companies that offer human intellectual property as product, such as consulting and services, this type of deliberate skilling goes directly toward business outcomes like time to billability or speed and flexibility of project staffing. For companies such as health services, financial services, hospitality, and transportation, this type of skilling relates directly to business outcomes like retention, internal mobility, customer satisfaction, data security, legal compliance, and employee health and safety.

Best-in-class companies often blend learning methods like videos, books, and live and virtual instructor-led training (ILT). They use learning platforms that engage the learner with recommendations, social cues, badges, goals, reminders, and gamification. They focus on developing the whole professional by offering a balance of technical skills (e.g., programming, data) with power skills (e.g., communication, agility).

Decentralized, but synchronized.

How a company administers L&D budget is also critical to the success of any approach. It is true that functional leaders like Chief Technology/Information Officers, Chief Revenue Officers, or Chief Compliance Officers are more tuned to the strategic needs of their functions. Many CEOs often delegate L&D decisions to these major functional heads. This fully decentralized approach could be more impactful in the short term, but in the long term, may result in suboptimal allocation of funds, duplicative spend, fractured learning experiences, and poor outcomes. A decentralized, but synchronized, approach is key.

When the CEO is more involved in L&D, seeks valuable input from every function, then challenges the Chief Learning Officer to produce a combined plan that results in the best business case and the best employee experience—the overall investment is more efficient, and results are more impactful across the company. The modern, successful Chief Learning Officer must continuously engage with functional leaders and stay abreast of their needs and strategies.

Total Cost of Growth is a critical investment needed for all companies to sustain and grow – especially as today’s business environment changes from a technological, regulatory, macro-economic, and competitive standpoint. By investing in employees, you are building loyalty, career paths, and spending company capital in a more efficient manner, and as a result, making the company more productive, resilient, and skilled to face upcoming challenges. Falling behind and failing to invest in growth holistically is a guarantee for obsolescence.

Request a demo today to learn how Skillsoft can support your workforce transformation efforts.

Compliance Silos Are Risky Business Mon, 21 Nov 2022 13:12:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

In an increasingly complex and demanding compliance landscape, many organizations are investing heavily in programs to manage risk. According to McKinsey, for instance, in some large regional banks, the risk function has grown twice as much as the rest of the organization. Yet, fear of liability has prevented these organizations from streamlining their compliance programs.

This “more is more” mentality doesn’t necessarily cultivate a culture of compliance. Rather, it can lead to complicated processes, multiple control layers, and information silos that — ironically —cause the very problems they are meant to prevent. But in today’s strict regulatory environment, “I didn’t know” is not a defense for non-compliance.

On the other side of the spectrum are organizations that view compliance as a series of “check the box” activities that are rarely measured or fine-tuned. This type of program may give your team tunnel vision – convincing stakeholders that your compliance program is sufficient when your needs may be broader than you realize.

Cultivating the right mindset across the enterprise not only decreases the costly consequences of violations, but it reduces the cost of decentralized compliance to support a high-performing, cohesive environment where individuals and businesses can thrive.

A culture of compliance can only grow when an organization effectively deploys, tracks, and updates engaging compliance training across the entire enterprise — ensuring all team members understand compliance standards, take pride in “doing the right thing,” and internalize actions they need to take.

So, who “owns” compliance at your organization?

Between business operations, human resources, and technology, when it comes to compliance, cross-functional collaboration is critical from the highest levels to individual roles. But that doesn’t mean you should take a “one-size fits all” approach. Instead, you need to understand your audience: who needs what training and when, and which courses are critical to centralize.

TricorBraun: “Doing The Right Thing” is Company Culture

TricorBraun is a global packaging leader – and a Skillsoft customer. Here’s how the organization has made impressive strides in its own compliance program.

Founded by the Kranzberg family as Northwestern Bottle Company in turn-of-the-century St. Louis, the organization has supplied customers with glass bottles and other packaging through major economic and societal changes: the Great Depression, two World Wars, recessions, the 2008 financial crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

TricorBraun cares for the communities and markets in which it lives and works. It believes that corporate citizenship is the right thing to do, and that it is integral to the organization’s continued success. As the company continues to grow, it requires dynamic compliance training solutions to meet the needs of its growing workforce.

For example, with the acquisition of new companies came the acquisition of various compliance solutions. Some of the challenges that the organization faced with respect to these solutions included:

  • Consolidation of decentralized compliance solutions to obtain a clear picture of its overall compliance program – including most utilized courses, reliable employee training schedules, reporting mechanisms, and more.
  • Aspects of the organization’s compliance training program were managed by different functions. It needed to reduce the risk of inefficiency and the duplication of resources.

TricorBraun had been partnering with Skillsoft to centralize its legal compliance solution for some time. However, the organization’s overall program was still decentralized, with various managers of the different aspects of compliance training. To combat inefficiency, Director of L &D Kary Gilkeson and L&D Specialist Sarah Rinne completed a compliance audit with the goal of consolidating compliance training across the board.

Gilkeson and Rinne started with cybersecurity, a critical component of any modern compliance program. “TricorBraun used to issue cybersecurity training through a different system, as cyber compliance fell under IT,” said Gilkeson. “When we moved the training to Skillsoft, ultimately reaching 1,400 to 1,500 people across global regions, we started realizing the benefits of compliance across the board."

Skillsoft compliance training was able to boost confidence and awareness for team members that previously worked without critical risk-mitigating insights.

Meeting Various Stakeholder Needs with Skillsoft’s Compliance Solutions

TricorBraun team members now have comprehensive access to a customized compliance solution. The Skillsoft Compliance content library includes more than 500 critical risk topics in 32 languages, providing one of the most extensive global libraries of legal coverage, ethics training, and workplace safety training available.

Skillsoft's expert-vetted solutions keep pace with TricorBraun’s need to meet the complex demands of modern compliance with trusted content, new treatment types, including scenario-based and panel discussions, and professionally-acted role-plays. This innovative approach brings learning concepts to life in real-world situations to fully immerse TricorBraun’s learners, enabling better retention, application, and experience.

As TricorBraun’s compliance journey demonstrates, a successful compliance program isn’t about rules — it’s about people. It should protect your team members and communicate your company’s values and principles. That starts with compliance training that engages team members and empowers them to make the right choices every day.

Training is at the heart of changing behaviors, increasing productivity, and creating safe and ethical workplaces. If you’re ready to integrate your entire compliance learning program under one platform, connect learning with business performance, and offer equitable, effective training to your workforce, reach out to Skillsoft to request a demo today.

The Top 10 Cybersecurity Certifications in 2022 Thu, 17 Nov 2022 05:52:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

In Skillsoft's 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, 66 percent of IT decision-makers reported that their organizations were struggling with skills gaps, driven largely by the difficulty of recruiting and retaining qualified talent and the rapid pace of technological change today.

While any IT skills gap can spell trouble for a company, cybersecurity skills gaps are particularly worrisome. A lack of qualified cybersecurity talent can leave an organization exposed to cyberattacks that can have disastrous repercussions for their reputations, operations, and bottom lines. According to a report from IBM, the average U.S. data breach costs a company $9.44 million in terms of lost business, customer distrust, remediation, and potential legal penalties.

Staggering figures like that explain why cybersecurity certifications are particularly in demand among employers today. While employers value all kinds of IT certifications, certification is especially important in cybersecurity. Even by IT standards, cybersecurity is a particularly challenging field requiring significant expertise. Cybersecurity professionals are locked in an arms race with hackers and other adversaries. They must always be up to date on the latest technologies and techniques to defend their organizations against ever-escalating threats. That's why organizations are willing to pay a premium for cybersecurity certifications: They prove that their people have the skills they need to protect the company's most valuable assets.

How much of a premium are companies willing to pay? According to the 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, IT professionals with non-cybersecurity certifications earn an average salary of $64,311, while those with cybersecurity certifications earn an average salary of $72,444. That's a difference of roughly $8,000, or about 12%.

Of course, some cybersecurity certifications are more in demand than others — and thus, they garner even higher salaries for their holders. Using data from our 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, we've compiled a list of the top 10 cybersecurity certifications with the highest average salaries in North America.

The Highest-Paying Cybersecurity Certifications in North America

1. CRISC - Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control

Average salary: $167,145.27

Offered by ISACA, a global professional association dedicated to IT governance and cybersecurity standards, CRISC validates a cybersecurity professional's enterprise IT risk management expertise. CRISC is a comprehensive certification covering everything from strategic abilities like building company risk profiles to technical skills like designing and implementing appropriate security controls.

CRISC holders tend to be highly credentialed, tenured individuals. According to Skillsoft's 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, professionals with CRISC certification have an average of nine certifications overall, and 68 percent serve in managerial roles.

According to ISACA, CRISC is best-suited for mid-career professionals in IT/IS audit, risk, and security careers. Earning CRISC certification requires three years of working experience in IT risk management and IS control roles. In addition, candidates must pass the CRISC exam, which covers four domains: governance, IT risk assessment, risk response and reporting, and information technology and security. The exam costs $760 for non-ISACA members and $575 for members.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CRISC exam with our CRISC Prep Course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Work in management




2. CISM - Certified Information Security Manager

Average salary: $158,590.30

ISACA's CISM certification is designed for cybersecurity professionals who are ready to make the leap to the management level. As such, it requires extensive experience in designing and managing secure information systems. CISM holders don't just have the technical expertise to create and implement effective security controls — they also think strategically, ensuring security tools and processes are aligned with broader business goals.

CISM requires significant experience: at least five years in an information security management capacity. However, certification candidates can waive up to two years of required experience if they possess certain ISACA-approved certifications. The CISM exam covers four domains: information security governance, information security risk management, information security program, and incident management. The exam costs $760 for non-ISACA members and $575 for members.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CISM exam with our CISM Prep Course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Work in management




3. CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Average salary: $154,185.64

Offered by (ISC)², CISSP is a comprehensive certification that validates a professional's ability to design, implement, and manage a cybersecurity program. CISSP is also one of the most common cross-certifications held by the cybersecurity pros we surveyed for this list, which speaks to how broadly valuable CISSP expertise is in the cybersecurity field.

CISSP focuses on knowledge and skills in eight domains, collectively known as the "CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK)":

  1. Security and risk management
  2. Asset security
  3. Security architecture and engineering
  4. Communication and network security
  5. Identity and access management (IAM)
  6. Security assessment and testing
  7. Security operations
  8. Software development security

Given its broad coverage, CISSP has been likened to earning a master's degree in IT security. CISSP also complies with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 8570.1, meaning the DoD recognizes it as a certification that proves the holder has mastery of certain critical cybersecurity principles and practices.

To earn CISSP, professionals must pass an exam ($749) covering the eight domains of the CISSP CBK. Candidates also need a minimum of five years of paid work experience in at least two of the eight CBK domains. A four-year degree or additional (ISC)²-approved credential can count for one year of experience.

Don't have the requisite experience just yet? You can still take the exam. If you pass, you'll earn the Associate of (ISC)² certification, and you'll have six years to gain the work experience you need to become fully CISSP-certified.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CISSP exam with our CISSP Prep Course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

ITIL Foundation

Work in management




4. CGEIT - Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT

Average salary: $151,473.40

ISACA's CGEIT is a framework-agnostic certification dedicated to enterprise IT governance. CGEIT holders have proven their expertise in optimizing IT investments, managing enterprise risks, and aligning IT with the overall goals and mission of the business. CGEIT is specifically for those cybersecurity professionals aiming to join the ranks of the C-suite, so it's little surprise that 73 percent of CGEIT holders work in management roles.

CGEIT certification requires five or more years of experience advising or overseeing enterprise IT governance. Candidates must also pass the CGEIT exam, which covers four domains: governance of enterprise IT, IT resources, benefits realization, and risk optimization. As with other ISACA certifications, the CGEIT exam costs $760 for non-ISACA members and $575 for members.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CGEIT exam with our CGEIT Prep Course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional

ITIL Foundation

Work in management




5. Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Security Engineer

Average salary: $150,203.14

Google Cloud is one of the most widely used enterprise cloud platforms, so it's unsurprising to see Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification in such high demand. This certification validates a professional's mastery of cloud security technologies and topics like identity and access management, incident response, and regulatory compliance. While the certification focuses on cloud security in the context of Google Cloud, many of the best practices it covers are equally applicable in other cloud environments — as evidenced by the fact that many holders of this certification are also certified in AWS.

To earn Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification, candidates must pass an exam that covers domains like configuring cloud access, managing cloud operations, network security, compliance, and data protection. The exam costs $200. While there are no prerequisites, Google recommends that candidates have at least three years of relevant experience, including a year of experience with Google Cloud.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification with our Cloud Career Journeys, a fully guided experience that ensures learning happens in the most effective sequence and format.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Work in management




6. AWS Certified Security - Specialty

Average salary: $146,300.00

Like Google Cloud, AWS is a widely used enterprise cloud platform, so it makes sense to see the AWS Certified Security - Speciality certification ranking right behind Google's own cloud security certification on our list. The AWS Certified Security - Speciality certification covers key cloud security skills and knowledge like disaster recovery, patch management, security management, encryption, access control, and more. This certification also validates more high-level strategic expertise, like a professional's ability to balance cost, security, and complexity when implementing security controls.

According to AWS, the best candidates for this certification already work in security roles and have at least two years of experience working with AWS workloads. Additionally, AWS recommends five years of IT security experience and a working knowledge of AWS security services and features. The exam costs $300.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for AWS Certified Security - Specialty certification with our recommended AWS courses.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

Associate Cloud Engineer

Work in management




7. COBIT 5 Foundation

Average salary: $144,325.28

Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies, or "COBIT," is an agile, business-focused IT governance framework created by ISACA. The COBIT Foundation certification covers fundamental IT governance principles like meeting stakeholder needs, aligning IT goals with strategic business objectives, and designing holistic governance systems that meet an organization's unique needs.

Many COBIT 5 Foundation holders work in leadership roles like IT management, business management, and even regulatory roles. There are no prerequisites for the COBIT 5 Foundation certification, which makes it a good fit for those professionals beginning their journeys into IT governance. Candidates will need to pass a comprehensive exam that covers a wide variety of domains, like governance system components, performance management, designing a tailored governance system, and more. The exam price ranges from $175-275 depending on whether candidates take the test online or in person.

(It's worth mentioning that the COBIT 5 Foundation certification focuses on COBIT 5, the 2012 version of the framework. ISACA updated the framework in 2019. The new COBIT 2019 version covers many of the same topics as COBIT 5, with some additions to reflect the state of enterprise IT today.)

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the COBIT 5 Foundation exam with our COBIT Beginner course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

ITIL Foundation

Work in management




8. CDPSE - Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer

Average salary: $144,004.11

As the name suggests, ISACA's CDPSE is for professionals focused on data privacy. Software engineers who build privacy solutions, developers concerned with data privacy in their products, and data scientists who work with sensitive data are all good candidates for CDPSE. That's because CDPSE covers both the technical side of designing secure technologies and the ethical and legal side of using data responsibly. Given the increasing threat of data breaches — and the complicated landscape of data privacy regulations organizations must follow today — it's easy to see why CDPSE certification is in high demand.

The CDPSE exam costs $760 for non-ISACA members and $575 for members, and it covers three domains: privacy governance, privacy architecture, and data lifecycle. Furthermore, candidates need at least three years of work experience in at least one of those domains.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CDPSE exam with our CDPSE Exam Guide.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

ITIL Foundation

Work in management




9. CISA - Certified Information Systems Auditor

Average salary: $140,653.57

ISACA's CISA certification is widely considered the standard for validating an IT professional's expertise in auditing and securing information systems and IT infrastructure. Particularly well-suited for entry-level and mid-career professionals, CISA certification focuses on key information security concepts like privacy by design, regulatory compliance, and risk management.

CISA candidates will need at least five years of experience in IS/IT audit, control, assurance, or security, with experience waivers available for up to three years. The CISA exam, which costs $575 for ISACA members and $760 for non-members, covers five domains: information systems auditing processes; IT governance and management; information systems acquisition, development, and implementation; information systems operations and business resilience; and protecting information assets.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CISA exam with our CISA Prep Course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

ITIL Foundation

Work in management




10. CEH - Certified Ethical Hacker

Average salary: $136,008.97

Offered by EC-Council, the CEH certification is one of the most in-demand certifications in cybersecurity — even the U.S. Department of Defense requires certain employees to hold it. As the name suggests, CEH certification focuses on the skills cybersecurity professionals need to evaluate systems, find vulnerabilities, and mitigate risk. CEH holders are typically trained in penetration testing, red teaming, threat hunting, and similar methodologies.

CEH is one of the pricier certifications, with the exam costing $1,199, plus a $100 application fee. However, it's also recognized as the go-to certification for white hat hackers, and many professionals find the cost worthwhile. EC-Council recommends that candidates have at least two years of IT security experience before taking the exam. Candidates lacking that experience can still apply to take the exam — they just have to attend an official EC-Council training course first.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CEH exam with our CEH Prep Course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

Work in management




Why Employers Pay More for Certification

Certifications are an important way for professionals to prove they have the skills they need to succeed in cybersecurity, but they're also valuable to employers beyond hiring qualified employees. Earning certification helps a professional build new skills and sharpen existing ones, making them even more effective in their roles.

In other words, certifications are sources of real, concrete value for organizations. More than 96 percent of the IT managers surveyed for the 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report said certified staff added value to their organizations. Forty-five percent said certifications boost productivity, and 44 percent said certification helps employees better meet client requirements.

That, ultimately, is why employers are willing to pay more for certified talent: There is a real, measurable return on the investment.

Hiring employees with certifications can help organizations close their skills gaps, but so can offering employees learning and development opportunities that help them earn and maintain certifications. After all, IT certifications in general — and cybersecurity certifications in particular — can become outdated as technology evolves. Connecting employees with continuous upskilling and reskilling programs can help them keep their certifications up to date — and make sure a company's skills gaps stay closed.

Announcing Skillsoft + Udemy Business Turnkey Integration Thu, 17 Nov 2022 05:14:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Gain indelible skills with Udemy Business content in Skillsoft Percipio

At Skillsoft, we’re firm believers that learning should consist of multiple pathways so users can decide what learning model fits their learning style. This is one of the major reasons we’re constantly updating, upgrading, and adding new content to our Skillsoft Percipio platform. To create an open platform that contains the three forms of learning shown to best drive growth among learners: microlearning, macro learning, and deep learning.

Microlearning comprises short videos or book summaries to help learners complete a job at hand or a task they’re struggling with. Macro learning comes into play when a learner has an hour or more to dedicate to learning a specific skill, often completing a course using several videos. Deep learning is required when a learner is attempting to learn an entirely new skill set to transition careers; deep learning is usually an engagement of a week or even a month-long learning experience.

It's because of our dedication to flexible and effective learning platforms that we seek to partner with like-minded learning companies. We are proud to announce the availability of a new turnkey integration with Udemy Business, the corporate training solution by Udemy, a leading destination for online learning and teaching.

Learners deserve to have the best content, no matter who produces it, so moving forward, our shared clients can leverage dynamic and agile Udemy Business content directly alongside Skillsoft learning experiences. Now learners can more effectively acquire new skills and further develop their existing ones all in a single platform.

IT decision-makers worldwide still struggle with the skills gap

While our learning philosophy is a driving force behind what content gets added to Skillsoft, it’s not the only factor; there’s still a massive IT skills gap to contend with. Organizations worldwide have found staffing success by investing in the people they already have. Upskilling and reskilling are proving to be the differentiators businesses need to remain competitive in the face of ever-evolving technological advancements. Udemy's 2023 Learning Trends Report documented, "Total learning hours of technical skills increased 49% over the last year on Udemy Business." In the past few years, we've seen evolutionary leaps in cloud sharing, communications, and AI technology, but with that advancement comes an increase in data insecurity.

In fact, Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary Report found that 76% of IT decision-makers are missing critical skills throughout their teams. Protecting your data is important, and only employees with top-notch IT skills can help keep your data secure. Recruiting can get expensive, and it can be a gamble if the new employee turns out to be the wrong fit for the organization. Therefore, we often stress how important it is to build a talent pool from within because IT skill shortages aren’t just going to go away; a recent prediction from IDC states that IT skills shortages will affect 90% of organizations by 2025.

The only way to meaningfully reskill employees is by providing robust training and resources that drive proficiency. Many technology professionals are experiential learners, so for training to resonate with them, they require a combination of traditional and hands-on learning activities. At Skillsoft, we have real-world practice labs and sandbox environments where learners can put their skills to the test in realistic scenarios — and fresh and diverse content on the Udemy Business platform helps users hone those skills even further.

Benefits of Udemy Business Turnkey Technical Integration

Udemy Business content is now accessible through search, browsing, recommendations, assignments, and notifications. Curating Udemy Business and Skillsoft content into custom learning paths is easier than ever.

The addition of Udemy Business to Skillsoft integrates an impressive amount of integral business and technology content taught by real-world experts. Organizations can already create custom Aspire Journeys, and now they are even more capable of ensuring individuals master the strategic technical skills they need to succeed. The combined, centralized experience delivers all Skillsoft and Udemy Business content in one place to help organizations holistically attain the in-depth competencies they need to close critical skills gaps.

Unite Skillsoft Percipio’s on-demand, interactive, and live learning experiences with thousands of curated and up-to-date courses from Udemy Business to build dynamic learning paths totally aligned with the strategic goals of your business.

Here are some of the expanded benefits you’ll see from this turnkey integration:

  • A centralized repository for Skillsoft and Udemy Business content so employees can conveniently learn in the flow of their daily work and lives.
  • Multiple content sources for a more engaging, personalized experience for each learner
  • Seamless search and discovery of Udemy Business content in Skillsoft Percipio
  • Leverage Udemy Business content to design and assign customized learning journeys
  • Enable managers to track the completion of Udemy Business content assets in the Skillsoft Percipio reporting suite to better support their learners’ growth

Allow your workforce to take Udemy Business content on the go with the Skillsoft Percipio mobile app

Living Our Values: The Positive Impact of Growing a Responsible Business Wed, 16 Nov 2022 03:01:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Did you know that recycling paper didn’t start in earnest in the United States until the 1960s and 70s? And that recycling plastic didn’t follow suit until the 1980s? We’ve come a long way since then. In fact, for many of us, recycling has become second nature.

Doing the right thing has always been the right thing to do. But today, organizations are increasingly looking beyond their bottom line to drive progress through diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and programs that favor social good. At the same time, they are dedicating themselves to choosing renewable energy, updating manufacturing processes to decrease pollution, reducing their carbon footprint, and protecting the environmental ecosystem. Much of this is driven by a genuine concern for our shared future. But, there are pragmatic reasons as well.

Customers are holding businesses accountable, and they are not the only ones; employees are doing the same thing. A new social compact has emerged between employers and employees that goes beyond compensation. Employees want to work for organizations with values that align with their personal beliefs. In fact, in a recent study from Deloitte, nearly half of Millennials and Gen Z — today’s largest and most diverse workforce — say that they put pressure on employers to take action to fight climate change. And, in a companion CxO study, 65% of business leaders report feeling that pressure.

The truth is, a sustainable and Responsible Business needs to be top of mind — right now — for employers and employees alike.

At Skillsoft, we are an inherently digital company. We’ve delivered learning in an online environment for decades, with a largely digital supply chain of knowledge workers and content. We enable customers around the world to be more responsible in the way they train their workforce, reducing their carbon footprints by curtailing unnecessary travel, printing, and other activities that can tax natural resources. And, we support those customers in advancing their own understanding and expertise in ESG practices — whether that’s through our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion curriculum, our Corporate Sustainability learning journeys, or our Global Code of Conduct Solution.

As an industry leader, Skillsoft and our entire team are committed to what we call our “North Star” purpose: To propel organizations and people to grow together through transformative learning experiences. Furthermore, we are committed to being a Responsible Business for ourselves, our customers, and our world, and to helping our customers become more Responsible Businesses as well.

We start with leading by example. Our Team Members are on an ESG journey, just as you probably are, and we strive to live and work by our core values every day:

  • We Are One Team: We can only succeed if we unite under one mission.
  • We Are Open and Respectful: We assume positive intent and ensure everyone feels welcome.
  • We Are Curious: We think — and believe — that knowledge is power, and humility is the learning engine.
  • We Are Ready: We expect change and prepare for it always.
  • We Are True: We earn the trust of the people we work with, and our customers, every day

Of course, words are only as valuable as the actions behind them — and the impacts of those actions. That's why I'm delighted to share Skillsoft’s first annual Impact Report, “Living Our Values.” In putting it together, we found that our efforts to date continue to shape an organization and workplace that we can be proud of.

Here are a few highlights for you.

Serving the Planet

For more than 20 years, Skillsoft has been an innovator of learning solutions. By its very nature, our industry has helped organizations become more environmentally sustainable. We’ve helped organizations digitally transform and support distributed workforces. And, we’ve had the honor of training millions of people – helping them reskill and upskill for professional growth and longevity.

Despite our achievements to date, we believe we have an obligation to continually improve and reduce our environmental impact across our internal operations, product and solutions development, delivery, and customer service. One way we're achieving this is by encouraging remote and hybrid work, enabling us to significantly reduce our physical space. Since March 2020, we’ve closed 61% of our brick-and-mortar facilities and reduced others by 19% for a total of 60%+ footprint reduction.

Serving People

We believe in the life-changing power of learning. And, we believe that learning is the key to opportunity. That’s why we support organizations like Special Olympics and Code Like a Girl.

At Skillsoft, our employees have access to the same learning resources that our customers do, and often use those opportunities to give back to others. For instance, Skillsoft employees in India recently gave back to charities battling hunger and improving access to education. Supporting 17 participating organizations, Skillsoft donated 16,128 meals, and sponsored the education and employment of 100 young women.

Serving our Stakeholders

At Skillsoft, we believe in ethical leadership, and have pledged to do right by others, even — and especially — when it’s hard. We keep the promises we make to our customers, to our learners, and to each other. And, we do the right thing, even when no one is watching.

Cultivating the right mindset in every employee is necessary not only to mitigate risk, but also to promote a high-performing environment where both the individual and the business can thrive, while making the world a better place. Our comprehensive portfolio of compliance solutions helps customers support ethical behavior, improve health and safety, and minimize risk. And, our own governance and compliance structure, which is designed to promote transparency, includes policies and practices that enable us to hold ourselves accountable.

I invite you to read our Impact Report. If you're embarking on your own ESG journey, it may offer some inspiration. Or, if you’ve already had some successes, I’d love to hear about them.

Maybe we’ll even “recycle” some.

Announcing the 2022 India Customer Award Winners Mon, 14 Nov 2022 00:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

At Skillsoft, we’re very lucky. Our customers use our solutions to do genuinely remarkable, inspiring things every day. The winners of the 2022 Customer Awards represent the very cream of the crop, the learning leaders driving transformational change in their fields.

It wasn’t easy to sort through the dozens of nominations we received, given the sheer quantity of amazing work our customers do, but we’re proud to bring you this year’s honorees.

In 2022, we awarded winners in five categories:

Impact Award: Transformative Leadership Development

This category recognizes an organization that has built and implemented a truly best-in-class leadership development program. The hallmark of such a transformative program is that it makes a significant positive impact on the organization and drives strategic business goals.

Impact Award: Innovation in Developing Tech Talent

This award is given to an organization that tackled the tech skills gap head-on. While many companies face tech talent shortages, this year’s winner overcame the challenge by implementing innovative, impactful learning programs for its technology and developer workforce.

Impact Award: Special Learning and Development Initiatives

This award recognizes an organization that has developed and implemented an especially noteworthy learning initiative and/or talent program. This year’s winner and honorable mention delivered L&D initiatives that solved complex organizational problems and demonstrated solid and sustained results over time.

Program of the Year

It’s hard to implement robust learning initiatives in our turbulent post-pandemic world, and this category recognizes the best of the best. The Program of the Year award goes to an organization that has used Skillsoft’s learning solutions to create a unique, cutting-edge learning program that solves clearly defined problems and makes a meaningful impact on both the organization and its employees.

Champion of the Year

This award honors an exceptional HR or L&D leader, an ambassador for talent development who takes an innovative approach to training. The Champion of the Year is someone who leverages Skillsoft’s learning solutions — and a healthy dose of their own ingenuity and creativity — to deliver uniquely transformational learning experiences to their people and organizations.

This Year’s Winners

  • Impact Award: Transformative Leadership Development

    Winner: Larsen & Toubro Ltd.
    A leader in the engineering and construction space, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) built curated learning programs to meet the needs of leaders and high-potential employees at all levels. L&T mixes coaching, mentoring, and Skillsoft course content to help employees master the competencies they need to transform from individual contributors to effective managers.

    Honorable Mention: Voltas Ltd.
    Voltas offers employees a holistic learning journey that helps them develop leadership skills in four key domains: leading yourself, leading your team, channel success, and leading business. The program is delivered through a blended approach, mixing digital learning and virtual instructor-led training (VILT).
  • Impact Award: Innovation in Developing Tech Talent

    Winner: Trianz
    Trianz revamped its onboarding process for campus hires from engineering colleges, crafting an experiential learning program that pairs new hires with dedicated mentors and gives them hands-on experience with the software development lifecycle. Trianz’s rigorous self-paced learning experience helps new hires identify their strengths so the company can put them in the right roles.

    Honorable Mention: Ness Digital Engineering
    During the pandemic, with in-person onboarding no longer an option, Ness Digital Engineering combined Skillsoft courses with internal training content to create a curated digital learning pathway for new hires.
  • Impact Award: Special Learning and Development Initiatives

    Cairn Oil and Gas, Vedanta Ltd.
    In 2021, Cairn Oil and Gas redefined its L&D philosophy and rolled out a comprehensive suite of digital learning programs to engage both on-site and remote workers. Cairn invested in more virtual learning, a more employee-centric approach, and more flexible training opportunities. Today, the company has multiple learning journeys for new hires, mid-level employees, senior managers, and top talent.

    Honorable Mention:
    Conduent launched a global Six Sigma training and certification program through Skillsoft with strong results. Employee development and performance improved, business units increased efficiency, and Conduent established a culture of operational excellence that allows it to serve clients better than ever.
  • Program of the Year

    Adani Enterprise Ltd.
    When building its new leadership development program, Adani wanted to avoid the “push-based” approaches to digital learning many organizations take. Instead, the organization wanted to “pull” employees into the program, incentivizing them to invest in their own education. The company rolled out a mobile-friendly, blended learning program that uses gamification to motivate employees and machine learning to pair learners with the right training content.

    Honorable Mention:
    Engineering and R&D Services, HCL Technologies Ltd.
    HCL Technologies’ role-based training programs enable employees to move into new roles through upskilling and cross-skilling content delivered via Skillsoft Percipio.

    Honorable Mention:
    RPG Group
    RPG Group implemented a gamified take on building digital skills. Employees participated in a friendly four-month learning competition focused on cutting-edge technologies like blockchain, machine learning, and virtual reality. The winners earned cash prizes and the opportunity to participate in high-visibility projects.
  • Champion of the Year

    Anil Kalaga, Adani Enterprises Ltd.
    Anil Kalaga takes an analytical, strategic approach to learning and talent development. He believes that digital transformation is about more than just learning new technologies — it’s about empowering employees to constantly upskill and reskill in the face of an ever-evolving global economy. To achieve that goal, Kalaga creates democratic learning environments that give people the freedom to grow in the ways they want.

    Honorable Mention:
    Asha Prakash, Digital Foundation Services, HCL Technologies Ltd
    Asha Prakash has consistently driven learning excellence at HCL, creating role-based learning initiatives that have helped employees sharpen their skills and improve client delivery.

    Honorable Mention:
    Dr. Rajiv Sinha, Larsen & Toubro Ltd.
    At L&T, Dr. Rajiv has vastly expanded employee learning by implementing a system of individual and business-level incentives, using data to design effective learning interventions, and tracking the development of individual employees.
Award Category
Honorable Mention

Impact Award: Transformative Leadership Development

Larsen & Toubro Ltd.

Voltas Ltd.

Impact Award: Innovation in Developing Tech Talent


Ness Digital Engineering

Impact Award: Special Learning and Development Initiatives

Cairn Oil and Gas, Vedanta Ltd.


Program of the Year

Adani Enterprises Ltd.

Engineering and R&D Services, HCL Technologies Ltd.

RPG Group

Champion of the Year

Anil Kalaga, Adani Enterprises Ltd.

Asha Prakash, Digital Foundation Services, HCL Technologies Ltd

Dr. Rajiv Sinha, Larsen & Toubro Ltd.

The world of work is evolving faster than ever, and it can be hard to keep up. We hope this year’s winners can serve as an example to all of how innovative approaches to learning and development can drive business success and build a future-ready workforce.

Learn how to Upskill and Reskill for optimal use of the Cloud Fri, 11 Nov 2022 07:40:00 -0500 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

Business leaders and analysts alike all agree that change is the new normal. It's because of this that more technology leaders realize change management and agility to be critical parts of their strategy.

Many industries remain in uncertain territory as the world continues grappling with external forces that challenge the norm and force change among us all. Leaders at Accenture liken it to rebuilding the engine while trying to weather a storm.

Despite the headwinds, more are facing the storm head-on. McKinsey reports more organizations have accelerated their migration to the cloud, with the momentum to build into the future. This is an important first step to remaining competitive in a world that demands relentless innovation.

While the journey can be tumultuous, the results pay off in the end. By building new competencies, organizations across industries realize the benefits that come with the cloud: scale, cost-saving, and efficiency.

Companies rely on cloud computing to accelerate digital transformation and much more:

Deliver new products and services by successfully migrating infrastructure and apps from on-prem to the cloud.

Realize new operating models by architecting their cloud environment so it scales with business demands and operates with minimal downtime and security issues.

Reimagine user experiences by driving business innovation across product, marketing, sales, service, and operations, that take advantage of ongoing advances in cloud computing.

Transform their sales and service by aligning cloud computing initiatives with their company's mission-critical priorities.

What often stands in the way of realizing these benefits are afflictions many in IT face: talent shortages, high turnover rates, and skills gaps.

According to Skillsoft's 2022 IT Skills and Salary survey, 68% of IT decision-makers — those who manage teams and budgets at work — in cloud roles report skills gaps on their teams. And yet, this isn't the greatest challenge. Retention tops their list of issues, with recruitment close behind and developing stronger teams following.

For this group of leaders, they often can't find people with the skills they need or they struggle to retain their talent. When organizations lose skilled workers, the impact is felt on the team and the bottom line. Of these decision-makers, 35% say certified staff add $30,000 or more in value to their organizations over non-certified staff.

It's for these reasons, most (61%) plan to train their existing teams as many realize they can't hire their way out of skills gaps. Only 18% say they plan to hire outside staff to overcome skills gaps and even fewer (13%) plan to enlist third parties for help.

Leaders see the power of investing in their staff to improve retention, grow their teams and develop skills. By doing so, they can set to motion plans to run their entire organization from the cloud. But first, they must chart their course.

Chart a course to embrace the cloud (Then, take these steps)

Cloud executives and professionals understand the importance of embracing cloud computing but often face several key challenges that prevent them from reaping the benefits:

  • Bringing change to a complex environment
  • Upholding security and compliance,
  • Misalignment (and more, according to Accenture)

IT leaders are looking for experiences to embrace the cloud and adapt to fast-evolving technology needs.

To arrive at meaningful opportunities, IT leaders must take a series of steps to migrate to the cloud and allocate resources to support these efforts:

  1. Migrate infrastructure and apps from to the cloud. This will make scaling the organization less complicated over time, including during acquisitions, new technological investments, or adding staff.

  2. Architect their cloud environment in a way that can scale with business demands and operate with minimal downtime and security issues. Many organizations rely on multiple cloud providers today, often with a blend of private and public, hybrid solutions. A sustainable architect becomes even more important for long-term scale and efficacy.

  3. Remain adaptable and responses to cloud advances. This will help the organization and its employees become more agile and able to take on change or mitigate emerging threats.

  4. Align cloud computing initiatives with company's priorities. In many ways, a leading reason to leverage cloud computing is to improve efficiency. That could be in the form of productivity, cost-savings, availability and elasticity. It’s important that whatever your organization’s goals are that the cloud supports them.

Skillsoft’s cloud training solutions focus on developing teams to successfully manage cloud migrations, operations, innovation and organizational alignments.

Develop skills faster, more reliably to transform your organization

With Skillsoft, you can close skills gaps across your organization in a coordinated and disciplined manner.

Role and skill-based journeys make it easy to develop new competencies faster by combining learning science with expert-led, authorized training. Through Skillsoft's Cloud Career Journey, architects, engineers, developers and managers can increase information retention and apply their skills on the job more confidently.

  • Instructional Variety — An integrated mix of on-demand and live, instructor-led technical training helps meet the needs of different learners who manage cloud migrations, develop applications, and more. Curated, role and skill-based learning paths make it easy for learners to advance their skills in critical areas to support organizational goals.

  • Comprehensive Skills Development — A deep and broad library of technical content paired with market-leading leadership training improve collaboration and effectiveness across teams to manage operations.

  • High Success Rates — More than 90% of learners pass their certification exams on the first attempt (99% on the second) due to Skillsoft's up-to-date, authorized training curricula for leading technology providers, like AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft and many others.

  • Measuring Skill Made Easy — Skills Benchmark Assessments help managers and team members understand their skills gaps, identify the best training to strengthen areas with the most need, and track progress along the way.

See why IDC ranks Skillsoft among the leader IT training companies in the U.S.

Realize the benefits of the Cloud with Skillsoft's Career Journeys

Skillsoft's Cloud Career Journey is a prescriptive path to certification, with an outcome-oriented collection of learning paths providing comprehensive skill development, built on a foundation you can trust.

Learn more about Skillsoft’s transformative Career Journey to help learners pursue cloud-focused roles, build their skills, and earn certifications:

Stay Up-to-Date On State-Specific Harassment Prevention Training Thu, 10 Nov 2022 11:00:00 -0500 (Ravi Gd)

Do you follow The Try Guys?

Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld, and Eugene Lee Yang left their jobs at Buzzfeed after forming their own production company, 2nd Try LLC, where they have made a living creating content about trying . . . anything.

The Try Guys’ “thing” is to challenge themselves to try new things – embracing failure and learning from it. They have gone viral for their authenticity and playful, friendly comradery. However, just a few weeks ago, Habersberger, Kornfeld, and Yang announced that they would cut ties with Fulmer for engaging in an extra-marital affair with an employee.

While fans of The Try Guys were disappointed to hear this news, compliance professionals might agree that the production company handled it beautifully. Here’s what The Try Guys did right:

  • Quickly investigate claims of improper behavior. As soon as they learned of Fulmer’s allegedly inappropriate behavior, The Try Guys confronted everyone involved. They made it clear that Fulmer’s actions were against what they stand for as a company after a thorough internal investigation.
  • Protect the person involved in the situation. While they rightfully kept the name of the employee confidential, many news outlets have since reported on her name. The Try Guys publicly requested that the internet be kind, as they know that women are often demonized more than men in this type of scenario.
  • Discipline the person who committed the harassment.Despite their long history with Fulmer, The Try Guys promptly removed him from company operations. Not only did this immediately stop potential harassment, but it sent a clear message to The Try Guys’ team and the public that this type of behavior would not be tolerated.
  • Document the investigation and the steps taken to remedy the situation. Obviously, The Try Guys were not at liberty to discuss an ongoing investigation. However, they did make it clear that they are taking the situation seriously and involving all appropriate parties.

While Fulmer’s extra-marital affair seems to have been reciprocated, it is important to note that many companies have established clear policies on personal relationships within the organization. Typically, companies include this type of information in their global code of conduct.

Relationships between a supervisor and an employee can have a negative impact on the entire team – especially if other employees notice the relationship and claim a hostile work environment. After all, quid pro quo sexual harassment may be implied in intimate relationships between a supervisor and an employee.

Workplace Harassment is an Ongoing Issue

If The Try Guys have taught us anything, it is that workplace harassment isn’t just a type of training that employees undertake every couple of years after joining your organization. It is a real problem that continues to arise in organizations around the world.

Consider these statistics:

It is up to your organization to effectively train employees – and managers – on how to promote a safe and inclusive workplace. And then to make good on their commitment.

How to Keep Your Workplace Harassment Solution Up-to-date

At the end of the day, compliance leaders have a lot to consider when developing workplace harassment prevention training programs. Many states require anti-harassment training, and those regulations can change regularly, making it difficult to keep your content up to date and in compliance.

Skillsoft addresses regulatory requirements and works with you to build a culture that promotes respect and rejects harassment.

Importantly, our solutions focus on people, not just rules. For example, Skillsoft’s bystander training empowers employees to recognize harassment in the workplace and provides them with multiple options to intervene when they see this behavior. The course puts the learner in the victim’s shoes, helping them see the emotional impact of harassing behavior.

Skillsoft has just released 115 new workplace harassment training courses to help organizations stay up-to-date with harassment prevention requirements. Our customers may choose from four types of content created for both managers and employees: memorable, standard, workplace, and retail.

  • Memorable (Office 1) - Training explores the deeper levels and details of bad behavior and elicits an uneasy, uncomfortable feeling in learners. Edgy content helps demonstrate the weight and significance of workplace harassment topics.
  • Standard (Office 2) - Training addresses bad behavior in a more benign manner. Content is slightly restrained in the depth and detail of bad behavior discussed compared to "edgier" videos.
  • Workplace - Training is aimed at job roles in a production/industrial, blue-collar environment rather than a corporate/office environment.
  • Retail - Training contains a mix of workplace scenarios from the existing content and newly-created scenarios specific to the retail environment. In addition, the instructional content has been modified to reflect a retail setting.

Our courses are:

  • Self—serve. Skillsoft’s modular design structure makes configuring courses a simple, cost-effective process. Interchangeable scenario video content provides unprecedented flexibility to target both white-collar and blue-collar employees. This provides diverse and relatable depictions of harassment to fit the variety of demographics that may be employed in your organization.
  • Customizable. Configurable to reflect your organization’s unique needs by leveraging a library of interchangeable video assets, Skillsoft’s full suite of anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training helps organizations educate their employees to understand, prevent, and respond to the various forms of harassment.
  • Interactive. Skillsoft courses are produced in a modern, cinematic style to create emotionally engaging stories that reinforce learning objectives, create an emotional impact in viewers, and ensure retention.

These courses include content for both employees and managers, with state-specific training available for California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, and New York. As states continue to rapidly change their specific laws and regulations, companies must be aware and be able to adapt quickly to stay compliant.

Differing state laws present challenges and complexities as they pertain to developing a sufficient and effective sexual harassment training program. Furthermore, as the issue of sexual harassment continues to be in the public spotlight, organizations must seriously ask themselves the following questions when developing such a program:

  • How are we keeping up with new and changing regulations?
  • How do we govern employees in multiple jurisdictions?
  • How do we train employees in multiple jurisdictions who are subject to different training requirements?

Is your organization up-to-date with harassment prevention training requirements? Contact a Skillsoft expert today!

Minimize Compliance Risk by Eliminating Silos Wed, 02 Nov 2022 09:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

As safety and compliance mandates proliferate across industries worldwide, organizations are struggling to keep up. In Deloitte's 2021 State of Compliance Survey, 61 percent of senior compliance professionals said the increased volume of regulatory changes in the past year had made it harder for them to do their jobs.

Failure to adhere to government regulations can carry a hefty price tag in terms of fines, lawsuits, and lost business. According to one estimate, the average total cost of noncompliance for a company is $14.82 million. But monetary loss is not the only consequence of noncompliance. Employee well-being and safety are at stake, too:

Compliance is ultimately about protecting your employees and your company — but achieving compliance is difficult, and not just because of the multiplying regulations. In the modern interconnected, international, and highly agile business landscape, risks aren't neatly siloed. They have a ripple effect. Risks to one company or department can have consequences for other businesses and teams. For example, back in 2014, hackers were able to steal millions of customers' payment details from Target by first breaching the computer systems of one of Target's suppliers.

Despite this, many organizations still take a siloed approach to compliance. IT handles cybersecurity and data privacy, HR handles harassment and workplace policies, and compliance officers oversee environment, health, and safety (EHS). This fragmented strategy leaves many organizations unprepared for the fluid nature of risk today.

Organizations need a more collaborative, holistic compliance culture — and that starts with an end-to-end compliance solution.

Silos Breed Blind Spots

There is a logic to compliance silos. The IT team handles cybersecurity because they have the requisite expertise. By the same token, your average IT person likely doesn't know much about bloodborne pathogen safety — that's a job for the EHS experts.

The problem is that silos often prevent collaboration, leaving an organization unable to see all of its risks from a high level. Consider how matters of cybersecurity increasingly intersect with other compliance concerns. Traditionally, it has been HR's job to manage and protect employees' personal information. If that information is stored digitally — as it often is today — then cybersecurity best practices will apply. Depending on where it operates, the company may even be subject to tech-focused data privacy regulations, like the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

But if HR and cybersecurity are siloed, the HR team may not be aware of all the precautions it needs to take to safeguard employee data in a digital world. That can have serious consequences for the organization: In the past, employers have been found legally liable for the theft of employees' personal data from their systems.

Under a more collaborative approach to compliance, disparate teams could more easily share information and insights, ensuring that every segment of the organization takes the necessary precautions to protect employees and the company. In turn, that can help the organization identify and mitigate compliance risks faster — before they snowball out of control.

For example, the IT team often manages employees' permissions on the company's network. Sound access control policies can be integral to many compliance efforts, from protecting company intellectual property to thwarting financial misconduct. If cybersecurity is treated separately from these other ethical and legal matters, employees may end up with inappropriately high levels of permission. This exposes the organization to potential risks. Hackers could break into employees' accounts and wreak havoc, or disgruntled workers could use their privileges to harm the company.

Conversely, if IT regularly collaborates with HR and compliance officers, they can all work together to ensure that employees don't have access to systems or information they don't need, thereby limiting the damage that malicious actors could do.

Eliminating Silos With an End-to-End Compliance Solution

When we talk about breaking down compliance silos, we're talking about more than just bringing together the leaders of formerly separate compliance functions. That's an essential part of the process, of course. But, in order to create and implement compliance policies and procedures that holistically address risk across the organization, HR, IT, and compliance leaders must collaborate closely. But the most effective way to break down silos is to make compliance everyone's job — from front-line employees to top executives.

An organization's employees can be its first and best line of defense against risk. The choices they make every day — choices about how to do their jobs, how to interact with one another, and how to handle company assets — directly contribute to the organization's safety and compliance status. By cultivating a culture of compliance in which every employee plays a role in mitigating risk, companies can drastically reduce employees' risky behaviors. Similarly, because employees are in the trenches, they often see risks before company leaders do. If employees feel responsible for compliance, they'll flag those risks before they become major problems.

Building a company-wide culture of compliance starts with an end-to-end compliance training solution. After all, employees can only pitch in if they have the tools, knowledge, and experience they need to understand and responsibly mitigate compliance risks. Plus, training is one of the most powerful tools in the compliance function's toolbelt. In Deloitte's 2021 State of Compliance Survey, 76 percent of respondents named training a core compliance function.

A siloed approach to compliance training — with different departments using different programs — will only reinforce the same silos the organization wants to break down. That's why it's most effective to unify all aspects of compliance training — legal, ethical, cybersecurity, and EHS — in one platform. That way, every employee has access to every aspect of compliance education, and an authentic culture of compliance can bloom.

Where to Start Building a Collaborative Culture of Compliance

So you're ready to knock down those silo walls with an end-to-end compliance solution, but where to start? You'll make progress faster by focusing first on the most impactful compliance issues for your organization — those legal, safety, and ethical obligations that affect how every employee does their job. Most likely, these high-impact compliance issues will already be outlined in your organization's Global Code of Conduct.

The Global Code of Conduct sets the tone for your organization's expectations of employees, vendors, partners, managers, and customers. That means the issues it prioritizes are the issues that touch every member of the organization, giving you an organic path to building that collaborative culture of compliance through universally relevant compliance training.

Skillsoft's Compliance portfolio, for example, contains a wealth of courses that cover key compliance priorities commonly found in Global Codes of Conduct. Examples include:

  • Anti-bribery
  • Antitrust
  • Data Privacy and Information Security
  • Insider Dealing
  • Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
  • Preventing Harassment and Promoting Respect
  • Protection of Company Information/Intellectual Property
  • Business Ethics
  • Promoting Reports of Misconduct
  • Gifts, Gratuities, and Entertainment
  • Avoiding Discrimination and Promoting Diversity
  • Cybersecurity

Different companies will have different priorities depending on factors like industry, location, company mission, and more. But by starting with the compliance issues that matter most, whatever they might be for your company, you can demonstrate to employees how critical compliance matters touch every member of the organization. In turn, compliance training empowers employees to step up and play an active role in responsibly managing risk wherever they find it — regardless of whether their department is formally responsible.

At its best, a compliance program should protect employees, boost revenue, and reduce risk to your company. Organizations that replace the old siloed approach to compliance with a more integrated, collaborative culture of compliance are best positioned to reap those benefits.

The New Age of Tech Talent: Power Skills at a Premium Mon, 31 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

Leveraging innovative technologies is a high – if not the highest – priority for organizations today. As a result, there is a heavy emphasis on the development of “hard” skills, and this rings especially true for those in IT and tech roles.

Building these hard skills is necessary for organizations to maintain a competitive advantage and employees to progress their careers. After all, 76% of IT departments are facing critical skills gaps with the biggest areas of need including cybersecurity, cloud, and data management. However, technical skills will only get employees and businesses so far. What can often hinder IT professionals and their respective programs is in the lack of “soft” or “power” skills.

Hiring managers are prioritizing power skills in a way like never before. Monster’s recent “Future of Work” report notes that 63% of employers said they would hire someone with these types of skills – think teamwork, time management, and leadership – and train them on the technical aspects of the job. Meanwhile, of the top 10 hardest skills to hire for, leadership ranks seventh, with project management not far behind at 10.

So why is the development of power skills often overlooked, or neglected, in today’s IT departments and what’s needed to turn the tides? Let’s explore.

The problem(s) with today’s leadership training.

Approaching it with a one-size fits all mindset.

For anyone reading this who works as a manager, you know first-hand that there isn’t a single crash course that teaches you how to do the job. There are plenty of great resources out there – classes, seminars, workshops, etc. – but on day one of becoming a new manager, it’s easy to feel lost and overwhelmed.

Learn about Skillsoft’ First-Time Manager Career Journey

While everyone follows a different path to leadership, unfortunately, many treat training as a one-size-fits-all model. “Do this. Take this course. Check these boxes. Boom, you’re a manager!” Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works and isn’t what makes a good manager and a strong, competent leader.

The pressure and emphasis on technology to accelerate transformation and meet key objectives means there needs to be well-trained, steady leadership in IT who can guide organizations toward making sound decisions as they relate to cybersecurity, efficiency and agility, and more.

Not knowing where to start.

There’s more to mastering skills than quality content and instruction – there also needs to be a solid plan for assessing those skills along the way. Before journeys can begin, learners and leaders need to have a strong understanding of where they and their teams are at, be it for hard or soft skills.

Assessing competencies is an essential component of the skill acquisition process. Measuring learning is essential, but assessments do much more than that. They empower learners to take charge of their own paths while reinforcing the skills and knowledge they need to reach their destinations.

Measure Your Team’s Abilities with Skills Benchmark Assessments

By tracking progress and identifying areas for improvement, well-designed assessments put learners in complete control of their journeys, enabling them to skip material they already know, prioritize critical concepts they need to master, and build on existing skills to reach new heights. In addition to being a more beneficial approach for learners, this also delivers increased value and ROI for the organization itself.

Steps for improvement.

Tech professionals must go beyond their comfort zones to expand their expertise and grow into effective leaders. For organizations that have struggled with employee retention, it’s likely time to look at their professional development programs, especially for IT and technical employees.

While building tech skills in areas like cybersecurity, cloud, data science, and so on are important, adding these power skills to the program will help improve collaboration and communication by helping develop the employees you already have to fill skills gaps and become leaders.

But how exactly do you do that? By adapting your training and L&D practices to become more personalized and inclusive of each learner. For IT professionals who are doing business and leadership training, they need to be invested in the process and program. When this happens – when they have a say in their future – engagement spikes.

Here are some tips to do this:

  1. Be a guide to leadership.
    As mentioned, everybody’s path to leadership looks different, and it’s not always clear what lies ahead. For learners, they may have a goal in mind – such as getting into leadership or taking on new responsibilities. But do they know how to get there? The answer is likely “no.”

    That’s where managers come in. Help draw a roadmap to reaching that goal, including what training or resources may help, what progression and success look like, and more. For IT professionals in particular, advancement sometimes looks more like a matrix than climbing a ladder. Making lateral moves exposes them to more of the business to help employees acquire skills and experience in other areas that complement technical expertise.
  2. Recognize progress and achievements.
    Rewarding an individual for their dedication to learning shouldn’t happen at the very end when they’ve reached the goal. Rather, constant motivation and incremental recognition along the way should be the goal to help sustain momentum and enthusiasm.

    At Skillsoft, learners who complete a course earn digital badges that they can proudly display. They’re a symbol of a job well done and a way to validate progress. In 2021 alone, we’re proud to have issued more than 12.7 million digital badges to learners.

    In addition to badges, point systems or elements of gamification can be equally valuable to encourage a little friendly competition.

    Find what works for your organization and learners to motivate the team.
  3. Follow-up and follow-through.
    As we’ve discussed, candidates must be involved in what they want to learn and how. ​

    Depending on their age, background, experience and several other factors, training and learning will look different. That’s where communication comes in. Put the learner at the center of training and allow them to take the path that best fits their situation.

    Equip them with the training they may need, whether that’s self-paced learning, mentorship, micro-learning, hands-on opportunities and assessments. Offer the method that they find will best reinforce knowledge and skills. ​

    And lastly, my best piece of advice? ​Get to know the learner as an individual and personalize the journey.

IT leaders must look at development holistically for their teams, emphasizing power skills like managing virtual work and teams, communication, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As the workforce becomes more distributed and diverse, these become essential for success.

Skillsoft’s First-Time Manager Career Journey prepares new managers to succeed in their roles by providing a defined path to mastery of the foundational business skills, power skills, and leadership competencies needed to effectively manage teams and achieve business objectives.

Asha Palmer: Making Compliance Fun Again Thu, 27 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

At Skillsoft, we know the importance of doing the right thing – and this applies not only to professional decisions, but also to personal decisions. But how does one know the right thing or how to make thoughtful choices that lead to positive outcomes? It’s hard but it’s more than possible.

Meet Asha Palmer, Senior Vice President Of Compliance Solutions At Skillsoft

Working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the United States Department of Justice, Asha Palmer was on an impressive career trajectory. But when she and her husband decided to move to Abu Dhabi so that he could pursue his dream job, her colleagues told her she was committing career suicide.

“Jobs, houses . . . they are replaceable,” said Palmer. “The things that truly matter – family, friends, experiences in life – cannot be replaced.”

While in Abu Dhabi, Palmer began teaching business ethics to college students at American University Dubai. “Business ethics was every student’s most hated course—and after seeing the curriculum, I understood why,” laughed Palmer. “But teaching helped me realize that for compliance and ethics to be successful, there has to be a better bridge between what people need to know and what they want to know.”

So, she got creative. She re-examined her planned curriculum and found ways to make it more relevant to her students by providing real-world examples of organizations who faced key ethical decisions and worked with her students on how to solve them.

Today, Palmer continues to bridge this gap. After the 74th annual Emmy Awards, she posted to LinkedIn:

Compliance made a debut at the 74th Emmy Awards!

The Dropout is all about the fraud and unethical culture at Theranos that led to toxic outcomes!

There are so many #ethics, #compliance and #culture lessons in The Dropout that have clearly enticed the world and commanded enough attention to win an Emmy!

So there is hope! 🙌🏾🙌🏾

Palmer shared three takeaways for compliance professionals:

  • Make compliance fun. Compliance can be interesting, particularly when dramatized and engaging. Whether you’re thinking about what’s right and wrong as you watch The Dropout, or you’re participating in Skillsoft’s cinematic-quality Global Code of Conduct training, you can learn in a way that is participatory , exciting, and taps into individuals’ emotional capital.
  • Share your stories. People want to learn from others’ mistakes. Compliance professionals tend to keep challenges close to the chest, but talking about these issues with colleagues, employees, and others, may help to clarify the experience and provide a foundation for future behavior.
  • Watch The Dropout. If you’re looking for a drama to binge this weekend . . . this could be it!

Compliance Is An Opportunity

Palmer thinks about compliance a lot due to the nature of her job at Skillsoft. But for most people, compliance is just an annual obligation to ensure they understand their organization’s rules and expectations of them as employees.

Compliance has a bad reputation: boring, lengthy, prescriptive. But Palmer insists that compliance is an opportunity: “Organizations and the people within them have an opportunity to do better. They have an opportunity to help society.”

She shared, “The world has created a false dichotomy between doing the ‘right thing’ and making money. But there doesn’t have to be a conflict between those two things. Compliance is a tool that helps people to understand that you can do well in business, and you can do it the right way.”

According to Palmer, one of the most important skills for any compliance professional to hone is empathy. “Compliance is meant to protect people,” she said. “By protecting people, you inherently protect the organizations where they work.”

By showing empathy and understanding of people’s stressors, personal circumstances, knowledge gaps, insecurities, confidences, and more, you can get a better sense of what they need to know, and how they can best receive that information.

“It’s easy to read a law and spit it back out to someone,” said Palmer. “But you also need to know if that person cares, understands, knows how to apply it, and can be successful in following that law. It’s a remarkable skill.”

Embracing A Culture Of Compliance

Believe it or not, compliance is not about knowing all the rules. It is about knowing what to do when you don’t know the rules. According to Palmer, “If you make it a point to teach your team what you believe to be the ‘right’ behaviors, you have empowered them to take the ‘right’ actions. Compliance is all about vulnerability and knowing how, and when, to ask for help.”

This pathos often comes from the top down in an organization. Employees need to have ethical role models within their organization to help empower them to do the right thing.

“Compliance failures happen when people are allowed to – or are encouraged to – cut corners. Or when they see other people cutting corners,” said Palmer.

Her advice? A strong compliance program encourages people to learn – and trusts that they have the information they need to be compliant. But, it also has controls in place to ensure accountability—trust but verify.


Skillsoft was thrilled to welcome Asha Palmer to our compliance team in 2022, and we’re excited that she is already making significant contributions. If you’re curious to know more about her, and her view on ethics and compliance, take a look at the short Q&A below:

What’s something you wish more people talked about in compliance?

We need to find ways to make compliance fun and exciting! Too often, organizations settle for mundane compliance training sessions, when they could be using their resources to facilitate powerful conversations on what works and what doesn’t work.

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for compliance – we have to challenge each other to make the industry better. How is your organization engaging people in your compliance training? How have you empowered your team?

We tend to keep our compliance programs so close to the chest, but transparency is what we need to succeed.

What’s the biggest risk facing organizations when it comes to compliance?

In remote world, compliance officers can’t be in every room. That means that you will ultimately encounter some blind spots. As our SVP of Legal Compliance Stephen Martin mentioned in a recent blog post, it is so important to be proactive in your compliance program so you can anticipate these areas of risk.

What’s the role of technology in compliance?

Technology is a necessary part of compliance, but it is not the only part of compliance. We need to leverage technology to create effective and efficient programs – and technology provides the reach and access to data that we need to do that.

But, we have to remember to include a human touch in everything we do related to compliance. That’s where the true benefits come to life. Humans need to look at outcomes and tailor their compliance programing to the data. It’s up to us to interpret the information we receive.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Always be kind. It is so simple, yet it can be so difficult. But when you lead with kindness and empathy, when you truly put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you reach better outcomes and, Honestly, you sleep better at night.

Want to get to know Asha Palmer better? Reach out to us with any questions!

The Secret Ingredient to Thriving in a Recession? Employee Training Wed, 26 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

The economists agree: An economic downturn may be coming in 2023. While that’s not exactly good news, there is a silver lining. Moments of economic turbulence can also give our organizations opportunities to shine — if we know how to seize them.

According to a recent brief from Bain & Company, organizations stand to make more dramatic gains during slowdowns if they play their cards right. Bain’s research found that there are 47 percent more “rising star” companies during downturns than during stable economic periods. (Rising star companies are defined as those companies that move from the bottom quartile to the top half in their industries in terms of operating margin percentage.)

So what can an organization do to become a rising star? I’m glad you asked. Bain highlights a few key actions, including smart cost restructuring, pursuing M&A opportunities, and — perhaps most importantly — maintaining a strong customer focus. If we can remember, these are the same key attributes of many companies that thrived during the early days of the global pandemic.

Remaining focused on customers means continuing to invest in things that are proven to drive customer satisfaction — things like employee retention and engagement and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. Training programs represent a powerful way to influence engagement, ESG, and customer satisfaction.

It’s no surprise that we believe investing in training and employee learning during a recession can help your organization become one of the downturn’s rising stars. But it’s true!

Training Drives Engagement and Engagement Drives Customer Satisfaction

Customer churn tends to increase during a recession. Customers are feeling the economic pressure, and that spurs them to reassess their spending. But that churn isn’t inevitable. As Bain notes, customer loyalty can be lost or earned in a downturn. You just have to prove your products and services are necessary, valuable, and worth the price, even in hard times. The people—your employees—delivering your products and services are critical to making that case.

According to Gallup, employee engagement is directly and inextricably linked to customer satisfaction. On average, the most engaged teams have 10 percent higher customer ratings, 22 percent higher profitability, and 21 percent higher productivity than the least engaged teams. And training is one of the key drivers of employee engagement. According to researcher Bob Nelson, career development opportunities are second only to employee recognition in terms of their influence on employee engagement. In a very real way, investing in employee training means investing in your customers: training leads to engagement, engagement leads to customer satisfaction, and customer satisfaction leads to loyalty.

Unfortunately, training budgets are often among the first things to be slashed during downturns. While companies may have to tighten the purse strings , history suggests it’s a mistake to do away with employee development entirely. As Barbara Dickson, former director of custom executive development programs at Queen’s University’s School of Business, said during the last major recession, “You’ve got to make sure that you’ve got people who are trained and ready to respond to the challenges ahead of them. You can’t just shut down the doors because the economy is bad.”

According to Harvard Business Review, 86 percent of professionals would leave their jobs for a company that offered more development opportunities. On the flip side, according to Deloitte, a strong learning culture can boost retention rates by 30-50 percent. Not only would losing some of your star players hinder your company during a recession, but it can also set you back when the recovery comes. So, put simply, continued training boosts employee engagement and ensures your people have the skills they need to continue serving customers at a high level during a recession. On the other hand, deprioritizing training may leave people ill-prepared to handle the inevitable speed bumps of a downturn — and it may even cause some of your top talent to leave.

ESG Drives Purpose During a Recession

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives are another area that organizations may be tempted to cut during a recession, but that would run contrary to Bain’s recommendations on maintaining a customer focus. ESG, like employee engagement, is tied to customer satisfaction. According to research from PwC, consumers are more likely to buy from companies with strong ESG commitments, and those feelings have only strengthened since the pandemic. Seventy-six percent of consumers also reported to PwC that they’d stop buying from companies that treat employees, communities, and the environment poorly.

Consider how maintaining a commitment to ESG during the early days of the pandemic paid off for companies like Target, which increased hourly employee pay, expanded paid sick leave, and even gave high-risk employees 30 days of paid time off. When many organizations were hurting, Target saw store sales increase by 20.5 percent, digital sales grow by 118 percent, and same-day pick-up and shipping services grow by 235 percent.

Research also suggests companies that remain committed to ESG initiatives during recessions fare better than their competitors. As Martin Whittaker, CEO of JUST Capital, points out, studies show that “high sustainability” firms outperformed their counterparts between 1993 and 2010, including during downturns.

Companies that maintain ESG efforts even in the face of a downturn have a tremendous opportunity to win customer loyalty and make an impact on the world — and training can help these ESG initiatives succeed. With the right ESG training, companies raise awareness of their efforts among employees and enlist their assistance in furthering ESG goals through the everyday activities they take on behalf of the company.

Effective Training Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

So what kind of training are we talking about exactly? Varying kinds of training may be important for your business during a downturn: technical training to ensure your people have the hard skills they need, business and leadership skills training to equip your people to respond to new and unexpected challenges, and compliance and ESG training to enable your people to stay safe and support your company’s mission. But how can an organization continue to deliver such a wide array of training to employees if a recession forces spending cuts?

That’s where a solution like Skillsoft can help. Skillsoft offers a broad range of content — covering technology and developer skills, business and leadership skills, and ESG and compliance topics — all in one digital, on-demand, AI-powered platform. Skillsoft enables companies to have a much more cost-effective option for trainings than trying to source all that training separately.

Skillsoft’s expansive content library means that no matter what a company’s business and ESG goals may be, employees can find relevant courses and learning experiences. That’s especially salient for ESG topics, which are often highly unique to each business. Skillsoft’s compliance library covers more than 500 legal and safety topics like business ethics; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); and environmental health and safety.

And our content is proven to drive results. According to a new study from Forrester Consulting, organizations using Skillsoft’s compliance training portfolio have cut their company risk ratings by as much as half. Employees are more engaged in the training and able to retain more of what they learn, meaning they’re better able to adhere to safety standards and support ESG efforts. As one technical learning and development specialist said, “From a compliance perspective, the industry average engagement is about 50-60 percent, but we consistently fare above 80 percent.”

According to research published in Harvard Business Review, the companies that win recessions are the ones that “master the delicate balance between cutting costs to survive today and investing to grow tomorrow.” Skillsoft can help you keep costs low while engaging employees and supporting robust ESG commitments. That, in turn, drives higher customer satisfaction and stronger company performance, no matter which way the economic winds are blowing.

Learn more about how Skillsoft can help your people and your organization grow together. Request a demo today.

HOW TO PROMOTE (AND CELEBRATE) CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS MONTH Mon, 24 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is an important global effort, with both individuals and organizations taking part — and for good reason.

Since its inception, Cybersecurity Awareness Month has become an international event led by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to equip people and organizations with the resources they need to secure their data online and prevent cyber-attacks.

Threats to an organization’s data come from all angles: inside, outside, burnt out employees, even honest mistakes. The broad nature of the threatscape makes cybersecurity everyone’s responsibility.

Business leaders now recognize that cybersecurity is just as much their concern as it is for their partners in IT — meaning, it’s not just IT’s problem. Boards agree that cyber-threats pose a risk to the business, according to Gartner.

IBM’s most recent research shows the cost of a data breach continues to break records. The latest figures show data breaches rose by 12.7% since 2020, swelling to $4.35 million. Breaches due to remote work were on average $1 million higher.

Most often, several sources show these breaches involve a human element of some kind, like stolen credentials, falling victim to phishing scams, or even skills gaps.

The global Fortinet 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Report documents survey results from across the global enterprise that the cybersecurity skills gap has contributed to 80% of their documented breaches. What’s more, 64% of organizations surveyed have experienced breaches that resulted in loss of revenue, recovery costs, and/or fines.

Clearly, the security talent and skill shortages severely hamper business productivity and progress. The time is now to develop or strengthen your cybersecurity team.

Cybersecurity Skill and Awareness has never been more important

Before long, virtually every organization will feel the impact that cybersecurity skill gaps have on their operations, their data, and their ability to transform. IDC predicts digital transformation-related IT skill shortages will affect 9 in 10 of organizations by 2025.

CISOs recognize that they must arm themselves and their organizations with the knowledge and skills to defend against the schemes brought on by attackers, prevent vulnerabilities in development or misconfigurations, and more.

In this blog, see how you can take part in any number of activities from Skillsoft and the National Cybersecurity Alliance to equip your organizations, your peers and colleagues, friends and family with information to protect yourself and others against threats.

Here are some ways you can get involved & participate:

Learn to Empower a more Secure Interconnected World & see yourself In Cybersecurity

The National Cybersecurity Alliance is dedicated to creating resources and communications for organizations to talk to their employees and customers about staying safe online.

Now in its 19th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to build momentum and impact co-led by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA).

Throughout the month, the organization hosts events, programs, and leads efforts to raise awareness. See what they have planned this month.

Learn to Manage Compliance for Data Protection and Privacy

Data has become one of the most valuable assets a company can hold—essential to business models that can include sensitive information. Breaches, therefore, can result not only in regulatory fines, but costly response and reputational damage.

In creating a compliance culture, organizations reduce risk and build an environment based on education and ethical practices.

Popular Cybersecurity Courses to consider this month

In recent years, security training has spiked amid increased phishing attempts and evolving attack vectors. In response, more CISOs are training their organizations to promote awareness and close skill gaps.

Whether it’s for cybersecurity awareness or to secure code and instill a security-focused culture among your teams, there are thousands of courses out there. However, looking at Skillsoft data, these 10 are among the most popular.

Provide Career-Defining Journeys for your Cybersecurity Team

Skillsoft’s Cybersecurity Career Journey is an enterprise solution that brings together multiple training opportunities that are personalized to the learner. It includes on-demand and live training, certification prep and hands-on labs, and more. It combines learning science, with up-to-date content to increase information retention and on-the-job application of new skills.

The Cybersecurity Career Journey is a prescriptive path to certification and skill development.

How Codecademy Helps Generation Train Job-Ready Java Developers Fri, 21 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

Some people land careers in tech after pursuing a degree in computer science, completing an internship and starting full-time as a developer or engineer or programmer.

College, graduation, job.

That's the more traditional route.

For learners who come to Generation, their education backgrounds tend to stray from ordinary. Their arrival to the world of tech often comes after a few twists and turns.

A global non-profit, Generation helps people achieve economic mobility for themselves and their families through employment programs that help them become job-ready for roles in several industries, including tech. Generation trains and places people into careers that would be otherwise inaccessible to them.

And it turns out, most employers say graduates of these programs meet or exceed their expectations.

"Across Generation programs, 82% of employers say the Generation grads they hire are as good or better than hires of more traditional backgrounds," said Dana Lee, regional director of curriculum and instruction at Generation.

Dana and I discussed the ways Generation has transitioned its employment programs to adapt to a post-pandemic era.

You can watch our full conversation here.

The success of programs at Generation stems from the rapid change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before 2020, technical roles were a smaller portion of Generation's portfolio. After the pandemic hit, they began focusing more on technical roles due to the rising demand for people with skills who could help their organizations navigate rapid digital transformations.

However, most of their programs relied on in-person training. Like many, Generation needed to quickly rethink its approach. They needed to adapt to unprecedented times.

The Pandemic Disrupted In-Person Training, Forcing Generation to Pivot

Historically, Dana's focus on developing curricula for Generation centered on live, instructor-led training. Learners would come to class in a computer lab, where an instructor guided the lesson.

The outbreak led to tightened restrictions for gatherings, preventing Generation from hosting these classes. During this time, in-person training came to grinding halt. “That curriculum wasn’t going to work in a post-covid world, where so much of our programming had to be done online,” she said.

Now, they had to deliver training digitally and needed help to do so.

Going to the marketplace, they discovered an array of options, but many that wouldn't work.

As a non-profit with 16 affiliates around the world, Generation needed a scalable, budget-conscious partner whose pedagogy aligned with their standards for training.

The focus on developing skills for highly technical roles in short, intensive programs demanded that Generation's programs only include essential material. The delivery of material also needed to be simple and flexible enough to adapt to Generation's existing programs or ones the team would offer in the future. But at the end of the day, this partner would need to work for the learner.

"For us, it comes down to our learner profile," Dana said. "Our learner profile is typically someone for whom traditional education did not fulfill its promise."

Searching the marketplace, Dana and her team found several solutions that were too expensive or too unreliable. That was, until they found Codecademy.

Generation Enlists Codecademy to Bolster Training in JavaScript, Java and React

Earlier in the pandemic, Dana's team focused on two programs: junior web developer and junior Java developer.

Since in-person training was no more for the foreseeable future, everything went digital. The programs became a mix of instructor-led training done virtually, supported by Codecademy's self-paced courses for programming languages, like JavaScript, Java and React. Dana calls it "sync-async, where we integrate an instructor-led experience with the content from Codecademy."

Learning in this way is a balance between the two modes: synchronous and asynchronous. Sometimes, learners are with a group and instructor. They discuss concepts, build off one another, and receive live instruction. Then part of the time is dedicated to self-paced learning, moving through a series of modules to complete objectives.

The balance of these two styles is something Dana says Generation is always fine-tuning. Her team wants to create an optimal learning experience for learners who rely on Generation to land opportunities, but it's also to help alleviate the workload on technical instructors, who are hard to come by.

"We have found it's increasingly difficult to find excellent technical instructors, who are also willing to take on other aspects of Generation's curriculum methodology," she said.

Generation looks for instructors who can manage curricula that integrates behavioral skills into their teachings, in addition to job-readiness work like mock interviews or code challenges. These types of skills are "all these things a new technologist needs to be able to do in the market," Dana said.

Generation recognized Codecademy as the best training provider to help support these two programs, and here's why:

  • The user experience and administration — Codecademy's interactive platform helps communicate complex material in a way that doesn't intimidate learners. Helpful guidance makes sure they can get "unstuck" and continue making progress. What's more, the solution was simple to integrate with Generation's methods of training.

  • Data and reporting — Dana's team blended their traditional approach of instructor-led training with Codecademy’s learning material and platform. This "sync-async" approach allowed Generation to leverage training data and equip instructors with metrics to influence their interactions with learners.

  • Quality and practice — More than any other provider, Codecademy allowed learners to practice in a reliable environment. Dana found other options on the market that seemed hopeful, but there was no guarantee of reliability long term. That's a dealbreaker when people's careers are on the line. Further, Codecademy's in-house team of curriculum experts constantly works to raise the quality and relevance of its content.

  • Value — As a non-profit, the cost of the content had to work with Generation's budget. Searching for other options, Dana says she found providers that were five times more expensive. "It was a delight that we didn't have to sacrifice anything with Codecademy to get to the price point that worked for us," she said.

Codecademy and Generation Help People Earn the Skills to Land In-demand Developer Jobs

Generation deployed Codecademy to seven of its 16 global affiliates, with hopes to expand to other regions. That's roughly 1,500 people working toward a career that may not have been attainable for them before.

These learners often face a different set of obstacles coming into tech. Some don't have the education that a more traditional developer has had. It can be a long, tough journey for some, but with help from Generation, learners find careers that provide them with new opportunities.

It's also mutually beneficial. Organizations of all kinds struggle to hire qualified candidates who have skills in programming languages like Python, Java, JavaScript and several others. For many, Generation has become an essential avenue through which both employers and individuals flourish with highly applicable tech skills.

Dana has seen Generation's Java program excel, placing 90% of learners within 180 days of completing the program. Those same learners also get salaries that are 3.43 times higher on average. "Codecademy has been a big part of that success for us," Dana said.

It's outcomes like these that Dana and her team use to benchmark their success. For the last two years, Generation and Codecademy have partnered in support of this mission and to continue improving the delivery of technical training to people and organizations that will benefit from reskilling and upskilling.

Codecademy for Enterprise has helped thousands onboard faster (50% faster, in fact!), close skill gaps, and become more productive at work. Start a free two-week trial of Codecademy for Enterprise to see how its immersive learning platform can support your team's development.

Sustainability: Seeking Calm After the Storm Thu, 20 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

Three years ago, I started writing a weekly series for my global marketing team at Skillsoft. These “ Monday Moments” were an informal way to share company news, business tips, or introduce new learning solutions. As time went on, I realized I also wanted to keep it "real.” Because, while we’re all professionals, and we’re all working hard, we’re people first and foremost. And we share more than just our work.

We share our planet.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about our collective heartbreak over the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian and Super Typhoon Noru. In the case of Ian, parts of the southeastern United States have been all but destroyed, while other territories and countries have also been ravaged. The economic cost of Ian in Florida alone is predicted to surpass $100 billion. Meanwhile, Noru hit “super typhoon” strength in less than six hours, before many communities in the Philippines and Vietnam had time to prepare.

Neither storm should have become as severe as it did, and so quickly. And, as debate heats up about whether officials should have warned residents sooner, it's becoming increasingly clear that future storms promise to be stronger, wetter, faster, and harder to predict and track as climate change barrels ahead.

The fact is, we know our planet is at a tipping point — and the severity of recent weather is just one major consequence. I believe we all have a part to play in helping to address what is clearly a global climate problem of epic proportions. As business leaders, our role cannot be underestimated.

Organizations across the globe are developing sustainability strategies to help reduce their carbon footprint — and rightfully so. But, if your strategy starts and stops with addressing your organization's impact on the climate, you're indulging in "eye of the storm" thinking: the deceptive moment of calm we all feel when we're "doing the right thing." As Emma Cox, Global Climate Leader for PwC, has said:

"Business leaders who have been working hard to decarbonize their operations may be surprised to hear that they may have climate risk blind spots. If they have not considered the ways a changing climate could impact their business, they could be failing to see big risks. And the impacts are coming sooner than many leaders think. In fact, they are already here."

It's one of the reasons I raised my hand to support Skillsoft's new Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) strategy program. I've always been open about the fact that I want to work for an organization where corporate values align with my own personal beliefs. A company where we can have purpose and profits. A place where employees behave ethically and act responsibly towards people and the planet we share. I'm grateful to have found this at Skillsoft.

In a few weeks, we’ll deliver our first full ESG Impact Report, which demonstrates progress against the journey we’ve been on. Most companies have embarked on some sort of strategy — often driven by their leadership, their Board, or their customers. Building on the knowledge that creating a sustainable business should be approached holistically, ESG covers everything from supplier diversity to social impact programs to corporate ethics and stewardship.

Now, this is new and uncharted territory for many of us; we’re building our own program, which is both challenging and invigorating. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn something new and help the company build an initiative that achieves three important goals:

  • It aligns with our purpose.
  • It helps us meet growing customer demand.
  • And, it's the right thing to do for ourselves, each other, and the greater community we all belong to.

We’re also in a position to make a difference by being part of the World Economic Forum's Reskilling Revolution, whose mission is to advance prosperous, inclusive, and equitable economies by preparing one billion people for tomorrow's economy. Through their research, the WEF has found that $1 spent to advance the global energy transition returns $3-8. And, studies also show that clean energy infrastructure construction generates twice as many jobs per $1 million spent as fossil fuel projects. Talk about direct impacts.

As they say, "there is no Planet B." If you're looking for ways to make holistic sustainability your "Plan A,” we can help.

I encourage you to visit Skillsoft Percipio and sample some of the valuable content we offer on sustainability. Take some time to watch the video The Impact of Ignoring Sustainability; read the book Managing Sustainability: First Steps to First Class; or listen to the audio summary, The Power of Sustainable Thinking. Or, to really get engaged with this important topic, join me in completing the Aspire Journey Sustainability and Restoring Our Earth Aspire Journey.

One last note. If you or your loved ones have experienced loss because of the recent storms, my heart goes out to you. As these events have shown, we’re all in this together. And together, we can work to effect change and build a better, more responsible future for all people — and our planet.

Why IT Pros Want to Quit Their Jobs — and How to Change Their Minds Wed, 19 Oct 2022 08:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

In the year ahead, more than half (53%) of IT professionals are considering leaving their current employers as job satisfaction rates declined slightly from 2021 to 2022. That's troubling news for many in IT leadership whose greatest challenge is retention.

These findings come from Skillsoft's annual IT Skills and Salary Report, which was published today. Now in its 17th year, this report shares insights into the highest paying certifications, in-demand skills, top investment areas, key workplace challenges and far more across the IT industry. It's the result of a survey distributed over the summer of 2022 that garnered participation from nearly 8,000 IT professionals globally.

Gain access to the full report here.

One of the main takeaways from the report is the ongoing strain IT departments are experiencing as they try to recruit and retain employees.

The Great Resignation, a turbulent labor market, and insatiable demand for digital transformation have all contributed to what many in leadership deem their toughest challenge Retention.

Here are the top 5 challenges IT decision-makers face this year:

Talent Retention


Talent Recruitment




Developing Stronger Teams


Resource and Budget Constraints


Last year, talent recruitment and retention ranked highly but didn't top the charts as they did in 2022.

More companies continue to realize the outsized need they have for technical skills in order to scale their operation, deliver new experiences to employees and/or customers, and transform the way they do business. As this realization sets in, it adds fuel to an already hot labor market.

This situation has forced many in leadership to reassess what's possible and begin charting a new course. Thanks to the thousands of IT professionals who gave their time to this survey, there is evidence of many promising opportunities to aid organizations that struggle with this challenge and others like it.

But, to curb the impacts of attrition, IT leaders must glean, and act upon, the valuable insights from this research. Let's dive in.

IT Pros Want Opportunities to Grow — Or Else …

The majority of IT professionals (86%) took at least some training in the past year, and most of the time it's in support of their organization's initiatives. The highest percentage of IT professionals (31%) say their main driver for training is to prepare their organizations for a product launch, migration or update.

But they have many motivators for training. These rise to the top:

  • Increasing their salaries
  • Personal interest in learning new skills
  • Earning or maintaining a certification

What often stands in their way is management (even more than their heavy workload). In fact, 45% say management doesn't see the value of training.

Knowing this plays a big part in solving retention issues. Among the leading reasons IT professionals leave their current position or employer is due to a lack of professional development opportunities.

They want training. They want growth opportunities. They want chances to improve themselves and those around them.

Unfortunately, many feel denied these opportunities, which often results in their departure from the organization — a costly situation as skills benefit both the individual and their employers in more ways than one.

“Learning is the catalyst for mutually beneficial growth for employees and employers, especially as organizations struggle to retain technical talent and keep pace with innovation,” said Zach Sims, Skillsoft's General Manager of Tech & Dev in a news release announcing the report. “Companies that create cultures of learning and talent development will be most successful in recruiting and retaining ambitious individuals with the right skills and certifications to make an impact.”

With this in mind, 85% of IT decision-makers say they authorized training in the last year and nearly all (97%) recognize the value certified professionals bring to the organization.

So, where's the disconnect?

It's likely a classic case of lacking communication.

The Impacts of Broken Communication Call for More 'Power' Skills

Most IT leaders authorize training and see the benefits of IT certifications. Almost half say certified staff boost productivity, they help meet client requirements (44%), and close organizational gaps (41%).

And yet, a lack of training opportunities is among the leading reasons why IT professionals quit their jobs.

This begs the question. Are some leaving their jobs because they believe training isn't available to them — when in reality, it is?

This disconnect between what's available and what's known is causing undue trouble for organizations feeling the effects of turnover and a tough recruiting environment.

Effective team communication is the most important skill for IT leaders to have, according to most (66%) survey respondents. Following are interpersonal communication, emotional intelligence, and business skills.

These soft, or Power, skills have become increasingly important for IT leaders to have as technology plays a vital role in modernizing business, adapting to change, and scaling operations. Skills like communication and leadership will help those in IT better align with their counterparts across the organization to drive the positive changes they hope for.

The report found that 22% of IT professionals reported their employers don’t currently offer leadership training programs and 17% simply don't know if one exists. But of those organizations that do offer this type of training, one in four jumped at the opportunity.

As IT leaders encourage their teams to develop new skills in support of technology investments, it's important to also consider how Power skills can help aid in efforts improve collaboration, communicate use cases or the impact of projects, and better illustrate their strategic visions for the future.

Skills Drive Salary Increases in High-Demand Areas

Developing new skills and earning certifications often increases an employee's value to organizations. For example, 46% of IT decision-makers estimate certified staff add $20,000 or more in value over non-certified staff.

This heightened value placed on skills was seen in some high-demand areas in this year's survey data, with varying results regionally.

These were among areas that showed salary increases:

  1. Cloud
  2. IT architecture
  3. DevOps
  4. Data science
  5. Service desk / IT support

In the year ahead, these are the top investment areas reported by decision-makers:

  1. Cloud
  2. Cybersecurity
  3. AI and Machine Learning
  4. Infrastructure and Systems
  5. Data science

And, these are the toughest areas to hire for:

  1. Cloud
  2. Analytics, Big Data, Data Science
  3. Cybersecurity, Information Security
  4. DevOps
  5. Application Development

Many see investments in these areas as unlocking opportunities for their organizations, whether it's better utilization of data or improved efficiency, but leaders have recognized that their teams don't always have the skills to work with these technologies.

Nearly half of IT decision-makers say their team's skills in AI and machine learning, as an example, are low (25%) or somewhat low (24%). The highest percentage (37%) say their team's skills in cloud computing are somewhere in the middle, leaving room for growth.

One of the key reasons why IT decision-makers struggle with skills gaps is because they can't find talent with the skills they need (or can't pay what candidates demand). Due to this shortage, skills come at a premium — especially today as competition grows more intense.

Given these circumstances, most in leadership say they plan to invest in training their existing teams to close gaps, which is consistent with what we saw last year. And thankfully, that has paid off. More on that in the next section.

Skills Gaps Reportedly Decline, but There's More to the Story

Looking at last year's data, many IT decision-makers forecast their skills gaps correctly. In 2021, 76% of leaders reported skills gaps on their teams. But, only 64% anticipated these gaps in 2022.

They were close in their predictions.

Fewer IT decision-makers reported skills gaps this year compared to last, falling 10 percentage points to 66% for the global average. Next year, we'll see if they fall even more. Only 57% predict they will have skills gaps in the coming year.

This is a welcome trend after years on the rise. Segmenting the data among different groups shows skills gaps fluctuating somewhat but consistently remaining lower than last year:

Job / Function Area

Skills Gaps Present

Respondent Count










IT Architecture and Design



Data, Analytics and Business Intelligence



This is a welcome sign that the efforts from last year are paying off for IT decision-makers. In 2021, most (56%) reported that they planned to upskill their teams to close gaps. From this vantage point, the training is working.

However, some remain unsure of their gaps. The data shows one in 10 IT leaders don't know if they have skills gaps present on their teams, remaining consistent with last year.

By and large, skills gaps pose a risk to organizations and IT's ability to carry out its duties. More than 98% of IT leaders agree gaps pose a risk of some kind (we asked high, medium or low), with 80% indicating high or medium risk. Skills gaps also cause stress, slow project durations, and make it harder to meet business goals.

As an IT leader, not knowing the capabilities of your team could exacerbate the challenges you face, not least of which are retention and heavy workloads. Take inventory by assessing their skills and competencies to understand how to nurture the team you have into the one you need for the future.

4 Steps to Help Retain More Employees

Talent retention isn't unique to any one industry or region. This challenge continues to impact organizations of all kinds globally. However, some organizations are finding ways to overcome this issue. (Read about real-world solutions in this blog.)

Many IT leaders recognize that in order to overcome challenges like these, they must nurture their current staff with time or resource investments in professional development that unlock opportunities to advance and grow.

Take these steps to develop stronger teams and help retain more employees:

Measure Your Team's Capabilities

Some IT leaders are in the dark about their skills gaps. This leaves room for gaps to threaten operations or elevate risk within the organization. Start by assessing your team's capabilities to identify both gaps and areas to grow.

Skillsoft offers objective assessments to help leaders gauge their team's competencies in areas like cloud, cybersecurity, networking, and far more. Learn about Skills Benchmark Assessments here.

Cross-Collaborate to Launch Better Training Programs

IT leaders must collaborate with their counterparts in learning and development to hone training curricula that targets key skill areas. The benefits of this partnership can manifest in many ways, including better adoption of training programs.

As you identify skills gaps, invest in new technologies, or support the strategic goals of the organization, work with your partners and stakeholders to design training programs. The programs should be highly relevant, applicable, and accessible to your team.

Personalize Training and Career Development

While many IT professionals agree they want opportunities for hands-on practice, learning preferences vary from person to person. What's more, their ambitions are unique. Some want to build new skills, others want to earn a certification or take on different responsibilities at work.

Bring up career development in your meetings with staff, talk to them about their goals and how you can support them. Then, provide training that's tailored to them.

Track Progress Over Time

As you develop these programs internally, how will know whether or not they work? Define what success looks like with your partners and stakeholders. Track your team's progress to understand how training impacts their careers but also projects, initiatives, and resources.

Continue to iterate over time to adapt training to the needs of your team and that of the greater organization. And remember, don't forget your partners who can lead the design of programs, help measure performance, and advocate for solutions.

To find more insights into IT leaders' plans to remedy their skills gaps and what the future may look like for those in this field, access the 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report today.

Why Invest in Skillsoft Compliance Training? Customers saw 317% ROI Tue, 18 Oct 2022 12:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

One of the challenges in the compliance industry is transparency.

As compliance professionals, we work tirelessly to improve the effectiveness of our legal compliance training and workplace safety programs. But, we tend to do the bulk of this work behind closed doors. We aren’t inclined to share the makings of our programs—whether good, bad, or ugly. Yet it is those learnings and sharing that help propel our programs and organizations forward and understand the investment needed to do so.

Our collective goal as compliance and safety professionals is to make the workplace a safer and more ethical place to be. Yet, it is difficult to raise our hands to talk about what’s working – or, maybe more importantly, what’s not working.

Reasons for this might include:

  • Our compliance programs may be immature, so we don’t want to share our experience until we have more success under our belt
  • We are considered a “cost center” and tired of being denied for additional investment or personnel
  • We fear being judged on our incident rates if we share them publicly
  • Compliance issues are sensitive, and we don’t want to invite legal scrutiny

No matter what the reason, science tells us that active learning driven by human interaction and collaboration leads to higher rates of achievement for learners which, in turn, empowers and protects people and, therefore, organizations. Not only do learners invest more of themselves, but they retain information more effectively.

So, keeping our compliance successes and opportunities quiet is a missed opportunity. If we want to improve compliance programs and processes, we need to be vulnerable; to share our learnings freely; and to develop industry-wide best practices that benefit all of us.

We’ll go first.

The Total Economic Impact™ of Skillsoft Compliance

Earlier this year, Skillsoft commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study to examine the potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises may realize by deploying our compliance training solution.

The following findings were the aggregate result of interviews that Forrester conducted with six individuals from four organizations with experience using Skillsoft’s compliance training. Their experiences were combined to represent a single composite organization.

The Forrester study determined that using Skillsoft compliance solutions provided the composite organization with significant benefits – including $3.37M over three years versus costs of $807K, adding up to a net present value (NPV) of $2.56M, and an ROI of 317 percent.

Here are some other insights we gleaned from the TEI study for the composite organization:

  • Providing the right training to the right employees in a way that maximizes their learning saved $3.37 million in lowered risk of compliance failure.
  • Consolidating training vendors reduced expenses by over $588,000.
  • Skillsoft saved the composite organization over $317,000 worth of time and talent spent doing administrative tasks.
  • Skillsoft allows for improved employee learning and retention of content.
  • Reduced course creation effort freed up $178,000 worth of time for the training team.

Download the full study to learn about the benefits of Skillsoft’s compliance solutions.

What’s Working in Compliance Training

Take a look at some of the other lessons that we’ve learned this year from our clients:

How to use data to identify training opportunities.

Gaps in your compliance program can be risky. Closing these gaps is essential to help minimize the possibility of costly investigations, fines, and reputational damage.

Shannon Wenger, director of talent development at Apex Systems, told us how her organization has been able to take its compliance program to the next level by proactively managing risk-related training gaps.

How to build a robust safety training program globally.

Lynn Ross, senior director global operations training and development at Equinix, shared how Equinix, as a global, decentralized organization, has approached its safety training program – from pinpointing which employee groups need specific training, to working with partners to grow the program, to training “in the know.”

How to extend training opportunities to deskless workers.

More 65% of deskless workers in industries such as transportation, retail, healthcare, construction, and hospitality have not been provided with technology to complete their jobs. Around 91% of these workers want better training.

First Student and First Transit shared how to make compliance training more accessible to deskless workers.

How to train managers to be ethical leaders.

How do you communicate an organization’s ethical beliefs and values to all team members, so everyone is aligned on the behaviors expected of them within their organization? How do you promote employee safety and well-being across the company? How do you make hard choices to do the right thing every day?

TikTok’s Catherine Razzano, head of global legal compliance, shared her insights with Skillsoft about empowering ethical leadership in your organization.

How to empower managers to deliver effective compliance training.

Canon Business Process Services talked to us about implementing a comprehensive compliance program to supplement live virtual training due to different time zones, availability of resources to deliver training, and reduction in live training classes due to the pandemic.

Janis Smith-Howard, Supervisor for e-Learning and Instructional Design, and Administrator for Skillsoft Percipio Compliance, created a newsletter for her managers called “Did You Know?” — a simple way to stay connected, share important links and updates, and concisely explain the capabilities of Skillsoft Percipio Compliance. Her efforts went a long way toward encouraging managers to explore and use the solution optimally.

How to get the C-suite’s attention with your workplace safety program.

Getting and maintaining executive buy-in and support for your organization’s EHS program is one of the most effective components in building a mature, scalable, and efficient compliance program. But while the C-suite has a vested interest in keeping employees healthy and injury-free, they also have a business to run.

Katy Schick, Corporate EHS Manager, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, and Brian Borguno, Sr. Training Specialist / Corporate Safety Specialist, Canon Business Process Services talked about how workplace safety professionals can balance the operational concerns of the C-suite with the fundamental objective of keeping employees safe.

How to ask for new features to lighten your administrative burden.

Skillsoft works with a well-known global logistics company offering compliance training for hundreds of thousands of people in up to 22 different languages.

We recently worked with the company to introduce a language selector feature to support organizations with multi-language course needs. It allows users select a preferred language directly from their LMS. Skillsoft does heavy lifting, creating connections between different languages and lightening the load for both administrators and users.

Requirements of an Effective Compliance Solution

It has become clear that Skillsoft’s compliance customers gravitate toward our solutions to fit a variety of needs, including:

  • Provide visibility and documentation of appropriate training across the organization
  • Offer culturally relevant training, particularly for non-English speakers
  • Use automation to monitor and ensure employee participation while reducing administrative burden
  • Enable inclusion of custom course materials
  • Flexible access models that allowed managers to assign relevant trainings for their risk
  • Offer non-compliance curricula to allow for future expansion of their overall learning program

But that’s not all they can accomplish with our training programs. Learn more about Skillsoft compliance solutions by contacting an expert.

Lean Into Learning: Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022 Edition Thu, 13 Oct 2022 08:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

The fast-changing and increasingly threatening state of today’s cybersecurity landscape is on every security professional’s mind – and rightfully so. According to ISACA’s new State of Cybersecurity 2022 report, 43% of organizations are currently experiencing more cyberattacks compared to last year. Just 9% are seeing this number decrease.

Defending against the wide slate of emerging threats requires awareness and buy-in from more than just the infosec community, however, and Cybersecurity Awareness Month is the annual reminder that we all play an essential role in this effort. With the rise in hybrid work, proliferation of technology, and more loose ends to secure than ever before, Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022 is aptly focusing on the “people” component to ensure all individuals and organizations make smart decisions whether at work, home, or school.

This year’s theme is “See Yourself in Cyber,” and per the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA), this boils down to all individuals doing their part to safeguard the organization no matter their title, discipline, or department. In light of this and as a company that is transforming how organizations train all parts of their workforce to effectively mitigate risks, we explored the latest trends in cybersecurity learning in the enterprise. Here’s what we found.

Learning – to all play a part.

Data is a powerful tool, and in many cases, it can be eye-opening, tell a story, and drive decisive action. For instance, IBM Security found that the average cost of data breaches has reached an all-time high this year at $4.35 million. Meanwhile, Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report noted that 82% of breaches involve the “human element,” such as falling for phishing. Phishing, uncoincidentally, is the number one delivery vehicle for ransomware, which has seen a 13% year-over-year increase – a rise as big as the past five years combined.

This data isn’t meant to incite panic, but rather underscore the fact that cybersecurity is an unwavering, pervasive challenge. Moreover, the human element continues to present significant risk.

Building a culture of security is essential to reducing human error. For small and large organizations alike, this is no simple feat. It’s a continuous journey that requires planning, dedication, company-wide buy-in, ongoing assessment, and most importantly, training and education.

Positively, Skillsoft is witnessing organizations and employees place a bigger emphasis on workforce-wide security awareness and skills training. Comparing consumption of Skillsoft’s cybersecurity training content in the first half of 2022 to 2021, we observed a 21% increase in total number of hours spent across organizations and a 24% increase in the number of hours spent by each learner on average. Furthermore, learners spent 11% more hours on cybersecurity compliance training, indicating that organizations are mandating more from employees to avoid the risk of regulatory sanctions.

For the second consecutive year, the top five industries that are making cybersecurity learning and development a priority are:

  1. Business services/consulting
  2. Banking/finance
  3. Manufacturing
  4. Telecommunications
  5. Government/military

Looking at this through a slightly different lens based on industries with the greatest YoY increase in the number of learners consuming security content, we see hospitality taking the top spot (1,359%), followed by banking/finance (598%), construction (439%), manufacturing (374%), and healthcare (321%). The manufacturing industry’s increased attention to cybersecurity is particularly noteworthy and can be attributed to the SolarWinds hack and continued presence of supply chain attacks.

A solid culture of security thrives and succeeds when employees are educated and enabled. Training significantly benefits individuals and their organizations and is a key component to warding off human error threats such as phishing.

Dissecting learner behaviors and trends.

The training content that learners are searching for and engaging with can tell a lot about their interests and levels of competency, as well as potential skills gaps within the organization. Couple this with targeted skills assessments and you can get a comprehensive view of the areas where it makes sense to dial up or down upskilling efforts.

For example, when learners first begin their journeys with Skillsoft, they’re asked to select the skills they’re most interested in improving. Among cybersecurity-related domains, the top selections in 2022 have been:

  1. Information security
  2. Core security
  3. Analyst
  4. Secure architectures
  5. Security operations
Top Skills Selection


Information Security

Information Security

Information Security




Core Security


Security Operations

Core Security



Core Security

Secure Architectures

Secure Architectures



Security Operations

Security Operations

Interestingly, core security – which covers the fundamentals of cybersecurity such as phishing / anti-phishing, multi-factor authentication, and password management – now ranks second on the list. The steady, YoY rise correlates both with an increase in employees’ attention and awareness of security and organizations mandating more from the workforce to ensure they all understand the role they play in protecting the broader ecosystem.

Skillsoft offers a wide breadth of content that appeals to, and is effective for, both learners with a limited cybersecurity background, and those who either hold technology-focused roles or need to take a few specialized classes or earn a new certification. In light of this, looking at the top five cybersecurity-related search terms amongst our learners this year, high-level searches – “cybersecurity” and “security” – rank second and third on the list. Meanwhile, CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) takes the first overall spot, with CompTIA Security+ and CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) ranking fifth.

This search demand indicates that security professionals are heavily utilizing certification prep materials – ranging from courses and books to test preps and hands-on labs. Additionally, Skillsoft’s list of the 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications in 2022 shows that all but one involve a cybersecurity component. The demand for these skills is evident with multiple cybersecurity certifications earning IT professionals at least $150,000. Adjacent skills are also essential for security professionals as they need to protect all aspects of IT and Dev in an organization.

Two peas in a pod – AppSec and cloud security.

Companies are looking to the cloud to cut costs, reduce security risk, and improve efficiency across the enterprise. These transformations have been happening in greater numbers in recent years as the nature of work has changed for many. This upward trend in cloud migrations and adoption of cloud services has increased demand for cloud-related skills and certifications. Skillsoft’s 15 Top-Paying Certifications of 2022 list shows that two of the top three certifications are cloud-oriented.

With the move to the cloud also comes complexities of modern application development and security, requiring new skills across the workforce. This in mind, diving into our data mines further and exploring the most completed cybersecurity courses in 2022, we see application and cloud security-related content ranking in four of the top five spots.

Top Cybersecurity Course Titles 2022


Application Security Awareness & Validation​


Secure Application Architecture & IAM​


OWASP: Top 10 List Items​


Cloud Security Fundamentals: Cloud Application Security​


Infrastructure Security​

Furthermore, looking at the badges Skillsoft has issued this year to learners completing courses and sharing results on social media as personal records of achievements, we observed a nearly identical list, with one difference at the fifth spot: IT Security Fundamentals.

Top Badge Titles 2022


Application Security Awareness & Validation​


Secure Application Architecture & IAM​


OWASP: Top 10 List Items​


Cloud Security Fundamentals: Cloud Application Security​


IT Security Fundamentals​

From a compliance perspective, among the most-completed courses so far this year, many of the topics align with this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month themes (multi-factor authentication, password management, software updates, and phishing).

Top Cybersecurity Compliance Course Titles 2022


Global Cybersecurity Risks


EU General Data Protection Regulation


Cybersecurity Short: Avoiding Phishing Attacks


Compliance Expert: IT Security Phishing


Cybersecurity and Online Habits


Data Protection Short: Remote Working Concerns


Cybersecurity Shorter: Proper Password Management


Data Protection and Device Security


Compliance Short: Cybersecurity


Cybersecurity Short: Smart Downloading

As any IT leader looks at the scope of a transformation of core business services or architecture, it's important to ensure the team that will propel these projects forward is prepared at every step. For many, these courses are an essential step toward realizing those objectives.

Steps for building a transformative cybersecurity training program.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is an important, annual reminder that, as an industry, we must focus our collective efforts on addressing security issues and spreading awareness and education. After all, a strong security culture depends on ongoing education. With continued investment in education, it's possible to build a transformative training program that influences lasting change.

Steps for achieving this goal include:

  • Broaden security efforts by expanding education throughout your organization;
  • Leverage innovative, experiential learning involving storytelling and roleplaying strategies;
  • Ensure your training includes education about security matters relevant to learners’ lives inside and outside of the workplace;
  • Structure training to maximize retention via short bursts of learning experienced through a multitude of modalities; and
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Do you see yourself going even deeper in cyber? Check out Skillsoft’s Cybersecurity Career Journey! Start pursuing new skills, senior-level certifications, or a new job role today.

The Importance of Transparency in Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts Tue, 11 Oct 2022 10:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become an increasingly important topic to global organizations looking to have a positive impact on the world around them and generate a competitive advantage. Here at Skillsoft, we’re examining the impact of our existing CSR efforts and refocusing on initiatives that will truly move the needle ... more on that later!

Last month, we shared an overview of CSR – including what it is and why your organization should care – and introduced our first-annual CSR survey. Our goal is to help organizations around the world to benchmark their CSR progress so we can all have a more informed picture of the CSR landscape moving forward.

We believe that the resulting report will be a useful tool for any organization – whether you are just starting to examine your CSR efforts or you are further along in your efforts. But in the meantime, we wanted to take a look at some solid examples of companies who are sharing their corporate responsibility efforts and results. We are proud to work with many of them.

The Importance of Transparency

With any type of CSR initiative, transparency is key to accountability in setting and meeting goals. After all, getting stakeholders, employees, vendors, and others on board with your CSR efforts require them knowing about those efforts – and in many cases, help to carry them out.

Publishing an annual CSR report is one of the main ways that organizations share their progress in CSR – and help to communicate key information about their corporate culture, commitment to employees’ mental health, and social responsibility efforts.

What is CSR all about? Thoughts from Top Organizations

CSR is about corporate culture.

For many organizations, CSR initiatives have helped to highlight how their operations impact the world around them – employees, shareholders, community, and environment. In fact, many job seekers look to an organization’s CSR initiatives as an indicator of corporate culture.

Here are some statistics you might find interesting:

Take a look at some excerpts from top organizations’ recent CSR reports that point to their strong corporate culture and commitment to the people and communities around them:

“In business, we keep score with money. But business isn’t about money — it’s about people. And people long for something way bigger than just money. I’m so proud and thankful to be on a team with associates and owners who continue to use their business success as a springboard to be significant in their communities.” Ace Hardware President and CEO John Venhuizen

“When our founders opened the first Home Depot store, they did so with a well-defined culture. More than 40 years later, our eight core values and our commitment to put customers and associates first are still the lens through which we view every decision. So, running a responsible and sustainable company is foundational to our business. Doing our part creates value for all of our stakeholders.” Craig Menear, Former Chairman and CEO, Home Depot

CSR is about mental health.

Emotional wellness initiatives are a popular method for increasing employee engagement and work satisfaction – and many organizations are embracing them. Understanding how to manage stress on your team and educating your entire organization on mental health best practices is one important way to improve morale and make your workplace a safe, welcoming place for all employees.

Consider these statistics:

  • 91% of employees said their company’s purpose made them feel like they were in the right place amid global challenges, like the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty.
  • 85% of employees believe companies have more responsibility than ever to create safe and healthy workspaces.

One important way to build a safe and inclusive workplace is to take strides to prevent workplace harassment. At a very minimum, effective training should encompass three areas:

    Employees should be able to identify victims and the legal criteria that establish unlawful harassment. They should also be able to discern instances of sexual harassment that fall short of unlawful harassment but is nevertheless unacceptable to the organization.
    Through real-life examples, employees should be able to recognize unlawful sexual harassment whether they find themselves victims, onlookers, supervisors or even those who may be behaving inappropriately. Training should also expose unconscious biases that could lead to unintended discriminatory behavior.
    Finally, the training should help those who feel they’re being harassed address the issue, from talking to the harasser, to seeking the help of a manager or HR, to understanding their right to seek redress with an outside agency, such as the EEOC. Further, those who observe inappropriate behavior should be encouraged to report it, knowing they are protected from retaliation.
CSR is about taking responsibility.

Corporate social responsibility efforts often revolve around the idea of “doing good.” How is your organization – and its employees, stakeholders, customers, and others – taking responsibility for the world around it? How does it hold itself accountable?

Consider these statistics:

  • 55% of consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services that contribute to positive change.
  • 90% of consumers are more likely to trust and be loyal to socially responsible businesses compared to companies that don’t show these traits.

More and more of the organizations we work with at Skillsoft are focusing on the idea of taking responsibility and doing good.

For employees, a global code of conduct can help to:

  • Inform on-the-job decision-making when the “right thing” to do is not immediately clear
  • Enhance morale and keep employees loyal to a shared company culture and vision
  • Ensure that your organization conducts business in a consistently legal and ethical manner

For employers, a global code of conduct can help to:

  • Familiarize employees with the organization’s mission, vision, and values so everyone remains on the same page
  • Communicate expectations for behavior and encourage ongoing feedback
  • Ensure that managers across the company demonstrate consistent leadership styles and expectations of employees

Looking Forward

We are increasingly impressed at the level of transparency the companies in our sphere are offering to the world at large. Publishing an annual CSR report is an effective way to showcase your organization’s efforts, and to benchmark them from year to year.

How is your organization approaching its CSR efforts?

How to Empower Ethical Leaders in Your Organization Fri, 07 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

No one teaches you how to be an ethical leader! Heck, most people aren’t even taught how to manage people. So where does one learn those required, necessary skills of being an effective leader, a listener, a connector, and perhaps most importantly, a role model?

How does one communicate an organization’s ethical beliefs and values to all team members so everyone is aligned on the behaviors expected of them within their organization? How do they promote employee safety and well-being across the company? How do they make hard choices to do the right thing every day?

These guidelines are often communicated via the organization’s Global Code of Conduct, which is a necessary first step for every manager and leader, but not sufficient to fully encompass the behaviors an ethical leader must exhibit.

I was honored to participate in a discussion about these topics recently with two incredibly smart humans with unique perspectives:

  • Beth Egan, PCC, MBA, The Growth Mindset Coach for Leaders, Coaching Energy, Inc.
  • Catherine Razzano, Head of Global Legal Compliance at TikTok

Beth is an executive coach who helps leaders at all levels to adapt their leadership styles to better align with their organizations. Catherine has been working in compliance for more than 20 years, encouraging organizations to define – and live out – their ethical beliefs and values.

Empathy and the Ethical Leader

We can all agree that managers must lead with an understanding of their organization’s ethical principles and values. And while you must train your team to avoid specific risk areas, like anti-bribery and avoiding conflicts of interest, determining if your managers are exhibiting the behaviors of ethical leaders so you can be a truly ethical organization is something that is a bit harder to pinpoint without the right, or enough, training and oversight.

So, Beth, Catherine, and I first wanted to understand how to best prepare managers to become role models. Specifically, what makes an ethical leader?

Beth shared an insightful quote from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: “Without empathy it is not possible to get the best from your team, so for this reason it is the key to everything.” She believes that leaders must put in the work to become aware of how their behavior impacts their team. Only in understanding their impact on others can they effectively regulate their behaviors to empower the organization as a whole.

Coaching, said Beth, is all about the “who.” Who is the person you are working with? Who does that person need to become to step into their greater potential?

“Awareness and self-regulation are key,” agreed Catherine. She mentioned that TikTok is currently in the process of completing 360-degree reviews, where managers are reviewed by both their direct reports and their own leaders. In this way, they can better understand their impact on others and more fully examine how they achieve output through the lens of TikTok’s values.

Compliance, said Catherine, is all about the “how.” How do you do what you’re supposed to do? How do you do it consistently? How does it show alignment with your organization’s values?

The Heart of Ethical Leadership

Uniting the “who” and the “how” seems to be at the crux of ethical leadership.

According to Beth, real growth and development happens when people feel safe bringing their vulnerabilities to the forefront. To do that, we need to create a safe space for those vulnerabilities – personally and professionally.

“Ethical leadership is a long-term win,” noted Catherine. “There is an enormous amount of pressure in our global environment to make fast decisions.” She recounted watching the Hulu series, The Dropout, about Elizabeth Holmes and her company, Theranos.

The evening before Theranos’ meeting with pharmaceutical giant Novartis, Holmes made a decision to falsify an important blood test – likely thinking that the poor test results would ultimately be resolved, and the short-term ethical breach would justify the long-term gains. However, this decision soon ballooned out of her control.

No decision is ever black and white. Catherine said, “Macro- and micro-environments in the world impact our ability to make the right decisions and show vulnerability. To compensate for that, we need to be more deliberate about the decisions we make.”

She suggests taking three actions before making any important decisions:

  1. THINK. Think about what you’re being asked to do. How do you feel about it? Does it match with your values or the values of your organization?
  2. PAUSE. Take a breath and allow yourself to reflect. It is especially important for leaders to create space for this across their teams.
  3. ACT. Move forward with your decision, confidently!

“Sometimes our environment forces an unnatural amount of pressure on us,” said Catherine. “We need to develop the tools to resist this so that we can create a safe space to make ethical decisions.”

It’s Not Always Easy to do the Right Thing

Skillsoft CEO Jeff Tarr said at our recent Perspectives event in New York: “Everyone leads!”

While it is important for managers to assume the role of leaders across their teams, it is equally important that we not underestimate the role of individual contributors in creating an ethical organization.

Individual contributors often follow the lead of managers when making important decisions because managers are positioned as role models. However, if a manager is not doing “the right thing,” it can be difficult to for individual contributors to say something. That’s why it is so important to empower everyone in your organization to lead and to speak up.

Catherine mentioned the effectiveness of arranging roundtable talks about ethical decision-making across your organization – encouraging teams at all levels to discuss how they might approach critical decisions. “Not only does this help the team to practice thinking through hard topics to develop key muscle-memory in that area,” she said. “But it gives employees more people to bounce ideas off of when they are faced with a critical decision.”

Beth approached empowerment from a different perspective. She said, “Our thoughts impact our feelings, which impact our actions. When we shift from negative self-talk to empowerment, we create a space for ourselves to become more productive and inclusive.”

Our behavior, she noted, is a choice. So, whether we inhabit the C-suite of a Fortune 500 organization, or we’re an individual contributor at a startup – we can take it upon ourselves to change our behavior to elicit ethical outcomes. Ethics can be a grassroots effort.

Where do we Start?

There’s no time like the present to embrace ethical leadership. Beth shared some best practices that she utilizes in her work as an executive coach:

  • Be a role model. Show your team what good behavior looks like. Often, people won’t recognize it until they see it firsthand. Good role models live at all levels of an organization.
  • Encourage learning and transparency. Don’t hide your mistakes. Learn from them and share them so others so they don’t have to learn the hard way. Create a culture where people are comfortable sharing their missteps.
  • Provide opportunities and feedback. Challenge your team with respect to ethical leadership. Give them opportunities to be role models, themselves. What is working well, what can they do better?
  • Reward progress over perfection. Establish a growth mindset. Ensure that your team understands that we are all a work in progress, and we can only do the best we can do on the journey we are on.
  • Create a safe space. Managers must provide employees the time to process and ask questions. They need to create a safe space so that the team can – as Catherine put it – THINK, PAUSE, and ACT.

What’s the bottom line? Toxic workplace cultures share some common traits. They are typically observed in organizations with a lack of role models, where there is no safe space, and it is not okay to be vulnerable or ask questions. A toxic workplace culture is likely to lead to a compliance failure.

So, let’s THINK, PAUSE, and then do the work to empower ourselves and our teams to be the role models and ethical leaders we want to see in the world.

Can’t Hire Enough Tech Workers? Johnson & Johnson Found a Solution Wed, 05 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

The labor market for tech professionals has been hot for years. However, more recently, the addition of the Great Resignation, changes in personal and professional priorities, and a widening skills gap, it’s become increasingly difficult to hire and retain tech talent.

Johnson & Johnson isn’t exempt from this challenge. The global producer of consumer products, pharmaceuticals and MedTech faces the same issues as virtually every company today:

  • The need for skilled tech workers continues to grow.
  • It’s tougher to recruit and retain workers today.
  • Knowledge and skill gaps can slow progress.

However, Johnson & Johnson has begun to shift its approach. “There’s not enough talent out there,” said Sara Ley, head of digital & tech practice at Johnson & Johnson Learn. “How do we elevate who we have?”

Sara leads a team of learning professionals internally, who support business initiatives by recruiting and upskilling technologists. Knowing the state of recruiting tech talent well, Sara says the company has shifted more of its focus to upskilling existing employees in a way that aligns with its learning framework, the Three E’s: Experience, Exposure and Education. The idea being as people advance throughout their careers, they will need experience, exposure and education to be successful.

Recently, Sara joined Skillsoft’s Perspectives panel in Washington DC to talk about how to overcome the tech talent shortage. Read the event recap here: Perspectives 2022: Overcoming the Tech Talent Shortage

The company continues to recognize the need for skills in intelligent automation, data science, and software engineering to deliver innovative solutions in health care. But Skillsoft research has found people in these roles can be some of the toughest to hire for.

So, how are they building the skills they need, despite the headwinds blown in from a trying labor market?

Organizations Must Nurture the Workforce They Have to Close Skill Gaps

At Johnson & Johnson, there exists counsels made up of company leaders from various backgrounds to address big topics like digital transformation, improving the use of data science, and more.

As ideas and plans emerge from these counsels, capable people must be ready to carry out the projects successfully.

That’s where Sara’s team comes in. It’s up to her team to help source talent or ensure existing employees have the skills they need to get the job done.

“Upskilling is a bigger focus,” Sara said. “Yes, we want to hire the best and brightest from outside, but if we go in knowing there’s a shortage, then how do we also build the capability in house with who we have, who are eager to learn?”

This strategy is consistent with findings from Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary Report, in which half of tech leaders say they planned to train existing staff in order to close skill gaps.

In areas like cloud computing, cybersecurity, data science and DevOps, talent shortages are often the most acute, meaning that organizations must invest in their employees to develop the skills they need.

Otherwise, they could face a series of consequences ranging from longer project durations or resolution times to slumping client satisfaction and even revenue losses, according to findings from a joint IDG-Skillsoft survey. (See pg. 11 of our annual Lean Into Learning Report for more.)

In spring 2022, Johnson & Johnson launched a program internally that gives employees room to develop new skills and begin applying them in different parts of the business.

It’s like an internal gig economy.

When people need help with a project, they post a short-term opening for a job on the company’s learning platform. The algorithm matches prospective candidates with jobs based on existing skills and experience. So far, nearly 1,000 gigs have been listed since the program started.

At the heart of the program is the idea of career mobility, or helping people chart pathways to achieve their professional goals. It resulted from a desire to enable employees to pursue their interests, find their place at the organization, and begin sourcing skills from within.

Mentorship is also available to employees through the Johnson & Johnson Learn platform. People, like Sara, have signed up to serve as a mentor. They get matched with employees based on their skills. Once matched, they connect to teach one another and learn from one another.

These initiatives give employees the chance to work on their portfolios, build their skills, network with others, and explore their options — all without the risk, stress and disruption of leaving their current role.

In this way, it's mutually beneficial. Learners can feel empowered to jump in and out of projects to gain experience and pursue their interests, all the while Johnson & Johnson encourages its workforce to gain skills that they can invest back into the company.

The Benefits for Employees

The Benefits for Johnson & Johnson

  • Gigs provide real-world experience
  • The chance to network with other professionals
  • Enables employees to explore different roles and parts of the business
  • Sources skills internally to support initiatives
  • Encourages continual learning and professional development
  • Helps retain employees who show interest in areas outside of their roles

Johnson & Johnson Supports Talent Development Through Real-World Skill Application

In a time when hiring and retaining tech workers can prove challenging, programs like Johnson & Johnson’s can help by giving employees the agency to find their calling, which is an important factor when people think about their jobs, according to research from Gallup.

Fifty-eight percent of people responding to Gallup’s survey say they want space to do what they do best.

“When people have the opportunity to do work they are naturally gifted at and trained to do, they enjoy their work, find it stimulating, and want to do more of it,” writes Ben Wigert, director of research and strategy, Workplace Management, at Gallup. “Unsurprisingly, this item remains one of the most important for workers. Workers who aren't allowed to use their strengths very often seek jobs where they can; workers who do get to use their strengths seek out jobs where they get to use them even more.”

Through this program, Johnson & Johnson encourages its employees to continually invest in their own education, find what they enjoy doing, and apply their skills in a way that supports the company’s far-reaching, innovative work.

In June 2022, Sara joined talent development leaders from Leidos, Peraton and Lockheed Martin at Skillsoft’s Perspectives event in Washington DC to discuss the issue. To learn about how these companies are addressing the challenges of skill and talent shortages, read this blog, “How to Overcome the Tech Talent Shortage.”

Thinking Outside the [Cardboard] Box Tue, 04 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

Global logistics company delivers compliance training in multiple languages to an international workforce via Skillsoft’s Language Selector feature

As we look towards a pending recession, organizations around the world are laser-focused on optimizing sales and cutting costs. But to retain employees during a recession, it is important to spend some time on corporate culture.

Fostering a safe, ethical workplace that’s both people-led and innovation-driven can inspire loyalty and trust. Yet, it requires effective compliance training that’s consistent and consolidated.

Skillsoft is a trusted partner to nearly 2,000 organizations who are continuously working to improve their compliance offerings. In fact, we often make product updates and enhancements based on the feedback we receive from our customers so that Skillsoft’s compliance solutions continue to effectively meet the evolving needs of global organizations.

Case in point: Skillsoft works with a well-known global logistics company offering compliance training for hundreds of thousands of people in up to 22 different languages. Before Skillsoft, the company used to build its training courses in-house, but a couple of years ago it turned to Skillsoft to help build out content in multiple languages to save time.

While this transition was extremely helpful, the company still faced the challenge of deploying courses in multiple languages. But because it relied on a third-party learning management system (LMS), the process was a bit more complicated.

Administrators at the organization would collect all available versions of a compliance course in what amounted to a digital “box” of content. That box would then be assigned and distributed to each team member, who would then have to sift through its contents to find the right course in their language of choice. The navigation was complicated, confusing, and clunky.

For companies using Skillsoft Percipio as an LMS, the process is naturally more streamlined. But organizations with a third-party LMS need to consider additional issues, including:

  • How to package courses together, making sure to include all available languages?
  • How to enable each language for the users that need them?
  • How to allow users to select their native language?
  • How to track course completions in all languages?

Skillsoft and our global logistics customer knew we needed to work together to improve the process for others with third-party LMSs. So, we decided to think outside the [cardboard] box and create a solution that worked for everyone.

Streamlining Multi-language Training Deployment

Enabling its team to easily access compliance training in their preferred language was a priority for the global logistics company. Language barriers are a contributing factor in 25% of job-related accidents, according to OSHA. Not to mention, people learn faster when training happens in their native language.

In the global workforce, more than 1.5 billion people speak English, but about 75% are non-native speakers. We wanted to make sure that every employee at the organization — and across other organizations with third-party LMS solutions — would have easy access to the compliance training they need in their preferred language.

With ongoing feedback from our customer, Skillsoft introduced a language selector feature to support organizations with multi-language course needs. It allows users select a preferred language directly from their LMS.

Now, organizations like the global logistics company can upload a single version of any course into their LMS and encourage learners to choose their preferred language directly. Skillsoft does heavy lifting, creating connections between different languages and lightening the load for both administrators and users.

Understanding the Language Selector feature for Compliance

Learners can get to work quickly and efficiently with minimal effort from administrators.

  1. Load a preferred default language into the LMS.
    Administrators no longer need to load multiple course titles. Save time and conserve bandwidth by loading the English version of the course, only, and tracking course completions in all available languages back to that version.
  2. Select a preferred language.
    When learners launch a course for the first time, they will be able to select a preferred language from a list. The languages displayed will include the translations available for that course in the languages an organization has licensed (replicating some of the capabilities of Skillsoft Percipio Compliance).
  3. Hit play.
    After learners select their preferred language, the page will be translated into that language, and they can launch into the course. Each time the course is opened, the language selector page automatically defaults to the preferred language.

An organization can configure a course to reflect its own documents, policies, non-instructional videos, and custom text and audio; the configured course will continue to work with the language selector.

Committed to improving User Experience

The biggest win for both Skillsoft and our global logistics customer? A drastically improved end-user experience. Now, Skillsoft compliance courses look and function better — all because of the useful feedback and trusted partnership Skillsoft forged with the customer.

Skillsoft customers with third-party LMSs can now quickly and easily assign and track compliance courses across multiple languages. Every employee will have the ability to choose their preferred training language easily — so they can focus on maintaining a safe and ethical workplace, and not the logistics.

Another bonus? The language selector tool can support your organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by making compliance training as easy as possible to access, in every language.

Questions about how Skillsoft’s Language Selector feature can serve your organization? Contact us today.

What Spikes in Cloud Security Training Tell Us Mon, 03 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

The lightning-fast adoption of cloud technology due to the COVID-19 pandemic had an undeniable effect on global business. It provided a successful way for organizations to deliver service and employment in a time of worldwide uncertainty, but it's a success that comes at a price. While cloud technology offers more access to data, it also means that organizations must take greater care to ensure their data remains secure.

Cloud security is a highly technical process, and this widespread adoption uncovered a gap in the labor market. As a result, many organizations and individuals took the initiative to gain the skills needed to support cloud initiatives long term.

At Skillsoft, we’ve seen this trend play out in a noticeable growth of course consumption, particularly in cybersecurity and cloud. Between 2020 and 2021, learners were eager for information on security essentials, infosec, cloud security, cybersecurity, and ethical hacking. Overall, security saw the most significant growth in the number of hours consumed by learners.

Cybersecurity was among the highest areas of growth in training last year, increasing by 59%, according to data from Skillsoft’s learning experience platform Percipio. Cloud security in particular saw a high concentration of consumption as more practitioners sought to understand and strengthen their knowledge in this area. Further, secure coding grew by 30%, indicating that many organizations saw value in reinforcing and promoting security among their distributed development teams.

In 2021, we also saw a shift in what digital badge learners dedicated themselves to earning. In 2020 learners were interested in understanding their biases and navigating their roles in the new hybrid workforce. In 2021, learners were all in on application security, API security, and cloud security fundamentals. These spikes in cloud security training further point to the fact that organizations worldwide are concerned about their cyber and cloud security.

See also: Skillsoft’s cybersecurity training provides professionals with chances to practice what they learn through code challenges, simulations and personalized learning. Learn more.

Cloud security skills mitigate risk

The largest corporations in the world and the smallest businesses rely on secure data to deliver excellent customer service. However, while it is essential for data to stay safe, the closer it gets to the consumer, the less secure it will be.

For example, the algorithms that provide custom recommendations based on previous purchases, and virtual shopping carts, are the weakest link in online shopping portals. Regardless, these features are now ingrained in customers’ habits and expectations, so they likely won’t go away. Instead, they must be patched, monitored, and secured.

Many companies moved to the cloud because it makes doing business on a larger scale easier. Keeping online portals and applications up and running is more manageable in the cloud, which allows IT teams to improve how they utilize resources across services. But, each cloud service a business operates adds more complexity to its overall security operation.

Unstable cloud architectures can not only lead to data breaches but may also cause latency in service, which can impact sales. Therefore, organizations must ensure their cloud architecture is stable, secure, and available 24x7x365, which is not always easy to do with the current state of the cybersecurity industry.

Usually, when adopting new technology, organizations move slowly. They want a chance to kick the tires and ensure the technology works and is safe, but many couldn’t dedicate the time or resources to ensure total security. As a result, we see several challenges rising in the cybersecurity space today.

As state actors execute increasingly high-profile hacks on government and global corporations and people retire from long-held security positions taking their industry knowledge with them, a widening knowledge gap is forming in cybersecurity. Simply put, there are not enough cybersecurity professionals to keep all our data safe.

A data-driven world needs skilled security professionals

There is a lack of talent in the cybersecurity industry due to several factors:

  • Professionals are retiring and taking their institutional knowledge with them.
  • Companies don’t have the budget to attract skilled candidates.
  • Technology is advancing rapidly in use and complexity, and current skills can’t keep up.
  • Hackers never stop learning how to exploit these technological advancements.

To see the benefits of the new era of connected business, many corporations are realizing the high cost of hiring professionals to handle IT security.

Even with a significant bump in investment by IT departments, up to 50% in some companies, organizations are still struggling with hiring skilled cloud and cybersecurity candidates.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. We have seen a significant leap in learners consuming cloud security courses, signaling that many realize this challenge and have begun to respond by earning the required skills.

The ability to scale on demand is a priority for many organizations, but they must ensure that growth happens securely. If confidential information about your clients, customers, or employees becomes the target of a breach, then it’s not just cloud security that you’ll need to upgrade. You’ll need to take steps to restore both the economic and reputational damage caused by the breach to your company and network.

Skillsoft CISO Okey Obudulu presented at SecurityWeek’s Cloud Security Summit in 2022, offering advice and strategies for security leaders to better prepare their workforces to face emerging threats. See the on-demand recording here.

Adaptability comes through learning

Top talent costs the business. You don’t hear much about big tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, or IBM being the target of a data breach — because they can afford to hire the best. As a result, when clients use Amazon or Microsoft cloud products, those clients worry less about data security. But, if you don’t have these organizations’ vast resources, you must find another pathway toward unbeatable security skills.

The most successful way forward is to train your IT security management team to be versatilists; a versatilist is someone with a future-proof skillset that is both broad and deep. When time and security matter, organizations need professionals with comprehensive knowledge and deep expertise. The idea is simple, but in execution, it takes time and investment to train versatilists.

It’s a complex and intense career path, and the people who succeed tend to be lifelong learners. The good news is that learning can be fostered with the proper learning and development solutions. Organizations must provide tools to help talent become comfortable being on the chaotic front lines of cybersecurity.

Being successful on the front lines means versatilists not only need world-class tech skills but strong interpersonal “power” skills as well. Examples of power skills include awareness of personal bias, resilience, active listening, mindful communication, conflict resolution, and the effective giving and receiving of feedback.

When it comes time for an organization's cloud and security teams to recommend immediate action, that team needs an effective communicator to get executive leadership on board. These are skills that an organization can foster through leadership training and development.

Upskilling and reskilling can meet cybersecurity demands

To sum up, enterprises need to remain nimble to cope with disruption. The best way to do this is by providing opportunities for employees to acquire and perfect the necessary skills. Therefore, a fully supported learning and skills development program must accurately assess employees’ training needs to keep pace with the fluid nature of learning.

Skills in demand yesterday may not be relevant in a few months, but the safety of sensitive data and information cannot take a back seat. Any organization that wants to train talented versatilists needs to be a stalwart learning partner that provides agile and inclusive learning programs that don't get bogged down by the natural evolution of a changing workplace.

Skillsoft offers a holistic approach to assessing skill gaps, offering personalized learning, and measuring progress over time. Through the Cybersecurity and Cloud Career Journeys, organizations can equip their technical teams with myriad learning resources, including on-demand and live courses, hands-on practice labs and simulations, and far more.

Read more about Skillsoft’s Technology & Developer Career Journeys here.



Lessons I’ve Learned as a First-Time Manager Fri, 30 Sep 2022 14:51:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

For most of my career, I was an individual contributor, and extremely content in this role. I had the freedom to focus exclusively on building my marketing skillset and growing my experience within the tech industry, and that seemed like enough for me.

However, my perspective completely changed when I was asked to build out the intern program at my previous company. I always knew I loved working with people, but I didn’t realize just how much I enjoyed building these interpersonal relationships until I started to manage the interns. I felt proud that I was able to build a program that taught the interns how to navigate the professional world, while giving them the experience they needed to grow.

This is what led me to aspire to be a manager. I wanted to be that support system for those that were just getting started in their careers. I wanted to help them understand the way in which the corporate world works. And I also started to reflect on the great managers that I had, who had been that support system for me. It was time for me to take the next step in my career and start to build the skills that I was missing; leadership power skills.

So, here I am now, a first-time manager at Skillsoft, with much more formal training than I previously had, but still learning as I’m going. And I’m putting these skills to practice in my remote role, which is even more of a challenge. I constantly find myself wondering: How am I supposed to build relationships with my team? What are the skills I need to develop to be successful? How will my day-to-day change? Well, I’m happy to say that I’ve learned a lot along the way, through the help of my manager, Caitlin Leddy, my past managers, and through courses on Skillsoft’s First Time Manager Aspire Journey. Here are some of the key pieces of advice I have for those becoming managers within a distributed workforce:

Listen first, then strategize

Oftentimes, new managers feel pressure to step into their new jobs with ideas and opinions right out of the gate. I quickly learned that their strategy should be the complete opposite. It’s so important to listen whole-heartedly to your team, to understand their daily challenges and to see what changes need to be made. You may come in with your own assumptions, but always try and see the situation from the perspective of your team before you dive in with your opinion.

This may take a little extra time and research within a distributed workforce, as you are not constantly intertwined in the team dynamics. Therefore, ask questions constantly. Ask your team why they handle situations the way they do, what their priorities are, what their blockers are, and about their ultimate career goals. From there, use the feedback that you hear from your team to help inform your strategy.

I learned this lesson quickly from one of my managers. He was never the loudest in the room (nor am I), but I learned that that was okay, because that’s how we learned, processed, and made decisions. This is also the way that he led; constantly asking questions to understand what we needed, before providing a solution. All his direct reports appreciated it because we felt heard and understood, and that’s how I aim to manage.

Build trusted relationships with your team through good communication

You will learn early on that you will always be in constant communication with your team as a manager. As someone who manages reports earlier in their career, I am always talking to my reports, whether it’s to discuss next steps, provide feedback on their work, or just to check in. Oftentimes, my reports are new to the field, and are looking for guidance on how to navigate their career path, so we are often discussing what their next move should be. We spend so much time together that at the end of the day, I want my team to enjoy their work, and feel comfortable with me and their working environment.

Developing these types of relationships can often be overlooked within a distributed workforce, because how can you accomplish this if not in the same location? The idea of hybrid equity has made its way across different news outlets- it’s the idea that all your employees, no matter where they are based, are given the same opportunities to succeed. It may be easy to check in more frequently with those that you can see every day, but that doesn’t mean that your team members in different locations should be overlooked. These are some of the steps I take to build trusted relationships,

  • Put in the time- Show your team that you are there for them by setting up frequent 1:1s, participating in their meetings, and getting to know your employees as individuals.
  • Celebrate the team’s success- Build a positive and rewarding culture by making note of your team’s success.
  • Be approachable and honest- Ensure your team knows that they can speak freely with you about any challenges they may be experiencing and provide them with the same honesty in return.

At the end of the day, we are all people first, and without strong working relationships, it becomes difficult to create a fun culture that people want to work in every day.

Face conflict head-on: Identify problems early and own your decisions

No matter how great your team is, there are always going to be issues that arise. I learned that lesson quickly. My reports always excelled in the tasks that they were given, but I could sense when something was off, whether it be collaboration with other teams or the work they were being asked to do.

Do not ignore these issues or look to fix them in the short term. Always dig to understand the root of the problem, because these blockers will continue to build, and will eventually hinder the work and attitude of your employees. In a remote environment, these challenges can be harder to identify, so be sure to ask the right questions to understand exactly what is going on and how you can help.

As Scott Cromar stated in From Technie to Boss: Transitioning to Leadership, “Strong leaders can’t wait until they have all the pieces to make a decision. When you do make a decision, own it. A major responsibility of being a manager is accepting the consequences of the choices you make for the team.” Personally, this has been one the most difficult skills I’ve had to learn as a manager. I suffer from imposter syndrome and therefore often lack the confidence it takes to make decisions and stand by them. The problem is, now the decisions I make not only affect me, but my team. This is a skill that I constantly work to refine with my manager. She has given me the confidence and voice to step up and make decisions for the team. Although it often feels uncomfortable, the more I practice this skill, the more it feels like a natural part of my responsibilities.

Lead by example: Set expectations and live up to them

Managing your team’s priorities, expectations and goals is one of the biggest responsibilities of becoming a manager. But maybe even bigger than that is living by the standards you hold your team to. As a first-time manager, you are one setting the tone of the team, but you are also still part of the team. And if you don’t hold yourself accountable for your work and your actions, then why would your team think they need to follow your rules?

If the expectation you set with your team is that employees do not check-in at work during their vacation, don’t send emails or messages while you are out of office. If you ask your team to be present during meetings, don’t multi-task during the meetings that they host. The best way to set expectations and ground them in your team culture is by living them yourself.

I had one manager who set a very clear expectation that we should not be opening our computers when we were on PTO. He told us that vacations were necessary and assured us that the team would be able to cover for us, no matter what came up. He was able to exemplify that behavior himself by taking a ten-day vacation without his computer. When he returned from his trip, I told him that one of my projects had completely fallen apart, but the team has figured it out. His response was “What type of manager would I be if I didn’t trust you to solve those types of problems on your own?” And he was right. Through his example, we learned that the priority would always be our mental health, and that he trusted us to lead projects and come up with our own solutions.

Once you set the vision for your team, get out of their way

Your team will be far more engaged and content in their roles if they are given the freedom to make their own decisions, solve their own challenges, and manage their own projects. It’s often difficult for new managers to take a step back from day-to-day tasks, but that’s the only way to allow your employees to develop their skillsets. Cromar also states, “As the leader of a team, your focus is to understand the moving parts on a larger scale.” The manager must think bigger than simply how to get the work done. It’s now about managing on a higher level and developing talent across your team.

When we can’t always see what everyone’s doing on a day-to-day in a distributed work environment, it’s sometimes hard to immediately trust and to not overstep. You may be nervous because you can’t physically see what your team is doing and feel that you need to constantly check in and do the work for them. However, once you start to delegate and let your team run with their own projects, you will quickly see their strengths, and where they may need your guidance. Take a step back so you can evaluate what your team can do on their own and help build their skillset from there.

Make time for formal learning

It can be easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day responsibilities of being a manager and forget to take a step back and do the work to educate ourselves. We can easily get lost in the tactical work and lose sight of the power skills we need to build to drive change.

But, with the right training, mentors, coaches, resources, and hands-on experience, you can develop the key competencies that will allow you to be successful, particularly as the workplace landscape continues to evolve.

I’ve been able to build these leadership skills through many different resources, including Skillsoft’s First Time Manager Aspire Journey as well as Skillsoft’s First Time Manager Career Journey. However, if you need to learn how you can get started, be sure to check out A Guide for Coaching First Time Managers and Skillsoft’s Leadership & Business Portfolio for some excellent tips.

At the end of the day, leadership is a competency, not just a role. It’s a skillset that drives true behavioral change, and therefore is impossible to become a leader overnight. Building these managerial skills requires a mix of both formal knowledge and practical application to put you on the right track. And with the right balance of formal and hands-on experiences, you’ll be able to drive business value through the application of leadership competencies.

15 Top-Paying IT Certifications of 2022 Thu, 29 Sep 2022 07:30:00 -0400 (Sumithra Appalabottula)

Recruiting and retaining top talent in the IT industry has become increasingly tough amid a rapidly changing labor market and higher competition for skilled, certified professionals.

As the skills gap continues to impact businesses in critical areas like cloud, data science and cybersecurity, organizations seek out those professionals with reputable credentials that validate their experience and capability. In turn, these certified professionals tend to enjoy more leverage in the marketplace because they’ve earned certifications recognized as trustworthy affirmations of their skills.

The certifications listed here are among those in IT that earn professionals the highest salaries reported in the industry. This list is the result of thousands of IT professionals graciously participating in Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary survey. The survey is distributed to IT professionals worldwide by Skillsoft, technology providers and vendors, certification bodies, and individuals.

The cumulative results are fascinating insights into the value of skills and certifications. This year in the U.S., 2,557 professionals took the survey. That’s how we’ve arrived at this list.

We've launched the 2023 IT Skills and Salaries survey and need your help. Please complete the survey today to reveal the latest certification trends. Take 2023 Survey

Below, you’ll find 15 of the highest paying certifications in IT. In this year’s list, you’ll see a trend similar to last year, with continued emphasis on cloud and cybersecurity certifications — likely due to the sustained demand for professionals with these skills.

“This year’s list is notable first by what topics continue to be hot this year – cloud foremost, supplemented by a couple of key certifications in cybersecurity and data,” says Michael Yoo, Customer Market Leader - T&D at Skillsoft. “Not surprising, given how nearly every company in every industry of every size in every geography is relying upon cloud computing to power their technology strategy.”

While the data shows these certifications have higher salaries associated with them, it’s important to remember salaries are the culmination of several factors, including the ability to apply your certified skills at work, job role, continuous professional development, tenure, and hard work.

The list also provides a snapshot of the typical person holding certification for each credential, including the average number of certifications held, the most popular cross-certification, if they hold cybersecurity-related certifications, if they are in management, and their average age. In order for certifications to make the list, they must have had at least 50 responses in the survey. See more on our methodology at the very end of this blog.

#1 AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional


Throughout the history of our annual research, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (not Professional) has ranked on this list several times, with a few appearances at the very top.

This year, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (not Associate) is the highest paying IT certification in 2022, according to the 2,500+ survey respondents.

Solutions architects are among the most in-demand job roles right now. We wrote more about in-demand jobs here. These professionals design, deploy and support often complex cloud infrastructure, and given the need for professionals with these skills, it’s not surprising to see a certification like this landing toward the top of our list.

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional validates an individual’s ability in this area. AWS recommends two or more years of hands-on experience and familiarity with a scripting language, Windows, Linux, and many AWS services. Earning this certification requires professionals pass the current exam (SAP-C01). Changes to the exam are coming in November 2022 to align with the AWS Well-Architected Framework more closely. The exam costs $300 USD.


Learn More About This Certification

See AWS Certification Training

Read also:


Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

GCP – Professional Cloud Architect

Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Cloud Architect

Years old


#2 CISM - Certified Information Security Manager


ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification has made appearances on this list several times, holding the number two rank in 2015. In the years that followed, it’s kept a presence on the top-paying list at varying positions.

Last year, CISM ranked number six but climbed to the second position given the nearly 9% hike in salary reported by these professionals.

CISM sustains its presence this year for good reason. Cybersecurity continues to remain a top priority for organizations who must protect sensitive data from ceaseless threat actors. This certification signals to organizations and industry peers that a professional can lead security teams and efforts effectively.

CISM validates the ability to manage, design and assess an enterprise’s information security. It proves expertise in these domains: information security governance, information security risk management, information security program, and incident management.

To earn this certification, professionals must first have five years of professional work experience in the required domains before they can sit the exam, which costs $575 USD for ISACA members and $760 USD for non-members.


Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.



Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification


Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Security Manager or Director

Years old


#3 Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Architect


Ranking among the top again this year is the Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Architect, a credential that validates a professional’s ability to design cloud architecture with compliance and security in mind.

This credential also validates the ability to manage implementation, provision infrastructure, improve processes and more. However, to earn this certification, it’s recommended professionals have at least three years of experience before sitting the exam, with at least one designing and managing solutions in Google Cloud.

There is a $200 exam fee, and professionals have two hours to complete the exam. The certification lasts for two years before professionals must recertify.


Learn More About This Certification

Prep for the exam with our free guide.



Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Cloud Architect

Years old


#4 CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional


Earning the CISSP certification has been compared to earning a master’s degree in IT security, as it proves professionals have what it takes to effectively design, implement, and manage a cybersecurity program.

This certification ranks slightly higher this year — it was number five last year — with a nearly 5% gain in salary.

The CISSP exam is based around eight domains in information security:

  1. Security and Risk Management
  2. Asset Security
  3. Security Architecture and Engineering
  4. Communication and Network Security
  5. Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  6. Security Assessment and Testing
  7. Security Operations
  8. Software Development Security

To achieve this certification, candidates also need at least five years of paid, relevant work experience in two or more of the CISSP domains.

If you lack the necessary experience, you can still take the certification exam and become an Associate of (ISC)2 if you pass. Then, you’ll have up to six years to obtain the required experience to earn your CISSP. The exam is $749 USD (up from $699 last year).


Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.



Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification


Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Security Manager or Director

Years old


#5 AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate


The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate serves as a prerequisite for the professional-level certification currently in the number one position of this list.

This certification serves as a credible validation of cloud architects with hands-on professional experience designing fault-tolerant, cost-efficient systems on AWS.

Those who hope to sit this exam should have strong familiarity with the AWS Well-Architected Framework, and it helps to know the basics of programming, though AWS says deep coding experience isn’t required.

To achieve this certification, candidates must pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA-C03) exam. As mentioned, AWS recommends a year of hands-on experience designing systems on its platform before taking this exam.

The exam costs $150 USD. Professionals have 130 minutes to complete the 65-question exam.


Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.


Read also:


Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

GCP – Associate Cloud Engineer

Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Cloud Architect

Years old


#6 AWS Certified Security – Specialty


The AWS Certified Security – Specialty certification validates the ability to secure data in the AWS cloud and successfully navigate complex security challenges.

AWS recommends professionals who want to pursue this certification have at least five years of experience in an IT security role, with two years of working knowledge securing AWS workloads. What’s more, those professionals should have strong familiarity with AWS security services, logging and monitoring strategies, cloud security threat models, security operations and risks, and more.

To earn the certification, professionals must pass the exam. The SCS-C01 exam costs $300 USD. It’s 65 questions and professionals have 170 minutes to complete it.


Learn More About This Certification

See also:


Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

Azure Fundamentals

Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Security Architect

Years old


#7 PMP: Project Management Professional


Projects live and die by how they’re managed, which is why skilled project managers are critical to any organization. They help define, organize, and manage projects from start to finish.

The Project Management Institute (PMI®) Project Management Professional (PMP) is one of the most highly regarded certifications of its kind, and it continues to show up on this list year after year.

It provides employers and customers with a level of assurance that a project manager has both experience and knowledge.

To earn the PMP, candidates must meet the Institute’s requirements. Candidates must have a four-year degree, three years of experience leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education or a CAPM® Certification. Or, candidates must have a high school diploma, five years of experience, and 35 hours of project management education/training or hold the CAPM® Certification.


Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.



Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

ITIL Foundation

Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Project Manager

Years old


#8 Nutanix Certified Professional – Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI)


The Nutanix Certified Professional – Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI) certification is designed to recognize a professional’s skills and abilities to deploy, administer, and troubleshoot Nutanix AOS 5.20 in the Enterprise Cloud.

Earning this certification validates a professional’s ability to deploy and administer Nutanix AOS 5.20 nodes, blocks, and clusters. It also proves one can use Prism Element to manage AHV hosts and virtual machines, according to Nutanix.

Before sitting the exam, professionals should familiarize themselves with 12 knowledge objectives laid out by Nutanix:

  1. Understanding Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Concepts
  2. Manage a Nutanix Cluster
  3. Secure a Nutanix Cluster
  4. Configure and Manage Networking
  5. Create and Manage Virtual Machines
  6. Monitor Cluster Health and Alerts
  7. Understand the Nutanix Distributed Storage Fabric
  8. Describe Acropolis Storage Services
  9. Understand Data Resiliency
  10. Implement Data Protection
  11. Understand Prism Central
  12. Conduct Lifecycle Operations

To earn this certification, candidates must pass the exam. It costs $199 USD, spanning 75 questions. Professionals have 120 minutes to complete the exam.


Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.



Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

VCP-DCV – VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualization

Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Systems Architect

Years old


#9 Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert


Professionals who plan to pursue this certification should have advanced experience designing cloud and hybrid solutions running on Microsoft Azure.

These architects work collaboratively with others across the business — from stakeholders to developers and beyond — to overcome the complex challenges that stand in the way of secure, scalable, and reliable Azure solutions. Microsoft recommends these professionals have experience in Azure administration and development, DevOps, networking, virtualization, security, governance and more.

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification replaces its prerequisite on this year’s list as the nineth highest paying IT certification. Last year, the associate-level certification reportedly earned architects $121,420, ranking twelfth on the 2021 list.

To earn this certification, professionals must achieve a prerequisite certification — like the associate level mentioned earlier — and pass the AZ-305 exam, which costs $165 USD.


Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.



Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Cloud Architect

Years old


#10 Google Cloud - Cloud Digital Leader


The Cloud Digital Leader (CDL) certification was released in 2021 as a foundational-level certification that validates a professional’s knowledge of the Google Cloud Platform, its services, and capabilities in supporting an organization’s cloud initiatives. It may also benefit those in a business-facing role, who work collaboratively with technical professionals, or those who work with multiple cloud providers and must understand the services of each.

To earn this certification, professionals must familiarize themselves with these areas:

  • Digital transformation with Google Cloud
  • Infrastructure and application modernization
  • Innovating with data and Google Cloud
  • Google Cloud security and operations

The exam costs $99 and gives professionals 90 minutes to complete the questions. There are no prerequisites for this exam.


Recommended Course:Cloud Digital Leader Training with Google Cloud

See More Google Cloud Certification Training


Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Cloud Architect

Years old


#11 CISA - Certified Information Systems Auditor


CISA-certified professionals can serve as the conduit between technical, legal and compliance teams and ensure organizations protect privacy and manage risk in an efficient, cost-effective way.

This certification has been around since 1978, making it one of the oldest, and most respected, credentials on this list. For many years, it’s retained a presence on our list but in 2022 it comes with an average salary that’s reportedly 5%+ higher than in 2021.

ISACA’s CISA certification validates audit, risk and cybersecurity skills pertaining to these domains:

  1. Information Systems Auditing Process
  2. Governance and Management of IT
  3. Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation
  4. Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience
  5. Protection of Information Assets

Earning this certification means you meet the minimum requirements and pass the exam. Like the CISM featured in the number two rank, professionals who pursue this exam must have at least five years of professional auditing experience. The exam costs $575 USD for ISACA members and $760 USD for non-members.


Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.



Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification


Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Security Manager or Director

Years old


#12 AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty


The AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty certification is for those with at least two years of experience working with AWS and Big Data.

Earning this certification proves a data architect’s ability to:

  • Implement core AWS Big Data services according to best practices
  • Design and maintain Big Data
  • Automate data analysis

AWS recommends professionals who pursue this certification earn the Certified Cloud Practitioner, AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate or another associate-level certification as a prerequisite. It’s also recommended to have at least five years of experience in the data analytics field. The exam costs $300 USD.


Learn More About This Certification

Recommended Training: Building Data Lakes on AWS


Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

MSCA: BI Reporting (Retired)

Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Data Architect

Years old


#13 VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualization (VCP-DCV)


The VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualization (VCP-DCV) certification validates the skills to implement, manage and troubleshoot a vSphere infrastructure. Those with this certification can help organizations build a flexible, secure environment that improves their use of cloud computing.

This certification continues to rank highly, given VMware’s ability to help organizations transition to digital environments, improve experiences, and streamline operations and workflows.

To earn this certification, VMware requires candidates to attend at least one course offered by an authorized training provider, specifically:

VMware will accept other courses as well, but it’s best to check which qualify before registering for the exam. In addition to attending a class, candidates should have at least six months of experience working with the latest version of vSphere, VMware’s server virtualization software.

To earn this certification, you must pass the exam: Professional VMware vSphere 7.x (2V0-21.20). You’re given 130 minutes to complete a 70-question exam that costs $250 USD.


See VMware Certification Training

Read also:


Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

NCP-MCI-Nutanix Certified Professional – Multicloud Infrastructure (formerly NCP)

Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Systems Architect

Years old


#14 AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner


The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is the starting point for those who plan on pursuing a role as a cloud or solutions architect. This foundational certification validates a professional’s knowledge of the AWS Cloud, its services, and more.

After earning this certification, professionals open many doors to associate, professional and specialty-level certifications. For example, someone starting out may pursue this certification, but then go onto earn two others featured higher on this list: the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate and Professional. See what an AWS certification progression can look like here.

AWS recommends professionals have at least six months of experience with the platform before sitting the CLF-C01 exam, which costs $100 USD. Professionals have 90 minutes to complete the exam.


Learn More About This Certification

Recommended Course:AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials


Number of certifications


Most popular cross-certification

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

Earned a certification in the past year


Earned a cybersecurity certification


Work in management


Most commonly held job role

Solutions Architect

Years old


#15 CCNP Enterprise


The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Enterprise is an advanced certification that requires deep knowledge and understanding of the Cisco technology used in today’s complex networks.

This certification is designed for network engineers and administrators who collaborate with specialists on advanced security, voice, wireless a