Skillsoft https://www.skillsoft.com/ en-us Thu, 16 May 2024 10:03:45 -0400 Thu, 16 May 2024 10:03:45 -0400 How to Earn the Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect Certification https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-earn-the-google-cloud-professional-cloud-architect-certification Mon, 13 May 2024 09:00:00 -0400 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-earn-the-google-cloud-professional-cloud-architect-certification

Google Cloud certifications are some of the most in-demand, especially the popular Professional Cloud Architect, which is the highest-paying IT certification in the United States.

Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary survey collected more than 5,700 responses from professionals worldwide, including 703 who hold Google Cloud certifications. Worldwide, the Professional Cloud Architect certification is the most popular from Google.

The demand for Google Cloud certifications stems from a sustained need for professionals with skills in this domain. Today, there are too few, leaving organizations vying for a limited talent pool amid an increasing need to either migrate to the cloud or more effectively manage the environment (or environments) they have today. 

Google Cloud’s Professional Cloud Architect is a rigorous test of one’s knowledge in developing solutions that meet both business and technical requirements — a skill set highly coveted in today’s market.

But the question remains… how do you earn it? 

Read Also:What Does a Cloud Architect Do? A Day in the Life - Skillsoft

What Is the Professional Cloud Architect Certification and Why Earn It?

The Professional Cloud Architect certification from Google Cloud validates a professional’s ability to build cloud solutions that meet business objectives and technical requirements, including both security and compliance. 

Many seek this certification because it commands respect in the field due to the rigor of the exam and the demand for the skills it validates. It can also earn professionals a generous salary. 

Earning this certification — or any for that matter — also comes with ancillary benefits, like a boost to one’s confidence and credibility at work, faster resolution times and higher quality solutions. All of these can help lead professionals toward a bump in pay or even a promotion, according to Skillsoft’s report. 

How Much Do Cloud Architects Earn?

WORLDUSAEMEALATAMAPAC
$146,212 $200,960 $140,408 $92,192* $90,849

Who Should Get Professional Cloud Architect Certified?

Those with this certification can design scalable, highly available solutions on Google Cloud. They work cross-collaboratively in their organizations to implement and maintain their planned architecture, considering what could be in store. Constantly, these professionals have efficiency in mind and strive to optimize the solutions they create. 

Common roles that benefit from earning this certification:

  • Solutions, Cloud Architect
  • Systems Administrator
  • Software Engineer
  • Cloud Engineer
  • Data Engineer

Are There Prerequisite Certifications? How Much Experience Should I Have?

According to Google, there aren’t any formal prerequisites for this certification. However, Google offers an associate-level Cloud Engineer certification that some take before trying for this one. 

It’s a credential best suited to those who manage enterprise solutions on Google Cloud. These professionals set up environments, deploy applications, manage access and security, and more. The recommended experience for this certification, versus the Professional Cloud Architect, is just six months. 

Most of Google Cloud’s professional-level certifications call for at least three years of professional experience, with at least one working in the platform. Browse Google’s current certifications to see which may work best for your current role and future aspirations. 

What’s on the Professional Cloud Architect Exam?

The current exam spans six sections. Each section is broken down into subsections that test a prospective cloud architect’s knowledge of a range of concepts, including designing solutions based on business and technical requirements, considerations for security and compliance, migration and future-state planning, and more. 

Those who sit the exam will also face questions that challenge them to apply concepts to realistic scenarios. Up to 30% of the exam comprises these fictitious case study questions. Google offers four case studies, which test-takers can view on a split screen during the exam. 

The exam ranges between 50 to 60 multiple-choice and multiple-select questions, costs $200 USD, and lasts up to two hours. It’s offered in English and Japanese. 

Here’s what a now-certified Professional Cloud Architect said about the exam on the Google Cloud subreddit

“My thoughts on the exam itself: Tough, but fair; it's the best-written exam I've taken in a very long time... I feel it really tested my understanding, and not just my ability to recall facts. Certainly, you'll answer a bunch of questions really wondering if you picked the "best" answer, and that mirrors real life pretty closely!”

Training Resources to Help You Pass

Those who’ve successfully passed often consume a breadth of resources to familiarize themselves with the concepts, platform, and the exam. The official study guide authored by Dan Sullivan goes deep into what a candidate must know and study before taking the test. It’s $39 on the Google Play store. 

Global Knowledge offers live, instructor-led training to help candidates prep for the exam. Skillsoft also offers self-paced certification training for the Professional Cloud Architect. Recommended courses include: 

Then, there is Google Cloud’s Learning Path for the certification. It’s made up of 17 labs and courses that each take several hours to complete. Courses include: 

  • Preparing for your Professional Cloud Architect Journey
  • Reliable Google Cloud Infrastructure: Design and Process
  • Cloud Architecture: Design, Implement, and Manage

Those who’ve posted about their experience on social media or forums emphasize the importance of closely studying Google-provided materials. It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth spending quality time with them and reviewing them often leading up to the exam. “Google Cloud Platform official docs and architect guides, I cannot stress this enough this was a lifesaver in terms of detail,” wrote a recently certified Professional Cloud Architect on the Google Cloud subreddit

Searching the web, you’ll find people who have taken and passed the exam using resources from several other vendors as well. All have pros and cons — including quality, availability, and price — that you should carefully weigh for your personal and professional situation. 

Section 1: Designing and planning a cloud solution architecture ~24%
Section 2: Managing and provisioning a solution infrastructure ~15%
Section 3: Designing for security and compliance ~18%
Section 4: Analyzing and optimizing technical and business processes ~18%
Section 5: Managing implementation ~18%
Section 6: Ensuring solution and operations reliability ~14%

You’re *Officially* a Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect! …Now What?

First, celebrate. 🎉 Pat yourself on the back for a hard-won certification. Some say they study for six months or more before attempting the exam. Dedicating that kind of time — on top of everything else, like work, home and so on — calls for celebration. 

And make sure you tell your friends, family, and network! Add the certification to LinkedIn and your resume, post about it on social media, and brag about it at work. Let your peers and managers know you’ve reached the top of the mountain. 

But it’s important to not let the hard work go to waste. Make sure you maintain your certification. 

Your certification will expire if you don’t act. This certification stays valid for two years, at which point it’ll expire. To keep it valid, you must recertify by retaking the exam up to 60 days before the expiration date. 

Before then, it’s ideal to sit courses or review material to keep the exam information fresh in mind. 

]]>
Skillsoft + Skills Builder Partnership – Building the Essential Power Skills to Succeed https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/skillsoft-skills-builder-partnership-building-the-essential-power-skills-to-succeed Thu, 09 May 2024 08:40:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/skillsoft-skills-builder-partnership-building-the-essential-power-skills-to-succeed

The demand for continuous learning and skill development has become paramount in our ever-evolving professional landscape. At Skillsoft, we are committed to empowering individuals and organizations with the tools and resources they need to thrive in the digital age. That's why we are excited to announce our partnership with Skills Builder, a global social enterprise dedicated to building essential skills for success.

The Skills Builder Universal Framework is a clear and measurable approach that sets out eight essential skills – listening, speaking, problem-solving, creativity, staying positive, aiming high, leadership, and teamwork – that employers can adopt to support skills development across their outreach, recruitment, staff learning and development. The framework has been integrated into our AI-driven learning platform, Skillsoft Percipio, to enable learners to map their learning to the steps of the Skills Builder Framework to give rigor and focus to the explicit learning of these essential skills.

“At the heart of this partnership lies a shared vision of fostering a culture of continuous learning and skill enhancement,” said Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA, Skillsoft. “By combining Skillsoft's expertise in learning and development with Skills Builder's framework for essential skill-building, we aim to offer a holistic learning experience that empowers individuals to unleash their full potential.”

POWER SKILLS ESSENTIAL FOR A FUTURE-FIT WORKFORCE

Skillsoft’s recently released Lean Into Learning report showed that all of the top 20 digital badges earned by learners last year were focused on power skills. While technical skills have long been the focus in most industries, this data emphasizes the growing importance of "soft" or power skills in navigating transformative technologies. 

As businesses strive to remain agile and competitive in an era of rapid technological advancements, inclusive of Generative AI, investing in skills-building initiatives that prioritize power skills as much as hard skills are crucial for building a future-fit workforce capable of thriving in the digital age.

Benefits of the Skills Builder Partnership

Through this partnership, learners will access Skillsoft’s extensive range of courses, modules, and resources designed to cultivate essential skills that are indispensable in today's competitive landscape. Moreover, this collaboration will enable employers to nurture a skilled workforce capable of driving innovation, productivity, and growth. By investing in employee development, businesses can future-proof their talent pipeline and stay ahead of the curve in an ever-changing marketplace.

Another key benefit of this partnership is the flexibility it offers learners. With Skillsoft's user-friendly interface and Skills Builder's easy-to-follow framework, individuals can tailor their learning journey to suit their needs and preferences. Whether they prefer self-paced modules or interactive workshops, our platform caters to diverse learning styles, ensuring that everyone can thrive and succeed.

“Creating targeted and quality opportunities is the most meaningful and impactful way to build essential skills,” said Emma Reay, Head of Employer Programmes at Skills Builder. “We are delighted to see the innovative approach taken in this partnership with Skillsoft.”

Learn more about Skillsoft’s partners here.

]]>
The Impact of AI on Women (And What to Do About It) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-impact-of-ai-on-women-and-what-to-do-about-it Thu, 09 May 2024 08:35:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-impact-of-ai-on-women-and-what-to-do-about-it

The explosion and hype of ChatGPT has sparked significant interest and excitement in the realm of generative AI. According to a McKinsey report, generative AI could add $4.4 trillion to the global economy annually. To put the scale of that impact in perspective, the United Kingdom’s entire GDP in 2021 was $3.1 trillion dollars.

Generative AI is different from other technological advances because it impacts more than just a few people in IT. It affects most jobs at nearly every level — spanning from marketing to coders, HR to operations.

Programmers use tools like Copilot and ChatGPT 4 to write code. Marketers use AI to personalize campaigns. Customer service uses AI assistants to provide quick and human-like answers to customers.

Not only does generative AI have the ability to make more people, in more roles, more productive, but it also presents a possibility to make a profound impact on how we address diversity and inclusion in the tech sector.

Greater Gender Equality = Better Business Performance

Among those primed to benefit from this transformation are women, a group historically underrepresented and undervalued in the industry.

Unfortunately, issues of equality in the tech space seem to be moving in the wrong direction. Forbes reports that in 1984, 35% of technology leadership roles were held by women. Today, over forty years later, that figure has fallen to 28%.

According to our 2024 Women in Tech report, 34% of women in tech share that men outnumber them at ratios of four-to-one or greater within their organizations.

To access the full Women in Tech report, click here →

Addressing this underrepresentation of women in technology is not only a matter of fairness and social justice, but also a strategic imperative for driving innovation and growth. In fact, companies with greater gender equity have a 48% higher chance of outperforming companies with a gender imbalance.

Generative AI is establishing endless new avenues for creativity, innovation, and problem-solving. For women in tech, this translates into freedom from traditional barriers and leveraging AI-driven tools to showcase their talents and expertise. 

Putting Women at the Forefront of AI Innovation

The survey findings from our Women in Tech Report show generative AI is already having a significant impact in the workplace, with 32% of women reporting that advancements in AI moderately improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Of the 40% of women who reported they are actively utilizing AI in their professional roles, 73% have found they are more productive, and 19% find their work is more streamlined. 

The AI technologies and tools that women are finding the most useful at work are:

  • ChatGPT
  • Azure OpenAI
  • Github
  • Copilot
  • FeaturesAI
  • AdoptAI
  • AccessAI

Not surprisingly given how popular it is, ChatGPT tops the list. But this underscores the critical need for women to have access to a wide array of AI skills development and training to continue to hone and improve their skills across a number of different tools and technologies. 

Breaking Barriers to Access AI Training

The problem is that while AI is the number one topic women want to learn about, a staggering 63% of women in the survey lack access to training. 

This AI skills gap not only obstructs individual career growth but also poses a significant barrier to leveraging the full potential of generative AI in the workplace.

So, how can organizations work to close this AI skills gap and foster an inclusive environment for women to redefine their careers in tech? 

Let’s take a look. 

Provide skills training for women in both technical and power skills

As organizations look to harness the power of generative AI, they'll need to ensure they provide all of their employees — women included — with the tools and environments to not only build AI skills, but to do so in a way that protects their IP and customer information, while nurturing human skills like curiosity, creativity, and collaboration.

Transformative learning platforms play a pivotal role in equipping women with the expertise needed to thrive in the tech landscape. These programs offer hands-on training in AI technologies, providing participants with practical experience and real-world applications. By focusing on skills development, women can gain confidence, competence, and credibility in their chosen field, thereby narrowing the gender gap in tech.

That saidcompanies need to go beyond just technical AI skills training, because the reality is power skills matter just as much. Sometimes known as “soft skills,” power skills include those very human characteristics like communication, emotional intelligence, and adaptability.

These skills have become even more important in the age of generative AI as human judgment is critical in any task that requires nuance. While machines may perform certain tasks more efficiently than humans, they lack the emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills necessary for complex decision-making processes (at least today).

Therefore, it’s no surprise that even in technology, the top three skills reported "most important for leaders" were team communication, emotional intelligence, and active listening. Women say ineffective leadership is their top challenge at work, surpassing both unequal pay and lack of opportunity. 

Democratize Access to Learning Opportunities

While generative AI is creating an unprecedented need for new skills, it is also providing an unprecedented solution to learn new skills. Coupled with online learning platforms and remote training modules, generative AI has the potential to democratize access to learning opportunities.

Women from different backgrounds and places can now take training programs from their own homes. Their location isn't a barrier in the same way it has been historically.

Generative AI is also helping in this space through advancements like AI-powered content curation, tailored learning paths, and dynamic assessments.

Skillsoft CAISY™, our Conversation AI Simulator, serves as one example. This use of generative AI helps expand access to training. Skillsoft CAISY enables learners to practice important business conversations with an AI-powered trainer in a safe space and receive immediate personalized feedback to guide their development.

Learners can select from a range of real-world business scenarios like providing constructive feedback to an employee, giving a sales pitch, talking to an upset customer, investigating a cybersecurity breach, and more.

By using generative AI to make education more accessible and inclusive, organizations can help to level the playing field for women in tech.

How to Address Bias and Discrimination

As more and more workforces look to leverage the power of generative AI, it is crucial for organizations to establish clear communication and a strategic plan to responsibly integrate AI into daily work.

Companies need to consider some of the following risks when it comes to generative AI: 

Bias and fairness

While generative AI has the potential to foster inclusivity, it can also further exacerbate existing biases if not implemented with a responsible approach. That’s because AI systems can inadvertently perpetuate or amplify biases present in the data used for training. Companies must carefully monitor and mitigate bias in their AI algorithms and decision-making processes to ensure they do not perpetuate existing inequalities or disadvantage certain groups, including women and minorities.

Regulations and compliance

With the increase in implementations of generative AI comes the increase in regulations, as generative AI can pose legal ramifications if it generates content infringing upon copyright, privacy, or other intellectual property rights. Just this year, the European Parliament officially adopted the EU AI Act, which is the first major law to regulate AI. Companies need to understand and comply with relevant laws and regulations, reducing the risk of legal disputes and liabilities.

Data privacy and security

Programmers build and train generative AI models using large datasets. Companies must protect the privacy and security of sensitive data, ensuring personal and confidential information remains safe.

As we move forward, women's representation in AI development and decision-making processes is essential to ensure that AI technologies are equitable and inclusive.

AI training programs are essential for women to secure careers in the rapidly evolving tech landscape. By acquiring AI skills, women can overcome barriers, seize opportunities, and contribute to building a more diverse, inclusive, and innovative future in AI and technology that can benefit all.

To learn more about the current state of women in tech, what’s important to them, and what they need from their employers to thrive, access our full report here.

]]>
The Top 10 Challenges IT Teams Face This Year https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-top-10-challenges-it-teams-face Tue, 07 May 2024 09:00:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-top-10-challenges-it-teams-face

IT budgets have largely rebounded since the pandemic, yet resources and budget constraints remain the top challenges for teams globally. 

This has left many professionals feeling apathetic about the state of their departments, which are consistently asked to do more with the same or even less, according to Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary report.

Survey respondents describe the situation at work and the impact of limited resources: 

“The IT management did not invest in the IT department as a whole and instead ensured that the status quo was maintained.”

“Organizations lack awareness of the importance of IT strategy and view IT as a supporting function rather than a strategic tool. They may not have clear IT plans and goals, aligning IT with business goals.”

While strained resources are a key issue, there’s more to the story. Skillsoft’s survey asks thousands of professionals to rank their current workplace challenges. Here are the top 10:

1 Resource and budget constraints
2 Unclear job roles and responsibilities
3 Employee morale
4 Workload
5 Developing stronger teams
6 Lack of career development, growth opportunities (Training, mentorships, hands-on practice, etc.)
7 Communication
8 Executing with urgency and excellence
9 Hybrid or remote work practices and policies
10 Talent recruitment

1. Resource and Budget Constraints

Resource and budget constraints were recognized as the top issue for both individual contributors and team leaders. Despite this, IT budgets have largely rebounded and stabilized since the pandemic, according to the report. 

In 2023, 56% of leaders who took the survey reported their budgets are likely to increase this year, while only 12% say they will decrease. One-third say their budgets will stay the same. 

Perhaps not ideal, but it’s a welcome trend to those who reported their budgets were under greater scrutiny from 2020 to 2022. Consider how budgets have changed over the past few years: 

2022 IT Skills and Salary Report

Gartner predicts that worldwide IT spending will reach roughly $5 trillion in 2024, a nearly 7% increase over the year prior. This is down slightly from the prediction for the previous quarter. 

Budgets are affected by many factors, internal and external. And when the budget takes a hit, it has downstream consequences for teams — which you’ll see later in this post — like an inability to recruit teammates, pay for training, and more. 

2. Unclear Job Roles and Responsibilities

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. 

In today’s hybrid world, effective communication has risen to the top of a list of challenges teams are facing. The highest percentage of IT staff say team communication is their greatest challenge in hybrid scenarios, followed by interpersonal communication and communication with leadership.

It’s a must for team leaders to make time with their staff — together and individually — to check in and talk through any changes that might impact the team. Clear, honest communication can help quell fears that stem from speculation or rumor.

In the coming year, almost 63% in IT plan to work in a hybrid fashion. Still, 14% will stay remote full time. Almost one-quarter 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.

3. Employee Morale

Developing stronger teams is a top challenge for one-quarter of IT decision-makers — more on this below — as they try to fortify their departments with the capabilities to transform their organizations. Employee morale is a large part of the effort.

2023 IT Skills and Salary Report

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 give out promotions and raises to everyone in order to increase employee morale. But smaller, sometimes overlooked, steps like these can help: 

  1. Recognize your employees’ efforts and praise their work.
  2. Validate their contributions, suggestions, and opinions.
  3. Grant them more opportunities to work on skills that matter to them.
  4. Encourage them to pursue a new certification. (47% of IT professionals say they felt more engaged at work after earning a certification.)
  5. Work on the team culture by listening, gathering feedback, and enacting change when it makes sense to do so.

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

4. 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 increased demand for the skills IT and tech employees demonstrate.

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 disruption and increase the amount of work for others. Further, skill gaps often lead to a decreased ability to meet business objectives. This is where effective leadership, coaching, and project management can make a significant impact.

Check in with your team to have open, honest conversations about workloads, projects, and opportunities to go beyond surviving the day-to-day. 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

5. Developing Stronger Teams

Developing stronger teams is a top priority for leaders, in particular. The survey found that leaders plan to prioritize investments in artificial intelligence this year, but this is always where the most apparent skill gaps can be found. 

2023 IT Skills and Salary Report

To get projects off the ground, skilled staff must help usher in progress. But with clear gaps, there are some preliminary steps leaders must take. The lion’s share of leaders say they intend on training their teams to close skill gaps, with a keen focus on AI, cloud computing, data science, and cybersecurity. Although, more work is necessary to understand capabilities, take inventory of skills, and upskill or reskill as appropriate.

The focus on upskilling will help in more ways than one, too. Training leads to benefits including higher morale and retention rates among staff. Projects also tend to move more quickly and innovative ideas come more easily, according to survey findings. 

With this, other challenges are worth noting. The latest findings show two-thirds of leaders grapple with skill gaps on their teams. And the leading reason for these gaps has to do with how fast technology develops and changes, but also the level of investment in training programs. Often, leaders believe their training isn’t keeping up with the skills required of them. 

This adds to the dilemma of strained resources; if no action is taken to develop a team’s capabilities, the situation will only get worse. The impacts of skills gaps can lead to losses in revenue or business to competitors, increase security risks, and far more. All these consequences have price tags — some greater than others.

6. Lack of Career Development, Growth Opportunities

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.

2023 IT Skills and Salary Report

A lack of career development opportunities is a make-or-break benefit for IT professionals. In fact, it’s the top reason why a professional either quits their job or moves to a new role at work. 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.

The top three hurdles for IT professionals looking for more training opportunities are as follows: 

  • Workload
  • A lack of training budget
  • Personal obligations outside of work

Mentioned above, balancing the demands of the job with the desire (and need!) to learn new skills isn’t easy. Professionals need the time and space to complete training and know that it’s okay to do. That’s where their managers can encourage them and allocate space to do so. 

Leaders also need to make it known that training is both available and funded. The survey shows 86% of leaders authorized training for their staff in the past year, and more than three-quarters of organizations offer their employees some form of training. 

7. Communication

While technical skills remain in demand, soft skills — we call them “power skills” at Skillsoft — have an elevated importance in today’s workplace. Power skills 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 19.4 million digital badges learners earned by training with Skillsoft in 2023, the following ranked among the top 10:

What these courses have in common is they teach learners how to interact effectively and appropriately with others to reach a desired outcome. In business, working cross-functionally becomes paramount in completing large projects and achieving goals that carry far-reaching impacts for the organization.

2023 Lean Into Learning Report

8. Executing With Urgency and Excellence

At some point, employees will slow down and lose motivation if they’re constantly running at full speed. Addressed earlier, heavy workloads consistently weigh on leaders and staff, who are charged with keeping so much of the organization functioning. 

This underlying pressure, mixed with intermittent technological disruption (not to mention the lack of resources and time to train), makes it easier to understand why executing can be an issue. 

But addressing some of the other issues on this list will help your organization to address this one, too. Working on sharpening communication skills can help create a feedback loop between teammates and leaders to better plan for rollouts, potential risks or issues, and more. 

Further, adherence to a project management framework — whether that’s Agile or another — can help teams prioritize work and balance the workload, so no one person becomes stretched. 

Steps like these can help change the course of a department that’s constantly running from fire drill to fire drill, hoping for a break but never really getting one. Both individuals and team leads must be deliberate in managing their time and work to sustain the level of excellence they hope to deliver for the organization.

9. Hybrid or Remote Work Practices and Policies

More employees are returning to the office, according to our report. It showed that in 2022, 32% of IT professionals worked completely remotely. That percentage dropped by more than half to 14% in 2023. Almost two-thirds plan on working in a hybrid fashion, with a greater portion back in the office full-time. 

2023 IT Skills and Salary Report

Sixty-seven percent of professionals say their employers are encouraging workers to head back into the office at least part of the time. And for most, that’s okay with them. The overwhelming majority of professionals want to work in a hybrid environment, with some days at home (or wherever they choose) and other days or occasions working in person with their co-workers. 

But it’s still a time of transition. “The new normal” isn’t quite normalized for everyone, which means some policies, definitions, rules, and etiquette hasn’t set in yet. Like the year prior, communication is the main challenge of hybrid teams. Whether it’s among teammates, individuals, or the boss, communication has proven tricky. 

Other challenges that come with hybrid work include access, training opportunities, outdated policies, technical issues, and morale. To alleviate some of these challenges, leaders should take steps to engage their remote or hybrid teammates and foster a sense of community wherever people work

Consider these 6 actions

  1. Set clear expectations for remote workers
  2. Build a culture of communication
  3. Provide learning opportunities
  4. Recognize remote employees
  5. Use video chat for work and fun
  6. Ask employees what they need

10. Talent Recruitment

2023 IT Skills and Salary Report

Talent recruitment isn’t topping the charts like it was last year, but even still, it’s a key challenge for global teams. Hiring is likely to pick up in the coming year, according to the survey, but the need is great now. Two-thirds of IT leaders have three or more vacancies on their teams, which causes something of a chain reaction at work. 

Not enough workers ➡️ Higher workloads for existing workers ➡️ Existing workers feel more stress and burn out ➡️ Existing workers quit. 🔁 Then, the cycle repeats itself. 

Solving this complex issue requires a well-thought-out approach to talent development because, in many circumstances, recruiting “enough” workers isn’t a reality. 

“There’s not enough talent out there,” said Sara Ley, head of digital & tech practice at Johnson & Johnson Learn, in an interview with Skillsoft. “How do we elevate who we have?”

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

]]>
Take a Hike! A Trail Map to Becoming a Great Leader https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/take-a-hike-a-trail-map-to-becoming-a-great-leader Tue, 07 May 2024 07:02:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/take-a-hike-a-trail-map-to-becoming-a-great-leader

I’ll be the first to admit that hiking is not my “thing.” However, with four kids and a dog, I often find myself trudging through the woods with a heavy backpack full of water, snacks, stuffed animals, and bug spray. 

Recently, as the kids argued over who gets to be the leader of our own little pack, I started thinking about the idea of leadership. And how leading on the trail is not so different than leading at work. 

Much like a hiker preparing for a challenging ascent, it's important to equip emerging leaders with the right gear—skills and mindsets—to reach the summit. The journey towards leadership excellence is not for the faint of heart, but with a solid trail map and a compass pointing towards continuous learning and development, organizations can cultivate leaders that are adept at conquering new peaks. 

Let’s “take a hike” to explore this idea together.

Preparing for the Climb: Understanding Skill Disruption

Before you start walking, make sure you understand the trail and its potential disruptions. In business, skill disruption is caused by rapid technological advancements, evolving business models, and shifting workforce demographics. 

To build great leaders in this climate, your organization must first assess the current and future skills landscape, identifying which competencies are becoming obsolete and what new abilities are required to forge ahead.

Charting the Path: Embracing a Learning Culture 

Just as a trail map provides various routes to the summit, a learning culture offers multiple pathways for professional growth. To foster this environment, organizations must embed learning into the very fabric of their operations. Encourage leaders to be lifelong learners and support their journey with resources such as mentorship programs, cross-functional projects, and access to online courses and workshops.

Packing the Essentials: Tailored Development Programs 

On a hike, every adventurer's pack may contain different gear, suited to their unique needs and the nature of the trail. Similarly, leadership development programs should be tailored to address individual strengths and areas for growth. Utilize competency frameworks and personalized learning plans to ensure that each leader-to-be is equipped with the necessary skills to navigate their specific leadership terrain.

Navigating the Ascent: Adaptive and Resilient Leadership 

The path to leadership is rarely a straight line; it often involves steep inclines, switchbacks, and unexpected obstacles. To traverse this path, leaders must be adaptive and resilient. Encourage a mindset that embraces change and sees challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. Cultivate resilience by providing leaders with strategies to maintain their footing when the path gets rocky, such as stress management techniques and problem-solving exercises.

Encouraging Exploration: Cross-Functional Experiences 

A seasoned hiker knows the value of exploring different trails to gain new perspectives and skills. In business, cross-functional experiences can provide emerging leaders with a broader view of the organization and an understanding of how interconnected departments are. Encourage leaders to step out of their comfort zones and embark on secondments, job rotations, or project-based assignments in different areas of the business.

Climbing Together: Mentorship and Coaching 

Every hiker can benefit from the guidance of someone who has already navigated the path. In the journey toward leadership, mentorship and coaching are invaluable. Pairing budding leaders with experienced mentors not only provides them with guidance but also with the encouragement to keep moving forward. Additionally, investing in leadership coaching can help individuals tackle more challenging leadership terrain with confidence.

Scaling New Heights: Encouraging Innovation and Creativity 

The most memorable hikes are those that offer a new view at every turn. To build great leaders, organizations must encourage innovation and creativity. Create an environment where leaders are empowered to take calculated risks and where out-of-the-box thinking is rewarded. This mindset will enable leaders to find new solutions to old problems, keeping the organization agile and forward-thinking.

Reaching the Summit: Recognition and Reward 

The summit is a place of reflection and celebration, a moment to acknowledge the effort it took to climb. Likewise, recognizing and rewarding the achievements of emerging leaders is essential. Celebrate milestones and successes to reinforce positive behaviors and to inspire others in the organization to embark on their own leadership journeys.

The Continuous Journey: Lifelong Learning

The summit of one mountain often reveals the range of peaks yet to be climbed. For leaders, the journey doesn't end with reaching a certain title or position; it is a continuous pursuit of growth and excellence. Encourage leaders to seek out new learning opportunities, to reflect on their experiences, and to set new goals. By embracing lifelong learning, leaders can ensure they remain equipped to face the ever-evolving landscape of their roles.

Building great leaders in an era of skill transformation is akin to mapping out a successful and challenging hike. It requires preparation, a culture that values continuous learning, personalized development plans, and an environment that fosters resilience, adaptability, and innovation. 

Your role is to provide the trail map and the tools necessary for your organization's leaders to navigate this terrain. By doing so, you'll not only help them reach their individual leadership summits, but also ensure that they are ready to lead the organization to new heights – no matter how the landscape may shift beneath their feet.

Is your organization building a learning culture that empowers leaders at all levels?

]]>
Measure Mastery: How Interactivity Showcases Earned Skills https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/announcing-interactive-skill-benchmarks Wed, 01 May 2024 00:00:00 -0400 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/announcing-interactive-skill-benchmarks

The only thing worse than a learning program failing is not knowing how it's performed at all. 

Being in the dark about the results of your learning program makes it difficult to prove its value and efficacy. It also makes it challenging to know what learners have gained.

Every program, course, challenge, and minute spent learning should build on one another. All of it should help propel learners forward in their careers and the organization forward in its vision of the future.

However, a murky view of learning performance often stands in the way. LMS admins and talent development leaders shouldn't scratch their heads, feeling uncertain about the outcomes of their programs. 

At Skillsoft, we've heard stories like this time and time again. Talent development teams seek clarity and a means to measure their efforts. They are ready to close their skill gaps and driven to prepare for what's next. 

But they face roadblocks. 

Skillsoft offers an interactive learning platform with a suite of tools and features to remove obstacles and support learners' journeys. Today, we offer even more.

Announcing Interactive Skill Benchmarks


We've listened to our customers who have asked for a clear way to measure and index skills, so they have insight into what's working, the efficacy of learning programs, and more.

Interactive Skill Benchmarks answer this call, and they are available to existing Skillsoft customers with access to our Codecademy learning portfolio.

In addition to the Skill Benchmarks we offer today, these Interactive Skill Benchmarks will provide another level of insight into learners' progress as they develop new capabilities. They build on what's already working for many of our customers:

  • An assessment of learners' skills and knowledge 
  • A clear path forward with content recommendations 
  • A benchmark for learners to beat as they work toward their goals

However, Interactive Skill Benchmarks go further. 

"Amid widening IT skills shortages, Skillsoft helps enterprise learners gain literacy around generative AI and other important emerging technologies,” said Gina Smith, Ph.D., research director for IDC’s IT Skills for Digital Business practice. “It has never been more difficult to get the right people with the right skills into the right roles. Skillsoft’s learning solutions and interactive benchmarking can help learners master the skills they need to get their teams and organizations to the next level.” 

Interactive Skill Benchmarks Available Now

Skillsoft customers who have access to our Codecademy learning content will see these Interactive Skill Benchmarks in their training libraries now.

The Interactive Skill Benchmarks focus on data science, artificial intelligence and programming. Learners at various skill levels — beginner, intermediate and advanced — will find benchmarks that test their abilities in each area, with more on the way. 

See the initial set of Interactive Skill Benchmarks below:

Data Science

  • SQL – Data Fundamentals  
  • SQL - Table Transformations  

Artificial Intelligence 

  • Supervised Learning I: Regressors, Classifiers and Trees 
  • Feature Engineering for Data Scientists  
  • Supervised Learning II: Advanced Regressors and Classifiers  

Python

  • Programming Fundamentals  
  • Intermediate Python  
  • Python Linear Data Structures 
  • Python Nonlinear Data Structures 
  • Advanced Python 

JavaScript

  • Programming Fundamentals 
  • Intermediate JavaScript   
  • JavaScript Linear Data Structures 
  • JavaScript Nonlinear Data Structures 
  • JavaScript Algorithms  

Java

  • Programming Fundamentals  
  • Intermediate Java   
  • Java Linear Data Structures 
  • Java Nonlinear Data Structures 
  • Advanced Java 

 

WHY THESE MAKE A DIFFERENCE 

Knowing employees' skills and proficiency helps surface opportunities to bridge gaps, support internal mobility, and use this data to enrich learning programs.

These add another level of interactivity and rigor to our existing set of Skill Benchmarks — largely thanks to our integration with Codecademy

HOW THESE FIT WITH EXISTING BENCHMARKS

As they start their journey, learners will face Skillsoft's initial set of Skill Benchmarks. These test their knowledge of key concepts and details of their training. The goal is to prove their understanding of what they're actively learning.

As they continue, Interactive Skill Benchmarks challenge them even more. Through these assessments, learners must prove they not only understand the concepts they've learned but can also apply them in realistic scenarios.

This added level of testing brings forward Codecademy's longstanding pedagogy of interactive and engaging training to build relevant technical skills. With Skillsoft, learners can build technical and non-technical skills — and prove their proficiency — with Interactive Skill Benchmarks. 

Interactivity Challenges Learners to Master Their Craft

As mentioned, today's Skill Benchmarks test a learner's initial understanding of the concepts they've learned. As they've completed the early stages of their learning journey, they graduate on to more significant challenges. 

Interactive Skill Benchmarks will test learners through hands-on practice in realistic virtual environments.

WHAT LEARNERS WILL EXPERIENCE 

Before, learners had to select the right answer from a set of choices. At this next stage, learners must provide the right answer. They will demonstrate their knowledge in technical and non-technical areas. 

Interactive Skill Benchmarks will present a question or scenario to learners and then leave it to them to solve. 

For developers, programmers, and engineers, learners write and edit their own code before running it to see the result. The assessments help them work through challenges and see where they can improve. The same idea is true for those learners who focus on their Power Skills, like communication or leadership skills. 

Read next:  Unlocking Potential: Teaching Tech Workers Power Skills for Success

After completing the assessment, learners will see how they scored — ranked from novice to advanced — and get content recommendations based on their performance.

These assessments also give talent development teams another level of insight into skills application. This data will clarify the questions that are often left unanswered for too many organizations. 

Interactive Skill Benchmarks will bring a greater depth of clarity to:  

  • Strengths — See how your workforce performs in an array of areas and take stock of skills.
  • Personalization — Every learner is different and goes at their own pace. These benchmarks tailor their journey.
  • Growth — Assessment provides immediate feedback. Learners see their progress and a path forward. 

These benchmarks will help talent development teams enhance their programs, add to their strategy, and show positive outcomes. To see how they can help your organization, get more information about Interactive Skill Benchmarks below or request a demo.  

]]>
What Does a Cloud Architect Do? A Day in the Life https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-does-a-cloud-architect-do Mon, 29 Apr 2024 00:00:00 -0400 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-does-a-cloud-architect-do

Cloud computing has become core to business, underpinning an organization’s ability to transform its operations, improve productivity, and far more. Cloud platforms host the capabilities and apps that workers across disciplines rely on — from software engineering to executive leadership and everywhere in between. 

The rise of remote work has further accentuated the reliance on cloud-based collaboration tools and infrastructure, amplifying the already existing need for skilled cloud professionals who can not only ensure seamless operations and security, but do so in global or distributed environments. 

Given the demand for cloud computing professionals is fierce— especially considering the rise of generative AI, the severity of security attacks, and the reliance on cloud solutions at work and at home — these roles are among the toughest to hire. In fact, according to our IT Skills and Salary Report, 82% of decision-makers say the demand for cloud computing skills is increasing within their organizations.

Why? Cloud computing skills have become synonymous with resilience, innovation, and growth, making them indispensable in today's digital-first era and driving their continued demand.

It’s no wonder that cloud computing certifications top the list of most popular and pursued certifications worldwide, with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft cited as priority vendors. Certifications from these companies also command some of the highest salaries for those professionals who’ve earned them. 

In fact, Google Cloud’s Professional Cloud Architect tops the overall top-paying certifications list, with U.S.-based certification-holders earning an average annual salary of $200,960. The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certification comes in fourth with an annual average salary of $174,137. 

Cloud architects, solution architects and those carry out similar functions are often highly paid and sought-after professionals, whose job plays a critical role for their organizations. 

But what exactly does a cloud architect do? How many different certifications do they have? How happy are they in their role? And what are their day-to-day challenges?

Let’s pull back the curtain on a day in the life of a cloud architect. 

What is a Cloud Architect?

There are different types of cloud architects — or solutions architects — but in the realm of cloud computing, an architect is the mastermind behind the cloud infrastructure. 

These architects serve as the linchpin between business objectives and technological possibilities, translating the former into robust, scalable solutions on various cloud platforms — such as AWS, Google, or Azure. 

At their core, a cloud architect is a problem solver, tasked with designing and implementing effective, cloud-based solutions to execute on business objectives. Unlike traditional architects who design physical structures, cloud architects work with cloud engineers, developers, and other stakeholders to design and implement solutions that leverage the capabilities of public, private, and hybrid cloud environments, while ensuring regulatory and legal compliance.

What does a Cloud Architect do?

A cloud architect is responsible for architecting scalable, reliable, and secure cloud environments that optimize performance, enhance flexibility, and drive business value. 

That means their day-to-day duties are often quite varied, depending on the organization and project requirements. At a high level, here are some of their overarching responsibilities:

  • Analyze business requirements: Conduct a comprehensive analysis of business requirements, stakeholder needs, and existing IT infrastructure to gain a deep understanding of objectives, constraints, and desired outcomes.
  • Design cloud solutions: Based on this analysis, design cloud solutions to meet the business requirements, architecting a mix of cloud services, platforms, and technologies.
  • Evaluate technologies: Once the architecture is designed, cloud architects evaluate different cloud service models (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) and deployment models (public, private, hybrid) to determine the most suitable approach.
  • Guide development and implementation: Provide the development team with detailed technical documentation — such as architecture diagrams, interface specifications, and data models — which are essential to build and implement the solution correctly.
  • Ensure security and compliance: Design and implement security controls, encryption mechanisms, and identity management solutions to protect cloud assets from cyber threats and data breaches, as well as ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards.

What Do Cloud Solution Architects Earn?

Globally, cloud architects make $135,882 on average. In the United States, the average annual salary climbs to $200,471. Salaries vary widely based on the region, according to our IT Skills and Salary Report — which is the result of thousands of IT professionals worldwide graciously participating in our annual survey that you can take here! The report offers comprehensive insight into the value of skills and certifications, showing that architects make anywhere from $68,000 to more than $200,000. 

In this year’s overall top-paying certifications list, certified cloud architects earn some of the highest salaries among tech professionals. However, it’s important to remember that what a professional earns is the culmination of many factors. According to the architects who participated in the survey, the main factors that contribute to salary increases over one's career are (in order) job performance, developing new skills, typical company raises, promotions, and industry certifications. 

Here’s an overview of the average annual salaries for the top-paying cloud architect certifications (and similar roles):

CertificationAverage Salary (U.S.)
Google Cloud – Professional Cloud Architect $200,960
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional $174,137
Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert $136,674

Are Cloud Architects Happy with Their Careers?

When it comes to any job, salary isn’t everything. As part of our IT Skills and Salary survey, we also collect responses on job satisfaction. The good news? An overwhelming majority of cloud architects are satisfied in their role, with 82% stating they are extremely or somewhat satisfied. Meanwhile, an overwhelming 77% stated they feel extremely good or somewhat good about their job security, which is a reassuring position in this difficult job market.

What Challenges Do Cloud Architects Face?

While cloud architects are among some of the highest paying and overall satisfied roles within an organization, it doesn’t mean the job is without its challenges. Based on our survey results, here are the top challenges cloud architects face:

  1. Resource and budget constraints. Organizations are constantly under pressure to do more with less, which can result in longer lead times to complete projects or deliverables. For an architect to understand the constraints of the business and the aspirations or requirements for cloud resources, it’s important to clearly communicate back to stakeholders what’s feasible. Clear communication and presentation skills help while having tougher conversations on complex topics
     
  2. Unclear job roles and responsibilities. While some responsibilities may apply broadly to cloud architect roles, they can vary. Grappling with unclear job roles and responsibilities can lead to confusion and frustration. Here, too, clear communication and a regular dialogue with peers, managers, and stakeholders can help define roles and speed up project durations. 
     
  3. Employee morale. Despite favorable job satisfaction, they are still impacted by the overall employee morale, which is a common challenge in tech. For some, these roles are demanding and expansive, meaning these professionals must work cross-collaboratively to successfully carry out their duties. What’s more, given the nature of the roles — having to split focus between strategy and implementation — the work can come with a great deal of pressure to get it right. Communication with peers and managers can go a long way to alleviate some of this pressure by dividing the workload or allotting time away from work when it’s needed.  

What Training Do Cloud Solution Architects Prefer?

The demand for cloud certifications shows that training is essential to a cloud architect's success. But what types of training do these professionals prefer? 

It’s a mix. Most tend to train at their own pace, enjoying on-demand, interactive training. Others, however, would rather learn in person with their peers and an instructor. Both have their benefits. 

On-demand training caters to architects' heavy workloads, while in-person instruction allows for a more tailored experience. Architects who pursue live training led by an instructor can bounce ideas off an expert and ask more scenario-specific questions that speak to their day-to-day work.

When it comes to the subject of training, a majority focus their training on earning IT-focused certifications, which pays off in more ways than one. Surely, it gives their skills a monetary boost — but it also leads to higher job satisfaction, more engagement at work, and more. 

Overall, cloud architects are some of the industry's most in-demand and highest-paid professionals. Even more importantly, though, this career path is rewarding for those who participated in our annual survey. Largely, they enjoy their work, find it fulfilling, and have the peace of mind that comes with solid job security. 

If you’re interested in becoming a cloud architect, certification and training opportunities are designed for all levels. Explore options through Global Knowledge and Skillsoft for comprehensive cloud mastery.

]]>
How AI-Driven Skilling Scenarios Can Benefit Your Business https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-ai-driven-skilling-scenarios-can-benefit-your-business Fri, 26 Apr 2024 09:00:00 -0400 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-ai-driven-skilling-scenarios-can-benefit-your-business

An effective training program can help employees stay up to date with the latest industry trends, skills and best practices, leading to better performance, increased customer satisfaction, and higher productivity.

Research firm IDC says that organizations stand to benefit up to $1 trillion in productivity gains worldwide in the next two years by implementing skills development that’s powered by generative AI and automation.

That’s where Skillsoft’s CAISYTM for You service is poised to help organizations.

With CAISYTM for You, organizations partner with Skillsoft to create customized, AI-driven coaching scenarios that blend practice and role modeling to help employees develop critical communication skills.

CAISYTM makes crucial conversations easier by providing employees with a safe space to practice and receive real-time feedback. Through experiential learning like this, organizations can prepare their talent to drive sustainable change through behaviors and actions. And now, they can further customize the tool to their culture, needs, and more.

How It Works: Skillsoft’s CAISY for You

Skillsoft’s CAISYTM for You service is designed to meet the specific needs of the organization and its employees. Experiential, active learning addresses the unique challenges and strategic goals of the organization. After training, learners feel more confident in applying their new skills to their daily interactions, tasks, and projects.

Skillsoft partners with organizations to tailor CAISY to their specific needs. Here are the steps to roll it out:

  • Design — Work with Skillsoft’s Professional Services team to define outcomes and learning objectives.
  • Build — Then, build a beta version. Stress test it and make sure the scenarios meet expectations.
  • Launch — Finally, partner with Skillsoft to deliver it to your organizations.

The idea is that CAISY should speak the language of the industry, simulate highly realistic scenarios, and relate to the person’s role within the organization.

That’s why CAISYTM is so effective.

It’s dynamic, adaptable and driven by AI — allowing it to mold to the distinct use cases of every industry, organization, and employee.

Skillsoft’s Professional Services team collects feedback from learning administrators, talent development leaders, department heads and others to dial in the scenarios. The data they collect — topics, phrases, methods and more — is used to train employees, prepare them for future interactions, and help them understand their potential.

The experience becomes highly relevant to each employee. CAISYTM helps learners with their unique skill set, offers recommendations and analysis, and allows virtually endless repetition. For the organization, it’s cost effective by cutting out unnecessary materials or training you’d get with off-the-shelf solutions. What’s more, it leads to a more confident, emotionally intelligence workforce.

Create a Safe Practice Environment

By incorporating active elements into their learning programs, organizations can help employees stay engaged and motivated throughout the continuous skills development process.

With Skillsoft CAISYTM, employees are able to practice in an environment where it’s okay to make mistakes. They can practice tough conversations, repeat the process, reflect and adjust over and over without taking up another employee’s time or when the stakes are high.

Through the replication of real-world scenarios, learners can ask questions, make requests, and receive real-time responses. Skillsoft CAISYTM delivers AI coaching simulations across globally in-demand skill areas, including:

  • Leadership
  • First-Time Manager
  • First-Time Managers in Tech
  • Agile Tech and Product Teams
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Compliance
  • Coaching Your Team
  • Customer Service
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Well-Being
  • Procurement

Given the breadth of scenarios, employees across departments can practice with CAISYTM in ways that will resonate and connect to their day-to-day work. All of these scenarios help provide a foundation that organizations can then tailor to reflect their culture, values, use cases and practices.

Customize Your Learning with CAISY

Prepare your employees to have effective business conversations that drive positive behavioral change. If you are interested in learning more and becoming a CAISY user, please reach out to your account team or contact sales.

]]>
Your Guide to Nutanix Certifications (and What They Pay) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/guide-to-nutanix-certifications Thu, 25 Apr 2024 09:00:00 -0400 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/guide-to-nutanix-certifications

"The cloud" has become more than just a buzzword. It's the cornerstone of modern business. Cloud computing offers unparalleled agility, scalability, and cost-efficiency to businesses of all sizes and sectors, fundamentally reshaping how organizations operate.

As businesses increasingly migrate to or rely on the cloud, the demand for skilled professionals who can navigate this ever-expanding realm continues to surge. In fact, according to our recent IT Skills and Salary Report, 82% of decision-makers say the demand for cloud computing skills is increasing within their organizations.

Consequently, individuals who are proficient in cloud computing have emerged as some of the most sought-after in the job market. As a result, most tech leaders are dealing with an unwavering skills gap. 

When it comes to cloud computing, only 13% of tech leaders feel very confident in their team's abilities. The majority (37%) assess their teams' skills as somewhere between novice and expert.

To navigate this landscape, where skills are important currency, certifications have emerged as powerful credentials that validate expertise and differentiate candidates. 

Nutanix is a Top Cloud Provider

Looking at the results from our IT Skills and Salary Report, Nutanix is one of the top 10 vendors that tech leaders plan to invest in this year. Becoming certified is a valuable investment for those professionals who work with Nutanix’s platform or plan to specialize their skills further.

Nutanix offers certifications that not only validate expertise but also provide in-depth knowledge and practical skills essential for deploying, managing, and optimizing modern cloud environments.

Globally, 408 survey respondents reported having earned a Nutanix certification in our recent IT Skills and Salary survey. We break down the most popular certifications worldwide below, showing the average earnings of individuals with the respective certifications. You can also see our methodology for this list at the end of the post.

What Nutanix Certifications Pay Worldwide (on Average)

CertificationAverage Salary
Nutanix Platform Expert (NPX) $138,573*
Nutanix Certified Professional - End User Computing (NCP-EUC) v6 $110,034*
Nutanix Certified Professional - Database Automation (NCP-DB) v6 $109,056*
Nutanix Certified Expert - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCX-MCI) $102,952*
Nutanix Certified Master - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCM-MCI) v6.5 $92,900
Nutanix Certified Professional - Multicloud Automation (NCP-MCA) v6 $91,974*
Nutanix Certified Master - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCM-MCI) v5.20 $79,777
Nutanix Certified Professional - Unified Storage (NCP-US) v6 $76,495
Nutanix Certified Professional - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI) v6.5 $73,506
Nutanix Certified Associate (NCA) v6.5 $67,428

What Nutanix Certifications Pay in the U.S. (on Average)*

CertificationAverage Salary
Nutanix Certified Professional - Database Automation (NCP-DB) v6 $167,495
Nutanix Certified Professional - End User Computing (NCP-EUC) v6 $166,116
Nutanix Certified Master - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCM-MCI) v5.20 $155,949
Nutanix Certified Professional - Unified Storage (NCP-US) v6 $151,309
Nutanix Certified Expert - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCX-MCI) $147,246
Nutanix Platform Expert (NPX) $140,667
Nutanix Certified Professional - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI) v6.5 $139,361
Nutanix Certified Associate (NCA) v6.5 $139,318
Nutanix Certified Professional - Multicloud Automation (NCP-MCA) v6 $139,306
Nutanix Certified Master - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCM-MCI) v6.5 $136,875

Nutanix Certified Associate (NCA)

Those looking to pursue a Nutanix Certified Associate (NCA) certification are typically looking to be in a systems administrator, engineer, or IT operator role.

Despite being an associate-level exam, the most successful candidates have approximately 6 to 12 months of holistic IT infrastructure experience, as well as 3 to 6 months of Nutanix virtualization experience. Participants will be asked to navigate and identify components within the Nutanix user interface such as:

  • Describe lifecycle management
  • Describe Nutanix fundamental concepts
  • Explain cluster alerts and monitoring administration
  • Describe storage concepts
  • Explain virtual infrastructure administration
  • Describe Nutanix solutions

Nutanix Certified Professional - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI)

The Nutanix Certified Professional - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI) certification confirms your ability to administer the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform and successfully deploy and manage Nutanix products in your organization.

Being a professional-level certification, it is recommended that candidates have approximately 1 to 2 years of general IT infrastructure experience, and at least 6 months of Nutanix virtualization experience as the exam will cover one’s ability to:

  • Manage cluster, nodes, features, as well as cluster storage
  • Configure cluster networking and network security
  • Configure, analyze, and remediate performance issues, alerts, and events
  • Manage VM deployment and configuration

Resources to help you earn this certification:

  • how-to guide to earn the Nutanix Multicloud Infrastructure Certification
  • Skillsoft’s Global Knowledge live, instructor-led prep course

Nutanix Certified Professional - Unified Storage (NCP-US)

For IT professionals, architects, and systems administrators, the Nutanix Certified Professional – Unified Storage (NCP-US) certification validates your skills and abilities to deploy, configure, optimize, troubleshoot, and perform administrative tasks on the Nutanix Unified Storage technologies: Files, Objects, and Volumes.

Like other professional-level certifications, candidates for the NCP-US certification typically have 1 to 2 years of general IT experience, with 6 to 12 months of data storage experience. The exam covers the following areas:

  • Deploy and upgrade Nutanix Unified Storage
  • Configure and utilize Nutanix Unified Storage
  • Analyze and monitor Nutanix Unified Storage
  • Troubleshoot Nutanix Unified Storage

Nutanix Certified Professional - End User Computing (NCP-EUC)

Calling all end user computing administrators, architects, and consultants who need to manage the Nutanix platform. This is the exam for you.

The Nutanix Certified Professional - End User Computing (NCP-EUC) certification measures your ability to successfully deploy, monitor, administer, troubleshoot and maintain end user computing environments utilizing the Nutanix platform.

Successful candidates have approximately 6 to 12 months of experience administering EUC technologies in a Nutanix environment, and 18 to 24 months of support in one or more of these areas: desktop support, virtualization support, and network support.

Nutanix Certified Professional - Multicloud Automation (NCP-MCA)

This certification is for IT professionals who are interested in pursuing, or currently engaged in, DevOps concepts and/or multicloud automation using Nutanix technologies.

The Nutanix Certified Professional - Multicloud Automation (NCP-MCA) certification measures your knowledge of automation principles, as well as the automation capabilities built into the Nutanix platform. 

It’s recommended for candidates to have 3 to 6 months of experience with leveraging Nutanix products to automate the deployment of infrastructure and applications across a hybrid multicloud environment as you’ll be asked to:

  • Describe and differentiate automation concepts and principles
  • Deploy and configure self-service and related components
  • Validate blueprints, runbooks, playbooks, and automation settings

Nutanix Certified Professional - Database Automation (NCP-DB)

Those interested in this certificate are typically database administrators, Nutanix technical employees, Nutanix channel partners, Nutanix OEM vendors, and Nutanix customers who are capable of successfully provisioning, patching, protecting, and cloning Nutanix Database Service (NDB) managed databases. 

The Nutanix Certified Professional - Database Automation (NCP-DB) certification measures your ability to deploy, administer, optimize, and troubleshoot database workloads using NDB.

Successful candidates have approximately 1 to 2 years of database management experience, while having at least 6 months of Nutanix Database Service or Nutanix Era experience. 

Nutanix Certified Master - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCM-MCI)

For advanced IT professionals, the Nutanix Certified Master - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCM-MCI) certification measures your ability to analyze, evaluate, and optimize the Nutanix platform performance, configuration, and health. 

To earn this expert-level certification, it’s suggested that candidates have approximately 3 to 5 years of holistic IT infrastructure experience and 2 to 3 years of Nutanix virtualization experience as you’ll be tested on your ability to:

  • Analyze and optimize storage performance
  • Analyze and optimize network performance 
  • Conduct advanced configuration and troubleshooting 
  • Analyze and optimize VM performance 
  • Analyze BCDR plans for compliance 

Nutanix Certified Expert - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCX-MCI)

The goal of this certification is to prepare candidates to engage with enterprise customers and design Nutanix Multicloud solutions that deliver real business value.

The Nutanix Certified Expert - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCX-MCI) tests a candidate’s ability to design enterprise-scale solutions that support business-critical applications with service-level agreements specified by business stakeholders. 

As this is an expert-level exam, candidates must demonstrate mastery of the Nutanix Design Method and present a solution that meets or exceeds customer requirements for Scalability, Resiliency, Performance, Manageability, Data Protection, Recoverability, Regulatory Compliance, Security, and TCO/ROI.

Nutanix Platform Expert (NPX)

For those superb technologists, the Nutanix Platform Expert (NPX) is a peer-vetted, hypervisor agnostic certification designed for veteran solution engineers, consultants, and architects. 

Every NPX is a proven architect capable of designing and delivering a wide range of cutting-edge solutions custom built to support the business goals of the Global 2000 and government agencies in every region of the world.

How we built this list

This list of top-paying Nutanix certifications is based on survey responses from Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary Survey conducted from May to September 2023. The survey is distributed to IT professionals around the world by technology providers, certification bodies, and Skillsoft. It 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 focus of this list is on the 408 respondents who reported having one or more Nutanix certifications. When reporting salary figures, Skillsoft looks for at least 50 survey responses before considering relevance, demand, and other factors. *Salaries denoted with an asterisk and those salaries reported for the United States in this report do not meet the 50-respondent minimum. Salaries are not normalized for cost-of-living or location.

]]>
Earth Day 2024: Bringing Your Whole Self to Sustainability https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/earth-day-2024-bringing-your-whole-self-to-sustainability Mon, 22 Apr 2024 07:21:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/earth-day-2024-bringing-your-whole-self-to-sustainability

This year, as we embrace the theme "Planet vs. Plastics," Earth Day reminds us of the considerable impact individual actions can have. Since first observing this holiday on April 22, 1970, the call for sustainable business practices has only grown. However, this challenge should not be shouldered by individuals alone; progress requires a concerted effort from sustainability-minded organizations worldwide.

At Skillsoft, sustainability is a mission we take seriously. In our recently released Learning for Good Impact report, we set a benchmark for measuring our global greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1, 2, and partial 3) and will set science-based targets to demonstrate our emission-reduction strategy and impact. To maintain transparency and accountability, we also submitted reports to CDP.net, EcoVadis, and the United Nations Global Compact.

We understand that prioritizing sustainability and social impact efforts requires emphasizing the critical role of education. A recent PwC CEO survey revealed that 67% of respondents are upskilling and reskilling their workforce to address climate change. Initiatives like green skilling are essential, equipping individuals and organizations with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate and lead in future sustainability roles.

As we release our third annual Lean Into Learning: Earth Day report, it’s crucial to renew our resolve to focus on sustainability through education. This year’s report confirms that learners are eager for training in sustainability, reflecting the growing need for a workforce well-versed in green skills, social impact, and corporate sustainability practices.

The Next Phase of the Sustainability Journey

According to our latest Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Work report, 55% of respondents indicated that CSR budgets have increased for a second consecutive year, with training and education emerging as the top area of investment (41%). A majority of respondents (60%) also said that organizations should take a greater stand on social and political issues.

As more organizations invest in sustainability, CSR, and ESG initiatives, we observed a significant year-over-year increase in learning hours focused on sustainability topics and courses (91%). Consequently, there was a 25% increase in badges earned in sustainability topics and courses as more learners achieved and celebrated milestones across important sustainability areas such as risk management and inclusivity.

This year, the top industries, listed below, focused on sustainability – including consulting and marketing – provide insights into an evolving market where both individuals and businesses see the value of integrating environmental considerations into their strategies and communications for long-term success.

This is especially true given how important sustainability and “doing good” is for the general population.

Bringing Your Whole Self to Sustainability

This year’s top courses cover a broad spectrum, from sustainability strategy and ethical leadership to inclusivity, showcasing that there is no correct way to learn, lead, and think about sustainability in today’s workplace.

We must ensure that the skills we develop are versatile enough to meet the diverse demands of tomorrow. This includes power skills like creative and systems thinking, which are critically important for learners and leaders to possess.

Similarly, an examination of the most popular digital badges earned through Skillsoft reveals a parallel trend. Learners are interested in badge topics that emphasize holistic, strategic, and ethical thinking. These badges indicate a practical desire among leaders to integrate sustainability into their day-to-day work.

Learners continue to show strong interest in sustainability and climate topics, with Skillsoft recording a 61% year-over-year increase in sustainability-related searches, including terms like “sustainability, “climate change,” “renewables,” and “environmental awareness”. As highlighted in our previous Earth Day reports, “sustainability” remains the most searched term, witnessing a 70% year-over-year increase. All other mentioned topics have also seen increases compared to previous years.

What Comes Next

The sustainability journey doesn't end once a course is complete, or an earned badge is posted on social. We must continue the work to ensure that others have the opportunity to join us. How we do this will vary by organization, by country, and by industry, but it must always include business leaders and their employees committing to continuous learning and investment in sustainability to maintain momentum in this critical area.

To ensure CSR and ESG efforts continue effectively, leaders must:

  • Diversify training offerings to cover a broad spectrum of sustainability topics, including power skills like communication and creative thinking. This not only enriches the learning experience, but also equips employees to tackle a variety of environmental and societal challenges.
  • Commit to long-term sustainability plans with clear milestones, as highlighted by 35% of respondents to our CSR at Work report, who believe that such planning leads to more significant impact and change. These plans create a structured framework for continuous progress.
  • Integrate sustainability learning into day-to-day work, making it a core aspect of every role, not just an add-on. This approach helps employees see the real-world impact of their learning, reinforcing the relevance and importance of their skills.
  • Encourage cross-departmental collaboration to dismantle silos and foster a unified approach to sustainability goals. This includes leaders initiating sustainability efforts to garner employee buy-in. Collaborative teams can share best practices and innovate solutions beyond what is possible in isolated groups.
  • Regularly refresh and update training content to keep pace with evolving sustainability practices and innovations. Staying current ensures that the workforce remains prepared to meet future challenges with flexibility and agility.

We are proud of the work we’ve done so far, and we recognize there remains a long journey ahead. Be sure to read more about Skillsoft’s ESG mission in our latest ESG Impact report here.

Methodology:

The Lean Into Learning: Earth Day 2024 Report highlights data from thousands of Skillsoft customers and millions of Skillsoft learners worldwide. We looked at the learning consumption of sustainability-related courses available on the Skillsoft learning platform from March 2023 to February 2024.

]]>
6 Reasons to Track Skills Development https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/tracking-skills-development Wed, 17 Apr 2024 09:00:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/tracking-skills-development

Organizations are continually challenged to adapt to new technologies, shifting market demands, and evolving societal expectations. When generative AI exploded into the spotlight with the release of ChatGPT, it spurred an awe-inspiring and truly game-changing wave of technological innovation, going on to affect virtually every role in every industry. We’re witnessing a time of pervasive skills disruption as the traditional trajectory of careers and their requisite skills are undergoing a seismic shift.

In fact, according to our IT Skills and Salary Report, 66% of IT decision-makers say they suffer from a skills gap — marking no improvement since last year. The future promises more of the same, with more than half of IT decision-makers reporting they anticipate a skills gap in the next one to two years.

The stagnation underscores an important step that all organizations must take to ensure they're preparing for future waves of disruption. They must take stock of their workforce's skills and track their development over time.

Reskilling and upskilling for today and tomorrow

To thrive in this dynamic environment, organizations must ensure their workforce possesses the necessary skills and competencies to drive innovation and growth.

This multifaceted challenge requires organizations to have a workforce that is not just technically adept but also possesses the power skills to lead the way forward—as well as a deep understanding of the ethical, social, and environmental implications of their work.

That means organizations must either hire someone new or upskill and reskill their existing employees. As today’s landscape is constantly changing, our traditional education institutions simply can’t pivot quickly enough to produce talent with the skillsets currently in demand.

As a result, reskilling and upskilling have become more important for organizations to prioritize than ever before. The first question organizational leaders need to ask themselves is --

3 reasons employers must track skill development

Today, every organization relies on technology, which constantly shifts. The rate of change in the field is one of the main reasons why skill gaps remain as widespread as they are. To have a chance at keeping up, employers must first know their workforce's proficiency in both technical and non-technical areas.

1. Understand the diversity of skill levels.

No two employees are the same every workforce comprises individuals with varying expertise and competencies. Managers need to measure their team members’ capabilities to gain valuable insights into the diverse skill sets present within their teams and ensure conceptual understanding and mastery. By understanding the breadth and depth of skills across different roles and departments, employers can make informed decisions regarding resource allocation, project assignments, and talent development initiatives, using data to drive workforce transformation.

2. Identify areas of strength or improvement.

Tracking skill proficiencies provides employers with a clear picture of their workforce's strengths and areas for improvement. By analyzing a skills dashboard, employers can identify emerging trends, gaps, or deficiencies in specific skill sets to address skill gaps before they become detrimental to performance or hinder business objectives. Whether through targeted training programs, coaching opportunities, or strategic hiring decisions, employers can take proactive measures to enhance their workforce's capabilities while eliminating redundant or irrelevant training.

3. Individualize feedback for personalized development.

Tracking skill proficiencies empowers employers to provide personalized feedback and development opportunities tailored to each employee's unique strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations. By leveraging skill data, managers can deliver more meaningful feedback, set realistic performance goals, and design customized assignments to facilitate specific skills growth. This individualized approach not only enhances employee engagement and satisfaction, but also fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth, driving improved performance and retention rates across the organization.

3 reasons learners must track skill development

Each employee plays a key role in progressing their organization's mission. But what about their careers? As employees' interests and responsibilities change, a solid grasp of their capabilities will clarify where their learning journey leads next.

4. Get a quantifiable measure of performance.

Most learners within an organization want a way to evaluate their proficiency and skill growth. By taking dynamic skills assessments, employees can gain quantifiable insights into their strengths and areas for improvement. This data-driven approach allows individuals to set clear performance goals, track their progress over time, and demonstrate tangible evidence of their expertise and growth.

5. Receive personalized learning.

There are never enough hours in the day. Within an organization, learners must find a way to balance their daily professional life and need for professional growth. To do so, employees need to take the shortest path to mastering new capabilities. Organizations should look to provide their employees with guided, personalized content recommendations based on their individual results rather than waste their employees’ energy on learning things they already know.

6. Identify and rectify errors quickly.

With interactive learning assessments, employees can receive immediate feedback to proactively address areas where they may be falling short or making mistakes. By identifying and rectifying errors in real-time, employees can gain confidence in their abilities and move beyond recall of facts and into application of concepts.

The workforce you have is the one you need

In a world where the only constant is change, the ability to learn, adapt, and grow has never been more critical. The ability to track and measure skilling capabilities is indispensable for both employers and employees who are seeking to thrive in today's dynamic business environment.

With Skill Benchmarks—short diagnostic assessments tied to specific learning objectives—organizations can assess, fortify, index, and track in-house skills to make informed, data-driven decisions based on a talent inventory. Skill Benchmarks provide a score and level to measure individuals’ proficiency and offer personalized online course recommendations to help close gaps.

Do you trust that the workforce you have is the one you need in this ever-changing landscape? See how you stack up with Skills Benchmarks.

]]>
Transformative Strategies in Third-Party Risk Management https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/transformative-strategies-in-third-party-risk-management Tue, 16 Apr 2024 12:54:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/transformative-strategies-in-third-party-risk-management

An effective third-party risk management (TPRM) strategy requires compliance professionals to engage with people and processes that are outside of our control . . . and it can be maddening!

In fact, one of the most difficult challenges that compliance professionals face is building a TPRM program. Components of a TPRM program typically include vendor evaluation, risk assessment, due diligence, risk remediation, continuous monitoring, and offboarding processes.

But any effort to evaluate the potential threats introduced by third parties and implement controls to address them is worthwhile. An effective TPRM strategy helps organizations reduce costs associated with data breaches, maintain regulatory compliance, reduce overall risk exposure, and gain visibility into their third-party ecosystem.

And when executed well, an effective TPRM strategy should enable your organization to identify, assess, and mitigate the various risks introduced by their reliance on external third parties. These might include cybersecurity risks (data exposure, cyberattacks), operational risks (business disruptions), compliance risks (regulatory violations), reputational risks, financial risks, and strategic risks.

Ensuring the Resilience of Your Supply Chain

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit with Rodney Campbell, Senior Vice President, Head of Third-Party Risk Management at Valley National Bank, to discuss TPRM strategies at Compliance Week National 2024.

We kicked off the conversation with a sobering statistic. Stanford Law School tracks the number of FCPA Matters initiated annually that allege bribery schemes involving third-party intermediaries such as agents, consultants, or contractors. So far in 2024, this number is 100 percent – and that’s not uncommon.

That’s why compliance professionals should consider a four-pronged approach to creating a TPRM program that considers strategy, infrastructure, action and implementation, and the consequences of neglect.

Strategy. According to Campbell, compliance professionals need to develop a strategy that addresses both activity and impact. What activities will you take to achieve maximum impact within your organization? What are you doing, and how does it impact the organization’s bottom line? Have you received stakeholder buy-in? Why does this matter?

“Constant and consistent engagement with your key stakeholders is the best way to hone in on a lasting strategy,” said Campbell. “You cannot act as an adversary to others in your organization. Everyone needs to understand the role they play in your process.”

Looking at your organization’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report is an important way to understand your organization’s priorities and future goals. Think about ways to tie your TPRM efforts into the ESG report to show how you can contribute to your organization’s overall objectives – and protect the business in the process.

As compliance professionals, we can’t write rules in a vacuum. We need to understand the systems and processes that other teams are using to get work done. Then, we need to find the least intrusive way to ensure that we are mitigating risk within this infrastructure.

Infrastructure. After you’ve established a strategy for your TPRM program, the next step is to build an infrastructure around that strategy. Think about how you can build out your program in a way that is both sustainable and scalable.

“One of the best pieces of advice I can share is to embrace learning,” said Campbell. “Learn more about all aspects of what you’re trying to do. Get training. Bring all your stakeholders on board.”

But where does learning fall within a TPRM program? Who do you train – employees, vendors?

“Training is fundamental,” said Campbell. “It should be tailored based on roles and responsibilities.” And while this may differ from organization to organization, it is a key to a successful process. Many organizations provide training to employees who interact with third-party vendors to ensure they understand their responsibilities for managing third-party risks. This may include training on identifying red flags, securely sharing information with vendors, and reporting concerns.

Action and Implementation. Then, ready or not, we have to take action. Understanding what your organization can realistically achieve – both from a knowledge-based and a capacity-based perspective – is a key factor here. Show your stakeholders that you’ve truly considered the potential (and potential limitations) of your TPRM program. And then implement your plan:

  1. Start by identifying and assessing the potential risks associated with third-party relationships. This includes evaluating the nature of the third-party’s services, the sensitivity of the data they have access to, their geographic location, financial stability, and their security measures.
  2. Conduct due diligence on third-party vendors before entering agreements. This may involve reviewing financial statements, conducting background checks, assessing compliance with relevant regulations, and evaluating their security practices.
  3. Ensure that contracts with third-party vendors include clear provisions outlining their obligations regarding data protection, security measures, compliance with relevant regulations, and the consequences of non-compliance. Consider including audit rights and requirements for regular reporting.
  4. Implement processes for monitoring third-party vendors throughout the relationship. This may involve regular assessments of their security posture, financial health, compliance with contractual obligations, and any changes in their business operations.
  5. Finally, develop a robust incident response plan that outlines how your organization will respond in the event of a security breach or other compliance issue involving a third-party vendor. Ensure that all relevant stakeholders are aware of their roles and responsibilities.

By starting with high-risk issues for your organization – country of operation, size of contract, types of goods and materials procured, etc. – you can find a starting point for your program. Tackling the highest risks will help to build credibility and allow scale.

Consequences of Neglect. Neglecting a TPRM strategy can have far-reaching consequences for your organization. Consider the following risks:

  • Security Breaches: Neglecting proper risk management can result in security breaches if your vendors’ systems are compromised, potentially exposing your organization’s data or systems to unauthorized access.
  • Data Loss or Theft: If a third-party vendor experiences a security breach or mishandles data, your organization’s sensitive information could be compromised, leading to financial loss, reputational damage, and legal consequences.
  • Reputational Damage: Customers, partners, and stakeholders may lose trust in your ability to protect their information, leading to a loss of business and damage to your brand.
  • Regulatory Compliance Violations: Neglecting third-party risk management can result in violations of regulatory compliance regulations, leading to fines, penalties, and legal action by regulatory authorities.
  • Financial Loss: Remediation efforts, legal fees, regulatory fines, and potential lawsuits can all contribute to financial losses for your organization.
  • Operational Disruption: A security incident involving a third-party vendor can disrupt your organization's operations, leading to downtime, loss of productivity, and disruption of services to customers or clients.
  • Loss of Competitive Advantage: Customers may choose to take their business elsewhere if they perceive your organization as unreliable or insecure.

That’s why it is so important to implement robust risk management practices to mitigate these risks and protect your organization’s interests.

Skillsoft’s Global Supply Chain Compliance Solution

Every employee plays an important role in helping with supply chain management by understanding what global supply chain and vendor compliance is and calling out potential risks. Skillsoft recently introduced a new Global Supply Chain Compliance Solution to address third-party risk management which includes a new high-end video scenario and an updated design treatment.

This is a composite course that is fully configurable with our hide and reorder functionality. So, you can choose which topics are most relevant to your organization as you look to implement your TPRM strategy.

  • Human Rights and the Global Supply Chain
  • Forced Labor and Modern Slavery
  • Excessive Work without Fair Compensation
  • Unsafe and Unhealthy Working Conditions
  • Best Practices for Addressing Human Rights Compliance

Supply chain and vendor compliance management is critical to your organization’s long-term success because it not only helps to prevent operation interruptions and potential reputation damages, but also helps to achieve your mission and vision by influencing suppliers and vendors to raise their ethics, health, and safety standards.

]]>
Create a Safe Space for First-Time Managers to Develop Management Skills https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/create-a-safe-space-for-first-time-managers-to-develop-management-skills Mon, 15 Apr 2024 09:00:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/create-a-safe-space-for-first-time-managers-to-develop-management-skills

Organizations are likely to look to their highest-performing employees when promoting from within, but a high-performing individual contributor doesn’t necessarily translate to a high-performing first-time manager. The skill set for the two roles is very different, as you can see from the chart below.

Skills for First-time Managers

That’s why, without proper training — and because they are truly learning a whole new skillset — first-time managers are apt to struggle with their new responsibilities. Just look at some statistics from the Center for Creative Leadership:

  • According to their subordinates, 20% of first-time managers are doing a poor job
  • 26% of first-time managers feel they weren’t ready to lead others
  • Almost 60% say they never received any training when they transitioned into their first leadership role

It’s clear that first-time people managers are struggling. But, because management is so people-oriented, it might be difficult for new managers to find a true-to-life way to hone their new skills. After all, there isn't a great way for first-time managers to “practice” the types of conversations they might have with their direct reports before they have them.

Active Learning: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice

Enter Skillsoft CAISYTM Conversation AI Simulator, an innovative generative AI (GenAI)-based tool for developing crucial business and leadership skills through simulated conversations. CAISY makes difficult work conversations easier by providing employees with an emotionally safe space to practice with an AI-powered trainer and learn from personalized feedback.

CAISY not only plays the role of the other person within the conversation but also provides personalized feedback and guidance on communication style to guide development. This is known as active learning – an approach to instruction that involves actively engaging learners with the topic at hand. Active learning provides the following benefits:

  • Better outcomes. Active learning through CAISY promotes knowledge acquisition and skill development. Emphasizing real-world scenarios and simulations enables managers to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations and develop problem-solving skills.
  • More engagement. It enhances learner motivation and engagement by transforming the learning experience from passive to participatory. First-time managers can actively apply their knowledge and skills through practical experiences and challenges, making learning more relevant and stimulating.
  • More application. It gives learners more opportunities to transfer their new skills to their work. When they are compelled to actively apply theoretical concepts to concrete situations, first-time managers gain a deeper understanding of the applicability of their lessons – building the confidence and competence needed for effective decision-making and leadership.

CAISY Scenarios for First-Time Managers

By January 2024, Skillsoft will have a total of 60 scenarios available within CAISY via Skillsoft Percipio, Skillsoft’s AI-driven online skilling platform.

Fourteen of these scenarios relate to first-time managers:

Accountability: With CAISY, first-time managers can practice taking responsibility for their actions and decisions, cultivating trust within their teams. When team members are confident that their manager will uphold commitments and address issues directly, managers are able to foster a culture of accountability across the team.

Delegation: Delegation is not simply assigning tasks; it's about entrusting responsibilities and empowering team members to make decisions. It is a skill that not only alleviates a manager’s workload but also fosters growth and development within the team. Practicing task delegation makes it easier for managers to free up more time to focus on strategic planning and decision-making.

Developing People: Developing people goes beyond simply improving their skills for the job at hand — it involves nurturing their potential, encouraging their growth, and helping them achieve their career ambitions. Managers who invest time and resources in their team members’ development foster a positive work culture where individuals feel valued and empowered.

Discussing Compensation: This sensitive topic requires delicacy, transparency, and fairness — and, therefore, some practice. Getting more comfortable with compensation discussions before they happen allows managers to effectively address any concerns their team members may have, thereby maintaining morale, productivity, and a sense of loyalty within the team. Inadequately handled, these conversations could lead to dissatisfaction, demotivation, and even attrition.

Interested in learning about the top-paying IT certifications moving into 2024? Read more here.

Driving Execution: Managers who are skilled at driving execution can ensure that team members are aligned with project goals, understand their roles, and are motivated to complete their tasks on time and to the required standard. An execution-oriented manager fosters a proactive work environment where team members are empowered to take initiative and work toward a common objective.

Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence enables managers to empathize with their team members, understand their motivations and concerns, and respond effectively. This fosters a positive work environment where team members feel heard, understood, and valued. Managers with high emotional intelligence are better equipped to handle stress, resolve conflicts, and navigate challenging situations.

Managing a Cross-functional Team: Managing people with different backgrounds and skill sets exposes managers to various perspectives and ways of thinking, which can aid decision-making and problem-solving. A well-managed and diverse cross-functional team can quickly adapt to changes, enhance the quality of output, and significantly contribute to achieving organizational objectives.

Managing a Hybrid Team: Hybrid teams bring together the best of both worlds, allowing organizations to tap into a wider talent pool and offering employees the flexibility they crave. However, managing such a team requires understanding the unique challenges and opportunities hybrid work presents. Effective communication, team cohesion, and a sense of inclusivity and equality, regardless of where team members are located, are important skills to hone for first-time managers.

Setting Team Goals for Productivity: Effective goal setting provides a clear direction and roadmap for the team, aligning individual efforts with the broader organizational objectives. It encourages focus, fosters commitment, and enhances motivation among team members to achieve desired outcomes.

Strategic Thinking: Strategic thinking involves seeing the big picture, anticipating future trends or challenges, and devising comprehensive plans to achieve long-term objectives. With CAISY, first-time managers can practice steering their team in the right direction, making informed decisions, and allocating resources efficiently.

Potential and Expectations: Recognizing the potential in team members allows managers to align the right set of skills with tasks, foster personal development, and capitalize on strengths. Setting clear expectations provides a roadmap for team members, enabling them to understand what is required of them and how their contributions align with larger organizational goals.

Forming a Team: Assembling a team is not just about grouping individuals together; it’s about identifying the right mix of skills, personalities, and values that can synergize effectively. Managers who successfully form a team lay the groundwork for collaboration, innovation, and higher productivity.

Performance Reviews: Performance reviews offer a structured approach for providing feedback, setting goals, and identifying areas for improvement. They serve as a two-way communication channel, allowing managers to understand their team members' concerns and aspirations while sharing their own expectations. And for many first-time managers, simulating these conversations before they happen is integral to ensuring they go smoothly.

Starting Difficult Conversations: Whether they are related to performance issues, interpersonal conflicts, or process changes, difficult conversations are often challenging but necessary for maintaining a healthy team dynamic. Being able to handle such discussions with tact and sensitivity can prevent the escalation of issues, foster open communication, and cultivate a transparent work environment.

While many people believe that power skills are inherent, we’ve seen that they are actually a combination of inherent traits and learned behaviors. While some individuals may naturally possess certain qualities that contribute to effective communication and relationship-building, others can develop and enhance these skills through conscious effort and practice. And even if someone has a natural predisposition for strong interpersonal skills, there is still room for improvement and refinement through learning and experience.

Like any skill, practice is essential for improvement. Engaging in various professional situations through CAISY provides first-time managers with significant and impactful opportunities to apply and refine their skill sets.

]]>
Redefining Tech, Breaking Barriers for Women https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/redefining-tech-breaking-barriers-for-women Tue, 09 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/redefining-tech-breaking-barriers-for-women

Diversity in the tech industry is not just a metric to aim for; it's a crucial component of innovative and competitive performance.

A diverse team brings a variety of perspectives, problem-solving approaches, and creative ideas, all of which are essential for driving technological advancements and solutions across an organization. And – increasing the representation of women in tech is particularly important, as it adds valuable insights and skills to the industry, enhancing team dynamics and leading to more inclusive product development.

As women continue to make strides in the tech industry, they still encounter significant challenges, from gender disparity to limited career advancement opportunities and inadequate support. Despite the industry’s promise of career growth and high-paying roles, it falls short in providing equal opportunities for women.

According to our recent women in tech survey, organizations are struggling to provide an inclusive environment that caters to the diverse needs of women in tech, leading to underrepresentation and a lack of retention of female talent.

And – understanding and addressing these challenges is crucial for fostering a more equitable and thriving tech landscape, particularly as employers increasingly seek technologists skilled in security, artificial intelligence, cloud, data science, and related areas to maintain their competitiveness in the ever-evolving tech industry.

But still, issues of equality prevail as women face obstacles against ineffective leadership and a lack of equity in pay and opportunities as they try to break into or advance within the tech field.

These barriers underscore the pressing need for organizations to support women in tech and bridge gaps in inequality. Skillsoft’s new report dives into this topic, compiling the findings of 500+ women who work in technical roles.

2024 Women in Tech Report

Current State of Gender Inequality in Tech

Although organizations have made concerted efforts to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace the gender gap remains stagnant with 15% of women surveyed reporting an equal ratio of men and women in the workplace, up three percentages last year but still a small percentage overall.

This imbalance is further highlighted by the fact that 46% of women in tech report that they are outnumbered by men in the workplace by ratios of four-to-one or greater.

Research by McKinsey has revealed a significant disparity at the entry-level, where only 32% of technology hardware roles and 43% of entry-level software roles are held by women. This disparity becomes even more pronounced higher up the career ladder, with women representing only 17% of hardware and 30% of software roles at the SVP level.

Thus, the need to attract more women into tech is clear, as is the pressing need to increase the representation of women in tech at the start of their careers by creating more entry-level opportunities and systems that encourage women to embark on tech careers. In addiktiona, companies need to focus on improving the environment to keep women in tech-related career paths, including equity in pay, equity in opportunities, and adequate representation. Consistent with trends across the broader tech industry, women are exploring new opportunities in pursuit of better compensation and more equitable work environments.

According to our latest IT Skills and Salary Report, an alarming 53% of tech professionals are at least somewhat likely to look for another position in the next year. This underscores a widespread desire for change among tech professionals, driven by similar concerns regarding management practices, training, career growth, and compensation.

Consider these stats...

  • Likelihood of Switching Job Roles/Employers: Respectively, 37% and 31% of women are contemplating switching job roles or employers in the next year, citing crucial factors such as department or company management, lack of training, growth and development opportunities, and compensation.
  • Value of Organizational Benefits: Women emphasize the significance of remote/hybrid work (63%), flexible working hours (60%), paid time off (60%), medical benefits (55%), and professional development//training opportunities (49%) as extremely important and valued organizational benefits.
Key Drivers of Job Satisfaction | Skillsoft 2024 Women in Tech Report

The AI Impact on Women in Tech

In an era marked by technological advancements, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have emerged as pivotal areas of focus for IT decision-makers (ITDMs), highlighting their critical role in driving innovation and maintaining competitive advantage.

This year’s IT Skills and Salary Report found that 37% of ITDMs worldwide identify AI and ML as key areas of focus. However, 43% rate their teams’ skill set in AI as low or somewhat low, revealing a significant gap in the skills required to effectively leverage these technologies. The disparity is even more pronounced among women in the field.

According to our Women in Tech Report, while 40% of women actively utilize AI in their professional roles, a striking 63% report a distinct lack skills and training in AI. This gap not only poses a substantial barrier to individual career growth but also hinders the complete harnessing of AI’s potential in the workplace.

Despite these challenges, 72% of women acknowledge that AI has increased efficiency and productivity, shedding light on its transformative impact and the upside potential.

  • Interest in Learning AI: 41% of women express interest in learning about Analytics, AI, & Machine Learning, indicating a strong desire to acquire relevant skills in this transformative field.
  • AI's Impact on Diversity and Inclusion: 32% report that advancements in AI are moderately improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, presenting an opportunity for positive change within the industry.
Women need AI training to secure careers

Opportunities for Women in Tech

Women in tech want more opportunities – and rightfully so.

With a continuing urgent need to address this issue and create opportunities for women to thrive in the tech industry, organizations must prioritize attracting and retaining skilled talent through equitable training programs and recruitment strategies, especially given the ongoing challenges women in tech face in terms of representation, skill development, and workplace equality. Because the overall pool size is smaller, its takes a concentrated effort to attract women as part of the recruitment process, in particular for more senior roles . It is also important that as companies look at the candidate pool for first time leader roles to make a deliberate effort for equity.

Survey findings reveal persistent challenges faced by women in tech roles, with a notable lack of equity in opportunities (35%) as a major obstacle.

Among this disparity...

  • 46% of women in tech report ineffective leadership, management
  • 38% report a lack of equity in pay
  • 24% highlight a lack of professional development, training opportunities

These statistics emphasize the urgency in addressing these issues and creating opportunities for women to thrive in the tech industry.

So, what can organizations do to support and encourage women?

Guaranteeing equitable pay, offering professional development and training opportunities, and providing more mentoring or coaching at work are among the top ways companies could support and encourage women in tech, reflecting the need for proactive measures to bridge existing gaps.

In the spirit of taking concrete steps towards this goal, companies like Lexmark are leading by example with initiatives that prioritize the development of a diverse and talented pipeline.

Recognizing the need for a tailored leadership program created for women, by women, Lexmark developed the “Women at Work Circle Groups” Program. This internal leadership development initiative is aimed at offering professional guidance, strengthening business acumen, and fostering future leaders, allowing women in their organization to dedicate time to their own career development.

The impact is clear – by providing more opportunities for professional development and training, companies can empower women in tech to sharpen their skills, paving the way for career advancement and industry relevance.

Empowering Women Through Skills Development

Women in tech are hungry for continuous learning opportunities and new skills essential in the tech industry.

Professional development was marked as an extremely important and a very important benefit to 86% of respondents, highlighting the significance of investing in women's development to foster a thriving and diverse tech industry both for employers and individuals.

Our research shows that certifications helped women feel more confident at work (50%), improved their skills in tech-related areas (36%), and allowed them to earn more trust and credibility (33%) at work.

Women are most interested in developing skills in these areas:

  • Analytics, AI, and Machine Learning
  • Leadership and Management
  • Project Management
  • Cybersecurity
  • Cloud Computing

By offering avenues for leadership development, technical training, coaching, and mentorship, organizations can bridge critical skill gaps while empowering women to make a meaningful impact within the tech industry.

Taking Proactive Steps Toward Parity

Employers must proactively create pathways to advancement and remove barriers that hinder women's progress in the tech industry.

Simultaneously, women in tech roles can support each other by seeking mentorship, embracing new opportunities, and advocating for themselves. For those aspiring to pursue a tech-related career, women ranked the following advice as most important:

  • Invest in tech education
  • Try out different roles
  • Find a mentor
  • Invest in power skill development
  • Stay up to date with tech trends

By working collaboratively, both employers and women can contribute to closing the gender gap and fostering a more inclusive and rewarding environment within the tech industry.

Prioritizing equitable opportunities, investing in professional development, and advocating for gender diversity allows organizations to harness the full potential of women in tech, driving better business outcomes, innovation and sustainable growth.

For further insights and comprehensive findings, access the complete report.

]]>
What is a Skills Gap? (And Why It Matters) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-is-a-skills-gap Mon, 08 Apr 2024 15:30:00 -0400 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-is-a-skills-gap

Kate, a self-described artist, picked up coding after many years as a stay-at-home mom of three boys. Fast-forward to today, she's a full-stack software developer.

What sparked her journey to become a programmer started with a curiosity about how websites were made. "I went to the library and got a kid's book on HTML," she says. "And I was just curious."

Now, she works full-time as a programmer, poring over lines of Ruby or React. But it didn't happen overnight. It took a devotion to learning, fueled by a healthy curiosity, to get to where she is today.

In other words, Kate had a skills gap that she needed to bridge.

What is a Skills Gap?

A skills gap is less about a lack of ability and more about a goal. A skills gap is exposed when an individual or an organization wants to achieve a goal but doesn't have the capability today. Closing the gap requires learning or bringing in others to help accomplish the task at hand.

For individuals, skill gaps manifest like they did for Kate. Or Pablo, a QA engineer who upskilled from a role in customer service. Or Christine, who transitioned from a career in health care to becoming an associate software engineer.

Stories like these are becoming more common as people seek new career paths and show interest in developing their skills or advancing in their roles. However, much more significant issues also contribute to these shifts in how people work — most notably, ongoing technological advancements.

While tech stands to improve how people lead their lives at home and work, its efficiency impacts people's jobs, the economy, and so much else. AI, for example, has sparked a sharp demand in some jobs, like machine learning specialists, while also resulting in cutbacks of others.

The state of skill shortages globally is a compounding problem that has ramifications for both individuals and organizations of all kinds. And today, most organizations are grappling with them.

Read Next: How to Build a Vibrant Learning Culture in Your Organization

Skill Gaps Cause Stress and Hamper Productivity

It's important to stress that skill gaps aren't a benign issue but furthering a global crisis that inspired the World Economic Forum's Reskilling Revolution, an ambitious mission to "prepare 1 billion people for tomorrow's economy and society." If left unchecked, global skill shortages could become a trillion-dollar problem.

What causes skill gaps?

Skillsoft's IT Skills and Salary Report has found that the pace of change in tech is the main factor. Others include a lack of investment in training, ineffective training programs, competition for talent, and attrition. While these are among the most common reasons, it's not an exhaustive list.

The Organizational Impacts of Skill Gaps
Source: Skillsoft's IT Skills and Salary Report

In tech, skill gaps are worst in areas like AI, cloud computing, and cybersecurity. However, the report shows that power skills are increasingly important, often serving as differentiators for prospective job candidates. Skills like leadership, project management, and others can make a big difference at work, but tech leaders recognize gaps in their teams in these areas too.

Regardless of where the gaps are, they take a toll on teams. The most common consequence of skill gaps is elevated stress levels among existing employees. Employees who feel stressed often miss more work — or quit altogether — and their productivity slumps.

Skill gaps have far-reaching, pervasive impacts on businesses. From project slowdowns to security vulnerabilities, these shortages create many roadblocks on the path toward progress.

However, the inverse can happen when individuals or organizations work toward bridging gaps. Employees often feel more engaged at work, they complete tasks faster, and morale jumps too. By addressing this challenge, organizations can solve several simultaneously.

"With societal unrest on the rise across much of the industrialized and emerging world, labour markets in flux from the fallout of the pandemic, technological disruption and the green transition, collaboration between the public and private sectors can advance an entirely different agenda, where people's futures and global economic prospects are enhanced by mobilizing worldwide mass action on reskilling, upskilling and education transformation."

– World Economic Forum on its Reskilling Revolution

Read Next: How to Know If Your Learning Program Is Working

Closing Gaps Can Improve Outcomes at Work

When it comes to skill gaps, Skillsoft isn't exempt. Skillsoft shares many of the same needs as other companies that offer cloud-based solutions — reliability, efficiency, talent, and growth.

Within the past decade, Skillsoft has made significant strides in its goal of offering a modern solution to organizations that struggle with their own skill gaps.

But, we benefit from this work too.

Skillsoft has modernized its learning platform, Percipio, to remain competitive in the market, deliver a better experience, and scale to meet business needs. Transforming the company's software engineering discipline made this possible.

"Our enhancement efforts spanned numerous areas," says Murali Sastry, Skillsoft's SVP of Engineering and Cloud Operations. "Mastering new programming languages and process management, and revolutionizing our approach to platform hosting – upskilling was essential in every facet of our operations."

By reskilling and upskilling employees, the collective team earned dozens of AWS certifications, closed gaps in critical areas, and realized exceptional outcomes. Through this workforce transformation, Skillsoft cut 90% in recruiting costs, saved $5 million, and increased employee retention by 75%.

As Murali said, upskilling was essential to get these results. However, what that means and the approach can vary.

Read Next: Cloud Transformation: How Skillsoft Utilized its Learning Pathways to Upgrade its Capabilities

What's the Best Way to Close Skill Gaps?

Many of Skillsoft's customers have transformed their workforces, spurred by a desire to reach new heights in safety, compliance, leadership, and technological innovation.

This includes Lexmark, which transitioned from a printing company to one that offers global imaging and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Lexmark's journey was an intensive yet fruitful endeavor to shift its culture and empower employees to become highly adept in leadership, diversity, equity and inclusion, and many technical areas. (Read that story here.)

DB Systel, a Germany-based rail business, struggled to source the talent needed, so it created a "Sprint Starter" program to upskill recent graduates. The program focused on onboarding employees and bridging gaps in the broader marketplace.

What these stories share with Skillsoft's and others' (perhaps yours) is that each path is unique. Even so, there are best practices to follow to help close gaps, like having a job architecture in place, encouraging learning, and making materials accessible.

How to Close Skill Gaps

As the world experiences continued skills disruption, talent development teams need to know what they're up against. Skillsoft's annual Lean Into Learning Report compiles insights to help optimize your upskilling strategy and provide more guidance on closing skill gaps.

READ THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
2023 Lean Into Learning, Executive Summary
]]>
The (Not So) Secret Way to Retain Software Engineers Amid Talent Scarcity https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-not-so-secret-way-to-retain-software-engineers-amid-talent-scarcity Wed, 03 Apr 2024 14:34:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-not-so-secret-way-to-retain-software-engineers-amid-talent-scarcity

One of the leading reasons why tech leaders continue battling with a skills gap on their teams is because they can’t hire the candidates they need, according to Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary Report. And those who manage to hire can’t always keep their teams intact, which comes with a costly mix of frustration and setbacks.

Talent retention is the greatest challenge tech leaders faced this past year, second only to resource and budget constraints. Hiring is tough, given the intense demand for skills in areas like software development, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and data science. But what’s more of a concern is retaining employees.

Developing strong teams — and keeping them — is a priority for leaders who are responsible for those engineering solutions. Ensuring they not only stay with the organization but feel satisfied has become increasingly important.

Employees who have both technical and leadership skills hold a tremendous amount of power in the job market today. As leaders, we must recognize this and do what’s in our power to provide fulfilling opportunities to advance their careers and help them grow both personally and professionally.

Otherwise, we risk the setback and cost of employee turnover. Since many leaders are already struggling with strained budgets, the last thing they want is to bear the cost of replacing valued teammates, which Gallup reports can be 1.5 to 2 times the cost of the employee’s salary.

Skillsoft’s survey found that one in five software engineers are extremely likely to look for a new job in the year ahead. Another 30% say they’re at least somewhat likely. On average, U.S.-based software engineers earn $114,801.

You do the math.

But what’s the secret to retaining talented software engineers (or people in any role)?

There isn’t a secret recipe to keeping employees happy, per se, but there are influential actions that leaders can take to build strong teams and help others feel empowered in their roles. And there’s data to prove this.

In this post, we’ll get into the following:

The ResearchSkillsoft's research, among others, shows how engineers feel about their job security, satisfaction, and what they want for their careers.
The ActionsBig and small, a leader's actions can make a world of difference in retaining employees and building strong teams.
The RealityAt Skillsoft, almost a decade ago, we needed to modernize our platform. But before that, we needed to invest in our teams. We'll share the journey.

Your Talent Keeps Leaving. Why?

Employee turnover is a trillion-dollar problem in the United States alone, Gallup reports. A big price tag comes with low job satisfaction and high attrition for businesses. But, as Gallup points out, it’s about more than just the money.

“Losing your best people means losing your reliable winners, your constant innovators and your most effective problem solvers,” write the authors Ben Wigert, director of research and strategy, workplace management, and Shane McFeely, former director of hiring analytics research.

But what’s pushing valued employees out the door?

Skillsoft’s research found the main reasons why software engineers leave is mostly attributed to a lack of professional development and work-life balance. Others were compelled by higher compensation elsewhere. However, some cited leadership and organization performance.

The top 5 reasons why software engineers quit their employees:
REASON%
A lack of training, growth and development44%
A lack of work-life balance44%
Increase in compensation39%
Department or company management30%
Organization performance29%

Software engineers are problem-solvers. They enjoy developing innovative solutions that have a meaningful impact. They want opportunities to grow and advance their careers. Mostly, they want to put their skills to work.

But what happens when their skills become stale? What happens when they don’t get to exercise their abilities? What happens when they hit a wall in their careers?

No surprises, they leave.

Here’s where leaders can step in to make a difference.

Inspiration 101: What Do Software Engineers Want at Work?

The Skillsoft survey shows that software engineers largely feel secure in their roles and are at least somewhat satisfied.

But as mentioned, about half are at least somewhat likely to look for a new job. What’s missing at work?

It often comes back to growth. They want opportunities to invest in their skills through training, learning from their peers, and practical code commits that contribute to the organization’s mission.

Virtually all software engineers see professional development as important in their journey forward.

But what does professional development mean in the software world?

This could mean supporting internal career mobility. At Skillsoft, the software engineering team comprises dozens of squads worldwide — all work toward different business objectives and goals.

Some team members have moved to different squads or switched roles within squads to explore interests. This also helps diversify their experience, broaden their perspective, and build new skills. As a result, our team has upskilled employees into full stack and site reliability engineers by allowing this type of internal mobility.

Professional development could also mean devoted time and opportunities to learn.

When it comes to learning, software engineers value the quality of content and opportunities for hands-on practice above all else. Everyone learns differently, though. As a leader, it’s important to understand what motivates our teams to reinvest in themselves. As Skillsoft’s findings show, when people learn and invest time back into their skills, it boosts morale, engages employees, and leads to improved outcomes. In other words, it’s mutually beneficial.

3 Steps to Build Stronger Engineering Teams

Leaders must exemplify the ideals and values we want for our employees: respect and integrity, open communication, emotional intelligence, continuous learning, skills application and so on. We must lead by example and remove as many barriers as we can to help propel their careers forward.

Encourage Engineers to Learn and Apply Their Skills

Workload is the main reason preventing engineers from learning new skills. To solve this challenge, it requires both clear communication and a delicate balance. Given the nature of software engineering and the rapid evolution of the technology landscape, continuous learning is critical for a successful career in this field.

Leaders must work with their teams to support individual career aspirations, encouraging employees to explore their interests by working with others outside of their team, contributing to new projects, or carving out time for training. Doing so can open new doors for employees who want to advance their careers while also helping bridge skill gaps.

Provide Coaching and Mentorship Opportunities

Historically, the engineering teams at Skillsoft reflected a traditional organizational structure with managers engaged in managerial activities and the team executing. We have transformed this into a player-coach model, with strong managers who actively write code or provide feedback on code, architect solutions, or build products.

Now, those who lead teams also actively write code, contribute to the architecture or build of products — all the while, they interface with customers, coach their teammates, and onboard new employees, helping them learn best practices.

Now, collaboration happens organically and continuously. The bonds among employees are stronger, and those who’ve gained valued career experience seamlessly pass it on to others. Truly, it’s a culture of learning and teaching.

Remain Open to Feedback and Ideas

Everyone on the team should feel comfortable giving feedback and ideas to improve to their manager. Collectively, we should always look for ways to do something faster or better. For leaders, skills like emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication become especially important in establishing trust and fostering a culture of open communication.

But it also helps to accommodate different communication styles to make time and space for employees to share their thoughts and feelings about work.

Every quarter at Skillsoft, we ask for feedback and make time for ideas. One way is by surveying our team. We ask about their job satisfaction, the reasons for their scores, and more. These surveys provide candid responses that help us understand areas to improve and reinforce what we’re getting right.

Developing a Culture of Constant Learning Will Pay Off

At Skillsoft, our journey to modernize the Percipio platform started with our team. We needed to empower our employees in their roles. We wanted them to feel invested in the company and their work.

Gallup and Workhuman released a report that shows how an employee feels and is recognized at work can impact productivity, safety, absenteeism, and attrition. While it may seem simple, employee recognition can tremendously impact how people feel about their jobs.

By being intentional in your actions as a leader — from recognizing a job well done to supporting career transformation — you’ll find that employees in any role will feel more fulfilled at work and want to stick around.

That’s been true for our team. At Skillsoft, by making concerted efforts to invest in our teams, invest in skills, and certification training, we’ve seen employee retention climb by 75%. Meanwhile, we’ve realized the cost-savings and monetary benefits of a productive, engaged global workforce. And we've covered this in more detail here, hoping it'll help others.

Cloud Transformation: How Skillsoft Utilized its Learning Pathways to Upgrade its Capabilities
]]>
Embracing a New Era: The World’s First Major AI Regulation Act https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/embracing-a-new-era-the-worlds-first-major-ai-regulation-act Fri, 29 Mar 2024 09:00:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/embracing-a-new-era-the-worlds-first-major-ai-regulation-act

It happened.

On March 13, 2024, the European Parliament adopted the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act), the first major law to regulate artificial intelligence.

Lawmakers established a comprehensive framework that addresses the complexities and potential risks associated with AI technology. As a strong advocate for responsible AI development, I believe this legislation marks a significant step forward in ensuring that AI serves humanity’s best interests while minimizing potential harm.

The essence of this pioneering law lies in its adoption of a risk-based approach to AI regulation. It categorizes AI applications into distinct risk levels. Each category is accompanied by tailored regulations and oversight mechanisms, reflecting a nuanced understanding of the diverse capabilities and implications of AI systems.

  • Unacceptable risk: These AI systems and practices pose a clear threat to fundamental rights and are prohibited. Examples include AI systems that manipulate human behavior or exploit vulnerabilities such as age or disability. Biometric systems like emotion recognition in workplaces or real-time categorization of individuals are also prohibited.
  • High risk: AI systems identified as high-risk must comply with strict requirements, including risk-mitigation systems, high-quality data sets, activity logging, detailed documentation, clear user information, human oversight, and robust cybersecurity. Examples of high-risk AI systems include those systems that impact critical infrastructures like energy and transport, medical devices, and systems determining access to education or employment.
  • Limited risk: Limited risk systems must increase transparency about how and when AI is used to bring about their solution. For example, systems intended to directly interact with natural persons, such as chatbots, must inform individuals that they are interacting with an AI system. Deployers of AI systems generating or manipulating deepfakes must disclose that the content has been generated through AI or has been manipulated.
  • Minimal risk: No restrictions are imposed on minimal-risk AI systems, such as AI-enabled video games or spam filters. However, companies may opt to adhere to voluntary codes of conduct.

Why a Risk-Based Approach to AI Is the Right Approach

One of the most commendable aspects of this legislation is its stringent controls on high-risk AI use cases. Recognizing the potential for significant societal impact and ethical implications, the law mandates intense approvals and controls for AI systems deemed to pose a high risk to individuals, communities, or fundamental rights. By subjecting such applications to rigorous scrutiny and oversight, the legislation seeks to mitigate the potential harms associated with AI while promoting innovation and progress and deter such development of systems that may produce those harms.

Equally crucial are the transparency and accountability requirements imposed on limited-risk AI use cases. While these applications may not pose as immediate or severe risks as their high-risk counterparts, they still warrant careful monitoring, adaptation and regulation.

The law emphasizes the importance of transparency in AI decision-making processes, ensuring that individuals understand how AI systems operate and can hold developers accountable for their actions. By fostering transparency and accountability, the legislation promotes trust and confidence in AI technologies, essential for their widespread adoption and acceptance.

However, the true challenge lies in navigating the ambiguity inherent in distinguishing between limited-risk use cases and those that could potentially escalate into high-risk scenarios.

As AI continues to snake its way through various aspects of society, identifying and addressing these gray areas will be paramount. It requires ongoing vigilance, collaboration, and a willingness to adapt regulatory frameworks in response to emerging threats and challenges.

Despite these complexities, I am optimistic about the future of AI regulation. The enactment of this law represents a significant milestone in our collective journey towards harnessing the potential of AI for the greater good.

By adopting a risk-based approach and prioritizing transparency and accountability, we are actively working to lay the foundation for a more responsible and sustainable AI ecosystem. And as we embark on this new era of AI regulation, let’s remain vigilant, proactive, and committed to ensuring that AI serves as a force for good in our rapidly evolving world.

Start Thinking about AI Guardrails Now

My final thought is this: The AI Act is a decisive step in challenging how society thinks about and interacts with AI. In fact, it puts human beings in the driver’s seat – allowing us to contribute to the narrative of AI as it unfolds.

Even if the law doesn’t impact your organization due to its geographic location or the risk level in which you deploy AI, there’s a lot you can take away from it.

For example: one of the most impactful ways your organization can contribute to the conversation around AI in the near term is to establish an AI policy for its employees. A formal AI policy defines how employees can use AI within your organization and typically covers ethical usage, bias and fairness standards, compliance requirements, and other critical guidelines and guardrails.

As AI best practices evolve in your country, so will your AI policy.

]]>
The 4 Reasons Why Every Leader Needs High Emotional Intelligence https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-4-reasons-why-every-leader-needs-high-emotional-intelligence Thu, 28 Mar 2024 10:08:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-4-reasons-why-every-leader-needs-high-emotional-intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is one of the most important leadership competencies in 2024. And for good reason.

Leaders possessing high emotional intelligence tend to be adept at empathizing, building strong relationships, managing teams effectively, and dealing with workplace stress. They also excel in understanding and responding to their own and others’ emotions, which enhances decision-making, conflict resolution, and overall psycholgical well-being.

EI has many benefits. Here are two that might have an outsized impact on your organization:

  • Business outcomes. Research shows emotional intelligence is a strong predictor of performance, with employees who possess high emotional intelligence more likely to be high performers. High performers tend to drive productivity, efficiency, and innovation, leading to improved business outcomes.
  • Employee retention. A Gallup survey found that employees with emotionally intelligent managers are four times less likely to leave their jobs. Emotionally intelligent leaders are skilled at navigating change, managing conflict, and driving team performance, leading to better employee retention.

Being an emotionally intelligent leader in today’s workplace is fundamental to being an effective leader – it enhances individual performance and directly contributes to organizational success.

Learn more about improving emotional intelligence.

What Does an Emotionally Intelligent Leader Look Like?

Emotional intelligence is essential for fostering positive work cultures, increasing efficiency and productivity, promoting growth and innovation, motivating team members, making sound decisions, and developing strong bonds between leaders and their teams.

But it can be difficult to quantify emotional intelligence. Look at the graphic below to see common characteristics that make emotionally intelligent leaders easy to spot.

While emotionally intelligent leaders have many outstanding qualities, the following four are foundational to their success:

Effective Communication

What this looks like: Emotionally intelligent leaders tend to communicate openly, honestly, and respectfully. They tailor their communication style to the needs of their team members, ensure messages are understood, and encourage open dialogue and feedback.

Why this is essential: Emotional intelligence enables leaders to understand and empathize with their team members’ emotions, allowing them to communicate more effectively and build stronger relationships.

Conflict Resolution

What this looks like: Instead of avoiding or escalating conflicts, emotionally intelligent leaders address them calmly and constructively. They listen to all sides of an issue, identify underlying emotions and concerns, and work with the parties involved to find mutually beneficial solutions.

Why this is essential: Leaders with high EI can navigate conflicts more efficiently by understanding the emotions driving the conflict and finding mutually beneficial solutions.

Motivation and Inspiration

What this looks like: Emotionally intelligent leaders inspire and motivate their teams by setting clear goals, providing meaningful feedback, and recognizing and celebrating achievements. They create a positive work environment where team members feel valued, empowered, and motivated to perform at their best.

Why this is essential: Leaders with high EI can inspire and motivate teams by understanding their emotions and needs, which fosters a positive and supportive work environment.

Adaptability

What this looks like: In the face of change or challenges, emotionally intelligent leaders remain flexible and adaptable. They maintain a positive attitude, seek opportunities for growth and learning, and help their team navigate transitions with resilience and optimism.

Why this is essential: In today's dynamic business environment, adaptability is crucial. Leaders with high EI can adapt to change more easily by understanding and managing their own emotions and helping their teams navigate change.

Help Your Leaders Develop Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence comes naturally to some people, but others need to work harder to cultivate it. Don’t worry – it is a skill that can be developed.

Here are some strategies for your leaders to begin focusing on their emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness: Encourage them to start by paying attention to their own emotions, thoughts, and reactions in various situations. They should reflect on why they feel a certain way and how their emotions influence their behavior.
  • Self-regulation: Techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, or taking a moment to pause and reflect before reacting impulsively can help your team to practice managing their emotions more effectively.
  • Empathy: Leaders must work to understand and empathize with the emotions and perspectives of their teams. Active listening, putting themselves in others’ shoes, and trying to see things from their team member’s point of view are great ways to develop empathy.
  • Social skills: Emotionally intelligent leaders must develop strong communication and interpersonal skills. Encourage your leaders to practice expressing themselves clearly and assertively, resolving conflicts constructively, and building positive relationships with others.
  • Emotional awareness: We must all learn to recognize and understand the emotions of those around us. Prompt your leaders to pay attention to nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice.
  • Continuous learning: Provide your leaders with opportunities to read books, attend workshops, and take courses on emotional intelligence to deepen their understanding and gain new insights into how emotions work and how to manage them effectively.
  • Give and receive feedback: Encourage your leaders to ask for feedback on how they handle emotions and interactions – using these insights to identify areas for improvement and adjust accordingly.
  • Practice empathy: Provide opportunities for your employees to engage in activities that help them connect with others on an emotional level, such as volunteering, mentoring, or participating in group discussions.
  • Set goals: Request that your team establishes specific, achievable goals for improving their emotional intelligence, and track their progress over time. Celebrate their successes and learn from any setbacks along the way.

Encouraging your team to incorporate these practices into their daily routine may gradually enhance their emotional intelligence and cultivate healthier relationships, both personally and professionally.

Empower Your Leaders Through Coaching

While the list above is a great starting point, one of the most impactful ways to empower future-fit leaders to become more emotionally intelligent is through a coaching program.

Coaching is an effective way for you to support your team as they work to achieve their goals, maximize their potential, and enhance their performance. It is a flexible and adaptable process that can be tailored to the specific needs and objectives of each team member and be a power catalyst for behavioral change.

Interested in how you might use coaching to build emotional intelligence in your leaders?

]]>
Unlocking Potential: Teaching Tech Workers Power Skills for Success https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/unlocking-potential-teaching-tech-workers-power-skills-for-success Thu, 28 Mar 2024 09:58:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/unlocking-potential-teaching-tech-workers-power-skills-for-success

According to stereotypes, technology workers tend to be socially awkward geniuses sitting in a dark room typing code and drinking potent energy drinks. But truth be told, tech workers truly run the gamut. They come from all backgrounds and demonstrate varied interests and skills.

However, it’s become increasingly apparent that technology skills, alone, are not enough to land a job or stay competitive in the future of work. In fact, Skillsoft’s recently released Lean Into Learning report showed that the top 20 digital badges earned by learners last year were focused on the art of power skills. Sometimes known as soft skills, power skills include those intangible and uniquely human characteristics like written communication, public speaking, and DEI that have become particularly important in the age of Generative AI.

And while professionals in any field might face challenges with power skills, the intense focus of tech workers on technical tasks means that these individuals may not always prioritize or have the opportunity to develop strong power skills. This may be to their detriment.

A lack of power skills can hinder technology professionals from getting hired or advancing in their careers. In fact, 67% of HR professionals have withheld job offers due to a lack of power skills in IT candidates. After all, power skills are vital for effective teamwork, customer service, productivity, and leadership in the tech industry.

In fact, enhancing power skills like communication, empathy, and time management can set tech workers apart and improve collaboration between technical and non-technical staff. Power skills are essential for tech workers to thrive in their roles and advance in their careers.

Common Challenges Tech Workers Face With Power Skills

Here are some important power skills for tech workers:

  • Communication: Tech workers may struggle to effectively communicate complex technical concepts to non-technical colleagues or clients. Clear and concise communication is essential for collaboration and project success.
  • Teamwork: In highly technical environments, individuals may prefer working independently rather than in teams. However, many tech projects require collaboration across departments and disciplines, necessitating strong teamwork skills.
  • Empathy: Understanding the perspectives and needs of others, whether they are teammates, clients, or end-users, is crucial for developing user-friendly products and fostering positive relationships. Tech workers may need to consciously cultivate empathy to excel in their roles.
  • Adaptability: The tech industry evolves rapidly, with new technologies and methodologies emerging frequently. Tech workers must be adaptable and willing to learn new skills to stay relevant in their careers.
  • Leadership: As tech workers advance in their careers, they may need to take on leadership roles. Effective leadership requires not only technical expertise but also the ability to inspire and motivate teams, resolve conflicts, and make strategic decisions.

While some tech workers may naturally excel in these areas, others may need to actively work on developing their power skills through training, practice, and feedback.

How Tech Workers Can Develop Power Skills

Many tech companies recognize the importance of power skills and offer professional development opportunities to help their employees strengthen these abilities. (Yes! Power skills can be taught!)

And that’s where Skillsoft CAISYTM, simulates our Conversation AI Simulator, can help. Skillsoft CAISY simulates honest conversations with AI-powered colleagues and delivers an output to recognize when you get the dialogue right. Conversely, it points out your blind spots and helps you improve on them.

When we launched Skillsoft CAISY in September, it primarily dealt with Leadership & Business scenarios related to first-time managers or diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). But now, Skillsoft CAISY boasts a handful of scenarios related to compliance and technology.

Following are some of our custom technology scenarios to help learners navigate dynamic situations related to technology that may require power skills to be successful.

Considerations for Using AI Responsibly: As more and more workforces try to leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI), it is crucial for organizations to establish clear communication and strategic planning when integrating AI into daily work.

In this scenario, learners will have the opportunity to discuss the potential use of AI when performing their duties with a manager.

Investigating a Cybersecurity Breach: IT support teams play a critical role in detecting and mitigating potential damage from cybersecurity breaches. Understanding the threat, implementing actions to limit potential damage, reviewing your incident response plan, and preventing future breaches are critical steps in safeguarding the company’s operations.

In this scenario, learners will play the role of an IT support specialist who is working with a colleague to investigate a potential cybersecurity breach.

Managing the Responsible Use of AI: As more and more workforces try to leverage the power of AI, it is crucial for organizations to establish clear communication and strategic planning when integrating AI into daily work. Even if your organization has approved the use of AI for improving productivity and efficiency, every employee is responsible for ensuring that privacy and security guidelines are being followed.

In this scenario, learners will play the role of an IT director discussing the potential use of AI with one of the team managers within the company.

Presenting a Product-Led Growth Strategy: A product manager’s data-driven recommendations play a crucial role in prioritizing investments and guiding the strategic direction and growth of their organization. Developing a comprehensive plan that aligns investment recommendations with the company's growth objectives will help inform leadership’s strategic decisions for the company.

In this scenario, learners will play the role of a product manager tasked with determining the key market segments for investment that will drive your company’s product-led growth. You’ve collaborated with the business intelligence team and the next step is to advise your manager on the data collected, your analysis, and its importance.

Problem Solving after a Retrospective Meeting: After a retrospective meeting, it is good practice to follow up with team members on the various outcomes from the meeting and to ensure that everyone is clear on any actions they need to take.

In this scenario, learners will play the role of the Scrum Master for a team that recently had a retrospective meeting. You will be working with the Software Development Manager to address issues that were brought forth. Together, you'll review the team's recent sprint and its challenges, focusing on improving the team's efficiency and communication through a clear plan of action.

Additional Skillsoft CAISYTM scenarios in tech include:

  • AI Ethics and Risk
  • Cloud Migration Planning
  • AI Software Requirements Planning
  • IT Hardware Troubleshooting
  • Daily Scrum Strategy
  • Project Capacity Planning
  • Software Project Requirements Planning
  • IT Software Troubleshooting
  • Building a Data Team
  • Cybersecurity Pen Testing
  • Project Risk Identification

Many organizations understand the importance of empowering tech workers with tailored learning experiences in core coding skills, cloud, cybersecurity, web development, and AI to help drive transformative growth. Yet, they drop the ball when it comes to offering the same opportunities to learn, practice, and apply new power skills.

Consider checking out Skillsoft CAISYTMto improve your learning program today.

]]>
Closing the Skills Gaps: Internal Career Mobility https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/closing-the-skills-gaps-internal-career-mobility Fri, 22 Mar 2024 14:26:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/closing-the-skills-gaps-internal-career-mobility

Career mobility isn’t just a lofty goal for employees, it’s also a strategic asset for companies looking to boost productivity and retain top talent.

Now, forward-thinking organizations recognize that helping their employees carve out new career paths within benefits the company as a whole. Not to mention, it leads to improved performance and innovation.

Careers aren’t like they used to be. Rather than staying in an organization for one’s whole professional life, then retiring, employees today are increasingly jumping from company to company, looking for the best opportunities, benefits, and more.

These changes in attitudes about what a typical career trajectory should look like have led to the formation of a more dynamic model of career progression where lateral moves can enhance skill sets and open new career trajectories, providing both organizations and employees with inspiration behind new norms and policies that have the potential to positively influence the workforce for generations to come.

When looking at career trajectories, it's better to think in terms of a career jungle gym than a career ladder. As companies across industries continue their digital transformations, findings from our reports reveal that career mobility through upskilling and reskilling in the workforce is the path forward.

Skill Gaps: Navigating Difficult Terrain

When skill gaps exist in a company, employers most often see increased levels of stress among employees. They’re overworked, overburdened, and short on the resources they need to do their jobs.

Projects also take longer to complete, making it harder to meet business objectives. All these consequences result in decreased innovation and customer satisfaction, while leading to an increase in security vulnerabilities and operating costs.

Upgrading professional abilities is essential for both personal and organizational success. To lessen the impacts of skills gaps, organizational decision-makers need to leverage professional development programs and embrace cultures of continuous learning in their daily operations.

Strategies for Upskilling and Reskilling

For employees who are eager to expand their horizons without changing employers, a strategic focus on upskilling and reskilling is paramount. By learning new skills, employees have a better chance at internal career mobility and being successful in their new roles.

As employees build new skills, they can measure their progress through regular assessments. We use Skills Benchmarks to test a person’s skills at one stage of their journey, and then recommend training to close their skill gaps before testing again to gauge their progress. Along the way, learners earn badges to recognize their efforts and validate their newly acquired skillsets.

Upskilling and reskilling employees are strategic ways organizations can close skill gaps, retain their employees, and improve satisfaction and engagement at work.

The Power of Power Skills

The adage “it’s not what you know, but who you know” needs a modern remix. Power skills have taken center stage in the contemporary workplace, and they are here to stay.

Skills like empathy, agility, creativity, and resilience have become a defining factor in the career trajectories of tech professionals. Power skills help facilitate better collaboration and leadership, as well as preparing employees to weather industry changes and stay ahead of the curve.

According to our Lean into Learning Report, power skills continue to hold the utmost importance for organizations. In fact, the top 20 digital badges of 2023 all related to developing different power skills such as:

  • Written Communication
  • Public Speaking
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • DEI

All employees need a balance between technical skills and power skills. Through effective training, employees can learn to hone these skills and proactively prepare themselves for career leaps within their organization.

Organizational Benefits of Internal Career Mobility

An organization’s most valuable resource is its employees. Encouraging and providing pathways for internal mobility has many benefits, the most prominent being that it demonstrates that companies truly value their workforce.

Here are some of the other main benefits of internal career mobility for both organizations and their employees:

  • Retention. Employees are 41% more likely to stay at their company longer when their organizations hire from within. By nurturing your employees, and providing them with opportunities for growth, you keep top talent and prove your organization’s trust in, and dedication to, its workers.
  • Collaboration. Having an agile work environment where employees can try new roles, take on different projects, and develop new skills fosters collaboration. This allows your team to fill skill gaps from within, saving both time and money in the long run.
  • Engagement. To keep people invested in your company, you need to be willing to invest in them. When employees are given the opportunity to develop their skills, it’s easier for them to maintain interest and investment in both their work and the organization as a whole.

Cultivating a Culture of Continuous Learning

The relationship between career mobility and skill enhancement is the future. For employees, closing skill gaps offers a dynamic and fulfilling professional life. For companies, it represents a strategic investment in their most crucial asset — their people.

The key to career mobility is creating a culture of continuous learning and adaptation, but simply checking a box is not enough. Rather, it’s about and fostering an environment where skills development is not only encouraged but rewarded.

By actively pursuing skills development and seizing internal opportunities, employees can not only keep pace with the changes in their industry, but also become agents of change within their organization.

Learn more today about how you can close skills gaps and foster career mobility within your organization today.

]]>
The 11 Google Cloud Certifications and What They Pay Around the World https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/top-paying-google-cloud-certifications Thu, 21 Mar 2024 09:00:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/top-paying-google-cloud-certifications

People with professional certifications earn higher salaries on average than their counterparts without, but some certifications have more value. Architects and engineers with Google Cloud certifications earn some of the highest salaries in the tech industry.

This year, Skillsoft's annual IT Skills and Salary survey collected thousands of responses from professionals worldwide to understand how certifications can impact one's career.

Google Cloud certifications help earn professionals exceedingly high salaries, evidenced by this year's top-paying certifications list in the United States. At the top sits Google Cloud's Professional Cloud Architect, which has appeared on this list for the past five years.

But why? Why are certifications like these topping the list of highest-paying certifications?

Google Cloud certifications earn professionals high salaries because of the continued demand for skills in cloud, machine learning and AI, and cybersecurity.

Skills alone can lead to high salaries and favorable job prospects, but certification increases your chances of standing out to recruiters and hiring managers, given the assurances they provide. In other words, certifications prove you have the skills and knowledge to be successful in the role. When extending an offer, hiring managers will feel more confident knowing you’re certified.

Further, the supply of professionals never seems to measure up — especially as more companies turn to cloud-based solutions to support their goals. And of those with these skills, most have a knowledge gap, according to Skillsoft’s findings. IT and tech leaders say their team's skills in this arena are good for the most part, but they could be better.

The highest percentage of tech leaders (37%) say their team's cloud skills are medium on a scale of low to high. Only 13% say their team's skills are high; on the opposite end, one-quarter say they're somewhat low (18%) or low (7%). Tech leaders feel similarly about data science, cybersecurity, and machine learning.

It's a mixed bag today, which doesn't allow team leaders to rest as easily as demand for these skills increases. Eighty-two percent of leaders think cloud skills will keep rising in demand, ultimately worsening the competition for talent.

For these reasons, Google Cloud certifications help professionals earn high salaries and enjoy job security.

Keep reading below as we give a high-level overview of the impact of Google Cloud certification on your career, then dig into each certification path to see which one(s) might be the best fit for you.

Why Get Google Cloud Certified?

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

Industry Recognition

Broadly, cloud computing is the second greatest area of investment for IT decision-makers in the year ahead, with Google Cloud recognized as a top vendor. Pursuing a Google Cloud certification recognizes a professional’s ability to administer, manage, secure, and otherwise work with one of the leading cloud providers on the market today.

More 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.

Out-Compete the Market

Google Cloud-certified professionals are in high demand, often earning 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-Professional Growth

The process of preparing for a Google Cloud certification helps deepen your knowledge of these technologies and enables you to learn new skills. Learners can choose which method is best for them: self-paced courses, live classes taught by an instructor, hands-on practice and exam preparation, and more.

To help you pass the certification exam, various resources are available from Google Cloud and learning providers like Skillsoft, Global Knowledge, and Codecademy.

The Average Certification Holder

Age 36
Manages a team 33%
Holds a cybersecurity certification 42%
Average number of certifications 8
Most likely cross-certification vendor(s) AWS, Microsoft, ITIL
Average salary (worldwide) $133,238

Professional Cloud Network Engineer

WorldUSAEMEALATAMAPAC
$163,198$208,065$169,704*$105,574*$113,318*

The Professional Cloud Network Engineer certification tests the skills and knowledge required to design, implement, and manage secure, scalable, and highly available network solutions on Google Cloud. It's best suited for network engineers, cloud architects, and those responsible for implementing and managing networks. By earning this certification, network engineers and cloud architects can demonstrate their expertise in designing and managing secure and scalable network solutions.

To earn this certification, candidates must demonstrate proficiency in several key areas, including designing, implementing, and managing enterprise-grade network infrastructure; configuring network services such as Virtual Private Cloud (VPC); multi- and hybrid-cloud connectivity; cloud security; and optimizing network performance and reliability.

Candidates have two hours to complete the 50 to 60 questions on the exam, which costs $200. Google recommends three years of professional experience in this domain before sitting the exam, with at least one working with its platform.

WHAT’S ON THE EXAM

SectionsApprox. Percent
Designing, planning, and prototyping a Google Cloud network 26%
Implementing Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) instances 21%
Configuring network services 23%
Implementing hybrid interconnectivity 14%

Professional Cloud Security Engineer

WorldUSAEMEALATAMAPAC
$159,135$203,702*$172,380*$119,622*$73,233*

The Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification validates an individual's expertise in designing and implementing secure infrastructure on Google Cloud. It's best suited for security engineers with at least three years of professional experience in this domain, with at least one year working in Google Cloud.

Those engineers who plan to sit this exam must be proficient in securing workloads and infrastructure on Google Cloud. They must know how to configure the platform's security controls, monitor and respond to threats, and uphold network security defenses. Professionals in these roles often support compliance requirements, enforce regulatory controls, and define an organization's security policies.

Candidates earn this certification after passing the two-hour exam of 50 to 60 multiple-choice questions. It can be taken online or at a testing center, costing $200.

WHAT’S ON THE EXAM

SectionsApprox. Percent
Configuring access 27%
Securing communications and establishing boundary protection 21%
Ensuring data protection 20%
Managing operations 22%

Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer

WorldUSAEMEALATAMAPAC
$148,781$195,409*$145,531*$71,717*$98,071*

The Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer certification validates an individual's expertise in continuous delivery and automation, service monitoring, site reliability engineering (SRE), and more.

To earn this certification, candidates must pass a single exam covering various topics, such as bootstrapping organizations for DevOps and building and implementing CI/CD pipelines for a service. Google recommends having at least three years of professional experience, at least one working within the platform.

The two-hour exam costs $200, features up to 60 multiple-choice questions, and candidates may take it online or at a testing center.

WHAT’S ON THE EXAM

SectionsApprox. Percent
Bootstrapping a Google Cloud organization for DevOps 17%
Building and implementing CI/CD pipelines for a service 23%
Applying site reliability engineering practices to a service 23%
Implementing service monitoring strategies 21%

Cloud Digital Leader

WorldUSAEMEALATAMAPAC
$148,148$186,341$164,701$100,134*$63,550*

The Cloud Digital Leader certification is a foundational-level certification that validates a professional's knowledge of Google Cloud, its services, and its capabilities in supporting an organization's cloud initiatives. It also benefits 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. A new exam guide will take effect in March 2024.

WHAT’S ON THE EXAM

SectionsApprox. Percent
Digital Transformation with Google Cloud 17%
Exploring Data Transformation with Google Cloud 16%
Innovating with Google Cloud Artificial Intelligence 16%
Modernize Infrastructure and Applications with Google Cloud 17%
Trust and Security with Google Cloud 17%
Scaling with Google Cloud Operations 17%

Professional Data Engineer

WorldUSAEMEALATAMAPAC
$148,082$193,621$135,890*$85,168*$93,199*

The Professional Data Engineer certification is for professionals who work with Google Cloud technologies to design, build, and manage data processing systems and workloads.

To earn this certification, candidates must demonstrate their proficiency in creating data processing systems; managing, monitoring and securing infrastructure; and preparing data for analysis and engineering, like in machine learning models.

The exam consists of 50 to 60 multiple-choice questions that test a candidate's knowledge of various Google Cloud services, including Cloud Storage, BigQuery, Cloud Dataflow, Pub/Sub, and Cloud Dataproc.

The exam costs $200. Candidates should have at least three years of experience before sitting the exam, including one working in Google Cloud.

WHAT’S ON THE EXAM

SectionsApprox. Percent
Designing data processing systems 22%
Ingesting and processing the data 25%
Storing the data 20%
Preparing and using data for analysis 15%
Maintaining and automating data workloads 18%

Professional Cloud Developer

WorldUSAEMEALATAMAPAC
$147,253$178,270*$154,841*$54,335*$101,841*

The Professional Cloud Developer certification proves a professional's ability to design, build, and manage robust, scalable applications with Google Cloud. Candidates who pursue this certification are familiar with at least one programming language, developer tools, managed services, and Google's best practices.

To earn this certification, candidates must pass the exam. The general availability exam costs $200, but developers can take a beta version starting March 27 to earn or recertify the certification. Doing so helps Google create a new, finalized version of the exam. It costs $120, takes up to three hours, and ranges between 70 and 75 questions. The GA exam lasts two hours and ranges between 50 and 60 questions.

WHAT’S ON THE EXAM

Sections (General Availability Exam)Approx. Percent
Designing highly scalable, available, and reliable cloud-native applications 27%
Building and testing applications 20%
Deploying applications 18%
Integrating Google Cloud services 20%
Managing deployed applications 15%

Professional Cloud Architect

WorldUSAEMEALATAMAPAC
$146,212$200,960$140,408$92,192*$90,849

The Professional Cloud Architect certification offered by Google Cloud is 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 the highest-paying IT certification overall in the U.S. and the most popular Google Cloud certification, according to the IT Skills and Salary survey.

To earn the certification, candidates must pass the exam, which tests their ability to design and plan an enterprise cloud architecture, manage and provision cloud solutions, and ensure security and compliance.

For this exam, candidates will run into two case studies. These force candidates to apply their knowledge to realistic scenarios. Case study-related questions account for up to 30% of the exam. Like others, this exam costs $200 and features up to 60 questions. Candidates should have three years of professional experience before taking the test, with at least one working with Google Cloud.

WHAT’S ON THE EXAM

SectionsApprox. Percent
Designing and planning a cloud solution architecture 24%
Managing and provisioning a solution infrastructure 15%
Designing for security and compliance 18%
Analyzing and optimizing technical and business processes 18%
Managing implementation 11%

Professional Cloud Database Engineer

WorldUSAEMEALATAMAPAC
$137,394$163,193$114,333*$64,380*$93,979*

The Professional Cloud Database Engineer certification is for more senior IT professionals focusing on creating and managing databases. Google recommends that these professionals have at least five years of professional experience, with at least two working specifically with the platform.

Candidates' experience must include creating, managing, and troubleshooting databases that applications use to store and retrieve data. In pursuing this certification, the exam is most heavily graded on a candidate's ability to design scalable, highly available database solutions.

The exam costs $200, spanning 50 to 60 questions, and lasts up to two hours. Again, this exam requires more experience than other professional-level certifications Google offers. Candidates should have at least five years of experience before sitting the test.

WHAT’S ON THE EXAM

SectionApprox. Percent
Design scalable and highly available cloud database solutions 42%
Manage a solution that can span multiple database solutions 34%
Migrate data solutions 14%
Deploy scalable and highly available databases in Google Cloud 10%

Professional Machine Learning Engineer

WorldUSAEMEALATAMAPAC
$134,373$182,856*$106,007*$52,000*$77,600*

The Professional Machine Learning Engineer certification suits those who build, maintain, and optimize ML models with Google Cloud technologies and supplementary tools. Candidates who plan to pursue this certification must feel comfortable with large datasets, writing reusable code, and promoting fair and ethical AI practices at all stages of development.

To earn this certification, candidates should be proficient in Python and Cloud SQL to answer some exam questions correctly. What's more, those after this certification must be familiar with the following:

  • Model architecture
  • Data and ML pipeline creation
  • Metrics interpretation
  • MLOps, application development
  • Data engineers and governance

Google says this certification doesn't cover generative AI, though. The reason is that it's moving too fast. Instead, Google offers different learning paths outside this certification, including for technical (developers) and non-technical professionals.

This exam costs $200, covers up to 60 questions, and lasts two hours. Professionals should have at least three years of experience before sitting the exam — at least one working with Google Cloud.

WHAT’S ON THE EXAM

SectionsApprox. Percent
Architecting low-code ML solutions 12%
Collaborating within and across teams to manage data and models 16%
Scaling prototypes into ML models 18%
Serving and scaling models 18%
Automating and orchestrating ML pipelines 21%
Monitoring ML solutions 14%

Professional Google Workspace Administrator

WorldUSAEMEALATAMAPAC
$122,563$144,517*$96,149*$145,505*$92,621*

The Professional Google Workspace Administrator is for systems administrators, cloud solutions engineers, or systems engineers responsible for their organization's Workspace. These professionals configure the organization's Workspace to support varying use cases and comply with policies and security standards. Administrators focus on efficiency, making it easy for people across the organization to use their Workspace and train team members to make the best use of it.

To earn this certification, candidates must pass the exam. It costs $200, includes up to 60 questions, and lasts up to two hours. Google recommends having at least three years, with one administering Google Workspace, before sitting the exam.

WHAT’S ON THE EXAM

SectionsApprox. Percent
Managing objects 20%
Configuring services 18%
Troubleshooting 24%
Data access and authentication 24%
Supporting business initiatives 14%

Associate Cloud Engineer

WorldUSAEMEALATAMAPAC
$99,655$161,075$103,909$65,619*$51,842

The associate-level Google Cloud Engineer certification is for those with at least six months of experience working with the platform to plan, configure, and manage cloud environments. These professionals use the command line and Google Cloud Console in their day-to-day work to manage and secure cloud solutions.

To earn this certification, candidates must pass the exam. It costs $125, lasts up to two hours, and includes up to 60 questions. Again, candidates should have six months of hands-on experience working with Google Cloud technologies before sitting the exam.

WHAT’S ON THE EXAM

SectionsApprox. Percent
Setting up a cloud solution environment 17.5%
Planning and configuring a cloud solution 17.5%
Deploying and implementing a cloud solution 25%
Ensuring successful operation of a cloud solution 20%
Configuring access and security 20%

How we built the List

This top-paying Google Cloud certifications list is based on survey responses from Skillsoft's 2023 IT Skills and Salary Survey conducted from May to September 2023. The survey asks respondents about their current jobs and experience, certifications and salaries, and more. Respondents encounter multiple choice and multi-select, open-ended, and other types of questions while taking the survey.

Technology providers, certification bodies, and Skillsoft distribute the survey to IT professionals worldwide. Google Cloud is a sponsor and supporter of the survey.

This list focuses on 703 respondents who reported having one or more Google Cloud certifications. When reporting salary figures, Skillsoft looks for at least 50 survey responses before considering relevance, demand, and other factors.

*Some of the salaries reported by respondents in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Asia-Pacific, and Latin American regions largely fall below that threshold. They are presented for continuity but lack statistical relevance. Salaries are not normalized based on cost of living or location.

]]>
Why Your Top Talent Leaves and How to Stop Them https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-your-top-talent-leaves-and-how-to-stop-them Fri, 15 Mar 2024 11:20:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-your-top-talent-leaves-and-how-to-stop-them

If you’ve logged into LinkedIn lately, you’ve probably noticed some of your connections using the #OpenToWork hashtag and profile image banner. Perhaps it’s because they’ve been laid off, or maybe they’re simply looking for a job that better resonates with their experience.

Either way, the job market is shifting dramatically. And it’s never been clearer that holding on to top talent is an imperative for employers looking to succeed in the future of work.

Top talent is highly sought after by employers because these individuals drive innovation and success. And, these individuals often stand out due to their skills, like creative thinking, leadership, and more.

As the workplace continues to evolve, technology develops at a break-neck pace, and new expectations around company culture arise, organizations need to keep their top talent happy, productive, and informed. Two of the most impactful ways they are doing this right now include:

So, why is top talent so increasingly #OpenToWork?

Why Skilled Professionals Quit Their Employers

There are many reasons why top talent may look to leave an organization. If your company is dealing with losing some of its top talent, start internally and see what must change.

Here are some of the main reasons why you may be losing top talent at your organization and how to prevent them from leaving:

Poor Management

People don’t leave jobs or companies; they leave managers.

Poor management often leads to disengagement and frustration among employees. A good leader can elevate a team to great heights, but an insufficient leader can push workers over the edge and be a deciding factor in whether they want to stay with a company.

Uncaring and uninspiring leaders are a major reason people quit their jobs. According to a survey done by GoodHire, employees are most frustrated by managers who are overbearing and micromanage their work, as well as managers who expect them to work outside of office hours.

With historically high quit rates since the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s crucial that leaders know how to best engage and inspire their teams. By providing managers with opportunities to develop their management skills, you help ensure that they have what it takes to manage others with better leadership, communication, and team-building skills, leading to a more productive relationship.

Poor Compensation

In research conducted by Pew Research Center on the top reasons employees quit their jobs, 63% of respondents cited low pay as a key reason for wanting to leave their positions.

According to its survey, 42% of workers who had quit a job said they received better benefits, such as health insurance and paid time off after starting another position. Fifty-six percent of those who quit a job are now earning more money than before.

To stay competitive with pay and benefits, it’s important for employers to look at what competing companies are paying their employees. By offering pay and benefits that match or exceed those being offered by others, you’re not only ensuring that your employees are getting the pay that they deserve, but you also have a better chance of retaining top talent.

But what happens when companies don’t have the resources to offer better compensation to their employees right now? In Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary Report, many respondents said their organizations have skills gaps because they can’t provide the compensation candidates request.

While your company may not be able to provide more money to top talent, there are other ways to support your employees’ careers by providing opportunities to learn new skills, earn certifications, or even explore other roles within the organization. All of these options can help employees advance their careers, while retaining talent. A lack of professional development is the top reason why people leave their post.

Still, the Skillsoft report also shows compensation is among the top reasons why people seek out a different employer. As a team leader, you must be transparent about what’s possible, providing clarity about timelines, raises, and more. Otherwise, you’ll remain at risk of losing team members.

Disconnection with Company Culture

Having a positive company culture is a huge part of what makes employees want to work at specific organizations. One way to create a positive culture within your company is by promoting an organization-wide culture of learning.

Promoting a companywide culture of continuous learning is a crucial key to success in an organization’s ability to retain, upskill, and empower their employees, particularly in an environment where top talent has more job options than ever. Providing opportunities for skills development helps to ensure that team members feel both empowered and engaged, leading to better outputs and more positive work environments.

Core values like transparency, acceptance, and innovation are of the utmost importance when building a team of professionals who feel seen, valued, and respected for the work they do. By promoting continuous learning, open communication, accessible resources, and opportunities for all within your organization, you are helping to provide the necessary support needed for employees to know that they are important and that the work they are doing matters.

Creating a cohesive company culture is also extremely important with the increase of hybrid and remote work environments. By building a culture of communication, setting clear expectations, and providing remote learning opportunities, you can ensure that employees —regardless of where they are working from — stay engaged, excited, and committed to the work they are doing.

Lack of Career Advancement and Skills Development

Rather than feeling stuck in a certain position, employees want to know that the work they are doing is valued and that they have the potential to grow and advance.

According to research done by the American Psychological Association, 91% of employees say that it is somewhat or very important to have a job where they consistently have opportunities to learn, but only 47% say that their employers offer educational opportunities. Data from our IT Skills and Salary Report also shows that a lack of professional opportunities is the number one reason why people leave their employers.

No matter how smart or talented a person is, there’s always room for growth, development, and continued maturation. When you develop your employees, position them for growth, and provide them with skills training, they’re more likely to want to stay and contribute to your organization.

In order to achieve true enterprise transformation, businesses must focus on building a culture of learning centered around upskilling their talent.

Reasons to Stay

Regardless of where you work, the bottom line is that employees want to feel valued, supported, and respected.

If your company wants to retain top talent, you need to commit to giving them reasons to stay.

For most, employees want opportunities to learn and apply themselves. They want a chance to build new skills or earn a certification — and then put what they’ve learned into action. As a company leader, one of the most powerful ways you can support your staff is by asking each how you can support their journey.

Supportive leadership, fair compensation, a positive company culture and opportunities to learn is a winning recipe to keep employees happy at work. But you can dive deeper into how many feel at work in Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary Report — a compilation of an annual survey that asks about job satisfaction, reasons for leaving employers, workplace challenges and more.

And don’t miss out on opportunities to reach the next level in your career with Codecademy’s Career Center.

]]>
Tech Leaders Struggle with These 10 Issues the Most https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/top-challenges-tech-leaders Wed, 13 Mar 2024 09:00:00 -0400 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/top-challenges-tech-leaders

Executives, senior leaders, and people managers share what challenges keep them up at night in Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary survey, one of the largest studies of its kind. And if you compare what respondents reported this year to past years, you’ll notice several trends that signal it’s time for a change.

While budgets have mostly rebounded from the pandemic — 56% say budgets have increased — IT and tech leaders still say a lack of resources and budgetary constraints plague their departments. This is a longstanding issue, striking at the heart of what these leaders hope to accomplish at work. Often, these teams are on the frontlines of innovation, productivity, and growth — all hampered when not properly resourced.

Talent retention and recruitment also rank highly on this list of workplace challenges, but they’re not topping the charts like last year. In 2022, 59% said hiring was somewhat or extremely difficult. In 2023, this figure dropped to 47%. While virtually nobody says hiring is easy, the process shows signs of improving.

Developing stronger teams and innovation and change management round out the top challenges, which are foundational for this group. These are tough to solve for as hiring, while getting better, remains a top issue. Further, the percentage of leaders who report skill gaps remained the same this year to last. Two-thirds of leaders say they struggle with a skill gap on their teams.

Looking back at 2022 and 2021, you’d see similar issues. But as mentioned, evidence shows these problems may abate before too long.

Keep reading to dig into these issues.

Survey Question: What are the key challenges you face as an IT decision-maker or leader? Select the top three.

The Top Workplace Challenges for LeadersPercentage
Resource and budget constraints 26%
Talent retention 23%
Developing stronger teams 23%
Talent recruitment 22%
Innovation and change management 22%
Workload 21%
Lack of professional development and career opportunities 18%
Lack of work-life balance 17%
Employee morale 17%
Executing with urgency and excellence 16%

1. Resource and Budget Constraints

With limited budgets, tech leaders often find themselves in a bind, unable to invest in the latest technologies or training programs essential for staying competitive. Operating within resource and budget constraints often impacts project execution and stifles innovation. This can lead to slower project timelines and decreased productivity, as teams might not have access to the tools or the skills they need.

Overcoming these constraints requires strategic resource allocation — prioritizing projects with the highest potential impact. There may also be opportunities to explore alternative funding options, as you’d find with a partnership, or by encouraging a culture of creativity and resourcefulness within teams.

Bringing others to solve these challenges may help unearth free or cost-effective solutions that maximize existing assets. When using tools to their utmost potential, free or available training may reveal new working methods that could create efficiencies and lead to other benefits, too. This “small-but-mighty team” makes the most of its training budget and resources to serve a quickly growing organization. See how they do it.

2. Talent Retention

Talent retention is a critical issue due to the high demand for skilled professionals in the tech industry. The lure of better opportunities can easily sway employees, especially if they perceive a lack of growth, recognition, or competitive compensation in their current roles.

To help lower attrition, create a positive work culture that emphasizes employee value, provides clear pathways for advancement, and offers competitive benefits. Training and professional development are often listed as the top reasons a person leaves an employer.

As a leader, you can continually encourage those on your teams to seek opportunities to learn and apply their skills, fostering both a culture of learning but also serving as a coach for career advancement. Regular feedback and recognition can enhance retention by making employees feel appreciated and integral to the organization's success.

Read Next

5 Methods to Build a Learning Culture That Retains Employees

3. Developing Stronger Teams

If teams aren’t working well together, expect to constantly battle issues that arise from poor communication, misaligned expectations, confused roles and responsibilities, and more. A strong, cohesive team prevents issues like these from taking root by staying in sync.

An environment of open communication, trust, and collaboration help lay the groundwork for team-building opportunities that can strengthen employee bonds. And then cross-functional projects and regular assessments can help reinforce the team’s dynamic.

Further, investments in professional development can help team members grow together. Group classes, social learning, and friendly competition often yield many benefits. These learning opportunities create shared experiences and give team members a chance to be recognized by their peers.

Read Also

How Apexon Unified Its Culture and Improved Collaboration

4. Talent Recruitment

Talent recruitment continues to pose a significant challenge for leaders. The competition for talent is fierce, with many organizations vying for a limited pool of qualified candidates. What’s more, the inability to recruit candidates is the most common reason for skill gaps in tech today — just behind the rate of change in the industry.

To attract top talent, it helps to know why people leave their current post:

  1. A lack of training, growth and development
  2. Increase in compensation
  3. A lack of work-life balance
  4. Department or company management
  5. A lack of equity in pay

Start by understanding why candidates are in the market and set realistic expectations for what they will experience under your leadership and within the organization. Work within your means to offer prospective employees the experience they’re after. Provide feedback to others within the organization about what candidates want and where gaps are.

If recruitment fails, consider which team members could advance. Look for transferrable skills or adjacent roles, like a person who works as a data analyst upskilling into a data scientist role. Or, consider reskilling employees who show an interest and aptitude for the area of need.

5. Innovation and Change Management

The pressure to innovate while managing the inherent risks and resistance to change can be daunting. A lack of resources, heavy workloads, and skill gaps often get in the way of fueling innovation. It’s a tricky dichotomy in this line of work: the need to always plan for the future while simultaneously tending to what requires attention at the present.

However, to help solve this, start by embracing experimentation, risk-taking, and continuous learning. Effective change management strategies, including clear communication and involving team members in decision-making, can prevent resistance and foster adaptability.

Staying abreast of industry trends and adopting project management methodologies like Agile can support these efforts. This helps clarify which initiatives take priority and where to devote resources. What’s more, it helps to document plans, make them centrally available, and frequently communicate progress to both team members and stakeholders.

See this story: Cloud Transformation: How Skillsoft Utilized its Learning Pathways to Upgrade its Capabilities

6. Workload

Managing workload efficiently prevents burnout and maintains productivity. Overloaded staff experience diminished morale, reduced work quality, and increased turnover rates. Leaders should assess and prioritize tasks, ensuring fair distribution and realistic project timelines.

Promoting a healthy work-life balance, encouraging regular breaks, and supporting workload management can alleviate stress and improve team performance. Furthermore, workload is cited as the main reason preventing people from training. When they have too much going on, how can they learn? This turns into a vicious cycle:

  • Employers want to innovate but struggle with skill gaps or team vacancies, so they turn to training to build bridges.
  • However, existing projects and heavy workloads prevent their employees from training, which means skill gaps remain a problem.
  • Repeat…

Team communication is vital here. Team and interpersonal communication and emotional intelligence are the top skills every leader should have. These three go a long way in supporting a team’s ability to manage what’s on their plates and prevent the downstream ramifications of a lack of support.

Read Next

The 5 Most Important Skills for Tech Leaders

7. Lack of Professional Development and Career Opportunities

A lack of professional development and career opportunities significantly affects employee satisfaction and retention — both for those on your team but also for yourself. Without clear avenues to growth, how likely will you stay with a company?

Just as you’d encourage your staff, you must also continually take stock of your own skills, certifications, and aspirations to map your journey into the future.

Taking these steps comes with several benefits. As an individual, you progress your leadership skills and keep your career goals in focus. At the same time, you demonstrate for your team the value of learning. When people have opportunities to learn and further their careers, they’re less likely to feel apathetic and quit their jobs, and conversely feel more engaged, productive, and loyal.

“Organizations are at a critical point where they need to be deliberate and proactive about building skills and capabilities, especially related to AI, or risk falling behind in the coming year,” says Orla Daly, Skillsoft’s CIO. “Interactive training experiences where professionals learn by doing will unlock rich possibilities, creating business value while increasing team member engagement and morale.”

Read Next

Create a Safe Space for First-Time Managers to Develop Management Skills

8. Lack of Work-Life Balance

Just over half of survey respondents say they’re at least somewhat likely to look for a new job in the year ahead, with one-third agreeing it’s because of a lack of work-life balance.

When employees feel off balance, it can lead to increased stress and decreased job satisfaction. Establishing boundaries and promoting flexibility are key to supporting employees' well-being. Flexible work arrangements, respecting personal time, and setting realistic expectations can help employees manage their professional and personal lives more effectively, leading to higher productivity and job satisfaction.

Remain open and collect feedback from employees regularly to understand and accommodate their individual situations. For you as a leader, this is where skills like emotional intelligence come into play. Skillsoft’s CAISY simulates real-life conversations to build power skills, including emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication, and work through scenarios like coaching employees.

9. Employee Morale

Low employee morale directly impacts productivity and team cohesion. A lack of recognition, poor communication, and inadequate support worsen it.

Boosting morale requires a multifaceted approach: fostering a positive work environment, recognizing achievements, and promoting teamwork. Regular team-building and social events can also contribute to a more engaged and motivated workforce — but gather feedback on which events interest your team.

There are many ways to improve morale, and it may take some experimentation to figure out what works best for your team specifically. But here’s a short list of actions to take that can give your team a boost (and help with other challenges too!):

  1. Stress the importance of balance and time away (a.k.a., work-life balance).
  2. Foster a culture of open communication and trust.
  3. Facilitate “stay interviews” and connect with staff to understand what’s going well and what’s not.
  4. Recognize team members as the heroes they are in front of their peers and senior staff. (Give credit where it’s due!)
  5. Provide staff with opportunities to learn and apply themselves.

10. Executing with Urgency and Excellence

All of the challenges that precede this one greatly affect a team’s ability to act urgently and uphold a standard of excellence.

Executing with urgency and excellence requires clear goals, the necessary resources, and a culture of accountability, trust, and communication. But delivering at the same level repeatedly becomes increasingly difficult when you as a leader or your staff are weighted down with heavy workloads, or you lack the skills to perform.

Efficient project management, coupled with a focus on quality and timely delivery, can help teams move quickly and improve output. However, as a leader, speeding up the pace of deliverables while elevating the quality may require a different approach to operations.

In Skillsoft’s latest Lean Into Learning Report, Chief People Officer Ciara Harrington writes this about building resilient teams:

“To navigate skills disruption, organizations must transcend conventional career trajectories and foster an environment that champions continuous learning, agility, and adaptability. Hard skills must be kept up to date, and power skills that can support ever-evolving technology and changing roles will be central to success.
“This demands a strategic realignment of talent development initiatives to focus on reskilling, upskilling, and fostering a culture that embraces lifelong learning. Through this concerted effort, we can fortify our teams to thrive, ensuring not just organizational resilience but also individual empowerment in the face of change.”

The Solution to Overcoming These Challenges? It Starts with Learning

At the core of many of these issues — arguably all of them — is learning. But more specifically, what comes from learning.

Learning can strengthen the bonds between team members. It unlocks doors to advancement and new opportunities, which leads to higher job satisfaction and self-confidence. It also helps us look intrinsically to understand how we, as an individual, can better support those around us to affect change.

We’ve seen this work first-hand at Skillsoft. Skillsoft’s SVP of Engineering and Cloud Operations, Murali Sastry, cites the power of learning in helping his team cut costs, improve retention, and build competency in coveted skill areas.

“I cannot stress the importance of continuous learning enough,” he says. “Tremendous value is unleashed by upskilling and reskilling teams. The tech landscape, especially areas like cloud, cybersecurity, and GenAI, evolves at an astonishing pace. Consistent upskilling is the key to staying ahead. This ethos is at the core of our mission at Skillsoft, and we pride ourselves on making a significant impact to our clients’ success.”

Read about Skillsoft’s own cloud transformation and how learning was central to its success.

]]>
Looking for Coaches to Boost Employee Development? 6 Qualities Every Professional Coach Needs https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/looking-for-coaches-to-boost-employee-development-6-qualities-every-professional-coach-needs Tue, 12 Mar 2024 11:35:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/looking-for-coaches-to-boost-employee-development-6-qualities-every-professional-coach-needs

In the dynamic landscape of today's workforce, professional coaching has emerged not just as a strategy, but as a game-changer. Organizations committed to propelling every team member towards peak performance understand the transformative power of unlocking employee potential through coaching.

A professional coach works with employees to create a personalized plan tailored to fit their unique needs, goals, and circumstances. And with a coach by their side, employees can navigate their career paths more effectively, equipped with strategies and techniques that accelerate their progress.

Yet, the benefits extend beyond mere strategy; having a coach instills a sense of accountability and motivation in employees. Knowing there's someone to report progress to and to provide unbiased insights can be a powerful motivator, pushing employees to achieve their goals and commitments.

Coaching is a win-win for employers and employees – but it must be implemented effectively.

How do you ensure the effectiveness of your coaching program? Let's explore the crucial qualities every professional coach should possess and how your employees can choose the right one for their unique journey.

The Purpose of an Effective Coaching Program

First, we have to dispel a common misconception about coaching. Some may view coaching as a tool for underperformers or those facing disciplinary action, but the truth is, coaching is equally valuable for high performers seeking growth and development. Clear communication and education about the purpose and benefits of coaching can help employees embrace it as a valuable resource for their professional development.

How to Choose a Professional Coach

The success of coaching relies heavily on the relationship built between the coach and the employee. When searching for a professional coach within your coaching platform, consider these characteristics:

1. Credentials and Experience:

Look for coaches with relevant certifications or qualifications in coaching. Beyond coaching, finding someone with experience as a leader can also be beneficial. Finally, it can be helpful if your coach has coached others in your field or industry.

Did you know? Skillsoft’s coaches are all ICF/EMCC certified, and each has more than 10 years of professional leadership experience themselves. This experience comes through with a global average session rating of 4.9 out of 5.

2. Compatibility:

No two people are the same, and neither is the career path they walk. A good coach should be someone your employee feels comfortable with and can trust. They should look for a coach who understands their values, goals, and communication style.

Did you know? Any coaching partnership with Skillsoft begins with understanding your organization’s priorities, goals, and objectives. Our team partners with you to ensure that your coaching initiatives and programs achieve your objectives – and most importantly, the objectives of your employees.

Assessments, onboarding paths, and metrics are tailored to each employee to ensure that each coaching engagement meets their unique circumstances – and those of your organization. In the coach selection process, Skillsoft provides 10 recommended coaches to choose from based on your organization's unique needs and from input from the learner. We’re pleased to have a 98% coach match success rate.

3. Empathy and Supportiveness:

A great coach is empathetic and supportive, providing encouragement and motivation while understanding your employee’s challenges. A coach should be an active listener, able to understand your needs and goals without judgment.

Did you know? Some of your employees are naturally more coachable than others, and this might impact their responsiveness to participation in a coaching program. Discover key indicators of coachability in this 15-minute webinar with one of the leadership and development coaches that Skillsoft works with, Grace Samson-Song.

4. Effective Communication:

Clear communication is essential for coaching sessions to be productive. A coach should be able to convey ideas and feedback effectively. Encourage your employees to interview potential coaches to see if their style and approach align with their needs and preferences. They need to trust their instincts and choose a coach who they believe can help them achieve their goals effectively.

Did you know? Skillsoft’s coaching platform facilitates human connection that drives results and fosters growth while our generative AI (Artificial Intelligence) resources provide a personalized and meaningful experience. Skillsoft’s generative AI coach, Skillosft CAISYTM, simulates scenarios that create a safe space to practice new skills

5. Feedback and Accountability:

Transformation requires more than just training, and coaching is the engine of behavior change. A good coach provides constructive feedback and holds employees accountable for their actions and commitments. A coach should help them set specific, achievable goals and develop a plan to reach them.

Did you know? Here at Skillsoft, we believe in actionable insights, not just data. Monitor the development and progress of your people with meaningful metrics that measure ROI (return on investment) at the individual, team, and organizational level.

Skillsoft uniquely partners across all areas of workforce transformation, working with you to assess and benchmark your employees, provide learning, application and a safe space to practice that ensures that your initiatives are easy to administer and measure.

6. Continuous Learning and Improvement:

Look for coaches who are committed to their own professional development and stay updated on the latest coaching techniques and practices. This background readies them to equip you with relevant knowledge and skills.

Did you know? Skillsoft’s coaching engagements incorporate world-class learning content, personalized by our coaches and AI to develop expertise and facilitate growth and transformation in your employees.

As you embark on the journey of unlocking employee potential through professional coaching, remember that the right coach can make all the difference. By choosing a coach with the six traits listed above, your employees will be well on their way to reaching their full potential. Empower your team, invest in their growth, and watch your organization thrive.

]]>
Empowering Women in the AI Era: A Call to Action on International Women’s Day https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/empowering-women-in-the-ai-era-a-call-to-action-on-international-womens-day Fri, 08 Mar 2024 09:00:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/empowering-women-in-the-ai-era-a-call-to-action-on-international-womens-day

It’s well understood that generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) is reshaping the world as we know it. From transforming our workplaces to the very nature of the jobs we do, AI has become our new normal.

In a recent report from Gartner, half of the 1,400+ organizations surveyed have increased their investment in GenAI over the past 10 months. Forty-four percent of organizations are piloting generative AI and 10% are actively using the technology.

But here’s the twist: as much as AI promises to revolutionize our lives, it seems to be playing favorites, and not in a good way.

The Disproportionate Impact of AI on Women’s Jobs

Women, in particular, find themselves at a crossroads – facing the double jeopardy of AI’s impact on their jobs and the noticeable gap in engaging with AI tools. Here are just two of the challenges they face:

  • Employment Disruption: Research suggests AI will impact 80% of all roles. And certain job roles traditionally held by women, such as clerical roles, might be at higher risk of displacement.
  • Gender Gap in Tech: There’s a well-documented gender gap in the tech industry that has potential to extend to AI development and implementation. In fact, recent research by the World Economic Forum and LinkedIn suggests that only 22% of jobs in artificial intelligence are held by women, with even fewer holding senior roles. We don’t see enough women in roles such as AI researchers, data scientists, and AI engineers. And because of this disparity, women have less influence in shaping the design and deployment of AI technologies, which can exacerbate biases and perpetuate inequalities.

Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts to promote gender diversity and inclusion in the AI field, as well as initiatives to provide equitable access to AI education and training opportunities for women.

This International Women’s Day, let’s lean in to discover how we can turn some of these challenges inherent in AI into stepping stones for empowerment.

Download Our Guide to Ethical AI

4 Ways to Help Women Thrive in the Age of AI

Women have consistently demonstrated their adaptability and resilience in the face of change. As we navigate the evolving landscape of work, there are numerous opportunities to help them not only survive, but to thrive in the age of AI. Here are four:

1. Develop upskilling and reskilling programs.

Skill development is the single best way for people to stay competitive in today’s workforce. Upskilling and reskilling offer pathways to career advancement, increased job security, and higher earning potential. Moreover, individuals who actively engage in upskilling and reskilling are likely to perform their job duties more efficiently, make fewer errors, and exhibit higher levels of work engagement. In fact, more than three in five employers invest in skill-based training because of the return on investment and the opportunities it provides to directly address skill gaps, according to a survey from SHRM and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

For women, upskilling and reskilling programs should include getting hands-on with AI, understanding its language, and making it work for us – not against us. Investing in education and training programs tailored to emerging industries and technologies can equip women with the skills needed to remain competitive in the job market and transition into new roles that leverage their talents and expertise.

2. Emphasize what makes us human.

Even as AI technology takes center stage, organizations are relying more heavily on the skills that make their workplaces innately human – skills like creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving, to name a few. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report listed the top leadership competencies for 2024, and the list was primarily comprised of power skills.

And wouldn’t you know it . . . power skills are areas where women naturally excel.

When women assume leadership roles, they bring a distinct skill set and fresh perspectives to the table. Their innovative viewpoints and heightened awareness enable them to scrutinize and uncover nuances that may be overlooked by others. Communication, collaboration, adaptability, and emotional intelligence play a vital role in empowering women to lean into AI innovation. And by harnessing these power skills, women can not only contribute meaningfully to AI innovation but also shape its trajectory in a way that is inclusive, ethical, and beneficial for society.

3. Advocate for gender-inclusive AI development.

Women must have a seat at the table in the development and implementation of AI technologies – and they need to be included in key AI datasets. By advocating for diversity and inclusion in the tech sector, women can ensure that AI solutions consider a wide range of perspectives leading to more equitable outcomes. This is essential for mitigating bias, promoting diversity, addressing societal inequalities, fostering innovation, and upholding ethical standards in AI technologies.

When we look at AI datasets, we need to make sure women are accurately and equally represented to ensure unbiased results. AI systems tend to reflect the biases present in the data they are trained on, which can perpetuate or worsen societal inequalities. Think about a hiring algorithm trained on historical employee data; if certain groups are underrepresented due to past biases, the algorithm may inadvertently perpetuate those biases by favoring overrepresented groups.

By including diverse perspectives, experiences, and voices, gender-inclusive AI development can better address the needs and concerns of all genders. These types of ethical considerations are paramount in AI development, and prioritizing gender inclusivity aligns with principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability.

4. Build support networks and mentorship programs.

Strong networks are instrumental in fostering women’s involvement in AI; their networks offer women essential support, opportunities, and resources – serving as a gateway to a plethora of opportunities, including job openings, mentorship programs, training sessions, and industry events tailored to AI.

Through their connections, women can gain valuable insights, knowledge, and access to a supportive community of professionals. Mentors and coaches provide guidance, share experiences, and offer encouragement, helping women navigate their AI careers with confidence. Not only does this elevate the visibility of women in the field, providing platforms for recognition and highlighting their work, but it provides collaboration and partnership opportunities.

Let’s Make AI More Inclusive Today

While the impact of AI disruption on traditionally female-dominated roles is a concern, it also presents an opportunity for women to assert their resilience, creativity, and leadership. By taking small steps, we can go a long way in empowering women to navigate the changing landscape of work with confidence and determination.

This International Women’s Day let’s rally together to embrace AI technologies and champion skills development. It’s about making AI inclusive, ensuring it reflects the diverse needs and perspectives of all its users – especially women, who have so much to contribute to this new era.

It’s our moment. Let’s leverage our unique strengths, dive into AI, and shape a future that’s not just about technology, but about humanity and inclusivity. Here’s to breaking barriers, embracing innovation, and empowering women in the age of AI. Happy International Women’s Day – let’s make it count!

Learn more about Codecademy’s highly interactive and immersive training experiences here.

]]>
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAVE A PLAN? https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/corporate-social-responsibility-does-your-organization-have-a-plan Fri, 08 Mar 2024 09:00:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/corporate-social-responsibility-does-your-organization-have-a-plan

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 accountability 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.

While a recent study mentioned that 90% of the world’s largest companies are now producing CSR accountability 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 accountability efforts, big and small. Take a look at what we learned.

PUTTING A CSR ACCOUNTABILITY 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 accountability 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 accountability 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 accountability efforts to be a part of their corporate governance program.

Who Owns CSR Accountability 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 accountability 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 use “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 accountability 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.

]]>
Senate Bill 553: The Shift in Workplace Violence Prevention for California Employers https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/senate-bill-553-the-shift-in-workplace-violence-prevention-for-california-employers Thu, 07 Mar 2024 09:00:00 -0500 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/senate-bill-553-the-shift-in-workplace-violence-prevention-for-california-employers

There have been significant changes in the retail sector over the past decade, ranging from expansive e-commerce vendors to door-to-door delivery. While some of these changes have been a welcomed adjustment, some have not.

Among these changes, a significant increase in assaults and violence in retail establishments has been reported by the FBI. From 2018 to 2020, a reported the following:

In response to this escalating problem, lawmakers in California have taken action with Senate Bill (SB) 553. This legislation was initially prompted by the tragic 2021 massacre at the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) railyard in San Jose, which is Senator Cortese's legislative district. Following this incident, Senator Cortese helped establish a "Worker Wellness Center" to support grieving individuals and families at VTA.

Subsequently, Governor Newsom signed Senator Cortese's SB 1294, which laid out a plan to expand these wellness centers for transit workers across the state. As a crucial follow-up, in September 2023 Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 553 into law, which requires employers to provide annual interactive training regarding workplace violence prevention.

SB 553 adds to section 6401.9 of the California Labor Code, which, effective July 1, 2024, requires covered employers to adopt a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan. This new requirement underlines the changing obligations for employers in California, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of employees.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SB 553

SB 553 lists two major requirements:

  1. A written violence prevention plan
  2. An employee training based on the plan

One impact of SB 553 lies within the regulatory training framework. With the new requirements for all California employees, SB 553 requires a thorough and updated approach to workplace violence prevention. The content of the required training must be comprehensive, informing employees about their employer’s Workplace Violence Prevention Plan.

The employer must provide training to employees initially when the plan is established and annually thereafter. The training must include the employer’s plan, how to obtain a copy of the employer’s plan at no cost, and how to participate in development and implementation of the employer’s plan

Other training requirements include:

  • Training Definitions and Requirements
  • Reporting Workplace Violence Incidents or Concerns Without Fear of Reprisal
  • Workplace Violence Hazards Specific to the Employees’ Jobs
  • Corrective Measures Implemented by the Employer
  • Seeking Assistance to Prevent or Respond to Violence
  • Strategies to Avoid Physical Harm
  • The Violent Incident Log
  • Obtaining Copies of Records of Training and Workplace Violence
  • Interactive Questions and Answers Session

Additional training must be provided when a new or previously unrecognized workplace violence hazard has been identified and when changes are made to the plan. Employers are required to maintain records of the training for at least one year.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR TRAINING?

The law necessitates effective training that addresses workplace violence risks that employees may reasonably encounter. This training is not a one-time event; the law requires annual employee training. Furthermore, the Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) requires periodic review, both annually and when changes occur that could affect workplace safety.

To help organizations prepare for the new bill, Skillsoft has designed a course that covers broadly applicable topics and also allows for the inclusion of company- and site-specifics.

Skillsoft offers two options to ensure a comprehensive training course:

OptionsDetails
Self Service Customers can add link(s) to documents and associated text using Content Configuration. 
Semi-Customization Customers can semi-customize the course through Skillsoft's Custom Services.

The content included in the SB553 Workplace Violence Prevention course includes:

  • A general overview of the purpose of the training
  • Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (Includes Job Aid)
  • Violent Incident Logs (Includes Job Aid)
  • Workplace Violence Hazards (Includes Job Aid)
  • Responding to Workplace Violence Incidents

Companies will need to add specific information to address the requirements fully. Examples of topics and documents to be included are:

  • The company’s Workplace Violence Prevention Plan
  • The company’s Violent Incident Log
  • Potential violence hazards faced by the specific to the company or industry
  • Warning signs of workplace violence specific to the company or industry
  • The company’s Violent Incident Reporting Policy

Senate Bill 553 represents a significant shift in California’s approach to preventing violence in the workplace. While compliance may be challenging for some organizations, implementing effective policies, procedures, and interactive training programs can lead to a safer work environment for all employees.

Let us help you stay ahead of the curve and keep your employees safe.

]]>
The Reason Why Undefined Jobs Disrupt Role-Based Learning https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-reason-why-undefined-jobs-disrupt-role-based-learning Wed, 06 Mar 2024 14:52:00 -0500 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-reason-why-undefined-jobs-disrupt-role-based-learning

Some jobs have become increasingly popular, like those in artificial intelligence, prompting workforce development teams to upskill existing staff or hire external candidates rapidly — but they’re running into problems.

For one, hiring candidates to close skill gaps proves to be challenging. This leaves most leaders — especially in tech — to opt for role-based learning programs instead of reskilling or upskilling their teams.

Besides hiring challenges, the roadblock many are running into is reaching a consensus on the specific skills needed for sought-after jobs.

Often, descriptions of roles remain too shallow to create a meaningful learning program. They include guidance on the function and capabilities of a role but often leave out which skills a candidate must have. What’s more, it’s uncommon for organizations to have this documentation centrally located and adopted by all.

If there isn’t consensus about the requirements of any given job, learning teams can only hope to piece together what’s needed for their programs. This makes it difficult to design effective training that yields the outcomes business leaders expect.

But what’s the root problem here?

The norm has been that each department uses its own vernacular when defining job functions, leading to inconsistent definitions for roles. In other words, it’s a communication issue.

Many suffer vague or complicated consequences as a result. When it comes to learning and development teams, it hampers their ability to answer the call from business leaders who require an upskilled workforce.

As department leaders strive to build their teams’ skills, these indistinct terminologies work against them. When each team thinks and speaks differently about jobs that do the same thing, it creates ambiguity, confusion, and misalignment about what’s needed and how to achieve it.

To be productive, role-based learning programs require a framework that helps define job functions, the skills needed for each, and how they fit into the broader organization. When these definitions are in place, it becomes easier for learning teams to develop in-house training that’s tailored to the individual and focused on closing their skills gap.

The first step to accomplish this, however, mustn’t be overlooked.

Read Next

How a Job Architecture Can Help Streamline Workforce Transformation - Skillsoft

To Identify Skill Requirements, Start with a Common Language About Roles

Most tech leaders are focused on developing their teams’ skills in AI, cloud computing, and data science this year, according to Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary Report. This will likely come as no surprise to those in learning and development who’ve undoubtedly been approached about crafting programs to upskill existing staff in these domains.

Achieving consensus about a common definition of skills can reduce the friction in this crafting process. Having a common language that everyone shares makes the process less complicated.

To make developing these programs easier, some organizations have written definitions for each role they want to prioritize. Doing so provides a guiding document that all can reference, whether they seek to hire new staff or curate learning for existing employees.

The benefits of creating these definitions extend throughout an organization. Crafting a learning program allows instructional designers to create highly relevant material for employees. At the same time, LMS admins can curate and deliver assessments, courses, labs, and other materials in meaningful ways.

What it takes to achieve this is, again, a common language spoken by all who are either striving to close skill gaps or those who stand to benefit from this work.

Missing this step would put learning programs at risk of failing to meet their intended objectives and make reporting their efficacy far more challenging. What’s more, it allows disparities to creep in when assessing which skills a candidate must have. For example, whether they’re upskilling internally or hired externally, the skills needed for the role should match.

What You Should Include with Role Definitions

To upskill an employee, you first need to know where the target is — meaning, the ideal skillset that person would have. That way, you can work backward from the ideal skillset to close the gaps.

Identifying skill requirements for role-based learning demands a framework, or job architecture, to make sense of all the roles an organization may need.

As learning teams help define roles at their organizations, it’s important to stratify the definitions to inform what a learning program should include. Consider adding points like these:

  • An Overview — When defining roles, there must be information that speaks to its purpose within the organization. Add what it is and why it matters.
  • Collaboration — How will this role interact with others on the team or other departments? Defining this helps reveal which skills a person must have to navigate internal partnerships successfully.
  • Career Mobility — Sharing the potential career trajectory reveals how a role may evolve and which skills will have the greatest impact over the long term.
  • Capabilities — Day to day, what must a person in this role accomplish? Their daily tasks can show in which areas a person may need more training and set clearer expectations for external candidates.
  • Skills — Breaking down the individual skills is where most job descriptions fall short because it can be difficult to settle on a standard set, without being too exclusive. This step may be the most useful to inform training needs and deliver the solutions most needed by department leaders.

Read Next

Build Better Curricula and Scale Learning Programs Faster with Artificial Intelligence - Skillsoft

Improve Learning Outcomes with a Clear Architecture

Learning, when done right, helps boost productivity, spur engagement, and strengthen employee loyalty. Only many feel their company training isn’t as relevant as it could be — a problem universal definitions and a thorough job architecture would help solve.

Consider this from a SHRM Research report: “A whopping 75 percent of employees said they are satisfied with their training, but organizations need to look closely at how often workers receive training, their preferred method of learning and the training's relevancy to their immediate jobs.”

A common language that describes priority job roles informs everything from learning programs to payroll, workforce development strategy, and more. The clarity allows learning and development teams to personalize training and show positive results — like reskilled employees, skill gains over time, and lower recruiting costs.

However, reaching this point isn’t always a straightforward path. It requires intense collaboration, time, and focus to determine the definitions that pay dividends for the organization and its workforce.

While beneficial, a thorough guide to the priority roles in an organization isn’t a small undertaking and is not always feasible. Those without a big budget or the time or the team to devote to these endeavors likely find themselves guessing which skills fit with any given role. It’s an uneasy position, but one with remedies — even for small teams.

That’s how Skillsoft helps learning teams undertake this worthwhile feat. Within Skillsoft Percipio, admins find tools to curate learning for the roles their organizations want and then build, assess, and index those skills within the platform — which integrates with numerous others that can supplement the effort.

As more organizations take on this challenge, consider how partners like Skillsoft can help. Learn about Skillsoft's Percipio today.

]]>
Unpacking the Future: Workforce Development Through an Era of Skill Disruption https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/unpacking-the-future-workforce-development-through-an-era-of-skill-disruption Tue, 05 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/unpacking-the-future-workforce-development-through-an-era-of-skill-disruption

In 2023 we faced skill disruption at a scale we’ve never seen before. The influence and impact of Generative AI has forced organizations to reevaluate their approach to the way they learn, the way they work, and the way they approach leadership and development efforts. The skills we needed in 2021 to be successful are no longer compatible and targeted reskilling and upskilling has become the name of the game.

Forward-thinking organizations are leveling-up their L&D approach by focusing on skill-centric training, keeping a pulse on the latest learning trends, and arming their teams with the tools they need as job demands continue to shift.

Skillsoft’s 2023 Lean into Learning report breaks down the evolving learning landscape, trends, and things to be paying attention to in 2024.

Here are some highlights from the report:

GenAI Learning Is in Full Swing

With the release of the ChatGPT model in late 2022, many organizations had to recalibrate their practices to remain competitive and adapt to the rapidly changing technology landscape. In 2023, there’s been a heightened focus on leveraging AI to streamline processes, enhance decision-making, and create innovative solutions. But the key is doing so ethically and safely, and that requires keeping your people informed on the power AI holds and some of its flaws, like hallucinations and biases.

Enter AI education.

In 2023, the significance of AI learning soared to unprecedented levels with the top two Aspire Journeys of the year being Practical ChatGPT and Generative AI Business Transformation, emphasizing the profound influence of AI education.

While traditional education is extremely important in educating employees about AI, we found a way to make it creative and applicable to different interpersonal situations. At the end of 2023, Skillsoft announced the release of the Skillsoft CAISY Conversation AI Simulator, an innovative tool powered by generative AI that simulates business and leadership conversational skills. This real-time conversation simulator inspired individuals and teams to tackle some of the most difficult business conversations with tact and precision, and of course, the ability to practice.

Top 5 CAISY Scenarios of 2023

  1. Cultivating Empathy and Connection
  2. Coaching a Struggling Employee
  3. Irate Customer
  4. Coaching an Absent Employee
  5. Change Management

But It’s More Than Just AI Learning

In 2023, the landscape of learning underwent a seismic shift, with an astounding increase in engagement and achievements across the board. This uptick was apparent with a staggering 19.4 million digital badges were earned upon completing Skillsoft courses and/or Aspire Journeys, marking a 22% growth compared to 2022. This significant rise in learning is a clear indication of a paradigm shift. Both employees and organizations are increasingly recognizing the critical role of upskilling and reskilling in staying competitive and agile in the evolving business climate.

Empowering Employees With Power Skills

Alongside the AI revolution, power skills continue to hold paramount importance for organizations. In fact, the top 20 digital badges of 2023 all relate to different power skills such as developing emotional intelligence, being an effective team member, and understanding unconscious bias.

Top 5 Trending Topics: Leadership & Business

  1. Written Communication
  2. Unconscious Bias
  3. Speaking
  4. Communication Essentials
  5. Working Remotely

It’s more than just business skills, when employees feel included, involved, and engaged, they can truly be their authentic selves, both in and outside the office. By investing in DEI skills development, organizations can effectively cultivate a culture that centers around the needs of all employees and empowers them to be innovative and draw from diverse perspectives.

Top 5 DEI Courses of 2023

  1. Understanding Unconscious Bias
  2. Your Role in Workplace Diversity
  3. How Culture Impacts Communication
  4. Take a Deep Breath and Manage Your Stress
  5. Using Communication Strategies to Bridge Cultural Divides

Addressing the Gender Gap

Despite the resurgence of employment following the pandemic, the World Economic Forum's 2023 Gender Gap Report revealed a concerning 10% decline in the representation of women in senior leadership roles worldwide. Yet, research consistently affirms that diversity, including gender diversity, enhances business performance significantly. This makes the promotion of women's access to training and leadership opportunities within the workplace not merely an aspect of fairness, but a strategic investment.

Top Courses Supporting Women in 2023

  1. Leadership Insights on Developing Women Leaders
  2. Women in Leadership: Moving Beyond Gender Roles as Leader
  3. Women in Leadership: Mastering Key Leadership Competencies
  4. Women in Leadership: Building Your Infrastructure for Leadership
  5. Expert Insights on Women in Leadership

Reskilling and Upskilling Is More Important Than Ever

A year ago, our own IT Skills and Salary Report didn’t even mention generative AI. Yet, today, it’s drastically changing the way we approach learning and development. The trends in tech skilling have also transitioned from prioritizing security to mastering core skills like technical support, networking support and scrum essentials. Why? With more businesses relying on cloud services for security, these foundational skills are increasingly vital. And it's not just tech companies; businesses across sectors are boosting their tech infrastructure, driving up demand for these skills industry wide.

Top 5 Technology Trending Topics of 2023

  1. Technical Support Specialist
  2. Security Core Concepts
  3. Cisco Networking
  4. Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals
  5. Scrum

Benchmarking Skills Is Essential

A significant factor causing skills gaps is the misalignment between existing internal competencies and the dynamic strategies, objectives, markets, or business models of the company. Skill benchmarks offer organizations the ability to define, track, and index the skills your teams has proven to be a powerful tool for organizations trying to understand their skills gaps and where additional training is needed.

Top 5 Skill Benchmarks of 2022

  1. Communication Essentials
  2. Customer Service Essentials
  3. Presentation Skills
  4. Excel 365 (2021)
  5. Oral Communication

Top 5 Skill Benchmarks of 2023

  1. Communication Essentials
  2. Customer Service Essentials
  3. Time Management & Managing Priorities
  4. Emotional Intelligence and Tact
  5. Written Communication

With All That Said – What’s Next?

As we approach an era where the AI market is projected to reach $407 billion by 2030, with a notable annual growth rate of 37.3%, it's imperative for leaders to foster an ecosystem that embraces this transformative technology. This involves cultivating an inclusive and curious workplace culture that champions ongoing learning and adaptation. The future-ready workforce isn't limited to new hires with the "right skills," but extends to reskilling and upskilling existing teams, thereby enhancing loyalty, productivity, and overall wellbeing.

Have you started to understand the key learning trends that will impact your team in 2024? Get the download of 2023 learning trends in Skillsoft’s 2023 Lean into Learning report.

]]>
You’re Entering “Middle Management.” Here’s What You Need to Know https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/youre-entering-middle-management-heres-what-you-need-to-know Mon, 04 Mar 2024 06:36:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/youre-entering-middle-management-heres-what-you-need-to-know

Congratulations! You’ve been promoted to middle management. While your frame of reference might include Bill Lumbergh, the fictional yet quintessential middle manager in the movie Office Space, be assured that middle managers are so much more than a monotone voice and an obsession with TPS reports.

Yet the perception of middle management as “boring” has become widespread for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Middle managers usually oversee day-to-day operations, which can involve a lot of administrative tasks such as budgeting, scheduling, and reporting.
  • Sandwiched between upper management and frontline employees, middle management might face limited autonomy and creativity.
  • Middle managers are often tasked with minimizing risks and ensuring that operations run smoothly – leading to a perception of being risk-averse or overly cautious.
  • Because senior executives and frontline employees are directly involved in product development or customer interaction, they often receive the lion’s share of recognition and visibility.

It’s important to recognize that these perceptions are not universally true, and many middle managers are dynamic, creative, and influential leaders within their organizations.

In fact, middle managers play a crucial role in implementing strategic initiatives, fostering team collaboration, and driving organizational success. They can shape their roles and make meaningful contributions to their teams and organizations, challenging negative stereotypes.

Shifting Role, Shifting Perspective

The skills required to be an individual contributor are markedly different than those required of middle management. That’s why entering middle management requires a shift in perspective and responsibilities.

Here are some key lessons you might need to learn:

1. Leadership Skills

As a middle manager, you’ll be responsible for leading a team. This involves not just managing tasks but also inspiring, motivating, and developing your team members. But what’s the best way to cultivate leadership skills?

Remember: Leadership is a competency, not a role.

Many organizations offer training and development programs specifically designed for middle managers. These programs may cover topics such as communication, conflict resolution, team building, and strategic thinking.

Beyond online training, seeking mentorship from experienced leaders within your organization can be invaluable for middle managers. Mentors can provide guidance, support, and advice based on their own experiences. Additionally, working with a professional coach can help middle management identify strengths and areas for growth, and develop a personalized plan for leadership development.

Finally, middle managers should actively seek feedback on their communication style, decision-making process, and ability to motivate and inspire others. Engaging in regular self-reflection can help middle managers identify areas for improvement and set goals for their leadership development.

2. Communication Skills

Effective communication is crucial. You’ll need to communicate clearly with your team, superiors, and other departments. This includes listening actively, providing feedback, and resolving conflicts.

Take advantage of low-risk opportunities to develop your feedback skills before embarking on difficult conversations at work. Skillsoft CAISY Conversation AI Simulator, an innovative GenAI-based tool for simulating business and leadership conversational skills, can provide your employees with an emotionally safe space to practice important business conversations with an AI-powered trainer.

CAISY is one way to enable feedback. It can help you find gaps in your communication style without exposing yourself to the vulnerability of a real human being until you create a plan to fill these gaps. Right now, CAISY provides personalized feedback via 60+ scenarios, including “Coaching Your Team” and “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).”

3. Strategic Thinking

Middle managers often play a role in translating the organization’s goals into actionable plans for their teams. Understanding the broader strategy and how your team fits into it is essential.

Strategic thinking involves considering the long-term implications of decisions and actions. That’s why middle managers need to look beyond immediate challenges and opportunities and anticipate how their actions today will impact the organization’s future success.

Strategic thinking requires a data-driven approach. Middle managers should learn to gather, analyze, and interpret relevant data and information to identify patterns, trends, and opportunities. This analytical mindset helps them make informed decisions and formulate effective strategies.

And finally, middle managers should explore multiple alternatives and scenarios when developing strategies. They should consider the potential risks, benefits, and trade-offs associated with each option and evaluate them based on the organization’s goals and objectives.

4. Change Management

Organizations are constantly evolving, and middle managers often play a crucial role in implementing changes. This requires adaptability, resilience, and the ability to help others navigate through uncertainty.

Middle managers can enhance their change management skills by focusing on effective communication and stakeholder engagement. They should communicate transparently about the reasons for change and engage employees throughout any process updates, addressing concerns and involving them in decision-making.

Additionally, middle managers should lead by example, provide necessary support and resources to employees, and manage resistance by listening to concerns and providing reassurance. Celebrating progress, monitoring outcomes, and learning from experience are critical for ensuring successful change initiatives.

5. Team Building and Development

Building a cohesive team and developing the skills of your team members is critical. This involves recognizing individual strengths and weaknesses, providing opportunities for growth, and fostering a positive team culture. That’s where upskilling and reskilling come in.

Skillsoft’s Chief Content Officer Mark Onisk describes upskilling and reskilling like this:

“Upskilling refers to enhancing existing skills or acquiring new ones that align with the changing demands of the job market. It’s not just about learning new software or mastering a new tool; it involves broadening one’s understanding of industry trends, emerging technologies, and evolving customer needs. By upskilling, professionals can enhance their marketability, improve their performance, and increase their value to their employers.”

“Reskilling focuses on learning entirely new skills, often to transition into a new career or adapt to significant industry changes. Reskilling is about reinvention. As industries evolve and certain roles become obsolete, professionals may find themselves needing to pivot into new areas. Reskilling is about leveraging transferable skills and experiences while learning new skills that are in demand in a different field or industry.”

Evaluating and managing the performance of your team members is part of your role, and it includes setting clear expectations, providing regular feedback, and addressing performance issues as they arise.

Remember, transitioning into middle management can be challenging, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and development. Stay open to learning, seek feedback, and continually refine your skills as you progress in your career.

Is your corporate learning program achieving its intended outcomes and making a positive impact on your organization?

]]>
How to Know If Your Learning Program Is Working https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-know-if-your-learning-program-is-working Tue, 27 Feb 2024 23:08:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-know-if-your-learning-program-is-working

If you are in management, chances are you’ve heard of Peter Drucker.

Considered the father of modern management theory, Drucker emphasized the importance of people within organizations. He recognized that employees are not just resources to be managed but valuable assets that drive organizational success.

Many leaders credit Drucker with the corporate catchphrase, “People are our most valuable assets.”

He believed that investing in people through training, development, and empowerment is essential for achieving sustainable growth and competitive advantage. In response to his work, organizations around the world implemented learning and development programs to enhance the skills, knowledge, and abilities of employees to align with organizational goals and objectives.

And to his credit (and yours if you’ve already implemented an L&D program at your own organization), learning and development programs have seen phenomenal results, including:

  • Skill enhancement: 54% of companies globally are struggling to find skilled workers – the highest in a decade. In the United States, this figure is 69 percent. Learning programs improve employees’ skills and competencies, ensuring they have the capabilities required to perform their roles effectively. This includes both technical skills related to job tasks and power skills such as communication, leadership, and teamwork.
  • Career advancement: Provides opportunities for employees to acquire new skills and knowledge that can help them advance in their careers within the organization. This might include leadership training, management development programs, or technical certification courses.
  • Employee engagement and retention: Demonstrates a commitment to the growth and well-being of employees, which can lead to higher levels of engagement, job satisfaction, and retention. Employees are more likely to stay with a company that invests in their professional growth and offers opportunities for advancement.
  • Adaptation to change: 87% of workers said that they believe they will need to develop new skills throughout their working lives to keep up with the changes in the workplace. Learning programs keep employees up to date on industry trends, technological advancements, and changes in the business landscape to adapt quickly to new challenges and opportunities.
  • Innovation and creativity: Fosters a culture of innovation and creativity within the organization by encouraging employees to explore new ideas, experiment with different approaches, and think critically about solving problems.
  • Succession planning and talent management: Identifies and grooms future leaders from within the company, ensuring that your organization has a strong pipeline of skilled and capable leaders to fill key roles as needed.

What Does Success Look Like?

While the benefits of establishing a learning and development program within your organization are clear, L&D managers often wonder what success looks like. How can you tell that your learning program is working as you intended?

Sometimes, it’s easy to see what’s working. Here are some anecdotes:

But other times, L&D managers might need to look deeper to assess whether your corporate learning program is achieving its intended outcomes and making a positive impact on your organization. Here is what this might look like from beginning to end:

Define clear objectives. Ensure that your learning program has specific, measurable goals aligned with your organization’s overall objectives. These could be improving employee performance, increasing productivity, reducing turnover, etc.

Evaluate participant engagement. Measure the level of participation and engagement in the learning activities. This can include tracking attendance, completion rates of courses/modules, and participation in discussions or interactive elements.

Assess knowledge retention. Conduct assessments or quizzes before and after training to measure how much knowledge employees have retained. This helps determine if the learning material is effectively communicated and understood.

Analyze performance metrics. Look at key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to the learning objectives. For example, if the goal is to improve sales, monitor sales numbers before and after the training to see if there’s a positive impact.

Seek feedback. Gather feedback from participants through surveys or interviews to understand their perceptions of the program. Ask about the relevance of the content, the effectiveness of the delivery methods, and suggestions for improvement.

Monitor application of learning. Observe whether employees are applying the knowledge and skills gained from the program in their daily work. This could involve tracking changes in behavior, performance improvements, or successful implementation of new processes or techniques.

See how Equinix built a successful workplace safety program by encouraging employees to learn in the flow of work.

Compare results to benchmarks. Compare the outcomes of your learning program to predefined benchmarks or industry standards to determine its effectiveness relative to expectations. Benchmarks truly depend on your specific industry’s needs, but might include:

  • Employee engagement: Measure the level of employee engagement with the learning and development programs. This can be assessed through surveys, feedback forms, or participation rates.
  • Skill acquisition and development: Track the improvement of specific skills or competencies among employees before and after participating in your learning programs. This can be done through pre- and post-training assessments or skill-based evaluations.
  • Training completion rates: Monitor the percentage of employees who complete the training programs within a given timeframe. Low completion rates may indicate issues with program effectiveness or engagement.
  • Knowledge retention: Assess the extent to which employees retain and apply the knowledge gained from the training programs over time. This can be measured through follow-up assessments, on-the-job performance evaluations, or surveys.
  • Performance improvement: Measure the impact of learning and development programs on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as productivity, sales figures, customer satisfaction, or quality metrics. Compare the performance of employees who have undergone training with those who have not.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Calculate the ROI of learning and development initiatives by comparing the costs associated with the programs to the measurable benefits, such as increased productivity, reduced turnover, or improved performance.
  • Employee satisfaction and feedback: Gather feedback from employees about their overall satisfaction with the learning and development programs, as well as specific aspects like content relevance, delivery methods, and instructor effectiveness.
  • Learning program effectiveness: Evaluate the effectiveness of learning materials, delivery methods, and instructional design by analyzing completion rates, assessment scores, and feedback from participants.
  • Alignment with organizational goals: Assess the extent to which learning and development programs align with your organization’s strategic objectives and contribute to achieving them. This can be measured through surveys, interviews, or performance evaluations.

Iterate and improve. Use the data you’ve collected to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments accordingly. Continuous evaluation and refinement are essential for ensuring long-term effectiveness.

By following these steps, you can assess whether your corporate learning program is achieving its intended outcomes and making a positive impact on your organization.

]]>
Leading with Impact: 2024’s Top Leadership Competencies https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/leading-with-impact-2024s-top-leadership-competencies Mon, 12 Feb 2024 03:56:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/leading-with-impact-2024s-top-leadership-competencies

Strong and competent leaders are more important today than they’ve ever been. With advancements in AI, cybersecurity and the ongoing skills crisis, having leaders in the organization that understand and prioritize stewardship has become essential. These skills enable individuals to guide their teams, inspire high performance, and navigate through challenges to reach organizational goals. Exceptional leaders can articulate a clear vision and strategy which in turn, fosters an environment of trust and collaboration.

World Economic Forums’ 2023 Future of Jobs Report explained that employers estimate that 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next five years. What does this mean? Organizations need great leaders at the helm to guide teams through this major dislocation and help them improve their skills for the continuously evolving workplace. Essentially, these are the top leadership competencies that will keep your organization competitive and ultimately give you a leg up in the workplace today, tomorrow and in the next five years.

1. Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking is a crucial skill for leaders, as it involves creative scenario and sensitivity analysis, and well the ability to assess the long-term impact of decisions. This anticipatory and flexible way of thinking helps future-proof an organization by enabling leaders to spot opportunities and threats before they become imminent. Being a strategic thinker also improves decision-making capabilities, ensuring that choices are not made in isolation but are instead linked to the broader organizational goals.

Strategic thinking enhances risk management activities by helping leaders identify potential risks and formulate plans well in advance of a crisis situation. In addition to improving risk management, leaders who can develop and maintain a strategic vision over time can support effective resource allocation, anticipate potential changes and develop scenarios and responses, and flexibly adjust to different types of internal and external challenges.

For leaders to be successful, developing and flexing strategic thinking skills will enhance problem-solving abilities, boost capacity to manage change and encourage innovative thinking.

2. Effective Communication

Leaders at all levels within an organization need to be proficient and nimble communicators, as their role requires them to inspire, empower, and motivate their teams. Effective communication allows leaders to transmit their ideas, align expectations, and facilitate mutual understanding. In addition, cultivating robust relationships is a pivotal element in fostering an environment of openness and promoting transparency.

For individual leaders, effective communication enhances their ability to articulate vision to both seniors and subordinates, delegate tasks, provide constructive feedback, manage change, and understand their employees' perspectives, needs, and concerns. At an organizational level, applying effective communication skills will support alignment of efforts towards common goals while inspiring positive change, and cultivate a culture of trust and mutual respect among team members. In essence, effective communication is not just about information transfer; it's about understanding, influencing, and connecting with people across the organization.

Want to expand your feedback giving skills?

3. Emotional Intelligence

Leaders possessing high emotional intelligence are adept at empathizing, building strong relationships, managing teams effectively, and dealing with workplace stress. They also excel in understanding and responding to their own and others' emotions, which enhances decision-making and conflict resolution. A Gallup survey found that employees with emotionally intelligent managers are 4x less likely to leave their jobs. Emotionally intelligent leaders are skilled at navigating change, managing conflict, and driving team performance, leading to better employee retention.

Being an emotionally intelligent leader in today’s workplace is fundamental to effective leadership – it enhances individual performance and directly contributes to organizational success.

Learn more about improving emotional intelligence

4. Problem Solving

Leaders across organizations are constantly faced with problems that could disrupt the priorities of their teams and organizations. Having strong individuals ready and willing to address problems is critical; the speed with which problems are acknowledged and solved can have a profound impact on a team’s ability to successfully function. Leaders adept at problem-solving can effectively navigate complex business challenges, support organizational focus and continued success. These skills interwoven with their strategic thinking, decision-making, and crisis management abilities, inspires confidence within their teams.

Leaders who have strong problem-solving capabilities provide valuable guidance, promote collaboration and facilitate development of innovative solutions. Leaders who support solution-oriented environments can increase job satisfaction, improve team cohesion, and enhance team performance.

5. Team Building

While building strength in all these individual competencies may lead to increased team collaboration and communication, leaders must find opportunities for teams to engage in exercises and activities to build cohesion and trust within teams. Leaders who excel in creating a positive environment for their teams can boost their own credibility, inspire their team members, manage conflicts more effectively, and accelerate their team’s performance to help achieving the organization's strategic goals. According to a recent report by Gusto, 37% of the employees surveyed revealed that they chose to remain in their current job due to the presence of an exceptional team. Positive team dynamics have a significant and real impact on employee retention and overall job satisfaction. Great leaders build great teams, and great teams build strong organizations.

Learn more about developing your team building skills.

6. Conflict Resolution

Conflict is an inevitable part of our lives, often arising from differences, both major and minor, as we interact with others who may have different opinions, perspectives, and backgrounds. Being able to resolve conflict is a crucial leadership skill with profound impacts on leaders, their teams, and ultimately to the wider organization. Leaders who can adeptly resolve conflicts can transform disputes into opportunities for growth. They navigate difficult conversations with tact, mediate disputes impartially, foster open communication, and encourage problem-solving attitudes.

Imagine there's a disagreement between two key stakeholders over the direction of a project. Both individuals believe their approach is best, causing tension and slowing progress on the project.

Leaders who are adept at conflict resolution can accurately assess the situation, and then determine the most effective way to intervene to constructively engage with stakeholders to reach a mutual understanding or compromise. By using conflict resolution skills like active listening, emotional intelligence, and problem-solving, leaders can facilitate a conversation that allows each party to express their viewpoints and feelings. This process can help find a solution that respects and considers differing viewpoints while maintaining progress towards a shard goal.

Simply put: a leader's competency in smoothly handling conflict is an invaluable asset that supports team productivity and unity and promotes mutual trust and respect.

Learn how Skillsoft Coaching can help build conflict resolution skills

7. Change Management

Change is an inevitable part of leading any organization. Effective change management enables leaders to execute transformational initiatives, foster a culture of adaptability, and empower their teams to accept change. In a working world being transformed daily by GenAI, the ability to navigate teams through change will be essential to providing an environment where teams feel safe, empowered, and encouraged to explore opportunities to change how they do their day-to-day jobs, and reimagine what could be possible. Adopting a calm and strategic approach to change management makes all the difference for teams, it can minimize resistance, facilitate smooth transitions and boost morale amin uncertainty. At the organizational level, such leaders are key in successfully implementing strategic changes, maintaining operational continuity during transitions, and enhancing organizational agility.

Want to learn more about the impact and opportunity of GenAI in workforce development?

A leader able to consistently demonstrate these traits can ignite passion and creativity in their teams and foster an environment that motivates and encourages each member to bring their best to the table. However, the impact is not just measured within that team. The ripple effect of this type of forward-thinking leadership permeates throughout the entire organization. It creates a culture where excellence is the norm, not the exception. Innovation is encouraged and celebrated, leading to new ideas and solutions that can push the organization to new heights.

]]>
Top 5 Highest-Paying AWS Certifications https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/top-paying-aws-certifications Wed, 07 Feb 2024 00:00:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/top-paying-aws-certifications

Cloud skills are rising in demand, according to Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary survey. For years, the findings have shown cloud computing as a top area of investment, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) often cited as a priority vendor. Because of this, AWS certifications often command high salaries for those professionals who’ve earned them.

Added to the mix is also the difficulty in hiring. Hiring managers tend to see some of the stiffest competition for talent when sourcing architects, engineers, or developers. Two-thirds of leaders say they’ve had three or more open spots on their team this past year, mostly because they struggle to attract or retain employees.

This makes it tough to build strong teams that have the skills to fully utilize the services that vendors like AWS have to offer, let alone innovate and advance.

Most leaders feel their team’s skills are at an intermediate stage — not experts but not novices either. For this reason, it makes AWS credentials all the more valuable to those hiring managers desperate for skilled workers who can aid their team’s initiatives.

But just how valuable?

In keeping with past years, we looked at the top-paying AWS certifications after collecting survey data from professionals around the world. We’ve updated this post to include salary information for the top-paying AWS certifications across more regions, including Europe and the Middle East, the Asia Pacific and Latin American regions.

Globally, 1,127 survey respondents reported having earned an AWS certification, with the most popular being its foundational credential, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. Across all regions, the average certification holder reports making six figures — further evidence of the priority placed on cloud projects and skills.

We breakdown the highest-paying certifications worldwide below, also showing how compensation differs by region. Keep reading to learn more and see how to earn each credential.

The Average Certification Holder:

Age

35

Manages a team

59%

Hold a cybersecurity certification

69%

Average number of certifications

10

Most likely cross-certification vendor(s)

Microsoft, Google, and ISC2

Average salary (worldwide)

$100,051

Snapshot: Top 5 Highest-Paying AWS Certifications Globally

Certification
Average Salary

AWS Certified Security – Specialty

$138,0533

AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty

$137,698

AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty

$136,595

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

$132,852

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

$124,695

Below, read about some of the leading certifications from AWS in North America (US and Canada) and how to earn them.

AWS Certified Security – Specialty

World

US

EMEA

APAC

LATAM

$138,053

$166,449

$131,483*

$79,962*

$110,750*

Ranking at the top of our list, those with an AWS Certified Security – Specialty know how to secure data in the AWS Cloud, understand specialized data classifications, data encryption methods, and secure Internet protocols.

Candidates who plan to pursue this specialty certification benefit from starting with the Solutions Architect – Associate or Professional.

Before Taking the Exam, Candidates Should Have:

  • Five years of IT security experience, designing and implementing security solutions; at least two years of hands-on experience securing AWS workloads.
  • Study the domains: threat detection and incident response; security logging and monitoring; infrastructure security, identity and access management; data protection; management and security governance.
  • Understand the AWS shared responsibility model, its services and controls, and integrations with third-parties.

Recommended courses for this certification:

AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty

World

US

EMEA

APAC

LATAM

$137,698

$153,031

$149,743*

$95,376*

$99,500*

The AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty certification is best suited for candidates with five or more years of professional experience whose focus at work is on developing complex networking solutions.

Those architects and engineers who plan to sit the exam should feel confident in their abilities to design hybrid and cloud-based solutions, know AWS services and best practices. When studying for the exam, the domains focus on network design (30%); implementation (26%); management and operations (20%); and network security, compliance and governance (24%).

Before Taking the Exam, Candidates Should Have:

  • Five years of hands-on experience developing network solutions.
  • Experience with AWS, specifically its security and storage solutions.
  • Proficiency in networking architectures, CIDR and sub-netting.

Recommended certification training:

AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty

World

US

EMEA

APAC

LATAM

$136,595

$156,547*

$101,691*

$86,879*

$103,333*

Globally, artificial intelligence and machine learning are priority areas of investment for tech leaders. That said, it’s also causing some tension. Most leaders say their team’s skills in this domain aren’t where they could be, with only 8% saying they employ highly skilled workers.

This certification should signal to employers they have the right talent to build and operationalize machine learning models using AWS. For candidates, it’s important to study these domains prior to sitting the exam: data engineering, exploratory data analysis, modeling and machine learning implementation.

Before Taking the Exam, Candidates Should Have:

  • It’s best suited for those with at least one year of experience developing and architecting machine learning workloads in AWS.
  • Experience with basic hyperparameter optimization, machine and deep learning frameworks, as well as best practices for model training, deployment, and operation.
  • Proficiency in explaining how machine learning algorithms work.

Recommended courses for this certification:

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

World

US

EMEA

APAC

LATAM

$132,852

$174,137

$122,919

$74,390*

$75,008

Also ranked on this year’s overall top-paying certifications list, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional commands high salaries given the output of these professionals.

Candidates chasing this certification must have advanced knowledge of the Well-Architected Framework and know how to craft complex solutions by bringing together many of the services AWS offers. The exam tests candidates’ abilities to design new solutions and improve them over time, while migrating and modernizing workloads.

Before Taking the Exam, Candidates Should Have:

  • Two or more years of experience using an array of AWS services to solve complex business problems with cloud solutions.
  • Experience gathering information and working collaboratively to provision applications on AWS.
  • AWS recommends being familiar with: AWS CLI, AWS APIs, AWS CloudFormation templates, the AWS Billing Console, the AWS Management Console, a scripting language, and Windows and Linux environments.

Recommended courses for this certification:

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

World

US

EMEA

APAC

LATAM

$124,659

$150,546

$112,192*

$70,797*

$85,250*

The final AWS certification on our top list is the DevOps Engineer – Professional, which validates a candidate’s technical expertise in provisioning, operating, and managing distributed application systems on the AWS platform.

Those who’ve obtained the certification use DevOps practices to develop and maintain AWS applications. The prerequisite for this certification is the AWS Certified Developer – Associate.

Before Taking the Exam, Candidates Should Have:

  • Two or more years of experience provisioning, operating, and managing AWS environments.
  • Experience building and securing highly automated infrastructures, administering operating systems, and current development methods.
  • Should be familiar with the software development lifecycle, programming and scripting.

Recommended courses:

Start Preparing For – And Pass – The Exam

Earning an AWS certification can open doors for both individuals and the organizations they serve. Training for these credentials strengthens one’s understanding of the concepts and techniques, while also boosting their confidence, engagement and morale at work. Often, new certifications lead to promotions, raises and opportunities to work on coveted projects.

For those organizations prioritizing cloud-dependent initiatives, employing professionals with these credentials assures a reliable skill set and commitment to excellence. To help prepare for these certifications, Skillsoft can help.

Skillsoft’s Global Knowledge was recognized as Amazon Web Services’ learning Partner of the Year in 2023, given the breadth and quality of instructor-led training offered to learners and organizations. Complementing live training is Codecademy’s interactive learning modules, helping people build programming skills that are necessary for several of the certifications listed earlier.

Find the training that best suits your needs to earn highly valuable AWS certifications.

How We Built This List

This list of top-paying AWS certifications is based on survey responses from Skillsoft’s 2023 IT Skills and Salary Survey conducted from May to September 2023. 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.

The focus of this list is on 1,127 respondents who reported having one or more AWS certifications. When reporting salary figures, Skillsoft looks for at least 50 survey responses before considering relevance, demand and other factors.

*The salaries reported for respondents in EMEA, APAC and LATAM largely fall below that threshold. They are presented for continuity but lack statistical relevance. Salaries are not normalized for cost-of-living or location.

]]>
'A Better Version of Ourselves': How Innovative L&D Can Drive Transformational Culture Change https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/a-better-version-of-ourselves-how-innovative-l-d-can-drive-transformational-culture-change Mon, 05 Feb 2024 08:25:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/a-better-version-of-ourselves-how-innovative-l-d-can-drive-transformational-culture-change

There's a saying in management circles: "What gets measured gets managed." The idea is that when we start measuring something — be it team performance, process outcomes, or learning program results — we start paying attention to it. And when we start paying attention, we notice what's working and what isn't. Then, we can take steps to support the parts that work and fix the ones that don't.

It's clear that metrics matter. But some things are difficult to quantify — like the kind of transformational culture change that helps all of us become better versions of ourselves.

Recently, we spoke to a Skillsoft customer, an international financial institution, about the power of this type of change. To publish this report, our customer requested we use only her first name and to omit the organization’s name. This is to remain compliant with internal policies.

As a supervisor of technology learning at this organization, April knows firsthand how powerful effective learning and development (L&D) programs can be. Her team regularly designs and promotes learning campaigns on various topics to support the organization’s mission.

But April also knows that, sometimes, L&D teams get hung up on traditional forms of learning, like formal classes, because the results are more easily measured. In April's view, these conventional forms of learning have their uses, but we need to be more creative if we want L&D to evolve. We need to think big and use our L&D tools and technologies in innovative ways.

"L&D people are [usually focusing on metrics like] learning impact, but I think as we move forward in the L&D space, it has to go beyond that," April says. "It doesn't always have to be about that traditional learning. It doesn't always have to be about a class. Learning is so much more than that."

What does it mean for L&D to "go beyond" conventional approaches to training? Here's one use case that April and her team implemented — and the tremendous results they achieved along the way.

The Black History Month 30 Day Action Plan

During Black History Month, the team set out to create a comprehensive learning program spotlighting Black American achievements and contributions. The initial idea for the project was born partly from April’s belief that L&D can help people understand one another in the workplace and build empathy among colleagues.

Many colleagues work and reside in the Washington, D.C. area but come from a wide array of countries. During Black History Month, April wanted to share the rich history of their host country, specifically American Black history.

She was inspired to do this project for this reason: "so many of my colleagues live in the US for long periods. They sometimes have raised their children here. They've been in this country for 25 years. But they don't necessarily know this country’s history. This is not just Black history. This is American history."

The project was deeply personal for April. “As an African American working at an international organization, Black History month has a special meaning to me. It is an opportunity to increase the awareness and understanding about the rich tapestry of Black culture and its people's contributions to US history and the world.”

With this goal in mind, April and her team designed the Black History Month 30-Day Action Plan. The idea was partly inspired by Skillsoft's 30-Day Habits Calendar. The team built their own version of the calendar, curating content from various sources. For example, one day might feature diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training from Skillsoft's library. Another might feature a YouTube video about the diaspora of African cuisine and its journey into American cuisine. The team created a custom channel to host all the content in a centralized place, using Skillsoft’s learning platform Percipio.

The team shared the action plan across various Viva Engage channels and with several affinity groups, hoping for a modest number of views. Instead, the action calendar took off. Over the course of the month, the action plan received 16,000 views.

"I was going to be happy if we got 1,000 views," April says. "I never expected this project to resonate the way it did. I never set out to do it for the accolades."

But accolades and recognition were what the team received. April and her team won the Vice Presidency Award for Community Builder for their DEI contributions.

April's motivation was supporting the personal growth of her colleagues. When discussing the results of the Black History Month Action Plan — the ones that really matter to her — April points to an interaction she had with an African employee from Mali.

"She said to me, 'I've been in this country a long time. My youngest children were born here. Black History Month has always been something that I respect, of course, but I didn't identify with it — until this year,'" April recounts.

She explained that this colleague had recently been contacted by an African American woman who, through DNA, had found out they were cousins. Their families had been separated 400 years ago by the transatlantic slave trade.

"So when she read the Black History Action Plan calendar, she was no longer reading it from a perspective of, 'This is for people I empathize with, but with whom I don't have a connection,'" April says. "She was reading it for the first time as a continuation of her own history."

Moving Beyond Traditional L&D

For April, the success of the Black History Month Action Plan speaks not only to the importance of meaningful DEI efforts in the workplace. It also illustrates how L&D leaders can use the tools, technologies, and vendor partners at their disposal to fashion innovative approaches to learning that resonate with people.

"With a lot of learning management systems, what really drives me nuts is that organizations still place so much emphasis formal learning, and learning is so much more than that," she says. "We know that from peer-to-peer learning. We know that from social learning."

Rather than simply sticking with established learning modalities, April brought her own creativity and insights to crafting the Black History Month Action Plan, mixing and matching content and learning experiences to create something truly unique and engaging.

"A lot of times, unfortunately, learning is associated with drudgery," April says. "But people wrote and said [about the Black History Month Action Plan], 'This is so fun!' Even though it was a heavy topic, it was digestible, interactive, and immersive."

The results of the Action Plan may be hard to quantify, but by thinking beyond conventional L&D metrics and strategies, April was able to impact a genuinely transformational culture change.

"What resonates to me is the personal journey of all of us being a better version of ourselves," she says. "That means that we're understanding each other. We understand or have some empathy for each other’s experiences. And I think that is the kind of workplace we all want to be in.”

The organization in this story has elected not to use its name to comply with its internal communications policy.

]]>
What is Middle Management and Why is it Important? https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-is-middle-management-and-why-is-it-important Mon, 05 Feb 2024 08:15:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-is-middle-management-and-why-is-it-important

There are many misconceptions surrounding the role of middle managers in companies around the world.

While the term “middle managers” refers to managers who are below the top level of management and are responsible for controlling and running an organization rather than making decisions about how it operates, they are crucial to a company’s ability to successfully operate.

Because of the word “middle,” people often assume that employees in these roles are aiming to move up in their companies, ideally into more senior roles, but this is a false representation of the role and all the responsibilities that it entails. Contrary to the title the role implies, middle managers are actually at the center of the action, and without their ability to connect and integrate people and tasks, organizations would struggle to operate effectively.

As companies are continuously looking to become more agile and responsive to change, the role of middle management is evolving, and the recent shift from traditional hierarchical structures in the workplace has left middle managers with more authority and responsibility than ever before.

Now, middle managers face increased pressure to fulfill a multitude of roles, prompting employers to look at how they can best support their employees in middle management.

Let’s take a look at the roles and responsibilities of mid-level managers in today’s professional landscape, and why they are extremely important to a company’s overall success.

Common Responsibilities of Middle Managers

Middle managers play a vital role in an organization’s day-to-day operations. They have a vast range of responsibilities and serve as important functions in a company’s organizational structure.

While top-level management oversees overall company strategy and long-term planning, middle management is focused on the everyday functioning of specific departments within the company and how individual workers are progressing in their roles.

Most importantly, employees in middle management are in charge of communicating the goals of upper management to lower-level employees and making sure that their team operates smoothly while fulfilling these goals.

Other common duties of middle managers include:

  • Monitoring employee performance
  • Assigning and supervising specific tasks
  • Encouraging employees to reach their full potential
  • Recruiting and retaining company employees
  • Reporting issues and successes to top-level management

Middle managers typically start their careers in specialist roles and might take on various jobs that enable them to establish a strong professional network, which can benefit their employers and the teams they lead.

These are a few of the positions generally considered to be middle management:

  • Branch managers
  • Store managers
  • Regional directors
  • Department managers

Challenges of Middle Management:

Working in leadership has gotten a lot harder over the past couple of years. With the rise of remote work, and the increasing sentiments of isolation that come with it, it can be hard to find ways to engage team members and encourage stellar performance from all employees.

Middle managers are now struggling with how to balance their various responsibilities while also managing group demands and expectations.

Here are some of the top challenges that middle managers are facing in their roles today:

The messy middle

The first major challenge is in the role title: middle. Studies show that middle managers can often feel that they are caught at the in-between, suffering from being in contradictory roles. They are leading teams, while also reporting to others; they are directing work while also being expected to perform it. The dual nature of these roles can be challenging and it requires a high level of dedication and focus.

Additionally, middle managers might find themselves involved in the conflicts of those both above and below them in the organizational hierarchy. Finding ways to successfully act as an intermediary can be difficult, especially when expected to please people on both ends.

Stress and burnout

Feeling responsible for solving problems on either end of the hierarchy and overseeing coaching, organization, and communication across teams can be a source of stress for many middle managers.

Employees in these roles feel pressure to produce exceptional results, hit numbers, stay on schedule, and meet customer and leadership demands, while also ensuring that the people on their team are being productive and supported. All of these responsibilities can sometimes lead to burnout, so it’s important to implement strong support systems for middle managers in order for them to also have the tools to support all the people they work with on a daily basis.

Feeling undervalued

Studies show that employees in middle management positions have some of the lowest levels of job satisfaction at U.S. organizations. This should not be ignored.

A big reason for these high levels of dissatisfaction has to do with middle managers feeling undervalued at their companies. The idea that exists in the business landscape of middle managers being unexceptional, mediocre supervisors is a gross underrepresentation of the value that employees in this position offer their companies.

Rather, middle managers should be considered the glue that holds companies together. Think about all the times you may have gone to a team manager for guidance or support. Without them and their ability to organize and communicate, whole teams would likely lose their ability to run smoothly, greatly effective company success and productivity.

The communication, organizational, and leadership skills that middle managers possess are seen as some of the most valuable skills for employees across a multitude of industries, and the multifunctional work they do for their teams is extremely important to the everyday functioning of many organizations.

Tips for Helping Your Middle Managers Succeed

Middle managers are key parts of nearly every organization, but in order for them to succeed, they need to feel respected and valued by their companies.

Organizational leaders can be the driving force in making this happen by providing middle managers with the support they need to prosper in their careers.

The most important tip for helping your middle managers succeed is to offer learning and development opportunities.

As mentioned before, middle managers need solid decision-making and communication skills to work with and motivate employees on both sides of the organizational hierarchy. When you offer learning and development opportunities for employees in mid-level management positions, you are providing them with the chance to reskill and upskill in important areas that help strengthen their ability to work alongside, while simultaneously leading, their teams.

Be sure to check out Skillsoft’s courses on how to develop your management skills and become a leader in the workforce.

When you have strong and empowered middle managers, the whole company succeeds, so start learning today.

]]>
SKILLSOFT’S 2023 ESG IMPACT REPORT: FROM PROMISE TO PROGRESS TO POTENTIAL https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/skillsofts-2023-esg-impact-report-from-promise-to-progress-to-potential Mon, 05 Feb 2024 07:00:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/skillsofts-2023-esg-impact-report-from-promise-to-progress-to-potential

Skillsoft published its first ESG Impact Report at the end of 2022 after reflecting upon how we addressed environmental, social, and governance initiatives.

Our first report was instrumental in clarifying the pivotal role that ESG plays in shaping our identity and impact as an organization. It became a powerful tool for us as we looked at how we might address ESG concerns head-on.

Are you curious about how to begin your sustainability journey? Here’sa blueprint to get you started today.

Our second annual report builds upon that inner reflection. For us, truly understanding how our team works to serve the planet, people, and our stakeholders has been foundational as we navigate the complexities of today’s business landscape while fostering a sustainable and ethical corporate culture.

We learned some fundamental truths about ourselves:

  • We care about the planet. As an innovator in the online learning space, Skillsoft has helped organizations digitally transform and support distributed workforces. We’ve had the honor of training millions of people – helping them reskill and upskill for professional growth and longevity with a significantly smaller impact on our natural resources.
  • We care about people. We believe in the life-changing power of learning. And we believe that learning is the key to opportunity. Our employees have access to the same learning resources as our customers. We believe so much in the power of our solution, that we aim to donate 50 million licenses, by 2030, to marginalized populations to whom access to skilling can be life-changing.
  • We care about our stakeholders. We know that cultivating the right mindset in every employee is necessary to mitigate risk and promote a high-performance environment where both the individual and the business can thrive while making the world a better place.

The promise of ESG in any organization, including ours, lies in the profound potential to maximize its purpose and impact. By embracing ESG, we are making an outward commitment to long-term value creation, resilience in the face of evolving challenges, and cultivating positive relationships with stakeholders.

Cultivating a Legacy in ESG Excellence

ESG is our promise to navigate a complex business landscape with integrity, contribute to a sustainable future, and leverage our organizational strengths as a force for positive change. To make good on this promise, we must continuously refine and expand our ESG initiatives to meet existing standards and set new benchmarks and goals for corporate responsibility.

In 2023, we aimed to deepen our commitment to being a responsible business for our stakeholders, customers, and planet. We’re pleased to report that we made critical progress this year:

  • We set a benchmark. For the first time, Skillsoft measured our global greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1, 2, and partial 3) with the intention of establishing a science-based target. Once set, our target(s) will be the primary forum where we demonstrate our emission-reduction strategy and impact. And, with a view toward transparency and accountability, we also made submissions covering our global operations to CDP.net, EcoVadis, and the United Nations Global Compact.
  • We committed to DEI. Thanks to insights from our annual Global Culture Survey, we uncovered three internal pillars for driving social progress. We’ve expanded our dedication to underserved communities through strengthened partnerships and introduced a senior leadership program which incentivizes breaking down biases through DEI-aligned objectives. CEO Jeff Tarr also signed the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity & Inclusion.
  • We honed our efforts. In 2023, we conducted our first double-materiality assessment, providing us with a fresh focus for future-forward ESG initiatives. We’ve expanded our ESG steering committee and increased employee training, fostering a culture that understands ethical practices.

The Transformative Impact of ESG Progress on Future Success

Our ESG efforts serve as a compass that guides us toward future success and unlocks untapped potential. Prioritizing ESG enhances our resilience, fosters long-term value creation, and attracts conscientious investors.

That’s why we know our progress in 2023 will lead to future potential.

  1. We look forward to setting and measuring our progress toward science-based targets. And we expect to engage our suppliers in supporting our ESG plans and goals, weaving sustainability into our end-to-end value chain.

Get more thoughtful about your ESG commitments by forging closer ties with suppliers. Watch our webinar on sustainability and your supply chain now.

  1. We sifted through thousands of points of feedback and developed three thematic pillars for driving social progress internally, and we anticipate the emergence of a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive global culture.

Discover how to build a DEI training program fit for the modern workforce.

  1. In addition to etching clearer guardrails with our sustainability governance practices, we are devising comprehensive policies for using artificial intelligence (AI) that prioritize safety, transparency, and ethics, paving the way for a more innovative — and sustainable — future.

Are you looking to apply AI ethically in your organization? Here’s what you need to know.

Thank you for joining us on our ESG journey. Here’s to the pursuit of knowledge and to doing better.

]]>
The 7 Toughest Areas of Tech to Hire For https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-7-toughest-areas-of-tech-to-hire-for Wed, 24 Jan 2024 10:42:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-7-toughest-areas-of-tech-to-hire-for

Over the past few decades, technology has evolved at an astronomical rate, bringing about new roles and responsibilities in the tech landscape.

Now, IT decision-makers are experiencing a series of challenges when it comes to preparing their teams for the new responsibilities and expectations that come with working in tech today, mostly having to do with hiring qualified employees.

Findings from Skillsoft’s most recent IT Skills and Salary survey show that hiring tech workers has been one of the biggest challenges IT leaders have had to face over the past year.

And there’s an obvious trend.

As specialties like artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud, cybersecurity, and data science are becoming more sought after, they have also become some of the toughest areas of tech to hire for.

This is because the demand for the skills remains extremely high, especially considering the rate of change in artificial intelligence, the severity of cyber-attacks, and the reliance on cloud solutions at work and at home.

Now, tech leaders are struggling with how to keep up.

Gathering data from 5,700+ IT professionals, the Skillsoft survey provides insight into the global state of the tech industry.

Let’s dive into some of the toughest areas of tech to hire for and see how you and your team can work to overcome these challenges.

Artificial Intelligence

Over the past year, artificial intelligence has become essential for businesses across industries, drastically altering our professional landscape.

As the demand for AI skills rises, this year’s survey results show that these specialists have become the toughest to hire for, with 43% of tech leaders saying their team’s skills in AI need improvement and 30% of survey respondents reporting that they have the most difficulty hiring qualified AI professionals.

This is largely because teams are unable to keep up with the rapid pace of change in the industry. This challenge has left leaders with few other options than to invest in training their teams.

The majority of IT decision-makers who participated in our survey responded that they believe that reskilling and upskilling is the path forward.

A recent survey from Deloitte showed that a lack of AI skills was a main issue for many organizations, yet few were investing in AI training. This has led to a major lack of supply in a field that is rapidly increasing in demand.

In order to recognize the full potential of AI, leaders must empower their teams to work effectively with the technology, and the best way to do that is by focusing on acquiring the skills and knowledge needed to excel.

Cloud Computing

In recent years, the rapid adoption and maturation of cloud technologies has revolutionized many organizations’ digital initiatives. This trend has had an immense impact on tech jobs, leading to a surge in demand for professionals skilled in this area, evidenced by the fact that 82% of IT decision-makers reported that the demand for cloud computing skills is increasing within their organizations.

One of the biggest changes brought by cloud computing is lower IT costs due to the shift from on-premise solutions to cloud-based ones. This has created a demand for tech workers proficient in cloud computing who are able to help their companies transfer data and applications to the cloud.

Cloud architects, specifically, are some of the most sought-after new hires, yet finding employees whose talent as architects also translates to the specific cloud specializations required to fill these roles has proved challenging for team leaders.

Nearly all IT leaders agree that certified staff add immense value to their organizations, and this year, certifications in multiple Google Cloud professions were the most sought-after and are shown to be some of the highest-paying certifications in 2024.

As businesses continue to utilize cloud technology, the need for skilled cloud architects will remain an important part of successful cloud implementations.

Cybersecurity

As the cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve, companies are increasingly looking for ways to keep up with the threats that ensue.

From ransomware attacks and data breaches to attacks driven by AI, cybersecurity technologies and vulnerabilities look much different than they did in the past.

Today, cybersecurity specialists require expertise in the latest security technologies and techniques, and most importantly, they must continuously update their skills to stay ahead of new threats. But this can be challenging, especially when the landscape is evolving so quickly and even tech decision-makers are struggling to keep up.

Committing to upskilling and investing in adequate cybersecurity training are crucial steps in gaining the skills necessary to work within the evolving demands of the industry, and it ensures that your workforce is ready to face the challenges that will arise in the future.

Get the Guide:How to Manage Your Organization's Cybersecurity Learning Program in the Evolving Threat Landscape

Data Engineers

As data and its application become much more critical in how people make decisions, roles like data scientists and engineers have continued to grow in demand.

Ranked second in our list of the Top-Paying IT Certifications of 2024, the crucial importance of data engineers in organizations has not gone unnoticed. In order to excel in the field, professionals looking to pursue a career in data science should master a few key skills such as the ability to develop data processing systems and create secure, scalable, and reliable data solutions.

With proper training and the completion of IT-certified upskilling courses, professionals can help fill in the gaps that tech decision-makers are struggling to hire for in these areas.

IT Project Managers

Another major skill gap that professionals are struggling to hire for is project management.

IT project managers play a crucial role in planning, initiating, and executing software development projects. As organizations work to stay up to date with current trends in the tech landscape, effective project leaders are essential for achieving desired success.

However, finding qualified candidates for these roles can be challenging. The Project Management Institute recently reported that 25 million project management professionals are needed by 2030 to close the existing skill gap.

In order to be successful in this role, individuals must have strong leadership skills, substantial experience, and advanced technical expertise, assets that were reported as being some of the most important in our IT Skills and Salary survey.

Software Engineers

Like most of the other job areas, the main problem with hiring software engineers is that there are not enough people with the right skills.

“Software engineering” is a broad term that covers a wide range of skills. Because of this, businesses frequently require employees with specialized skill sets.

That’s where reskilling and upskilling come in. By honing your skill sets and technical abilities, you make yourself an asset to tech teams, providing a solution to IT decision-makers who are struggling to find qualified people for the jobs they are hiring for.

UI/UX Designers

Collaboration and communication skills are of utmost importance for UI/UX designers as their job often requires them to collaborate with cross-functional teams.

It is also imperative that people in these roles are both artistically creative and technically experienced, as they are responsible for building user-friendly and visually captivating digital interfaces.

This mix of communication, creativity, and technical expertise generates a high demand in the tech field since many positions often don’t require all three, even though their growing importance in the industry has not gone unnoticed.

Today, the changing nature of the tech industry is further stressing the importance of power skills among technical employees. Notably, findings from our survey reveal that power skills like communication are among the most important for those in leadership positions and are making a marked difference in professionals’ career trajectories.

Having the ability to solve problems with remarkable, innovative solutions is incredibly important, and skilling, upskilling, and reskilling are vital for workforce transformations, and the ability to hire for more roles.

The Importance of Training to Close Talent Gaps

We are now going through times of incredible change throughout the workplace. Technology is ever-evolving, new jobs are forming, and leaders are worried about their teams being left behind.

That’s why, now more than ever, having capable professionals you can trust is invaluable. While other factors impact one’s ability to find work, certifications signal to employers that candidates can effectively do the job. What’s most, an audit of one’s abilities can help show which skills are sharpest or may need more support. Ongoing assessments and training can help bolster efforts to fill a skill gap.

To learn more about the current trends in the tech industry and how they are impacting tech roles, you can read the entirety of this year’s IT Skills and Salary Report today.

]]>
The Importance of Reskilling and Upskilling Today's Workforce https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/meeting-needs-of-global-upskilling-and-reskilling Wed, 24 Jan 2024 09:00:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/meeting-needs-of-global-upskilling-and-reskilling
the I

Within the decade, the global workforce will experience widespread disruption, with many jobs being created and lost — or changing for good. That's according to joint research between PwC and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Nearly one-quarter of all jobs will be impacted by technology like generative AI, as nearly half of all tasks become automated. The repercussions of this mean that some jobs will be replaced, and at the same time, new jobs will emerge.

Knowing this, it begs the question: How can the global workforce sustain 24/7 service from anywhere to anyone when there are simply not enough skilled workers to fill the demand?

“Organizations have to act differently,” said Jonas Prising, CEO, ManpowerGroup, to the WEF. “Creating shareholder value can only be done in conjunction with taking care of employees, customers and communities. And that includes the responsibility to help people learn new skills, adapt for future jobs and to become creators of talent.”

We know that the skills gap continues to dampen productivity for many global enterprises. Some studies also reveal that the skills shortage is one factor contributing to the inflationary pressures as employers continue to outbid each other for the same constrained pool of skilled talent.

According to Korn Ferry’s report, Future of Work: The Global Talent Crunch, if left unchecked, by 2030 the cumulative impact of this talent shortage could cost $8.5 trillion dollars in unrealized annual revenue. As consequential as the cost of inaction is, the projections of taking a stand are just as prodigious. Consider the WEF research:

“… investment in reskilling and upskilling of the current global workforce has the potential to boost GDP by $6.5 trillion by 2030 while investing in future-ready education for today’s generation of school children could add an additional $2.54 trillion over the same period.”

What research like this shows is that the skills deficit is pervasive and daunting. And yet, the rewards that we all stand to reap from overcoming this great challenge will be far-reaching and significant.

But it will require a collaborative approach to solve — partnerships that go beyond the support side of global business.

Organizations are challenged to find innovators who can provide business creativity to solve problems and drive sustainable, valuable outcomes. Hiring managers struggle to find qualified individuals with mission-critical leadership skills, business acumen, artificial intelligence, data and analytics skills, software development experience, and cloud computing and cybersecurity expertise.

The skills gap is further exacerbated as technology evolves at an accelerated rate and redefines how to do business globally.

On an individual level, the economic disruption created by the pandemic gave people an opportunity to rethink and rebalance their lives and careers. Today, people view their jobs in a different light; they want careers that have a meaningful impact on their communities and enrich their own lives.

Businesses are being forced to adapt. Developing new skills is often cited as a key motivator for many workers. We have observed in our own work that organizations that meaningfully invest in upskilling and reskilling their employees materially improve employee retention and improve outcomes. This ultimately leads to sustained productivity and value for the business.

Businesses Must See the Importance of Reskilling and Upskilling

As this is largely an issue of supply and demand, it follows that businesses must close the gap by investing in the supply-side of their skills pipeline. Our traditional education institutions simply do not produce enough skilled talent to meet the demand, and they do not respond quickly to changes brought on by technology and other factors.

The need for people to learn new skills is paramount, but it also compounds the problem. Since these are skills that run the gamut across silos and verticals, it becomes challenging to find a single solution that can empower success for all.

Not just “hard skills” like coding, data science, cybersecurity, and cloud computing are lacking. The need for effective leadership has never been more important in what has become a highly virtualized, remote, and socially distant world.

In a time where most people are always online, connected, and instantly accessible, it is stunning how isolating and lonely the virtual workplace can be. The need for leadership has never been more critical in bringing teams together and rallying around a common goal.

Unfortunately, only 41% of organizations believe their leadership development programs build leaders in a way that benefits the business (Global Human Capital Trends 2019 report published by Deloitte).

Successful programs have adapted to develop a curriculum that offers balance, encompassing hard skills and power skills, like communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem-solving, empathy, teamwork, creativity, and adaptability.

Investing in employee skills is crucial for success, but only 34% of workers today feel supported by their organization’s skill development opportunities.

What Are Reskilling and Upskilling?

Upskilling and reskilling are two critical concepts that shape the landscape of professional development. Both are done in alignment with an organization’s strategic priorities and their current workforce or job architecture. In order to meet goals, organizations must have the right talent in place to carry out the work. If they don’t have employees on staff already, they must either hire someone new or upskill and reskill their existing base, which tends to be more popular and cost-effective.

Upskilling refers to enhancing existing skills or acquiring new ones that align with the changing demands of the job market. It's not just about learning new software or mastering a new tool; it involves broadening one's understanding of industry trends, emerging technologies, and evolving customer needs. By upskilling, professionals can enhance their marketability, improve their performance, and increase their value to their employers.

But what’s actually involved in upskilling individuals?

Learning programs often include a range of options to close a skills gap, including mentorship, on-demand courses, live training, and hands-on modules. At Skillsoft, we often see our clients create custom learning journeys that meet their unique needs at the time. Consider how DB Systel GmbH launched a program to upskill recent grads for the roles they need that require a specific skill set. Programs like this work to close a gap, while helping employees who have a baseline skill set build on their foundations.

On the other hand, reskilling focuses on learning entirely new skills, often to transition into a new career or adapt to significant industry changes. Reskilling is about reinvention. As industries evolve and certain roles become obsolete, professionals may find themselves needing to pivot into new areas. Reskilling is about leveraging transferable skills and experiences while learning new skills that are in demand in a different field or industry.

As employees build new skills, they can measure their progress through regular assessments. In Skillsoft’s case, these are called Skills Benchmarks, which test a person’s skills at one stage of their journey and then recommend training to close their skills gap — clarifying the exact training they should take to upskill or reskill. Then, employees test again later after completing training to see their progress. Along the way, they earn badges to recognize their efforts and validate their newly acquired skills.

As organizations launch programs to upskill or reskill their workforce, they often see the benefits take many forms, including a tangible return on investment. Cost savings in the form of reduced administration time, a lower training or talent acquisition cost, and even higher rates of productivity all contribute to a program’s success. Forrester Consulting produced Total Economic Impact studies for Skillsoft, showing how clients often see the returns for their training programs. See the impact of technology-focused training here.

Overall, upskilling and reskilling are strategic tools that individuals and organizations can leverage to stay relevant and competitive.

A Robust Reskilling and Upskillilng Strategy Makes Sense

According to Gallup, the cost of replacing an employee can be as high as two times the employee’s annual salary. Comparatively, upskilling or reskilling is a much smaller investment for a company than recruiting, hiring, and training a new employee.

Reskilling and upskilling employees does more than boost a company's bottom line, it creates a happier workforce.

For individuals, upskilling and reskilling offer pathways to career advancement, increased job security, and higher earning potential. Moreover, individuals who actively engage in upskilling and reskilling are likely to perform their job duties more efficiently, make fewer errors, and exhibit higher levels of work engagement.

The benefits of reskilling to individuals:

  • It helps employees see career advancement opportunities
  • They often feel more engaged at work
  • It boosts morale and productivity

In addition, employees who invest in learning and skill-building are more likely to stay up to date with industry trends, make better recommendations, and offer keener insights to clients.

On an organizational level, investing in upskilling and reskilling programs for employees can lead to a more skilled and productive workforce. Such investment helps organizations stay competitive, adapt to technological advancements, and drive business growth.

Organizations that prioritize training their existing employees are more likely to foster an adaptable workforce that's resilient to change over time. Upskilling and reskilling programs can effectively address skills gaps within the organization, reducing the need for external hiring.

The benefits of reskilling to organizations:

  • It improves retention and attracts new talent
  • Skilled, certified staff often add more value to the business
  • Training closes skills gaps that hamper progress

While reskilling and upskilling are solid strategies, not all skills, positions, and roles are the same. So, the next hurdle is — how can you invest in all your employees’ skills cost-effectively?

Many first movers are taking control of their employees' professional learning experiences using the newest insights learning science offers.

Read Next: How a Job Architecture Can Help Streamline Workforce Transformation

How to Leverage Technology for Reskilling Efforts

The same advances in technology that are in part contributing to the skills gap can help to close it. Leaders are looking for trusted, reliable, and (most importantly) effective learning solutions — a mechanism that accelerates productivity and doesn’t disrupt the flow of work. Employees want a marketable and intuitive pathway to learn skills they can use to contribute to the success of the business and also build their own capabilities.

“We are moving out of the era of video-based training, which has dominated the learning and development space over the last 15 years, and toward a future where hands-on, human-centric learning experiences will become the norm. This is driven by two key trends: the rise of digital social interactions and the advancement of AI,” says my colleague and Skillsoft CTO and CPO, Apratim Purakayastha. “What’s key to blended, interactive learning modalities is the “human element.” It can include hands-on platforms like Codecademy or conversation simulators like CAISY, as well as online coaching, instructor-led training, or bootcamps.”

Curated pathways or journeys that guide learners are increasingly critical, especially for higher-stakes outcomes; not everyone is naturally curious or fully understands what they need to learn. With so many options available today, learners can choose to consume live instruction, video content, reading, audio, or whatever works best, but the myriad of options can be overwhelming. They need encouragement and a level of didactic structure to help them on their way. Learning pathways and skill benchmarks correlated to in-demand roles help learners find their appropriate learning journey more readily.

Similarly, for those in leadership positions, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when the task is to plan the career development for a range of individual employees. Leaders seek an intuitive and scalable solution that can serve the various needs of their workforce — to provide personalization and structure that doesn't require a massive investment of time to enable.

As the skills that learners need change, so should how organizations teach those skills. Businesses need flexible, more diverse learning experiences if they want a scalable outcome. They cannot just hire their way out of the problem. This leads to increased competition and wage inflation for the same constrained pool of talent. Ultimately, they will just trade resources and dampen productivity.

To address this constantly evolving skill landscape, Skillsoft leverages technology and learning science to provide tools and activities that address many of these issues directly.

We offer solutions for:

  • Onboarding
  • Upskilling
  • Reskilling
  • Learning in the flow of work
  • Coaching for leaders
  • Project-based learning and hands-on practice
  • Cohort-based learning

We curate these solutions into a system of learning journeys, which offers a blend of learning resources, including self-study on-demand courses, hands-on labs, live instruction, coaching, and an expansive digital books library. We align these learning journeys to in-demand skills based on the analytics of more than 45 million learners and skills insights from partners like Burning Glass Technologies.

We believe that these capabilities provide the foundation to achieve workforce transformation at scale, ultimately enabling employers and employees alike to close the skills gap and reach their fullest potential. See how it works by getting a demo today.

Editor's note: This post was updated with expanded material on reskilling and upskilling in Jan. 2024.

]]>
Mary Draves on Employees’ Roles in Corporate Sustainability Initiatives https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/mary-draves-on-employees-roles-in-corporate-sustainability-initiatives Tue, 23 Jan 2024 06:54:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/mary-draves-on-employees-roles-in-corporate-sustainability-initiatives

Living up to our sustainability goals is a challenge we all face; it is not the sole responsibility of corporations. Yet, many lasting sustainability initiatives stem from corporate programs looking to make a difference for their employees, stakeholders, or the community at large.

To gain more perspective on the topic, the Skillsoft team interviewed sustainability leaders from a diverse set of organizations and industries and compiled these insights into a video series, Sustainability at Work, that is meant to showcase the experiences of real sustainability professionals.

Most recently, we spoke with Mary Draves, former chief sustainability officer at Dow, who talked to us about the link between business and nature. She told us that every individual has a role to play in corporate sustainability initiatives, but as a first step, it is the responsibility of every organization to translate its top-level goals into individual actions.

Meet Mary Draves

“My interest in sustainability started much younger than I would have ever imagined,” said Draves. “I grew up on a row crop farm, and we did things that were sustainable before sustainability was really ‘cool.’ We would grow all our own food; we traded with neighbors; we recycled everything.”

Fast forward to the work she did as an adult at Dow, a company with an unbelievably strong history and legacy of sustainability. Draves drew on her unique early childhood experiences to help leaders at Dow understand the intersection of business and nature – and how nature inherently promotes sustainable operations. Today, she works for the State Nature Conservancy Board in Michigan, which has contributed to many projects that are both good for business and good for nature.

One of the most critical things that Draves has learned throughout her career in sustainability is that every person in every company has a role to play. And Draves believes leadership must set that tone – making sure to be clear about the company’s intentions for sustainability.

When they understand the expectations from leadership, every individual must then make a concerted effort to carry out those intentions. From reducing waste, being inclusive, and understanding the company’s governance practices to understanding the company’s goals for carbon emissions and how the work that they do contributes to those goals, sustainability is not a solo venture.

“I think a lot of people feel like sustainability is somebody else’s problem,” said Draves. “But it is not. Sustainability is everyone’s issue. And if we collectively take small actions, those small actions build into big [collective] actions, which I think is particularly important.”

She pointed to an example of an office furniture company she consults with. They have an innovative circularity program, where they take all your organization’s old office furniture out, put it in a warehouse, and then use it to rebuild your office areas – like new or better. The company was having trouble figuring out how to communicate the program’s value because employees did not quite understand what circularity meant.

After working to better communicate the concept to employees, the company started to gain business because the people on the front lines were able to talk about the actual benefits of those sustainable practices. That’s why it’s imperative that every single employee – from the owners and executives of the company to all levels of the organization – understands what sustainability means to the company and its customers. Leaders must level-set, establish a strong tone from the top, and then translate what the corporate goals mean for every individual who works there.

Say It. Do It. Prove It.

When looking at sustainability practices as a whole, Draves considers “the whole picture of how you run your company, from your pay practices to your environmental policies to how you govern the way your board works – and everything in between.” And while there’s not a one-size-fits-all way to quantify success across sustainability initiatives, she outlined a model to help organizations track the efficacy of their programs, which she calls the Say, Do, Prove Model.

Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  1. Say: Set a goal.
  2. Do: Take action to achieve the goal.
  3. Prove: Prove that you took action towards that goal.

According to Draves, “Sustainability efforts need to be accompanied by actual data that has been audited by an independent third party to really prove that what an organization says it has done is real. There are many companies that set a goal and take some action to achieve it, but then they never actually prove it.”

The companies that are really achieving their sustainability objectives are typically those that can quantify their efforts in a way that is comparable and understandable to society at large.

Applying the Say, Do, Prove Model to DEI Initiatives

Draves believes this is especially valuable in organizations’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. More than ever before, workers consider DEI a key element of any company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy – and they expect organizations to clearly communicate the intention of their DEI programs, take actions to make their goals a reality, and quantify their efforts.

Said Draves: “When I talk to young people looking for jobs, there are a couple of things that they ask me very consistently. One is, ‘What are the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programs?’” These job seekers want to know if potential employers will accept them as they are.

And they are not looking to be pacified. Job seekers want to understand how employers will make these DEI goals a reality. And then they want to know if these efforts have worked; is the company on the right track to make progress against these goals?

The proof is in the culture. Companies who can show quantifiable progress in DEI initiatives are able to better recruit and retain top talent. Take a look, below, at some ways your organization might apply the model to its own DEI initiatives.

Say:

Do:

  • Inclusive Policies and Practices : Implement policies and practices that promote DEI. This could include unbiased recruitment and hiring processes, flexible work arrangements, mechanisms that promote a healthy speak-up culture, and mentorship programs.
  • Diverse Teams : Actively work to create diverse teams and ensure that employees from different backgrounds have opportunities for collaboration. Assign projects that require cross-functional and cross-cultural teamwork.

Prove:

  • Metrics and Accountability : Establish measurable goals and metrics to track progress in DEI initiatives. Regularly assess and report on diversity metrics, such as representation in leadership roles and employee retention and satisfaction.
  • Recognition and Rewards : Acknowledge and reward individuals and teams that actively contribute to a diverse and inclusive workplace. This reinforces the importance of DEI and encourages ongoing commitment.

By applying the Say, Do, Prove Model to DEI initiatives, organizations can go beyond mere statements and ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are integrated into their culture and practices. This approach promotes a more comprehensive understanding of DEI, encourages practical application, and provides a framework for ongoing evaluation and improvement.

The Say, Do, Prove Model implies a group effort within organizations to create a culture that genuinely embraces the principles that matter to that organization – whether they are related to sustainability, DEI, or something else. Achieving success in any of these areas requires a collective commitment and effort, and not a reliance on individual actions alone.

]]>
What Is AWS? A Guide for Learners and Leaders https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-is-aws-a-guide-for-learners-and-leaders Mon, 22 Jan 2024 07:05:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-is-aws-a-guide-for-learners-and-leaders

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has revolutionized how businesses approach technology and cloud computing. Understanding AWS's potential can be transformative for your team and organization. This guide delves into what AWS is, how it can benefit your organization, and why AWS certification training could be a pivotal step for your team.

What is AWS?

Amazon Web Services, or just AWS, offers cloud computing services and resources on a pay-as-you-go basis, including computing power, storage options, networking, and databases. AWS enables businesses and individuals to build and run applications and services in the cloud, offering scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency.

This comprehensive and evolving platform includes services like Amazon EC2 for virtualized computing power and S3 for scalable storage solutions, positioning itself as a blend of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS).

What’s AWS Used For?

AWS is a powerhouse in the cloud computing realm, offering an extensive range of services that cater to many use cases across various industries. Whether you're in IT, running a large enterprise, or part of a growing startup, AWS has the tools and resources to serve you with a suite of tools and resources tailored to various applications:

  • Web Hosting: Scalable, reliable, and cost-effective solutions for hosting web applications.
  • Data Storage and Backup: Services like Amazon S3 and Glacier offer unparalleled durability and security for data storage needs.
  • Disaster Recovery: Tools for backing up critical data and ensuring business continuity.
  • Big Data Analytics: Analyze large datasets efficiently with Amazon EMR and Redshift.
  • Application Hosting: Deploy various applications using AWS Elastic Beanstalk and EC2.
  • Machine Learning and AI: Build and deploy ML models with Amazon SageMaker.
  • IoT: Connect and manage IoT devices with AWS IoT Core.
  • Mobile and Web Development: Develop and scale applications with AWS Amplify and related services.
  • Serverless Computing: Run code without server management using AWS Lambda.
  • DevOps and CI/CD: Automate software delivery with tools like AWS CodeBuild, CodeDeploy, and CodePipeline.

Key AWS Services

Various AWS services cater to different organizational needs, offering specialized solutions that align with specific aspects of business operations.

  • Compute: AWS offers compute services, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), and Amazon Lightsail.
  • Storage: AWS provides storage services, including Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), and Amazon Glacier.
  • Databases: AWS database services include Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Aurora.
  • Networking: AWS offers networking services like Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Amazon CloudFront, and Amazon Route 53.
  • Analytics: AWS services include Amazon Redshift, Amazon Kinesis, and Amazon Athena.
  • Machine learning: AWS offers machine learning services, which include Amazon SageMaker, Amazon Rekognition, and Amazon Polly.

What Are the Benefits of AWS for Your Organization?

AWS offers essential scalability, cost-effectiveness, reliability, security, and innovation.

  • Scalability: Adjust resources easily to match business demands.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Reduce expenses associated with on-premises infrastructure.
  • Reliability: High uptime for consistent service availability.
  • Security: Advanced features to protect sensitive data and ensure compliance.
  • Innovation: Deploy new solutions quickly, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Headwinds in Cloud: Skills Remain in Short Supply

According to the IT Skills and Salary report, over half of IT leaders say their team's networking skills fall between medium and low. Relatively few feel confident in their team's abilities in this area (only 7% say they have "high" confidence).

While adopting AWS, your organization may face challenges like skill gaps, cost management, and security concerns. By addressing these effectively through precise planning and skill assessments, your organization can begin leveraging AWS's resources and best practices.

With two-thirds of IT leaders facing a cloud skills gap, upskilling in-house teams becomes crucial. Certifications can bridge this gap, as shown in Skillsoft's IT Skills and Salary Report.

Investing in AWS Certification Training

AWS certification training provides comprehensive resources, hands-on learning, recognized certifications and access to a global community. For IT leaders, this translates to increased team engagement, enhanced customer satisfaction, and better efforts in meeting regulatory compliance.

Certifications make a difference in other ways, too. They lead to shorter resolution times, help projects move faster, make deployments smoother, and ensure employee retention edges up as well.

Why pursue AWS certification?

AWS provides several benefits to IT leaders looking to upskill and train their teams. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Access to a wide range of training resources: AWS offers a comprehensive suite of training resources, including instructor-led courses, self-paced labs, and online tutorials, allowing IT leaders to tailor their training programs to their team's needs.
  2. Hands-on learning opportunities: AWS provides various hands-on learning opportunities, such as AWS Free Tier and AWS Partner Network (APN) sandboxes, so that IT professionals can gain practical experience with AWS products and services.
  3. Industry-recognized certifications: AWS offers a variety of industry-recognized certifications, such as the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional certification, helping IT professionals advance their careers and earn higher salaries.
  4. Access to a global community of experts: AWS has a large and active community of experts, including AWS certified instructors, partners (like Skillsoft), and customers, allowing IT professionals to connect with others and learn from their experiences.
  5. Reduced time to market: IT leaders can use AWS to deploy new applications and services quickly and easily, helping businesses to innovate and gain a competitive advantage.

AWS offers a valuable resource for leaders to upskill and train their teams. Upskilling can boost several aspects of a business's IT operations. Empowering team members to achieve AWS certifications benefits the organization through improved team competence, enhanced credibility, and staying current with the latest technology trends.

AWS certification has the following benefits for your organization:

  • Increased employee engagement and retention: Employees trained and certified in AWS are likelier to be engaged in their work and stay with their company.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: When IT professionals are trained and certified in AWS, they can better support customers and quickly resolve issues.
  • Reduced risk of outages and downtime: When IT professionals are trained and certified in AWS, they can better manage and maintain their infrastructure, which can help to reduce the risk of outages and downtime.

In addition to the benefits listed above, AWS training and certification can also help IT leaders to:

  • Build a pipeline of talent: AWS training and certification can help IT leaders identify and develop future leaders.
  • Attract and retain top talent: Investments in AWS training and professional development can help attract and retain top talent.
  • Meet regulatory compliance requirements: Some industries have regulatory compliance requirements that require training and certification.

Overall, AWS training and certification can provide many benefits to leaders. By investing in AWS training and certification, IT leaders can help their teams develop the skills they need to succeed in the cloud-native world.

How to Map Your Learning Journey

Everyone’s career takes twists and turns, so no two journeys will be the same. However, there are simplified paths that you can use as a guide or map for landing your ideal job or earning a certification. For an architect starting from the very beginning, it may look something like what’s illustrated below. You can find more examples here.

What this shows is a map to the finish line. It shows a starting point, the journey through the middle, and then the final stages before completion. But what does the end look like for you?

This is one of the best places to start. Ask yourself what you want to do or accomplish. What interests you? Are you after a certification or new skills? Answering questions like these can help bring clarity to what the journey ahead may look like — or at least the first few steps.

Keep reading to get more tips and guidance:

Step 1: Setting goals and assessing skills.

  • For learners, it’s important to have a goal to remain organized and motivated. Goals could be skills they want to build or a job they want to hold.
  • After setting their goals, the next step is to assess their knowledge and skills. This could be done through skills assessments. Knowing their strengths and gaps will help inform what training to take.
  • Next, delve into AWS-specific courses to gain in-depth knowledge of AWS services, best practices and roles. Consider training for industry-recognized certifications to validate your skills and stand out to potential employers.

Step 2: Gaining hands-on experience with AWS

  • Utilize AWS's Free Tier to experiment with AWS services and build practical projects without incurring costs.
  • Participate in hands-on AWS workshops and labs to gain practical experience deploying, managing, and troubleshooting AWS infrastructure.
  • Contribute to open-source projects on AWS to gain real-world experience and collaborate with experienced AWS professionals.

Step 3: Exploring Jobs You Aspire to

  • As mentioned, skilled professionals with expertise in AWS are in demand but short in supply. As learners work through their training, they should find opportunities to work with others who sit in the roles they want. This could be informative interviews or meetings, or it could be stretch projects that allow them to contribute to active projects while they learn.
  • Begin building a portfolio to showcase your skills and interests. And gather feedback from your network.
  • Finally, find resources to help you land the job. That could be resume building, interview prep, social networking and more. (See Codecademy’s Career Center to start.)

Step 4: Advancing to more senior AWS roles

  • With experience and expertise, you can progress to more specialty AWS roles.
  • In these roles, you will be responsible for designing, implementing, and managing complex AWS environments, ensuring their security, reliability, and scalability.
  • You will also have the opportunity to mentor and guide junior AWS professionals, contributing to the growth and development of the AWS community.

Step 5: Becoming an AWS expert and leader

  • As you gain experience and expertise, you can establish yourself as an AWS expert and leader in the field. You can contribute to AWS documentation, participate in open-source projects, and speak at AWS conferences to share your knowledge and insights.
  • You can pursue specialized AWS certifications, such as the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty or AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional certifications, to demonstrate your expertise further.
  • With continued dedication and expertise, you can advance to senior leadership positions, such as principal engineer or director, overseeing the strategy for an organization and leading a team of highly skilled professionals.

Remember, this is just one potential career journey. You can take many different paths to achieve your goals in the AWS Cloud and AWS services field. The most important thing is to learn, grow and seek opportunities to gain experience.

Start Your Learning Journey Today

AWS offers tech professionals at all levels unprecedented opportunities to enhance skills, innovate, and drive organizational growth. Explore certification training options through Global Knowledge and Skillsoft for comprehensive cloud mastery.

Transform your team with AWS skills. Discover comprehensive AWS certification training at Global Knowledge and Skillsoft, and start your journey to cloud excellence today.

]]>
A Practical Guide to Mastering Real-World Compliance Scenarios https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/a-practical-guide-to-mastering-real-world-compliance-scenarios Wed, 17 Jan 2024 11:36:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/a-practical-guide-to-mastering-real-world-compliance-scenarios

When the captain activates the “fasten seatbelt” sign on an airplane, are you the type of person who studies the flight attendant’s face for signs of distress so you can effectively gauge whether you are really in danger? When a smoke alarm is activated, do you look around for any indication that it was triggered in error before finding the nearest exit?

In the face of an emergency, real or perceived, bystanders often hesitate to take action. Experts have hypothesized that this type of shock is driven by fear. The fear of being unable to assist effectively, a concern that we might misinterpret the situation and perceive a threat where none exists, and sometimes, anxiety about potential personal risks if we intervene.

First responders are trained to disregard these types of stress cues to effectively take action in an emergency, but I feel the rest of us could use some practice.

That said, getting the real-world practice you need by only watching a training video can be challenging – especially regarding compliance issues. And that’s where CAISYTM, Skillsoft’s Conversation AI Simulator, comes in. CAISY simulates honest conversations with AI-powered colleagues and delivers an output to recognize when you get the dialogue right. Conversely, it points out your blind spots and helps you improve on them.

When we launched CAISY in September, it primarily dealt with Leadership & Business scenarios related to first-time managers or diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). But now, CAISY boasts a handful of scenarios related to compliance. These include:

  • Best Practices for Protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  • Delivering Respectful Communication to Employees
  • Handling a report of Harassment or Discrimination
  • Strategic Business Activity or Bribe?

How Can CAISY Improve Your Organization’s Compliance Training?

Achieving and maintaining compliance in real-life situations is often trickier than training scenarios for various reasons. First, the real world is complex, and compliance usually involves navigating instant, dynamic situations with multiple variables.

Training scenarios may oversimplify or not fully capture the intricacies and challenges faced in everyday business operations. Additionally, human behavior can be unpredictable. Training scenarios may assume specific responses, but real-life situations involve diverse personalities, motivations, adrenaline levels and decision-making processes that are hard to replicate accurately.

Second, compliance probably intersects with your organization’s business operations. So, ensuring compliance may require coordination across departments and functions, introducing complexities that – again – may be simplified in training scenarios. Global events can also influence compliance efforts, and training scenarios may not adequately simulate the external pressures and uncertainties that organizations face.

And finally, real-life compliance issues sometimes involve ethical dilemmas and gray areas where the right course of action may not be clear-cut. Training scenarios may present more straightforward situations, not thoroughly preparing individuals for the ethical complexities they may encounter. For example, real-world problems demand quick and effective responses. They need to consider organizational culture, historical context, and specific industry dynamics, which training scenarios may not fully capture.

Skillsoft’s CAISY helps you build competence and confidence in handling unique compliance issues by providing employees with an emotionally safe space to practice difficult conversations and get feedback. Additional benefits include:

  • CAISY presents learners with a business scenario and plays the other person’s role in the conversation. Each conversation is unique, and reflective of the dynamic situations you might encounter in real life.
  • CAISY scores the interaction with a proficiency level.
  • CAISY identifies strengths and areas for improvement and will soon provide personalized learning recommendations to help the learner improve and try again.

We currently have 60 scenarios available within CAISY via Skillsoft Percipio, Skillsoft’s AI-driven online skilling platform, inclusive of our compliance scenarios. Consider some of the following compliance scenarios.

Best Practices for Protecting PII

How can you protect PII within your organization? Protecting PII is crucial to preventing data breaches, complying with regulations, and building a culture of security. This CAISY scenario ensures that your team knows what to say and do when a difficult situation arises that puts PII at risk. By identifying vulnerabilities and learning to address them within CAISY, your team can save costs associated with actual data breaches, maintain stakeholder trust, and ensure compliance with data protection regulations.

Delivering Respectful Communication to Employees

Every employee within your organization must practice respectful communication in alignment with your cultural norms.

Not only does this foster positive relationships, prevent misunderstandings, and enhance team collaboration, but it also helps to establish a culture of collaboration and compliance. CAISY enables a proactive approach that helps avoid conflicts arising from cultural differences, promotes inclusivity, and adapts leadership styles to suit diverse preferences.

Not only that but practicing respectful communication contributes to global business competence in an increasingly interconnected world.

Handling a Report of Harassment or Discrimination

Managers can use CAISY to practice taking reports of harassment or discrimination to ensure a swift, effective, and compliant response.

Not only does this create a safe and trusting work environment, but it also prevents escalation and contributes to the overall well-being of employees. By building trust and maintaining a positive organizational culture, managers can help your organization reduce liability and demonstrate a commitment to preventing and addressing inappropriate behavior.

Strategic Business Activity or Bribe?

Your team can benefit from hands-on practice assessing whether the circumstances of a gift, travel, or entertainment (GT&E) might be considered a bribe. Business is complex, and this topic, in particular, is often open to interpretation.

Regular practice with CAISY is an educational tool that helps managers and employees understand bribery risks, recognize red flags, and adhere to fair business practices.


Practice Makes Perfect: Navigating Difficult Compliance Situations Beyond Training Videos

Mastering compliance in the real world requires a nuanced understanding beyond the confines of training scenarios. The complexity of dynamic situations, the unpredictability of human behavior, and the intricate intersections of compliance with various organizational functions all contribute to the challenges faced in everyday business operations.

Achieving and maintaining compliance demands a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted challenges that arise, acknowledging the uncertainties, ethical dilemmas, and intricate dynamics inherent in the complex tapestry of everyday business operations.

This depth of understanding can be captured via CAISY. It can empower individuals and organizations to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of compliance with resilience and integrity.

]]>
The 20 Top-Paying Microsoft Certifications in 2024 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/top-paying-microsoft-certifications Tue, 16 Jan 2024 07:26:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/top-paying-microsoft-certifications

More than any other vendor, Microsoft applications, services and capabilities sit at the top of tech leaders' priority list, according to Skillsoft's annual IT Skills and Salary Report. In fact, this has been the case for several years running — a trend that parallels the growing demand for what cloud computing offers.

The long-running migration to the cloud has convinced the world over of its benefits, from cost savings to flexibility, reliability and even security. But what holds many back from maturing their efforts is a skills gap.

Most tech leaders are dealing with an unwavering gap, given the pace of change in the industry and continued trouble hiring professionals with the skills they need. When it comes to cloud computing, only 13% feel very confident in their team's abilities. The majority (37%) of leaders assess their teams' skills as somewhere in the middle between novice and expert.

Cloud computing, in particular, has consistently been a trying discipline. This year, it's no different. It's the third toughest practice to hire for after AI and cybersecurity. Meanwhile, it's a top investment area for those in leadership, with the highest percentage of decision-makers specifying Microsoft as a priority.

Knowing this, it pays to know which skills or credentials can help organizations close their gaps.

Again this year, we dug into the IT Skills and Salary survey data to learn about the people who hold Microsoft certifications, how much they make (on average), and how these certifications benefit individuals and organizations. Around the world, 1,366 people reported having earned a Microsoft certification already — 346 reside in the US.

Keep reading to see the latest findings and see our methodology for this list at the end of the post.

The 20 Highest-Paying Microsoft Certifications Worldwide

CERTIFICATIONS
AVERAGE SALARY

Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate

$100,512

Microsoft Certified: Azure Network Engineer Associate

$97,343

Microsoft 365 Certified: Administrator Expert

$95,953

Microsoft Certified: Cybersecurity Architect Expert

$94,321

Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate

$93,812

Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate

$93,789

Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert

$92,909

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate

$87,417

Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate

$86,971

Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate

$85,446

Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

$85,257

Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert

$84,139

Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals

$83,456

Microsoft Certified: Security Operations Analyst Associate

$82,364

Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate

$81,316

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals

$79,327

Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals

$75,368

Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals

$74,806

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

$74,430

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

$74,146

How to Earn Certifications like These

Microsoft's certification can be pivotal for IT professionals at all levels. Such certifications often increase earnings, lead to promotions, and far more.

See the training, whether that’s in-person

or on-demand, that can help you earn certifications like those listed above. Or, find courses on popular skills — like Python or C# — to support your mission to unlock these credentials.

What Do They Pay in the US?*

CERTIFICATIONS
AVERAGE SALARY

Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate

$129,253

Microsoft Certified: Azure Network Engineer Associate

$180,580

Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert

$150,356

Microsoft Certified: Cybersecurity Architect Expert

$147,740

Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate

$156,398

Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate

$98,042

Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert

$133,829

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate

$124,778

Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate

$149,971

Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate

$151,077

Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

$136,674

Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert

$127,429

Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals

$126,517

Microsoft Certified: Security Operations Analyst Associate

$118,643

Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate

$122,059

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals

$115,182

Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals

$124,911

Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals

$113,574

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

$120,461

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

$120,622

*Given the sample size of US respondents, the salaries presented here are for continuity only.

Characteristics of the Average Microsoft Certification-Holder

The average Microsoft certification-holder has unlocked more than one credential, often from more than one vendor or body, according to this year’s survey. Compared the year prior, the average certification-holder globally — including Microsoft and all other certification bodies we ask about — had nearly twice as many credentials, which can have an impact on their income, their role and more. Naturally, other factors affect earnings too, like whether they manage people or their tenure in the industry.

It's important to know that some overlap also exists among certification-holders. For example, those who reported having a foundational certification may also have one or more of Microsoft’s associate or expert-level role-based certifications too.

Below, find more context on what the average Microsoft certification-holder looks like. Then, keep reading to learn about the certifications listed above and what it takes to earn them.

Average age

39

Manage a team

40%

Have a cybersecurity certification

49%

Have earned a certification in the past year

71%

Average number of certifications

9

Common cross-certification bodies

AWS, CompTIA, ITIL

1. Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate

The Azure Developer Associate certification is for developers specializing in creating, testing, and maintaining cloud applications on Azure. To qualify, candidates must pass the AZ-204 exam, testing their abilities to develop and secure Azure solutions, integrate services, and optimize application performance. These professionals can reliably develop compute solutions, working cross-functionally with others to meet business and technical requirements.

Microsoft recommends having at least two years of experience working with Azure and as a professional developer. You should be proficient in languages such as C# or Python and the following:

  • SDK
  • Data storage options
  • Data connections
  • APIs
  • App authentication and authorization
  • Compute and container deployment
  • Debugging

2. Microsoft 365 Certified: Administrator Expert

The Administrator Expert certification is for IT professionals who specialize in implementing, managing, and securing Microsoft 365 tenants. This certification demonstrates a commitment to best practices and helps organizations maximize the value and security of their Microsoft investments.

To qualify for this certification, candidates are required to pass the MS-102 exam. This exam evaluates a candidate’s knowledge and skills in managing identity, access, security, compliance, and supporting technologies, using Microsoft 365 solutions like Entra ID, Purview and Defender.

However, before sitting the exam, you must have earned a prerequisite associate-level certification:

  • Endpoint Administrator Associate
  • Messaging Administrator Associate
  • Team Administrator Associate
  • Identity and Access Administrator Associate
  • Information Protection and Compliance Administrator Associate

3. Microsoft Certified: Cybersecurity Architect Expert

Cybersecurity architects create an organization’s security strategy and work cross-functionally to put plans into motion. They must have deep expertise in implementing Zero Trust security strategies for a range of solutions, including identity, data, network, DevOps and more. Their domain doesn’t end there, often extending into GRC, SecOps and posture management.

To earn this expert-level certification, candidates must pass one of the following exams: SC-200, SC-300, or AZ-500, preferably before taking the main exam (SC-100). There are three prerequisite, associate-level certifications:

  • Azure Security Engineer Associate
  • Identity and Access Administrator Associate
  • Security Operations Analyst Associate

4. Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate

A Microsoft security engineer keeps a close eye on an organization’s resources. Their duties involve monitoring solutions across Azure and an organization’s infrastructure, while making recommendations to bolster efforts via security components or configurations. Incident management is also a part of the job, as is working with others to carry out security strategies.

To earn this certification, candidates must be able to administer an Azure environment, including hybrid or multicloud, and have experience with Microsoft’s solutions for compute, network and storage. Then, pass the AZ-500 exam.

5. Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate

Azure AI engineers develop end-to-end, secure solutions after gathering product requirements. These engineers work with architects and others across the development cycle to build, deploy, integrate, and maintain solutions across applications. Proficiency in C# and Python or similar languages is required.

You’ll unlock this certification once you’ve completed the AI-102 exam, which tests candidates on their abilities to develop a range of solutions — generative AI, natural language processing, computer vision — using Azure AI.

6. Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert

The focus of DevOps engineers, according to Microsoft, is continuous delivery for the organization. You serve as a subject matter expert to develop solutions with your team. Most often, those with this certification are working with developers, SREs and Azure administrators to carry out strategies for a range of duties, including:

  • Collaboration
  • Source control
  • Security and compliance
  • Continuous integration
  • Testing and delivery

Experience developing in Azure is a requirement for those pursuing this certification, along with familiarity with GitHub. Candidates can earn this credential after completing a prerequisite certification — Azure Administrator Associate or Azure Developer Associate — and then passing the AZ-400 exam.

7. Microsoft Certified: Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate

Enterprise data analysts can manage a commensurate analytics solution. These professionals have advanced experience with Azure, Power BI and tools like Power Query. Those who work in these roles often do so alongside data engineers and scientists, architects and others whose mission is to also deliver advanced data analytics solutions.

Candidates must pass the DP-500 exam to earn this certification, which measures their abilities to manage an analytics environment and models, query and visualize data, and more.

8. Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate

The main objective of data engineers is bringing systems together to create meaningful solutions. Often, it’s fashioning a solution from a blend of sources into an intelligible dataset using tools of the trade. For this certification, that means being familiar with these Azure solutions: Data Factory, Synapse Analytics, Stream Analytics, and several others. Candidates must also be proficient in languages like SQL or Python.

An associate-level exam, there are no formal prerequisites for this certification. However, candidates must pass the DP-203 test, which verifies their abilities to design solutions for data storage and processing.

9. Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate

Pursuing this certification requires a breadth of knowledge and expertise on managing Windows Server on-premises, hybrid and cloud workloads. Working collaboratively with other administrators or architects, these professionals manage solutions for identity, compute, networking and more. Their responsibilities encompass security, troubleshooting and disaster recovering too. Tools you must be familiar with:

  • Windows Admin Center
  • PowerShell
  • Azure Arc
  • IaaS virtual machine (VM) administration

Unlike some other Microsoft certifications, this one requires candidates pass two exams: AZ-800 and AZ-801. These test a candidate’s abilities on a plethora of skills, including managing Active Directory Domain Services, Windows Servers, virtual machines and containers, and far more.

10. Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate

Those who intend to pursue this certification have a focus on managing their organization’s communication solutions, like Microsoft Teams and 365. This job encompasses working cross-functionally with others to manage workloads, implement Teams Phone or Rooms solutions, and uphold security and GRC.

Candidates will earn this certification after passing the MS-700 exam, which tests their knowledge on configuring a Teams environment, familiarity with tools like SharePoint, OneDrive, Exchange and Entra ID.

11. Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

As an Azure Solutions Architect, these professionals plan and carry out well-architected solutions that meet business requirements. These solutions would involve everything from networking to disaster recovering and governance. This is a highly cross-functional role, often involving business stakeholders and partners across the IT department, including developers and engineers, who will support the proposed solutions. Architects going after this certification must be familiar with Azure administration and development, and DevOps processes.

Unlocking this certification starts with completing the prerequisite certification: Azure Administrator Associate. Then, candidates must pass the AZ-305 exam.

12. Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert

DevOps engineers who wish to earn this certification work collaboratively, focus on continuous delivery, and know their way around Azure and GitHub. These professionals work with other developers, SREs and administrators to develop and deliver solutions that support their organization’s overarching strategies.

To earn this certification, candidates must first unlock a prerequisite certification — Azure Administrator Associate or Azure Developer Associate — and then pass the AZ-400 exam, which covers configuring processes, source control, release pipelines and more.

13. Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals

A fundamental-level certification, this credential is the baseline starting point for a career in engineering or development or data science. It’s even suitable for students who plan on pursuing careers in artificial intelligence and want to deepen their knowledge of AI workloads, within the context of Azure. Microsoft says those who plan to sit the exam should have some knowledge of cloud concepts and client-server apps.

Earning this certification requires passing the AI-900 exam, which tests a candidate’s knowledge on AI workloads, the principles of machine learning on Azure, and more. It’s best suited for AI engineers, developers and scientists — or those who wish to hold down one of these jobs.

14. Microsoft Certified: Security Operations Analyst Associate

The main objective of a security operations analyst, according to Microsoft, is to reduce risk. This could mean staving off active threats or attacks, or it could mean bolstering an organization’s existing security strategy. Analysts often focus on threat hunting and incident response. When active, it’s important for these professionals to work with others in the organization to keep the systems secure.

Candidates must pass the SC-200 exam to unlock this certification. It tests their knowledge on mitigating threats, using tools like Microsoft 365 Defender and Sentinel.

15. Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate

Administrators who chase this certification should have experience managing identity and access management for their organizations, inclusive of users, devices and workloads. According to Microsoft, candidates often work cross-collaboratively to provide users with access experiences that they can navigate independently. What benefits those who plan to sit the exam is experience with Microsoft Entra ID, automating tasks with PowerShell, and Kusto Query Language (KQL).

There are no formal prerequisites to earn this certification, but candidates must pass the SC-300 exam. It tests candidates’ knowledge on managing user identities, implementing authentication and governance.

16. Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals

Like other fundamental-level certifications, this credential is the entry point for those who hope to work with data in the cloud, like database administrators or data analysts. While training for this certification, candidates learn about core data concepts and build on Azure Fundamentals.

Microsoft stresses the importance of knowing the skills tested before registering for the exam (DP-900). Candidates are tested on core data concepts, relational and non-relational data on Azure, and analytics workloads.

17. Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals

By earning this certification, candidates prove their knowledge in the foundations of cloud computing and, more specifically, the Microsoft 365 platform. Those with this certification have validated their knowledge of core compute concepts, the benefits of the cloud, and several Microsoft products.

Those pursuing this certification must sit the MS-900 certification, which focuses on cloud concepts and the Microsoft 365 platform. Like other fundamental-level certifications, the exam for this one costs $99.

18. Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals

As is the case with other fundamental-level certifications, this is meant for those who wish to take the first step in their learning journey. Specifically, this one focuses on Microsoft’s security, compliance and identity (SCI) solutions. It helps validate a professional’s foundational knowledge of the solutions and the baseline concepts within each domain. Before sitting the exam, it helps to have familiarity with networking or cloud, and general experience with IT environments or specifically Microsoft 365.

Candidates must pass the SC-900 exam to earn this certification. It tests on the core SCI concepts and several Microsoft tools, like Entra ID. It costs $99.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

This is the starting point for anyone whose career leads them to Azure. The goal behind this certification is to help candidates nail down the core concepts of working on the Azure platform and prepare for Microsoft’s role-based certifications that come after. Training for this certification covers the high-level administration and architecture of Azure. It helps to have experience in IT or similar fields prior to pursuing this one.

Interested this certification? You’ll have to sit the exam, AZ-900, which tests on cloud concepts, Azure management, architecture and more.

How We Built This List

This list of top-paying Microsoft certifications is based on survey responses from Skillsoft’s 2023 IT Skills and Salary Survey conducted from May to September 2023. 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 (including Microsoft), certification bodies, and Skillsoft.

The focus of this list is on 1,366 respondents who reported having one or more Microsoft certifications. When reporting salary figures, Skillsoft looks for at least 50 survey responses before considering relevance, demand and other factors. The salaries reported for US-based respondents largely fall below that threshold, with two exceptions: Azure Fundamentals and Azure Administrator Associate. They are presented for continuity but lack statistical relevance. Salaries are not normalized for cost-of-living or location.

]]>
Happy National Mentoring Month! https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/happy-national-mentoring-month Tue, 09 Jan 2024 08:51:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/happy-national-mentoring-month

January is National Mentoring Month, an annual celebration of the people who share their knowledge, experience, and support with individuals in a professional setting. National Mentoring Month was established 21 years ago by the Harvard School of Public Health to expand mentoring opportunities.

My guess is that you have benefited from mentors throughout your professional journey, much as I have. Great mentors have taught me how to lead in a way that builds those around me; how to create a personal brand that reflects both my character and competence; and how to steer my career in a way that makes a meaningful impact and brings me joy.

As you read this article, I invite you to reflect on what you’ve learned from your mentors as well as what impact you might have by mentoring others.

Exploring the Role of a Mentor

Generally, a mentor’s role is to foster their mentee’s growth, development, and success by offering guidance on career-related matters, sharing experiences, providing feedback, and serving as a role model. Mentoring relationships are often characterized by open communication, trust, and a mutual commitment to the mentee’s development. They can take various forms, from formal mentorship programs within organizations to informal, one-on-one connections between individuals.

Mentoring is certainly not new, and you might even be aware of some of the more publicized mentor/mentee relationships:

  • As far back as 400 BC, we know that Socrates mentored Plato. Plato, in turn, mentored Aristotle.
  • Steven Spielberg hired J.J. Abrams when he was just 16 years old to clean and tape old movies to prevent them from getting lost.
  • Bill Gates turned to Warren Buffett for advice on various business-related subjects.
  • And even in fiction, Professor Dumbledore mentored Harry Potter as he progressed through Hogwarts.

What’s the Difference Between Mentoring and Coaching?

Here at Skillsoft, we often see the concept of mentoring confused with coaching. And while the terms “mentor” and “coach” are often used interchangeably, there are subtle differences in their roles and approaches.

Purpose and Focus: A mentor typically provides guidance, support, and advice based on their own experiences and expertise – taking a more holistic approach to personal and professional development. A coach focuses on specific goals and objectives. Coaching is usually task-oriented, aiming to enhance performance, develop skills, or overcome specific challenges.

Relationship Dynamics: The mentor/mentee relationship is often more informal and may involve a long-term connection. Coaching, on the other hand, offers a more structured relationship and may be short-term or project-specific. Coaches work to facilitate the client’s self-discovery and problem-solving.

Expertise and Experience: Mentors typically have experience and expertise in the mentee’s field or industry. They draw upon their success and challenges to guide the mentee. Coaches may not necessarily have specific expertise in the client’s field. Instead, they use coaching skills to help clients explore and find their solutions.

Goal Setting: Mentoring may involve broader life and career discussions. Goals may be less specific and more focused on overall development. Conversely, coaching often consists of setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. The coach helps the client work toward these goals.

Feedback and Evaluation: Mentors provide input based on personal experiences and observations. Evaluation is often more subjective. Coaches provide feedback based on observed behaviors and outcomes. Evaluation is often more objective and tied to specific goals.

Initiation of Relationship: Mentoring relationships may develop more organically, often initiated by a senior professional offering guidance to a junior one. Coaching relationships are usually undertaken by the individual seeking coaching or by an organization for specific skill development.

In practice, individuals may exhibit characteristics of both mentors and coaches, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably depending on the context. However, understanding these nuances can help select the most appropriate support for different situations.

View Skillsoft’s Coaching Corner 15-minute webinar series to better understand who our coaches are and what a coaching relationship might look like for your organization.

How Hybrid Work Has Altered Mentorship

At Skillsoft, our coaching program is primarily virtual – which has translated well into this new era of hybrid work. However, mentorship has become more complicated as it must increasingly occur in virtual settings.

Today, it is expected to see mentorship interactions occur through video calls, emails, and other digital communication tools, allowing for flexibility and accessibility. And while this means that mentors and mentees must make a concerted effort to schedule time with each other, the silver lining is that participants can coordinate meetings around their work and personal commitments – making mentorship more accessible and accommodating for both parties.

Hybrid work has also enabled mentorship relationships to transcend geographical boundaries. Mentors and mentees can connect and collaborate regardless of physical location, providing opportunities for diverse perspectives and global networking. And because hybrid work often involves various technologies and digital platforms, mentors may now guide mentees on leveraging technology for professional development, such as virtual training, online courses, and digital networking.

Finally, because hybrid work places a greater emphasis on outcomes and results rather than traditional measures of work based on physical presence, mentors may help mentees set and achieve goals in this results-oriented environment. In some ways, this is reminiscent of coaching, where establishing specific and actionable goals is a crucial component of employee success.

Read more about Adobe’s initiative to provide leadership coaching at scale.

Are you looking to establish a coaching program at your organization? Download our free guide on how to build future-fit leaders through coaching.

]]>
Learn How to Give Feedback https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/learn-how-to-give-feedback Tue, 09 Jan 2024 08:45:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/learn-how-to-give-feedback

Feedback is an effective way of coaching people to do the best work they can.

But providing direct, specific, and actionable feedback can be intimidating. It is a power skill, and one that managers typically learn over time as they become more experienced. Not to mention, there are conflicting opinions about how to best offer feedback. Here are many popular models of doing this, but here are two that come to mind:

1. The Feedback Sandwich

When I first became a manager, I was told that the easiest way to provide negative feedback was to “sandwich it” between compliments or praise. For example, “You are so creative. But, your recent project strayed too far from our brand message, so we’ll have to revamp it. I can’t wait to see what ideas you come up with next.

However, according to Wharton Professor Adam Grant, data shows that “Giving a compliment sandwich might make the giver feel good, but it doesn’t help the receiver.” And he might be right. Feedback must be direct and actionable – and the feedback sandwich leaves too much room for ambiguity.

2. The Situation-Behavior-Impact (SBI) Method

Often held as the gold standard in giving feedback, the SBI Method is relatively straightforward. Call attention to what happened, talk about the specific behaviors you observed, and explain the impact of those behaviors on the team or the organization. In this way, you can provide context for the feedback and offer team members constructive advice for improvement.

Some professionals follow the SBII Method of feedback, which adds “intent” as a last step in the process. Managers are encouraged to inquire about the original intent behind the behavior of their direct reports. This helps to draw a parallel between the impact and the intent and create more coachable moments.

But how can you give your managers low-risk opportunities to develop their feedback skills – before embarking on these difficult conversations in real life?

Skillsoft CAISY Conversation AI Simulator, an innovative GenAI-based tool for simulating business and leadership conversational skills, can provide your employees with an emotionally safe space to practice important business conversations with an AI-powered trainer.

Why is this important for your organization? According to a VitalSmarts survey, every failed conversation at work costs an average of $7,500 in time and resources, and even worse, employees waste seven days or more. Yet, people are still hesitant to provide direct feedback:

  • 72% of workers fail to speak up when a fellow worker fails to pull their weight
  • 68% don't speak up when they see someone disrespected
  • 55% fail to speak up when there is confusion about decision rights

CAISY is one way to enable feedback. It can help you find gaps in your communication style without exposing yourself to the vulnerability of a real human being until you create a plan to fill these gaps. It is the definition of a judgement-free zone!

CAISY provides personalized feedback via 60+ scenarios, including “Coaching Your Team” and “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).” Learn more about the scenarios in these two categories, below.

CAISY Scenarios for Coaching Your Team

Coaching a Struggling Employee: Practicing coaching scenarios in advance of experiencing them can help your managers refine their communication and motivational skills, ensuring a more constructive and supportive interaction. Managers can anticipate potential reactions and plan strategies to handle them, fostering a more confident and empathetic coaching experience.

Managing Up / Delegating Up: It can be awkward to ask a superior to complete a necessary task. But by rehearsing the delegation process, individuals can become more adept at matching tasks with the skills and strengths of their managers, while also enhancing their ability to navigate organizational dynamics and promote a more streamlined and productive workflow.

Coaching an Employee through Career Development: Preparation allows managers to anticipate potential questions or concerns their employees may have about their career paths, enabling them to provide well-thought-out and insightful responses.

CAISY Scenarios for DEI

Embracing Psychological Safety: By rehearsing scenarios, a manager can develop the skills needed to actively listen, validate diverse perspectives, and respond empathetically. This might also help the manager to anticipate potential challenges in fostering psychological safety and develop strategies to address them effectively.

Creating an Inclusive Environment: Understand the nuances of fostering inclusivity, including identifying potential biases and addressing unconscious prejudices that may hinder inclusivity. By rehearsing inclusive practices, managers can develop the skills necessary to communicate effectively and ensure that team members from diverse backgrounds feel valued and respected. This proactive approach also helps the manager anticipate potential challenges in promoting inclusivity and implement strategies to overcome them, contributing to a more supportive workplace culture.

Making Decisions Inclusively: Managers may assess potential biases and consider diverse perspectives, ensuring that their decisions are fair and equitable. By rehearsing the decision-making process, managers can refine their skills in actively seeking input from a variety of team members and promote a culture of inclusion and diversity.

Understanding Implicit Biases: Recognize and acknowledge biases and foster self-awareness that is essential for effective leadership. By rehearsing scenarios and understanding implicit bias, managers can develop the skills needed to make more informed and unbiased decisions, creating a fairer and more inclusive workplace.

Addressing Micro-behaviors in Team Meetings: Develop the skills needed to recognize subtle, potentially harmful behaviors that may go unnoticed by others. Then refine your ability to address these micro-behaviors in a constructive and sensitive manner, fostering a more inclusive and respectful team environment.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Feedback is a gift.” Not only does it help employees understand what is expected of them, but it clarifies how they might meet those expectations. Providing regular feedback can help to build trust and improve communication between managers and employees, leading to a more positive work environment, increased employee engagement and motivation, and better business outcomes.

If your organization is looking for a way to empower its managers to give more effective feedback via low-stakes practice conversations made possible by artificial intelligence, we can help.

]]>
The Jobs A.I. Can and Cannot Replace (and Why You Shouldn't Worry) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/ai-isnt-taking-your-job Mon, 08 Jan 2024 00:00:00 -0500 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/ai-isnt-taking-your-job

If you’re worried about whether or not AI will affect your job, you must reframe your thinking. It’s not an if. It’s a when.

But will it replace you — a human employee at work? The answer isn’t straight forward right now, but we’ll cover which jobs are most at risk and which are safer (and why).

Here’s the short answer: AI is already replacing some jobs or taking over some aspects of work across disciplines. In the not-so-distant future, it will play a greater role augmenting your work. Some research suggests AI will impact 80% of all roles.

Here’s the good news: The many types of AI — generative AI, machine learning, and so on — are unlikely to fully replace the lion’s share of humans anytime soon. In many cases, it’s also become a beacon of hope for those working in industries struggling with talent scarcity and a skills gap.

Artificial intelligence shows incredible promise. AI models can process information at a remarkable scale. They can complete repetitive tasks with unmatched speed and precision. They are even producing admirable creative work.

When it comes to job competition, theoretically AI is a strong candidate. But it has shortcomings — a skills gap — that we’ll cover soon.

Even still, it’s here to stay. “It's crucial to understand that AI tools aren't a fleeting trend, but rather a mainstay in our everyday professional lives. Leaders ignoring this advancement risk falling behind,” says Koma Gandy, VP of Leadership and Business Solutions at Skillsoft, in a recent blog.

While AI may seem scary at first, the more that people and organizations learn how to responsibly use the technology, the more opportunities will come from it.

But this leaves many questions unanswered. What exactly is going to change? And what jobs are most at risk? Which skills should I prioritize?

Here, we’ve collated reports and evidence that will help provide some clarity. Keep reading to find answers.

Read Next: 4 Compelling Reasons to AI Use Among Employees

Which Jobs Are Most at Risk of Replacement by AI?

If you or others around you are truly worried about your job being taken by AI, it’s understandable why you’d feel that way.

Reports of thousands of jobs already lost thanks to AI have circulated the web, chronicling the rapid replacement of workers and the complications that followed. Further, a Goldman Sachs report estimated that 300 million full-time jobs could be replaced too. Findings from a World Economic Forum (WEF) report shows a similar forecast.

But what’s behind these numbers? How worried should you actually be?

Let’s address this head-on.

Is AI replacing jobs? In short, yes. Some jobs are being or projected to be replaced by artificial intelligence in some capacity. However, many will not be in part or whole.

A Stanford University economist studying the impacts of AI told Business Insider that the future isn’t a jobless dystopia run by machines.

"I do not think we'll see mass unemployment," says Erik Brynjolfsson, a Stanford University economist, in the article. "But I do think we'll see mass disruption, where a lot of wages for some jobs will fall, wages for other jobs will rise, and we'll be shifting around into demand for different kinds of skills.”

More detailed projections of which jobs will experience disruption is told in the WEF’s Future of Jobs Report, which surveyed 803 companies, representing 11.3 million workers.

According to the report, technological change and adoption are the primary reasons why these are the 10 fastest declining jobs:

  1. Data entry clerks
  2. Administrative and executive secretaries
  3. Accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks
  4. Security guards
  5. Building caretakers and housekeepers
  6. Cashiers and ticket clerks
  7. Material-recording and stock-keeping clerks
  8. Assembly and factory workers
  9. Post service clerks
  10. Bank tellers

Part of the reason why these jobs are phasing out is simply because of generative AI’s ability to automate and accomplish an array of tasks quickly and accurately.

The range of its ability is vast, but it’s important to know that tools like these still benefit from (and often require) human input, oversight and judgement — especially to ensure ethical use or adoption.

For the tasks that generative AI excels at, it’s work taken away from a human. But that can be a good thing and here’s why: It’s an opportunity to reskill or upskill in areas that are highly in demand today but suffer talent shortages or gaps.

Consider this from the Goldman Sachs report: “The good news is that worker displacement from automation has historically been offset by creation of new jobs, and the emergence of new occupations following technological innovations accounts for the vast majority of long-run employment growth.”

Although AI shows great promise, a major hurdle in the trek forward is how people feel today: Worried. “Leaders must provide opportunities for talent to interact with AI comfortably, helping to mitigate this fear, fostering intrigue, and positioning AI as a valuable co-pilot rather than an intimidating concept,” says Skillsoft’s Gandy.

Today, the knowledge and skills gap in AI is significant, creating an urgent need for training. For those employees most at risk of losing work to AI, the onus shifts to leaders and employers to help their workforces adapt. Taking no action will allow fears to fester.

Free Course:Intro to Generative AI by Codecademy

AI Has a Skills Gap Too. Which Jobs Are ‘Safest?’

While AI is great at many things, it has shortcomings that separate people from machine.

The WEF report shows which jobs are growing the fastest and are insulated from replacement by AI.

Here are the top 10:

  1. Agricultural equipment operators
  2. Heavy truck and bus drivers
  3. Vocational education teachers
  4. Mechanics and machinery repairers
  5. Business development professionals
  6. Building frame and related trades workers
  7. University and higher education teachers
  8. Electrotechnology engineers
  9. Sheet and structural metal workers, moulders and welders
  10. Special education teachers

AI can’t fully replace a human’s judgement or attention to the nuances of the work involved in the roles listed. Further, any job that requires a high degree of social interaction or emotional intelligence, creativity or innovation, and similar skills are further from replacement too.

Power skills like these are either at the fringe of or beyond AI’s abilities today, given the very human nature of the role. What’s more, a recent Skillsoft report shows a growing importance on power skills — which AI can actually help sharpen.

Skills like team or interpersonal communication, empathetic leadership, and resilience are deciding factors for potential job candidates and deemed among the most significant for those in leadership. The WEF report also highlights skills like these as growing in demand, with “creative thinking” at the top.

These skills are innately human and harder to program. That’s why AI isn’t a foolproof replacement. And it’s not meant to be. That’s why you see terms like “copilot” or “agent” used to describe the AI-human relationship.

It’s a tool that can help when it’s needed and make room for the most important work yet to be done.

Read Next: Meet Skillsoft CAISY Conversation AI Simulator: Your Organization’s New Best Friend in Business Communication - Skillsoft

AI Presents Opportunities for Growth

A Pew Research report shows the mixed feelings U.S. workers have toward AI. However, in those fields with more exposure to AI, the more people feel the technology will help not hurt.

While it’s understandable to be uncertain, people shouldn’t let the anxiety around AI overshadow the benefits that will come from it. AI will unburden teams that are short on resources and talent. This will help alleviate the consequences of their situation: the stress, the gaps, and the over-whelming feelings that come with a mountainous workload.

This is also true for those who may feel most threatened. By leaning on AI to cover the work that it’s best suited for, it allows humans to take on work that they’re best suited for.

Instead of data entry or administrative work, what are the opportunities for internal career mobility? What aspirations do those employees have? What skills do they possess today that could help them upskill into a new role?

Investing in workforce transformation will benefit those individuals who may fear replacement the most, while complementing an organization’s ongoing development strategy.

The point is: There shouldn’t be fear and anxiety about this.

It’s a time of opportunity.

In the coming year, all organizations must make concerted efforts toward writing a formal policy, educating their workforce about these technologies and the implications they may have for their jobs. Doing so will help dispel fears that some hold, and even more importantly, it’ll help show how AI can support workers.

As you consider what the future holds for you or your workforce, it’s important to consider where AI’s aptitude starts and stops.

Skillsoft can help. We’ve been prepared for this shift for a long time coming, as we’ve hired and upskilled our teams internally to infuse AI into our platform and training. What’s more, we offer training on the many facets of AI for both technical and non-technical learners, including on popular tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Dive into our training catalog to see what’s available and reach out to our team to learn more.

]]>
Sustainability at Work: The Importance of Intersectional Frameworks and Collaboration in ESG Initiatives https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/sustainability-at-work-the-importance-of-intersectional-frameworks-and-collaboration-in-esg-initiatives Wed, 03 Jan 2024 07:48:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/sustainability-at-work-the-importance-of-intersectional-frameworks-and-collaboration-in-esg-initiatives

Organizational intersection and collaboration are extremely important for building and understanding many inclusion and equity initiatives, including Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG).

And while an organization’s ESG program must reflect its corporate strategy, it can be strengthened by the inclusion of a range of employee voices. As business leaders, it is our job to promote an intersectional approach to help turn valuable ideas into actionable change.

Learn How One Energy Data and Intelligence Company Approaches Sustainability

As part of our Sustainability at Work series, where we speak with sustainability professionals about the skills and competencies that they bring to the job and what’s trending in sustainability right now, we interviewed Whitney Eaton and Gabriel Rolland from TGS, a global energy data and intelligence company headquartered in Norway. During the conversation, we heard about how they approach sustainability and ESG at their organization.

As the executive vice president of people and sustainability at TGS, Eaton’s role is intrinsic to the company’s ESG program. With a background in law and anti-corruption compliance, she joined TGS with the understanding that she would be running the global compliance department in the organization. As part of compliance, the company incorporated sustainability reporting into her responsibilities, and she oversaw updating and implementing a sustainability strategy for TGS.

Rolland is vice president of corporate QHSE at TGS. With a background in geography and QHSE (Quality, Health, Safety, and the Environment), he has held many roles within TGS. He was approached by Eaton as soon as he became responsible for QHSE to aid in the development of the ESG program at TGS and build the foundation for an internal ESG work group.

From the onset, the goal of TGS’ ESG program was to determine what, exactly, ESG meant to the company; and then, to formulate a strategy that reflected these values. In his own words, Rolland described the beginning stages of their progress as “setting our vision around ESG and how we could make the most of it.”

The Importance of Intersection and Collaboration

Eaton told us: “When I look for sustainability professionals to support my organization, I always start internally first.” She knows that sustainability isn't new. It's simply a different view into company strategy – and it is accessible to every employee who cares to participate.

“I think that roles with a cross-organizational perspective – those that collaborate across teams – are great for sustainability,” she said. Since not many job seekers come from a strictly sustainable background, sustainability roles require a person to have translatable skills.

These might include:

  • Communication: Sustainability professionals need to effectively communicate sustainability goals, strategies, and progress to internal and external stakeholders, such as employees, customers, investors, and the public.
  • Problem-solving: Sustainability roles often involve identifying and addressing environmental and social challenges, such as reducing carbon emissions, minimizing waste, or ensuring ethical sourcing. Problem-solving skills are critical in finding sustainable solutions to these issues.
  • Time management: Efficiently managing sustainability projects and initiatives, including setting and meeting sustainability targets and deadlines, is crucial for achieving long-term sustainability goals.
  • Leadership: Sustainability leaders and advocates play a key role in driving sustainability initiatives within an organization. They need leadership skills to inspire, guide, and engage teams and stakeholders in sustainability efforts.
  • Critical thinking: Sustainability professionals must critically evaluate environmental and social impacts, assess risks, and make informed decisions about sustainable practices and investments.
  • Adaptability: The field of sustainability is constantly evolving, with new regulations, technologies, and best practices emerging. Adaptability is necessary to stay current and continuously improve sustainability efforts.
  • Data analysis: Sustainability roles often involve collecting and analyzing data related to environmental and social metrics, such as energy consumption, water usage, waste generation, and community engagement. Data analysis skills are essential for measuring and reporting on sustainability performance.
  • Customer service: Building strong relationships with customers or stakeholders who prioritize sustainability is important for organizations seeking to attract and retain environmentally conscious consumers.
  • Project management: Sustainability initiatives often involve managing complex projects, such as renewable energy installations, waste reduction programs, or sustainable supply chain management. Strong project management skills are essential for these efforts.
  • Research skills: Sustainability professionals may need to research emerging sustainability trends, technologies, or best practices to inform their strategies and decision-making.
  • Technical skills: Some sustainability roles may require technical skills in areas such as renewable energy systems, environmental modeling, or sustainability reporting software.
  • Financial literacy: Understanding the financial implications of sustainability investments and cost-saving measures is essential for developing business cases and securing resources for sustainability initiatives.
  • Creative thinking: Innovative solutions and fresh ideas are often necessary for addressing sustainability challenges and finding new ways to improve environmental and social performance.
  • Interpersonal skills: Collaboration and teamwork are critical for sustainability professionals who often work with cross-functional teams, supply chain partners, and external stakeholders to achieve sustainability goals.

Eaton shared some advice for anyone looking to get into sustainability: “It’s crucial that you understand what your organization does—not just what they do today, but what they want to do in the future—and understand how that intersects with the other work that is happening across the company.”

That’s why training is such a crucial aspect of making sure employees are able to get involved and contribute to sustainability initiatives within their company. Understanding, managing, and mitigating risk as part of an effective compliance training program goes hand-in-hand with creating value through ESG initiatives, and having an intersectional team makes it so that a multitude of perspectives and professional opinions are represented in your strategy.

Employee Engagement Is Critical

According to research, 77% of consumers are motivated to purchase from companies committed to making the world a better place. But, sustainability also gets your employees engaged.

Effective sustainability strategies invite all employees to play a role – making them feel like they’re proactively contributing to something beyond the bottom line of the business. Eaton described sustainability as “something that reinvigorates and generates excitement within your workforce.”

It’s a great way to develop your workforce and give people an opportunity to contribute differently. For example, TGS has been picking up marine debris through its operations around the world. Recently, the company took one step forward to highlight these efforts to a bigger audience and show their employees and consumers how they’ve been successfully working on this sustainability and environmental initiative over the years. Employees and stakeholders were thrilled to see the real-world output of the company’s sustainability initiatives.

Furthermore, TGS recently placed solar parking canopies in the employee parking lot. This idea came from an employee suggestion and helps power the company headquarters as well as provides energy back to the Texas power grid.

Sustainability Initiatives Are a Two-Way Street

Rolland said that sustainability “definitely starts from the top” to set the vision and message, and then trickles down through the rest of the organization. That’s why it’s important for leaders to be open with employees, providing them with opportunities to share new ideas they’d like to bring to the table to improve ESG strategy and vision or sustainability initiatives in offices and out in the field.

Creating a dedicated ESG committee for your organization is vital in elevating and prioritizing ESG issues within an organization. Additionally, it facilitates transparent communication of ESG performance to stakeholders, promoting trust and attracting possible investors, customers, and talent.

To hear all about Eaton and Rolland’s sustainability initiatives at TGS, watch their video today! And, make sure to check out the rest of the Sustainability at Workseries for more insights about sustainability in the workplace and beyond.

]]>
ICYMI: Top 5 Takeaways from Perspectives 2023 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/icymi-top-5-takeaways-from-perspectives-2023 Tue, 02 Jan 2024 08:06:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/icymi-top-5-takeaways-from-perspectives-2023

Skillsoft hosted Perspectives 2023, a virtual event that brought together thought leaders and customers to discuss the changing learning landscape and the evolving needs of employees and employers.

With a focus on redefining work, Perspectives panels and sessions focused on key areas within learning and development, such as leadership, digital transformation, upskilling and reskilling, and so much more.

In case you missed it, here are the top five learning and development takeaways from the event:

1. Roles and Responsibilities will Evolve in the Age of Generative AI

The rapid progress of Generative AI has unlocked a multitude of possibilities, revolutionizing various sectors and promising to drivesignificant economic growth in the future. As AI continues to advance, organizations need to adapt their workforce to effectively leverage the power of these AI technologies.

In the session, Redefining Work in the Age of Generative AI, Skillsoft CEO Jeff Tarr shed light

on how organizations can align their workforce with the changing landscape and ensure that employees have the skills and knowledge to thrive in an AI-driven world.

He highlighted the importance of a growth mindset and a commitment to lifelong learning for individuals who want to succeed in this AI-powered era. By embracing new technologies and learning how to work alongside AI systems, individuals can enhance their own capabilities and job prospects.

Additionally, organizations must invest in learning and development programs that equip their employees with the necessary skills to collaborate with AI tools and maximize their potential.

2. Businesses Must Focus on Developing Strong Middle Managers

In today's fast-paced business environment, middle managers play a crucial role in driving organizational success. However, the intense pressure to meet business objectives while also addressing the needs of their teams often presents a significant challenge for these key leaders. Recognizing the importance of strong leadership at all levels, organizations are increasingly acknowledging the need for comprehensive leadership development and compliance programs tailored specifically for middle management.

During a customer panel session, Navigating The Messy Middle, attendees had the opportunity to explore the essential components required to cultivate and nurture effective middle management leaders.

The discussion centered around practical strategies for building and enhancing holistic learning programs that equip middle managers with the power skills necessary to inspire and guide their teams.

Through a combination of robust leadership development initiatives and compliance training, companies can foster a culture of excellence and accountability at every level.

3. Reskilling and Upskilling Is Key to Employee Growth

In an environment where technology evolves at an unprecedented pace, it is crucial for individuals and organizations alike to adapt and acquire new skills in order to remain competitive.

Staying relevant and competitive in today's workforce hinges on continuous learning and acquiring new skills. By embracing the concept of continuous learning and skill acquisition, both individuals and organizations can position themselves for success in the digital landscape.

During the more technical panel discussions at Perspectives, such as Reskilling and Upskilling In An Ever-Changing Tech World, and Retaining Tech Talent: How to Transform Skills Within Your IT Organization, our customers and Skillsoft leaders emphasized the importance of overcoming time constraints and prioritizing reskilling and upskilling. Attendees had the opportunity to explore various strategies shared by our panelists, discovering practical approaches to incorporate ongoing learning into their daily lives.

Furthermore, the sessions shed light on effective strategies for nurturing and developing existing talent pools, leading to transformative growth within organizations. Attendees gained valuable insights into strategies for effectively nurturing and developing their teamsPrograms that focus on talent development ensure employees possess the requisite skills and knowledge to thrive in the ever-changing tech climate.

By addressing the challenges associated with retaining top tech talent and promoting transformative growth, organizations can create an environment that fosters innovation and drives overall success.

4. Invest in Comprehensive Employee Development for the Most Effective Federal Training Programs

Federal agencies have long grappled with challenges related to talent acquisition, development, and retention. These obstacles primarily stem from a protracted hiring process, reactive workforce planning, and ineffective recruiting practices.

To overcome these barriers, one of the most critical solutions is investing in comprehensive training and employee development programs. However, developing training initiatives that cater to the diverse needs of all federal agencies requires careful coordination and effort.

At Perspectives, Skillsoft’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Compliance Solutions Kevin Kelly had the opportunity to engage with compliance professionals in the public sector who shared insights into their strategic approach to training and employee development.

The discussion focused on driving efficiencies, mitigating risks, and ensuring the safety of employees. By implementing a holistic and forward-thinking training strategy, these professionals are revolutionizing the way federal agencies invest in their workforce.

5. Empower Employees with Power Skills Through Coaching

Coaching has emerged as a powerful tool for professional development, offering employees the opportunity to cultivate essential power skills such as communication, strategic thinking, and empathy.

By embracing coaching as a means of developing leadership competencies, organizations can create a culture of continuous growth and empower their workforce with the skills needed to lead in the modern workforce.

In the panel session, Power of Coaching, Skillsoft customers explored how coaching enables individuals to unlock their full potential, conquer obstacles, and achieve their goals. They provided insights into the management and implementation of leadership development and coaching programs in organizations today for employees at all levels.

Perspectives 2023 aimed to equip organizations with the insights and strategies needed to thrive in the rapidly changing digital landscape. The event provided a platform for industry leaders, including speakers from Unisys, Humana, and BAE Systems, to share their expertise and engage in meaningful discussions. The key takeaways highlighted above offer valuable insights that organizations can leverage to navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age.

In case you missed Perspectives 2023, you can access it on-demand here.

]]>
2024 Digital Learning Predictions – Skillsoft Experts Weigh In https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/2024-digital-learning-predictions-skillsoft-experts-weigh-in Wed, 27 Dec 2023 06:32:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/2024-digital-learning-predictions-skillsoft-experts-weigh-in

Artificial intelligence was on everyone’s mind this past year as the decades-old technology went mainstream, impacting the business landscape in a way we haven’t seen since the introduction of Excel and PowerPoint in the office.

We saw AI and generative AI tools have a renaissance in 2023 as the technology quickly changed how we work. This year, leaders and talent must enable and employ their use to catch up to the competition. But the technology will not just impact how we work but how we learn.

I chatted with several Skillsoft experts to shed light on the shifting landscape of digital learning and workforce transformation this year. Let’s take a look.

Generative AI Will Usher in a New Era of Interactive Learning.

Apratim Purakayastha, CTO & CPO

The shift from passive to active learning will be much more advanced in 2024, as blended, interactive modalities become the gold standard of training.

We are moving out of the era of video-based training, which has dominated the learning and development space over the last 15 years, and toward a future where hands-on, human-centric learning experiences will become the norm. This is driven by two key trends: the rise of digital social interactions and the advancement of AI.

What’s key to blended, interactive learning modalities is the “human element.” It can include hands-on platforms like Codecademy or conversation simulators like CAISY, as well as online coaching, instructor-led training, or bootcamps.

The goal of learning and development professionals in 2024 and beyond will be to deliver these interactive, deeply human learning experiences at scale.

The Big Shift Is Here. Goodbye Job Descriptions, Hello Skill Profiles.

Mark Onisk, Chief Content Officer

We, as an economy, have been talking about the idea of the “skills-based organization” for quite some time. Next year, we’ll see a radical shift in businesses moving this from concept to operational model, departing from the traditional idea of jobs and prioritizing skills to maximize talent output.

There are numerous legacy talent operations models heavily indexed around job descriptions, tenure, education requirements, and more still being used. While removing these barriers has been a hurdle, the advancement of generative AI will streamline the ability to define someone’s position by the skills they possess and contribute.

By standardizing skill definitions, organizations can expedite the movement to a skills-based talent management lifecycle and move beyond the traditional confines of a job.

This means greater business agility and innovation, and a workforce powered by growth and autonomy.

Mitigating Fear and Enabling Fascination: How AI Training is Changing in 2024.

Koma Gandy, VP of Leadership and Business Solutions

AI and generative AI skills will continue to be a priority for leaders in 2024. Because of this, it’s important to work through the trepidation of AI toward ethical, productive uses of the technology.

To paraphrase Dr. Joy Buolamwini, talent is caught between fascination and fear when it comes to AI. Leaders must provide opportunities for talent to interact with AI comfortably, helping to mitigate this fear, fostering intrigue, and positioning AI as a valuable co-pilot rather than an intimidating concept.

It's crucial to understand that AI tools aren't a fleeting trend, but rather a mainstay in our everyday professional lives. Leaders ignoring this advancement risk falling behind. Leaders must strap in and educate themselves about AI to lead their teams effectively.

CCOs Must Understand the Three A’s in 2024 – Alignment, AI, And Advancement.

Asha Palmer, SVP, Compliance Solutions

Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) will be challenged in 2024 to go beyond their roles and continue to be leaders, educators, and strategists all at once. CCOs will need to understand, manage, and focus on three A’s – Alignment, AI, and Advancement – to ensure successful compliance and training programs for their organizations.

It will be crucial for CCOs to ensure that their organization's practices and policies are in alignment with one another. Organizations that effectively align and integrate their commitments to diversity, compliance, and risk management into their day-to-day practices and operations will stand out. To just have a policy is insufficient, and organizations who only pay lip service to the principles expressed in their policies without true integration into the fabric of the organization — its people and its mission — will find themselves at a disadvantage.

AI awareness and adoption for compliance are imperative. The recent Executive Order (EO) from President Biden is a testament to this. As the EO and corresponding United States Office of Management and Budget guidance make clear, not only should organizations assess the opportunities presented by AI use, but they must simultaneously think through the responsible and ethical use of that AI, particularly generative AI. Many leaders are struggling to balance their (or their organizations’) trepidation versus fascination with this technology. Organizations that educate their employees on AI and generative AI can mitigate those feelings. Companies that invest in upskilling and reskilling their employees to harness the power of AI effectively and safely will differentiate themselves and grow.

As we’ve seen over the last few years, the responsibilities of a CCO will expand and advance to manage risks associated with human rights, ESG, AI, supply chain, data privacy, and cybersecurity. As such, companies will need to mature and broaden their compliance programs to handle this increased complexity. CCOs will need to be leaders in aligning policies with practices, educators in upskilling their teams, and strategists in advancing their compliance programs.

Looking Ahead

This year's predictions are underscored by a mutual goal for employees and employers. Workers aspire to more fulfilling professional paths, while businesses are keen on cultivating an adaptable, enduring, and uniquely skilled workforce. Attaining this shared objective will hinge upon significant investments in education and upskilling. Companies will also need to pivot to future-oriented talent strategies, focusing not just on immediate job roles but also on long-term potential. As Skillsoft SMEs have shared, investing in education and professional growth is not an added advantage but rather an imperative requirement for the longevity and triumph of any business in the evolving corporate landscape.

Interested in learning how Skillsoft can support you in the new year? Read more about our solutions and products and request a demo today.

]]>
Discussing the Impact and Opportunity of GenAI in Workforce Development https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/discussing-the-impact-and-opportunity-of-genai-in-workforce-development Wed, 27 Dec 2023 05:45:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/discussing-the-impact-and-opportunity-of-genai-in-workforce-development

According to research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, at least 80% of all jobs will be influenced, changed, or augmented by generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) in some way. We need to prepare ourselves for this paradigm shift.

Recently, I was fortunate to sit with some colleagues at Skillsoft to discuss the transforming landscape of learning and the impact and opportunity of GenAI in workforce development. We explored the implications that this technology is having on how we work together, learn, upskill, reskill, and transform our skills for the future.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report revealed that 33% of all work can already be automated by artificial intelligence (AI) or other forms of mechanization or robotics. In just five years’ time, WEF anticipates this figure could rise – pretty dramatically – to 42%. That’s a nine-point increase in the automation rate over just five years!

This level of disruption calls for new strategies to address workforce development challenges. At Skillsoft, we believe that staying ahead requires continuous learning and upskilling across industries.

And this is especially true for GenAI, which has the potential to enable your workforce to become more efficient while creating new opportunities for innovation. That's why there has never been a more critical time for individuals and businesses to invest in skill transformation.

The Realistic and Responsible Use of AI in Business

AI is not new; it has been a hot topic for quite some time now, with many businesses exploring the ways they can leverage the technology to improve their operations. However, as with any type of technology, there are many considerations that must be taken into account before diving in.

Asha Palmer, Skillsoft’s senior vice president, compliance solutions, kicked off our recent discussion with a question: What tasks within your organization can be realistically and responsibly performed by AI? She believes that leaders’ failure to consider this question with an open mind might be a detriment to organizations.

Palmer gave a powerful example – a customer who had implemented a complete moratorium on GenAI for nine months after it became generally available. The organization soon realized that employees were still using the technology – it was just happening without their guidance. As a result, the organization had to scramble to establish governance policies and procedures with its employees after the fact.

Other organizations might be fearful of adopting GenAI for security reasons, cost or resource concerns, fear of job displacement, or even ethical considerations. “If you do not have an AI policy in your organization,” said Palmer, “you are behind.”

Do you have a GenAI policy in your organization? Here’s how to write one.So, why then, are organizations still hesitant to embrace GenAI? Perhaps it is because the possibilities of the technology overshadow its actual capabilities, said Koma Gandy, vice president, Leadership & Business solutions at Skillsoft.

Gandy warned, “It's important not to overestimate what AI can do so that we can best understand its limitations. We need to ensure that we’re using AI in realistic ways by focusing on practical benefits rather than just theoretical possibilities.”

Human judgment is still critical in tasks that require nuance. While machines may perform certain tasks more efficiently than humans, they lack the emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills necessary for complex decision-making processes. Therefore, a good place to start is to determine which tasks require human intervention and which ones can be automated through AI.

Overcoming Organizational Inertia and Fear with Skillsoft’s Training Programs

While the potential benefits of GenAI are immense, the technology also comes with its fair share of risks and challenges. The fear of losing jobs and exposing organizations to risk can create organizational inertia that hinders progress. However, with the right training programs, organizations can overcome this fear and embrace GenAI as a value-add.

As Gandy rightly pointed out, people are somewhere on the continuum between fear and fascination when it comes to AI. Skillsoft's training programs focus on practical benefits that encourage fascination rather than fear. With action verbs like “learn,” “understand,” “mitigate,” our courses empower learners to take control of their learning experience.

“We’ve been ready for this for years,” said Greg Fuller, Skillsoft’s senior director of Codecademy technology content. He was referring to how tech workers have always had solutions software ready to go. What’s changed recently is computing power – the ability to do things at scale. This development has allowed tech workers to maximize their expertise by automating repetitive tasks like copy-pasting or other mundane activities. Skillsoft’s training programs are designed to equip you with skills that will enable you to leverage this newfound power effectively.

Using GenAI to Enhance Power Skills

Fuller reiterated the importance of soft skills through the lens of tech training: “The traditional approach to tech training has focused on providing practice scenarios and labs around software-based tools. However, the tech industry has spent fewer resources equipping employees with soft skills like decision-making. There just hasn’t been a tool for that. Yet, tech workers face complex situations every day, ranging from data breaches to communication and collaboration with other teams.”

At Skillsoft, we’ve found a way to use GenAI as a training tool for power skills (what we call soft skills). Skillsoft’s CAISY Conversation AI Simulator is an innovative GenAI-based tool for simulating business and leadership conversation skills. It makes difficult work conversations easier by providing employees with an emotionally safe space to practice important conversations with an AI-powered trainer. CAISY not only plays the role of the other person within the conversation, but also provides personalized feedback and guidance on communication style to guide development.

By simulating real-life scenarios, CAISY enables learners to gain hands-on experience in decision-making processes and best practices. This ensures that they can confidently handle any situation that arises in their day-to-day work.

Another exciting aspect of CAISY is its flexibility in adapting to specific industries’ needs. Many organizations struggle with adopting training programs that meet their specific requirements due to differences in industry norms and practices. With CAISY’s customizable features, organizations can easily tailor their training programs to their own needs.

CAISY also uses data analytics to continually track learners’ progress throughout the course of the program. This helps instructors identify areas where learners may be struggling and provide targeted support where necessary.

How GenAI Enhances Learning and Communication at Skillsoft

How do other organizations incorporate GenAI into their products? Fuller said that it's not enough to simply have access to GenAI; you need people who know how to use it effectively. Without this knowledge, your organization may struggle with inefficiencies or even face security risks.

For example, the rise of GenAI has exposed a technology skill gap in the workplace. Companies across different sectors are struggling to fill vacant positions that require specialized skills, which has led to an even wider tech talent shortage. As organizations continue to adopt AI solutions, they must address the gap by upskilling their workforce.

At Skillsoft, we understand the importance of providing our learners with effective and efficient ways of acquiring knowledge. That’s why we’re exploring the potential of GenAI to enhance our training programs and improve communication between teams.

Beyond the promise of CAISY, there are many benefits of using GenAI in learning and communication. Within Skillsoft’s platform alone, organizations can:

  • Personalize content. GenAI makes it possible to provide learners with personalized content that meets their needs and preferences. By analyzing data on their past performance, interests, and goals, GenAI can suggest relevant courses and resources to help them achieve their objectives.
  • Save time. By personalizing content, Skillsoft is able to save time for both the learner and the administrator by reducing the need for manual inputting or suggestions from others. With GenAI, learners can access the content they need quickly and efficiently.
  • Improve understanding. GenAI can help make learning more palatable, understandable, and applicable to daily life by chunking down a continuum of learning into smaller pieces. It can help us sequence courses in a way that ensures learners get from start to finish in an optimal manner. As a result, we can deliver more content to our learners more quickly than ever before.
  • Communicate more effectively. GenAI can help individuals communicate better with their teams by suggesting ways to be succinct while conveying ideas effectively. Whether drafting memos or composing emails, GenAI can provide guidance on how to hit the right tone for maximum impact. This will ultimately lead to better collaboration between colleagues.
  • Automate administrative tasks. GenAI is able to automate certain administrative tasks like curriculum outlines or assessments. It takes away some of the manual work involved in developing courses or figuring out how best to sequence them so learners get what they need when they need it. This frees up time for administrators to focus on other aspects of their job.

Consider this popular proverb: “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.”

This is especially true with GenAI. By proactively establishing an AI policy for your organization – and training your employees to use the technology ethically and effectively – you are taking a stand against the fear and uncertainty that so often punctuates the conversation.

I’d encourage you to talk about GenAI in your organization. Create learning opportunities around GenAI. Put guardrails around employee usage of GenAI. And importantly, help society establish a narrative around GenAI that we can all be a part of – and doesn’t leave anyone behind.

]]>
Sustainability at Work: Christopher Wellise on the Intersection of Business and Sustainability https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/sustainability-at-work-christopher-wellise-on-the-intersection-of-business-and-sustainability Wed, 20 Dec 2023 23:04:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/sustainability-at-work-christopher-wellise-on-the-intersection-of-business-and-sustainability

Maybe you recycle. Maybe you drive an electric vehicle. Individuals certainly play a critical role in making the world around us more sustainable.

But true change tends to happen at the enterprise level. The bigger the organization, the more impactful their decisions tend to be on society at large. That’s why careers in sustainability are no longer just nice-to-have within organizations, they're a necessity.

But many professionals wonder where to start and how to garner the skills necessary to be successful. Christopher Wellise was one of those people. He has dedicated his professional career to sustainability and helping organizations execute sustainable workflows, practically and responsibly.

Meet Christopher Wellise

Wellise is an accomplished leader in sustainability. As the Vice President of Global Sustainability at Equinix, he brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role, driving Equinix's sustainable business strategy and innovation.

See how Equinix has built a robust safety training program, globally.

Wellise has an impressive academic background, holding a Bachelors in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master's degree in International Relations and Economics from Johns Hopkins University. He has dedicated more than a decade of his career to Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), serving in various roles that include Director of ESG Strategic Initiatives, and Director of Sustainability and Social Innovation.

“When I went to university, I always knew I wanted to work at the intersection of business and environment, but no one really knew what that looked like then. So, my educational background is actually business finance, and I have a master's degree in environmental science. I really continued to push myself to work at that intersection. And really that’s when I began my career.”

Wellise's passion for sustainability and his dedication to driving change are evident in his work. He is a strong advocate for leveraging technology and innovation to solve some of the world's most pressing environmental challenges. His leadership in this space is a testament to his commitment to creating a more sustainable and inclusive future.

The Intersection of Business and Sustainability

As corporations wield significant influence over our planet's resources, their operational strategies can profoundly impact environmental sustainability.

Discover everything your organization needs to know about ESG here.

Let's review three key areas where business and environment intersect: resource use and efficiency, waste management, and climate change mitigation.

  1. Resource Use and Efficiency: Businesses rely on natural resources for their production processes, whether it's water for manufacturing, raw materials for products, or energy for operations. The way these resources are managed significantly impacts the environment. Efficient use of resources not only reduces environmental harm but also decreases operational costs, making sustainability a smart business strategy.
  2. Waste Management: Every business generates waste, from physical byproducts to emissions. Effective waste management strategies, such as recycling and adopting circular economy principles, can help businesses reduce their environmental footprint while potentially creating new revenue streams.
  3. Climate Change Mitigation: Businesses play a crucial role in addressing climate change. By adopting sustainable practices, like switching to renewable energy sources and investing in carbon offset projects, businesses can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, these actions can enhance brand reputation and attract environmentally conscious customers and investors.

Understanding these issues provides a comprehensive view of how businesses can contribute to environmental preservation while also benefiting their bottom line.

Do you have the right opinions on your ESG steering committee? Find Out

Getting Down to Business

And as the demand for sustainability professionals continues to grow, there are multiple ways for professionals with business backgrounds to embark on a career in ESG.

  • Volunteering: Volunteering provides an excellent opportunity to understand an organization's needs and explore how you might assist. It allows you to gain hands-on experience in sustainability while also demonstrating your commitment to potential employers.
  • Upskilling: With the rise of green careers, improving your green skills has become essential. This could be through vocational training or earning sustainability credentials. Such skills not only enhance your employability but also prepare you for emerging career opportunities.

Read more about Skillsoft’s new sustainability training options.

  • Networking: Building relationships within the sustainability sector can open up job opportunities and provide valuable insights into the industry. Engage with professionals, attend industry events, and join sustainability-focused groups to expand your network.

Christopher’s advice: start a meter deep and 100 meters wide.

Remember, sustainability is a broad field with a variety of roles. Researching the industry, identifying your areas of interest, and tailoring your strengths to these areas can help you find a career path that aligns with your passion and skills.

A career in sustainability means you are part of a global movement, working to safeguard our resources and create a more equitable, sustainable future for all.

Christopher Wellise's journey is a testament to what can be achieved when passion meets purpose. And remember, it's not only about what you can do for the environment but also how your actions can create ripple effects that improve corporate culture, increase operational efficiency, and even boost the bottom line.

The intersection of business and sustainability is not just an emerging trend—it's the future. It's about understanding and optimizing resource use, managing waste effectively, and playing a significant role in climate change mitigation. And it's a realm where innovative problem-solvers, strategic thinkers, and passionate advocates for the environment are desperately needed. Whether you start by volunteering, upskilling, or networking, every step you take is a move toward a greener and more sustainable future.

Remember, start a meter deep and 100 meters wide. There are countless opportunities in this field, waiting for individuals to dive in and make a difference.

Interested in other career paths in sustainability? Check out the series!

]]>
How Individual Development Plans Help Close Skill Gaps — and 5 Best Practices to Follow https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-individual-development-plans-help-close-skill-gaps-and-5-best-practices-to-follow Tue, 19 Dec 2023 11:47:00 -0500 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-individual-development-plans-help-close-skill-gaps-and-5-best-practices-to-follow

IDPs don’t box employees in — they open doors. That’s precisely why they can help drive workforce transformation efforts.

Across industries and around the world, employees and their employers are experiencing a skill set upheaval. Game-changing technologies like generative AI are irrevocably altering how people work — in and outside of IT — and organizations are struggling to keep up.

According to the World Economic Forum, 60% of global organizations face skill gaps today. One often underutilized approach to professional development may be able to help close them: individual development plans.

The individual development plan (IDP), also called an individual coaching plan, is a personalized, dynamic approach to employee learning. Working with a coach or other mentor, employees identify concrete professional goals and build strategic, actionable plans to reach them.

It’s worth noting that an IDP is not the same thing as a performance improvement plan (PIP), which aims to help poor performers get up to speed. IDPs, and coaching more broadly, are programs that every employee can benefit from, especially in today’s environment.

In fact, IDPs are particularly well suited for the creative — maybe even dramatic — workforce transformations that many organizations need now. That’s because IDPs don’t box employees into predefined tracks.

Instead, IDPs encourage employees to think big and provide them with the resources and guidance they need to reach those goals. This inventive approach to upskilling and reskilling is precisely what many companies are looking for.

So, why aren’t IDPs more common? For the same reason that many innovative best practices go unadopted: Many organizations simply aren’t sure how to do it.

The Anatomy of an Individual Development Plan

The first step in bringing IDPs to an organization is understanding what an IDP entails. While there are numerous frameworks for developing coaching plans, there are some key components every IDP includes, regardless of methodology.

  • The IDP identifies a clear goal or objective the employee wants to achieve. For example, “I want to become a leader within my department.”
  • The IDP inventories both the employee’s current strengths and opportunities for improvement. An employee who wants to become a leader may already have subject matter expertise, but they may need to work on their communication and people management skills.
  • The IDP establishes action steps the employee will take to reach their goal. For the employee who wants to become a leader in their department, this might entail things like taking management classes and serving in a leadership role on a smaller test project.
  • The IDP sets a clear timeline for reaching the goal and identifies milestones along the way. Our hypothetical employee might aim for a promotion within the year, plus an interim milestone to lead at least one project in the next six months.

Importantly, none of these key details should be imposed on the employee from above. Rather, IDP development should be a collaborative process between the employee, their manager, and their coach.

There are a couple of reasons why employees should help drive IDP creation. First, adult learners tend to be more engaged and motivated when they have a hand in directing their own learning. Second, IDPs are meant to be aspirational rather than prescriptive. Instead of forcing employees into narrow boxes, IDPs should be opening doors.

Ideally, employees will work with both their managers and a coach to create and pursue their IDPs. The coach brings the necessary development expertise to the process, while the manager can provide a critical organizational perspective to help ensure alignment between employee goals and corporate needs.

Plus, managers who get involved with an employee’s IDP signal that they are invested in the employee’s success. That can have a powerful impact on retention and engagement.

While managers may want to take an active role in employee development, many don’t feel equipped to do so. It’s often a good idea to give managers some training of their own so they can more fully participate in the IDP process.

Employees don’t always have access to formal coaching programs. In those cases, organizations can still implement IDPs, with managers fulfilling the coach role. It’s not ideal, but it is doable. Of course, it’s even more critical in these instances that managers receive training on how to develop their employees.

5 Best Practices for Effective IDPs

Now that we’ve covered what IDPs are, let’s look at how organizations can make the most of them.

1. Focus on Self-Discovery

In the context of workforce transformation, it can be tempting to take a top-down approach to IDPs, mandating that employees prioritize learning the specific skills the company’s talent strategy calls for.

However, the most effective coaches lead employees on a process of self-discovery, with the aim of enabling them to identify their own goals and strategies for growth. Learners who conduct this type of self-analysis tend to be more intrinsically motivated and achieve better learning outcomes. This, in turn, helps drive workforce transformation and organizational performance.

When working with employees to develop IDPs, managers and coaches can encourage self-discovery by asking the right questions. Start by encouraging employees to think aspirationally about where they want to go in their careers. Then, refine this blue-sky thinking into an actionable IDP by asking questions like:

  • Probing questions that get employees thinking deeply about their goals. For example: “What does ‘becoming a leader’ look like to you? What behaviors would you adopt and demonstrate as a leader?”
  • Outcome-oriented questions that help employees tie their goals to specific outcomes. For example, “What benefits will your team gain from your improved leadership capabilities? What benefits will you gain?”
  • Execution-oriented questions that prompt employees to plan the concrete steps they will take to reach their goals. For example, “What’s one thing you can do right away to start showing more leadership in your department?”

2. Tie IDPs to Real-World Outcomes for Both the Employee and the Organization

We mentioned it in the previous tip, but it’s so critical that it deserves its own spot on this list. While IDPs should be aspirational to some degree, they also need to be practical — in the sense that they’re achievable and lead to real benefits.

Linking IDPs to tangible outcomes can motivate employees, as it gives them a reward to focus on. It also helps the organization and employee align their needs so that the IDP serves both.

Let’s turn again to the example of an employee who wants to ascend to a leadership position in their department. The outcomes for the employee are clear: a promotion, a more prestigious title, and probably a salary bump.

This IDP would have benefits for the organization, too. To become a leader, the employee must sharpen skills like team communication, analytical thinking, creative thinking, resilience, and flexibility. Not so coincidentally, these are also some of the most prized core skills among employers today, according to the World Economic Forum.

One way to tie IDPs to real-world outcomes is by helping employees turn their IDPs into a set of connected SMART goals. As a reminder, SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Not only do SMART goals explicitly ask employees to define outcomes in the “relevant” phase, but they also make long-term IDPs more approachable by breaking them down into smaller steps with a clear timeframe.

SMART goals also encourage accountability by creating a series of milestones. Employees always know their next step and how it relates to their overarching goal. Mentors and coaches can track progress via these milestones and help employees get back on track if they miss a goal.

3. Opt for a More Dynamic Approach to Development

Annual performance management cycles aren’t terribly effective. In fact, research shows they can even lead to performance decreases.

Smaller, more frequent check-ins can be more useful, especially for IDPs. As mentioned above, employees often break their IDPs into smaller SMART goals to make them more achievable. More frequent check-ins allow managers and coaches to better keep track of these goals.

Managers and coaches can also offer employees feedback and resources in real time. Employees can immediately apply these insights to their situations rather than waiting for a retrospective at the end of the year, by which point it’s too late to course-correct.

As for the cadence of these smaller meetings, that depends on many factors. Employees and their coaches typically meet regularly. Finding time can be difficult for managers, who often have more than just IDPs on their plates. One popular method is for managers to meet with every team member for 30 minutes every month.

To make the most of these smaller performance meetings, employees, coaches, and managers should all come to the table with clear agendas. This helps ensure that everyone’s limited time is used productively.

4. Connect Employees with Multimodal Learning Resources

IDPs are about empowering employees to define and pursue their own development goals. That doesn’t mean managers and coaches can just step back and watch. Rather, managers and coaches can help employees reach their goals by connecting them with the right resources, people, and opportunities.

It’s important to connect employees with a variety of learning resources, from hands-on practice and real-world experiences to books, audiobooks, videos, classroom instruction, and more. Offering various types of resources helps ensure that all learners are supported, no matter their preferences. It also encourages deeper learning. Research shows that training is more effective when it engages multiple senses.

5. Support IDPs with Resources and Recognition

Even with the best of intentions and all the best practices in place, an organization’s IDP program may fail if employees, coaches, and managers don’t have the support they need.

Support mainly comes in two forms. The first is resources. As mentioned above, connecting employees with multimodal learning resources is critical. To do that, coaches and managers themselves need access to said resources. Whether by investing in a learning platform, implementing formal coaching programs for employees, or other means, organizations must ensure that people have the materials they need to drive employee learning.

The second form of support is recognition. Creating, adopting, and following through on an IDP is no easy feat. Employees who reach their goals should be recognized for their efforts. Managers and coaches should also be appreciated for making employee development a priority.

Recognition isn’t just a nice thing to do — it can also help motivate people to adopt their own IDPs.

Transforming the Workforce with IDPs

In the constantly evolving world of work, individual development plans (IDPs) may be a crucial tool for closing pernicious skill gaps. Unlike traditional, one-size-fits-all training programs, IDPs offer a bespoke approach to learning that helps enhance employee skills while aligning individual professional goals with broader organizational mandates for workforce transformation.

At Skillsoft, we know that rolling out individualized coaching for every employee is a lot easier said than done — but we have the tools to help. Our AI-driven skilling platform, Percipio, helps users connect with relevant, personalized learning recommendations based on their career goals and aspirations. Our digital coaching platform brings executive-quality coaching to leaders at every level.

]]>
What Organizations Can Learn from the World Climate Conference (COP28) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-organizations-can-learn-from-the-world-climate-conference Mon, 18 Dec 2023 10:08:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-organizations-can-learn-from-the-world-climate-conference

A landmark moment has occurred in the fight for climate action.

After lengthy negotiations at this year’s World Climate Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the conference closed on December 13 with 200 countries agreeing to transition away from fossil fuels. It is the first time such an agreement has been reached in 28 years of international climate negotiations.

A first draft of the climate deal was released early-on in the conference, but was immediately criticized by many countries—including the United States, Australia, Canada, Chile, the European Union, and Norway—as being too weak because it omitted a “phase-out” of fossil fuels. This caused the conference to go on a few days longer than expected until a more forceful call for action could be included in the final agreement.

Nations have now entered “the beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era by laying the groundwork for a quick, just, and equitable transition to cleaner energy sources. It’s clear that making a valuable difference requires unification of leaders from around the world.

But government leaders aren’t the only ones who need to step up. Global business leaders must follow their lead, taking cues to establish their own environmental and social initiatives. Which begs the question: How are business leaders approaching their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives and their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives?

Take a look at Skillsoft’s recent Corporate Social Responsibility at Work report, which benchmarks our collective progress in corporate social responsibility so organizations can have a more informed picture of the CSR landscape moving forward – including how it connects to the greater push for environmental activism.

Putting the "Corporate" in Social Responsibility

Environmental activism, after all, is inextricably intertwined with social activism.

In order for a company to be successful, leaders must dedicate time, resources, and training to ensure that they are able to tackle important social issues. Our CSR at Work report reflected that other organizations feel similarly, with respondents citing the following factors as key to a successful CSR program:

  • Investing in long-term plans (35%)
  • Committing time and people resources in addition to money (32%)
  • Creating authentic connections and partnerships (20%)
  • Integrating our efforts into all teams within the company (12%)

This year’s climate conference went far beyond solely advocating for climate action, with full days dedicated to tackling pressing issues like how to build a new climate finance environment that would serve to address gender and economic inequalities.

A focus on global collaboration to work towards a better future for everyone is important to emulate on a corporate level.

But how much of an impact can your company really have when considered in the same vein as a global movement? The biggest changes always start out small. By implementing vigorous ESG and CSR initiatives, you can effectively inspire members of your organization to take necessary strides towards making a difference, something whose effects also make for a happier, healthier, and more successful work environment.

After all, when individuals and organizations approach environmental initiatives with clarity and purpose, we can make significant strides in social and climate action. That’s why we’re invested in dedicating resources to understanding what social issues matter to companies and their employees and how they put their words into action.

Learn how one utility company is using training as a tool to support its ESG initiatives.

This Year’s Trends in CSR

In the past, many organizations were solely focused on turning a profit when conducting business. However, things look a bit different today as businesses are now expected to do the “right thing” for the greater good.

Results from our 2023 Corporate Social Responsibility at Work report show that business leaders recognize the impact of CSR on company success and that employees are becoming invested in contributing to a rapidly changing world.

The top CSR priorities from our survey respondents mirrored top focuses from COP28, such as:

  1. Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  2. Improving labor policies
  3. Participating in fair trade
  4. Learning and education

These similarities prove that activism trends in the international social and climate landscape are reinforced within organizations.

Furthermore, being an activist for employees is not just a moral imperative; it’s also a strategic one. Our survey shows that consistent activism has numerous benefits for employees by demonstrating genuine concern for their well-being and encouraging engagement, retention, and loyalty.

But, if your organization decides to take a stand, it is imperative that you have clear goals and measurable outcomes when it comes to what actions you’re implementing and why. Therefore, it’s important that company leaders take actionable steps to hold themselves and the people around them accountable, and organization-wide training is a great first step.

Look at how training can become an integral part of your sustainability strategy.

Key Wins from COP28 and the Global Commitment to Social Responsibility

This year there were many major wins from the Climate Conference. Here are a few key ones:

  1. A commitment to transitioning away from fossil fuels.
  2. The mobilization of over $57 billion to support priorities across the global climate agenda.
  3. The announcement of eight new declarations to help transform every major system of the global economy, including the first ever declarations on food systems transformation.
  4. Major declarations on renewable energy and efficiency, as well as initiatives to decarbonize heavy emissions.

Overall, this conference signals a new era of climate action on the road to 2030 and provides an opportunity for the international community to unite behind a shared commitment for more expansive and urgent social and climate action.

When we commit to taking steps to fight against climate change, we are also committing to helping fight against socioeconomic and gender inequality on a national and international scale.

So, in the words of the conference presidency: “Enough waiting. It’s time to take action.”

Learn more about how your organization can take strides towards implementing successful corporate social responsibility initiatives by reading Skillsoft’s 2023 Corporate Social Responsibility at Work Report and commit to making a change today.

]]>
Have You Been Influenced? Exploring The Implications of The EU Artificial Intelligence Act https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/have-you-been-influenced-exploring-the-implications-of-the-eu-artificial-intelligence-act Mon, 18 Dec 2023 10:01:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/have-you-been-influenced-exploring-the-implications-of-the-eu-artificial-intelligence-act

Like it or not, humans interact with artificial intelligence (AI) daily. From the recommendation engine in your favorite video streaming service to product recommendations from your preferred e-commerce site, your behavior and preferences have probably been influenced – in some ways, at least – by AI.

If it hasn’t, the algorithm is not doing what it should.

That’s why the new regulations that came out this month from the European Union (EU) are so important. The Artificial Intelligence Act is a significant proposal for rules governing AI systems in the EU. It aims to encourage the safe and trustworthy development and use of AI across the EU – regulating the technology based on its potential to cause harm, with stricter rules for higher-risk applications.

This proposal is groundbreaking globally and could set a standard for AI regulation in much the same way that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) did for data protection. The world is watching the impact of the regulation and taking notes.

The Higher the Risk, the Stricter the Rules

At a fundamental level, the EU AI Act asks that we become more thoughtful as we consider how AI infiltrates our consciousness. Does it provide us with the information we need to make a better decision, or does it fully manipulate our preferences to achieve its own ends?

In the same way that we should not be using an individual’s personal information without their consent, per GDPR, we also cannot use AI to take away a person’s autonomy or manipulate their preferences without their consent. The AI Act is meant to help us, as a society, to identify and avoid this type of manipulation.

Here are some key points from the provisional agreement:

  • High-Risk AI: The agreement introduces rules for high-impact AI models that could pose systemic risks. It also establishes a revised governance system with enforcement powers at the EU level.
  • Prohibitions and Safeguards: Certain uses of AI, such as cognitive behavioral manipulation or untargeted scraping of facial images, are prohibited. The agreement includes safeguards for law enforcement exceptions, ensuring fundamental rights are protected.
  • Classification of AI Systems: The agreement categorizes AI systems based on risk. Systems with limited risk have lighter transparency obligations, while high-risk systems have specific requirements for market access.
  • Responsibilities and Roles: Given the complex nature of AI development, the agreement clarifies the responsibilities of various actors in the value chain, including providers and users. It also aligns with existing legislation, such as data protection laws.
  • Governance Architecture: A new AI Office will oversee advanced AI models, while a scientific panel and AI Board will provide expertise and coordination. An advisory forum includes stakeholders like industry representatives and civil society.
  • Penalties: Violations of the AI Act can result in fines based on a percentage of the company’s global annual turnover. Proportionate caps on penalties are specified for SMEs and start-ups.
  • Complaints and Transparency: Individuals or entities can complain to market surveillance authorities about non-compliance. The agreement emphasizes fundamental rights impact assessments and increased transparency for high-risk AI systems.
  • Innovation Support: Provisions support innovation-friendly measures, including AI regulatory sandboxes for testing innovative systems in controlled and real-world conditions.
  • Entry into Force: The AI Act will apply two years after it entered into force, with some exceptions for specific provisions.

Simply put, this agreement aims to regulate AI in the EU, considering its potential risks. It introduces rules, safeguards, and penalties to ensure responsible AI development and use while fostering innovation.

Interpretability and Discrimination in AI

So, what types of AI applications might pose systemic risks? Interpretability and discrimination immediately come to mind as high-risk categories we can use to refer to AI vulnerabilities such as hallucinations, bias, and more.

Interpretability is understanding how an AI system arrives at a particular decision or recommendation. If AI systems operate as “black boxes” with opaque decision-making processes, holding them accountable for their actions becomes challenging.

On the other hand, lack of interpretability erodes trust in AI systems, especially in high-stakes applications such as healthcare, finance, and criminal justice. Understanding the rationale behind AI decisions is crucial for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations and addressing privacy, fairness, and accountability concerns.

Discrimination in AI refers to biased outcomes that disproportionately impact specific groups of people. This can result from partial training data or inherent biases in algorithms.

Discrimination in AI applications can have profound ethical implications, leading to unfair treatment and exacerbating existing societal disparities. AI systems with discriminatory outcomes can perpetuate and amplify existing social inequalities. For example, biased hiring algorithms may reinforce gender or racial disparities in the workplace.

Be Proactive: Establish Guardrails Around AI at Your Organization

The Artificial Intelligence Act is a decisive step in challenging how society thinks about and interacts with AI. As human beings, we are fortunate to be at the forefront of this technology – and we can contribute to the narrative as it unfolds.

But, coming to a global consensus may take time, despite progressive legislation coming from the EU. What steps can we take in the meantime?

One of the most impactful ways your organization can contribute to the conversation around AI in the near term is to establish an AI policy for its employees. A formal AI policy defines how employees can use AI within your organization and typically covers ethical usage, bias and fairness standards, compliance requirements, and other critical guidelines and guardrails.

As AI best practices evolve, so will your AI policy.

]]>
Looking Ahead: AI Tops 2024 Investments for Leaders https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/ai-tops-investments-for-leaders Tue, 12 Dec 2023 07:30:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/ai-tops-investments-for-leaders


Most tech leaders say artificial intelligence is their top investment area this coming year, according to Skillsoft's annual IT Skills and Salary Report released today.

That may not come as a surprise.

Given the tremendous wave of news, products and releases over the past year, the technology has grown immensely popular due to its wide applicability and accessibility. AI, and more specifically generative AI, has helped disrupt norms, challenge conventional thinking, and make our lives a little easier.

Investments in this area stand to bring about even more ways the technology can solve problems new and old. But the realization of these investments won't come easily — at least for some.

Sourcing skilled talent will likely challenge many leaders who wish to start and scale projects.

The rise of generative AI (GenAI) over the past year highlights the need for efficient training to simply keep up, let alone get ahead. Engineers with AI skills are also hard to come by these days, and many teams need to sharpen what skills they do have, according to the findings.

And yet, many leaders have set their course and will head into the new year bound and determined.

Keep reading to dive into the key findings of this year’s report. Or, jump into it now:

While Promising, Scaling AI Projects May Cause Headaches

The rise of GenAI has sparked unprecedented interest in the technology, which has helped it become a central focus for businesses.

However, professionals skilled in this area are hard to find. Demand for specialists has reached new heights and likely won’t abate in the near future.

Of those who do employ skilled staff, 43% of tech leaders believe their team’s AI skills need improvement, largely due to the pace of change moving faster than training programs can keep up.

Leaders must urgently focus on equipping their teams with the necessary skills to maximize AI's potential — or risk falling behind. What's more, as AI's influence spreads beyond the tech department, IT professionals must understand its implications for business decision-making, strategy, and operations.

This requires a commitment to continuous learning, adaptability, and bridging the gap between technical and business skills.

Alongside AI, Power Skills in Tech Have Become More Important

Whether onboarding AI solutions internally or bringing products to market, investments in AI likely impact those across the business and require a collaborative approach to implementation.

What we found is that power skills are becoming increasingly important for IT professionals who are assuming more influential roles at work — or just want to compete in the labor market.

Our research indicates that while technical proficiency is vital, power skills like communication, adaptability, teamwork, and problem-solving are increasingly defining tech professionals' career trajectories. According to the research, IT decision-makers consider power skills more crucial than certifications, portfolios, and even college degrees when hiring prospective job candidates.

As IT professionals take on leadership roles, these skills will help them tackle complex, cross-functional challenges and initiatives. The survey reveals that 40% of respondents believe team communication is the most important skill for leaders, while only 8% think technical skills are the most important.

These findings suggest that professionals with a robust mix of technical and soft skills are likely to excel in their careers and land more opportunities. Therefore, IT professionals should consider developing a balanced skill set to ensure their relevance and success in the field.

Even Still, Tech Talent Is Fiercely Sought-after

Leaders are still struggling to find and retain talent – a challenge that remains despite efforts to address it. About half say hiring is difficult, with only 5% saying it’s “extremely easy” (lucky you!).

The top 5 challenges IT leaders reported this year:

  1. Resource and budget constraints
  2. Talent retention
  3. Developing stronger teams
  4. Talent recruitment
  5. Innovation and change management

This year's research reveals that hiring candidates with the right skills and attracting talent are among the main reasons for this skill gap. The traditional strategy of buying skills on demand has become unsustainable, prompting a shift towards building a sustainable workforce.

This approach focuses on developing existing talent and bridging skill gaps; we’ve seen this trend over the past several years. The lion’s share of leaders report plans to train their teams rather than outsource or bring in new talent.

This method helps ensure a steady supply of skilled IT professionals, allowing companies to adapt to changing technologies and stay competitive.

How do organizations plan to close skill gaps?

Moving in the Right Direction — But the Skills Gap Remains Steady

The skills gap continues to burden decision-makers, with 66% in agreement just like last year, and 56% foreseeing it in the next one to two years.

The rapid evolution of technology, such as GenAI, outpaces skills development programs, causing these gaps. Struggles to hire and attract skilled candidates contribute to this issue, though retention is less of a concern compared to last year.

However, insufficient investment in training has increased, with 36% acknowledging this, up from 26% last year. Proactive companies are encouraged to identify their skills gaps and plan for them.

Investing in education, certification, and training demonstrates a commitment to employees, aiding in keeping and attracting talent, who cited professional development as the leading reason for leaving their post this year.

With high stakes, forward-thinking is essential.

What are the top reasons for skills shortages on your team? Select the top three.
Rate of technology change exceeds skills development programs 43%
We struggle to hire candidates with the skills we need 41%
It’s difficult to attract candidates with the skills we need to our organization's industry 37%
We have not invested enough in training to develop the skills we need 36%
Our current training programs are not effective in developing the skills we need our employees to have 33%
We cannot pay what candidates demand 31%
We struggle to retain employees 30%
We have not anticipated the skills we need 24%
We do not have the ability to assess the skills that exist in our employee base 21%
Other 4%

What’s All This Research and Data Mean for You?

The industry continues to grow, reflected in its expansion across industries and increased salaries for tech professionals. Our report reveals a rising demand for IT skills as companies invest in tech talent to meet their goals.

What this means for tech professionals and individual contributors

For those who want to climb the ladder or become more specialized in their careers, use your time wisely this year as you learn new skills. The report suggests that those who focus on power skills are enjoying more opportunities as a result, given the importance placed on them by those in leadership.

What’s more, a healthy mix of technical and power skills can help remedy common workplace issues we spotted this year, like unclear roles and responsibilities, workload and communication. Technical certifications are still worth your time, but mix in courses or activities that challenge your skills in interpersonal communication, emotional intelligence, time management and conflict resolution.

What this means for tech leaders and executives

Realizing your AI dreams will rudely meet reality if you don’t have the capabilities in-house.

But as mentioned, you’re heading down the right path if you said you’re investing in upskilling and reskilling your teams. Professional development is the leading reason most employees jump ship — even more than compensation this year — so offering more of these opportunities solves for many of the challenges you told us about:

  • Talent retention
  • Talent recruitment
  • Skill gaps
  • Team morale
  • Workload
  • Building stronger teams

And more.

With 56% expecting an increase in both budgets and hiring, the reliance on technology across all business sectors is evident.

Skilled talent is integral to this growth and transformation. Truly, everyone must continually invest in themselves to continue reaping the rewards of what can be a fulfilling tech career. This report proves that.

Dive deeper into the data by gaining access to the full-length report today:

]]>
Simplify, Streamline, Succeed with Skillsoft Percipio Compliance 2.0 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/simplify-streamline-succeed-with-skillsoft-percipio-compliance-2-0 Thu, 07 Dec 2023 11:59:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/simplify-streamline-succeed-with-skillsoft-percipio-compliance-2-0

One seamless solution. Unfortunately, that’s a phrase organizations rarely hear while developing and implementing training programs. Investing in employee training and development in the evolution of reskilling and upskilling remains crucial to staying competitive in the market. Growing leaders within an organization drives positive behavioral change and helps organizations achieve their strategic goals. Ensuring all employees know and follow the company’s code of conduct, policies, and procedures for an ethical and safe work environment minimizes risk to your organization and protects your most valuable asset – your employees.

How could any company imagine achieving all of these lofty goals from one provider? Perhaps stretching the imagination further, what can happen when you combine these objectives for even more benefit to the employees and organization - nurturing leaders with strong ethical foundations who embody and advocate for the company's ethics and culture, and enhancing employees' skills so that they not only grasp the technical capabilities of GenAI, but also have the knowledge to employ it ethically.

That said, the strategy your organization adopts for training directly influences employee engagement and the range of learning opportunities available to them.

The Learning Vendor Maze

Compliance training is key for regulatory and ethical reasons, but it's insufficient for comprehensive employee development. Training in leadership, business acumen, and technology is also necessary. Leadership training fosters effective leaders, while technology training promotes innovation and efficiency by familiarizing employees with contemporary tools.

Oftentimes, organizations face the challenge of meeting multiple training requirements, leading them to invest in various training platforms. While this approach may address immediate needs, it can create a fragmented learning environment and complicate tracking employees' success. Having learners dealing with multiple systems, logins, and data silos can be overwhelming and confusing. By relying on multiple systems, logins, and data silos, learning administrators find themselves spread thin. This makes it challenging to gain a comprehensive view of employee progress and accurately measure the impact of training initiatives.

Administrators can simplify their processes and consolidate data into one user-friendly interface by adopting a centralized training platform. This allows for better visibility into employee training activities, progress, and outcomes. Rather than navigating multiple systems and logins, administrators can conveniently access all the necessary information in one place.

Meet Skillsoft Percipio Compliance 2.0

Introducing a unified Skillsoft Percipio experience that combines Skillsoft Compliance content with core learning content into one seamless solution.

Uniting Compliance and Non-Compliance Content

Skillsoft’s Percipio Compliance 2.0 offers one platform that integrates compliance and non-compliance content into a single solution so organizations can provide a comprehensive learning experience to their employees. This ensures that employees receive a well-rounded education covering mandatory regulatory requirements and skills development relevant to their roles.

By integrating compliance content with non-compliance content, organizations can create a holistic approach to risk management. Employees develop the compliance knowledge and skills required to proactively identify and address potential risks and challenges. In addition to building the leadership and technology skills your employees need to thrive.

Search, Browse, and Customize

With Skillsoft Percipio Compliance 2.0 learners now have the ability to browse and search across all training resources within Percipio, ensuring they can find exactly what they need when they need it.

Administrators now have the ability to create custom channels and learning journeys for their learners. They are able to pull from the different Skillsoft course catalogs to create a well-rounded learning experience that stretches beyond basic compliance principles.

Comprehensive Tracking

With Percipio, organizations gain visibility into learner progress, completion rates, and skill development through comprehensive analytics and reporting capabilities. This data-driven approach allows organizations to identify knowledge gaps, assess the effectiveness of training initiatives, and make informed decisions to optimize their training programs.

By tracking and managing learner training data, Percipio enables organizations to tailor learning experiences, improve engagement, and ensure that employees acquire the skills necessary for success in their roles. Ultimately, this contributes to organizations' overall growth and success by fostering a continuous learning culture and aligning training initiatives with strategic objectives.

It’s crucial for organizations to recognize that their people are the driving force behind their success. By prioritizing the development of employees and providing them with the right tools, organizations empower them to reach their full potential and contribute to collective growth. Investing in comprehensive training programs benefits individual employees and strengthens the organization's overall capabilities.

Employees with the knowledge and skills they need to excel become more engaged, productive, and satisfied in their roles. By nurturing their professional growth, organizations can create a positive work environment that attracts and retains top talent. Ultimately, investing in people is an investment in the future success of your organization.

Ready to see all Skillsoft Percipio can do?

]]>
Kim Yapchai on the Importance of Culture, Teamwork, and Integrity in Sustainability Initiatives https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/kim-yapchai-on-the-importance-of-culture-teamwork-and-integrity-in-sustainability-initiatives Thu, 07 Dec 2023 11:53:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/kim-yapchai-on-the-importance-of-culture-teamwork-and-integrity-in-sustainability-initiatives

Sustainability initiatives are gaining mindshare across organizations, affecting everything from company culture to employee and customer trust. Yet, many businesses are still trying to figure out who should be driving these initiatives internally.

As a result, sustainability is often overseen by a variety of roles within an organization, working collaboratively to promote and implement green practices. Which begs the question:

  • Who oversees sustainability at your organization?
  • How did that person (or those people) assume the role?
  • What skills do they need to be successful?

To help decipher these trends, the Skillsoft team interviewed sustainability leaders from various organizations and walks of life to help build awareness around various sustainability roles. We compiled these insights into a video series, Sustainability at Work, to showcase the stories of real sustainability professionals and their paths to success.

First up is Kim Yapchai, an accomplished C-suite leader with almost 30 years of experience in multinational public companies. Yapchai shares her experiences working as a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) and the most important skills she’s learned throughout her career.

3 Tips for Sustainability Professionals from Kim Yapchai

With an extensive background in environmental, social, and governance (ESG), risk, compliance, and legal, and around ten years working with Boards of Directors and committees, Kim Yapchai has impressive industry experience in financing, product manufacturing, and construction. However, it’s her “knock it out of the park” mentality and thought leadership on strategic sustainability issues that have positioned her as a well-trusted industry professional.

Taking on multiple roles at Tenneco, one of the world’s leading automotive marketing and manufacturing companies, Yapchai served as the Chief Environmental, Social, and Governance Officer of the company, a role created by the CEO based on her proposed ESG strategy. She was eventually elevated to the Executive Leadership Team, and the company now stands in the top-quartile in its industry.

Throughout her career, Yapchai has received many recognitions for her amazing work, including Top Mind by Compliance Week Magazine, the Salute to Excellence Award by the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, and the Transformational Leadership—Visionary Leader by Inside Counsel Magazine. In her free time, Yapchai volunteers to mentor women and minorities, and she promotes diversity through the National Asian Pacific Bar Association and the DirectWomen International Board Committee.

She provided three takeaways for sustainability professionals:

  • Integrity is critical in everything you do, personally and professionally.
  • You can’t build a corporate sustainability program alone.
  • A successful sustainability program does not happen overnight; it takes iteration.

Watch Yapchai’s interview here, or read on for more insight.

It Takes a Village to Build a Sustainable Business

The sustainability of your business can affect its success, including potential financing and the ability to attract and retain employees. Employees want to work for companies that support what they believe in. But for corporate sustainability initiatives to be successful, many people need to take part.

“It takes a village. It’s not something one person or one team can do for a company,” Yapchai adds. In order to implement regulations that will have an impact, it’s important to develop a strategy. It takes a cross-functional team where everyone has a role to play and they commit to working together in order to ignite change.

It’s also important to make sure that you hold yourself, your team, and your company accountable for the results. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to create a vision and express that vision clearly to the rest of your team while simultaneously highlighting other peoples’ achievements and giving them a forum to express their needs.

Focus on the Journey

Change – especially in the context of corporate social responsibility and ESG – doesn’t happen overnight. “It’s a journey,” Yapchai says.

To create and implement effective sustainability solutions within your organization, it’s important not to make promises you can’t keep. Rather, Yapchai suggests using a logical and analytical growth mindset to set a baseline and a target. This way, you know where you started and where you’re going, and your company can compare their initiatives year over year to track performance.

Creating a clear strategy and a plan to follow through is crucial, but sometimes figuring out where to start can be the hardest part. If you’re committing to improving your company, and on a larger scale, the world, then you should also commit to improving your knowledge and building a sturdy foundation that can support your work.

Committing to continuous learning is so important. And with Skillsoft’s sustainability training content, you can have the ability to prepare your organization to become more environmentally conscious at its own pace.

To hear more about Kim Yapchai’s experiences with ESG and sustainability work, and all she’s learned along the way, watch her interview here, and be sure to check out other interviews from our Sustainability at Work video series.

]]>
A Guide To The Highest-Paying ISACA Certifications https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/a-guide-to-the-highest-paying-isaca-certifications Wed, 06 Dec 2023 09:00:00 -0500 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/a-guide-to-the-highest-paying-isaca-certifications

ISACA certifications are globally recognized and highly valued in the cybersecurity field. They signify a high level of competence, ethics, and professionalism, making them an important asset to any IT security professional looking to advance their career.

The importance of ISACA certifications lies in their rigorous standards and comprehensive approach. They cover a broad range of essential skills needed in IT and cybersecurity, from assessing vulnerabilities and instituting control mechanisms to managing enterprise IT and ensuring compliance. Each certification is designed to equip professionals with the practical experience and technical knowledge to navigate complex IT landscapes.

In terms of value, ISACA certifications can also greatly enhance a professional's earning potential. Skillsoft's IT Skills and Salary Report confirms that professionals who hold ISACA certifications are among the top earners in the industry.

However, ISACA certifications are not just about immediate financial gain. They also demonstrate a professional's dedication to continuous learning and staying current on best practices in IT security — a critical attribute in this constantly evolving field. As the IT Skills and Salary Report points out, achieving an ISACA certification is a key step toward career growth and success.

This guide focuses on certification holders worldwide and reports on average salaries and more. See how we compiled this list in the methodology.

Keep reading to learn more about the highest-paying ISACA certifications and how to earn them:

The Top-Paying ISACA Certifications Worldwide

CertificationSalary
CGEIT - Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT $138,622
CRISC - Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control $133,616
CISM - Certified Information Security Manager $131,967
CDPSE - Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer $127,403
CISA - Certified Information Systems Auditor $109,012

What Do ISACA Certifications Pay in the U.S.?

CertificationSalary
CGEIT - Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT $164,091
CRISC - Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control $169,065
CISM - Certified Information Security Manager $167,396
CDPSE - Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer $178,545
CISA - Certified Information Systems Auditor $154,500

CGEIT (Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT)

$138,622

ISACA's Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) credential proves an individual's IT governance and risk management expertise.

Organizations stand to gain significantly from hiring CGEIT-certified professionals. These individuals bring to the table a demonstrated proficiency in IT governance, ensuring the effective, secure management of IT systems and data — a critical aspect in today's technology-dependent business landscape.

For IT professionals, acquiring the CGEIT certification opens up avenues for career advancement by making them more competitive in the job market. It serves as a globally recognized credential, bolstering their professional standing and paving the way for opportunities in leadership and high-level management roles.

The ideal candidate for CGEIT certification is a professional with management, advisory, or assurance responsibilities relating to the governance of IT. This includes roles like IT managers, IT governance professionals, and IT auditors. Candidates must also have five years of experience in these roles to certify.

How to Earn This Certification:

  • Pass the CGEIT exam.
  • Apply for CGEIT certification.
  • Adherence to the CGEIT continuing professional education (CPE) program.
  • Compliance with the CGEIT Code of Professional Ethics.

Find Training:

CRISC (Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control)

$133,616

The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) is another highly respected certification ISACA offers. It is specifically designed for professionals who are involved in enterprise risk management and control. CRISC holders are adept at identifying and managing risks through developing, implementing, and maintaining information systems controls. This certification is ideally suited to IT managers and risk and control professionals.

Hiring professionals with the CRISC certification benefits organizations by guaranteeing they have experts who can efficiently manage risks and institute a robust control program. These professionals ensure that organizations make informed decisions, achieve business objectives, and maximize IT investments.

For IT professionals, earning the CRISC certification can enhance their credibility, open up new career opportunities, and increase their earning potential. It demonstrates a professional's commitment to best practices in risk and control and their ability to offer valuable insights into these areas.

The ideal candidate for CRISC certification is an IT professional with hands-on experience in risk identification, assessment, evaluation, response, and monitoring. This includes roles like risk professionals, control professionals, and business analysts. Moreover, the candidate must have at least three years of experience to certify.

How to Earn This Certification:

  • Pass the CRISC exam.
  • Apply for CRISC certification.
  • Adherence to the CRISC continuing professional education (CPE) program.
  • Compliance with the CRISC Standards of Professional Practice.

Find Training:

CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)

$131,967

ISACA's CISM is a globally recognized certification that signifies an individual's expertise in the governance and management of enterprise information security. Those who earn this certification have proven their ability to develop and manage an enterprise security program, making them an essential asset to any organization.

In 2023, organizations increasingly recognize the value of certified professionals like CISM holders. The top five highest salaries by certification in United States include the CISM, signifying its high market value. This trend aligns with the growing demand for cybersecurity expertise, as 88% of IT professionals hold at least one certification, with cybersecurity certifications being among the highest paying.

Hiring CISM-certified professionals helps organizations address the prevalent skills gap in the IT field, reported by 66% of decision-makers. These professionals bring their robust skills in information security management, aiding in reducing operating costs, stress, delays, and talent acquisition while improving efficacy in this domain.

For IT professionals, obtaining a CISM certification can significantly boost their career trajectory. With the average annual salary of IT professionals globally at $96,184, a CISM certification can open doors to higher earnings. Furthermore, with most IT professionals planning to pursue certifications in cloud computing and cybersecurity, a CISM certification can set them apart in these competitive fields.

Given the rapid rate of technology change and the challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified candidates, it's clear that investments in certifications like CISM are crucial. Whether through formal, instructor-led sessions or self-paced training, enhancing one's skillset with a CISM certification can significantly benefit both the individuals who earn the credential and the organizations they work for.

The ideal candidate for CISM certification is a professional who manages, designs, oversees, and assesses an enterprise's information security. This includes roles like IT consultants, IT managers, IT security policymakers, privacy officers, and risk officers. It's important to note that those who plan to pursue this certification must have at least five years of experience in information security management.

How to Earn This Certification:

  • Pass the CISM exam. (Exam fees cost $575 for members and $760 for non-members.)
  • Apply for certification. (It costs $50.)
  • Adherence to the CISM continuing professional education (CPE) program.
  • Compliance with the CISM Code of Professional Ethics.

Find Training:

CDPSE (Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer)

$127,403

ISACA's Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer (CDPSE) signifies an individual's proficiency in privacy technology and data management. CDPSE-certified professionals have demonstrated their ability to design, build, and manage the privacy of data systems and technology, making them vital assets to any data-driven organization.

Hiring CDPSE-certified professionals brings numerous benefits. These individuals are equipped with the skills to effectively implement privacy by design, resulting in enhanced data protection and compliance with global data privacy regulations.

On the career front, obtaining a CDPSE certification can enhance an IT professional's career prospects. It validates their expertise in data privacy solutions, leading to higher-paying roles within the industry. Further, as data privacy becomes an increasingly crucial aspect of IT, professionals with a CDPSE certification will be in high demand, providing them a competitive edge in the job market.

Investing in a CDPSE certification is a strategic move for organizations and individuals. For organizations, it ensures their data privacy practices are robust and compliant. It opens up opportunities for career growth and advancement for professionals, setting them apart in the market.

The ideal candidate for CDPSE certification is a professional who assesses, builds, and implements privacy solutions and helps establish privacy requirements. This includes roles like data privacy officers, data protection officers, IT managers, and IT consultants. The person pursuing their CDPSE must have at least three years of experience on the job.

How to Earn This Certification:

  • Pass the CDPSE exam.
  • Apply for CDPSE certification.
  • Adherence to the CDPSE continuing professional education (CPE) program.
  • Compliance with the CDPSE Code of Professional Ethics.

Find Training:

CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor)

$109,012

ISACA's Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification underscores an IT professional's expertise in information systems auditing, control, and security. Those who earn this certification have demonstrated their proficiency in managing IT systems and processes, ensuring the security and integrity of an organization's data. This certification is a testament to a professional's comprehensive understanding of IT auditing and security, making them invaluable team members to virtually any organization today.

For organizations, hiring professionals with CISA certification translates into enhanced security and better management of their IT systems. These individuals bring to the table their adept skills in auditing, assessing, and managing complex IT infrastructures. On the other hand, for IT professionals, the CISA certification can be a significant career catalyst. It validates their knowledge and skills and opens up avenues for career advancement and higher salaries, setting them apart in the industry.

The ideal candidate for CISA certification is an IT professional with experience in auditing, control, or security of information systems. This could include roles such as IS/IT auditors, IS/IT consultants, IT audit managers, among others. The candidate must have at least five years of experience in one of these domains to certify.

Note: In 2024, ISACA plans to update its CISA Exam Content Outline (ECO), which will impact exam prep material.

How to Earn This Certification:

  • Pass the CISA exam. (Exam fees cost $575 for members and $760 for non-members.)
  • Apply for certification.
  • Adherence to the CISA continuing professional education (CPE) program.
  • Compliance with the Information Systems Auditing Standards.

Find Training:

HOW WE BUILT THE LIST

This list of top-paying ISACA certifications is based on survey responses from Skillsoft’s 2023 IT Skills and Salary Survey conducted from May to September 2023. 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. The focus of this list is on 330 respondents who reported having one or more ISACA certifications. The number of responses for each certification worldwide is as follows: CISM (163), CISA (174), CRISC (87), CDPSE (59), CGEIT (41). For the U.S.: CISM (74), CISA (64), CRISC (38), CDPSE (23), CGEIT (17).

To compile lists like this one, we consider relevance, demand, and certification requirements. Salaries are not normalized for cost-of-living or location.

]]>
It’s About Time: When to Update Your Global Code of Conduct https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/its-about-time-when-to-update-your-global-code-of-conduct Tue, 05 Dec 2023 11:25:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/its-about-time-when-to-update-your-global-code-of-conduct

When was the last time your organization reviewed its Global Code of Conduct? Good governance says that you should refresh your Code at least every two years; but for many organizations, there are differing opinions on the necessity to do so.

Consider this blog post a sign from the universe to take another look at your Code.

Your Code serves as a guide for employees and stakeholders alike on what ethical behavior looks like in your organization. Regular reviews of that guide help clarify, refresh and reinforce your organization’s commitment to ethical standards – and ensure that your expectations remain relevant to your operations and the expectations of stakeholders as the business environment and societal norms change over time.

And that’s not all. Regularly updating your Global Code of Conduct has other benefits, as well:

  • Ensures compliance. Reviewing your code on a regular basis may help your organization to identify any legal or ethical changes that may require your attention.
  • Mitigates risk. Identifying and addressing potential issues before they escalate is a proactive way to mitigate risk.
  • Builds cultural alignment. As your organization evolves, it's important to ensure that the code of conduct aligns with its values, culture, and mission.
  • Improves employee awareness. Remind employees of their responsibilities and the organization’s commitment to ethical behavior.
  • Establishes trust. A well-maintained code of conduct can help build and maintain trust with external stakeholders.

And finally, organizations that regularly review their code of conduct are simply better positioned to make improvements and adapt to changing circumstances. They can look at industry best practices and stay competitive by demonstrating an ongoing commitment to ethical behavior.

Skillsoft is Updating Our Code, Too

Last year, Skillsoft launched 12 new cinematic-style courses as part of our Global Code of Conduct solution. And this month, we’re pleased to announce 19—yes 19—new topics for your perusal. These topics cover many of the flagship and emerging risks we see covered in many organization’s Codes and are top of mind for educating employees. These include:

  • Accommodating Disabilities 2
  • Accounting & Financial Integrity 2
  • Anti-Money Laundering 3
  • Outside Communications
  • International Trade Compliance 2
  • Promoting Safety & Security at Work 2
  • Protecting Customer Information 2
  • Records Management 2
  • Social Media and Electronic Communications 3
  • Anti-retaliation
  • Combating Modern Slavery
  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Global Supply Chain and Vendor Management
  • Data Privacy
  • Diversity, Inclusion, Respect, and Fairness
  • Non-disability Accommodations
  • Reporting and Whistleblower Protection
  • Respectful Communication

While many of these courses are an expected addition to our catalog, we thought it might be interesting to double-click on one of the emerging risk topics new to our portfolio – Combating Modern Slavery.

A Preview of Skillsoft’s “Combating Modern Slavery” Training

Modern slavery is a challenge across the globe today; even well-meaning companies can find themselves unwittingly involved in and exposed to modern slavery through their contractors or supply chain. Skillsoft’s new cinematic-style course reviews the most common types of exploitation as well as signs to be on the lookout for when working with suppliers.

Why might organizations consider including a course on Combatting Modern Slavery in their Global Codes of Conduct? Honestly, the same reasons tend to apply to any course you’re considering adding to your training program. These include:

  • Legal Compliance: In the case of modern slavery, many countries have laws and regulations in place – such as the Modern Slavery Act in the UK and the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act in the United States – to help organizations avoid legal and financial consequences. Training your team ensures that your organization meets legal requirements and avoids legal liabilities.
  • Ethical Responsibility: Ensure that your company is not inadvertently supporting or benefiting from forced labor, human trafficking, or other forms of exploitation. Training can help your team understand the ethical implications of their actions and make more informed choices.
  • Employee Engagement, Corporate Reputation, and Brand Image: Employees tend to be more engaged and satisfied with their work when they feel their organization is socially responsible. At the same time, customers and stakeholders increasingly expect businesses to uphold ethical standards, and a commitment to combating modern slavery can be a strong selling point.
  • Supply Chain Transparency: Training your team on modern slavery issues can improve transparency within your supply chain – enabling you to better understand the working conditions of your suppliers and subcontractors, identify potential issues, and take corrective actions.
  • Human Rights and Social Impact: By addressing modern slavery, your company can contribute to the broader effort to protect human rights and promote social justice. This is not only a moral imperative but also a way to create a positive impact on society.

In summary, training your team to combat modern slavery is not only a legal requirement in many jurisdictions but also an ethical choice, and a strategic business decision that can lead to improved reputation, risk management, and long-term sustainability.

Your Global Code of Conduct is a Reflection of Your Company

Many organizations looking to create a culture of compliance are surprised to learn that culture develops, in part, from where you focus your efforts.

In the case of your Global Code of Conduct, the courses you include serve as a visible and tangible expression of your organization’s commitment to ethical behavior, responsible business practices, and its role as a responsible corporate citizen on a global stage.

Your Code is a key instrument for aligning the actions of individuals within the company with its overarching values and principles. Think about the type of training you need to include to ensure your employees are up-to-speed and understand that this reflects the type of company you want to become.

]]>
Navigating the Productivity Puzzle with Skillsoft Coach Panagiotis Ntouskas https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/navigating-the-productivity-puzzle-with-skillsoft-coach-panagiotis-ntouskas Tue, 05 Dec 2023 09:00:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/navigating-the-productivity-puzzle-with-skillsoft-coach-panagiotis-ntouskas

Despite living in an age of technological advancements intended to streamline tasks, many individuals still struggle with time management and achieving their goals efficiently. This paradox is particularly surprising, considering the number of productivity tools and methodologies available today.

From time-blocking techniques to digital apps designed to minimize distractions, there's no shortage of resources meant to bolster personal productivity. Yet, mastering these tools and techniques requires more than just understanding their mechanics—it demands a shift in mindset and a commitment to consistent practice.

Take a peek at Skillsoft’s Coaching solution to see how our exceptional coaches can help guide your employees to personal and professional productivity success.

Interested in becoming a Skillsoft Coach? Apply today

Meet Skillsoft Coach Panagiotis Ntouskas

Panagiotis is a multilingual and globally recognized professional coach who is passionate about helping individuals get the most out of their time with tactical productivity. Based in Athens, Greece, he has a diverse background, with nine years of experience in the operational industry, spanning sectors such as logistics and international transport, consulting, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals.

Fluent in English, German, and Greek, he holds a Professional Certified Coach credential from the International Coaching Federation in addition to three Master's degrees, demonstrating his commitment to continuous learning and development. With approximately 1,000 hours of paid professional coaching under his belt, Panagiotis has a wealth of experience guiding individuals through their personal and professional growth journeys.

His specialty lies in personal productivity, where he excels at helping clients streamline their processes and optimize their time to achieve their goals more effectively. Panagiotis' unique combination of industry knowledge, coaching expertise, and commitment to personal productivity makes him an invaluable asset to anyone looking to enhance their performance and achieve their ambitions.

We had the pleasure of asking Panagiotis a few questions to gain insight into his coaching philosophy and why coaching is an impactful training tool.

Skillsoft: Can you provide an overview of your coaching philosophy and approach?

Panagiotis Ntouskas: My coaching is success-oriented and motivational, focusing on personal development and enhancing inspiration, creativity, and self-efficacy. Personal productivity coaching is a multi-dimensional niche that requires creativity as well as multi-dimensional and out-of-the-box thinking. I always try to follow a holistic approach in coaching. It's not always easy to distinguish between a personal and a professional topic, that's why for me every topic could be relevant for a coaching session.

Can you share any success stories or case studies from your previous coaching engagements?

I would like to share a testimonial from a client.

“Before working with Panagiotis, I felt so overwhelmed and stressed with my work. I felt like it took over my life and had no free time. Panagiotis helped me develop time management and organizational skills which have been invaluable. I am now working more effectively and have more time for other things in my life.”

In order to improve her productivity and time management, we had to identify the root cause of the issue. We analyzed how she spends her day, which was really an eye opener, especially when it came to how she prioritized various tasks and activities. Her main challenges were her difficulty to say no to unimportant tasks and the long, inefficient meetings. We achieved a productivity improvement of more than 40%, achieved through better prioritization, delegation, and more efficient meetings.

How do you support learners in developing their leadership skills and enhancing their professional growth?

Firstly, the coachee needs to gain awareness into where he or she stands in relation to leadership and power skills. A 360 assessment can be very helpful at this stage.

Secondly, the coachee needs to select areas of focus for personal development and be clear about why those are important. The next step is to dive deep into specific challenges the coachee faces and make an action plan for behavioral or other changes. Accountability and follow-ups are also keys to success in coaching.

What do you believe is the benefit to scaling leadership capabilities across the organization through coaching?

It's all about turning managers into leaders which leads to more empowered employees, enhanced productivity, and better results.

I think one of the biggest benefits is the increased sense of ownership. When everyone accepts responsibility and takes ownership of mistakes and challenges in a blame-free environment, the impact can be huge. People are not afraid to make mistakes, they are not afraid to take risks, and this is how progress is made.

Furthermore, leaders are both inspiring and inspired. They can motivate and enable their teams to strive for continuous improvement and contribute to organizational success.

]]>
The 5 Most Important Skills for Tech Leaders https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/most-important-skills-for-tech-leaders Mon, 04 Dec 2023 13:30:00 -0500 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/most-important-skills-for-tech-leaders

As an IT professional, you may be confident in your technical know-how, but if you’re looking to advance to the next level, you need more than just technical skills to succeed.

Over the past decades, technology has continued to evolve, bringing about new roles and responsibilities in the tech landscape. Due to the rapid changes in the industry, IT has matured from a supporting role to a strategic one, creating unique opportunities for advancement.

As new roles and responsibilities are making their way into the workplace, it is imperative that IT professionals are equipped with the skills to take on these new challenges.

In the past, technical skills may have been enough to get by. But today, the changing nature of the tech industry will continue stressing the importance of softer skills, like interpersonal communication, adaptability, and time management.

In fact, survey findings shared in Skillsoft's IT Skills and Salary Report reveal that soft skills like these are among the most important for those in leadership positions. The majority of respondents (40%) say team communication is the most important skill, and far fewer (8%) deem technical skills as the most critical.

If you work in tech and want to advance your career, here are the five most important skills for IT leaders to have and how to develop them:

1. Team Communication and Encouragement

Communication is an important skill to have in any job, but it is the most important skill for IT leaders to have.

This year, both IT staff and leaders responding to Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary survey ranked team communication as the single most important skill for those in leadership.

Being able to converse effectively with a team, as well as convey your actions to partners and clients is crucial to taking on more responsibilities in the workplace.

Specifically, good communication helps leaders explain complex tech concepts and build relationships with their colleagues. These skills are also essential for managing projects, addressing customer needs, and making important decisions.

Not to mention, having a passion for what you do and being able to openly express it with the rest of your team offers encouragement and inspiration.

2. Interpersonal Communication and Team Building

The changing landscape in the tech industry has been largely driven by shifts to remote work. Therefore, building a strong sense of community is more important now than ever.

A leader should strive to bring out the best in people, bolster morale, and establish trust between their department and senior management.

Furthermore, IT projects are typically team-driven by members with diverse skill sets, so to grow as a leader and a professional, leaders must foster a personal connection with their team.

Collaboration, team spirit, and continuous learning among team members helps develop a community vested in the growth of the organization.

3. Emotional Intelligence, Delegation and Coaching

It can be hard to switch from a team member to a leader, even when you are a talented professional. One of the best leadership skills is the ability to bring out the best in everyone around you.

The best leaders are those who know how to delegate, coach, and give their team members the freedom to make mistakes. This helps emphasize everyone’s talents while also providing them with room to grow and succeed in different areas.

Upskilling and reskilling are crucial parts of this process, and choosing to implement robust learning programs within your team helps improve every individual.

4. Problem Solving and Business Skills

Working in tech, problem solving is a core part of the job. But problem-solving at a leadership level must be aligned with the company’s business goals and strategy.

If you’re an individual contributor today, this can be a mindset shift. You must broaden your thinking and apply your problem-solving skills to figure out how your domain — whether that’s security, software or otherwise — can drive your company toward success.

You must learn about customer needs, expectations, and competitors, and create solutions that serve the company’s objectives.

Additionally, the chance for success greatly increases when more than one person is involved in the decision-making process while working on complex projects. Therefore, you should also encourage employees to try out new ideas and strategies that could lead to innovation.

5. Commitment to Inclusion and Accessibility

Inclusion and accessibility go a long way toward setting leaders apart from their peers. It’s important to invest in getting to know your team and taking the time to understand the values that matter to them.

Creating a work environment where everyone feels comfortable, safe, and respected will produce the best results, and it shows that you as a leader value your team not only for the work they are creating, but for the people they are.

However, it’s important to remember that committing to inclusion and accessibility is an ongoing endeavor. It takes work, and devoting yourself to continuing that work is a crucial step all in leadership must take.

The Tech Field Needs Skilled, Versatile Leaders

The broader tech industry remains a strong, growing, and evolving space. More and more, the tech department becomes interwoven with the rest of the business — placing greater importance of the skills IT professionals have.

As IT professionals, it’s crucial that you invest in continual learning, whether your motivation is to advance your career or help those around with you deploy new tech. The investment in your own skills will pay off in more ways than one — and it starts by taking the first step.

If you’re interested in learning more about the important skills for tech leaders and how they apply to you and your team, check out some of Skillsoft’s IT training content and start learning today.

]]>
Introducing India’s Customer Award Winners 2023 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/introducing-indias-customer-award-winners-2023 Wed, 22 Nov 2023 09:00:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/introducing-indias-customer-award-winners-2023

At Skillsoft, our customers are what truly inspire us. Their creative solutions help us think more broadly and enable us to deliver technology that changes both careers and businesses.

That said, we’re overjoyed to present the winners of the 2023 Customer Awards, representing the most remarkable transformational changes in their respective fields.

While it’s always a challenge to sort through dozens of nominations, seeing our customers’ amazing work and contributions makes us exceptionally proud to bring you this year’s honorees.

In 2023, we awarded winners in five categories:

Transformative Leadership Development

This category recognizes an organization that has built and implemented a 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 supports strategic business goals.

Innovation in Developing Tech Talent

This award is given to an organization that tackled the tech skills gap head-on. Our honoree overcame tech shortage challenges by implementing innovative, impactful learning programs for its technology workforce.

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 special award mention delivered learning and development 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 changing 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 leader, an ambassador for talent development who takes an innovative approach to training. The Champion of the Year is someone who uses 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: Cairn Oil and Gas, Vedanta Ltd
    As the largest private oil and gas exploration and production company in India, Cairn Oil and Gas, Vedanta Ltd accounts for more than a quarter of India’s domestic crude production and has 1,300 employees. Cairn created an agile leadership initiative with emphasis on ethical decision-making, boosting emotional intelligence, and navigating the digital age.

  • Special Award: Welspun Group
    Welspun Group is one of India's fastest growing global conglomerates with 26,000 employees and many subsidiaries. Welspun created two leadership programs that prioritize internal development, reducing its reliance on external hiring, saving on recruitment costs, and ensuring that leadership roles are filled by individuals deeply aligned with the company's values and objectives.


Impact Award: Innovation in Developing Tech Talent

  • Winner: HCLTech
    Powered by a global team of 223,400 diverse employees across 60 countries, HCLTech delivers smarter, better ways for its stakeholders to benefit from technology. The company launched the Talent Transformation @ Scale program, focusing on holistic skill development of employees. As a result, HCLTech proactively prepared more than 66,000 employees for changes in technology trends, facilitating both their career growth and non-technology skills.

  • Special Award: Larsen and Toubro Ltd
    More than 80 years old, L&T is the largest engineering and construction company with interests in EPC projects, hi-tech manufacturing, and services. It has 55,000 employees, 23 businesses, and operates in 50 countries. With the launch of its “Academy of Digital Transformation” program, L&T built a role-focused curriculum to develop talent at scale and in a cost-effective way.

Impact Award: Special Learning and Development Initiatives

  • Winner: Hero MotoCorp Ltd
    As the largest two-wheeler manufacturer since 2001, Hero MotoCorp employs 4,300 people and has the vision of being “The future of mobility.” The leadership team partnered with the talent development (TD) team to launch the Hero Learning League, which established a culture of learning and reduced skills gaps by delivering over 35,000 courses to 2,200 unique users.
  • Special Award: CGI
    Founded in 1976, CGI is among the world’s largest independent IT and business consulting services firms, with 90,250 consultants and professionals across the globe. In response to the challenge of adapting to a hybrid work mode, CGI APAC introduced a series of practical learning programs — including 32 distinct journeys — tailored to specific roles and functions and boosted learning hours by 35%.
  • Special Award: Coforge
    As a global digital services and solutions provider, Coforge’s 24,780 employees reside in 21 countries. Stemming from a commitment to foster an inclusive culture, Coforge launched its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Academy. As a result, the company has been able to attract and retain diverse talent, stay compliant with DEI-related regulations, and increase employee engagement. The academy serves as the linchpin of Corforge’s skill development initiatives, driving growth through dynamic learning.


Program of the Year

  • Winner: Adani Enterprises Ltd
    With over 40,000 employees in 200 diverse locations, The Adani Group has created a world class transport and utility infrastructure portfolio. Under its digital learning initiative "eVidyalaya," Adani has increased the engagement and alignment of entry-level employees particularly of management and executive trainees starting work for the first time. The program has also enhanced the digital and analytics dexterity of employees, provided cultural and power skills, and ensured learning retention for over 20,000 users.
  • Special Award: Aditya Birla Group
    A global conglomerate, the Aditya Birla Group is anchored by over 187,000 employees belonging to 100 nationalities. Its GVC Future Skills Program was initiated to address closing the skills gap, enhancing learning, developing talent and adapting to industry changes. As a result, 91% of employees reported successfully applying the knowledge gained from online courses directly to their work responsibilities. And a resounding 92% of employees agreed that it contributed to enhancing their job performance and productivity.
  • Special Award: Bata Group
    The Bata Corporation is a multinational footwear, apparel and fashion accessories manufacturer, headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland with more than 30,000 employees. To address the challenges of decentralized operations, global talent management, and a one team strategy, the company’s Bata e-University is designed to cover nine learning pillars, catering to employees at all levels. As a result, the Bata Global Talent Management Strategy has brought about a transformative change in talent management practices, driving engagement, and fostering continuous learning.


Champion of the Year

  • Winner: Bhawna Choudhary, Cairn Oil and Gas, Vedanta Ltd
    Under Bhawna’s guidance, Cairn Oil & Gas underwent a pivotal shift in its approach to talent development. Recognizing the dynamic nature of the energy sector, Bhawna instigated a holistic revamp of the existing learning modules. By integrating hands-on training with digital resources, she introduced an immersive learning experience. This transition, in turn, led to higher retention rates among employees, streamlined onboarding processes, and fostered a culture where continuous learning became synonymous with professional growth.
  • Special Award: Pooja Marwah, Bata Group
    Pooja has been the driving force behind the transformation of talent development for Bata globally. Faced with the challenge of harmonizing talent management practices in a decentralized organizational structure, it was critical to institute a comprehensive global strategy. Pooja and team devised an integrated strategy that empowers employees at all levels to enhance their skills, competencies, and leadership proficiencies in a standardized and cohesive manner.

We couldn’t be prouder of the businesses and individuals recognized above. We hope this year’s winners serve as inspiration to all of those who lead talent development initiatives and are searching for creative approaches to drive business success.

]]>
Striking the Right Balance: ESG or CSR for Your Organization https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/striking-the-right-balance-esg-or-csr-for-your-organization Mon, 20 Nov 2023 02:45:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/striking-the-right-balance-esg-or-csr-for-your-organization

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives have taken over business strategy discussions as corporate activism rapidly becomes an expectation among employees and other stakeholders. But many organizations are finding it difficult to manage those expectations while still making an impact.

In Skillsoft’s recent CSR at work report, where we surveyed nearly 1,000 professionals across industries and geographies, more than 60% of respondents said that organizations should take a stand on social and/or political issues, yet many of these same people report that they are not aware of where their own company stands.

To truly understand your organization's goals – and your role in accomplishing them – you need to first understand the key differences between CSR and ESG practices. Although these terms are often used synonymously, they are not the same. And from charitable giving to scope 3 emissions, knowing the difference between CSR and ESG is crucial for not only your organization’s bottom line, but your public perception as well.

Let’s start with CSR.

You may have heard the term “CSR” first, and more often. CSR refers to a business model where organizations consider the impact of their operations on society and take action to promote social benefits both inside and outside of the company. Seventy-three percent of respondents from Skillsoft’s 2023 CSR at Work Report say CSR is “what we do at our organization”, while ESG is “what we report to our investors.”

While CSR efforts remain largely unregulated, at their core, they demonstrate an organization’s commitment to positive societal impacts. Yet, according to our report, 60% of professionals say CSR initiatives are merely an add-on to their organization’s main purpose and direction.

CSR programs vary widely. At Skillsoft, we prioritize in-kind donations, volunteerism, corporate philanthropy, and a sense of belonging via our Employee Advisory Groups. Your organization’s program may look quite different as CSR efforts are often driven by company leadership.

Unpacking ESG.

ESG, on the other hand, is a set of criteria used by multiple stakeholders, including investors and customers, to assess a company's performance in three key areas: environmental stewardship, social impact, and governance practices. These factors have become integral to investment decisions, reflecting the growing importance of sustainable and ethical business practices in financial performance.

Environmental considerations include a company's energy use, waste, pollution, and natural resource conservation. Social factors examine how a company manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and communities. Governance pertains to a company's leadership structure, policies and procedures, internal controls, and other mechanisms designed to ensure accountability and responsibility within its business activities.

Unlike CSR, ESG is no longer optional; it's become core to an organization's strategy and can significantly impact a company's financial performance and long-term health. Results from our CSR at Work Report revealed that 55% of respondents view CSR as “anecdotal,” whereas ESG provides “solid data” about their organization’s contributions to the world.

We can help you navigate the alphabet soup of ESG frameworks.

The Distinction: Strategy vs. Action

The primary difference between CSR and ESG lies in the distinction between action and strategy. CSR is about actions—philanthropic efforts, community engagement, and environmentally friendly practices. It's about doing the right thing because it's good for the company's reputation and morale.

On the other hand, ESG is about strategy. It involves incorporating ethical and sustainable practices into the very fabric of a company's operations. ESG factors directly impact a company's financial performance and can influence investment decisions. Moreover, ESG standards seek comparable and measurable data, allowing companies to track progress and investors to make informed decisions.

Let’s break it down even more:

Integration into Business Strategy

CSR is often seen as an “add-on” to existing business strategies. It may not be intimately tied to the core business model or operations. ESG factors are integrated into the core strategy of a business. They are considered crucial in long-term business planning and value creation.

Learn more about how CSR can strengthen brand equity and customer loyalty.

Measurement and Reporting Requirements

CSR activities are usually reported in a separate CSR or sustainability report, and the metrics can vary widely from company to company. ESG factors are typically quantifiable and standardized across industries. They are often included in financial reports and are used by investors to assess a company's risk profile.

Stakeholder Engagement

CSR primarily focuses on the company's impact on the community and society at large. ESG takes a broader view, considering the company's impact on all stakeholders, including employees, investors, communities, and the environment.

Curious about the importance of transparency in CSR efforts?

The Bottom Line: Both CSR and ESG Matter

For large organizations, both CSR and ESG are essential. CSR initiatives enhance a company's reputation, boost employee morale, and demonstrate a commitment to societal impact. Meanwhile, strong ESG performance can attract investors, lead to better financial results, and ensure long-term stability.

By understanding the differences and finding the right balance between CSR and ESG, large organizations can drive growth while building a better future. As society becomes more socially conscious, it's no longer enough for companies to merely do well—they must also do good. Understanding and implementing both CSR and ESG initiatives is a crucial step in this direction.

Discover four ways to future-proof your CSR efforts.

]]>
DB Systel’s Sprint Starter Program Helps New Grads Build Critical Skills https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/db-systels-sprint-starter-program-helps-new-grads-build-critical-skills Fri, 17 Nov 2023 05:16:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/db-systels-sprint-starter-program-helps-new-grads-build-critical-skills

With staff shortages, train delays, and worker strikes causing Germany’s struggling train system to gain international attention, a company like DB Systel GmbH has to be technically buttoned up itself, making sure its workforce is skilled to handle any and all technical issues that could potentially help trains run more smoothly.

Headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, DB Systel GmbH helps rail businesses with mobility and logistics, IT consulting and digital platform challenges. It also provides information and communication technology solutions throughout Germany.

But like many organizations around the world, DB Systel suffers from talent shortages due to a growing skills gap.

Leadership realized that to stay competitive in the market — and remain the go-to mobility, IT, and digital platform for rail businesses — it must invest in the growth and development of current employees. Not to mention, it needed to recruit new talent that possessed the skills the business critically needed.

The challenge was finding the right talent.

Finding a Solution to Tech Recruiting

“We couldn't find those specific [employee] profiles that we needed,” explains DB Systel HR development specialist, Laura Steurer. Specifically, Steurer says they were looking for candidates with DevOps and networking automation skills.

The solution? DB Systel shifted its focus to recent college graduates, devising a program to recruit and train motivated new employees with the competencies they needed.

DB Systel leadership and HR invented what’s now known as the Sprint Starter program, tapping its existing relationship with Skillsoft to help make it happen.

Employee Onboarding Is Just the Beginning

Before partnering with Skillsoft, Steurer said the company took a much more traditional approach to onboarding and upskilling.

“We didn't use e-learning, videos, or any kind of online learning at all,” Steurer says. “We only had training with actual trainers standing right in front of employees in a classroom environment.”

That all changed in 2017 when DB Systel’s Skillsoft partnership shifted its onboarding approach — and employees’ mindsets — to a more digital format.

With the Skillsoft Percipio platform, the company can give employees “learning in parts,” integrating with overall DB Systel training. Training is focused on an employee’s role and adjusts during that employee’s career progression. These learning journeys can include both necessary job training and relevant employee interests.

Implementing the Sprint Starter Program to Help a Workforce Meet Skill Demands

Armed with the Skillsoft-powered onboarding process that was already favorable with both employees and managers, Steurer and the DB Systel team expanded on Skillsoft Percipio’s offerings to tackle its challenge of recruiting talent with the right skills.

Enter Sprint Starter: A three-month, skills-based intensive program, designed to onboard fresh college graduates into technical roles.

The program aligns with the end of German universities' academic semesters and includes a group of about 50 participants who start in either April or October (the times when new graduates are typically looking for jobs).

During each rotation, new recruits are trained in DB Systel’s most critically needed skills, including DevOps and networking automation skills.

“Those three months are quite packed with training of different kinds,” Steurer explains. In addition to DevOps, relevant training can include skills in cloud, software development, and even a blended learning path for Python beginners.

Using the Skillsoft Percipio platform, learners can absorb content at their own pace and then test their retention with skill benchmarks.

How Percipio Benefits Both Employee and Employer

From the HR team’s perspective, the Sprint Starter program has been universally successful at creating the skilled workforce DB Systel seeks.

The hiring approach has shifted: Instead of searching for the perfect candidates during the recruiting process, DB Systel can recruit bright, motivated candidates and train them in the skills needed to do the job.

And for participants, Steurer says the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The sprint starters appreciate that with Skillsoft Percipio, they can learn on their own, when they have time and at their own speed,” Steurer says. “And they have the Percipio license for at least the rest of the year, so even if they can't do all the training that we provide, they can go back and look at things they’re interested it in.”

For DB Systel, a huge benefit is the reporting Percipio provides, which allows leadership to enhance curriculum based on interest.

“We can generate a report on what our users are searching for, including themes to focus on,” Steurer explains. “For instance, a lot of employees have been looking for AI and ChatGPT in the last month, and we can actually create courses that fit employees’ searched topics.”

A Future of Skill Building

As the Sprint Starter program continues to evolve and adapt, it remains an innovative example of how companies can take a proactive approach to employee recruitment and development. While formal certifications aren’t part of the program, intrinsic personal growth absolutely is.

“The greatest achievement we had is that we gave our employees the opportunity to manage their skills and their upskilling by themselves,” Steurer says. “They actually get the mindset that learning is not something that someone does for you, but something you have to take care of on your own.”

Steurer also credits the Skillsoft team and Percipio technology with making the program not only a reality, but an ongoing success.

“Our employees value this opportunity, especially the e-learning spirit it brought to DB Systel, and the realization that it’s as valuable as physical classroom courses,” Steurer says. “Phillip [our Skillsoft customer success manager] always has good ideas on how to keep users engaged with Percipio, and I couldn’t wish for a better partner.”

DB Systel's Sprint Starter program is a shining example of how organizations can use learning technology to address real hiring challenges. By using the flexibility of modern e-learning platforms to educate willing employees, DB Systel is leading the IT talent race and positioning itself to thrive in the ever-changing world of technology.

]]>
Responsibility is the Price of Greatness in CSR https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/responsibility-is-the-price-of-greatness-in-csr Thu, 16 Nov 2023 11:18:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/responsibility-is-the-price-of-greatness-in-csr

You are where you are today because you stand on somebody’s shoulders. And wherever you are heading, you cannot get there by yourself. If you stand on the shoulders of others, you have a reciprocal responsibility to live your life so that others may stand on your shoulders. It’s the quid pro quo of life. We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give.” - Vernon Jordan

How does your organization shoulder the responsibility of helping others?

For Skillsoft, helping the world around us is a central part of being a responsible business. Beyond turning a profit, responsible businesses require inspirational leadership, committed employees, invested stakeholders, and most importantly, a strong sense of purpose.

Business priorities are different today than they were 30 years ago. While profitability is critical, organizations are also concerned about doing good for their customers, employees, and the rest of the world. We’re Living — and working — in an era of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

To get to the bottom of this shift in corporate priorities, we need to look more closely at what — and who — is driving CSR efforts around the world. That’s why we’re publishing Skillsoft’s second-annual Corporate Social Responsibility at Work Report. The report is the result of surveying nearly 1,000 professionals from both public and private companies and across various industries, geographies, and job roles. It provides us with crucial information about how organizations are approaching CSR right now.

CSR: From Nice-To-Have to Necessary

Of all the people we surveyed, 62% of respondents said they believe that organizations should take a stand on social and political issues, which is a fundamental component of CSR. But, compared to last year, where “doing the right thing” was a top driver of corporate CSR programs and initiatives (40%), organizations in 2023 report that they are increasingly taking cues from customer feedback, public perception, and government mandates (50%).

Put another way, CSR used to be about altruism. But based on responses from this year’s survey, organizations are beginning to see their CSR programs as a binding commitment to fulfill obligations to various stakeholders.

Perhaps that’s one reason that 55% of respondents reported that their CSR budgets increased since last year, and that CSR efforts are increasingly being driven by their organization’s C-suite. As regulations become more complex, organizations are compelled to allocate more resources to them — both in the form of money and strategic direction.

The C-suite's involvement in a company's CSR program is vital for ensuring that CSR is integrated into the company's culture, strategy, and operations. This involvement sends a strong signal to internal and external stakeholders about the company's commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices.

CSR Is Here to Stay, but Know Your “Why”

For many, the reasons why organizations participate in CSR are not as important as their participation in the first place. After all, CSR benefits business in many ways, including:

  • Increased brand recognition
  • Better relationships with customers and employees
  • Improved morale and customer loyalty

And more importantly, CSR impacts society at large by providing a channel for positive social and environmental impact. However, understanding your organization’s “why” is crucial to the long-term success of your CSR program, and here are some compelling reasons:

Authenticity and Credibility: Stakeholders, including customers, employees, and investors, are more likely to view your organization’s actions as sincere and authentic when they are — in fact — sincere and authentic.

Ethical Considerations: A strong ethical foundation is a fundamental aspect of responsible corporate behavior and can lead to more meaningful and enduring contributions to society.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Companies that engage in CSR solely to meet legal obligations may not go beyond the minimum requirements and may not have the same positive impact as those with deeper motivations.

Sustainability: Companies that engage in CSR initiatives driven by a commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices are more likely to integrate CSR into their long-term strategies.

Sustainability and a Long-Term Commitment to CSR Initiatives

Organizations driven by a sense of purpose and commitment to CSR are more likely to invest in initiatives that have a lasting impact on the environment, society, and local communities. This long-term perspective is crucial for addressing complex social and environmental challenges — and it provides a solid foundation for change.

In fact, according to our survey respondents, the top indicator for a successful CSR program was an investment in long-term plans (35%), including training and education programs.

A long-term commitment to CSR initiatives is vital for companies to build trust, make positive impacts, manage risks, and remain competitive in a changing business environment. It goes beyond short-term public relations efforts and demonstrates a genuine dedication to responsible and sustainable business practices, which can yield numerous benefits over time.

But, many organizations still tread the line between meaningful action and using CSR as a PR tool. This is called “greenwashing” and has led to calls for greater transparency and accountability in CSR.

So, how can you make sure that your organization is committing to making change — and following through with the commitment?

Rather than treating sustainability and social and political justice as add-ons, companies need to integrate them into their core business strategies. This requires a cultural shift towards responsible and ethical decision-making, and a willingness to address complex global issues. Only then can corporate responsibility practices truly drive meaningful change and create a positive impact for all stakeholders.

What Are Organizations Doing to Engage Employees in CSR Initiatives?

The potential for CSR to drive positive change in the world remains significant, but every company must make sure they approach their goals with transparency, sincerity, and commitment.

When asked, “How does your organization plan to address issues related to CSR?” the top three survey responses were:

  1. Invest in long-term plans, not short-term campaigns (34.8%)
    • If organizations want to make a significant impact, they need to have long-term goals. It’s not just about profit or one-off programs. Sustainability is key.
  2. Commit time and people resources, not just money (32.4%)
    • Employees want to feel that they are making a difference. Incentives and recognition go a long way toward creating value.
  3. Create authentic connections and partnerships (20.3%)
    • An organization’s CSR efforts won’t be effective if you don’t “walk the walk” and partner with others who share a similar mindset.

As successful as your CSR program might be, there’s always room for reflection and improvement. That’s why it’s important to check in with company leaders and employees to see how resources can best be utilized throughout the organization, ensuring a program that is effective and accessible.

The Future of CSR

The responses we received from our survey provide valuable insight into what the CSR landscape looks like today, and how it may continue to evolve in the future.

And, the good news is that CSR is here to stay.

As more and more business leaders recognize the impact that CSR can have, and more and more employees become invested in contributing to a better world, clearly there are many benefits to adopting CSR initiatives and implementing them.

As Vernon Jordan said, “We live forever through what we give,” so let’s stand shoulder to shoulder and commit to effecting lasting change today.

]]>
4 Compelling Reasons to Encourage AI Use Among Employees https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/4-compelling-reasons-to-encourage-ai-use-among-employees Wed, 15 Nov 2023 07:09:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/4-compelling-reasons-to-encourage-ai-use-among-employees

Much buzz has been made about Artificial Intelligence replacing jobs traditionally done by human workers. Is it a reality? To an extent. But the true function of generative AI is to augment human capabilities, not replace them.

As a tool, generative AI can automate repetitive tasks, and allow employees to focus on more creative and complex parts of their work. Essentially, it makes employees’ lives easier.

And that means businesses can benefit, big time. A recent McKinsey research report estimates that “generative AI could add the equivalent of $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion annually” to the global economy, with banking, high tech, and life sciences among the industries that could see the biggest impact. When employees use AI within their current roles, businesses often see increased productivity, less guess-work, and creative problem-solving.

Still wondering if you should encourage your employees to use generative AI? Read on for generative AI use cases, myth-busters, and reasons why allowing employees to use generative AI is paramount.

The Broad Advantages of Using Generative AI in the Workplace

1. Higher Productivity for Developers

Generative AI is changing the game for developers by automating and streamlining the development process. According to a Github blog post, “AI-assisted engineering workflows are quickly emerging with new generative AI coding tools that offer code suggestions and entire functions in response to natural language prompts and existing code.”

What does that mean? Developers can use AI-powered tools to generate code, identify and fix bugs, and even create detailed documentation. These time-saving capabilities let developers focus on more creative and complex tasks, accelerate project timelines, and reduce the risk of human error.

And developers are taking full advantage: a Stack Overflow 2023 Developer Survey study showed, “70% of all respondents are using or are planning to use AI tools in their development process this year.”

2. Faster Content Creation

It’s no secret that marketers need a constant flow of content — and that’s another area where generative AI comes through. Tasks like writing product descriptions, creating social media content and (ahem, case in point) generating blog posts are made easier with AI tools. They not only save time, but can also help maintain consistency in branding and messaging.

Developing content more quickly means marketers can engage with their audience more effectively and respond to trends and market changes in real-time. And while companies like OpenAI's GPT-3 (shout out, thanks for your help!) don’t always generate text that sounds exactly human, they can give you a framework from which to build content that feels like your brand’s voice.

3. Codified Coaching and Leadership Development

It may seem counterintuitive: coaching and leadership development should only require direct human interaction, right? But generative AI has been shown to benefit professionals in leadership positions, and help stressed out managers be better coaches.

With AI-generated training materials and personalized feedback, coaches and leaders can create customized development plans for their team members, aligning with their unique strengths and weaknesses.

AI-powered tools are also great for assessments and skills benchmarks. By incorporating generative AI in leadership development, organizations can enhance the growth of their employees and foster better leadership skills.

4. Better Data Analytics and Decision-Making

Data is the lifeblood of modern business, and — perhaps its greatest strength — generative AI can play a significant role in data analytics.

According to an article By the International Institute of Business Analysis, “AI for data analysis allows for processing large volumes of complex data at high speeds, leading to quicker and more accurate business insights.”

AI models can help data analysts in identifying patterns, predicting trends, and generating reports. These insights are crucial for informed decision-making, allowing organizations to adapt to changing market conditions and make strategic choices based on data-driven evidence.

Field Report: Industries Where Generative AI Excels

Generative AI is nothing if not versatile, and there are a few industries where it really shines in making workers' roles easier.

Healthcare

Medical researchers can use generative AI to analyze vast amounts of medical data against a patient’s symptoms. AI can therefore help doctors make better diagnoses and recommend treatment options, potentially saving lives and improving patient care.

While powerful, anyone in healthcare who plans to use a tool like ChatGPT should first check your organization’s internal policy or consult with legal counsel to ensure patient privacy and safeguard sensitive data.

Human Resources

AI can save hours of time for HR professionals who need to screen resumes and match candidates with open roles. Overall, it can make recruitment more efficient and effective. Not to mention, HR can use AI for onboarding, employee monitoring, and learning and development tasks.

Customer Support

AI-powered chatbots can enhance customer support by providing instant responses and resolving common issues fast. In fact, a McKinsey insight even credited AI with driving greater customer engagement.

Design and Creativity

Graphic designers and artists can use generative AI to create digital artwork, generate design concepts, and even assist in video editing. Like it or not, AI-generated art pieces have even won prizes.

While many worry that AI will replace human workers, promote biases, or push ethical boundaries, it’s up to companies to promote ethical and responsible AI use within their processes.

Responsible AI use includes:

  • Establishing ethical guidelines that prioritize fairness, transparency and responsible data management
  • Training employees on AI technology, recognizing biases, and maintaining privacy standards
  • Conducting regular audits of AI systems for ethical and legal compliance
  • Encouraging open communication for employees to report concerns

Read Next: Is Your Organization Using AI? Here’s How to Do it Ethically - Skillsoft

In short, generative AI is a powerful tool that can enhance productivity and creativity across industries, departments, and disciplines in the workplace.

Developers, marketers, coaches, leaders, and professionals from diverse fields can all benefit from AI-powered solutions. However, to fully harness the potential of generative AI, organizations must prioritize ethical boundaries, transparency, responsible use, and proper training.

Skillsoft can help. Together with Codecademy, Skillsoft offers several courses and resources to help organizations take full advantage of AI reliably and ethically. Read more about our courses on generative AI and ChatGPT here.

]]>
The 20 Top-Paying IT Certifications Going Into 2024 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/top-paying-it-certifications Tue, 14 Nov 2023 08:14:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/top-paying-it-certifications

Nearly all IT leaders agree that certified staff add value to their organizations, with most saying in excess of $30,000 a year. And when you consider the monetary costs of preparing for and sitting the exam, the payback is quite substantive, especially how those returns show up for the organization.

Most often, leaders notice an uptick in productivity as those employees who earn certifications feel energized and more engaged at work. But certifications make a difference in other ways too.

The Individual Benefits of Training
Source: "Individual Benefits of Earning Certifications." 2023 IT Skills and Salary Report.

Shorter resolution times, projects move faster, deployments are smoother, and employee retention edges up as well. This is all according to recent findings from Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary survey, which has collected data about certifications and their value to individuals and organizations for nearly two decades. The survey also informs a comprehensive report you can find here, with a new volume releasing this December. Subscribe to the blog for updates on its release.

This year, we examined the reported salaries of individuals around the world to find the highest-paying certifications in the IT industry.

This list is the result of thousands of IT professionals graciously participating in the survey, which is distributed worldwide primarily by Skillsoft, but also by its partners like Google Cloud, Microsoft, ISACA, Nutanix, and CompTIA.

The cumulative results are fascinating insights into the value of skills and certifications. This year in the U.S. alone, more than 1,900 professionals took the survey. That’s how we’ve arrived at this specific list. However, this year, we’re also reporting the survey results of those who reside in Europe and the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions to give a broader view of how certifications are valued around the world.

In this year’s list, you’ll see similar trends to past years. Certifications with a focus on cybersecurity or cloud computing tend to earn IT professionals higher salaries in part due to the sustained demand for these skills. Cybersecurity, in particular, continues to grow in importance to individuals and organizations as threats become more prevalent and severe — which also helps to drive up salaries for those with skills to combat them.

However, it’s important to remember salaries are the culmination of several factors, including the ability to apply your skills at work, job role, continuous professional development, tenure, and hard work. What’s more, this list also provides a snapshot of the average certification holder, including the average number of certifications held, the most popular cross-certification, if they are in management, and their average age.

As we compile this list, we look for certifications that have at least 50 survey responses — unless noted otherwise — before considering other factors. To see more about how we collected this data and compiled the list, read the methodology at the end of the post.

Are IT Certifications Worth the Time and Effort?

The Short Answer: Yes! 

Professionals who dedicate the time to earning a certification see it pay off in many ways. Most often, they improve their skills, which then translates to higher quality outcomes that they arrive at faster. With this, they often feel more engaged and confident at work. The survey shows professionals say earning a certification has also led to pay raises, promotions and new jobs. 

So, are they worth it? For those looking for any of the above, it's a resounding yes. But, earning a certification takes time, effort, and often money. 

For individuals, it's best to check with your employer to see if training is already offered to earn the certification you're interested in. If it's available, carve out time daily to chip away at the learning journey before attempting the exam. Creating a habit will make the herculean effort feel less overwhelming, and taking advantage of training that's already available should save you from paying extra. Once you've earned the certification, don't forget to add it to your LinkedIn profile and resume too. 

If training isn't available, build a business case for it and keep it simple. (And use our report, too!) The benefits to individuals are clear, but the same is true for employers. Faster resolution times, a more engaged workforce, and decreased errors all support an organization's overarching mission to create the best possible experience for its customers, patients, employees, stakeholders, and so on. 

The vast majority of IT leaders who took Skillsoft's annual survey see the value in both training and certifications too, which means most are already bought in. Leaders say training improves team morale and attrition — both are key issues for leaders — and even helps increase revenue, meet client requirements, and win new business. As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the average annual value of certified employees often exceeds $30,000. 

Consider that figure against the cost of a prep course (which ranges from a couple hundred to many thousands) and exam fees (which are often a couple of hundred dollars). The ROI becomes evident quickly. 

The dollar value of certifications
Source: 2023 IT Skills and Salary Report.

#1 Google Cloud – Professional Cloud Architect

Average Annual Salary: $200,960

Google Cloud’s Professional Cloud Architect certification has ranked highly on this in the past, often trading places for the top with others like the Professional Data Engineer certification and comparable credentials from AWS. Last year, it ranked third with an average annual salary of $161,371.

This year, it's the highest-paying certification in the field.

Developments in cloud — particularly the reliance on and maturation of the technology — have led many in the industry to entrust providers like Google with their data. For reasons like these, cloud architects have grown increasingly necessary for organizations of all sizes.

This certification validates the holder's proficiency in crafting, managing, and implementing secure, scalable, and reliable cloud solutions using Google Cloud technologies. It signifies an individual's understanding of Google Cloud's infrastructure and services, enabling them to devise and optimize cloud architectures that are efficient, cost-effective, and resilient.

Google recommends 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 USD exam fee, and professionals have two hours to complete the exam. The certification lasts for two years before professionals must recertify. Testing is done online or from a testing center.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR GOOGLE CLOUD

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $200,960
Average number of certifications 9
Earned a certification in the last year 71%
Average age 38
Likely job role Cloud Architect
Popular cross certification AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
% holding a cybersecurity certification 47%
% in management 30%

#2 Google Cloud – Professional Data Engineer

Average Annual Salary: $193,621

Google Cloud's Professional Data Engineer certification has historically earned IT professionals high salaries, and there are even fewer exceptions to this rule today. Roles like data engineers, scientists and specialists continue to grow in demand — much faster than average in the U.S. — as data and its application become far more critical to how virtually everyone makes decisions.

This certification validates an individual's capability to construct and manage effective data processing systems using Google Cloud. It affirms their ability to create secure, scalable, and reliable data solutions.

In this way, organizations stand to gain substantially by employing those who've earned this certification, as they bring specialized expertise in handling and analyzing vast datasets. Their skills in developing data processing systems can help organizations enhance operational efficiency, make data-driven decisions, and drive innovation.

To earn this certification, candidates must pass the exam, which has some changes coming Nov. 13, according to Google. The new exam will focus more on changes to Google Cloud's data storing, sharing, and governance, and less on operationalizing machine learning models. The exam costs $200 USD. It's 50 to 60 questions, taken over two hours.

Google does recommend at least three years of professional experience, with at least one working with its platform, before sitting the exam. If passed, you'll have two years before the certification expires.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR GOOGLE CLOUD

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $193,621
Average number of certifications 9
Earned a certification in the last year 69%
Average age 39
Likely job role Cloud Architect
Popular cross certification AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
% holding a cybersecurity certification 47%
% in management 34%

#3 PMP®: Project Management Professional

Average Annual Salary: $176,116

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.

In 2022, this certification earned professionals $148,290 on average, ranking seventh on the list. The substantive uptick in average earnings may reflect the growing demand for project managers and project management skills as a persistent gap exists. This year's IT Skills and Salary survey revealed that more than half of IT decision-makers rank their team's abilities in this area as medium to low, with only 14% saying their team's skills are high. PMI reports 25 million project management professionals are needed by 2030 to close the talent gap.

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. Then, pass the exam. It consists of 180 questions.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR PMP

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $176,116
Average number of certifications 7
Earned a certification in the last year 66%
Average age 49
Likely job role Project Manager
Popular cross certification ITIL 4 Foundation
% holding a cybersecurity certification 58%
% in management 56%

#4 AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

Average Annual Salary: $174,137

Last year, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional certification topped this list, with an average annual salary of $168,080. AWS certifications have continued to command high salaries for IT professionals due to the assurances they bring to organizations seeking highly skilled talent. What’s more, AWS is one of the top vendors IT leaders plan to invest in this coming year, so having reliable, skilled professionals architecting their cloud infrastructures becomes increasingly important.

This certification validates an individual's advanced technical skills and expertise in designing and deploying scalable, highly available, and fault-tolerant systems on the AWS platform. This certification, designed for seasoned solutions architects, serves as a testament to their comprehensive understanding of AWS architecture and design. Certification holders bring specialized knowledge in devising and implementing complex AWS architectures, optimizing infrastructure, enhancing security, and reducing costs.

AWS recommends two or more years of hands-on experience and familiarity with a scripting language, Windows, Linux, and many AWS services. Candidates pursuing this certification should also feel confident translating business requirements into technical solutions.

Earning this certification requires professionals to pass the current exam. The exam costs $300 USD, lasts 180 minutes, and consists of 75 questions. It can be taken online or at a Pearson VUE testing center.

Read Next: The Top 5 Highest-Paying AWS Certifications

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR AWS

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $174,137
Average number of certifications 15
Earned a certification in the last year 63%
Average age 36
Likely job role Cloud Architect
Popular cross certification Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Architect
% holding a cybersecurity certification 72%
% in management 49%

#5 CISM - Certified Information Security Manager

Average Annual Salary: $167,396

ISACA's Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification continues to be a highly credible, high-paying credential in the cybersecurity field. Last year, it ranked as the second highest-paying certification, commanding an average annual salary of $162,347.

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.

Read Next:A Guide to the Highest-Paying ISACA Certifications

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR CISM

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $167,396
Average number of certifications 9
Earned a certification in the last year 55%
Average age 46
Likely job role Information Security
Popular cross certification Security+
% holding a cybersecurity certification 100%
% in management 68%

#6 AWS Certified Security – Specialty

Average Annual Salary: $166,449

Ranked in the same position this year is the AWS Certified Security — Specialty certification. Last year, at number six on the list, it earned professionals an average salary of $149,741.

The AWS Certified Security – Specialty certification validates the ability to secure data in the AWS cloud and successfully navigate complex security challenges. This certification showcases an individual's proficiency in managing security controls, understanding AWS security services, and handling incident response. It serves as a testament to a candidate’s knowledge and skills in safeguarding AWS environments, highlighting their specialization in cloud security.

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 exam costs $300 USD. It’s 65 questions and candidates have 170 minutes to complete it.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR AWS

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $166,449
Average number of certifications 18
Earned a certification in the last year 46%
Average age 34
Likely job role Information Security
Popular cross certification CISSP
% holding a cybersecurity certification 100%
% in management 62%

#7 Google Cloud Professional - Cloud Database Engineer

Average Annual Salary: $163,193

Google Cloud's Professional Cloud Database Engineer certification is for those who are responsible for designing, managing, and troubleshooting databases to ensure scalable and cost-effective solutions that meet both business and technical requirements.

To earn this certification, candidates must be familiar with these areas:

  • Designing highly scalable, available databases
  • Managing sprawling database solutions
  • Migrating data solutions
  • Deploying solutions in Google Cloud

Above are the four main topics of the exam. Within each section, candidates will be tested on their abilities to assess and evaluate solutions, administer the platform, and more.

Before sitting the exam, Google recommends professionals have at least five years of database experience, two of which should be hands-on with its solutions. The exam costs $200 USD, lasts two hours, and ranges between 50 and 60 questions

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR GOOGLE CLOUD

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $163,193
Average number of certifications 12
Earned a certification in the last year 51%
Average age 34
Likely job role Cloud Architect
Popular cross certification AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
% holding a cybersecurity certification 67%
% in management 47%

#8 Google Cloud Associate - Cloud Engineer

Average Annual Salary: $161,075

Google Cloud’s Associate Cloud Engineer certification is for those who are responsible for deploying and managing enterprise solutions. These professionals are adept at deploying applications, optimizing infrastructure, and ensuring the reliability and security of cloud-based systems.

To earn this certification, candidates are assessed on their ability to set up, configure, deploy, and ensure the successful operation of cloud solutions. Once achieved, it opens up doors to Google’s professional-level certifications, many seen elsewhere on this list.

There are no prerequisites to sitting the exam, however, Google recommends six months of experience working with the platform. The exam lasts two hours, costs $125 USD and spans up to 60 questions. Unlike others that expire in two years, this certification remains valid for three years.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR GOOGLE CLOUD

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $161,075
Average number of certifications 12
Earned a certification in the last year 80%
Average age 34
Likely job role Cloud Engineer
Popular cross certification AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
% holding a cybersecurity certification 67%
% in management 35%

#9 AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Average Annual Salary: $160,052

Consistently a popular and high-paying certification is the AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate, the precursor to the professional-level credential ranked higher on this list. Last year, it earned professionals an average salary of $155,020.

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate certification is a highly respected credential that validates an individual's ability to design and deploy scalable, robust, and fault-tolerant systems on the AWS platform. This certification demonstrates proficiency over various AWS services, including compute, networking, storage, and database. It also attests to the professional's competency in implementing security controls and compliance requirements.

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 exam. AWS recommends a year of hands-on experience designing systems on its platform before taking the exam.

The exam costs $150 USD. Professionals have 130 minutes to complete the 65-question exam.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR AWS

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $160,052
Average number of certifications 12
Earned a certification in the last year 69%
Average age 38
Likely job role Cloud Architect
Popular cross certification Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Architect
% holding a cybersecurity certification 60%
% in management 42%

#10 CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Average Annual Salary: $156,699

ISC2's Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) has been a consistently popular and well-regarded certification in the field, leading to high salaries reflected on this list for years. From 2022 to this year, the reported annual earnings stayed consistent. Last year, professionals reported an average annual salary of $158,191.

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:

  • Security and Risk Management
  • Asset Security
  • Security Architecture and Engineering
  • Communication and Network Security
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Security Assessment and Testing
  • Security Operations
  • 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 ISC2 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, and starting April 2024, the exam will refresh.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR CISSP

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $156,699
Average number of certifications 11
Earned a certification in the last year 63%
Average age 44
Likely job role Security Manager or Director
Popular cross certification Security+
% holding a cybersecurity certification 100%
% in management 64%

#11 CISA - Certified Information Systems Auditor

Average Annual Salary: $154,500

Also ranking in the same position this year is ISACA's Certified Information Systems Auditor certification. Last year, in the eleventh position, it earned certification holders an average salary of $142,336.

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. ISACA’s CISA certification validates audit, risk and cybersecurity skills pertaining to these 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

Earning this certification means you meet the minimum requirements and pass the exam. Like the CISM, 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. Starting August 2024, there will be an updated exam.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR CISA

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $154,500
Average number of certifications 8
Earned a certification in the last year 53%
Average age 43
Likely job role Information Security
Popular cross certification CISSP
% holding a cybersecurity certification 100%
% in management 61%

#12 AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty

Average Annual Salary: $153,031

The AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty certification is meant for those who wish to prove their expertise working with complex networks.

According to the IT Skills and Salary survey, more than half of IT leaders say their team’s networking skills fall somewhere between medium and low. That’s to say, relatively few feel very confident in their team’s abilities in this area (7% who say “high”), creating an opportunity for specialists — like those with this certification — to have an outsized impact on their teams and likely earn generous salaries, like what’s shown here.

A specialty certification, it's meant for those with at least five years of experience. Like other specialty certifications, AWS also recommends having hands-on experience with AWS services, security, and storage best practices. Candidates for this certification should also have knowledge of networking architectures, interconnectivity options, developing automation scripts and tools, and network security.

To earn this certification, candidates must pass the exam, which consists of 65 questions, lasts 170 minutes, and costs $300 USD.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR AWS

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $153,031
Average number of certifications 14
Earned a certification in the last year 57%
Average age 33
Likely job role Application Development Manager
Popular cross certification CISSP
% holding a cybersecurity certification 92%
% in management 72%

#13 AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

Average Annual Salary: $150,546

The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional certification demonstrates an individual's proficiency in operating and managing distributed application systems on the AWS platform. This certification has seen an increase in demand over the past several years, as more employers require it for hire, according to Lightcast.

Candidates who plan to pursue this certification should have at least two years of experience provisioning, operating, and managing AWS environments. They should also know at least one programming language and feel confident building a highly automated infrastructure. Other helpful skills:

  • Administering operating systems
  • Familiarity with modern development processes
  • Familiarity with continuous delivery systems and security controls on AWS

To earn this certification, candidates must pass the exam, which costs $300 USD and lasts for 180 minutes. It can be taken at a Pearson VUE testing center or online.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR AWS

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $150,546
Average number of certifications 17
Earned a certification in the last year 47%
Average age 33
Likely job role Software Engineer
Popular cross certification IQBBA-CFLBA
% holding a cybersecurity certification 91%
% in management 67%

#14 BTA Certified Blockchain Security Professional (CBSP)

Average Annual Salary: $129,185

This certification from the Blockchain Training Alliance hasn't made the list before, partly due to a lack of responses collected, but reports of a recent spike in demand for these skills help explain what could be a notable rise in certifications on the topic. Further, IT leaders say their teams’ blockchain skills could be improved, with 66% saying they're medium to low. Only 9% feel confident (or rank those skills as “high”) in their team's skill, according to the IT Skills and Salary survey.

The Certified Blockchain Security Professional (CBSP) certification validates one's expertise in blockchain security. The exam covers twelve sections, including topics such as fundamental blockchain security, smart contract security, and blockchain risk assessment.

The CBSP certification is suitable for various professionals, including blockchain architects, developers, system administrators, and network security architects. It verifies their understanding of security threats and attacks on blockchain networks, best practices for blockchain security, and risk mitigation techniques.

To earn the certification, candidates must pass a 70-question multiple-choice exam that lasts 90 minutes. It is a performance-based assessment, meaning candidates must demonstrate their ability to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios. Exams are online, and it costs $275 USD.

SEE OUR CYBERSECURITY TRAINING

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $129,185
Average number of certifications 15
Earned a certification in the last year 48%
Average age 35
Likely job role Security Administrator
Popular cross certification AWS Certified Database - Specialty
% holding a cybersecurity certification 100%
% in management 78%

#15 Cisco CCNA

Average Annual Salary: $128,651

The CCNA certification demonstrates your ability to navigate the evolving IT field by covering networking fundamentals, security, automation, and more. With CCNA training, you gain the skills to excel in managing and improving advanced networks.

It's one of the first certifications a candidate can earn to then branch out to other, more advanced certifications, like Cisco's CCNP Enterprise, which has historically made this list in the past. This year, only 19 respondents to the survey reported having the certification in the U.S. We look for 50 to 100 to report these figures more reliably. Those who responded earned an average salary of $160,399, which would place it high on this list.

Those who go after this certification tend to hold careers as network administrators or engineers. To earn the certification, you must pass the exam. It tests candidates on these topics, including:

  • Network fundamentals
  • Network access
  • IP connectivity
  • IP services
  • Security fundamentals
  • Automation and programmability

The certification remains valid for three years. Candidates must complete their exam through one of the Pearson VUE testing centers around the world. It costs $300 USD and lasts 120 minutes.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR CISCO

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $128,651
Average number of certifications 10
Earned a certification in the last year 58%
Average age 43
Likely job role Network Engineer
Popular cross certification Security+
% holding a cybersecurity certification 73%
% in management 44%

The Extended Cut of Our Top-Paying It Certifications List

This list has a long history of sharing the 15 top-paying IT certifications. However, as more certifications come onto the scene and technology evolves, we’re broadening our horizons to look further and dig deeper into the survey findings.

New this year is an extension of our annual list. Below, you’ll find another five certifications that earn IT professionals generous salaries due to their rigor, credibility and validation. For those in leadership building a team, certifications like the ones below not only prove that a prospective candidate has the skills you’re after, but demonstrate their commitment to learning, personal and professional development, and interest in going above and beyond.

Let’s keep going.

#16 AWS Certified Developer – Associate

Average Annual Salary: $127,259

The AWS Certified Developer - Associate certification validates knowledge and proficiency in core services, best practices, and developing cloud-based applications. It's also a great building block toward more advanced or specialized certifications, like many others on this list.

This certification is best suited for individuals who have experience in a developer role, know at least one programming language, and have familiarity with AWS. It is also beneficial for those who wish to earn this credential to have strong on-premises IT experience and a solid understanding of transitioning from on-premises to cloud environments.

Earning this certification means first sitting the exam, which consists of 65 multiple-choice and multiple-response questions and allows roughly 130 minutes to complete. The cost of the exam is $150 USD, and it can be taken at a Pearson VUE testing center or through an online proctored exam.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR AWS

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $127,259
Average number of certifications 13
Earned a certification in the last year 53%
Average age 34
Likely job role Software Engineer
Popular cross certification IIBA-CCBA
% holding a cybersecurity certification 75%
% in management 66%

#17 AWS Certified Database – Specialty

Average Annual Salary: $122,677

The AWS Certified Database - Specialty proves an individual's knowledge to design, administer and recommend the best database solutions based on the needs of the organization.

Today, those in IT leadership feel their teams’ abilities in this area are generally strong, with 39% saying their staff’s skills are somewhat high or high, according to the IT Skills and Salary survey. However, the highest percentage of respondents (42%) say their team’s skills fall somewhere in the middle of high and low. Likely, this leaves many data-focused teams with skills gaps, which often add stress or hamper projects. Those who pursue this certification become a valued team member who can alleviate issues like these.

It's best suited for those with experience administering on-premises and cloud relational and non-relational databases. Candidates should have five years of experience, with at least two hands-on working with AWS. They must feel confident designing database solutions using AWS services based on the needs and requirements of the organization.

The exam is 180 minutes and costs $300 USD. It consists of 65 questions, which can be either multiple choice or multiple response. The exam can be taken at a Pearson VUE testing center or through online proctoring.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR AWS

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $122,677
Average number of certifications 12
Earned a certification in the last year 25%
Average age 33
Likely job role Software Engineer
Popular cross certification IIBA-ECBA
% holding a cybersecurity certification 79%
% in management 70%

#18 CompTIA Security+

Average Annual Salary: $121,653

Among the most popular IT certifications, CompTIA's Security+ has made this list at varying ranks in the past. While popular, passing this exam calls for celebration as it covers a broad range of topics and requires close study to gain the familiarity necessary. Said differently, it’s not an easy exam to pass.

However, once earned, professionals open up opportunities to both advance their careers and deepen their expertise in this area. It often serves as an employment requirement and meets the Department of Defense's directive 8140/8570.01-M.

The new CompTIA Security+ exam went live on Nov. 7, 2023. Check with your training provider or CompTIA to learn more about these changes and what to study in advance of sitting the exam.

In the meantime, here are the new exam domains:

  • General Security Concepts
  • Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Mitigations
  • Security Architecture
  • Security Operations
  • Security Program Management and Oversight

The exam costs $392 USD, consists of 90 questions, and lasts 90 minutes. Candidates should have their Network+ and at least two years of professional IT experience before attempting this test.

Read Next:The 3 Most Popular CompTIA Certifications (And What They Pay)

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR COMPTIA

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $121,653
Average number of certifications 10
Earned a certification in the last year 63%
Average age 42
Likely job role Security Engineer or Analyst
Popular cross certification Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals
% holding a cybersecurity certification 100%
% in management 38%

#19 CompTIA CYSA+ (Cybersecurity Analyst)

Average Annual Salary: $121,043

CompTIA's CySA+, or Cybersecurity Analyst, certification is the intermediate security credential that falls between Security+ and CASP+, or Advanced Security Practitioner, which calls for at least five years of professional experience.

To earn this certification, candidates are tested on threat detection techniques, their ability to analyze data, identify vulnerabilities, respond to incidents, and more. The latest exam was updated in June 2023, now with greater emphasis on threat hunting, automating intel, and using various tools to monitor and respond to incidents.

The new CySA+ exam covers these domains, according to CompTIA:

  • Security Operations (33%)
  • Vulnerability Management (30%)
  • Incident Response Management (20%)
  • Reporting and Communication (17%)

The exam features up to 85 questions, lasts 165 minutes, and candidates should have their Network+ and Security+ — or similar expertise — and have roughly four years of hands-on work experience.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR COMPTIA

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $121,043
Average number of certifications 14
Earned a certification in the last year 65%
Average age 39
Likely job role Security Engineer or Analyst
Popular cross certification CISSP
% holding a cybersecurity certification 100%
% in management 48%

#20 Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

Average Annual Salary: $120,622

Microsoft’s Azure Administrator Associate certification is the most popular offered by the company just behind its Azure Fundamentals credential, according to the IT Skills and Salary survey.

Among the results, Microsoft continually proves to be one of the most popular certification providers represented in the survey. What’s more, it’s the top vendor IT leaders plan to invest in this coming year, with 46% in agreement.

The leading reason for training, according to the survey, is to support product or solution deployments, which provides clearer reason why these certifications remain particularly popular. When seeking prospective hires, certifications assure IT leaders candidates have the skills and knowledge needed for the role.

This certification helps prove to leaders that a candidate knows how to administer an enterprise’s Azure environment. To earn the credential, it requires expertise in implementing, managing, and monitoring Azure environments, covering areas like virtual networks, storage, compute, identity, security, and governance.

The exam tests candidates' knowledge on these topics:

  • Azure identity and governance management
  • Storage implementation and management
  • Azure compute resource deployment and management
  • Virtual networking implementation and management
  • Azure resource monitoring and maintenance

Candidates should also have a solid understanding of operating systems, networking, servers, and virtualization. Microsoft says candidates should have familiarity with tools like PowerShell, Azure CLI, Azure portal, Azure Resource Manager templates, and Microsoft Entra ID. The exam costs $165 USD.

Read Next:The Top 5 Highest-Paying Microsoft Azure Certifications

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR MICROSOFT

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $120,622
Average number of certifications 12
Earned a certification in the last year 72%
Average age 39
Likely job role Cloud Engineer
Popular cross certification Security+
% holding a cybersecurity certification 67%
% in management 47%

Just Missed the Cut

When compiling this list, we’ve historically looked for certifications that have between 50 and 100 responses minimum to feel more confident in reporting salaries and the supporting data.

However, depending on the region, some certifications just miss the cut but are nonetheless worthy of a mention because of their relevance and reverence in the field.

Here are a few more certifications that just barely missed the cut:

Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Developer

Average Annual Salary: $178,270

The Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Developer certification showcases expertise in designing, building, and managing robust, scalable applications with Google Cloud technologies. It confirms the ability to leverage Google Cloud for application development.

The certification exam assesses building and designing Google Cloud solutions, managing application data, optimizing performance, and ensuring security and compliance. The exam can be taken remotely or at a test center. The cost of the exam is $200 USD.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR GOOGLE CLOUD

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $178,270
Average number of certifications 12
Earned a certification in the last year 62%
Average age 35
Likely job role Cloud Architect
Popular cross certification AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
% holding a cybersecurity certification 65%
% in management 33%

Nutanix Certified Professional - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI) v6.5

Average Annual Salary: $139,361

The Nutanix Certified Professional – Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI) certification ranked as the eighth highest-paying certification on this in 2022 and continues to command high salaries for professionals who pass the exam.

Earning this certification proves your abilities to deploy and manage virtual infrastructure components and VMs, perform operational maintenance tasks, and initiate disaster recovery, according to Nutanix. It’s best suited for those with roughly three years of professional experience, including one working with Nutanix specifically.

The knowledge objectives:

  • Manage Cluster, Nodes, and Features
  • Manage Cluster Storage
  • Configure Cluster Networking and Network Security
  • Analyze and Remediate Performance Issues
  • Configure, Analyze, and Remediate Alerts and Events
  • Manage VM Deployment and Configuration

To earn this certification, candidates must pass the exam. It costs $199 USD, spanning 75 questions. Professionals have 120 minutes to complete the exam.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR NUTANIX

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $139,361
Average number of certifications 7
Earned a certification in the last year 85%
Average age 38
Likely job role Systems Engineer
Popular cross certification Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
% holding a cybersecurity certification 31%
% in management 16%

Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals

Average Annual Salary: $126,517

The Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals certification validates a basic understanding of machine learning, AI concepts, and Azure services. It demonstrates the ability to describe AI workloads, machine learning principles on Azure, and features of computer vision and NLP workloads on Azure. Microsoft recommends programming experience.

The skills tested:

  • Artificial intelligence workloads and considerations
  • Fundamental principles of machine learning on Azure
  • Computer vision workloads on Azure
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) workloads on Azure

The certification exam can be scheduled with Pearson VUE or Certiport in multiple languages. The exam cost $99 USD.

SEE OUR CERTIFICATION TRAINING FOR MICROSOFT

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER
Salary $126,517
Average number of certifications 15
Earned a certification in the last year 48%
Average age 38
Popular cross certification AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
% holding a cybersecurity certification 76%
% in management 48%

The Highest-Paying Certifications Worldwide

Below are the highest-paying certifications worldwide, according to the IT Skills and Salary survey. The survey was completed by 5,000+ IT professionals around the world, with the most responses from these countries:

  1. United States (35%)
  2. India (9%)
  3. Canada (4%)
  4. United Kingdom (4%)
  5. Brazil (4%)
  6. The Netherlands (3%)
  7. Australia (3%)
  8. France (2%)
  9. Spain (2%)
  10. Nigeria (2%)

In December, a new volume of the IT Skills and Salary Report will release, giving a more holistic view into global skills and certification trends. Remember to subscribe to Skillsoft’s blog to get updated on its release.

CERTIFICATIONSALARY
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Network Engineer $163,198
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Security Engineer $159,135
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer $148,781
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Data Engineer $148,082
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Developer $147,253
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Architect $146,212
CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional $140,069
AWS Certified Security - Specialty $138,053
AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty $137,698
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Database Engineer $137,394
AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty $136,595
PMP®: Project Management Professional $135,784
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Machine Learning Engineer $134,373
CRISC - Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control $133,616
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional $132,852
Certified Scrum Product Owner $132,230
CISM - Certified Information Security Manager $131,967
CCIE Data Center $128,948
CDPSE - Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer $127,403
Certified ScrumMaster $125,497

The Highest-Paying Certifications in Europe and the Middle East

In this year’s survey, more than 1,600* people who live in Europe and the Middle East completed the IT Skills and Salary survey, ranking these certifications as the highest paying across the region.

*Some certifications in this table have sample sizes of fewer than 50 responses, which is the benchmark Skillsoft uses to present survey data.

CERTIFICATIONSALARY
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Security Engineer $172,380
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Developer $154,841
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Architect $140,408
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Data Engineer $135,890
CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional $128,640
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional $122,919
CRISC - Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control $114,648
AWS Certified SAP on AWS – Specialty $109,569
Google Cloud Certified - Associate Cloud Engineer $103,909
Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate $101,832
AWS Certified Database – Specialty $98,633
CISM - Certified Information Security Manager $97,604
AWS Certified Developer – Associate $97,399
Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate $97,283
Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert $92,483
CISA - Certified Information Systems Auditor $92,186
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate $91,773
Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert $89,232
AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty $87,714
Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert $86,510

The Highest-Paying Certifications in the Asia-Pacific Region

The Asia-Pacific region accounted for more than 850* complete responses to this year’s survey, showing these as the highest-paying certifications.

*The certifications in this table have sample sizes of fewer than 50 responses, which is the benchmark Skillsoft uses to present survey data.

CERTIFICATIONSALARY
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Network Engineer $113,318
CISM - Certified Information Security Manager $109,819
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Developer $101,841
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer $98,071
AWS Certified SAP on AWS – Specialty $96,126
AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty $95,376
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Database Engineer $93,979
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Data Engineer $93,199
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Architect $90,849
AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty $87,469
CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional $87,299
Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate $87,059
AWS Certified Security - Specialty $79,962
Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert $75,007
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional $74,390
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Security Engineer $73,233
AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional $70,797
CISA - Certified Information Systems Auditor $68,339
AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate $68,212
Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate $62,971

The Highest-Paying Certifications in the Latin American Region

The Latin American region accounted for more than 380* complete responses to this year’s survey, showing these as the highest-paying certifications.

*The certifications in this table have sample sizes of fewer than 50 responses, which is the benchmark Skillsoft uses to present survey data.

CERTIFICATIONSALARY
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Security Engineer $119,622
AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty $103,636
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Cloud Architect $92,192
AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional $85,250
CCSM - Check Point Security Master $85,200
Google Cloud Certified - Professional Data Engineer $85,168
VMware Certified Professional - Data Center Virtualization 2023 $76,836
Certified ScrumMaster $72,288
Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert $67,951
Google Cloud Certified - Associate Cloud Engineer $65,619
Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate $62,433
AWS Certified Developer – Associate $61,687
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate $60,093
Nutanix Certified Master - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCM-MCI) v5.20 $58,542
Nutanix Certified Associate (NCA) v6.5 $57,416
Nutanix Certified Professional - Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI) v6.5 $57,241
Nutanix Certified Professional - Unified Storage (NCP-US) v6 $56,750
Security+ $56,719
CCNA $56,325
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner $56,300

How We Built the List

Our U.S. list of the top-paying certifications is based on responses to Skillsoft's IT Skills and Salary survey conducted May 2023 to September 2023. The survey asks respondents about their current jobs, experiences, certifications, 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. Almost 2,000 IT professionals in the U.S. participated. When asking survey participants to report their salary, those who live outside of the U.S. are asked to convert their earnings into United States dollars.

For the U.S. list specifically, certifications must have at least 50 survey responses to be considered and reported, unless disclosed otherwise. Those certifications featured in the "Just Missed the Cut" section had 49 responses each. As we compile this list, we consider relevance, demand, and certification requirements. Salaries are not normalized for cost of living or location. The top 10 U.S. states represented in this survey are as follows:

  1. California (15%)
  2. Texas (8%)
  3. New York (7%)
  4. Florida (6%)
  5. Illinois (4%)
  6. Virginia (4%)
  7. Ohio (3%)
  8. Washington (3%)
  9. Georgia (3%)
  10. Pennsylvania (3%)
]]>
Managing Diversity: 3 Tips for Proactive Organizations https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/managing-diversity-3-tips-for-proactive-organizations Thu, 09 Nov 2023 19:33:00 -0500 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/managing-diversity-3-tips-for-proactive-organizations

The unprecedented events of the last few years have disrupted our workplaces and fundamentally changed how we work. The pressure is even higher for today’s leaders and managers to equip themselves with tools and skills to manage diverse teams and organizations and set themselves – and the teams they lead – up for success.

When we think of diversity, we often think about representation in the workforce among people from different races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, abilities, and gender expressions. We should also consider other aspects of what makes our teams diverse such as age, formal educational experience, and socioeconomic backgrounds, to name just a few. Hybrid work, post-pandemic relocation, and teams made up of people across multiple generations require managers to be agile and responsive to make sure that everyone on their teams feels valued and included. They must foster a sense of belonging.

Here are some things to think about when looking at your teams and consider how you can create an environment where everyone has the opportunity to bring their “best selves” to work:

Invest in getting to know your team. A leader’s initial perception of who someone is probably differs from who they actually are. Everyone comes to work and participates within their teams, as an intersection of different personas and personalities. Employees also bring a variety of lived experiences with them that influence how they work, the lens through which they view activities and interactions, and how they communicate.

Investing the time to understand how people on your team “tick” is important to understand how to bring out the best in them. This is especially important in a hybrid work environment, where you might not work synchronously every day. But the richness of your team can only be uncovered by investing the effort in getting to know them as individuals, so you can be more responsive and supportive of their professional needs and personal challenges.

Do the ways in which we manage diversity change in a hybrid work environment? My colleague, Asha Palmer, SVP of Compliance Solutions at Skillsoft, recently chatted with Beth Egan, an executive coach, and Catherine Razzano, head of global legal compliance at TikTok, to get their thoughts.

Whileimplicit bias is a thing, it doesn’t have to be your thing. Our brains make shortcuts based on lived experiences and learned associations. Sometimes, these ideas elicit automatic and unintentional biases that impact how we treat others – both in positive and negative ways. It is critical to recognize that everyone has implicit bias and to take action to minimize the effect of those implicit biases on how we interact with and get to know our teams.

Maybe you have a positive bias of warm feelings toward someone who shares your alma mater, or a negative bias against someone who may not have a college degree or who worked for a particular company. Even more dangerous is the potential to make hiring decisions based on negative associations with specific names.

Slowing down, being deliberate, and focusing on the true individual – and not the false perception – will yield dividends for both you and your relationship with the people on your teams. Remember: learning about diversity is an ongoing endeavor. It doesn’t start and stop with bias training once per year. It happens every day, and it takes work.

Our team recently had the privilege of learning from Marlo Thomas Watson, a diversity coach, as part of our 15-minute webinar series, Coaching Corner. Watson talked about how your organization might use coaching to help individuals address unconscious bias in the workplace.

Understand that the world is changing, and not everyone is on board yet. Technology is constantly changing, and one of the best examples of that is ChatGPT and generative AI (GenAI). There are so many possibilities for the technology. Yet, there are many concerns as well.

Check out some of Skillsoft’s recent writing on the topic:

Shortly after President Joe Biden signed a landmark Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence, I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Joy Buolamwini, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League and best-selling author, discuss her thoughts about the implications for AI in everyday society during an interview. Dr. Buolamwini described the general reaction to AI as being caught between “fear and fascination,” and it’s highly likely that people on your team fall somewhere along that spectrum.

Lean into education to help your teams understand the benefits, limitations, and guardrails associated with implementing AI tools and technologies so that they feel like part of the process and that they have learning opportunities available to address their fears and explore their fascination.

Being a better leader and manager is an ongoing journey, and continuous education, introspection, and application are key to evolving your leadership and management style as the world of work evolves around us.

]]>
Employees Love J.D. Irving, Limited’s DEI Training. Here's Why. https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/employees-love-j-d-irving-limiteds-dei-training-heres-why Thu, 02 Nov 2023 14:06:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/employees-love-j-d-irving-limiteds-dei-training-heres-why

Jessica Madia, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), used Skillsoft content to build a highly accessible — and wildly popular — DEI certificate program.

The business benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts are well established. It's one of the top factors people consider when deciding whether to stay with their current company or move to a new employer. At the organizational level, businesses with the most mature DEI efforts gain market share faster and are more likely to beat their revenue projections, according to research from TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group.

But getting a DEI program off the ground is no small feat. Even when organizations make it a priority, it can be hard to get results. The TechTarget research mentioned above found that, although 89 percent of surveyed organizations were actively implementing DEI strategies, only 13 percent had achieved DEI maturity.

According to TechTarget, one of the biggest obstacles to DEI maturity is a lack of widely accessible DEI education. Without regular, widely available training on subjects like understanding others' experiences and overcoming unconscious biases, the report says, a DEI program won't have a "truly transformational impact."

This is a fact that Jessica Madia, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI), knows quite well.

"Accessibility is so important," Madia says. "We often see folks in DEI start with training leaders first, and they wait for it to trickle down as budget allows. But the biggest impact happens when you create foundational learning for everybody."

When Madia joined JDI in 2020, she set out to create just such a DEI training program. The result: a wildly popular DEI certificate program that has helped JDI earn the Employer Diversity Award from Atlantic Business Magazine for two years running.

And Madia did it all without having to request a bigger budget. Instead, she creatively used the resources JDI already had on hand.

Here's how she did it.

A DEI Certificate Program for Everyone

Madia had a clear goal for the DEI training program at JDI. She wanted to empower employees at all levels across the organization to make a difference and push DEI goals forward.

"What was really important for me was driving that baseline education on DEI," Madia explains. "I fundamentally believe that if everyone in our business took part in the program, it would raise the level of awareness. People would truly understand the importance of DEI, and that would lead to meaningful action."

JDI was already using Skillsoft's content library and AI-powered learning platform, Percipio, for other training initiatives. When a colleague told Madia that Skillsoft had DEI courses available, she decided to check them out.

While Madia was skeptical that off-the-shelf DEI training would have the effect she wanted, she was pleasantly surprised to find that Skillsoft's content differed from what she had expected.

"Once I audited the courses, I thought it was fantastic," Madia says. "What makes all the difference are those roundtable discussions where you get to be a fly on the wall as people share their lived experiences. You're not just logging in to have somebody talk at you. You get to listen and understand their perspectives."

Madia's next move was to make this content more accessible and approachable to employees, so she curated five of the most relevant courses into a custom DEI channel in Percipio. Madia also built promotions directly into employees' Percipio homepages so everyone would know exactly how to find the DEI channel.

"We make it so that, when people log into Skillsoft, the first thing they see is a banner that says, go to our DEI channel," Madia explains. "And when we add additional courses, we add another flag that says new courses available. We want it to be really easy to get to."

To motivate learners to take the courses, Madia built in a reward: anyone who completed all five would receive a DEI certificate as proof of their accomplishment.

"It's something to be proud of," Madia says. "That really entices people."

It worked. Employees liked that they could earn a real credential to certify their new knowledge, and teams began celebrating their certificate earners in special ceremonies.

"When we had our first full team do the program, we put together a company-wide campaign to celebrate them as the first team to be certified as a group," Madia says. "Other teams started their own traditions too, like turning it into an event where the manager hands out certificates publicly."

The Program's Results

JDI's DEI certificate program has now expanded to include seven courses. To date, more than 1,200 employees have engaged with the material for a total of 4,400 course completions, and 500 of those employees have earned their DEI certificates.

The DEI courses are among the top Skillsoft courses completed by JDI employees, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Individual business units in JDI have fully embraced the program, with some building it into their development goals.

“There are a lot of different ways folks are interacting with the content,” Madia explains. “Business units have taken it in their own directions and put their own spin on things. Some have made it an objective for all their leaders to complete the program by the end of the year. Some business units are doing the program together as a lunch and learn series."

In one division, the general manager has a conversation with every employee who earns the certificate. They discuss the importance of allyship and strategize ways to put what the employee has learned into practice.

The courses have also piqued employees' interest in other learning opportunities, and many seek out additional Skillsoft content after completing the DEI program. This increased engagement makes it easier for Madia to identify candidates for further DEI training.

"It builds a population that is really interested and engaged on this subject," Madia says. "When new learning opportunities come my way, I know who to connect to them."

What Made JDI's DEI Certificate Program Such a Success?

While every organization is unique and DEI training programs are not a one-size-fits-all matter, there are some tips DEI leaders can pick up from Madia. Three factors, in particular, contributed to the success of JDI's program:

1. Accessibility and Engagement

Madia made it easy for people to find and participate in the DEI channel by delivering the content through a platform that employees already used for other training. Madia also promoted all the different ways to take the courses — via desktop, laptop, or mobile device — so that learners could consume content in the ways that work best for them.

"It was a great opportunity to create some foundational awareness across our business by leveraging a tool that everybody had access to, which was really important," Madia says.

Offering certificates to employees who completed the program provided extra motivation and boosted engagement by giving learners a tangible reward for their efforts.

2. Great Content

Skillsoft's DEI content is grounded in real stories from real people rather than abstract hypotheticals or long, dull lectures. Participants can see how the course content relates to the real world, making it easier to retain — and apply — the lessons they learn.

"It gives people the opportunity to hear about the lived experiences of people they may not have in their own personal networks," Madia says. "And, regardless of where you're at on your DEI journey, everybody is walking away with at least one thing they can do differently."

3. Leveraging Existing Resources

Even when DEI is a priority for organizations, it can be difficult to dedicate more resources to DEI training efforts — especially in uncertain economic times. But Madia didn't need any extra resources. Instead, she found a way to deploy resources the organization already had. This made it much easier for Madia to win buy-in and support from leaders across JDI.

"Any time a business leader is asked to leverage an existing resource to improve the overall effectiveness of a program and raise education on an important topic, that's going to be an easy yes," Madia says. "I was not asking for anything. I was not creating anything labor-intensive for anyone."

Going Forward

Madia plans to keep growing program engagement and enabling more learners to earn DEI certificates. Her goal for 2023 was to double the number of certifications awarded, and she reached it in July.

Madia also hopes to expand DEI efforts further by creating employee resource groups so people inside JDI can start holding their own listening sessions similar to those presented in Skillsoft's courses.

"I think the DEI certificate program is a really nice gateway to employee resource groups," Madia says. "So we're going to leverage what we've learned to make that a reality."

Learn how Skillsoft can help your organization build a DEI program for the modern workforce.

]]>
Why the Federal Government Needs Artificial Intelligence Training Right Now https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-the-federal-government-needs-artificial-intelligence-training-right-now Thu, 02 Nov 2023 13:47:00 -0400 alec.olson@skillsoft.com (Alec Olson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-the-federal-government-needs-artificial-intelligence-training-right-now

President Biden announced Monday, October 30, an Executive Order that underscores the need for further training on artificial intelligence (AI).

In an effort to position the United States as a leader in the safe and effective use of AI, the Executive Order seeks to harness the potential of artificial intelligence while mitigating risks by establishing standards for AI security, requiring privacy protection, promoting civil rights, as well as worker and consumer protections, and fostering innovation.

Importantly, the Executive Order underscores the necessity for responsible government use of AI and the need to modernize federal AI infrastructure – a topic that has been top-of-mind since the sudden and sustained popularity, and now ubiquity, of artificial intelligence.

Here’s what the Executive Order said about government responsibility:

To ensure the responsible government deployment of AI and modernize federal AI infrastructure, the President directs the following actions:

  • Issue guidance for agencies’ use of AI, including clear standards to protect rights and safety, improve AI procurement, and strengthen AI deployment.  
  • Help agencies acquire specified AI products and services faster, more cheaply, and more effectively through more rapid and efficient contracting.
  • Accelerate the rapid hiring of AI professionals as part of a government-wide AI talent surge led by the Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Digital Service, U.S. Digital Corps, and Presidential Innovation Fellowship. Agencies will provide AI training for employees at all levels in relevant fields.

Finally, the Executive Order emphasizes the importance of not only promoting transparency in the development of AI applications, but also putting protections in place so individuals can use the technology effectively and ethically.

Here are five things to consider before onboarding GenAI in your organization.

A CRITICAL SKILLS GAP IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE DEMANDS ACTION

Findings from Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary Report show hiring professionals with artificial intelligence skills is more difficult than any other area of tech. Further, skills gaps in this discipline are among the most acute.

AI requires a diverse range of skills and expertise. For instance, developing an AI system requires knowledge of computer programming, data science, machine learning, and statistics, among other things. It can be a challenge to find professionals who possess all these skills. At the same time, new developments and innovations in AI are happening at a rapid pace, which means that AI professionals need to keep up with the latest trends and technologies in the field.

Did you know that Skillsoft offers courses on ChatGPT that can help your team learn the abilities and limitations of AI?

Another challenge contributing to the skills gap is the scarcity of AI training programs and courses. While many universities and online platforms offer AI courses, the demand for these programs is far outstripping the supply. And many organizations are hesitant to invest in training their employees in AI – because they don’t have an AI policy in place or are finding it difficult to adapt to the rapid changes.

And according to a new report presented by FEDSCOOP, federal employees may be left in limbo:

  • A majority (84%) of federal government decision-makers surveyed indicated that their agency leadership considers “understanding the impact of generative AI” as a critical or important priority for agency operations.
  • Yet, 49% cited “lack of employee training to use generative AI responsibly” as a top risk within their agency.
  • Despite that, 71% of survey respondents believe that the potential advantages of employing generative AI in their agency’s operations outweigh the perceived risks.

And it’s true – IT teams are increasingly using GenAI to make their lives easier. So, the question becomes: How do we help our federal workforce realize the benefits of generative AI with training?

FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEED CLEAR GUIDELINES AND TRAINING AROUND AI

Two of three respondents to the FEDSCOOP survey say their agency has issued preliminary guidance on AI use. And that’s in line with what the Skillsoft team has seen across industries. If you have not provided AI training to your employees, you are lagging.

But it can be difficult to get access to the resources you need. During a recent panel on “demystifying AI,” Anil Chaudry, associate administrator in the Department of Transportation’s Office of Planning and Analytics, mentioned that he spends “less time working on a $200 million contract” than trying to get approvals for his staffers to take “a $1,500 training course.”

The good news is that many federal agencies already have access to Skillsoft courses today. All it would take is setting up the appropriate guidelines to create an enriching and custom curriculum. In fact, you probably have more experience setting up an AI training program than you think.

A good rule of thumb is to follow the same risk assessment process that you’ve likely instated as part of your current compliance training program. Here’s one way you can start:

  • Define your objectives. What are you trying to achieve with your agency’s AI training? This could include improving employees’ skills, creating specific guidelines for safe and effective use at work, or something else.
  • Identify key stakeholders. Who needs to be involved in this process?
  • Identify the risks your organization faces. With respect to AI, risks might include data privacy and security, bias and fairness, legal and regulatory compliance, scalability, or ethical concerns.
  • Assess and prioritize these risks. Consider the likelihood and severity of each risk, including which has the most impact on your employees and your agency. For example, are you focused on protecting critical information? Avoiding bias and hallucination? Limiting employee usage?
  • Establish your risk tolerance. Some risks may be acceptable to you, while others may not. Risk tolerance varies by agency, but it plays a significant role in decision-making and resource allocation.
  • Develop an action plan. Outline the steps your organization needs to take to address the risks that are most important to you. Assign responsibilities and deadlines for risk mitigation.
  • Communication and training. Ensure that all relevant stakeholders are aware of the risks and the measures you have put in place to address them.
  • Continuous improvement. After you’ve created your own governance structure around AI based on your agency’s priorities, you can analyze and improve your guidelines based on any emerging guidance.

HOW TO CLOSE THE AI SKILLS GAP IN THE U.S. GOVERNMENT

Bottom line? There are currently more than 700 AI use cases across federal agencies, according to a database maintained by AI.gov. And while the data does not provide a complete picture, it is heartening that governmental organizations are diving into artificial intelligence.

Again according to the “Gauging the Impact of Generative AI on Government” report:

  • More than half of all respondents (51%) said their agency is planning to assess the potential positive or negative impact within the next 12 months.
  • When asked where they see generative presenting the greatest opportunities for employees, 65% of all respondents said it was the ability to give employees added technical support, followed by the ability to reduce the time required to complete work processes (64%).

Skillsoft provides a wide range of online training courses and journeys that cover different aspects of AI, such as machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics. And as a company, we serve more than 100 federal agencies and all branches of the military. So, chances are, your organization might be able to leverage our AI training materials today to support your reskilling and upskilling efforts.

Skillsoft’s library can be tailored to meet the specific needs of federal government employees and can be delivered via our learning platform, Percipio, which provides a flexible and accessible way for employees to learn at their own pace.

Additionally, we offer Instructor-Led Training (ILT) courses, wherein our subject matter experts deliver authorized and industry-leading content through multiple delivery formats — classroom, virtual classroom, and on-demand. Our experience and expertise enable us to develop truly effective learning paths that boost skill profiles while improving performance.

Furthermore, we can work with federal government agencies to develop custom training programs that are aligned with their specific goals and objectives related to AI. This could include creating targeted training for specific job roles or departments, as well as providing ongoing support and resources to ensure that employees are able to apply their newly acquired skills and knowledge to their work.

And finally, Skillsoft can offer training on ethical use of GenAI so that federal agencies stay in compliance with existing regulations. Our expertise in AI training and education can be a valuable asset to the federal government as it seeks to upskill its workforce and stay ahead of technological advancements in this field.

]]>
Invisible Influence: Addressing Unconscious Bias with Coaching https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/invisible-influence-addressing-unconscious-bias-with-coaching Mon, 30 Oct 2023 08:44:00 -0400 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/invisible-influence-addressing-unconscious-bias-with-coaching

In a world that's beautifully diverse and intricately woven together, bias can often act as a blindfold, obscuring our ability to truly see and appreciate everything around us. Unconscious bias, subtle yet potent, has a sneaky way of creeping into our perceptions and actions, often without us even realizing it.

Unconscious stereotypes or attitudes about certain groups of people that can affect our behavior towards them can deeply impact workplace culture. Most people are unaware of their implicit biases and how these may impact their decision-making process, especially in the workplace. They can, unfortunately, lead to discrimination, lack of diversity, unequal opportunities, and a toxic work environment. So, it's vital to recognize your unconscious biases and the different ways they impact those around you.

How Unconscious Bias Infiltrates the Workplace

Unconscious bias in the workplace is a pervasive issue that can manifest in various ways, often subtly influencing decisions and interactions without conscious awareness. These biases, based on stereotypes and attitudes towards certain groups, can negatively impact hiring, promotion, performance evaluation, and team dynamics.

  • Talent Recruitment Unconscious bias can often present itself during the recruitment process. For instance, a hiring manager might unconsciously favor candidates who graduated from their alma mater or who share similar backgrounds, inadvertently creating an uneven playing field. Harvard Business School emphasizes that unconscious bias and affinity bias often express themselves as a preference for one candidate or another because of culture fit. This bias can often limit diversity and inclusion within the organization.

  • Gender Stereotypes Despite strides made towards equality, unconscious assumptions about gender roles persist. For example, women are often stereotyped as nurturing and less assertive, which can lead to them being overlooked for leadership roles. On the other hand, men may face bias when seeking roles traditionally dominated by women or when requesting parental leave. Learn more about how women face bias in the workplace.
  • Racial Bias Racial bias is yet another form of implicit bias that can occur in the workplace. Employees of certain racial or ethnic groups may be unfairly evaluated or treated differently due to preconceived notions about their abilities or work ethics. This can result in a lack of opportunities for career advancement for these individuals. Read more on racial bias in the workplace.

Working to counter your unconscious biases is something that, although it takes an effort, will help build better relationships and contribute to a psychologically safe work environment for everyone.

Understanding Your Disposition to Difference

Your personal disposition towards difference is crucial in the workplace as it directly influen