Skillsoft https://www.skillsoft.com/ en-us Tue, 09 Aug 2022 00:52:48 -0400 Tue, 09 Aug 2022 00:52:48 -0400 THROUGH THE LEARNING LENS: CANON BUSINESS PROCESS SERVICES https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/through-the-learning-lens-canon-business-process-services Wed, 03 Aug 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/through-the-learning-lens-canon-business-process-services

Today, organizations are facing unprecedented compliance challenges. Constantly changing regulations due to government policies and current events makes it difficult to keep up.

If you're a global business, the problem is exponentially compounded. You may not have developed the ability to efficiently assess and adhere to international regulations or multiple types of compliance (safety, data privacy, corporate ethics, workplace harassment, legal, DE&I).

What's more, your employees may be struggling with training fatigue and time constraints.

That's why best practices around compliance must be baked into your company’s processes and procedures, resulting in accurate and regularly updated training that effectively mitigates risk. In other words, you need a single, efficient, safe solution for legal compliance and workplace safety training — one that engages your employees and builds confidence in their competency.

Canon Business Process Services has lived this firsthand.

As a market leader in digital transformation, business process optimization, document management, workplace experience and warehouse management services for over 40 years, Canon offers its clients intelligent outsourcing solutions for the fast-evolving future of work. A passion for achieving operational excellence and implementing innovative solutions, as well as delivering exceptional service to accelerate its clients’ growth has earned the company worldwide respect. And, with 16 consecutive years as a Global IAOP Leader, Canon has truly earned the trust of the Fortune 1000 companies it has served.

Keeping clients’ trust is paramount to Canon’s success. Working with sensitive business information of top organizations from finance to pharma, it is mission-critical to ensure all Canon’s employees have access to best-in-class compliance training — not only for the sake of its own safety, but for its clients’.

Implementing Comprehensive Compliance Training

The challenge? As a leading managed services company, Canon Business Process Services has more than 200 corporate regional employees in sales, HR, training, safety, legal, and more. And, with more than 3,000 employees scattered over 600 sites, implementing a comprehensive compliance program was a challenge.

Canon already offered live virtual training, but needed to supplement its compliance training program with easier access to course content due to different time zones, availability of resources to deliver training, and reduction in live training classes due to the pandemic.

Enter Skillsoft Percipio Compliance, an industry-leading compliance learning system that incorporates the power of Skillsoft’s intelligent learning platform, Skillsoft Percipio, with the robust compliance administrative capabilities, analytics, and functionality needed to meet Canon’s complex needs.

With Skillsoft Percipio Compliance, Canon found a way to execute a mature compliance training program. With courses available in 500+ legal and safety topics in over 30 languages, and access to self-service content configuration tools, it can now deliver translated and culturally localized legal and safety compliance training to its employees across the globe.

Skillsoft Percipio Compliance provides Canon with the flexibility and functionality needed to manage, monitor, and track compliance in an increasingly complex world, including:

  • Ensuring its compliance content is up to date with automated course maintenance
  • Customizing courses with Canon’s content, including documents, non-instructional videos, and custom text
  • Distributing policy documents and including an affirmation statement for policy attestation
  • Automating assignments based on user attributes such as job location, role, and more
  • Targeting specific audiences with fully customizable emails for learners, managers, and administrators

Recently, I chatted with Janis Smith-Howard, Canon Business Process Services' Supervisor for e-Learning and Instructional Design, and Administrator for Skillsoft Percipio Compliance, to hear her perspective on how implementing the platform has impacted their organization:

“Although we’ve worked with Skillsoft since 2017, the process of managing compliance through Skillsoft Percipio has been a game changer. In the past, we were seeing low course completion rates. Now, we're showing a significant increase in completion rates due to the My Assignment feature and functionality. Learners see Percipio as more user-friendly and easier to navigate, with a better search function. Our people just have easier access to compliance content. We’re light years ahead of where we’ve ever been.”

Keeping Managers in the Know

Canon’s commitment to safety and compliance goes deeper than content — it also sees the value of driving awareness and engagement through ongoing learner support, through its Safety Excellence and Commitment to Compliance programs, which highlight necessary courses and updates for employees.

Smith-Howard additionally created a manager newsletter called “Did You Know?” — a simple way to stay connected, share important links and updates, and concisely explain the capabilities of Skillsoft Percipio Compliance to her managers, encouraging them to explore and use the tool optimally.

She was kind enough to share Canon’s “Did You Know” series with us – demonstrating how to deliver information to managers through engaging Q&As.

For example, Janis’s team realized that many employees would have questions about how to access virtual live classes. An issue of “Did You Know” delivered step-by-step instructions, explained that an email address isn’t necessary to register, and linked to a training video: “How to Register and Attend a Live Webex.”

Another issue focused on how compliance and safety courses are assigned and where learners can find them in the Learning Academy. It also addressed the logistics around earning credits.

A third issue of “Did You Know” introduced Skill Benchmarks, diagnostic assessments that measure current skills as Novice, Developing, or Proficient.

“Did You Know” has been well-received, and a key component of Canon’s learning program. It offers a streamlined, cohesive “handbook” of sorts in a friendly, conversational format that inspires curiosity, boosts confidence, reduces “training fatigue,” and saves valuable time. This is especially important to employees who may be using smartphones, with limited or no access to a computer.

Employees everywhere are searching for professional and personal growth, as well as respectful and equitable workplaces. When you commit to mitigating risk with a robust learning program like Canon’s, you support productivity, deepen loyalty, and improve retention among employees who value opportunities to learn and grow in a safe, trusted, and ethical workplace.

If you’re ready to unite your entire compliance learning program under one platform, connect learning with business performance, and deliver an exhilarating user experience to improve connection and engagement, reach out to request a demo today.

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Add gamification and turn your learners into winners https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/add-gamification-and-turn-your-learners-into-winners Tue, 02 Aug 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/add-gamification-and-turn-your-learners-into-winners

Gartner Research defines gamification as “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. It is important to distinguish gamification from video games and loyalty programs, as gamification uses techniques from behavioral science to ‘nudge’ people into achieving their goals.”

When it comes to learning, a little “nudge” can make a big difference.

Gamification has become a popular tool for Marketing in recent years — especially as more and more of us consume content (and marketing) over personal devices like smart phones and tablets. But, it’s also a valuable tactic for Human Resources and Learning and Development. Game mechanics can be infused into everything from onboarding to employee training to day-to-day administrative tasks. And, as far as effectiveness is concerned, the numbers speak for themselves.

According to research published this year by career advice website Zippia:

  • 90% of employees say gamification makes them more productive at work.
  • On average, employees experience a 60% engagement increase with a gamified work experience.
  • Companies that use gamification are seven times more profitable than those that do not use gamified elements at work — whether with employees or consumers.
  • 72% of people say gamification motivates them to do tasks and work harder on the job.
  • And, 67% of students agree that gamified learning is both more engaging and motivating than traditional classes.

So, how can organizations tap into the power of gamification to enhance training and learning? We asked one of Skillsoft’s valued customers to share their recent success with us.

The major U.S. manufacturing company employs 16,000 people, in both salaried and hourly positions. They’re committed to learning and development, and provide special career path programs, as well as other growth opportunities. Much of this is delivered through Skillsoft, which has been serving the customer for more than 20 years ago.

We spoke with one of the company’s Marketing Specialists, a 40-year veteran responsible for deploying e-learning solutions to equip operations and other internal functions with the insights and training they need to succeed. “As Skillsoft has grown,” she told us, “Our relationship has grown.” She cites Skillsoft’s excellent customer service and responsiveness as reasons for the longevity.

Last year, the organization migrated to Percipio, Skillsoft’s personalized, immersive, and accessible learning platform. They needed to acclimate the workforce to the new solution, but didn’t want to simply send out instructions via email. To create more excitement — and encourage more engagement — they “gamified” the process.

Positioning it as a scavenger hunt, they created a guided tour of Percipio in the form of a game. Participants answered questions, such as “Where do you find your recent learning activity?” They had to engage with the platform to uncover the right answers. Because the hunt involved tasks rather than written directions, the new behavior was absorbed quickly and retained longer.

The Percipio Scavenger Hunt was promoted via email and on flyers posted in manufacturing plant lunchrooms and bulletin boards. And, for an added layer of fun, answers to the multiple-choice questions spelled out E-L-E-A-R-N-I-N-G. “Some people caught it,” our contact told us with a smile.

The company is one that encourages feedback, and the overall response to the Percipio Scavenger Hunt was positive across locations and at all levels. And, the game led to additional learning consumption. In fact, when the scavenger hunt was over, the company doubled its license count.

If you’d like to add gamification to your learning program, here are five steps to follow:

  1. Assess — and update — your existing instructional material
    Don’t assume adding gaming elements can make up for learning content that’s irrelevant or outdated. Use gamification to boost engagement with already effective content.
  2. Decide whether you should — and then how to — gamify it
    Some content may not lend itself to gamification. But, if yours does, consider how adding interactive elements, like point systems, quizzes, or healthy competition can enhance the experience.
  3. Keep the focus on learning
    If your game is too elaborate (or the stakes are too high — like a big cash prize, for example), participants may start caring more about winning than learning. Find the right balance for the business outcomes you’re targeting.
  4. Start slow, learn as you go
    Experiment by adding just a few simple gaming elements. See what works, and ask your learners for feedback. Once you know what works (and what doesn’t), you can invest in gamification with confidence.
  5. Celebrate — and share — each victory
    As participants earn points or race to an e-finish line, promote their success (and yours) through interoffice communications like employee newsletters, emails, or an online leaderboard.

Like our manufacturing customer, more and more organizations are turning to transformative learning experiences that propel growth. The keys to success are best-in-class content, a sophisticated platform, and engaged learners. That’s where embracing gamification can really pay dividends. Because when learning is also play, your learners — and your organization — can win big.

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The Next Wave of Workers: Insights on Summer 2022 Internships https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-next-wave-of-workers-insights-on-summer-2022-internships Thu, 28 Jul 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-next-wave-of-workers-insights-on-summer-2022-internships

It’s estimated that 300,000 people intern each year in the United States, and 70%of those interns are subsequently hired by their respective company. As we celebrate National Intern Day on Thursday, July 28, we recognize the impact internships can have on individuals, their career paths, and their futures as they expand horizons and skillsets. Not to mention the boosted morale, fresh perspectives, creativity, and productivity interns can have on the teams they join.

Hands-on Learning

While college degrees aid in the job search, experience as an intern is just as crucial. Internships provide real-life learning and development opportunities that college classrooms simply cannot.

At Skillsoft, we have a strong internship program throughout the year, recruiting individuals across the country to work with us. Once immersed in our teams, Skillsoft interns work on projects that directly impact the business, and have access to Skillsoft learning materials to upskill their competencies

This summer, we have a class of six marketing interns who agreed to answer a few questions about what it’s like to be an intern right now, how they're feeling about entering the workforce, and what guidance they would give to others. In addition, we asked their managers about their experiences in guiding and leading interns.

From the Interns

We asked interns to highlight one new skill they developed during their program. “The ability to create written content for blog episodes and promotional copy,” says Tenille Grant, Content Marketing Intern.” Being able to communicate stories effectively has been very important to me throughout my collegiate career, and now I have been given the opportunity to hone my communication and writing skills to impact people’s lives.”

Product Marketing intern Lily Charter pointed to writing skills as an area of growth. “I have been producing drafts for end-user materials and I have learned how to change my language to fit that particular audience and consumer.”

For Arinze Nzeako, a Field Marketing Intern, it was all about skills in project management: “I’ve learned how to write effective and engaging emails to inform customers and clients about our promotions and discount offers,” Nzeako says.

Managers Report

On the flipside, we asked managers about their experience upskilling in leadership and people management.

Digital Campaign Manager Nicole Longo shared that managing interns helped her grow as a leader. “We’re all so busy in our day-to-day tasks and having an intern allowed me to reflect on the impact of our functions and spread the knowledge.”

Communications skills also developed. “I’ve learned how to actively listen so I understand what direction my intern needs and to address all questions she has,” says Content Marketing Manager, Christie Schneider. “Active listening has also helped me to understand my intern’s career aspirations so that I can tailor her internship experience to meet those goals.”

Field Marketing Manager Eileen Plaehn learned how to explain things in a more clear, concise way. “When explaining processes and how work gets done, I have to remind myself that my intern has not been using the same tool for the past couple of years,” Plaehn says. “It gives me pause on how best to articulate something that is new to them but not new to me.”

Interns Meet Percipio

During their internship, Skillsoft interns have full access to the Percipio platform, allowing them to expand their knowledge and skillset in any topics of interest.

“I’m currently taking the course ‘Developing a Growth Mindset’ because it is important to me to be the best version of myself possible and without a growth mindset that is not possible,” says Brianna Olinik.

Intern Lauren Board had a great experience with the Pink Pandemic course on Percipio. It covers Women’s Recovery and Allyship in response to the pandemic. “Relevant and compelling courses like these are some of the most unique opportunities that we get as interns,” Board says “I am very passionate about social issues in my personal life, so I wanted to take this course on Percipio to see these topics through a new lens, particularly how they come to life in the business world and ultimately affect a company.”

And Nzeako just finished the course Expert Insights on Communication Essentials. “I learned why great communication skills separate the good companies from the best companies, and how to implement good communication practices in your role,” Nzeako says.

End of Summer Reflections

Lastly, a few recommendations from both sides. When asked for a piece of advice to give others seeking internships, Khushi Shah said take the no’s in stride. “It's okay to receive rejections because that means you are one step closer to getting your dream internship,” Shah says.

For Grant, it took over 80 applications to land the perfect internship at Skillsoft. “Never give up your search!” Grant advises.

And Olinik says not to settle for the first internship offered. “Make sure your needs are being met,” Olinik says. “Internships aren't the end all be all, and it’s better to find one that you feel is a great fit for you.”

Managers had equally wise advice. “I recommend showing up empathetically, because learning takes time and habits are not built in a day,” Plaehn says. “It’s also important to set deadlines and expectations. Unsaid expectations are never met, so it’s better to be as open and honest as possible when working with an intern.”

“Allow your intern to have the freedom to learn on their own,” says Schneider. “It’s important that first-time managers provide guidance to their interns, but also give them the space they need to learn through trial and error."

And finally, Longo’s advice is to “Shadow, shadow, shadow.” “I do my best learning by watching and listening to those around me, and I know that our interns feel the same way,” Longo says. “No better way to learn than by jumping right in and trying it out.”

No matter your organization, internships offer upskilling opportunities for everyone involved. Consider adding an intern program if you don’t have one yet – the benefits may surprise you!

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All Aboard the Modern Office: Design Lessons Learned in Transit https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/all-aboard-the-modern-office-design-lessons-learned-in-transit Wed, 27 Jul 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/all-aboard-the-modern-office-design-lessons-learned-in-transit

Recent headlines have focused on the downsides of air travel: baggage lost, fights delayed, passengers stranded. But, l firmly believe that we never stop learning; that we can learn anytime and anywhere. And, even with all its current hassles, air travel has lessons for us if we know where to look.

Here's an example.

I flew to Atlanta a few weeks ago on a 2 pm out of Boston. As my seatmate and I settled in for the flight, we struck up a conversation. It turned out that she was headed home after an early morning flight and quick meeting. And, when I say “quick,” I mean quick. She had been in Boston for less than three hours. I remarked that her travel schedule seemed even crazier than mine.

What I didn't realize, until moments later when she introduced herself, is that I had the good fortune of sitting next to the senior designer for the VIP transit lounges of a major airline.

She was in the midst of revitalizing the more than 50 lounges — across 35 airports around the country — and was in Boston overseeing renovations at Logan Airport. I had recently stopped by one of her lounges in Los Angeles before I flew home following Irresistible 2022. So, I knew the caliber of the experience she was creating.

We spent the flight to Atlanta talking about the renewed purpose and focus of these spaces. In essence, she is doing — and has been for years — what so many of us are trying to do now with physical work locations: provide the right space at the right time to meet the right need. She recognized that lounge visitor needs had evolved and varied depending on the traveler. Some members are business professionals who need a temporary office to do heads-down work or to take meetings. Others are "long-haulers" who need a quiet space to relax or recharge. And still others bring their families in for a decent meal and perhaps a bit of entertainment.

With all these potential functions, transit lounges cannot be just large waiting rooms for travelers (free coffee and cocktails notwithstanding). They must be fit for purpose.

Truly, the office — or, at least, the modern office — is no different than one of her transit lounges. It's not enough to be simply the place where work gets done, but rather, it's the place where specific types of work — and interactions — get done:

  • Collaboration. Nothing beats gathering around a white board and working together on a project in person. Can this type of work be done over Zoom? Of course. But, there is just something about the energy in a room that allows for more creativity and better outcomes.
  • Quiet spaces. While some projects depend on teamwork, office space needs to be set aside for work that requires stretches of focused concentration — especially if your team is on-site often.
  • 1:1s. Face-to-face, in-person meetings or mentoring sessions can be valuable for deepening connections and eliminating the distractions that often come with a screen. Again, they can happen via Zoom, but so much non-verbal communication is lost.
  • Connecting socially. Here at Skillsoft, my Boston team members value their Thursdays in the office. In fact, they often spend the day connecting and then head out afterwards to share a meal. It's not surprising; we form tight bonds with people when we spend so much time — in-person — together.

It occurred to me, after my conversation on the plane, that we hear a lot about future-proofing our workforce (and rightfully so). But, what about future-proofing our workplaces? Just like a savvy traveler, employees today have different expectations, and flexibility is key.

At Skillsoft, we developed a course on Human-Centric Design, which drives innovation inspired by people, and ensures that products and services "create a positive, long-term impact for end-users.” The same mindset could be applied when creating a purpose-fit, modern office: What types of spaces do our people really need, at what times, to function at their best?

Now, I believe very strongly that a remote-first policy can work very well. It works for me and my team (and we've put effort into making sure it feels flexible, supported, and connected.) But, I also recognize the value of creating the right physical spaces, both in number and size, that allow us, when needed, to improve our thinking, deepen our connections, and relax and unwind with our colleagues.

And, remember, while remote work is becoming the norm for many of us, everyone's work-from-home situation is different. (Some of your colleagues might really, really need those office days!)

So, perhaps there is something to be learned from a long day of travel, I’m excited to reconnect with my new friend in the future and see what she comes up with.

Meanwhile, look for me in the transit lounges at Logan. I'll be the one walking around taking notes.

Learn more about Skillsoft’s Leadership & Business portfolio.

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How to Overcome the Tech Talent Shortage https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-overcome-the-tech-talent-shortage Fri, 22 Jul 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-overcome-the-tech-talent-shortage

Every sector competes for skilled tech workers these days. Technology has become such an integral part of the way organizations operate, because of this, the current talent pool isn’t enough to satisfy the outsized need for skills at every level of IT, especially as recruiting intensifies.

In researching this challenge, Skillsoft has found talent acquisition and development inextricably tied to the way organizations foster professional growth. A lack of training is often one of the key reasons why tech professionals leave their current role for another. On the other hand, training is listed as a key reason for loyalty.

At Skillsoft’s annual event, Perspectives, CTO Apratim Purakayastha — he goes by AP — hosted a panel of learning and development leaders who have grappled with challenges tied to talent acquisition, recruitment and development. They shared their stories and experiences, and importantly, they shared the ways they’ve found success.

Keep reading for insights and expertise from the following leaders in learning and development:

  • Cari Bohley, VP of Talent Management at Peraton
  • Gretchen Ringer, Director of Learning and Development at Leidos
  • Sara Ley, Head of Digital and Tech Practice at Johnson & Johnson
  • Tanya Pang, Senior Manager, Integrated Learning Solutions at Lockheed Martin

Attracting and Retaining Tech Workers Demands a More Holistic Approach to Development

The dramatic changes in how millions of people work around the world forced organizations to undergo rapid digital transformations. Many organizations weren’t prepared for what a pandemic would force them into. And this work never truly ends.

The resulting impacts created a tough job market for organizations struggling to attract or hold onto talent. This change gave even more leverage to tech workers who have something every company on the planet wants: skills.

The skills that IT professionals have are prized, demanded and needed. Every organization represented on this panel depends on the skills and often the certifications of their workforce. This knowledge translates into the high-quality products or services they deliver.

Regarding talent retention, pay isn’t the only factor luring skilled workers to other opportunities. In a survey of 9,325 IT workers, the number one reason they listed leaving their current role was due to a lack of professional development opportunities.

“We’ve really seen the numbers related to turnover go the way we want them to after we’ve implemented several programs and solutions to retain employees,” said Gretchen, with Leidos. “We’re saying, ‘where are your passions and interests and how do they align with what Leidos needs?’ Connecting talent to those opportunities will bring Leidos into the future.”

A lacking training program prevents the IT department from closing skills gaps. These gaps in knowledge cause a number of issues, not least of which include decreased revenue and customer satisfaction; increased stressed and turnover. (See more research on this in this report.) In this way, it becomes increasingly critical for IT leaders to work with their teams and counterparts in learning and development to find a solution.

Sara, with Johnson & Johnson, agreed with Gretchen’s comments, adding that it’s important to look holistically at what employees deem most important. Employees may want “other opportunities to experience project work, learn a new skill set in a different space or sector.” Access to career development is a part of the equation, Sara said, but it’s also the visibility into career mobility that plays an important role in training professionals and closing skills gaps afflicting the business.

Assess Your Workforce to Identify Skills Gaps and Track Increases in Proficiency

Most IT leaders recognize they have a growing problem on their hands: skills gaps. Data collected for Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary Report found 76% of IT leaders say they experience skills gaps on their teams.

But what’s the impact? Why are they so important to discuss and identify? Skills gaps affect all types of issues at work:

  • Project durations
  • Product deployments
  • Cybersecurity
  • Morale

It can become a vast list when you consider how a lack of knowledge could impact a single project or an entire organization. Think of it as pushing one domino tile into another, which then crashes into another and another and another.

IDC predicts skills gaps will cost organizations worldwide more than $6.5 trillion by 2025. (Dive into this data in more detail on page 10 of Skillsoft’s annual Lean Into Learning Report.)

The skills gap is often the result of the rapidly changing landscape in IT. But as many as one-third of IT leaders report that training programs aren’t meeting their needs. A joint Skillsoft-IDG survey found 53% of IT leaders struggle with inadequate learning libraries, and 56% say their teams don’t have enough time to practice skills.

Evidence like this helps learning and development leaders understand how to upskill their workforce and track their progress through assessments, training utilization and more.

Through its strategic workforce planning process at Lockheed Martin, Tanya and her team identify the current skills of their workforce and match them with what the company needs to deliver solutions to their customers. Ultimately, this process reveals growth opportunities.

“We’re in the midst of a digital transformation, we’re also in the midst of developing 21st century security solutions, so there is a great need for upskilling at all levels,” said Tanya, with Lockheed Martin.

After identifying these areas that require more growth, Tanya’s team launches a series of campaigns to deliver highly curated programs, communicate the company’s trajectory, and support the workforce with aid from learning providers.

“Our best talent is right here, and they have a lot of the adjacent skills we need,” Tanya said. “All they need is some upskilling and attention to get to the next level.”

Peraton takes a similar approach to identifying skills gaps. Through a relatively new internal mobility program, Cari’s team remains aware of the lifecycle of client contracts to help forecast when employees and their skills become available.

Then, Cari’s team identifies what skills employees have, including those that may apply to other needs of the business — even tangential skills. Those employees can then complete programs that help develop their existing skill set to use them effectively on more projects.

“We have to meet the learners where they are. Not everybody learns the same way,” said Cari, with Peraton. “It’s incredibly important to offer these different modalities because people will opt in to the ones that meet their needs most easily. Offering a diverse way for people to learn, we’re helping them achieve their goals in a way that’s meaningful, convenient.”

5 Skills These Companies Prioritize Right Now
  1. Cybersecurity
  2. Cloud
  3. Data science
  4. AI and Machine Learning
  5. Software Development

‘A Million-Dollar Question’: What Does It Take to Show ROI on Training?

While learning and development leaders love to hear how their programs have benefitted someone’s career, it’s also important to see the numbers.

How has learning affected retention? Recruiting cost? Training or certification cost?

Having these numbers in hand can create a fuller picture of the impact training programs can have on an organization. They also become very supportive in efforts to double down on the positive impact these initiatives can have when it comes time to set a budget, test new programs, experiment with options, or bring in additional resources.

Panelists at Perspective gather as many insights as possible to understand how their programs align with business goals.

Retention as a Metric to Show ROI

Leidos developed a learning analytics dashboard on PowerBI, pulling in data from its learning management solution (LMS) Workday, an integration partner of Skillsoft’s. They started with the foundational metrics like utilization and employee feedback, so they could see the health of the program. But, leadership wants to know how these programs add value to the organization by retaining employees and improving outcomes.

Gretchen dug into the data and saw her learning programs were working. “We compared numbers of those in our technical stream with those who are participating in our technical upskilling programs, we found that we are retaining more people,” she said.

“I want to put a dollar amount to it,” she said. “When I go into our annual operating-planning meeting, I’m not begging for money. There’s no reason I shouldn’t get this budget because, with each person we save, this is the amount of money. So, it’s the cost-savings of the people.”

An Increase in Professional Certifications

“At previous organizations, some of the things we used to demonstrate value were an increase in professional certifications,” Cari said. “Because these are the things our customers required. If we could upskill internally instead of buy talent, that’s what we used to show value.”

Learning and development programs undoubtedly impact the organization. They can increase employee engagement and reinforce culture, but also add direct value to the organization. In Cari’s experience, showing value by measuring certifications has led to IT professionals who are ready and able to provide services to clients.

Responding to Cari, AP said: “If you have certifications, then you have project-ready people… You can fill projects much quicker when you have the right resume of certifications. That’s a clear business value.”

Show an Increase in Knowledge and See How Skills are Applied

At Lockheed Martin, Tanya says they keep track of talent movement to see how employees take what they’ve learned and put it into action. “People want to be developed. People come to companies to be developed,” said Tanya. “We want to look at talent movement and where they’re applying what they’ve learned.”

Similarly, Sara with Johnson&Johnson says tracking skills development can show value to the organization overall. “If you can show the increase in knowledge, skill, capability, that’s also another win,” Sara said.

4 Pieces of Advice for Those Facing Talent Acquisition and Retention Challenges

Gretchen

Know who the stakeholders are in your organization and become their best friends. Partner with them when designing programs. Don’t forget them.

Cari

Focus and prioritize on what you can accomplish. Don’t try to do everything at once. This is a journey for all of us, and we all start at different points.

Tanya

One of the most important things we can do is to skill people up in learning agility and change agility to help them adapt.

Sara

Think through how to bring learning programs to the organization. Communication is such a big piece of the puzzle.


Perspectives makes several stops around the world in 2022. Up next is New York City and San Francisco, where conversations like these continue. Subscribe to Skillsoft’s blog to get notifications when new blogs come out.

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How to Be OSHA Compliant https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-be-osha-compliant Thu, 21 Jul 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-be-osha-compliant

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more commonly known as OSHA, is responsible for protecting worker health and safety in the United States. In fact, most employers and employees are required to follow OSHA standards – or risk steep penalties and the potential for serious occupational injuries or illnesses.

For compliance professionals looking for a quick list of training courses that will enable you to be OSHA compliant, you may be out of luck. OSHA doesn't necessarily know what standards are applicable to each worksite, so figuring out who needs what training, and when, falls to individual organizations.

That’s where we can help relieve some of the burden.

Prepare Your Organization to Mitigate Risk from Common Safety Violations

Skillsoft’s Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) compliance courses help employers meet the requirements defined in OSHA standards and help to keep workers injury and illness free. But because we offer more than 1,000 EHS courses in 15+ languages, it can be a challenge to figure out where to start.

One recommendation is to review OSHA’s annual list of the top ten most frequently cited safety violations following inspections of employer worksites.

This list is comprised of the most common areas in which organizations fall short when it comes to workplace safety, and it provides a solid starting point to find and fix potential risks in your organization – before OSHA arrives on the scene.

Here’s the most recently updated list:

Fall Protection

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of fatalities in construction, accounting for one-third of all deaths in the industry?

One way to mitigate this risk is to provide EHS training to employees who might be exposed to fall hazards. The intention is to provide them with the ability to recognize such hazards and utilize control measures to minimize their risk.

Check out Skillsoft’s fall prevention training course here.

Respiratory Protection

There were more than 2,500 respiratory protection violations last year, alone. That’s why it is imperative that your employees understand how to use respiratory protection so that they are protected from hazardous airborne contaminants in the work environment.

A thorough compliance training course can help workers:

  • Distinguish between employee and employer responsibilities for respiratory protection
  • Identify the nature, extent, and effects of respiratory hazards to which they may be exposed
  • Specify the operation, limitations, and capabilities of respirators
  • Identify respirator selection, use, and inspection procedures and practices
  • Recognize proper respirator maintenance, cleaning, and storage practices
  • Identify respirator malfunction and follow-up procedures

Check out Skillsoft’s respiratory protection training course here.

Ladders

Falls from ladders account for 300 deaths and more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries every year. To combat potential injury, train your employees on the safe use of portable and fixed ladders. Every employee should know how to identify hazards related to the general use of ladders, and how to control these hazards.

Check out Skillsoft’s ladder safety training course here.

Hazard Communication

More than 8,700 chemicals are produced or imported into the U.S. each year, and employers are obligated to provide information and training to their employees about any hazardous chemicals that cross their path. Your organization should acquaint employees with the precautions necessary to safely use, handle, and store hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

Check out Skillsoft’s hazard communication training course here.

Scaffolding

65% of workers in the construction industry work on scaffolds frequently. As such, you need to prioritize training your employees to recognize the hazards associated with scaffolds being used on work sites and understand the procedures to control or minimize those hazards.

Proper compliance training can help your employees to identify:

  • Hazards commonly associated with scaffolding
  • General scaffolding requirements and safety considerations
  • Specific precautions to take when working with scaffolding near power lines
  • Safe work practices that prevent falls from scaffolding
  • Safe work practices that prevent objects from falling from scaffolding

Check out Skillsoft’s scaffolding safety training course here.

Fall Protection Training

Fall hazards are common on construction sites and in general industry environments. Employers must use a combination of control measures and personal protective equipment to ensure the safety of their employees. Workers performing tasks that are at risk of fatal falls or serious injuries need to be able to recognize fall hazards, identify control measures, and follow applicable procedures to minimize their risk. OSHA requirements make no difference if employers do not train their workers. In fact, OSHA lists three simple steps to prevent falls: plan ahead, provide the right equipment, and train workers.

Check out Skillsoft’s fall protection training course here.

Control of Hazardous Energy

Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation. That’s why it is so important to train employees on how to control hazardous energy and work under the protection of a lockout/tagout program.

Every employee should understand lockout/tagout practices and the significance of lockout/tagout devices. This includes being able to define and describe terms and techniques commonly used in a lockout/tagout program and recall standard lockout/tagout procedures.

Check out Skillsoft’s lockout/tagout training course here.

Eye and Face Protection

Wearing proper eye protection can prevent 90% of all eye injuries, so every worker should be familiar with the various types of personal protective equipment (PPE) specifically designed to protect the eyes and face. Based on the unique hazards present in their workplace, the goal of training with respect to this topic is to help workers:

  • Recognize the steps employers take to ensure employees are provided with appropriate protection while performing their jobs
  • Identify the type of eye and/or face shield protector best suited to protect their eyes and/or face against specific types of workplace hazards
  • Identify steps to take to maintain eye and face protection
  • Identify techniques for ensuring eye protection is clean and sanitary

Check out Skillsoft’s eye and face protection training course here.

Powered Industrial Trucks

Up to 100 workers are killed every year in forklift accidents, a number that has increased almost 30% within the last decade. All employees who work with or around power-propelled trucks (forklifts) that are used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack, or tier materials can benefit from learning about the associated health and safety concerns.

Employees should be able to explain the purpose of the Powered Industrial Truck standard (29 CFR 1910.178); define operator training requirements; distinguish between the different types of powered industrial trucks; recognize general engineering principles associated with powered industrial truck safety; distinguish potential occupational health and safety concerns associated with the use and maintenance of powered industrial trucks; describe safe loading and unloading methods; and identify general inspection and maintenance procedures. Are you confident that your employees can do this?

Check out Skillsoft’s powered industrial truck training course here.

Machinery and Machine Guarding

Workers who operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, and abrasions per year. In order to minimize the number of injuries, they must know how to identify:

  • Particular areas where mechanical hazards exist in machines
  • The mechanical point on a machine where hazardous actions are most likely to occur
  • Actions that can result in injury

And they must be able to recognize:

  • The minimum requirements that must be met by all safeguards
  • The advantages of various types of guard construction
  • Descriptions of different types of safety guards and devices

Check out Skillsoft’s machine guarding training course here.

Online training courses related to these – and other critical EHS compliance requirements – are fundamental to preventing on-the-job injuries and illnesses. And while the courses referenced above are not an exhaustive list of training on each topic, they do serve as a good starting point for your organization.

Reach out to Skillsoft today to learn more about our EHS training courses and how they might help improve on the job safety and ensure your organization better adheres to OSHA standards.

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Cyber Security Salary by Role and Experience Level https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/cyber-security-salary-by-role-and-experience-level Wed, 20 Jul 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/cyber-security-salary-by-role-and-experience-level

Digital technology is integral to the way we live our lives. It's ubiquitous and assists us in everything from banking to fitness via its ability to gather, process, and understand vast amounts of data. Yet, the same benefit of digital technology, namely its ubiquity and information-gathering powers, makes it a key resource to be exploited by hackers and cybercriminals.

Personal data can be sold on the dark web for high prices or exploited to pull off even bigger hacks, but the reality is that a hack of any size can cost businesses big. For example, a recent IBM study shows the cost of a data breach has risen 12% over the past five years and now costs $3.92 million on average.

So, organizations obviously understand how important it is to protect their business, partners, and customers from malicious actors. As a result, they're willing to pay top-dollar for cybersecurity specialists to keep their data safe from cybercriminals.

How Much Do Cyber Security Jobs Pay?

Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand as companies try to fight back against cyber theft, IP and financial infringement, fraud, and increasingly aggressive cyber-crime. Cybersecurity engineers, analysts, specialists, consultants, and architects are among the jobs that organizations are eager to fill. What follows is the current average cybersecurity salary by role and the salary range from entry level to veteran, pulled from the 2021 Skillsoft IT Skills and Salary Report:

Cyber Security / IT Security

Average US Salary: $132,163
Dependent upon experience, salaries can range from $62,348 – 141,927

Cyber Security Engineer

Average US Salary: $132,941
Dependent upon experience, salaries can range from $120,000 – $210,000

Cyber Security Analyst

Average US Salary: $99,357
Dependent upon experience, salaries can range from $95,000 – $160,000

These base salaries can vary widely depending on the individual's additional skills, education, and certifications. For example, senior leadership, military specialists, or individuals who work in major cities can feasibly earn six figures in cybersecurity. Due to the population density in cities, more highly skilled people concentrate their, driving up competition and salaries.

Cybersecurity is at the top of the list for the most in-demand IT jobs. Learn why here, with this blog detailing the 10 most in-demand IT jobs.

Want to learn more about IT skills and salaries? Click here to read the IT Skills and Salary report for free.

Boost your salary with cyber security training and certification & close the skills gap

Technology and its capabilities never stop evolving, so cybersecurity specialists are always learning. This reality has caused an increasing talent gap in the last five years. The sad truth is that the talent pool in competitive areas isn't big enough. New hires are not the ultimate solution for managers because both new and incumbent hires both need ongoing and consistent training to keep their skills relevant.

Here are some effects of and challenges caused by the skills gap:

With additional training and certification, you can fill the cyber security talent gap and become a top earner. Skillsoft has the content to help you, or your teams get there and get certified in various ways. Sharpen your skills, upgrade your cyber security career, and find the right learning path for you with plenty of hands-on practice.

We have virtual and in-person training courses for highly critical technology roles. Live, certified instructors can tailor the training to the class or individual to reinforce the specific skills needed, allowing employees to use their new or refreshed skills to solve challenges immediately.

Explore our cybersecurity learning and development programs today!

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Lean Into Learning: Summer Skilling Edition https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/lean-into-learning-summer-skilling-edition Tue, 19 Jul 2022 00:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/lean-into-learning-summer-skilling-edition

Summer is in full swing, and after another hectic start to the year, many of us are enjoying the opportunity to slow down and have a little R&R. As we fill the next few months with traveling, sunbathing, and sand in our swimsuits, it’s also the perfect time for self-growth – both personally and professionally.

Learning doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) detract from all the summer fun. In fact, innovations in the training and education industries have made it quite easy to learn from wherever we are and via whichever devices – be it smartphones, tablets, laptops, or even headphones – best suit our current situation and lifestyle. Sitting on a beach in California? Dive into a book on surviving the first 100 days as a new boss. Working remotely from Spain’s Canary Islands? Perhaps it’s time to take a few courses and learn a new programming skill. Firing up the grill to make your self-proclaimed world famous ribs? Toss on an audiobook about resilience in the face of adversity.

Today, learning isn’t something that’s wedged into our schedules. Rather, it fits into our workflows and lives easily and seamlessly. At a time when employees are craving opportunities for professional development and employers are facing tightening labor markets, talent shortages, and widening skills gaps, encouraging and enabling employees to learn and grow during the summer months is easier than ever and beneficial for organizations and their workforce alike.

As we continue to illuminate the latest learning trends by analyzing data from Skillsoft Percipio, we explored what employees have been up to in their summer skilling journeys. And, as a bonus, we’re excited to share a roundup of some of the newest courses offered by Skillsoft so that everyone can lean into learning all summer long!

On the go and in-the-flow.

“Learn something new every day” is advice we’ve all heard before, but perhaps not always followed. It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault. Days are jam-packed, and while things slow down as temperatures heat up, “on-the-go” defines the summer months. But a solution has become rapidly available, centered around the idea of “learning in the flow.” While traditionally seen in the context of “learning in the flow of work,” it really boils down to removing barriers to learning in all scenarios and providing access to on-demand and real-time growth opportunities wherever an individual may be and however they best gain new skills.

The flexible nature of modern learning is something employees are taking advantage of - especially in the summer. Looking at learners who access Skillsoft content via their smartphones, we observed a 15% spike on average in traffic during last year’s summer months (June 1 – September 30) compared to rest of the year. When we look across the different modalities (or “styles” of learning) Skillsoft offers, we saw a 36% increase in total books read during this same timeframe. This could be attributed to both managers “assigning” recommended summer reading and learners grabbing some reading material while listening to waves crash in the background.

New and popular Skillsoft courses!

So we know learning is highly-accessible. The next step is to identify which skill areas to prioritize! Whether learners are looking to dabble in entry-level coding, pivot or accelerate their careers in cybersecurity via an in-depth learning experience, or seek tips for dealing with burnout, Skillsoft has it covered. Take a look at some of our newest and most popular courses, books, and audiobooks we’ve released this year for learners to broaden their horizons and pick up a few new skills.

Popular courses 2022:
  1. Recognizing and Addressing Micro-Behaviors in the Workplace
    Micro-behaviors are a macro problem. In this course, you’ll learn to recognize the characteristics of the different types of micro-behaviors and how to decode the messages they send. You’ll also learn to identify when and how to take action to address micro-aggressions, and how to use micro-inclusions as an antidote.
  2. Psychological Safety: Building a Culture of Inclusion and Innovation
    Psychological safety involves the feeling of being accepted and respected – believing you can present your true self at work without fear of negative consequences to your self-image, status, or career. But it also goes beyond that to trusting that your team and your workplace is safe. Learn what psychological safety is, challenges that inhibit this type of culture forming, and how to nuture this mindset and build a skillset that supports it.
  3. How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Achieve Success?
    What stands between you and success? Discover how to identify those barriers - as well as your own personal triggers and mental blocks - and overcome them. You'll also learn strategies to jumpstart your work mindset and to advocate for yourself to get you out of your own way and on a path to success.
Popular books 2022:
  1. 100 Top Tips – Stay Safe Online and Protect Your Privacy
    Recognizing the threats you may encounter online is the first step to preventing them, and a good understanding of online security and privacy issues is essential to protecting yourself from them. Read this book to find out more.
  2. Corporate Agility: Insights on Agile Practices for Adaptive, Collaborative, Rapid, and Transparent Enterprises
    This book features a beautiful 4-color design that helps you visualize powerful strategic ideas, so you can understand and implement them right away. Unlike other books on the market, this title helps you reinterpret key Agile management concepts in a way that will work for your specific needs.
  3. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High
    This book addresses issues that have arisen in recent years. You'll learn how to: respond when someone initiates a crucial conversation with you; identify and address the lag time between identifying a problem and discussing it; and communicate more effectively across digital mediums.
Popular audiobooks 2022:
  1. The Long-Distance Teammate: Stay Engaged and Connected While Working Anywhere
    What does it mean to "go to work" when you don't actually leave the house? This is the ultimate guide for remote workers who want to stay engaged as team members, maintain robust work relationships, and keep an eye on their long-term career goals.
  2. Beating Burnout at Work: Why Teams Hold the Secret to Well-Being and Resilience
    Burnout has become one of the most talked about workplace topics, and its impact is far-reaching. The 24/7 pace of work, constant demands, and scant resources can easily put busy professionals on a path to burnout, a cycle that has only accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this audiobook, a first-of-its-kind, science-backed toolkit takes a holistic approach to burnout prevention by helping individuals, teams, and leaders build resilience and thrive at work.
  3. Ready to Be a Thought Leader? How to Increase Your Influence, Impact, and Success
    Featuring guidelines, stories, tips, and success secrets from those who have successfully made the transition to high-profile thought leader, this how-to guide offers essential reading for anyone ready to expand their influence, increase their professional success, have an impact far beyond a single organization and industry, and ultimately leave a legacy that matters.

For students, recent grads, full- or part-time workers, or those that are still simply figuring out what’s next, the summer provides a ripe opportunity to explore career paths, build important skills, and plan for the future. L&D leaders should encourage learners to reflect on their areas of interest and assess their current skill levels to see where they stand in their personal growth journeys. Help them reinforce what they’ve already learned to refresh and retain gained knowledge through brief quizzes, flashcards, notes, and more to curate, customize, and self-direct the learning experience.

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. The ability to develop 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 of their employees materially improve employee retention. This ultimately leads to sustained productivity and value for the business through workforce transformation. Make this the best #SummerofSkilling yet!

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Beware the Perils of Summer https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/beware-the-perils-of-summer Thu, 07 Jul 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/beware-the-perils-of-summer

What’s your organization’s vacation policy? Do you encourage employees to take much-needed breaks in the summertime?

The benefits of vacation include better work-life balance, improved mental and physical health, increased productivity, lower absenteeism, and a more satisfied workforce. But – if they are not aware of how to mitigate risk during their free time – vacation may put your employees at increased risk of illness, injury, or even death.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in the month of July there is often a spike in deaths related to summertime activities. That’s why it is in your organization’s best interests to ensure that employees are equipped with the information they need to be safe, at home and on vacation, this summer.

The goal? We want your employees to come back to work healthy and refreshed – minimizing potential time off for recovery, reducing turnover, increasing productivity, and raising morale.

Understand the risks: Top Summer Accidents

Perhaps the best way to prevent injuries and even fatalities is to be aware of potential dangers that employees may face during the warmer summer months and to help them understand how to mitigate risk. Here are the most common summer accidents:

  • Motor Vehicle Crashes
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Motorcycle Crashes
  • Swimming Accidents

While these types of accidents are more likely to occur outside of work, your organization can certainly play a part in helping employees to both assess and avoid risk in their personal time.

Do you want to help keep your employees safe in the summertime? Download these informational posters to help educate them on potential risks.

Motor vehicle crashes

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents occur most frequently in the summertime. This could be a result of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted driving, drowsy driving, speeding or tailgating. No matter the cause, it is important for drivers to ensure they understand the risks and hazards associated with summer driving – both in cars and recreational off-road vehicles.

Bicycle Accidents

Did you know that head injuries are one of the most common maladies suffered by cyclists? A simple precaution that cyclists can take is to wear a helmet, which may reduce the risk for head injury by 85 percent.

Bicycle-related deaths peak in May and remain high through October, according to data from the National Safety Council (NSC). In fact, the number of preventable deaths from bicycle transportation incidents has increased 44% in the last 10 years. Encourage your employees to wear a helmet and be aware of their surroundings while bicycling!

Pedestrian Accidents

According to NHTSA, there were more than 6,500 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes last year. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:

  • Left-hand turns: Three times as many people get hit by cars turning left than by cars turning right because drivers typically focus on oncoming traffic rather than the pedestrians around them.
  • Unmarked crosswalks: Again, some drivers forget to monitor common crossing areas for pedestrians because they are so focused on other vehicles.
  • Distracted drivers / pedestrians: Whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, pay attention to the road. Avoid talking on your cell phone, texting, or emailing while driving and walking.
  • Rolling stops: It is important for drivers to follow all applicable traffic laws, including fully stopping at a stop sign. Failure to do so may mean failure to notice pedestrians, cars, or obstacles in the road.

Understanding why pedestrian accidents happen can go a long way in preventing them. But pedestrians should be proactive by walking on sidewalks, crossing at intersections, avoiding alcohol or drugs, and following all applicable rules of the road.

Motorcycle Accidents

This year, June 11 – 19 marked the 99th anniversary of Laconia Motorcycle Week, an event reported to be the world’s oldest motorcycle rally. Motorcycle week brings the second largest demographic of motorcycle riders in the country to the beautiful state of New Hampshire to ride through the scenic mountains.

At the end of this year’s event, local authorities reported five deaths resulting from motorcycle accidents statewide, with one crash victim still in critical condition. According to the NSC, motorcycle deaths have increased 20% over the last ten years. While awareness campaigns remind drivers to “share the road” with motorcycles, we still have work to do to better protect motorcycle riders.

Swimming Accidents

In the U.S., according to the CDC, there are an average of 11 drowning deaths per day. Certain factors make drowning more likely and should therefore be avoided. Here are some tips for your employees to take back to their families, friends, and communities:

  • Learn how to swim. Formal swimming lessons and training can improve your confidence and stamina in the water and it just might save your life
  • Secure the area around your pool. A four-sided isolation fence which separates the pool area from the house and yard reduces a child’s risk of drowning by 83%.
  • Supervise children in the water. Drowning is often quiet. It can occur when lifeguards are present. Be aware of your children’s ability levels and location in the water.
  • Understand that drowning can happen anywhere, even in the bathtub. While most drowning incidents happen in swimming pools, among infants under 1 year old, two thirds of all drownings occur in bathtubs.
  • Don’t swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Among adolescents and adults, alcohol use is involved in nearly one in four emergency department visits for drowning.

Other Accidents

In addition to some of the top accidents listed above, it is important for your employees to be aware of common summertime dangers associated with warmer weather activities. These include:

101 Critical Days of Summer

In a recent post on staying cool in the summer heat, I mentioned that the Department of Defense hosts an awareness campaign from Memorial Day to Labor Day called “101 Critical Days of Summer.” Their goal is to help members of the military – and their families and communities – stay safe from common injuries and illnesses in the summertime.

Skillsoft has created a series of four compliance briefs to help any company looking to provide employees, their families, and the community with important information and insight into common summer safety hazards. Below is a description of the summer safety compliance briefs:

Compliance Brief: Summer Safety - Food and Fun

This course is designed to help learners identify safety measures to take to avoid becoming injured during common summer outdoor activities, including barbeques, fireworks, playgrounds, sports, walking, jogging, and bicycling.

Compliance Brief: Summer Safety on the Water

This course focuses on boating safety. Topics covered include preparation checklists, safety gear and procedures, developing a float plan, nautical rules of the road, the dangers of alcohol, and how to use personal watercraft safely.

Compliance Brief: Summer Safety in the Water

This course describes risks and safety measures associated with swimming in pools and open water. The content addresses how to secure your pool, pool chemical safety, safe swimming practices, how to manage getting caught in a rip current, and the proper use of sunscreen/sunblock.

Compliance Brief: Summer Vehicle Safety

This course describes risks and hazards associated with summer driving, riding motorcycles, and using recreational off-road vehicles.

Any Skillsoft customer that has access to our library of content will have access to these briefs automatically – and we invite them to share what they have learned as widely as possible.

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7 Ways to Transform Your Cybersecurity Training and Influence Lasting Change https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/7-ways-to-transform-your-cybersecurity-training-and-influence-lasting-change Tue, 05 Jul 2022 09:06:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/7-ways-to-transform-your-cybersecurity-training-and-influence-lasting-change


The importance of privacy and safety cannot be overstated in this digital age. So much of our business infrastructure relies upon digital technology. This makes the technology, and the data it contains, a constant target for hackers and other malicious actors. As a result, robust cybersecurity training is imperative for businesses that want to keep their insights, data, intellectual property, and additional proprietary information safe and secure.

For many, one of the answers to the problem has been cybersecurity awareness programs. The traditional approach is a mandated one-off training session where employees read information and answer questions, but as cybercrime costs global businesses over $6 trillion, IT and security experts are coming to the realization that they must refine how they train their workforce to effectively combat threats.

Read next: How to Manage the Human Risk in Cybersecurity [by Forrester]

Traditional cybersecurity awareness can be impersonal and does little to engage the learner beyond being an employee at your company. If the goal is to win hearts and minds, formal awareness training can fall short and often doesn’t inspire people to care.

One of the problems is that many organizations provide awareness training to satisfy minimum compliance requirements, not to educate their employees. As a result, security and awareness programs don’t always lead to the result IT leadership expects.

To add to that frustration, employees often see IT security as a team to avoid; as enforcers when they need to be seen as educators. Meanwhile, scammers and hackers don't ever stop learning.

A strong security culture depends on ongoing education. With a continued investment in education, it's possible to build a transformative training program that influences lasting change. Here are 10 ways to help capture hearts and minds, engage your workforce and protect your organization from a potentially damaging breach.

1. Awareness vs. Understanding

Being aware of risk doesn't automatically protect you from it. So, simply making your employees aware of risks doesn’t go far enough — it's causing panic and could lead to sloppy decision-making. Instead, you must ensure your employees can identify risks and either avoid them or understand how to mitigate any potential damage.

What's needed is an authentic, people-centered approach that includes a multi-year strategy that contains buy-in from stakeholders and communities across your entire enterprise. Target communities that are at greatest risk and give them the support they need.

Broaden your security efforts by expanding education throughout your organization. Cybersecurity training is for everyone and should be incorporated into onboarding and annual review cycles. When you empower your non-IT security teams, you create allies that members of the security team can rely on to drive organizational initiatives and affect cultural change.

2. Don't be afraid to play

Using humor and fun to educate learners about a serious message is effective when done correctly. For example, rethink the staid workshop in favor of an escape room, develop fun educational videos produced in a social media style that could replace boring instructional ones, or use a gamified context to teach employees how to deal with security risks effectively.

Innovative experiential learning involving storytelling and roleplaying strategies can help you hit your metrics for success while encouraging ownership and accountability in an engaging way. A proactive security team can't be shy about adding a little humor to address a serious topic.

3. Focus on the learner

Scientific research is pretty clear on what people need to feel engaged in a learning experience: relevance, meaning, and emotion. Therefore, your training should focus on the learner as a person, not just as an employee within your organization.

If your training is to inspire lasting change, people need to see themselves in the content, not just hooded hackers. Therefore, messaging and content must be diverse and inclusive. People also don't necessarily like being told what to do and how to act, but people like being helpful and proactive in protecting their teammates, friends, and loved ones.

So, ensure your training includes education about security matters relevant to their lives inside and outside work to drive home what's at risk and broaden the conversation.

4. Leverage technology & brain science

Structure training to maximize retention. Training should break down into short bursts of learning experienced through an engaging presentation of information, practice opportunities, and evaluation. Strategies, including practical examples, case studies, video scenarios, animation, narration, and interactive quizzes, can help maximize engagement and retention.

People are also responsive to semi-competitive social proof techniques. Allowing employees to compare their performance against their peers often influences them to do better if they are falling short.

Always keep in mind that technology can sometimes be a barrier as well. Work closely with your security team and stakeholders to ensure no tech limitations are holding back change.

5. Repeat, repeat, repeat

Humans do not have unlimited memory space, and when there is no active attempt to retain information, it is lost over time. In addition, people forget at different rates, so it's important to reinforce key messages frequently.

Giving employees the occasion to repeat courses or training, especially given the ever-changing nature of technology and threats from attackers, helps build solid skills and keep them strong.

6. Education vs. punishment

IT security teams must be on the front lines, helping the rest of the organization understand their part in changing the security culture. However, if other business units are nervous about approaching the security team it may pose a challenge to security assurance.

Make sure your security team is comfortable with being an enabler, leads with empathy, and reflects well on your entire security program. If your team lacks these human-centric skills, you might want to provide coaching to help them learn.

7. Use Learning technology you can trust

Skillsoft leverages technology and learning science to help you build a first-class, engaging cybersecurity career journey that will benefit your whole organization.

Our Cybersecurity Career Journey is filled with expert content to accelerate the on-the-job application of new skills through a fully integrated experience, including live, on-demand, and hands-on learning.

Learn more about the program today.

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Just Hired a Recent Grad? Help Them Stay a Student with These 14 In-Demand Skills https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/just-hired-a-recent-grad-help-them-stay-a-student-with-these-14-in-demand-skills Tue, 05 Jul 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/just-hired-a-recent-grad-help-them-stay-a-student-with-these-14-in-demand-skills

As the school year comes to an end and the class of 2022 makes its transition into the workforce, it’s important to reflect on what we’ve learned being in the workforce over the past few years. During 2021 and the first half of 2022, disruptions to our old “normal” remained rampant and people found themselves trying to learn new skills to bring normalcy.

For recent graduates, the skills they’ve learned throughout college will be crucial to their success, but so will their understanding of some of the most in-demand skills in the workplace – skills that may not have been on their radar a year or two ago. Making the transition from school to the workforce can be challenging with the overwhelming options and opportunities at your disposal, so aiding them in preparation through continuous learning and development is a simple yet effective way to ensure a smooth transition into the workforce and feeling supported by their managers and co-workers.

After studying Percipio data pulled together from the past year, Skillsoft has been able to identify the most in-demand skills that new grads should hone in on as they begin their post-college careers. According to the data, we found the top two journeys people sought out were on virtual work and leadership development. Out of all our content, people really wanted to understand how to work most effectively in the new “normal” virtual world, and they also wanted to know how to be a stronger leader and become more resilient – both of which skills go hand-in-hand. This speaks volumes to our learner’s priorities, as they recognize that those power skills will enable them to develop more hard skills down the line.

And while it’s likely that many college grads were forced to complete at least some of their college degree virtually, many companies have shifted to fully remote or hybrid permanently. This has forced employees to completely re-learn how to work efficiently and effectively with new and different distractions and work expectations. This has also caused leaders and managers to learn how to lead teams without being in the same physical location. While this way of work has slowly become the norm, employees, new grads in particular, will need to learn how to adjust and upskill in these areas to be able to perform at their best. If you help your recent grads you’ve hired acquire these skills soon after they enter the workforce, they’ll be be ahead of the game and you will have a stronger new hire.

According to Skillsoft Percipio data, here are the top skills that new grads might want to focus on as they start their first jobs in 2022:  

Power Skills in Leadership and Business

With continued disruption throughout 2021, personal growth and development were the highlights for top skills in leadership and business. These skills include:

  1. Customer Service
  2. Working Remotely
  3. Project Management
  4. Trust and relationship building
  5. Time management

The increased demand in power skills demonstrates people are recognizing they have more unique needs as they look to embrace the new flow of work and life. These may not always be top of mind when thinking of acquiring new skills, but they are often the most crucial to ensure you have the capacity to learn more hard skills. If you ask questions in the interview for recent grads to demonstrate these skills when applying and interviewing for a job, you’ll be able to weed out people quickly in the process. In addition, providing opportunities for your new hires to prove these skills will be important in helping to strengthen them as they grow.

Security and Frameworks in Technology and Developer

In the world of technology, certifications and training remains a high priority as 92 percent of IT professionals have at least one certification under their belt – many of which are tied to security. However, our research also shows that 43 percent of IT professionals have workloads too large to permit training during work hours. If a recent grad has these skills already when interviewing and entering the workforce, you’ll be able to start them on projects right away that require this knowledge versus having to train someone. The most in-demand skills for technology and developer include:

  1. Cloud Security
  2. API Security
  3. Agile Basics
  4. Scrum

Security skills have risen in demand and importance this year, showing how crucial understanding security is in the current workforce. However, so is learning new and more productive ways to work both as an individual and on a team. These skills in particular are becoming increasingly relevant outside of the tech space as they provide a structure framework for project management and, in a workforce that is no longer seeing each other every day, tools to enhance project clarity are key to success. Consequently, understanding the inner workings of agile and scrum is quickly becoming far more crucial for job seekers.

Safety and Security Measures in Compliance

If you are involved in the compliance world, it should be no surprise that safety and security are at the top of the in-demand skills for people in this industry. This year, we saw a 120 percent increase in compliance content hours consumed by our learners. There was a particular uptick in concern for cybersecurity and workplace safety. To ensure that employees are safe and taken care of, both the individuals and the organizations need training in place and accessible, so they understand their roles and the expectations and options for them if something goes wrong. Some of the most in-demand skills in this area include:

  1. Global anti-bribery
  2. Global cybersecurity basics
  3. Hazard communication
  4. Harassment prevention
  5. Fire and safety prevention

While these cover a wide range, they are skills employees and employers are actively seeking out and they slowly become more commonplace in every work organization.

Graduating and entering the workforce can be daunting and overwhelming, but by discussing what skills are in high-demand with recent grads and being specific about what you are looking for when hiring will make the process for both you as the hiring manager and the recent grad far simpler. There are skills in this list that are applicable for any role or any industry, whether you are in a technology field, marketing, or you’re a teacher. If you spend a few moments explaining the importance of these new skills now, you’ll better set yourself and your new hire up for success. Congratulations to the class of 2022! We hope you continue to #stayastudent, with Skillsoft Percipio helping you to navigate your L&D journeys.

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How to Keep Cybersecurity Pros from Burning Out https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-keep-cybersecurity-pros-from-burning-out Thu, 30 Jun 2022 09:08:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-keep-cybersecurity-pros-from-burning-out

What makes the cybersecurity field exciting is often the challenge of solving complex, high-stake problems. In many ways, it’s not an easy field to work in — and yet, incredibly gratifying.

Many join this field because it offers new problems to solve (constantly) and keeps them engaged in the work at hand. It requires strong math and analytical skills but also the ability to think outside of the box.

Whether it’s penetration testing, forensics or governance, cybersecurity professionals must have a varied skill set that they can lean on as the landscape evolves. Yet, it’s imperative they begin building expertise in specific areas as early as possible.

Therein lies a challenge that many face throughout their careers. In cybersecurity, you must learn a lot about a lot — often. It’s a bit of a conundrum.

As one starts out, getting the fundamentals down is important. However, taking the next step in one’s career often requires specialization. If you don’t specialize in cybersecurity — and it’s true for many other roles in IT as well — you limit your potential.

One of the great challenges these professionals face at any point in their careers has to do with the constant need to learn and adapt. For anyone entering the field or advancing within it, it’s critical to find strategies for learning the most relevant material to do your best work — or face a series of hurdles that could stunt your growth, limit your possibilities, and even worsen the problems you’re trying to solve.

Battling Cyber Threats… and Information Overload

Cybersecurity requires professionals to know how systems work. In IT, what a system looks like can take many different forms — hardware, software, even physical security.

It’s not only advantageous for security professionals to have a broad understanding of IT, it’s the very foundation of their careers. If they wish to specialize, they must start with building expertise in the fundamentals. Especially in security, it becomes difficult to progress without this knowledge.

This is where many struggle. Even in the broadest terms, cybersecurity can be complicated. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information.

Most security certifications have a common body of knowledge that covers several domains — typically somewhere between five to 10 — that professionals must study before passing their exams. Each of these domains often break down into subdomains, growing the amount of information exponentially.

When some learners enter the classroom, not all are prepared for this level of detail. Cybersecurity professionals are at risk of falling victim to their own stress as they try to take in volumes of information to learn the trade and realize their aspirations.

The Psychology of Human Error Report by Tessian found 50% of employees make mistakes because they’re stressed, leading to compromises in security. Thirty-four percent attributed mistakes to feeling burnt out.

"Why? Because when people are stressed or burned out, their cognitive load is overwhelmed and this makes spotting the signs of a phishing attack so much more difficult," said Josh Yavor, CISO at Tessian, in an interview with ZDNet.

In itself, this contributes to the level of risk organizations experience all over. Not only is there a need for hundreds of thousands of security professionals, but they must be well equipped to handle the job, progress their skill and knowledge, and feel supported along the way to avoid burning out.

3 tips to stave off burnout and stay engaged at work:

  1. Identify sources of stress – Security is often a high-stakes job, with many experiencing heavy workloads. Factors like these can add a lot of stress day in and day out.
  2. Know signs of burnout – When individuals experience stress for too long, it can lead to burn out — a sense of despondency that feels like an unshakable haze.
  3. Prioritize your wellbeing – To remain productive, motivated and driven to keep up with the continuous flow of information that security offers, you must strike a balance. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, enough sleep(!), time for friends and family must become priorities.

Consider squeezing in this 17-minute course on Percipio: Take a Deep Breath and Manage Your Stress

Cybersecurity Professionals Need a Well-marked Path to Proficiency

Having expertise in several domains and being as versatile as possible can benefit individuals and the organization they protect. However, there are only so many hours in the day. For many, it’s easy enough to think, “Where do I even begin?”

Security leaders must find sustainable ways to help their teams grow their skills, nurturing their current abilities while giving them the means to develop new ones. Ongoing professional development — as well as flexibility and work-life balance —help retain employees, and it also pays the organization back by giving employees a chance to apply what they’ve learned.

When it comes to security, specifically, a prescriptive path forward will help employees focus on the most relevant information needed at the various intervals of their career. This will help prevent the spiraling stress that can come with the mountain range of information.

Role-based training that includes a variety of ways to learn — videos, on-demand courses, labs or sandboxes — will help keep their interest, diversify instruction and allow learners to demonstrate their newly acquired skills early and often. What’s worth stressing is the most effective training relates information back to the learner. They need the right information at the right time.

To help security leaders and professionals hone their skills, Skillsoft released Cybersecurity Career Journey. It’s a holistic approach to building a career in security. It’s prescriptive, focused on specific roles and specializations. What likely appeals most to security teams is the ability to practice skills and begin applying them quickly.

See how Cybersecurity Career Journey can help your team build in-demand skills in critical domains, like incident response, architecture, attacks and threats, and governance, risk and compliance.

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NCDEX Cultivates a Competitive Learning Culture with Percipio https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/ncdex-cultivates-a-competitive-learning-culture-with-percipio Thu, 30 Jun 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/ncdex-cultivates-a-competitive-learning-culture-with-percipio

Agriculture is critical to India's economy. Often called the backbone of India, the agricultural sector employs over 60% of the population and contributes about 17% to the country's total GDP.

NCDEX is India's leading agricultural commodity exchange, offering services across the post- harvest value chain and uplifting farmers and agricultural centers by providing a platform that connects the primary producer to the commodity exchange.

While NCDEX offers a wide range of products that bring buyers and sellers together through an innovative electronic trading platform, they also engage in research, training, and education to build awareness about the agricultural commodities market through the NCDEX Institute of Commodity Markets and Research.

Technology is a critical component of NCDEXs competitive strategy. Leaders at NCDEX understand that change is the only thing you can expect from the world, a lesson many industries have recently realized due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related issues. To remain competitive, NCDEX knows they need employees with top skills, and by investing in technology to continually train and upskill their people, they stay ahead of the curve.

Importance of Investing in Learning and Development

It's clear to the international business community that no generation will be free from change and world-altering crises. So, staying secure and keeping your business and people perpetually alert and future-proof is the cost of success in the modern era.

Leaders at NCDEX embrace flexibility because just as remote work is not going away anytime soon, providing alternatives to instructor-led sessions is more important than ever. Genuinely engaging your learners means providing flexible learning they can engage in at their own pace.

To empower anywhere, anytime learning and a broader collaborative platform, NCDEX turned to Skillsoft and formalized the journey to flexibility with the development of the NCDEX Academy. The Academy deals with constant change by using life-long learning philosophies like consistent upskilling and reskilling to ensure future readiness. This strategy encompasses all employees, from new hires to experienced professionals.

"We believe learning goals are best set by learners themselves." – Aditi Mukherjee Executive Vice President & Head Human Resources

The learning and development team used learning journeys in Percipio to develop NCDEX Academy. NCDEX subscribed to the Business Advanced collection and content based on suggestions from NCDEX was hand selected by a Skillsoft Customer Success Manager. NCDEX then further filtered the recommendations to suit their specific requirements.

Skillsoft Percipio content helped NCDEX facilitate individual development plans for employees and tools to support personal development and competency.

Testimonial #1

The NCDEX academy is all in one solution providing courses ranging from technical domain to personal skill. I found the personal domain development courses really interesting as well as the self-management skills, social skills, emotional intelligence, and personality skills. Reliable sources are not easily accessible on internet, but the NCDEX academy courses provide a learning opportunity in an organised manner through a user friendly platform with self-paced and easy to understand courses to focus on different dimensions of self along with the technical skills to stay up to date - Purusharth Pratap Singh

The Transformation

NCDEX Group Academy provides a framework that handles all aspects of training. With such a powerful tool, the transition needed to be gradual. To help the project gain momentum and make the learning journey fun, the HR team developed the Learning Premier League (LPL). The LPL was designed to tap into the passion Indian culture has for the game of Cricket.

Each department organized several employees into a learning team, with one learning champion selected to encourage, assist, and lead their group through the learning journey. Each team was encouraged to create a cricket-style squad, and the design department created logos for each team. HR then created buzz around the launch of this event via various strategies such as office posters and reminder emails for one month.

Before the launch of LPL, the user base was around 305; after the league’s launch, usage surged. The program ran for 21 days. At the end of each day, the L&D team sent around a report with points calculated for each group. The report featured a table displaying each team’s accumulated points, and winners and trophies were awarded.

Testimonial #2

It has been a great experience learning on our newly launched NCDEX Group Academy. This learning platform consists of numerous courses which enhance the essence of oneself personally & professionally. Customized modules in NCDEX Group Academy provides a startling platform to every individual who believes in growth – Satyam Panwar

The LPL was just one skill-specific engagement NCDEX used to engage learners. During the LPL, learners were highly engaged and competitive. However, after the activation ended, the L&D team noticed that there was a dip in the number of users logging into the Academy.

Then the team rolled out a new skill-specific engagement, called Excel-Lent, to reclaim their engagement levels to upskill their learners in MS Excel. This time, instead of bite-sized videos, daily course content around MS Excel was shared. Every day one MS Excel learning video is launched and included with it is a proficiency assessment to accomplish after the lesson. Once learners complete the evaluation, they automatically move to the next course. The L&D team has seen good traction and high engagement. While these campaigns are skill specific to engage learners, the individual development plan journeys are also still a large part of the L&D initiative.

NCDEX Group Academy supported active engagement and meaningful connections between segments of the course, ease of communication, and availability of content, which helped increase the learning curve. Through continuous engagement, employees have earned 770 badges by completing 1073 courses in the span of the last six months. Unique titles accessed over the varied categories stand at 880. In addition, NCDEX Group academy boosted learning hours by +200% over last year.

Takeaways

For NCDEX, the most exciting benefit of the Academy was the possibility of touching base with every employee across the organization. In the early stages of the initiative the Learning & Development team received excellent feedback from team members, highlighting the richness of e-learning content available in Percipio. This also boosted interest in rolling out individual development plans and training, as soon as next year, which will let learner’s customize training and take the courses they need to succeed.

NCDEX learned that learning consistency is possible only through sustained efforts. An approach with clear incentives always gets the best results out of any initiative. Also, they learned that attention spans are short, and bite-sized learning works to engage learners effectively.

Testimonial #4

This is really a great opportunity for budding managers to learn. The platform has courses about Professional skills to mental well-being. I wanted to learn Data visualization and with this platform I can learn without hassle. Next, I would like to learn about Product Management, and with Academy, I can- Sai Jitendra

Benefits of NCDEX Academy

The objective of the Academy was to create and drive a robust learning culture within the organization. The success of the Academy is seen in learning hours logged, achievement of individual development plans, and employee feedback. In addition, the L&D team takes immense satisfaction in the positive feedback left by various internal stakeholders

Learners have experienced authentic digital learning from the comfort of their homes. They can watch videos, read books, listen to audiobooks, and consume bite-sized learning on their laptops or their smartphones. By undertaking courses in customer service, the team has a renewed focus and enhanced competencies to deliver on customer expectations.

Though there is still much to achieve in the coming months, NCDEX is confident that Academy will help address evolving business challenges through learning.

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Blowing the Whistle on Misconduct at Work https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/blowing-the-whistle-on-misconduct-at-work Tue, 28 Jun 2022 07:37:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/blowing-the-whistle-on-misconduct-at-work

In December 2019, the European Union’s Whistleblower Protection Directive came into force – guaranteeing protection against retaliation for whistleblowers. The idea behind the directive was for organizations to finally have a single, unified standard to meet. And to better protect employees who report potential misconduct in the workplace.

The goals of the directive were threefold:

  • Prevent breaches of laws and regulations
  • Establish effective, confidential, and secure reporting channels to protect whistleblowers from fear of retaliation
  • Enable whistleblowers to raise concerns anonymously

To comply with the directive, organizations with more than 50 employees, public sector institutions, and municipalities with 10,000 or more inhabitants must set up internal reporting channels – enabling whistleblowers to submit reports in writing or by telephone.

Countries in the EU had until December 2021 to enforce the directive. Yet today, six months later, most member states have yet to pass local legislation detailing their plans to comply. In fact, only Denmark, Sweden, Slovakia, and Portugal have developed comprehensive plans to do so.

Why is Whistleblowing Legislation so challenging to implement?

I recently had the opportunity to chat with friend and compliance expert, Tom Fox. Fox is a lawyer, author, speaker, and founder of The Compliance Podcast Network. Known as the Voice of Compliance, Fox had some valuable insight to share on why it has been so challenging for the EU to implement the directive.

He said, “Each country in EU is supposed to enact its own whistleblower regulations in accordance with the larger EU Whistleblower Protection Directive. However, there has been some confusion in some countries about what their specific obligations are. The ambiguity makes it difficult to comply.”

Here are just a few of the implementation questions that have been raised.

How can countries treat reports that are not included under the directive?

GDPR and other regulations require that global organizations that do business in some countries must keep any proprietary data they receive within that country. That means they cannot share data with the U.S., for example, unless they are a U.S. company.

So, the question then becomes, can a U.S. company investigate a whistleblower report that stems from another country without breaking relevant data privacy laws?

Should countries process anonymous reports?

“If someone makes a report,” Fox told me, “you might have to get their permission to use that information for a whistleblower investigation.” In the EU, countries expect written consent from whistleblowers to ensure that they understand what will happen next with the data they provide. Implied consent is simply not the same.

Fox pointed to an example from 2018 where the CEO from Barclays was fined $1.5 million for trying to unmask a whistleblower. He was widely criticized for setting the wrong tone from the top.

He said, “In many EU countries, making an anonymous report is not yet accepted. It is a cultural limitation brought about by a storied political history. In the U.S., we tend to feel that anonymous reporting is a given right – and for better or worse, this is causing some pause in reporting.”

How many channels, specifically, does each country need to provide for whistleblower reporting?

“Where the directive gets really tricky is in global organizations,” explained Fox. “Should companies create a global whistleblower program for all employees to report information into one channel, or should they create a reporting infrastructure for each of their business units across the globe?”

Because there are different regulations by each country, this is so far an unregulated decision.

Where do Whistleblowers belong in an effective Compliance Program?

We know that a thoughtfully constructed workplace compliance program includes seven elements:

  • Policies and Procedures: Employees must understand what is expected of them, and why, and they must be able to easily reference this information if they have questions or concerns.
  • Designating a Compliance Officer: Putting a specific person in charge of compliance ensures that your organization has sufficient resources to promote and enforce specific standards of conduct.
  • Training and Education: Providing your team with access to the information they need about workplace safety and legal/ethics compliance when they need it is key to establishing a culture of compliance within your organization.
  • Effective Communication: Every organization needs to determine the safest, most transparent way for employees to report suspected non-compliance – this could include the creation of an anonymous hotline, surveys, confidential meetings, and more.
  • Monitoring and Auditing: Use data and information to continually monitor and improve your corporate compliance program.
  • Discipline! Publish your organization’s compliance standards and include detailed disciplinary guidelines to ensure these standards are followed continuously and consistently by all employees.
  • Detection of Offenses: Track and respond to compliance issues and act immediately when someone from the organization acts outside of your organization’s specific objectives.

Workplaces across the globe have different reporting policies and procedures and, the European Union’s Whistleblower Protection Directive aside, there are not many safeguards in place to ensure that employees will be protected from retaliation if they decide to speak up about misconduct at work.

Kenneth Polite, Jr., assistant attorney general for the criminal division at the U.S. Department of Justice, recently gave a keynote at Compliance Week 2022. He talked about whistleblowing as a key indicator of a positive corporate culture. Beyond the initial step of reporting misconduct, Polite said that doing the right thing is all about what happens next.

What does your organization do with the information you receive from a whistleblower? How do you treat the employees who shared the data with you?

This is where Whistleblowing becomes Mainstream

Fox is confident that organizations will be incentivized to do the right thing because of the feedback they are getting from current world events.

“We are on the cusp of a whistleblower explosion,” Fox told me. He laid out three trends that are finally coming together to give whistleblowing its time in the spotlight.

  1. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed to improve accountability and transparency in the financial system.

    Enacted in July 2010, this law expanded protections for whistleblowers and broadened the prohibitions against retaliation. Following the passage of Dodd-Frank, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) implemented rules that enabled it to take legal action against employers who have retaliated against whistleblowers.

    Fox explained, “Dodd-Frank essentially established a bounty program for whistleblowers – if you bring a claim against an organization, the SEC files enforcement action and fines the organization, you are eligible for up to 30% of the monetary award. Over a billion dollars has been paid out by SEC because of this initiative.”
  2. The Senate voted to override the National Defense Act of 2020, incentivizing reporting violations.

    After the Senate voted to override the National Defense Act of 2020, which included the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Law of 2021. This was the first update of AML laws since the passage of the Patriot Act in the wake of 9/11. It included protections for and bounty payments to whistleblowers who report AML violations.

    “This made it clear that whistleblower protections apply to contractors and subcontractors whether or not they have signed a nondisclosure agreement,” explained Fox. “It expanded protections for a class of workers that had not previously been protected – emphasizing the importance of the role of whistleblowers.”
  3. Russia invaded Ukraine and whistleblowers became a force for good.

    One of the most ubiquitous images of the Ukraine War were the superyachts belonging to Russian oligarchs fleeing to avoid impoundment by the US. The United States went so far as to launch a task force called “KleptoCapture” to further this effort. The term, KleptoCapture, is derived from the word “kleptocracy,” which describes corrupt individuals who misuse their powers to accumulate wealth at others’ expense.

    The U.S. Treasury Department then announced a new tool for the recovery of stolen assets. It agreed to pay whistleblowers up to $5 million for information leading to the restraining, seizure, forfeiture, or repatriation of stolen funds that are linked to kleptocracy and held at a financial institution in the United States.

Said Fox: “With this announcement, the U.S. government has established a program that proactively engages whistleblowers to help it reach its goals. This has caused an explosion of publicity; it sends a powerful message. Moreover, it made whistleblowing both sexy and a part of the fight for democracy”

Together, these trends will help normalize the idea of whistleblowing by:

  • Improving organizations’ accountability and transparency with respect to whistleblowing
  • Incentivizing employees and contractors to report potential violations more widely
  • Casting whistleblowers as a force for good

It might seem that there are more questions than answers around effective whistleblowing practices. But what we do know is that whistleblowers have a clear place in any effective compliance program – we simply have to make room for them.

Interested in learning more?

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How to Stay Cool in the Summer Heat – At Work and At Home https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-stay-cool-in-the-summer-heat-at-work-and-at-home Thu, 23 Jun 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-stay-cool-in-the-summer-heat-at-work-and-at-home

All heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. Yet, an average of 658 people die each year as a result of exposure to extreme heat.

The summer before last, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) did an in-depth study on heat exposure. The study revealed that more than one-quarter of the U.S. population suffered from symptoms such as nausea, muscle cramps, fainting, and confusion resulting from exposure to extreme heat.

Who is included in the most vulnerable populations? Women, people in low-income households, and those who identify as Hispanic or Latino. In the workplace, OSHA reports that more than 40% of heat-related worker deaths occur in the construction industry, but workers in every field are susceptible.

Heat Stress in the Workplace

Over the years, Skillsoft has shared tips for working safely in the heat and advice on how to prevent occupational heat exposure. We have suggested that employees wear light-colored clothing, drink more water and less caffeine, and take frequent breaks in the shade. We even created a guide on the dangers of working in extreme temperatures, and how to prevent them.

If you are concerned about your employees’ well-being this summer, you may want to consider assigning some of our compliance training courses on heat stress:

  • Heat Stress Recognition and Prevention
    Each year, more people in the United States die from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornados, floods, and earthquakes combined. This course discusses the effects of heat on your body, outlines the risk factors for heat-related illnesses, and describes the associated treatments for each. It also explains several control measure techniques and safe work practices that you can use to prevent heat-related stresses.
  • Heat Stress Impact: Symptoms
    Heat stress occurs when the body fails to control its internal temperature. If heat stress is not recognized and treated early, it can have serious effects on the body such as prickly heat, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of heat exposure to ensure its treated properly.
  • Heat Stress Impact: Treatment
    When human body temperature fails to regulate and rises to critical levels, it indicates that the person is under heat stress. Learn the symptoms of heat stress and what should be done to treat it – including how to respond if someone is experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Top Tips to Beat the Summer Heat at Home

You do not have to work in the heat every day to be susceptible to heat stress in the summertime. Because the summer is the longest vacation period of the year, it is a time when many off-duty injuries and illnesses occur.

The top five injuries and illnesses associated with summer are:

  • Heat-related illness
  • Swimming injuries / drowning
  • Sunburn
  • Bicycle-related injuries
  • Bug bites

While you should consider the other hazards, today our focus is on heat.

The United States had its hottest summer on record in 2021, narrowly beating an earlier record that was set in 1936 during the Dust Bowl. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the average summer temperature for the lower 48 states was 74 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s 2.6 degrees warmer than average. In addition, more than 18% of the contiguous U.S. experienced record high temperatures. NOAA officials also noted that, “No state ranked below average for the summer season.”

With summer’s higher temperatures, you’ll want to watch your time in the heat whether you’re working on the landscaping or riding your bike on a greenway. You can protect yourself by:

  • Scheduling outdoor activities. It is likely to be cooler in mornings and evenings. Plan outdoor activities and errands for those times.
  • Safeguarding yourself from the sun. When you do go outside, wear sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Soak a handkerchief in cold water and put it around your neck to stay cool. Take breaks in the shade.
  • Finding a place to cool off! Plan to visit malls, community centers, public libraries, or other air-conditioned locations.
  • Minimizing heat exposure. If you are inside your home, take cool showers. Close your windows and blinds. Use air conditioning or fans whenever possible.
  • Hydrating. Drink water. The more active you are and the more time you spend in the heat, the more water you’ll need to replace lost fluids from perspiration.

DID YOU KNOW? A fan will not prevent heat-related illness if the temperature is in the high 90s or above.

Above all else, if you begin experiencing symptoms of heat-related illness – headaches, dizziness, nausea, cramps, etc. – get to a cooler place and if needed, seek medical help immediately.

101 Critical Days of Summer

Each year, the Department of Defense hosts an awareness campaign from Memorial Day to Labor Day called “101 Critical Days of Summer.” Their goal is to help members of the military – and their families and communities – stay safe from these (and other) common injuries and illnesses in the summertime.

This year, Skillsoft has created a series of four compliance briefs (each 10-15 minutes in length), based on the concept of this program, to help any company looking to provide employees, their families, and the community with important information and insight into common summer safety hazards. After all, workers are not the only people impacted by the summer heat – friends, family, and community are at risk as well.

Following is a description of the summer safety compliance briefs:

  • Compliance Brief: Summer Safety - Food and Fun
    This course is designed to help learners identify safety measures to take to avoid becoming injured during common summer outdoor activities, including barbeques, fireworks, playgrounds, sports, walking, jogging, and bicycling.
  • Compliance Brief: Summer Safety on the Water
    This course focuses on boating safety. Topics covered include preparation checklists, safety gear and procedures, developing a float plan, nautical rules of the road, the dangers of alcohol, and how to use personal watercraft safely.
  • Compliance Brief: Summer Safety in the Water
    This course describes risks and safety measures associated with swimming in pools and open water. The content addresses how to secure your pool, pool chemical safety, safe swimming practices, how to manage getting caught in a rip current, and the proper use of sunscreen/sunblock.
  • Compliance Brief: Summer Vehicle Safety
    This course describes risks and hazards associated with summer driving, riding motorcycles, and using recreational off-road vehicles.

Any Skillsoft customer that has access to our library of content will have access to these briefs automatically – and we invite them to share what they have learned as widely as possible.

Stay cool and stay safe out there. And let us know if you would like access to our new series of summer compliance briefs.

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Drive Critical Skills Transformations with Skillsoft Career Journeys https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/drive-critical-skills-transformation-with-skillsoft-career-journeys Wed, 22 Jun 2022 08:00:00 -0400 info@imarc.com () https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/drive-critical-skills-transformation-with-skillsoft-career-journeys

Skills are the new currency in the modern workforce. They have the power to drive growth- both for the organization and the individual. But there’s a difference between simply learning a skill and mastering it. As learners pursue new skillsets, they seek to build something larger than just one individual skill, they seek to build marketable competency. And building competency at scale is what all organizations aim to do in the spirit of creating value.

But technology and a prolonged global pandemic are driving near-constant change in the world, which changes the skillsets (and competencies) that businesses need to stay competitive. As these skills become increasingly scarce, organizations will start to see the negative effects to their business. This is shown to be true by McKinsey, who found that 100M workers globally may need to switch occupations by 2030, a 12% increase from before the pandemic.

Even though organizations are under this constant pressure to meet their ever-changing strategic goals, which are contingent upon highly-skilled talent, hiring is only part of the solution. Ultimately, enterprises will need to invest in both upskilling and reskilling to meet the challenge.

At the end of the day, the main obstacle with developing competencies is that learners are often not provided the targeted, skill-based training to build out the specialized and in-demand capabilities. The skillset needed today to remain competitive is vastly different from the skills needed even a year or two ago. And in order to build competency across the organization, businesses must find a way to build and develop these skills, in a more flexible approach that applys to a spectrum of learners.

This begs the question — how can organizations stay ahead in developing skills and competencies if they are starting from behind? How can organizations develop both their employee skillsets and scale their business at the same time, given the real constraints on resources? A good start is to deliver what employees seek; highly relevant, outcome-oriented learning experiences that fuel durable skills mastery and foster innovation. As the skills gap widens, and organizations increasingly find the need to reskill both their technical workforces and their business leaders, there is an immense need for a more flexible and immersive learning experience with a blend of instructional methods that can be scaled across the organization.

To meet this challenge, Skillsoft has released Skillsoft Career Journeys, the newest learning offering within the Percipio platform. Building on Skillsoft’s framework of Aspire Journeys, which are aligned to specific skill and role proficiencies, Career Journeys take the enterprise to the next level by delivering personalized and connected learning experiences for the most sought-after career and technology areas.

Skillsoft Career Journeys are a series of career-centric learning programs that enable employees to develop and master mission-critical competencies at scale, and year over year. This multi-modal program brings an all-inclusive learning experience to the enterprise by blending live, on-demand and hands-on learning strategies, empowering employees with the training that they need, all while driving meaningful business transformation within their company. These learning experiences are elegantly curated around specific job-roles and skill profiles within a given domain, that offers an intuitive experience for the learner, and simplicity of deployment for the enterprise.

Career Journeys are curated around specific types of technology, business, and interpersonal skills. The first two that we have built, First Time Manager Career Journey and Cybersecurity Career Journey, will help learners develop crticial competencies, at scale, across the enterprise:

First-Time Manager Career Journey

Skillsoft’s First-Time Manager Career Journey prepares new managers to succeed in their roles by providing a defined path to mastery of the foundational business skills and leadership competencies needed to effectively manage teams and achieve business objectives. Covering 20 core skills and competencies, this career journey offers learners a mix of modalities - on-demand content, group coaching sessions, and virtual instructor-led training - as well as a series of hands-on projects that lets them apply new concepts directly to their jobs. Delivered as a scalable, interactive, real-world applicable program, the First-Time Manager Career Journey enables organizations to develop the skills they need across their workforce and gives new managers the flexibility to learn how and when they want to.

Cybersecurity Career Journey

The Cybersecurity Career Journey is an enterprise solution that offers instructional variety to advance cybersecurity competencies. It combines learning science, with expert content to increase information retention and on the job application of new skills. Best of all, your team doesn’t have to piece together and vet solutions from multiple sources. Cybersecurity Career Journey is a prescriptive path to certification and skill development built on a foundation you can trust. The 12-month program combines all the training your security professionals will need to advance cybersecurity competencies – on-demand videos, instructor-led training, books, test preparation, hands-on practice labs, and mentoring for one, affordable price.

So, why Skillsoft Career Journeys? Here are the features that make us stand out:

  • All on one, trusted platform – Career journeys all contain multiple different types of learning modules that are all managed and run within one platform, allowing organizations to build scalable and sustainable programs across their business.
  • Content depth – Tight integration of live, on-demand, and hands-on learning, delivering immediately applicable and durable outcomes related to skills, job roles, or certifications for any number of employees.
  • Intutitive Curation – The sequencing of learning paths within the Career Journeys offer a simple and elegant way for learners to experience the curriclum and ease of deployment for the enterprise
  • Social learning with experts and peers – These learning programs will help to build camaraderie, networking, and mentorship opportunities amongst peers. And as learners converse and collaborate with one another on their experiences, they will start to utilize a group thinking and learning mindset.
  • Recognized experts – Skillsoft has worked closely with subject matter experts and recognized industry leaders to build this content and certification prep materials.
  • Reduced administrative burden – Expert curation and automatic updates help employees to have the most relevant and current learning experience, empowering admins to focus on designing high-impact learning programs.

And this type of learning has truly extended beyond Skillsoft Career Journeys. Over the last few years, Skillsoft has added many new forms of learning for all different types of learning all available on Percipio, including instructor-led training, digital coaching, and hands-on practice labs. Career Journeys brings all of these different forms of learning together in one curriculum, resulting in highly engaging and outcome-oriented learning examples that drive enterprise growth and professional innovation.

Career Journeys will truly allow your learners to move from “doing” to “mastering” technical, manager, business, and interpersonal skills through a multi-modal learning program, delivering value to both your learners and your learning leaders.

It’s time to transform today’s modern workforce with the skills of tomorrow.

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Meeting the Needs of the Global Economy: Workforce Reskilling at Scale https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/meeting-the-needs-of-the-global-economy-workforce-reskilling-at-scale Fri, 17 Jun 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/meeting-the-needs-of-the-global-economy-workforce-reskilling-at-scale

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? Despite the current environment of uncertainty, 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 constraint 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.

This skills deficit is pervasive and is not limited to 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, data and analytics skills, software coding 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. The ability to develop new skills is often cited a key motivator for many workers. We have observed in our own work that organizations that meaningfully invest in upskilling and reskilling of their employees materially improve employee retention. This ultimately leads to sustained productivity and value for the business.

Given the Stakes, Businesses must own this Reskilling Imperative

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.

A Robust Skilling 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.

Upskilling and reskilling employees does more than boost a company's bottom line — it creates a happier workforce. It improves retention, attracts new talent, helps employees see a path to career advancement, and gets them excited about new possibilities. 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 and prospects.

While upskilling and reskilling 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.

Leveraging Technology to Bridge the Skills Gap

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.

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.

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Turning Learners into Fans Part 2: Your Real-time marketing plan to reach learners https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/turning-learners-into-fans-part-2-your-real-time-marketing-plan-to-reach-learners Thu, 16 Jun 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/turning-learners-into-fans-part-2-your-real-time-marketing-plan-to-reach-learners

A two-part series by David Meerman Scott, marketing strategist and author of 12 books including the Wall Street Journal bestseller Fanocracy

In the first part of this two-part series, we looked at how to segment your learners into distinct groups, what I call learning personas. Then we considered ways to educate and inform your groups of learners by publishing information and being active on social media. Now let’s move on to the power of real-time communications as well as building a plan to reach learners.

Imagine it’s a typical morning at your organization. You’re busy with the tasks at hand, perhaps getting ready for a meeting with your team and preparing a presentation for an event next week.

You glance at your newsfeeds and notice a massive cybersecurity breach overnight at companies just like yours all over the world. Of course, your IT department is scrambling to determine if your systems have been compromised.

But what about you? How are you reacting?

It’s likely that into that breaking news scenario employees at all levels are wondering what corporate security means to them.

Or consider the end of the year, typically performance review season at many organizations. New managers need to understand how to provide effective feedback to their direct reports in both written and verbal format.

These are ideal opportunities to share learning content!

Instead of telling people what they should learn when you’re ready, a modern real-time marketing mindset turns the typical communications approach upside down, sharing learning content with employees when they are most interested and likely to act.

Smart real-time marketers engage and communicate when the moment is right. So can you.

Into the breaking news about the cybersecurity breach comes an ideal opportunity for you to alert employees to a short course about digital security, perhaps Being a Responsible Corporate Digital Citizen on Percipio. And at the start of performance review season, you might suggest the Percipio course Planning for Skills Needs and Managing Performance.

The real-time business world

Early in my career, I worked on a Wall Street bond-trading desk. As they pore through data and news, traders are poised, ready to commit huge sums of money when the moment is right. They peer intently at the Reuters and Bloomberg screens displaying bond prices the moment they change. Data from futures markets and stock exchanges update the instant a trade is made.

Speed on the trading floor is crucial. Technology has transformed financial trading into a game where instant information informs split-second decisions worth millions of dollars.

Today, the same thing is true for all kinds of businesses, including yours, because real-time news is available to everyone, not just bond traders. Employees of your organization know instantly when news affects their work.

I see a huge opportunity for you and your team to think more like bond traders, delivering appropriate learning content to people when the moment is right.

That might mean that you take a calendar approach to promoting learning content. For example, during the public company annual reporting season early in the new year, you could suggest an appropriate course offering such as Key Accounting Concepts and Principles from Percipio.

Scanning the news and maintaining an awareness of what people are talking about within your organization is another great way to offer learning content when it is needed most. Selecting a learning program to offer people when they are thinking about that topic is a key to driving tremendous engagement. When you are on top of the trends that are most important at that moment, you build fans of lifelong learning.

For example, during the Tokyo Olympics held in July and August 2021, top ranked American gymnast Simone Biles pulled out of several events, including the women’s team finals and the individual all-around competitions. Her inability to compete wasn’t due to a physical injury, rather she said it was related to a mental health challenge she was facing.

A few weeks later, Japanese professional tennis player Naomi Osaka went public with mental health issues of her own, affecting her ability to compete at the top level. As Biles’ and Osaka’s mental health became major stories reported by the world’s news media, millions of ordinary people considered their own mental health challenges.

These kinds of real-time breaking news stories are ideal opportunities to suggest targeted learning programs to employees. Just like a bond trader, when the moment is right you should communicate with employees in your organization.

The news of Biles’ and Osaka’s mental health challenges presented an ideal opportunity for learning professionals to communicate to employees the ways that their organization can help those facing similar issues, perhaps by sharing a link to the Mental Well-Being channel on Percipio.

A focus on real-time communications adds to how you are likely communicate to learners today. While it’s important to focus on the needs and skills that are required for people to do their jobs and the concepts deemed important by executives or the training department, a focus on the real-time news of the day delivers programs that are timely.

Considering what’s happening in the wider world based on what's important in peoples’ jobs, what's trending, and what's going on in the world at large is a great way to formulate part of your publishing program to promote learning content.

This real-time focus also delivers something else of value. Your learners recognize that you and your colleagues understand what’s important to their work and their personal lives. When you anticipate people’s needs, they become fans!

Building a marketing plan to reach learners

As I've connected with people from around the world about their marketing strategies, I've heard from many that they've struggled with getting started. Most of the implementation challenges that people describe involve the shift from focusing on products and services to the more effective approach of focusing on buyer personas and creating a publishing program that helps solve buyers' problems. A secondary challenge people share is the shift in emphasis from offline marketing techniques and programs (such as direct mail, trade shows, and advertising) to reaching buyers on the web.

Perhaps you are facing similar challenges connecting effectively with the employees in your organization.

For marketers, I devised an aid to tackling these challenges: a one-page marketing strategy planning template. It helps marketers begin focusing on buyer personas and creating a publishing program that reaches them effectively. As I received feedback on prior editions, I’ve continually revised it. In fact, the template is now in its 10th edition and has helped nearly a million people around the world in the past decade.

Working with the Skillsoft team, I’ve revised the template to make it work for learning officers who want to implement the ideas in this report.

You can start with this template whenever you have something of value that you want to communicate to employees of your organization. The Internal Marketing Strategy Planning Template could be your starting point for:

  • New course launches
  • Celebrating learning champions
  • Specific skill campaigns

The template will help you to implement strategies for reaching learning personas directly. I believe it's essential to shift out of the typical comfort zone of just talking about the product and service offerings for employees and instead focus on the needs of your learners.

For example, if you were to say to me, “I want to start a blog,” I would point you to the template and have you start asking the following questions:

  • Who (which learning personas) are you trying to reach with the blog?
  • Is a blog the best tool? Or might another form of information like a video channel be better?
  • What problems can you help solve for your leaners?
  • What value do you bring as creator of this information?
  • How will people find the blog?
  • What do you want people to do after they have read some blog posts?

The strategy planning template is built on the same principle I use throughout this guide: Understanding learners and publishing information especially for them drives action. We also want to remember that the information people find will drive them to action and help you achieve your goals.

Moreover, you can monitor your own effectiveness: You can measure how many people follow you and your team on social media, sign up for your email newsletter, or subscribe to learning content.

You can also measure how your internal marketing strategies are helping your organization reach its most important goals, such as new sales and revenue growth.

“I'm a measurement guy,” says Ben Sieke, Director, Talent Development and Learning at Delta Dental of California. “I believe, you can't manage what you don't measure. And that what gets measured tends to improve. We work in close partnership with both our client in this case, which is our customer operations group, as well as our customer experience COE, to measure the outcomes of training from a business impact standpoint. We look at customer satisfaction in post call scores. We look at NPS from post call surveys as well. We do cohort analysis to make sure that we're seeing the business results that we want. I's been fantastic to watch those numbers go up as people go through training or coached or building those skills.”

SOURCE: Panel: Winning the Hearts and Minds of Your Learners and Your Customers Perspectives 2021

To make the new ways of marketing part of your personal world, you may have to change your mind-set. You'll need to understand your buyers, rather than just talk about the products and services you provide to employees. You'll need to be aware of what's going on in the real-time news and on social networks. You'll need to develop a web-based publishing program, and sometimes you'll need to do it urgently to be successful.

These habits and techniques do not come naturally to learning professionals steeped in more traditional ways. However, this approach works. Millions of marketers have adopted these techniques to great effect. They’ve built fans of their organization, grown business, and been promoted within their company.

I've talked with people all over the world who are struggling to adapt to these new rules. The process often starts with your coming to understand just how severely conventional methods can handicap your business and your career. But if you've read this 2-part blog series, you know that already.

Now it’s your turn to turn your learners into fans of you and your work!

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10 Top Cybersecurity Courses for IT Professionals https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/10-top-cybersecurity-courses-for-it-professionals Thu, 16 Jun 2022 08:41:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/10-top-cybersecurity-courses-for-it-professionals

Consumption of cybersecurity training continues to rise alongside the increasing value of data — and the threats coming after it.

Security training rose by 59% from 2020 to 2021, according to training data in Percipio, Skillsoft’s training platform. Last year, the same data revealed the top five Skillsoft learning badges all relate to cybersecurity, with the greatest growth in cloud security.

(See the 2021 Lean into Learning Report for the full list of top badges.)

It’s a trend that’s continued for several years, with more IT leadership prioritizing cybersecurity skills and knowledge. The IT Skills and Salary Report in 2021 found the highest percentage of IT decision-makers ranked cybersecurity as their number one priority in the year ahead.

As they build their teams and work to close the widening skills gap, IT leaders and cybersecurity professionals will upskill to harden their defenses, minimize their attack surface, and bring their risk to more manageable (dare we say comfortable) levels.

But what courses are they relying on to grow their skills?

The 10 courses covered in this blog stand out for many reasons. These courses help educate cybersecurity professionals at various points in their careers from early on to when they become a specialist or leader. These courses prepare security professionals for certifications that serve as job requirements or help specialize their skills.

Learning data shows demand for these courses tends to outpace others, due to the breadth of topics covered and the nature of today’s cybersecurity landscape.

It’s worth noting that depending on the area of focus — penetration testing, forensics, etc. — the curriculum will look different. However, these courses can help cybersecurity professionals kick off their careers, advance their skills, and better serve their organizations.

1. Application Security Awareness & Validation

Millions of learners receive Skillsoft badges by completing courses and earning certifications, but when it comes to security training, courses that relate to cloud security saw the greatest hike in consumption in 2021. More than 12.7 million badges were awarded to learners that year.

The badge for completing Application Security Awareness & Validation was the most-earned in 2021, topping the list. (See the top badges of 2021 in the Lean Into Learning report, page 17.)

Meant for advanced security professionals, this course explores what it takes to secure cloud-hosted applications and the training needed to convey its importance. If you plan to take this course, it helps to understand the OWASP list of the 10 most critical security vulnerabilities.

This course covers several topics related to application security, including security testing methodologies, common security issues with cloud-hosted apps, the development lifecycle and more.

2. Secure Application Architecture & IAM

The uptick in cloud security in 2021 popularized courses like this one. Findings from Skillsoft’s training data show the badge earned for completing this course ranked number two on the list of top badges.

In this course, cloud architects go through the layers of a secure application architecture, including security devices, cryptography, and sandboxing. They will learn about identity and access management (IAM) to help ensure authenticated access to services and hosted applications.

Like others on this list, this course is a part of certification training for the CCSP, or Certified Cloud Security Professional. This course is one of 14 courses learners can complete to prepare for exam day.

3. API Security

APIs are integral bridges between software or systems to exchange data. It’s important for those who develop these APIs to maintain the integrity of the data being exchanged, and this course tells why and how.

This intermediate-level course starts with an overview of API security but transitions into how to set up and manage security. It offers instruction on using tools from AWS to manage your APIs and reinforce security, like Cognito and API Gateway.

In 2021, this course ranked third on Skillsoft’s list of top badges, further emphasizing the growing importance of cybersecurity and deeper training in cloud computing.

4. OWASP - Top 10 List Items

In this course, developers learn OWASP’s top 10 critical security vulnerabilities. They learn about each of the 10 vulnerabilities or risks, why they’re important, and what developers can do to tighten security in software.

This is an intermediate-level course, so those who are earlier in their web or software development careers would benefit from starting with the OWASP Overview course.

In 2021, training data shows the OWASP Top 10 List Items badge as the fourth most popular out of the 12.7 million issued.

5. Cloud Security Fundamentals: Cloud Application Security

The more organizations rely on the cloud, the greater the need for application security. Skillsoft training data shows courses like this one increasing in popularity. From 2020 to 2021, cloud training grew 28%. Security training made even greater strides, and with particular emphasis on cloud security.

This course takes learners through how to secure apps in the cloud. It covers everything from applying the secure software development lifecycle (SDLC) and advanced managed services to application security testing.

This course is beginner-friendly. It gives learners a broader training on the principles covered, earning it the number five spot on the list of top badges in 2021.

6. Security Engineering on AWS

Cloud engineers and architects benefit greatly from knowing how to work with top cloud providers like AWS. This course helps learners take their knowledge to the next level.

It focuses on the AWS-recommended best practices proven to enhance the security of your data and systems in the cloud. You will also learn how to leverage AWS services and tools for automation and continuous monitoring.

It’s recommended that learners have experience securing apps in the cloud prior to taking this class. It also helps to have taken the AWS Security Essentials course.

7. Security+ Certification Prep Course

CompTIA’s Security+ certification provides aspiring cybersecurity professionals with broad knowledge to jumpstart their careers. Security+ ranks as an intermediate certification, meaning it’s aimed at those with prior experience in IT and security.

For many reasons, it’s a worthy certification to pursue and often lands cybersecurity professionals a higher salary. (In 2021, it made Global Knowledge’s 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications List.) The Security+ certification complies with the Department of Defense’s 8570 requirements, making this an ideal choice for those who plan to work for the federal government or a government contractor.

This course prepares learners to pass the Security+ exam. It focuses on the five domains that contain the essential knowledge for anyone looking to enter the field: attacks, threats and vulnerabilities; architecture and design; implementation; operations and incident response; and governance, risk and compliance.

8. (ISC)2 CISSP Certification Prep Course

A revered credential, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) often stands as a requirement for senior-level security positions given its rigor and its breadth. Those who pursue this certification must have a minimum of five years of professional experience in IT infrastructure and cybersecurity.

This course takes learners through the eight domains of the CISSP common book of knowledge that they encounter on the exam:

  1. Security and Risk Management
  2. Asset Security
  3. Security Engineering
  4. Communications and Network Security
  5. Identity and Access Management
  6. Security Assessment and Testing
  7. Security Operations
  8. Software Development Security

Helpful Advice from the Pros: Certification prep courses can give you a leg up come exam day, but reinforcing that education will help considerably. Take practice exams, use flash cards, and find ways to cement the knowledge.

9. Certified Ethical Hacker (v11)

Learn to think like a hacker and exploit systems’ vulnerabilities ethically and legally. This course takes learners through the ethical hacking methodologies, teaching them how to apply these principles and fortify a system’s security. It’s also a preparatory course for the certification exam and requires at least two years of experience in IT security.

In cybersecurity, experience goes a long way toward preventing and minimizing breaches. Learners value courses like these for the simulations, labs and seemingly real security scenarios. It provides hands-on experience with several hacking tools and provides experiences for learners to train in a meaningful way.

It's best suited for those specializing in penetration testing, but also applies directly to the responsibilities of auditors and site or network administrators.

10. Cybersecurity Foundations

Everyone must have a working knowledge of the cybersecurity field, and this course provides the fundamental education that all should have today.

Broad in nature, it defines cybersecurity, its role within IT and one’s organization, and why it matters to anyone working or interacting with data of any kind (a.k.a., everyone).

General awareness training can help employees understand their role in securing data and how their actions impact risk. It relates the highly technical, often complex field of cybersecurity back to their daily work and lives.

Every CISO Needs a Training Strategy to Create Lasting Change

From non-profits to the enterprise companies, every organization must safeguard its data. They must enact plans to mitigate threats and minimize breaches.

However, those in security leadership know these challenges well. It’s not just warding off bad actors. It’s also appealing to the rest of the organization. Securing data means cybersecurity professionals must also rely on others to hold the line.

This strategy starts with an effective, inclusion training plan that leads to meaningful impact. Forrester released a four-step strategy that CISOs can follow to lead a security training program that creates the lasting impact they would hope for and expect.

Rather than create panic, this strategy focuses empowerment to develop a cyber-aware workforce. Gain access to Forrester’s report, “How to Mitigate the Human Risk in Cybersecurity,” to learn more.

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5 Voices on What it Means to be an Inclusive Leader https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/5-voices-on-what-it-means-to-be-an-inclusive-leader Mon, 13 Jun 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/5-voices-on-what-it-means-to-be-an-inclusive-leader

As organizations cast an eye to the future, reinventing what was once known as “the workplace,” one message rings clear: building a culture of inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a must do.

And the data doesn't lie, organizations with inclusive cultures are:

  • 3x as likely to be high performing
  • 6x more likely to be innovative and agile
  • 8x more likely to achieve better business outcomes

In a time when building inclusive cultures is critical for both employee retention and achieving business goals, creating a culture where every employee feels welcome and included is a leadership imperative.

Leaders hold the keys to activating and empowering diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) among their teams and broader organizations – research has found that teams with inclusive leaders are 17% more likely to report that they are high performing, 20% more likely to say that they make high-quality decisions, and 29% more likely to report behaving collaboratively. Further, the behaviors of leaders can drive up to 70 percentage points of difference between the proportion of employees who feel highly included, and those who do not.

So, this raises the question, how do we develop inclusive leaders?

Inclusive leadership is an art and a science. It’s an always-on commitment versus something that’s dialed up or down based on the day and time. And leading with a mindset of inclusion is rarely something that comes naturally — it’s a skill that many need to learn and build a capacity for, cultivate and continuously evolve.

In the month of June, we’re reminded of the importance of nurturing this mindset of inclusion as we celebrate Pride Month and Juneteenth. At Skillsoft, we’re committed to strong positive actions to advance, nurture, and sustain a culture that appreciates and champions, diversity, equity, and inclusion. And on the journey to build leaders at every level who lead from a place of inclusion, we recognize that it begins with learning, which in turn, all starts with listening.

And so in honor of Pride Month and Juneteenth, I asked our own employees and members of Skillsoft’s Inclusion Council and Employee Advocacy Groups (EAGs) to share their perspective on five skills that every inclusive leader should develop:

  1. Authenticity
    Authenticity is a central skill for leading with a mindset of inclusion. To create an environment of trust, leaders must be transparent about themselves, their decision-making processes, what they expect of their team, and how their thinking may evolve over time -- putting the “we” before the “me." An authentic leader encourages others to be comfortable in bringing their whole selves to their role, which in turn creates a psychologically safe environment for all. Further, authenticity calls on leaders to become comfortable with having the humility to acknowledge that which they don’t know. But in order to be truly authentic, leaders must first have a solid grounding in who they are and how they interact with others; meaning, leaders must also have high Emotional Intelligence.”

    -Skillsoft’s Inclusion Council
  2. Recognize Your Own Bias
    “To truly become an inclusive leader, we must all develop the ability to identify and examine our own individual implicit bias and construct a plan for how to overcome it. By putting in the work to educate ourselves through training, conversations, books and more, we can become stronger allies to those who may be the receivers of bias or microaggressions in the workplace.”

    -UNITY: The Skillsoft Network For Underrepresented Racial Groups
  3. Curiosity
    “Inclusive leaders accept their limitations and have a deep desire to learn from and understand their employees and co-workers. They know the value of different world views and enjoy contemplating diverse perspectives. Curious leaders inspire others to embrace a growth mindset, while demonstrating that they are open to new ideas. Staying curious takes time and effort, but the result is loyalty from people who feel valued, along with a richer set of information that results in better decision making.”

    -SUPERBIA: The LGBTQ+ Community and Allies At Skillsoft
  4. Respect and Equity
    “Inclusive leaders must strive to build the capacity for respect and equity in dealing with others. Organizations are made up of diverse sets of individuals, each of whom have their own situational variables, emotions, motivations, worldviews and more. Inclusive leaders must focus on creating a workplace where every employee is respected and given equal opportunity, fostering an environment in which all individuals are empowered to express their thoughts and feelings openly.”

    -WE ARE ABLE: The Disabilities & Neurodiversity Community & Allies Network at Skillsoft
  5. Empathy
    The key skill that inclusive leaders should develop is empathy. Empathy allows leaders to listen effectively, understand, and create a sense of belonging for their team members. Empathy helps to mitigate misunderstandings and formulate solutions that are beneficial to all. Empathy drives inclusive actions, such as amplifying marginalized voices.”

    -WINS: The Women's Initiative for Networking & Success at Skillsoft

Organizations are made up of diverse individuals who are on their own unique journey as it relates to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and inclusive leaders understand that there is no one “right” answer or set of practices that will achieve their goal of DEI. Leading with a mindset of flexibility and having a tolerance for ambiguity is critical, as nobody knows what the future holds. Mastering the art of adaptability and embracing differing voices that challenge the status quo is essential.

Ultimately, the most crucial investment any organization can make is in their leaders. Managers and supervisors have significant influence on employee retention and are best positioned to build a foundation of inclusivity across their organization. If they don’t have access to the resources that they need to build their leadership skillset, the entire organization will suffer. Building a foundation of leadership means creating a learning strategy that helps leaders identify blind spots and provides opportunities to practice and hone skills in real-world situations will lead to immense organizational and cultural value. It all comes down to reinforcing learning so that genuine, behavioral change takes place.

And if you’re looking for a place to start the learning journey to inclusive leadership, we invite you to explore a variety of new resources we’ve put together this month:

Leadercamp: Inclusive Leadership: Practical Things You Can (Actually!) Do As A Leader

Join us on Thursday, June 23 at 12:00 pm ET / 9:00 am PT for a special Skillsoft Leadercamp, “Inclusive Leadership: Practical Things You Can (Actually!) Do As A Leader,” as we invite DEI Leader and Executive Coach, Flavia Moreira, to discuss the role that everyone, particularly leaders, can play in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

The Edge Podcast: Impactful Learning Starts with Purpose and Passion

On this episode of Skillsoft’s podcast, The Edge, host Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek welcomes Antonia Forster, a Senior XR Technical Specialist at Unity. Together, they chat about her learning journey and how she uses technology in unique and meaningful ways to assist in her greatest passion: her advocacy work for women in tech and the LGBTQ+ community.

Off-The-Shelf Book Club: LGBTQ+ Pride

Explore our virtual book club featuring a bookshelf of resources that honor and recognize LGBTQ+ language, culture, history, and heroes.

Off-The-Shelf Book Club: Juneteenth

Explore our virtual book club featuring a bookshelf of resources which commemorate the end of African-American bondage within the United States.

And for even more learning, we invite you to visit our DEI resource page.

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What Role do Simulations Play in Future-proofing the Workforce https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-role-do-simulations-play-in-future-proofing-the-workforce Wed, 08 Jun 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-role-do-simulations-play-in-future-proofing-the-workforce

Advances in computer hardware and software have made it possible to create innovative education experiences that enhance the learning journey. For example, using simulation-based tools and software can help enrich learners with greater proficiency and give them a place to tackle real-life challenges without fearing drastic repercussions. In fact, one significant challenge in business training and development is that there's no way for a learner to demonstrate the new skills they've learned immediately.

The next generation of learning calls for something more engaging, specialized, and interactive. We have the technology now to create specific training for whatever experiences our learners might need. They can learn how to work within the particular software environment of AWS, Azure, or another platform. Training simulations engage the learner with practical situations that provide real-world experience.

That kind of earned experience makes simulations perfect for organizations concerned about mitigating risk. Organizations are always looking for some level of validation from their hires. They want to feel secure that their employees understand necessary concepts and can apply them on the job. Unfortunately, there's a lot of risk in tech spaces, and training can fall short of expectations if the content doesn't engage the learner.

You can work 24 hours a day and seven days a week to be secure, but if even one team member isn't adequately trained, you are open to risk. Moreover, there's no way to validate that your employees can accomplish their daily activities efficiently and safely within traditional development modalities.

For example, if your organization is undergoing a cloud migration, you want to keep your consumption down. If members of your migration team are inexperienced, simulations are a great way to upskill team members to ensure the task is completed without incurring a higher cost.

On the flip side, when people engage in professional development, they want to do more than acquire knowledge. They want to prove they can apply their skills. In the not-so-distant past, nearly all learning used books and paper documentation which are often not the best ways to effectively transfer skills. The simulation modality keeps people engaged and interested as it allows them to apply the skills they're learning directly. They show themselves that they can accomplish the activity.

This modality is especially effective with the newer generations of adults in the workforce who have grown up with a gaming mentality. They're earning badges and sharing achievements for learning new skills. Learners today want something more than just the satisfaction of completing the course. Leaders love this approach because it demonstrates that their team members can accomplish their ongoing tasks under real-world conditions.

In terms of engagement, it's hard to top simulations. The learner is not just consuming video after video, which can get tedious and cause the viewer to miss out on crucial insights. An effective learning tool must be easy to use; if people get frustrated and click through too many interfaces or steps, they may just quit.

Another benefit that arises from using simulations is an increase in team efficiency. So many organizations lost employees during the Great Resignation of 2021. As those organizations endeavor to bring in new people, they are often tasking incumbent employees to train new hires. While this modality ensures that the new hire learns the information they need, it's taking that incumbent employee away from their day-to-day tasks. Simulations give new employees the applied knowledge they need and give trainers time back to focus on their assigned tasks. Simulations also immerse the learner and keep them focused on the learning process.

For example, at Skillsoft, we use three levels of simulations. The first level is guided; this is where you're learning by doing. You're given detailed steps to follow, and the task is to complete those steps accurately. It's very informal and ensures the learner has the essential information they need to build on. So, for example, the learner is tasked with compiling a simple code, and if it compiles, they've completed the task.

The next level is an advanced challenge. Again, you're given the steps and provided with hints to keep you moving forward. In this challenge, the learner is given a set of tasks to accomplish, and if they are completed successfully, the learner passes.

And finally, we have the challenge labs, where you're given zero guidance and must rely on your learned skills to complete the challenge. The simulation is a fully scored scenario at this level, where the learner must make sure the system is running correctly. The simulation validates their path and measures their efficiency.

Upon completion, the user is given their score with feedback on which tasks the learner completed within best practices and which they did not. A learner has five chances to retake the simulation. This ensures that the scoring mechanism is a supportive tool for our learners. No one wants to feel like they failed, and no one should feel like a failure for not applying new knowledge precisely the correct way the first time they try it. Instead, we want learners to feel accomplished, like they learned something, even if they didn't complete the task along with the standard operating procedure.

The simulations modality has been a big success as well. In 2021 our learners spent 300,000 hours on practice activities, and we are well on track to grow that to 500,000 by the end of 2022.

While simulations do seem like a perfect process, we have run into a challenge in the data science space. Namely that a working data scientist is never starting with a blank slate; they are generally working with twenty years of back data, cleaning up a mess, as it were, as opposed to starting completely from scratch. This example illustrates why a simulation environment must provide a specific and realistic training ground to be effective.

Overall, simulations provide a novel and effective way for learners to acquire new knowledge and skills, that mitigates risk for organizations and increases personal validation among employees. Check out our Skillsoft Learning Platforms to see if our curated content is for you.

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9 Workplace Safety Courses Your Employees Need Today https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/9-workplace-safety-courses-your-employees-need-today Mon, 06 Jun 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/9-workplace-safety-courses-your-employees-need-today

An effective compliance training program includes a comprehensive mix of legal, workplace safety, and cybersecurity courses that take into consideration where an employee lives and works, and what role the person fills within your organization.

Because there is no universally mandated compliance training curriculum, employers must decide for themselves which courses they will require their employees to complete. Approaching this decision by asking, “What training should we provide to create a fair, safe and respectful environment for all employees?” will help frame the answer.

Additionally, looking at the types of courses other employers are using in their organizations can help to put your own compliance training program into perspective. Of Skillsoft’s top 100 most popular compliance course titles over the past year, 48% are legal training courses and 16% are cybersecurity courses. Thirty-six percent of our most-utilized courses can be categorized as environmental, health, and safety (EHS) courses. Those are the courses we’ll discuss today.

EHS Compliance Training In National Safety Month

Every June, the National Safety Council (NSC) celebrates National Safety Month in the United States – an annual reminder that we need to work together to keep employees safe in the workplace. During each week throughout the month, the NSC focuses on a particular workplace hazard that has an outsized impact on today’s workforce. This month’s EHS focus areas are listed below.

Week 1: Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) include injuries to the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, or spinal discs – conditions like sprains or strains, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or a hernia. MSDs are work-related when an employee’s work environment and performance of work contribute significantly to the condition, or the condition is made worse or persists longer due to work conditions.

MSDs are the leading cause of workplace injury and cost billions each year in workers’ compensation and lost productivity. Perhaps that’s why three of Skillsoft’s most popular EHS compliance training courses relate to MSDs.

  • Ergonomics in the Workplace 2.0
    This course provides the basic information needed to recognize and report signs, symptoms, and risk factors of MSDs. It addresses the key components of an ergonomics program and provides information to assist both employees and employers in minimizing the risk of developing work-related MSDs in both office and industrial settings.
  • Office Ergonomics
    The office ergonomics course provides learners with definitions of terms related to the study of ergonomics; describes signs and symptoms of injury to the muscles and skeleton, and stresses the importance of early reporting. The content also covers the risk factors for injury to the muscles and skeleton; specifies controls and work practices to reduce or eliminate risk factors; and lists how to report MSD signs, symptoms, and how employers are required to address them.
  • Back Safety and Injury Prevention 2.0
    This course is designed to raise awareness of workplace hazards that can cause back injuries and to equip employees to protect themselves from preventable back injuries. It covers job-specific hazards that contribute to preventable back injuries, the characteristics of healthy posture, and specific ways to minimize the risk of back injuries. It also covers workplace controls, including engineering, administrative, and work practice controls, that can help minimize back injuries.

Week 2: Workplace Impairment

The National Safety Council encourages employers to take a broad view of workplace impairment and consider it as anything that could hinder a person’s ability to function normally or safely. Some of us might immediately think of impairment as the dangers of substance use on the job. But did you also know that mental health is a major factor for impairment, as well?

A recent survey by Yale University reported that 29% of workers feel extreme stress because of their jobs. This puts them at an increased risk of anxiety, burnout, depression, and substance use disorders. In fact, 12.8 million working days are lost each year due to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety – with countless more due to substance abuse.

While compliance courses related to workplace impairment did not top Skillsoft’s list of most-utilized training topics this year, it is important to note that the Skillsoft team offers a variety of courses that can help improve your employees’ understanding of mental health and other types of impairment.

In addition to alcohol, drugs, and mental health, factors like fatigue and stress can also impair workers. Take a look at a recent post from Skillsoft on distracted driving.

Week 3: Injury Prevention

In 2020 alone, more than four million workplace injuries required medical attention in the U.S. That’s why it is so important to learn how to prevent injuries and deaths, including identifying hazards and assessing risks. According to an article from EHS Today, many people believe, erroneously, that the following are true:

  • You cannot create a hazard-free workplace.
    This is not true! A safe workplace is attainable when employers and employees obtain proper training to ensure they follow the guidelines necessary to minimize injury.
  • Being safe takes too much time and money.
    This is not true! It actually costs employers 2.7 times more money to be non-compliant. The cost of compliance, on average, is approximately $5.5 million whereas the cost for noncompliance is approximately $15 million.
  • Accidents just happen.
    This is not true! With proper compliance training, organizations can reduce the occurrence of 99% of on-the-job accidents and injuries.

One of Skillsoft’s most popular EHS courses is:

Understanding potential hazards, and then taking the steps necessary to reduce them, is key to effective EHS compliance and overall worker safety.

Week 4: Slips, Trips, And Falls

With falls being the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, it is important to reduce slips, trips, and falls in the workplace.. Here are two of Skillsoft’s top compliance courses related to this topic.

  • Slips, Trips, and Falls 2.0
    Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general workplace accidents and are responsible for a number of accidental deaths, second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities from accidents. This course is intended to provide employees with the ability to recognize and prevent slip, trip, and fall hazards, and to address the key components of ladder safety.
  • Global Safety Principles: Fall Prevention
    Falls from heights are one of the leading causes of serious injuries and death in the workplace. In this course, you'll learn what types of jobs and tasks can expose you to injury. You'll be introduced to the basic responsibilities of employees who work at height, and to the requirements and responsibilities of employers and those who control the work of others to prevent falls in the workplace.

Did you know that Skillsoft offers global safety courses? The global safety principles courses, like Fall Prevention, listed above, are based on best practices, not regulations, and are appropriate for learners regardless of their location. The courses are delivered in English, but can be translated to other languages, as desired.

With the increasing number of employees now working remotely, we also have a course on preventing slips, trips, and falls from your home office!

Week 5 And Beyond: Other EHS Courses To Consider

While National Safety Month ends in June, your organization’s focus on workplace safety should extend throughout the entire year. Skillsoft offers more than 1,000 EHS compliance courses in 15+ languages. Here are some of our most utilized compliance courses that don’t fit into one of the categories listed for June, but that organizations frequently rely on to keep their teams safe.

  • Bloodborne Pathogen Awareness 2.0
    This course provides learners with a basic understanding of bloodborne pathogens, common modes of transmission, methods of prevention, and what to do if an exposure occurs. It will help minimize serious health risks to persons who may have personal exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials in the workplace.
  • Fire Safety and Prevention 2.0
    Every year, workplace fires and explosions kill and injure people, and destroy many businesses. In this course, you'll gain an understanding of the elements required for a fire to start and learn ways to prevent fires in the workplace. You'll learn how to respond, including the requirements for evacuating the premises, if there's a fire in your workplace. You'll also learn how to select and use a fire extinguisher.
  • Lockout/Tagout 2.0
    This course provides information about control of hazardous energy and work under the protection of a lockout/tagout energy control program. The intent of the course is to provide information on lockout/tagout practices and the significance of lockout/tagout devices.

Are you looking for more information on the top EHS compliance courses in use today? Reach out to Skillsoft’s compliance team today for more information on what courses are available, and how they can protect your employees from injury and illness at work.

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Why Security Training Fails and How to Fix It https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-security-training-fails-and-how-to-fix-it Fri, 03 Jun 2022 10:27:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-security-training-fails-and-how-to-fix-it

It’s impossible to prevent every single cyberattack or data breach. Even if your business was armed with the most advanced security measures and the world’s top security pros, it wouldn’t be airtight. The occasional threat would still slip by.

Yet the sheer number of successful cyberattacks suggests that the standard approach to cybersecurity lacks something. In one 2020 survey, 86 percent of participating organizations said their networks had been compromised at least once in the last 12 months.

Why are so many businesses struggling to stay ahead of cybercriminals despite their best efforts? Security training is a major contributing factor to the success of security programs and securing organizations.

Security training programs that target the overall organization with appropriate levels of education help improve security culture across the organization. These programs also ensure security team members and others in critical roles like IT, engineering, and finance have the additional education and knowledge to defend the organization against cyber threats.

A more effective training program can lead to reduced risk while better utilizing the organization’s greatest resources: its people.

Ineffective (and Insufficient) Security Training Can Lead to Greater Risk

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “data breach?” Your mind probably conjures images of malicious actors mounting a siege against your network from the outside. Your cybersecurity training programs probably focus on these kinds of scenarios, too.

The truth, however, is that most data breaches arise from the actions of your employees, according to findings from security firm Tessian and Stanford University. Their research shows 85 percent of data breaches occur due to employees’ mistakes, like sending emails to the wrong people or clicking suspicious links. Similarly, research conducted by software company Egress found that 94 percent of organizations had experienced an insider data breach in the last 12 months.

Most of these insider data breaches aren’t the work of disgruntled employees intentionally harming the company. The most common cause of insider data breaches is simple human error. Often, that error takes the form of falling for a phishing attack. According to Cisco, phishing is the root cause of as many as 90 percent of data breaches.

Employees make mistakes for all kinds of reasons, like being distracted or burnt out. However, there’s one cause of human error that cybersecurity training is well suited to address: Many employees simply aren’t aware of the threat landscape and the practices they should follow to protect themselves and their companies. Unfortunately, when cybersecurity training focuses exclusively on external threats and malicious insiders, it doesn’t arm employees with the relevant information they need to avoid common mistakes.

Cybersecurity Should Be a Team Sport

Employees are often the first to notice the signs of an attempted or ongoing data breach, whether it be a suspicious email or a mistake they made. Because of this, your employees are an essential frontline defense against cyberthreats. The faster they report incidents to the IT department, the sooner those incidents can be addressed. According to IBM’s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach report, it takes 287 days on average to identify and resolve a data breach. Companies benefit from creating a culture in which cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility.

Yet this isn’t the case in many organizations. Cybersecurity training doesn’t always explain how individual employees fit into the business’s broader security strategy, so workers aren’t aware of how vital they are to protecting the company. Furthermore, the average employee may not have much transparency into the steps IT takes to mitigate risk. If employees don’t understand the purpose of all the security tools and policies in place, they may view these things as inconveniences rather than taking them seriously.

The disconnect between employees and the security team is only worsened when organizations take punitive measures against employees who report data breaches, particularly ones they may have accidentally contributed to. Suspending or even firing workers for their missteps may seem reasonable on the surface, but it can have the unintended consequence of encouraging employees to hide their mistakes rather than contacting IT right away. As a result, your data breaches may be worse than they have to be.

To strengthen your defenses against cyberthreats, you need cybersecurity training and organization-wide security cultures that foster collaborative, trusting partnerships between employees and IT.

How to Fix Cybersecurity Training

The average data breach costs a company $4.24 million, according to IBM, which means there is a steep price for not getting cybersecurity training right. Here’s how companies can deliver security education that really works.

Adopt a Culture of Regular, Personalized Training

“Personalization” means a couple of different but equally important things here. First, cybersecurity training needs to be tailored to the individual’s position in the organization. An employee’s role in the organization influences the threats they face and how they respond. For example, employees in public-facing roles like marketing and customer support are more likely to encounter malicious communications simply because they often interact with external organizations. According to research from Tessian, employees in marketing are also more likely to fall for phishing scams than their peers in IT, finance and operations.

To be most effective, security training should focus on the specific threats employees face, like phishing, and the common mistakes that well-intentioned employees make. Training should also arm employees with best practices they can use in their roles, transforming them into your most potent countermeasure.

Personalization also means ensuring that training is accessible to your entire employee base. Everyone from IT, engineering, finance, customer service and beyond must have the essentials covered. Even if your security training is perfect from a content standpoint, it won’t mean much if employees can’t conveniently engage with it.

At minimum, employees should be trained when they onboard and at least once a year. However, the more training employees, the better. By training regularly and consuming engaging content, employees will become more aware of how their role can impact security.

Multimodality training experiences can go a long way in getting more employees to complete cybersecurity training. Virtual learning experiences allow employees to access training when and where they want.

Not every employee learns in the same way. Some respond best to books, some prefer videos, and others enjoy instructor-led courses. If your cybersecurity training offers multiple ways to engage with the content, employees will be more likely to take that training and the training will be more likely to stick.

With personalized, accessible training, your employees can minimize their mistakes. Even the unscrupulous insiders who may be lurking in your organization will understand how prepared the business is — and they might think twice before doing anything they’ll regret.

Align the Security Team With the Rest of the Workforce

In addition to teaching employees how to handle cyberthreats, security training should also help them situate themselves in the organization’s broader security strategy. Employees shouldn’t be left questioning the importance of security training or why they must take it. Knowing how their roles impact security helps personalize the training and shows how they fit into the organization’s strategy. Employees should see themselves as a part of the security team.

Many employee mistakes stem from the fact that workers don’t know why the IT team implements certain security policies, tools, and practices. As a result, they may not see the harm in bending the rules to make their lives easier. If, on the other hand, employees know what the security team is doing and why specific policies and tools are in place, they’ll understand how important it is that they adhere to those standards.

This transparency into the company’s security strategy might be built directly into training content, or it could come directly from the IT team via newsletters and other communications. Whatever form it takes, it can help build more cooperation between employees and IT. When employees and IT are aligned, workers will feel more confident reporting data breaches and doing their part to keep the company safe.

Better Training, Stronger Companies

Security training is a risk management strategy. It’s about identifying threats and mitigating the effects they could have on your business. Unfortunately, for a long time, security training has focused on the wrong things and failed to engage employees as learners. But we can reverse course with a few simple fixes.

By making training relevant and accessible to employees and bridging the gap between IT and the rest of the workforce, organizations can build strong security cultures that help reduce the most pressing risks they face.

It may be impossible to prevent every cyberattack, but you can certainly reduce your risk with the right approach to security training.

Learn the best practices for creating a cybersecurity-focused culture and mitigating risk with Forrester's training strategy. This report lays out a four-step plan that CISOs should follow to manage human risk and create lasting behavioral change throughout their organizations.

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From Early Birds to Night Owls: The (Human) Nature of Work https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/from-early-birds-to-night-owls-the-human-nature-of-work Thu, 02 Jun 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/from-early-birds-to-night-owls-the-human-nature-of-work

A friend of mine told me a funny story the other day. In her twenties, she was an aspiring writer and worked nights in a bar to pay the bills. One day, she reported for her shift, and she found the entire staff, from owners to dishwashers, sitting at a long table with notebooks in hand. As every head in the room turned slowly towards the door, she realized with horror she had forgotten the monthly staff meeting. For the third time.

The irony? She had been next door at a café writing in her journal to kill time, because she was always early (even though she never remembered to punch her timecard).

Suffice it to say, she was called down to the manager's office. But what happened next might surprise you.

The manager closed the door, looked at her, and quietly said,

"I've finally figured you out. You don't do timecards, and you don't do meetings."

My friend was mortified and apologized profusely. The manager then said,

"But you're the best employee we have, and you have great creative ideas. I think you have management potential. I'd like you to consider becoming our bar manager."

My friend was stunned — and accepted. The bar kept a great employee, and my friend earned both a lucrative new career and a valuable lesson that shaped how she led her own team. (By the way, as a manager, she didn't have to punch a timecard. And she never missed a meeting again because she was in charge of them. More problems solved.)

Now, this was management genius. For leaders, getting to know how each person on our team operates best — especially with a remote or hybrid workforce — is key to enabling great work.

Just like our preferred WFH fashion style, each of us has a different working style and a few "non-negotiables" (e.g., nothing before 9am) — that helps to guide and shape the way we approach work. Personally, I'm an early riser. My productivity peaks early in the day and I do much of my "thinking work" before 10am. I'll gladly speak with you at 6 am, but by 6 pm, I'm waning, and by 9 pm, I’m thinking about bed. I am more engaged when I walk and talk than when I am at seated at my computer on Zoom. And I'm a prolific Teams-er. This is my norm, but I recognize it doesn't work for everyone. Nor should it.

At Skillsoft, we've given a lot of thought to how best to enable our teams to function at their peak while taking individual working styles and needs into consideration. Our partners at SYPartners have built a simple but effective tool for surfacing the various working styles of a team, and they graciously shared it with me. It allows us to self-select across several dimensions, and then gives us an understanding of individual, group, and departmental preferences. Armed with the data, we can make better decisions about when to hold meetings, how to improve communications, and even how to get to know each other better. If you'd like to give it a try, click here for the link to the file, "How We Roll."

Of course, if you're a smaller team, or prefer a more informal "survey," it's easy to find examples online that can help you get started. For instance, here's one on idealist that takes just a few minutes. And, if you'd like to delve deeper into how to effectively lead or contribute to a team with different working styles and personalities, Skillsoft offers a rich library of courses
designed to help you do just that.

Incidentally, while my working style has remained fairly consistent, my WFH fashion style has evolved since the start of the pandemic. I've gone from truly "business casual" to "comfy chic" (which is a nice way of saying, a slight step up from pajamas)!

As for my friend, the bar manager with the great ideas? Today, she's a freelance marketing creative. (Of course, she is!) And so, while she does show up for (most) Zoom meetings, she still doesn't have to "do timecards."

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Learn / Love / Lead https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/learn-love-lead Wed, 01 Jun 2022 15:32:00 -0400 info@imarc.com () https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/learn-love-lead


Pride Month is a time dedicated to the uplifting of LGBTQIA2S+ voices, celebration of LGBTQ culture, and the support of LGBTQ rights. Through Pride events around the world, the LGBTQ community celebrates freedom to be themselves. Pride events like parades, protests, art installations, live theater, and memorial celebrations of life, create spaces where we can build shared understanding while celebrating the intersectionality of the LGBTQ community. Pride Month is part political activism and part celebration of all the LGBTQ community has achieved over the years.

For organizations participating in the festivities, Pride is a time to make a renewed commitment to advancing inclusion of the LGBTQ community. At Skillsoft we are committed to continuous improvement and progress through learning. In 2021, Skillsoft took one more step toward LGBTQ inclusion through our #YouAreIncluded pronoun inclusion initiative with the support of Shell Roth, Skillsoft DEI subject matter expert. Our Internal Global Learning Event resulted in a 38% increase in adoption of pronoun use in employee e-mail signatures measured 10 months later.   

This year, Skillsoft is committing to diversity, equity, and Inclusion by elevating the voices of underrepresented communities within Skillsoft through our inaugural Employee Advisory Groups (EAG). Superbia is the LGBTQIA2S+ Employee Advisory Group of Skillsoft. Leaning into insights gleaned from our Percipio book, Employee Resource Group Excellence, by Robert Rodriguez, Superbia is taking the Skillsoft employee organization on a learning experience called Learn / Love / Lead.

Learn

Pride Month serves as a reminder to community members and allies to pause and reflect on the path the LGBTQ community has traveled. Leveraging the Percipio app for Microsoft Teams, Superbia will host a Global Virtual Pride parade for all Skillsoft employees. Social learning empowers learners to create shared understanding while networking and building community across the organization. Together we will learn about LGBTQ language, history, heroes, and culture using our powerful new Percipio book titles: The Book of Pride; LGBTQ Heroes How Changed the World, and From Prejudice to Pride.

Love

To fully Love and embrace the diversity of those around us, we must develop an understanding of ourselves and the diverse ways we view the world. Our DEI courseware series teaches us allyship best practices, and how to use our privilege and power to support and raise the voices of those who remain underserved. The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ Advocate, from our Off-The-Shelf Book Club is the perfect addition for allowing learners to discover new and meaningful ways to show their love through allyship to the LGBTQ community.

Lead

Inclusive leadership creates psychological safety, which frees members of the LGBTQ community to bringing their full selves to work. Inclusive organizations have higher morale, improved problem solving, increased creativity, innovation, and organizational flexibility. On June 23 Skillsoft will host our much anticipated leadercamp Inclusive Leadership: Practical Things You Can (Actually!) Do As a Leader teaching leaders how to build inclusive cultures that make employees feel welcome, respected, and represented at work.

At Skillsoft we are accelerating our support for the LGBTQ community by embedding pronoun inclusion education into our DEI employee on boarding experience.  We are elevating the voices of the LGBTQ community by empowering our newly formed Employee Advisory Groups to chart the path forward to a more inclusive workplace at Skillsoft.

Most importantly, our new LGBTQ+ book titles and upcoming leadercamp provide organizational leaders the tools and skills they need to enhance their cultural awareness and enable leaders to create truly inclusive work cultures, where everyone can feel free to bring their full authentic selves to work.

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How to Make Emotional Wellness a Part of Your DEI Strategy https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-make-emotional-wellness-a-part-of-your-dei-strategy Tue, 31 May 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-make-emotional-wellness-a-part-of-your-dei-strategy

How are you doing? How are you really doing?

A lot has happened over the past couple of years, and many of us are not okay. Between political and social unrest, a global pandemic, and now the war in Ukraine, it is only natural that we’ve been preoccupied.

And while this has many personal implications, our emotional wellness also extends into the workplace. According to a study by Verizon Media, 93% of employers agreed that mental health was hampering company-wide productivity; meanwhile, only one-quarter to one-third of managers said they felt prepared to handle their employees’ emotional wellness needs.

Though organizations have the best of intentions around mental health, they do not always have the practical skills to effectively manage employee issues. Because employers haven’t developed a common language around emotional wellness in the workplace, it is possible that they are avoiding key conversations around it.

Only 34% of employees – according to a report by Mental Health America – say that their company’s leadership speaks openly about mental health. And only three in five employees would agree that their manager cares about their emotional well-being. By addressing common root causes of mental health issues through education, organizations can empower managers and employees to turn this conversation around.

Emotional Wellness and the Importance of Mental Health Compliance

When organizations think about compliance training, they often zero in on legal compliance initiatives or specific workplace safety training. Compliance training on mental health issues may fall by the wayside.

This, despite the fact that:

Understanding how to manage stress on your team and educating your entire organization on mental health best practices is one important way to improve morale and make your workplace a safe, welcoming place for all employees.

Mental Health Awareness Month at Skillsoft

May is Mental Health Awareness month. This year’s theme is “Back to Basics,” and the focus is on providing foundational knowledge about mental health. Here are the three important decisions that we’ve relied on at Skillsoft to help us navigate emotional wellness issues:

  • Access to Information: In order to drive demonstrable behavioral changes, ensure that all your employees have access to both mental health and diversity and inclusion resources and trainings.
  • Investment in DEI initiatives: Underrepresented populations experience barriers to care that can be removed with an investment in DEI initiatives to support mental health and emotional wellness.
  • Support for More Sustainable Ways of Working: In order to best support your remote teams, offer employees tips on managing stress, advise them around home office ergonomics, and educate them on common remote/hybrid work issues – such as harassment and bullying – that they may face.

And if you don’t know where to start, Skillsoft’s virtual book club – OFF THE SHELF – is featuring a bookshelf of resources that can be used to improve mental wellness, mindfulness, resiliency, and overall wellbeing throughout the month of May. Check out the selection on mental health and share with your team!

Changing your approach to Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace

While it is not easy to create fundamental cultural change, there are two key questions that your organization can ask to support mental health awareness through training.

  1. Who needs training? Identify the specific roles within your organization that are associated with high stress levels and develop a succinct compliance training curriculum tailored to those positions.
  2. What do they need to know? Implement a compliance training curriculum that will help to normalize mental health issues and provide a safe space to talk about DEI initiatives. Getting everyone within your organization on the same page about these key issues is a good way to create shared understanding of your organization’s goals and expectations.

Skillsoft has more than 1,000 environmental, health, and safety (EHS) courses in 15+ languages, including about topics around mental health including Compliance Brief: Mental Health and COVID-19 and First Aid: Mental Health Awareness, as well as an extensive library of DEI courses.

Learn more about Skillsoft’s comprehensive compliance training solutions and DEI portfolio.

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Build Your Cloud Tech Skills Through Skillsoft’s New Microsoft Learning Collection https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/build-your-cloud-tech-skills-through-skillsofts-new-microsoft-learning-collection Thu, 26 May 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/build-your-cloud-tech-skills-through-skillsofts-new-microsoft-learning-collection

Today, companies in every industry, in every geography, and of every size have come to rely on technology to drive their growth strategies. Meanwhile, the cloud has become the beating heart of all digital operations. Not only does it bring benefits such as improved collaboration for remote and hybrid teams, it also offers new ways of serving customers, opens new market opportunities, and streamlines processes. While widespread cloud adoption was happening well before the pandemic, the last two years have accelerated it at an unprecedented rate. And with this has come a sudden and significant mismatch between the ubiquity of need for cloud and scarcity of talent and skilled professionals.

For employees and organizations who are less tech- and cloud-savvy, having to jump in with both feet can be daunting and frustrating, especially when they don’t have the baseline skills solidified. Recent Skillsoft research found that the skills gap impact includes increased stress on employees (55%), more difficulty meeting quality objectives (42%), increased project duration (35%), decreased innovation (24%), and increased operating costs (23%). With a third of IT-decision makers stating that their organization hasn’t invested enough resources in skills training and development and a fifth saying what they do have in place simply isn’t effective, a solution is needed.

The next level of skill building for Microsoft services is here.

At Skillsoft, we’re laser focused on helping employees build skills that they feel confident applying in the workplace, and in-turn, empowering organizations to fill talent gaps. We provide learners with access to tools needed to be successful in acquiring, retaining, and applying the most in-demand skills and knowledge via exceptional instruction, quality courses, hands-on practice labs, assessments, and timely material, all delivered conveniently in learners’ natural flow of work.

Recent Skillsoft research found that for the second consecutive year, Microsoft holds the number one position in the top 10 areas of interest and focus for IT departments. With that, we’re doubling down on providing more ways to learn skills and proficiencies for Microsoft products and its cloud solutions. And of course, this includes acquiring certifications for those hyper-critical Microsoft certifications ranging from Managing Modern Desktops to Azure Solutions Architect Expert.

As Microsoft’s largest global training partner, we’re proud to launch our new “Elite Total Access Collection for Microsoft,” providing access to authorized content and labs to address fundamental and new Microsoft cloud-based capabilities and applications. Through this, we are:

  • Reducing the complexity of managing skilling programs for teams.
    Learning isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. For leaders who are responsible for organizational skilling programs, functional team skills, and enabling individual learning goals, Skillsoft’s new “Elite Total Access Collection for Microsoft” provides access to a variety of learning experiences suitable for various needs across teams. It also delivers dependable skills outcomes that are highly scalable (and reportable) without the burden of having to stitch together training resources from multiple sources.
  • Connecting learners with experts to guide their Microsoft upskilling journeys.
    Virtual instructor-led training (VILT) classes aid the learning process by providing an interactive learning experience alongside a small cohort of peers and an expert instructor. Our on-demand library comprises more than 5,000 titles and learners can access more than 500 challenge labs and 120 Microsoft classes spanning Azure, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Security, and Microsoft Dynamics.
  • Providing access to on-premise technology courses.
    Recognizing that many organizations continue to rely on Microsoft’s heritage, on-premise technologies, Skillsoft will continue to offer 17 related courses.
  • Reinforcing training to drive on the job skills application.
    Class recordings are available post-course so students can go back and review materials. Additionally, this collection includes one year of access to labs after the last day of classes, deep on-demand course library, and access to more than 7,500 books.
  • Making it easy to get recognized for new skills that have been learned.
    Certification-oriented courses include a free exam voucher (up to $165 value).

“Cloud and technology skills remain in short supply at every level. Meanwhile, organizations are increasingly relying on the cloud to innovate and maintain a competitive edge. As a result, there is significant demand for tech proficient professionals that are able to apply concepts and principles in real-world scenarios,” said Geoff Hirsch, Partner Channel Lead in Microsoft Worldwide Learning. “Skillsoft’s new content collection is a valuable way for learners to gain access to a comprehensive collection of Microsoft training to build in-demand and durable skills across Azure, Microsoft 365, and more. We’re proud to collaborate with Skillsoft as we address and close enterprise skills gaps together.”

We’ve received strong, positive feedback from learners who have attended Microsoft classes including:

  • “I learned a significant amount and gained valuable insight into scripting with PowerShell. I now know some of the best practices and official standards.”
  • “The instructor was very knowledgeable about the material covered and helped with answering and relating it to real-world scenarios.”
  • “I was impressed by the ease of access to the lab environment and the resources to complete the labs and check our work. I have not seen this level of resources in an online class before and it was very useful.”

Sharp skills and experience are a must in every enterprise team. To enable technologists across multiple teams, learning leaders need enterprise-grade solutions that scale to fit the shape of the organization. To develop mastery, learners need the ability to absorb, discuss, practice, and contextualize concepts to address the specifics of their environment. Skillsoft is bringing these elements to the enterprise.

We’re excited about the new content and look forward to helping organizations develop necessary tech and cloud skills required to drive business impact. To learn more about “Elite Total Access Collection for Microsoft” and get started today, visit here.

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GDPR: Where Are We Four Years Later? https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/gdpr-where-are-we-four-years-later Mon, 23 May 2022 03:02:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/gdpr-where-are-we-four-years-later

Data privacy is a complex issue for most organizations, and it has been made even more complicated by legislation such as GDPR. Today, four years after GDPR went into effect, I thought it would be useful to look at the state of data privacy in the United States.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with privacy expert Brandon Glantz, senior director, global privacy operations at NBCUniversal. Among other duties, Glantz is responsible for implementing the requirements of GDPR and operationalizing them – finding ways to practically apply the law across NBCUniversal’s data landscape.

While he joined NBCUniversal after GDPR came into effect, Glantz was able to offer some insight into how the multinational mass media and entertainment corporation was impacted by the legislation.

In Europe, Glantz told me, data privacy is a fundamental right; when it comes to digital trackers, consumers are opted out by default. In the United States, consumers are automatically opted in. He explained: “At the end of the day, everyone has their own ideas about what is right for consumers, but nobody necessarily knows the answer. That’s because every consumer wants a different experience.”

Compliance can be a costly – and confusing – commitment. Let’s review the basics.

GDPR best practices

GDPR is a set of rules created to secure the personal information of European Union (EU) citizens. It is applicable to organizations with more than 250 employees that handle personal data in the process of trading goods and services within the EU. The enforcement deadline for full GDPR compliance was May 25, 2018.

Since then, GDPR has prompted significant improvements in the governance, monitoring, awareness, and strategic decision-making regarding the use of consumer data. Not only that, but GDPR legislation has pushed the topic of data privacy to the forefront. But has that been enough to drive meaningful change in data protection?

According to Glantz, NBCUniversal has an advertising-based revenue model, so GDPR had some impact on the organization’s approach to engaging with European customers. “GDPR allowed us to revisit strategy so we could continue to find ways to engage with consumers – and find ways to provide them with the services they had come to expect from us, but in a more indirect way. Our compliance and marketing teams worked closely together to answer some tough questions, including: How do you expand email marketing and social media campaigns without using personal information?”

GDPR has seven fundamental principles to ensure the individual’s rights and security of sensitive personal information that could be used for illegitimate purposes. Organizations must think about each of these principles regularly to ensure compliance:

  • Accountability: Are you doing everything you can to comply with GDPR principles?
  • Accuracy: Is the data you’ve collected on individuals both accurate and up to date?
  • Data Minimization: Have you only collected data that is necessary to perform the task the information is intended for?
  • Integrity and Confidentiality: How do you always assure the security and privacy of personal information?
  • Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency: Is all the personal information in your possession processed lawfully?
  • Purpose Limitation: Does all the personal information you’ve collected have a lawful and legitimate purpose?
  • Storage Limitation: How long do you hold on to personal information?

When I asked him about some of the roadblocks around compliance with these principles, Glantz mentioned the following: “There was so much hype leading up to the GDPR deadline. Organizations all over the world went all-in as they prepared their data for compliance. However, when the deadline for compliance came around, nothing really happened.”

The sheer volume of data for regulators to monitor is overwhelming, so it would be reasonable to expect them to concentrate their efforts on only a small number of organizations that have raised a red flag in some way. Most organizations are not really evaluated or scrutinized, and they are simply continuing to build their own paths toward compliance.

According to Glantz, “This is causing a lot of fatigue in organizations that are pushing for compliance.”

Why do we need GDPR?

GDPR obliges organizations around the world to take data protection more seriously than ever before, primarily because their reputation now relies on it – and because the penalties are crippling.

One of the ideas behind GDPR was to assure consumers that their data will not fall into the wrong hands. Consumer data and privacy is now considered a top priority by leading companies.

Said Glantz, “Data privacy legislation provides organizations with a fantastic opportunity to reevaluate their data strategy and governance. Short-term pains are paving the way for organizations to do better – to explore how they approach data sanitization, data strategy, and more. They will eventually be able to offer a more holistic experience to their customers.”

GDPR has brought some cost savings and improved efficiencies. It has forced companies to address archives of data and ask whether the information they have collected is necessary or fit for purpose. Data maintenance has therefore become a more active process that is managed regularly.

The GDPR has also encouraged organizations to assess the efficacy of their networks. Many have had to migrate over to improved infrastructure – enabling them to better align better with the latest and emerging generations of technology as old hardware is replaced with more capable (and secure) devices. While initially expensive, this has been offset through an improved user-experience for employees that promotes greater levels of engagement and productivity.

At an even higher level, GDPR has empowered the public. It has improved our trust in the emerging digital economy. By streamlining data protection across the EU (and effectively the world), goods and services now flow more freely. Confidence between organizations and the public has increased.

What are GDPR compliance requirements in the U.S.?

Even if an organization is not physically located within the EU, they must still comply with GDPR if they handle personal data that is identifiable to a resident that is located within the EU. GDPR reaches into companies based in the U.S. because it is designed to protect the personal data of individuals.

I asked Glantz if GDPR changed the way NBCUniversal looks at data privacy in the United States. He said,At NBCUniversal, we aim to do the right thing. So, while we need to make some changes here and there related to new data privacy regulations, we haven’t had any major roadblocks.”

NBCUniversal tends to separate its U.S. and European businesses effectively, so it was able to take a more targeted approach to GDPR compliance. And as U.S. data privacy law evolves, Glantz mentioned that the company has been able to take learnings from its European practice and replicate some of the best practices in the U.S.

Outside of GDPR, Glantz mentions the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) of 2018 as one of the most impactful data privacy laws in the U.S. NBCUniversal used CCPA as a stepping stone to extend consumer rights to access, delete, and opt-out of the sale of their personal information across the U.S. because it was the right thing to do.

How can skillsoft help with your GDPR efforts?

Skillsoft’s compliance solutions allow organizations to easily train employees to comply with regulations such as the GDPR. Our GDPR compliance training courses help employees understand their responsibilities in mitigating the risks surrounding GDPR – helping your organization to acknowledge and adhere to best practices.

Look at what your team can learn from Skillsoft on the topic of GDPR:

Compliance Short: GDPR: In today's data-driven society, organizations rely on the collection and processing of user data in ever-evolving ways. Employees working in these organizations share a duty to protect the rights of individuals' personal data, which includes complying with GDPR.

GDPR Compliance for Marketing: When conducting marketing activities, organizations must follow GDPR’s standards for collecting and using the personal information of customers and prospects. This course addresses compliance with GDPR in the areas of generating leads and collecting contact information; profiling and data enrichment; sending direct marketing messages; selling or sharing data; and ensuring the protection of individual rights.

GDPR Short: Generating Leads and Collecting Contact Details: Customers are the key to your company’s success. When conducting marketing activities, you must follow laws and regulations pertaining to the information you collect and use about customers – both existing and potential. This course covers the key best practices for ensuring compliance with GDPR when generating leads and collecting and using contact information.

GDPR Short: Individual Rights: GDPR specifies what companies can and cannot do with the personal information they collect and use while ensuring that individuals retain control over their personal information. This course covers the specific individual rights under GDPR to help ensure personal data is protected.

GDPR Short: Online Advertising: The quantity of personal data available online provides limitless marketing potential, but companies must ensure that their use of that data is legal. This course covers key best practices for ensuring your online marketing activities are GDPR-compliant.

GDPR Short: Profiling and Data Enrichment: Collecting and using customer information to inform your marketing activities is a significant factor in remaining competitive, but you must do so in ways that respect your customers’ rights under the GDPR. This course covers key considerations to keep in mind when using profiling and enrichment services to ensure GDPR compliance.

GDPR Short: Selling or Sharing Data: Contact information, shopping habits, and product and service interests are hot commodities to marketers. But selling or sharing that information must be done appropriately and legally. This course covers key considerations for selling or sharing marketing data in compliance with GDPR.

GDPR Short: Sending Direct Marketing Messages: Organizations rely heavily on direct marketing practices to keep customers coming back and to gain new ones. This course covers key considerations for sending GDPR-compliant marketing messages.

No matter what type of courses you’re looking to offer your employees, Skillsoft provides organizations with the necessary technology and training to manage their compliance obligations within an ever-evolving regulatory landscape.

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Want to Help Your Team Learn Cybersecurity? Start Here! https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/want-to-help-your-team-learn-cybersecurity-start-here Thu, 19 May 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/want-to-help-your-team-learn-cybersecurity-start-here

Cyberattacks are perhaps the biggest threat to businesses today — and many organizations are struggling to fend off the danger. In one 2020 survey, 86 percent of participating companies said their networks had been breached at least once in the past year. Each of those breaches can cost an average of $4.24 million, according to IBM's Cost of a Data Breach 2021 Report.

To mitigate the risk of cyberattacks and data breaches, companies need skilled cybersecurity teams capable of planning and executing robust strategies. But how do you build a cybersecurity team?

Whether you're starting from scratch or looking to level up your existing team, this article will cover the key points you need to know, including:

  • What is cybersecurity?
  • How to learn cybersecurity
  • Cybersecurity skills, certifications, and training
  • Where to learn cybersecurity

Let's dive in.

Introduction to Cybersecurity

What is cybersecurity? It's a broad term, but at the core, "cybersecurity" refers to a subdiscipline of the information technology (IT) field dedicated to protecting computer systems from unauthorized access, use, or manipulation. The safety of everything from individual devices and the data stored on them to networks, websites, applications, and cloud services falls under cybersecurity's purview.

Perhaps the best way to learn cybersecurity is to look at the many specializations within cyber security. These overlapping practice areas encompass all the responsibilities, goals, methods, and technologies that cybersecurity professionals work with.

  • Architecture and Policy: This realm of cybersecurity designs and implements the overarching technology architectures (including hardware and software) and cyber security policies that keep corporate computer systems safe.
  • Data Loss Prevention: This specialization focuses on the information security component of cyber-security. Data loss prevention specialists protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (called the "CIA triad") of sensitive data.
  • Governance, Risk, and Compliance: This specialization acts as a security auditor, evaluating existing security practices and technologies to ensure they are up to snuff. Specialists in this field are also responsible for performing risk analyses and developing business continuity and disaster recovery plans.
  • Identity and Access Management: Identity and access management (IAM) specialists manage system credentials, authorization mechanisms, and permissions to ensure only the right people with the proper privileges can access important computer systems and resources.
  • Incident Response and Forensic Analysis: Specialists in this realm hunt for threats, detect attacks in progress, and thwart ongoing breaches. They are also responsible for post-incident investigations that determine what happened, how it happened, and how to prevent it from happening again.
  • Penetration Testing: Penetration testers specialize in ethical hacking. They carry out mock attacks, called "penetration tests," to identify vulnerabilities in computer systems so they can be patched before malicious hackers exploit them.
  • Secure DevOps: Also called "DevSecOps," this field specializes in the hands-on implementation and management of security technologies like firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPSs), and other key hardware and software defense systems.
  • Secure Software Development: Specialists in this domain are responsible for application security. They ensure that any software developed in-house, whether shared externally or used internally, is secure and free of vulnerabilities.

Any effective cybersecurity team will need to cover most, if not all, of these specializations. Some companies build teams of cybersecurity generalists who share responsibilities across domains, while other organizations create a team of experts for each subdiscipline. The approach your company takes should be informed by multiple factors, including the cybersecurity risks you face, the size of your company, and your budget.

Read next: 8 Specializations That Define Successful Cybersecurity Organizations.

How to Build a Cybersecurity Team

If you need to build a brand-new cybersecurity team or add some additional firepower to your current team, your first instinct may be to hire externally. But sourcing cybersecurity experts is no easy feat in this talent market. According to the 2021 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the global cybersecurity workforce is about 65% smaller than it needs to be to fill all the open cybersecurity roles around the world. Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary Report shows IT decision-makers rank cybersecurity as the toughest discipline to hire for.

Because cybersecurity professionals are in such high demand and short supply, the best bet for many companies is to train existing employees to take on cybersecurity roles. It's easier than ever to learn about cybersecurity online, with reputable virtual training platforms offering comprehensive cybersecurity courses covering the specializations mentioned above.

Investing in cybersecurity education allows you to sidestep the talent shortage, and it also helps your team stay on the cutting edge. Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving field, and the skills it calls for today may be obsolete in the blink of an eye. By focusing on training instead of hiring, you can connect your employees with continuous education that helps them stay up to date on the latest cybersecurity threats, technologies, and best practices.

It's a good idea to open cybersecurity training to all of your employees, even if they don't intend to join the team. They don't all need to be experts, but anyone who touches the company's computer systems — which includes most employees today — should know the basics to keep themselves and the company safe.

Interested in where to learn cyber security online? Check out our cyber security course catalog.

What Do You Learn in Cybersecurity Training?

If you decide to build in-house cybersecurity expertise through training, it's important to ensure you offer employees the right training. The career paths your employees want to explore and the roles you need to fill will inform the best way for your employees to learn.

Cybersecurity Career Paths

Each cybersecurity specialization requires a slightly different skill set and body of knowledge. Your employees want to know how to learn cybersecurity, and it's essential to connect them with the right training for their desired career paths.

Here's an overview of the different kinds of roles available in cybersecurity, as well as the training they require:

  • Architecture and Policy
  • Data Loss Prevention
    • Common job titles: Information systems security officer, cybersecurity manager, information systems manager
    • Required cybersecurity courses: This field requires expertise in information security principles, application security principles, and network security principles. Employees should also learn about common malware threats like ransomware, attack vectors like phishing, and other causes of data breaches.
  • Governance, Risk, and Compliance
  • Penetration Testing
    • Common job titles: Penetration tester, security consultant, network relations consultant
    • Required cybersecurity courses: Employees entering this field would benefit from learning the ins and outs of ethical hacking, as well as the practical side of penetration testing and vulnerability assessment. They should also stay updated on the latest developments in malware and cybercrime.
  • Secure Software Development
    • Common job titles: Code auditor, vulnerability researcher, software developer
    • Required cybersecurity courses: Employees focusing on this specialization should master the secure software development life cycle (SSDLC), which combines software development with best practices in application security, cloud security, authentication, and related security concepts.

Find out more about how to learn cyber security online. Explore our information security course catalog.

Cybersecurity Technical Skills

While different cybersecurity career paths will require unique training programs, cybersecurity professionals also need broader sets of technical and soft skills to excel in their careers. Some skill sets may be more relevant to some roles than others, but employees who want to learn cybersecurity will need at least a basic knowledge of the following domains:

  • Understanding the threat landscape: Cybersecurity professionals must stay up to date on the shifting threat landscape, including common malware and cyberattacks like ransomware, trojans, social engineering, phishing, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and other cyberthreats.
  • Understanding security technology: Cybersecurity professionals must be able to work with a wide range of security-focused technology tools and techniques, including cryptography, firewalls, antivirus software, SIEMs, SOARs, endpoint detection and response (EDR) platforms, secure web gateways, IDPSs, and much more.
  • Incident response: Cybersecurity teams must be able to monitor networks, detect potential attacks and breaches, and respond effectively to different types of malicious activity. They must also conduct post-incident activities like security audits and digital forensic investigations.
  • Information security: Cybersecurity professionals should know how to protect sensitive information from internal and external unauthorized users.
  • Security policies and procedures: Cybersecurity professionals should understand how to draft, implement, and communicate standardized security policies and procedures that all employees can follow.
  • Network security: Cybersecurity professionals must know how to assess, secure, and maintain every component of the corporate network, from individual devices and applications to the connections between hardware and software assets.
  • Software development: Cybersecurity professionals should be able to develop and/or audit secure software code.

  • Risk management: Cybersecurity professionals must be able to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities and select and implement the appropriate security controls.
  • Compliance: Cybersecurity teams must be aware of the relevant government laws and industry regulations their organizations must follow.

Learn how a carefully considered compliance program may protect your organization from data breaches.

Cybersecurity Soft Skills

Cybersecurity professionals in all specialties can also benefit from cultivating the following soft skills:

  • Critical thinking: Cybersecurity professionals need to carefully analyze complex computer systems, evaluate risk, and anticipate the moves of cybercriminals.
  • Problem-solving: Addressing vulnerabilities and thwarting cyberattacks often requires new and creative approaches to overcoming challenges.
  • Communication: Cybersecurity professionals must often deliver important security messages to non-technical employees in accessible and engaging ways.
  • Collaboration: Cybersecurity is a team sport, with many different people and departments working together to prevent and remediate attacks and data breaches.
  • Attention to detail: To identify risks, detect attacks, and stop hackers, cybersecurity teams must pay close attention to subtle hints in computer system activity and architecture.

Read next: How to Plan a Career Path in Cybersecurity.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Cybersecurity?

The length of time it takes for an employee to learn enough to start a cybersecurity career depends on where they're starting from. Thanks to the wealth of courses online, it's possible for employees with a limited technology background to learn cybersecurity. However, they will likely have to undergo a more comprehensive and structured course of study. For these employees, it may make the most sense to first learn technology basics and then move into a technology-oriented role, where they can continue studying cybersecurity while gaining hands-on IT experience.

On the other hand, employees who already know technology fundamentals or hold technology-focused roles may only need to take a couple of specialized classes or earn a new certification before stepping into a cybersecurity job.

Similarly, employees with experience in compliance-oriented roles like finance, risk analysis, or legal functions may have an easier time learning cybersecurity specializations that focus on auditing, compliance, and policy.

Ready to learn cybersecurity online? Visit our cyber security course catalog.

What Cybersecurity Certifications Should My Team Have?

Cybersecurity certifications offer people a way to learn new skills and prove their expertise. Obtaining a certification usually requires passing a test and/or amassing a certain amount of real-world experience. Certification exam preparation courses are available for most certifications as well. While they aren't strictly required, they can help sharpen key cybersecurity skills while boosting employees' chances of earning certification.

For intermediate level members of your cybersecurity team, you might encourage them to obtain certifications like:

  • CompTIA Security+: This international certification focuses on foundational cyber security skills and knowledge like network security, application security, cryptography, access control and identity management, and more.
  • CEH – Certified Ethical Hacker: Especially useful for people pursuing a path in penetration testing, incident response, and compliance, the CEH certification helps employees master the art of finding weaknesses and vulnerabilities in computer systems.
  • CRISC – Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control: The CRISC certification focuses on identifying and evaluating IT risk, as well as designing and maintaining appropriate information systems controls to mitigate risk.

More advanced cybersecurity practitioners and leaders may have earned these certifications already or mastered the associated competencies. When recruiting more senior cybersecurity professionals, the following advanced certifications are a good signal of their expertise:

  • CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional: Offered by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2, CISSP certification covers key security domains like asset security, security architecture and engineering, and security operations.
  • CISM – Certified Information Security Manager: Ideal for employees who want to move into security management and leadership positions, CISM certification focuses on information security in the context of broader business goals and objectives.
  • CompTIA CASP+: Requiring 10 years of IT administration experience and at least five years of hands-on technical security experience, the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) certification is intended for experienced cybersecurity professionals who want to be practitioners rather than managers. It focuses on competencies in risk management, enterprise security operations and architecture, research and collaboration, and integration of enterprise security.

The certifications outlined above are all vendor-neutral, meaning the competencies they validate apply to all cybersecurity teams regardless of the tools they're using. However, cybersecurity professionals may also choose to pursue certifications in technologies from specific vendors. Those certifications include Cisco CCNP Security, Check Point CCSA, Paolo Alto PCNSA, SonicWall SNSA, and many others. Whether or not your team needs those certifications will depend on whether you use those systems.

Want to earn a cyber security certification online? See our cyber security certification training course catalog.

Ready to Learn Cybersecurity? Start Here

As technology evolves and cybercriminals adopt new methods, the threat of cyberattacks and data breaches will only increase. A robust cybersecurity team is vital to defending your company against these risks and ensuring your organization's continued success.

Facing talent shortages, many organizations struggle to find all the cybersecurity experts they need. However, virtual training options have removed many of the barriers to cybersecurity education, making it possible for your employees to learn cybersecurity online. A training-focused approach can be the most efficient and cost-effective way to staff your cybersecurity department.

Connect your employees with comprehensive cyber security training. View our cyber security course catalog.

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Are Your Employees’ WFH Set-Ups Working? https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/are-your-employees-wfh-set-ups-working Tue, 17 May 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/are-your-employees-wfh-set-ups-working

As a compliance leader, you’re probably well-versed in workplace safety guidelines for traditional work environments. You understand best practices for training programs, and have likely educated your team on everything from bloodborne pathogen awareness to electrical safety. Under your guidance, employees at all levels of your organization, across any location, are trained and prepared to meet the hazards relevant to their work environment.

But over the past couple of years, the global pandemic has pushed many workers out of a traditional office setting and into a hybrid or remote work environment. As a result, compliance leaders have been required to reassess common workplace hazards and rethink how to communicate potential risks and control measures to employees.

To help navigate this challenge, Skillsoft created a group of pandemic compliance training courses to help organizations navigate these new challenges. Here are just a few:

  • Home Office Safety Awareness
  • Safety Short: Coronaviruses and COVID-19
  • Mental Health and COVID-19

These resources are meant to provide ongoing guidance and support to organizations looking to do the right thing in a time marked by rapid change.

Ensuring Workplace Safety – At Home 

With more employees working from home offices than ever before, injuries and illnesses that occur may be considered work-related if the injury or illness occurs while the employee is performing work for pay or compensation in the home.

This is important to note, as many workers are finding out the potential hazards of working from home only after an injury occurs. For example, did you know that 41% of Americans have had new or increased back, neck, or shoulder pain since they began working at home?

It is the responsibility of every organization to:

  • Understand Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulatory perspective for home office work-related injuries
  • Provide tools and guidance for employees to identify and reduce ergonomic hazards in their home office environment
  • Establish methods and tools for employees to identify common hazards and prevent accidents in the home workspace
  • Ensure that your organization’s environmental, health and safety (EHS) policies are clearly communicated, understood, and implemented consistently among employees
  • Provide effective safety training for employees and track participation

It is important for employers to ensure that employees have a safe work environment, even at home. While OSHA won’t “hold employers liable for employees’ home offices and does not expect employers to inspect the home offices of their employees,” there are steps that you can take to protect employees who are working from home.

Especially since – globally – 16% of companies are now fully remote.

According to a study from Stanford Graduate School of Business, performance is boosted by 22% when employees are allowed to work from home. And as more organizations move in this direction, it is important to check in with your employees often to ensure that their work from home setups are actually … working.

Understanding and Mitigating Home Office Risks

Foremost, you will need to consider how employees evaluate their work environments. You may also have to provide employees with necessary additional equipment, revise existing policies to accommodate home-office work, and provide relevant tools and training for employees.

Think about the following home office hazards:

  • Ergonomics: It may be difficult for remote workers to conduct an ergonomic self-assessment. That means that employees could be suffering from any number of risks at home, including poor posture, repetitive strain, poor lighting, poor ventilation, and more.
  • Harassment: Decentralized and isolated workplaces are risk factors for sexual harassment because the channels through which remote work occurs — text, phone, video — are often unmonitored.
  • Electrical safety: More than one in three people are unaware of the risks of overloading electrical outlets. Warning signs of this hazard could include buzzing sounds, dimming lights, or a tripped circuit breaker.
  • Cybersecurity: 53% of remote employees said they use personal computers for business, without proper security. Ways to stay safe while working from home include using antivirus software, keeping others away from your work devices, using your corporate Virtual Private Network (VPN), and ensuring strong passwords on all devices and applications.
  • Slips, trips, and falls: Electric cords are a tripping hazard, as is poor furniture arrangement, clutter, and uncarpeted stairs. Employees who understand the particular risk factors that might be present in their home are better able to mitigate that risk.

Employers need to be aware of hazards in the employees’ work area and provide training based on common hazards related to emergency and disaster preparedness, electrical safety, fire safety, ergonomics, back safety, and slips, trips, and falls. In developing materials to support home office safety, consider flexible tools, such as online training, checklists, and safety bulletins, to drive adoption and reinforcement across the workforce.

Skillsoft has a library of home office training materials, including:

  • Compliance Brief: Home Office Safety provides an overview of accidents and injuries associated with working in a home office. In addition, common hazards are identified and applicable control measures described. Topics include static work and ergonomic hazards, eye strain, mental health effects, and more.
  • Home Office: Ergonomics 2.0 will help employees identify musculoskeletal disorders, early signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal injuries and potential exposures in a home office. Employees will also learn actions for controlling ergonomic exposures in order to reduce or eliminate musculoskeletal disorders, ways to modify or adjust home office equipment, and ways to prevent back injuries.
  • Home Office: Fire and Emergencies 2.0 allows learners to gain an understanding of how fires start and learn ways to prevent fires in a home office work environment. They’ll learn how to appropriately respond if there’s a fire in their home, which fire extinguisher to use for a specific type of fire and when to evacuate the premises.
  • Home Office: Greener Spaces raises awareness on sustainability and describes how to set up a sustainable home office. Employees will learn about waste minimization and pollution, ways to reduce both paper and non-paper office waste and how to minimize energy use in your home and while driving.
  • Home Office: Security provides an awareness-level orientation of basic home office security fundamentals including appropriate actions for workers to take in the event of potential threats that may be encountered at home, including trespassers and domestic violence. Consideration is also given to cybersecurity, how to react to fires and explosions, and how to respond to a call for evacuation or shelter-in-place.
  • Home Office: Slips, Trips, and Falls 2.0 will help learners to recognize and prevent slip, trip, and fall hazards when working from home. They will explore ways to minimize walkway hazards, as well as how to prevent injuries on stairs. They’ll also learn how to use ladders safely.

Celebrating Global Employee Health and Fitness Month

It comes down to this: Six out of ten people agree that “their employer bears some responsibility for ensuring their overall health.” So, whether your employees are working from the office or from their own home office, it is important to ensure that they are compliant with all relevant safety guidelines.

And you can take this one step further.

In honor of Global Employee Health & Fitness Month (GEHFM), this May, many employers are making an extra effort to promote the importance of health and safety in the workplace. Here are three suggestions for employers to share with their remote workforce during GEHFM:

  • Get physical. Whether you encourage your team to take a walk during lunch, take standing breaks between meetings, or take the stairs, it is helpful to remind them to move during the day.
  • Eat well. Some organizations provide healthy snacks or gift employees water bottles to encourage them to hydrate. At Skillsoft, we created a Teams channel so employees can share healthy recipes.
  • Be thankful. Gratitude is an important part of mental wellness. At Skillsoft, employees are encouraged to share what they are thankful for during “Thankful Thursday,” when we call out work well done in company-wide Teams chats. We also use a platform called Kazoo to help our team recognize each other publicly for a job well done.

Organizations with highly successful wellness initiatives report the following outcomes:

  • 11% more revenue per employee
  • 1.8 fewer days absent per employee per year
  • 28% higher shareholder returns

Maybe that’s why so many organizations are incorporating comprehensive workplace wellness programs into their overall employee benefits packages.

No matter how you decide to support employees’ health and well-being this month (and every month, for that matter), know that Skillsoft is here for you as a trusted partner in compliance.

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Calling All IT Pros: the IT Skills and Salary Survey Is Open! https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/calling-all-it-pros-the-it-skills-and-salary-survey-is-open Tue, 10 May 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/calling-all-it-pros-the-it-skills-and-salary-survey-is-open

Skillsoft brings the annual IT Skills and Salary Report into its 17th year, setting the survey live as of… now.

If you work in IT, take the survey here:

For over a decade, Global Knowledge has documented the IT landscape, reporting on the industry’s greatest triumphs and challenges. Now as Skillsoft, that work continues.

Last year, more than 9,300 IT professionals participated in the survey, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world. The data that these IT professionals contributed led to notable findings like these:

  • 76% of IT decision-makers experience critical skills gaps on their teams, a 145% increase since 2016.
  • 80% reported benefits of certification include faster performance, higher engagement, and better work outcomes.
  • 92% of all respondents say they have at least one certification, a 5% increase from the year prior.

Findings like these prove invaluable to IT professionals at nearly every stage of their careers. From those just starting out to those leading enterprise organizations, they can glean insights from thousands of their peers to inform decision-making and develop plans of action.

But, it’s impossible to unlock information like these without IT professionals taking a bit of time to complete the questions.

Contribute to One of the Largest IT Reports Globally

The IT Skills and Salary Report is the result of thousands of responses from people all over the world. It focuses on specifically on the IT industry and asks professionals about their:

  • Skills and certifications – The data gathered from the survey reveals the 15 top-paying IT certifications each year, which proves a valuable resource to those seeking a raise or to otherwise advance their careers.
  • Compensation – Year after year, the landscape changes in response to organizations’ need for skilled workers. For example, this survey shows those in cybersecurity and cloud roles tend to make the highest salaries on average.
  • Skills Gaps and Challenges – What’s more, IT leaders and staff have a chance to record what they struggle with day to day — not least of which are skills gaps that continue rising.
  • Investments in Tech – IT decision-makers report on which technology providers they plan to focus on in the year ahead, how their budgets have been impacted, and more.
  • Professionals and Development – IT professionals share their preferences for training and the reasons why.

As the report continues, the database continues to grow. Online today, there are 14 years of reports readily available. These volumes mirror the rapid change in IT and tell the ongoing story of how the industry continues to evolve. Each year they help people understand the current landscape and provide a glimpse into the future.

This Report Uncovers Findings — Both Good and Bad

A key finding from this report centers on the growing skills gap in IT. Organizations all over the world report they struggle with a knowledge shortage on their teams.

And while that information alone helps illustrate the challenge, it becomes more valuable when compared to other figures featured in the report.

Of the 76% of IT decision-makers who experience skills gaps on their teams, 50% say they plan to upskill or reskill their existing workforce because they see training as a way to reduce this deficit.

For many, there isn’t another option. The data IT decision-makers contributed to this report show severe talent shortages in cybersecurity, cloud computing and data, making these the top three most challenging to hire for.

If IT leaders can’t hire their way out of skills gaps, they recognize they must train their staff. However, that too proves challenging when the leading inhibitor of training is the daily workload (43%) IT professionals face. A lacking training budget follows (36%).

In this way, IT leaders have a delicate situation they must navigate. If they can’t hire new staff with the skills they need, they must train the existing workforce. But if their existing workforce can’t train due to workload, then it’s easy to feel stuck — especially when the leading reason employees report leaving their organization is due to a lack of training opportunities.

However, don’t despair. As mentioned, while this data uncovers some uncomfortable truths professionals in IT face, it also shows opportunities to reach aspirational goals.

To get an idea of the insights of this report, see this infographic. It provides an abridged version of the report.

Take the Survey, Join Over 9,000+ IT Professionals

To the IT executives, vice presidents, directors, team leaders and individual contributors in the audience:

We invite you to participate in this year’s survey and contribute valuable data to help advance the industry.

The survey will remain live from May 2022 through the end of June.

About the survey:

  • It typically takes 15-30 minutes to complete. You can bookmark you progress and pick up where you left off within one week of starting the survey.
  • It’s anonymous. We don’t sell the data or share it with others (and won’t spam you afterward, either).
  • You can enter a drawing for a $100 gift card if you complete the survey. Skillsoft plans to reward 10 participants gift cards at random, excluding government employees.
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4 Ways to Build a Successful Global Safety Training Program https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/4-ways-to-build-a-successful-global-safety-training-program Fri, 06 May 2022 00:10:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/4-ways-to-build-a-successful-global-safety-training-program

Well-designed and executed health and safety programs transform the way employees approach their work and have the potential to transform an organization’s culture. That’s why it’s so important to think critically about how your organization builds its training program – what problems are you solving for? What are your goals? What will success look like?

Skillsoft recently had an opportunity to sit down with Lynn Ross, senior director global operations training and development at Equinix, to discuss how the global, decentralized organization has approached its safety training program.

Lynn has an impressive track record in developing effective training programs, including:

  • Building the learning and strategy program at GE Healthcare from the ground, up, and spending more than 40 years of her career driving efficiencies in quality and compliance
  • Establishing the Johnson Controls Operations Academy to support the organization’s operations excellence regionally

Today, Lynn plays a critical and influential role in standing up a new global training organization for Equinix. She is working on developing a global operations training roadmap that creates a competent and empowered operations organization.

Here are four useful tips from Lynn for anyone beginning to build a global safety training program.

Look for Opportunities to Get Your Audience Right

Global organizations face many of the same challenges as they look to stand up a comprehensive training program. But perhaps one of the most impactful is getting their audience right.

Said Lynn, “You need to understand who your audience is: What do they do? What do they need to know? When it comes to safety, there are many cultural differences and regional regulations that need to be considered as part of your overall program.”

Under-resourced organizations may be tempted to create a comprehensive list of key training topics they need to address around the globe – then require all employees to take all courses to help simplify their efforts. However, approaching your training program with this one-size-fits-all mentality tends to miss the mark.

It’s important to consider that each of your employees is coming from a unique place within your organization. Some questions that you may want to ask yourself as you assemble the courses they’ll need to become compliant include:

  • Are they an individual contributor or a manager?
  • Do they work primarily in the office or in the field?
  • Where do they live? Are there specific regulations associated with that region?
  • How might they learn best?

When it comes to safety, there are cultural differences, regional regulations, and other things to consider. “The assumption that training is one-size-fits-all might hold you back as you build out your global training program,” said Lynn. “There are so many layers of content to consider – not to mention how your organization creates awareness around that content.”

When Lynn began working with Equinix, she spent three months doing a virtual learning and listening tour of the company’s office locations to help her better understand the employees to be trained. Her goal was to recognize who the team is, what they do, and how they learn. She led more than 20 workshops where she and her team outlined and mapped 200+ critical skills and four specific roles that helped them to outline and map their training curricula in a way that truly reflected employees’ day-to-day.

The overall impact of considering their training program from the perspective of individual situations, experiences, and even learning modalities was overwhelming.

Find Partners to Help Grow Your Program

Everyone has a specific role to play in the development of a globally effective compliance program. Organizations must understand who their employees are and what they need to learn to reduce risk. It is the role of a compliance training partner, like Skillsoft, to develop the content necessary for organizations to reach their specific goals.

According to Lynn, choosing a partner that offers a customizable course catalog of environmental, health, and safety (EHS) content allows organizations to make maximum impact. She said, “Equinix understands what Equinix employees need to learn, and when. Skillsoft understands how to mitigate risk and creates compliance training courses based on that knowledge.”

Working together as partners enables each organization to do what they do best:

  • Equinix devotes its time and resources to deciding how to customize content to each employee, how to deliver training in the most effective way, and how to build an effective training roadmap
  • Skillsoft devotes its time to creating effective, customizable course content that truly mitigates risk

Said Lynn, “My partnership with Skillsoft is critical. I don’t have to think about where the content comes from – it is already in Skillsoft’s library.”

Together, your organization and Skillsoft can create a customized global content roadmap that is able to address rapidly changing requirements and regulations.

Facilitate Learning in the Flow of Work (Training in the Know)

Nowadays, it seems like learning must fit in seamlessly with the new ways that people work – whether that’s at a desk or on a factory floor, all in one room or separately across multiple locations. How can organizations incorporate this new reality into their training programs?

Lynn likes to share an anecdote to help illustrate the importance of what she calls “training in the know” – or learning that takes place exactly when someone needs to know something. Here at Skillsoft, we call it “learning in the flow of work.”

Imagine you are about to go on a bike ride and your chain falls off. Maybe you have a general idea how to fix it, but you can’t remember the details. But you are all dressed in your gear and you’re planning to leave soon, so you need access to the information you’re looking for as soon as possible.

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

Not only would you get the information you need when you need it, but you would learn what you need to know by seeing and hearing it. Chances are, you’ll be able to recall that information more accurately later because you were able to learn it in the flow of work – when you needed it.

Learning in the know is just one way to equip your workforce with the information they need to stay safe, mitigate risk, and apply the skills they need when they need them. It is how many organizations are working to empower their workforce at faster rates than ever before.

Engage Learners with a Blended Approach

It’s important to build learning opportunities into the flow of work – to ensure that once the right content is in front of an employee, learning happens. One of the best ways to ensure that learning happens is to engage learners with a blended approach.

Lynn talked about how the workforce is changing: “The new generation of workers grew up extremely tech savvy. They expect to receive information quickly; if they do not receive it when they need it, they tend to grow bored.”

With that in mind, it is imperative that organizations work to engage all styles of learning – acknowledging who works best, and how. While it may not be a smart budgetary decision to create a handful of delivery methods for each compliance course that your organization offers, it is certainly something you should consider as you are figuring out the modalities of learning to incorporate into your training program.

According to Lynn, the possibilities for effective training are endless. Global organizations have a huge opportunity to create a custom compliance training program that engages learners where they are and takes compliance from a check-the-box program to something bigger. She urges: “Have fun! Make sure the programs you’re offering can keep the people you serve safe, but don’t be afraid to try new things.”

At the end of the day, a successful compliance program isn’t about rules – it’s about people. The Equinix value statement says it all: I’m safe. I belong. I matter.

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5 Ways to Create a Cybersecurity-Focused Work Culture https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/5-ways-to-create-a-cybersecurity-focused-work-culture Fri, 29 Apr 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/5-ways-to-create-a-cybersecurity-focused-work-culture

The importance of privacy and security cannot be overstated in an age where so much of our business infrastructure relies on technology. Unfortunately, it’s also this reliance that makes our infrastructure the perfect target for malicious actors.

To combat and adapt to these threats, many companies, including Skillsoft and at least 16 US states, have appointed a chief information security officer (CISO) dedicated to minimizing technology risks for the organization.

A big part of the CISO's job is to encourage employees to be security-minded. I've found that providing positive security experiences help create a partnership mindset between security and staff. Because while security focuses on malware and malicious attacks, human error presents the most significant risks.

As a CISO, you must educate employees to guarantee the security of your organization. Ninety-four percent of organizations report that they've had an insider breach. The average cost of a data breach is $4.7 million, and 20% of breaches can be avoided by providing educational resources for employees.

Often, it's an employee that grants bad actors access to your organization's digital infrastructure; nearly 30% of employees fall victim to a phishing attack because of a lack of training, and 86% of companies had at least one employee try connecting to a phishing site.

Cybersecurity training is key to keeping your organization safe. I see cybersecurity training — for leaders, practitioners, and other staff — as an essential part of a broad security strategy. When staff knows what to look for and have a clear picture of what their security teams do, they can better protect themselves and the organization's data.

A solid cybersecurity culture thrives when employees are educated and enabled. Getting them enthusiastic about their personal cyber safety will help them understand why they should be vigilant regarding their employers' security.

Sometimes, however, training can fall short of expectations because the content is outdated, not engaging, doesn't meet them where they are, and doesn't allow them to train in the ways they prefer. You can work 24 hours a day and seven days a week to be secure, but if even one member of the company isn't adequately trained, you are open to risk.

Organizations should establish a broad data privacy strategy, including high information governance standards for themselves that meet or exceed regulations. Creating such a culture of compliance around cybersecurity will not only avoid the risk of regulatory sanctions, costly reparations, and incalculable reputational damage, but also reap competitive advantage in terms of consumer trust.

Data security is not simply an IT responsibility. In fact, among the greatest risks to privacy and information security are employee actions. While bad actors certainly exist, even well-meaning but uninformed employees can cause a breach by falling for a phishing scam, inadvertently downloading malware, or clicking on a malicious link. Therefore, any training should encompass both broad data privacy concepts as well as specific requirements and cyber threats.

Here are five ways to prepare your workforce for today's and tomorrow's threats:

1. Adopt a culture of regular, personalized training

Training significantly benefits individuals and their organizations. Training improves morale, fosters high-quality outcomes, and faster resolutions. However, the biggest inhibitor to security training is often employees' workload. If they have too much going on, asking them to make time for security training can lead to burnout or disengagement with the material.

But, if training is the key to warding off phishing attacks and bad actors, leadership must build in time to complete training correctly.

As a security leader, it's crucial to help reinforce the value of training and prove how effective it can be. We also see that when employees have a variety of ways to consume training, it allows them to engage better. If they prefer books, on-demand training, or instructor-led courses, it's essential to provide them with the modality that fits their preferences.

Our annual Lean Into Learning Report compiles findings from surveys and research, industry analysts, and Skillsoft customers to share the state of training and the importance of creating a culture of learning.

2. Align the security team and workforce

Something I'm excited to be working on at Skillsoft is creating more substantial alignment between our security teams and disciplines and our workforce. We plan to improve communication with monthly newsletters and other internal initiative and become more visible within the organization.

The goal is to be present and transparent. If we want their partnership in protecting the organization, we must keep them aware of our efforts and give them insight into our workflow. For us, it's a two-way street.

3. Pay close attention to trends in your organization

Take note of your attack surface regularly. The only way to successfully stave off threats is to be aware of all possible entry points. You must be able to message how you, your team, and every member of the organization affect and are affected by it. Make that information widely and readily available.

Not only must you develop contingency plans and protocols, but keep them updated. Refresh documentation regularly, make it accessible to the team and broader organization as appropriate. Doing so will help ensure you minimize attacks when — not if — they occur.

4. Collaborate with your partners & customers

You can use the same strategy you used to transform your workforce to engage with your partners and customers more regularly. By sharing trends, strategies, and new developments as they happen, you're giving those who rely on you insight into how you're keeping them safe. Education and communication help create a cyber-aware community where we're all looking out for each other.

5. Focus on the right metrics

My key takeaway for leadership, especially other CISOs, is to remain focused on being prepared. It's terrific if you're able to block 99% of attacks, but if you don't stay perpetually ready, that 1%will sneak through. Of course, scoring a five on your NIST assessment would be an outstanding achievement, but you must find balance and comfort in the level of risk you manage while working within the constraints of the organization. Having plans to combat attacks is ultimately a better use of your organization's resources.

If you include your workforce and remain transparent, you will continue to have security allies throughout the organization.

Skillsoft continues to see security training rise in importance for organizations across industries. Since last year, security training consumption rose nearly 60%, according to user data in Percipio.

From security awareness to advanced skills for practitioners, Skillsoft offers professionals a blended approach to build critical skills to protect organizations from bad actors, phishing schemes or simply misconfigurations.

See Skillsoft’s complete catalog of Security training here:

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Eliminate Legacy Hazards, Look to Emerging Challenges https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/eliminate-legacy-hazards-look-to-emerging-challenges Thu, 28 Apr 2022 09:07:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/eliminate-legacy-hazards-look-to-emerging-challenges

As recently as 60 years ago, there were few safety regulations in the workplace – leaving many employees at risk for injury or death. Then, Congress established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) by passing the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

OSHA’s goal is to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers through standards, training, outreach, education, and assistance.

Each year on April 28, we celebrate the anniversary of OSHA opening its doors on Workers’ Memorial Day. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the idea behind Workers’ Memorial Day is to “recognize workers who died or suffered from exposures to hazards at work.”

Not only is April 28 a day of remembrance, but it’s also a day of opportunity. If you don’t already have a safety training program in place, now is the time to think about implementing one.

Legacy Workplace Hazards Still Exist

Despite the progress that’s been made in recent years, significant hazards and unsafe conditions still exist in the workplace.

Each year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics distributes a Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) meant to document injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. As recently as 2020, you might be surprised to learn that:

  • A worker died every 111 minutes from a work-related injury
  • Transportation incidents accounted for more than 37% of all work-related fatalities
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments led to 672 worker fatalities, the highest figure since the series began in 2011

There is still work to be done if we want to eliminate the workplace risks we know about – like distracted driving or exposure to harmful substances – and start to minimize emerging challenges. Workplace safety and health compliance programs are more than just training, they are a commitment that impacts your whole organization.

New Workplace Hazards Have Yet to be Addressed

Even as organizations look to improve their current commitment to safety, most understand that the world is evolving rapidly. Risks continue to emerge as employees collaborate in new ways. With COVID-19, for example, millions of workers have shifted from working in an office space — an employer-controlled environment — to working from home offices.

As a result, many compliance officers and their organizations are negotiating the challenges of working from home for the first time. Yet, according to research from global public relations firm, Edelman, only 14% of workers trust their companies to lead them back to work safely from the pandemic. That’s why companies must adopt a more proactive approach to checking in on employees who will be working from home indefinitely.

Skillsoft worked with Compliance Week, a business intelligence and information service, to determine how employers are approaching return-to-work efforts. Here’s what we learned:

  • More than half of telecommuters (52%) say their company has not provided additional training designed for remote work on specific prescribed topics
  • Only about a third of respondents say they received training on IT security (35%)
  • Only three percent received anti-harassment and bullying training for remote work settings
  • Just one percent received home office accident prevention training

What’s the best way to address the challenge of remote – and hybrid – work situations?

Skillsoft has pinpointed three key risk areas that are most likely to be impacted by the transition to remote work: home office safety, online harassment and bullying, and IT and cybersecurity risks. Below, we’ve offered some tips to help you begin to address these emerging risks.

Home Office Safety

While OSHA won’t hold employers liable for employees’ home offices and does not expect employers to inspect the home offices of their employees, there are steps that you can take to protect employees who are working from home. These include:

  • Help employees to identify and reduce ergonomic hazards in their home-office environment
  • Establish methods for employees to identify common hazards and prevent accidents in the home workspace
  • Ensure that your organization’s environmental, health and safety (EHS) policies are clearly communicated, understood, and implemented consistently among employees

Online Harassment and Bullying

When working from home, employees can become more casual, increasing your organization’s risk. The use of videoconferencing or phones in place of in-person engagement may further the tendency to feel that an interaction can be less formal. Here are three things you can do now:

  • Provide guidelines for not suitable for work (NSW) items
  • Encourage vigilance, even in informal channels like chat
  • Discourage the use of unsecured communication channels

IT and Cybersecurity Risks

Technology is only as good as its use, and revisiting and formalizing policies is crucial to reducing risk. Consider addressing new work-from-home risks by:

  • Updating current security and data privacy policies to clarify employees’ roles when working from home
  • Helping employees to identify and reduce behaviors and situations that increase risk in remote work
  • Providing modular training on IT security and data privacy; tracking participation

Workplace risk will always exist. And it will always take new forms as the way we work together evolves. To protect employees, organizations have a responsibility to stay vigilant, implement proactive safety training and policies, and change with the times.

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The Future of Tech and Dev Learning: Codecademy Content is Now Integrated Into Skillsoft Percipio https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-future-of-tech-and-dev-learning-codecademy-content-is-now-integrated-into-skillsoft-percipio Tue, 26 Apr 2022 12:49:00 -0400 info@imarc.com () https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-future-of-tech-and-dev-learning-codecademy-content-is-now-integrated-into-skillsoft-percipio

The events of the past two years have made it apparent that every company is a technology company, and their success depends on the pace and skills required to rapidly innovate and meet customers’ needs and employees’ expectations. But the rate of technological change is outpacing organizations’ ability to upskill and reskill their workforce, leaving a dire need for new skills across disciplines like programming, data analytics, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and many other critical technology areas.

According to the World Economic Forum, closing the global skills gap could add $11.5 trillion to global GDP by 2028. Yet, in the technology space, as Skillsoft's Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report found, 76 percent of IT decision makers worldwide are facing critical skills gaps in their departments – a 145 percent increase since 2016.

A large skills gap looms in technology

Why is there such a large chasm between the demand and reality for technical skills? A few reasons:

  • The pace. The rapid pace at which technology constantly changes is a major forcing function behind the need to reskill and upskill employees. The more powerful and productive technology becomes, the faster it will continue to evolve.
  • The curve. There’s a learning curve. For example, a developer who can code in one language can’t immediately transfer that skill to another programming language. There is a significant learning curve even for experienced professionals working in a new language or application.
  • The environment. Learning technical skills like programming is a hands-on experience. You can’t learn to do this solely by reading books or watching others—you must learn by doing. The truth is that the lessons that stick the best are often ones we learn by trial and error. For organizations hoping to train their teams, this creates something of a double-edged sword. You want your employees to learn new skills, but you don’t want them making mistakes on critical projects. Organizations need an affordable, immersive practice environment — and they need someone else to provide it because more likely than not, they don’t have the resources to build and maintain it.

Learning that lasts

With this in mind, Skillsoft is integrating Codecademy content into its Percipio platform to give organizations access to Codecademy’s immersive, self-paced interactive learning environment. The result empowers programming and data professionals to expand their learning experience within a safe, low-stakes, multimodal setting while applying newly acquired technical skills in real-time.

Paired with Skillsoft’s expansive set of learning options, including virtual instructor-led training, coaching, videos, books, bootcamps, live events, practice labs, assessments, and badges, Percipio offers the tools organizations need to close skills gaps, increase performance, and fuel growth.

What is being added?

Codecademy offers interactive, hands-on courses in 14 programming languages across multiple domains such as web development and data science. These 14 languages include: HTML & CSS, Python, JavaScript, Java, SQL, Bash/Shell, Ruby, C++, R, C#, PHP, Go, Swift, and Kotlin.

Now delivered through Skillsoft Percipio, these courses are bolstered by additional administrative and planning benefits, as well as links to critical tools like Benchmark Assessments that allow you to rate your level of proficiency in a particular skill and see where you can grow.

What are the benefits?

Below are just a few of the benefits of Codecademy courses being integrated into Skillsoft Percipio:

  • There are more ways to learn. With an integrated curriculum across all forms of learning, there are more ways to learn to meet the needs of the entire team.
  • It goes beyond the technical. Percipio offers content focused on collaboration skills to improve performance, including communication, project management, leadership, mental health, and more.
  • It’s content you can trust. Our curated content has been vetted by subject matter experts and is proven to build durable competencies.
  • It’s personalized for you. We use a learning technique called spaced repetition principles to create personalized practice experiences. By reintroducing programming concepts at intervals and collecting the learner’s data on how well they’re retaining those concepts, we can use an algorithm to determine what needs more practice and when. Then, we curate practice questions based on their individual progress.

For organizations looking for that safe, technical learning environment to reskill and upskill their employees, look no further. Get started with Codecademy content on Skillsoft Percipio today by requesting a demo.

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3 Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving at Work https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/3-ways-to-prevent-distracted-driving-at-work Fri, 22 Apr 2022 08:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/3-ways-to-prevent-distracted-driving-at-work

Did you know that motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of work-related deaths?

And, nearly 40% of motor vehicle accidents are caused by distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Since many distracted driving incidents occur during the workday, employers may be required to shoulder the cost of these accidents. That’s why it is pivotal for employers to provide employees with the information they need to control distractions at the wheel.

Keep Your Employees Safe on the Road

Whether your organization manages a fleet of vehicles or simply wants to keep employees who drive for work safe, implementing a driver safety training program can dramatically reduce the risks faced by your employees while protecting your company’s bottom line.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month — a great time to talk about putting a comprehensive driver safety training program in place at your organization. Here are just a few of Skillsoft’s most popular course titles:

  • Distracted Driving 2.0 teaches employees to recognize the types of distractions that prevent safe driving; identify why mobile devices distract drivers, and control distractions while driving.

Did you know? Texting while driving is the top cause of distracted driving. According to the National Safety Council, it results in a 400% increase in time drivers spend with their eyes off the road.

  • Defensive Driving 2.0 provides simple, effective defensive driving techniques you can use to reduce your chances of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Did you know? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, human error is responsible for 94% of all vehicle crashes.

  • Driving Safely, Driving Smarter specifies concerns to be addressed before and while driving, and teaches drivers to use safe driving techniques to avoid collisions, drive safely in various weather conditions, and respond to specific driving emergencies.

Did you know? The United States Department of Transportation reports that weather-related crashes account for about 16% of all vehicular deaths.

  • Urban Driving helps drivers understand how to safely drive through urban areas, enter and exit traffic, navigate intersections, react to traffic signals, and much more.

Did you know? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 71% of deaths from vehicle crashes in rural areas occurred on roads with speed limits of 55 mph or higher – and only 29% of deaths from vehicle crashes in urban areas occurred on these roads.

  • Defensive Driving: Truck Safety is about being a safe driver, driving a safe vehicle, knowing how to drive your vehicle, taking responsibility for driving carefully in hazardous conditions, and knowing when to take yourself off the road.

Did you know? Of the top 25 deadliest occupations in the United States, truck driving ranks seventh on the list – with truck drivers facing the highest number of fatalities of any job.

  • Safe Backing of Tractor-Trailers provides drivers of tractor-trailers awareness of the hazards, including how backing accidents happen and how to minimize these accidents.

Did you know? Large trucks have large blind spots, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 23% of all fatal large truck incidents involved the vehicle’s rear.

Skillsoft has extended its library of driver safety training to over 25 courses in the United States, alone. And, in 2019, Skillsoft announced a content partnership with Alertdriving to provide additional courses on the dangers of road risk and safeguarding drivers from injuries and fatalities.

Developed by experts, our comprehensive library supporting mission-critical compliance initiatives, coupled with global coverage in more than 30 languages and a dedicated account support team elevate Skillsoft’s course offerings.

Prevent Distracted Driving

So, what is the best way for your employees to reduce collisions, injuries, operating costs, and liability exposure? Below, find three valuable tips that can make a significant impact.

  • Establish a safe driving policy. Ensure that your organization has established a safe driving policy that has been widely communicated to employees. Moreover, ensure that your employees fully understand your organization’s policy, which should include requirements such as:
    • Mandatory seatbelt use by all passengers
    • Not taking calls, reading texts, browsing the web, or using phones while driving
    • Pulling vehicles to a safe location to use phones
    • Avoiding reading maps or programming your GPS while driving
    • Not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Implement a comprehensive training program. For example, one of your safety compliance training goals might be to educate employees on risks associated with distracted driving and help them avoid bad habits.
    Did you know that one of the most distracting activities drivers engage in is talking or texting on a cell phone? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that if you drive 55 mph and take five seconds to send or read a text, you’ve driven the equivalent length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
  • Encourage employees to acknowledge your policies. One crucial way to establish a successful training program is to encourage employee buy-in. Ensure that employees acknowledge your policies as they receive them. Talk to your team about what’s working and the impact that training has made on your numbers.

Remember: If your employees are doing any activity that takes their eyes — or mind — off the road, they are driving distracted. That means they are putting themselves and your organization at risk.

Improving Your Bottom Line

Workplace driver safety training has many benefits – aside from improving the overall health and safety of employees at your organization.

According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), traffic accidents in the United States cost employers $72.2 billion each year, including medical care, liability, lost productivity, and property damage.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the cost of distracted driving for employers:

  • The cost of property damage, each year, for a fleet of 1,000 vehicles averages $1.1 million
  • Average cost of a single fatal crash: $751,382
  • Average cost of a single non-fatal injury crash: $75,176
  • Average cost of a single crash that only causes property damage: $5,483

According to a study by the American Transportation Research Institute, settled cases involving reckless driving were more than 207% more likely to be associated with payments over $600,000. Approximately 50% of all settlement cases in ATRI’s data had payments exceeding $500,000, and the minimum payment for distracted driving cases involving phone use was $410,000.

Insurance rates in the fleet industry have increased by 10-15 percent year-over-year over the past ten years. As a result, organizations with accidents on their policy have experienced even greater expenses.

These numbers add up – but they are preventable expenditures when your organization invests in the online compliance training necessary to educate employees. For example, implementing the right driver training program can reduce the risk of accidents by helping to identify bad habits and introducing good ones.

Other benefits of effective driver training programs include:

  • Increased driver awareness: Training helps drivers become more familiar with potential hazards so they can proactively identify and prevent them
  • Vehicle cost savings: Well-trained drivers are more likely to maintain your company’s vehicles properly, helping to identify problems and maintain timely repairs
  • Reputation enhancement: A commitment to safety – and solid employee driving records – may help to strengthen your organization’s reputation

When is the best time to get your distracted driving program in place? Right now.

Skillsoft’s Transportation: Safe Driving course content covers risk areas such as Negotiating Hazards for Commercial Vehicles, Urban Driving, Driving Safely, Driving Smarter, and more.

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Earth Day 2022: New Data Finds Enterprise Learners Leaning into “Greening” https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/earth-day-2022-new-data-finds-enterprise-learners-leaning-into-greening Wed, 20 Apr 2022 08:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/earth-day-2022-new-data-finds-enterprise-learners-leaning-into-greening

Sustainability is no longer a nice-to-have, but rather a strategic necessity and business imperative. Pressure is mounting for all organizations to be more socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable, with the ultimate goal of reaching a place of net-zero emissions.

Many organizations are taking note, evidenced with hiring for “green skills” growing globally by almost 40% between 2016 – 2021. A net-zero transition requires a transformation of the global economy – no small task, as McKinsey estimates that $9.2 trillion in annual average spend will be needed for physical assets by 2050. However, it is by no means insurmountable, and as Stephanie Roe, global climate and energy lead scientist at the World Wildlife Fund and a lead author of a new IPCC report, put it, “there is a really amazing role that we can play, not just as consumers, but also as professionals.”

The good news is that at Skillsoft, we’re witnessing first-hand a sharp rise in green skilling in organizations around the world. Digital learning is the driving force, both in helping to raise awareness about factors contributing to climate change and equipping workforces with the skills needed to operate in a “greener” manner. With Earth Day 2022 right around the corner, we sought to explore this further and better understand how organizations are leveraging learning to achieve more sustainable futures. After analyzing data from thousands of organizations and learners accessing Skillsoft’s learning assets related to sustainability, climate change, energy efficiency, and much more (we’ll refer to it as “green content” and “green courses” going forward), here’s what we found.

Learning – to care for our planet.

Organizations face unprecedented challenges surrounding the climate crisis and its environmental impact. To build more efficient and responsible economic and social systems, there must be a fundamental shift in beliefs and behaviors within today’s businesses. This starts at the top. For example, if a company decides to transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources, there is an impact on the entire workforce. To be successful during these moments of change, companies and the leaders within need to ensure employees are not lost or left behind and equip them with the skills needed to adapt.

Skillsoft’s new data shows that organizations have made green learning and development (L&D) a much greater priority over the last 12 months. Comparing consumption of green learning content on Skillsoft Percipio in 2021 to the year prior, we observed:

  • 73% increase in organizations and 237% increase in learners accessing green content;
  • 218% increase in the number of badges earned by learners upon completion of green courses;
  • 134% increase in the number of searches for green content; and
  • 131% increase in total number of learning hours spent on green content.


Exploring the industries that have the highest numbers of learners engaging in, and completing, green content and courses, we see a bit of a shakeup in the list compared to the previous year. Energy & utility companies jumped five spots to become #1 on the list, while government organizations surged to the #2 spot after failing to appear in the top 10 in 2020. Interestingly, we also observed IT & technology service providers fall somewhat substantially (from #2 to #8), while construction and engineering companies took the #10 spot for the first time. The latter can likely be attributed to the rise in green building practices, which reduce the overall impact of built environments on human health and nature.

So, what is driving these changes? A multitude of factors. Organizations are being asked by shareholders, employees, customers, and partners to do more to reduce their carbon footprint. In tandem, the demand for employees with green skills to support these efforts is rising and opening new doors. After all, these skills now expand far beyond the traditional concepts of solar power and pollution prevention – everyone has an opportunity to work in a greener way.

We now know sustainability content consumption is rising. But, where are learners spending their time and which green competencies are trending in the workplace?

Let’s start by examining where learners are beginning their journeys. Looking at the top trending green-related topics on Percipio, unsurprisingly, “sustainability” holds the #1 position by a strong margin. What is surprising, however, is the sheer volume of searches compared to the prior year – a 214% YoY increase to be exact. Sustainability is not the only trending term. “Environmental awareness” (200%), “climate change” (169%), and “sustainable growth” (100%) have also seen dramatic increases in search volume.


As our planet’s environment changes, so do its effects on the business world. From natural resources to energy sources to supply chains, businesses must adapt or be left behind. Further, climate change requires businesses to adopt sustainable practices to remain economically viable AND environmentally responsible.

When we analyze the green content and courses that Skillsoft learners are completing most, we see those related to leadership and business strategies dominating our top 10 list. Everyone expects more than just lip service at this point and leaders are working to wrap their arms around local regulations and global agreements that affect how businesses operate, as well as the steps they can take to create sustainable practices. Subsequently, Skillsoft’s course, “The Effects of Environmental Change on Business” appears in the top three most completed green courses for the second consecutive year, while “Building a Strategic Commitment to Sustainability” takes the number one overall spot.

Organizations committing to net-zero emissions or even to becoming incrementally more environmentally friendly require significant change, forcing leaders to weigh the pros and cons. As a result, for the second straight year, we see Skillsoft's “Weighing Risks and Opportunities of Implementing Sustainability Initiatives” course trending in the top three.

Learners are proud of “greening” themselves and want the world to know.

Skillsoft issues badges upon completion of certain courses and/or Skillsoft Aspire Journeys. And, once earned, these are commonly shared via social media channels and serve as personal records of achievements.

Whether to flaunt newly earned skills or simply show their involvement in helping to create a greener world, learners are measuring, recording, and celebrating their accomplishments at scale. For the top three trending courses we’ve identified, Skillsoft observed a 362%, 142%, and 111% increase, respectively, in badges earned on its platform in 2021 compared to 2020.

Information sharing is critical to advancing environmental awareness, and promoting accomplishments not only drives attention, but also piques others’ curiosity on how they too can become green champions.

These findings paint an inspiring picture surrounding enterprise sustainability upskilling. So where do we go from here?

We continue to be amazed by the curiosity our customers show and how learning transforms workforces in a time where adaptation has never been more important. Across the globe, we’re living in an era of unprecedented disruption. But with disruption comes opportunity – to embrace new ways of working, living, and thinking. The shift to a greener world of work requires an evolution in talent and skills.

The previously referenced IPCC report warns that we must take immediate action to avoid the most extreme dangers of climate change. Changing the way humans work, live, and operate can have a major impact on reducing emissions – as much as 40 – 70%. Whether someone is in administration, construction, or tech, we all have a role to play in this effort.

For all organizations, this starts with building a culture of learning and assessing areas of opportunity to operate in a more sustainable manner. Steps include:

  • Understanding and defining organizational goals and knowing what skills are needed;
  • Recruiting and hiring for specific skills where gaps may exist;
  • Reskilling and upskilling the current workforce and seeking out effective, multimodal learning options; and
  • Supporting ongoing skill development while recognizing and rewarding learning.

The time is now for business leaders to invest in upskilling current and future green talent and for the global workforce to do its part to learn individual green skills that, together, will drive collective change.

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More Than Measurement: What Assessment Means to Us https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/more-than-measurement-what-assessment-means-to-us Thu, 14 Apr 2022 02:42:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/more-than-measurement-what-assessment-means-to-us

There are two schools of thought when it comes to assessment. According to one, assessment exists purely to prove you've learned something. All that matters is whether you pass the test at the end of the course.

At Skillsoft, we subscribe to a different view. We see assessment as an essential component of the skill acquisition process. Measuring learning is essential, but assessments can do much more than that. They can empower learners to take charge of their own paths while reinforcing the skills and knowledge they need to reach their destinations.

And when you embrace assessment as a learning opportunity in its own right, you end up with assessments that are more accurate and more valuable for both L&D leaders and learners alike.

Telling the Whole Learning Story

As Bloom's taxonomy illustrates, learning is a process of escalating complexity. We start at the bottom with the very basic facts, and we make our way through increasingly sophisticated stages until we master the topic. Each level of the ladder to proficiency asks us to think in different ways and exercise various skills to comprehend the material and, eventually, apply it in the real world.

We can't possibly capture the whole breadth of the journey with a single style of assessment. Sure, a multiple-choice question might illustrate whether a person can define basic terms, but it doesn't capture their ability to build something new using the knowledge they've gained. To tell the whole learning story, we need assessments tailored to each level of Bloom's taxonomy.

That's why, at Skillsoft, we don't reserve assessments for the beginning and end of a course. Instead, we use multiple assessments of multiple types throughout the process. For example, a diagnostic test at the beginning of a class helps learners understand where they're starting from; whereas, an in-course knowledge-check allows learners to track their development so far and determine where to go next. Capstone projects also give learners a hands-on way to practice — and perfect — their newly acquired skills.

By using multiple assessments of multiple types throughout the journey, we can gauge employee progress through each stage, giving L&D leaders a more granular and accurate view of talent development over time. This helps tell a fuller, more objective story about skill acquisition.

Helping Learners Find their Way

It's important to provide L&D leaders with a window into the workforce, but assessments must also be useful to the learners who take them. Assessment can — and should — actively help those learners acquire the skills they and their organizations need.

With the rise of on-demand and self-paced training formats, today's learners expect flexibility and control over their learning journeys. They also, however, want guidance along the way. Assessments can give them that guidance. From in-course knowledge checks to diagnostic testing to hands-on projects, well-crafted assessments empower learners to check in with themselves at any time to evaluate their current knowledge and abilities. In this way, assessment helps learners confirm what they've learned and pinpoints the exact skills they need to brush up on for that new project or next promotion.

In self-paced learning, it's all too easy for learners to fumble in the dark. Assessments can illuminate the many pathways that stand open before them.

What Makes a Great Assessment?

Assessments can only accomplish all of this — empowering learners, informing L&D leaders, and supporting skill development — if they're designed well. But what, exactly, makes a great assessment?

In short, a great assessment is designed with the needs of learners in mind and tailored to the specific learning objectives it aims to measure.

When our in-house content strategists and curators build learning programs, we always start with three questions:

  1. What are the different learner personas?
  2. What types of experiences do learners want?
  3. What are the outcomes that learners want?

The answers to these questions dictate both the course content and assessment design. To reach a variety of learners, we differentiate instruction. We offer videos, books, hands-on demonstrations, practice exercises, and other resources to support their desired outcomes — whether it be learning new skills through practice, gaining domain proficiency with certifications, or working toward a particular career path.

These learning activities and outcomes are all linked to carefully considered learning objectives, which we then use to create our suite of assessments. For example, if the learning objective is "Recall what an API is," a multiple-choice question will do the trick. On the other hand, if the learning objective is "Build an API," then a hands-on practice lab would be better.

It's vital to build assessments around specific learning objectives. That's how we ensure our assessments measure the right things and support the right skill development. And this, in turn, makes our assessments stronger learning opportunities. Learners are practicing real learning objectives with each assessment. That's scientifically proven to strengthen learning outcomes: We remember half of what we hear and see 14 days later, but 90 percent of what we do.[1]

The Power of the Right Assessments

By tracking progress and identifying areas for improvement, well-designed assessments put learners in complete control of their learning journeys. Learners can skip material they already know, focus on critical concepts they need to master, and build on their existing skills to reach new heights.

If you think of Skillsoft's vast array of instructional materials and activities as landmarks within your learning journey, then great assessments are the directions that will guide learners to the next stop. Whether they're an entry-level hire looking to gain new competencies or a seasoned professional updating to the latest technologies, learners who receive personalized feedback from well-designed assessments are on the fast track to success. And so, too, is your organization.

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7 Qualities of a Great Leader https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/7-qualities-of-a-great-leader Mon, 11 Apr 2022 08:30:00 -0400 Ursula.Dempsey@skillsoft.com (Heide Abelli) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/7-qualities-of-a-great-leader

As organizations examine how to build their leadership pipeline – from first-time managers to senior executives, many are faced with the challenge of how to successfully develop effective leaders. And failing to do so means dealing with the consequences – rises in employee attrition, reduced employee productivity and effectiveness, and a weak leadership bench.

In a recent survey by Global Leadership Forecast, only 11 percent of organizations reported that they have a “strong” or “very strong” leadership bench – the lowest it’s been in the past 10 years. So, it begs us to ponder the question: what makes a great leader?

It’s a tough question to answer. Leadership is a competency, not a role, so it’s difficult, if not impossible, to isolate a single quality, mind-set, behavior, or attribute that signifies greatness. While great leaders tend to embody many qualities, all working in concert, here are seven attributes that in combination create greatness:

1. SELF-AWARENESS

Great leaders are self-aware. They understand how their behaviors, words, actions, and even aspects like body language impact others. They seek feedback on their leadership. They try to see themselves through others’ eyes. This reflection can be difficult for some people, but it is incredibly important for leaders. They know that perception is part of their reality.

2. ABILITY TO CONNECT AND COLLABORATE

In today’s modern workforce there’s a level of inter-connectedness that we have never seen before. No longer operating in isolated, hierarchical environments, leaders now must thrive in a hybrid atmosphere that’s fluid and more democratized. Connecting and collaborating intensively across the organization is necessary for success. As so many teams today are cross-functional, connecting establishes valuable relationships for themselves and others across the organization. Today we can connect and interlink through virtual platforms and tools in increasingly authentic and intuitive ways that were previously unimaginable.

As for collaboration, it often comes down to this simple statement: collaborative leaders will place team needs and priorities above personal needs and priorities, and they actively foster synergy within the team and across teams. Successful leaders actively involve others in making decisions that affect them and, likewise, they give credit to others where credit is due.

3. LEADING THROUGH CLEARLY COMMUNICATED, PASSIONATE, AND OPTIMISTIC VISION

There is a lot packed into this one: Successful leaders craft a transformative vision and share it with a sense of passion. They help their teams understand not just what to do, but why they are doing it and why it matters. Great leaders mobilize their teams to execute the vision and sustain momentum through constant reinforcement of that vision. This approach demands a consistent, authentic, and transparent communication strategy. So, while some leaders may be poor communicators, effective communication to support vision is critical in today’s context, and great leaders work to develop the skills to do so.

4. BEING OPEN TO DIVERSE THINKING AND IDEAS BUT ALSO BEING DECISIVE

Great leaders acknowledge and accept that they don’t have all the answers. They are learning as they lead the way forward. They have an ability to be open to diverse thinking and yet recognize they must be decisive in a world of complexity, data overload, and rapid pace.

Being open means asking a lot of questions and then listening with an open mind. It means welcoming different perspectives, ideas, and opinions while creating an environment free from fear of ridicule or punishment. The best leaders learn from anyone – a new hire, customer, supplier– and they are open to what they are hearing. Being open also means undertaking an objective analysis of the data before arriving at conclusions. The availability of so much data today and the speed of processing that data even in real time allows for more input into decision-making, but leaders must have a good sense for when they had enough data to make a good business decision. They know they must also be decisive to lead effectively. The best leaders can strike that delicate balance.

5. CAPACITY TO BE AGILE, ADAPTABLE, AND FLEXIBLE

Great leaders today are aware of digital threats and opportunities, of course, but they must go beyond simple awareness and demonstrate the ability to be flexible, agile, and able to respond effectively to these changing environments. They can rapidly shift direction when necessary, both to the expected and to the unexpected, all while working with and guiding the teams and individuals they lead. They have the capacity to improvise when necessary, and they’re open to change and new challenges.

6. THE ABILITY TO EMPOWER AND CONTINUOUSLY MOTIVATE THOSE THEY LEAD THROUGH INDIVIDUALIZED CONSIDERATION

Effective leaders can look at every individual they lead and figure out how best to develop, coach, and motivate them as individuals, to obtain the greatest outcomes from them. A truly effective leader empowers their team members to accomplish the businesses’ objectives, and achieve their full potential.

7. THE ABILITY TO INNOVATE AND LEAD INNOVATION

Great leaders improve organizational performance through innovation. They encourage the application of original and creative thinking to both existing and emerging business models, processes, and products. Developing the capability to envision, foster, and apply innovation is fundamental to leadership today. Driving innovation means using good judgment to determine how, where, and when it will be deployed to create maximum business value. It also means finding ways to get the most creative thinking from the team. Creativity and innovation go hand-in-hand, and great leaders provide a welcoming home for original, imaginative thinking.

Those are the magic seven qualities, attributes, mind-sets however you want to catalog them. By any name, when combined, they create great leaders, and great leaders build great teams which deliver exceptional results for their organizations.

To learn how you can develop tomorrow’s great leaders, today, explore Skillsoft’s Leadership and Business Skills solutions.

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10 of the Most In-Demand IT Jobs — and Why https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/10-of-the-most-in-demand-it-jobs-and-why Fri, 08 Apr 2022 10:38:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/10-of-the-most-in-demand-it-jobs-and-why

While demand for skilled talent isn’t a new issue in IT, due to the Great Resignation competition has intensified for roles in cybersecurity, cloud, data science, and other areas.

It’s left tech leaders struggling to hire the workers they need. Nearly 40% of IT decision-makers have three or more unfilled roles on their teams.

“Conventional IT companies are no longer the only ones looking for IT workers, as more companies look to drive efficiency and scale to their business,” said Nev Ross, VP of Software Engineering at Skillsoft. “This has added an additional challenge to filling IT roles, which can delay project deliverables, affect company growth and customer satisfaction. Having open roles can be very costly to an organization in many ways.”

While competition for skilled workers remains high, another challenge continues to worsen at the same time: skills gaps. While most IT teams have skills gaps, what’s really staggering is how they impact the organization.

According to a joint IDG-Skillsoft survey, 89% of IT leaders see losses in revenue due to skills shortages, 76% see business go to the competition, and 72% see declines in customer satisfaction.

This makes the need for certain roles even more dire. But what are those roles? Which are truly most in-demand?

This blog, looks at 10 of the most in-demand IT roles today and explains why they are at the top. What’s more, for those IT leaders who struggle to hire talent, we recommend how to approach reskilling and upskilling your current workforce to close skills gaps.

The 10 Most Challenging Areas of Tech to Hire For, According to IT Leaders

In a survey of more than 9,300 IT professionals worldwide, we reported in our IT Skills and Salary Report that the top 10 most challenging areas to hire for are these:

  1. Cybersecurity
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytics and Big Data
  4. AI and Machine Learning
  5. Systems and Solutions Architects
  6. DevOps
  7. Leadership and Management
  8. Networking and Wireless
  9. Data Policy and Governance
  10. Project Management

For the past several years, cybersecurity has risen to the top of the list. Roles in this area remain among the most highly coveted and for good reason. According to IBM’s annual report on the topic, the average cost of a data breach is the highest it’s ever been at $4.24 million. Organizations continue to prioritize these roles because of the critical nature of security.

But, again, talent scarcity challenges IT leaders with team vacancies. Cyber Seek, an initiative to gather data on the cybersecurity job market, shows there are 597,000 open cybersecurity jobs in the U.S.

Cloud computing and data science also experience elevated demand for similar reasons. Nearly one-third of IT decision-makers struggle to find skilled cloud professionals, and 20% struggle to hire data scientists, analysts and so on. (Find more data in our report here.)

The evidence is clear. The tech field needs more people to fill specific jobs.

Leaders Struggling to Hire Talent Must Reskill and Upskill Their Workforce

Finding qualified workers — sometimes, just finding workers — is a challenge for many IT leaders today. In turn, organizations experience elevated security risk, slow resolution times, dipping customer satisfaction, and other consequences.

“Finding experienced engineers to match the specific skills for the job is a big challenge today,” said Murali Sastry, SVP of Engineering at Skillsoft. “If you can’t hire the right people, you can’t meet the company’s goals.”

Talent shortages force IT leaders to focus their attention on upskilling and reskilling their existing teams, while bringing in new staff. “Hiring junior engineers and growing the skills of team members have become business critical,” Sastry said. “This approach has proven to help with employee retention and attracting new talent to the company.”

For the 76% of IT leaders who have skills gaps on their teams, it’s important to reskill and upskill your current workforce to meet business objectives.

“Given the global talent shortage, the only thing you can do right now is look to your internal people and train them into the jobs you want to have,” says Mike Hendrickson, VP of technology and development products for Skillsoft.

The joint IDG-Skillsoft survey found that nearly all respondents (98%) have prioritized technical training investments because leaders want to increase their competitive advantage, their ability to deliver advanced solutions and meet client requirements. However, many organizations haven’t aligned their training programs with business goals and desired outcomes, leaving skills shortages at large.

As organizations continue investing in training, they must weigh the needs of the business and then consider how and when people learn. Providing choice and pathways to growth and creating a culture of learning will help build a future-fit workforce. “Internal career development is one of the greatest tools you have,” said Josh Bersin, global industry analyst of HR technology and corporate learning and development.

Our annual Lean Into Learning Report provides more insight into attracting and retaining tech talent and the current digital learning landscape.

Jobs in Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing and Data Science Lead in Highest Demand

For several years running, our research shows cybersecurity, cloud and data science among the leading areas of investment for IT decision-makers.

In addition to surveys and reports, we also looked at findings collected in our learning platform Percipio. We found security training consumption is among the highest areas of growth. Of the 12.7 million digital badges earned by learners in 2021, the five most popular are tied to security training.

The demand for cloud jobs often follows cybersecurity. Our research shows cloud computing remains one of the most difficult areas to hire for given a relatively shallow talent pool coupled with skill shortages in key disciplines, specifically cloud security, which jumped 19 percentage points from 2020 to 2021.

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen demand for data science training rival demand for cloud training. From the essentials to database administration, demand for training continues to climb as more organizations rely on data to inform decision-making big and small.

These factors fuel the need for experienced professionals, but organizations tend to seek out professionals for these roles most of all:

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts are in great demand, but as is the case with cybersecurity, not always in great supply. These professionals protect an organization’s digital information, intellectual property and more. They audit and analyze networks and systems, identify vulnerabilities, and then act to minimize risk.

Demand: High. Training data from Percipio shows security training grew by 59% from 2020 to 2021, reflecting the need organizations have for professionals like information security analysts.

What’s more, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) says growth for this role is much higher than average. Within the next 10 years, the number of jobs is expected to grow by 33%, more than four times the national average.

Employment Gap: The BLS reports there were about 141,000 information security analysts employed in 2020. LinkedIn shows nearly 60,000 job openings today. Projections show organizations will add 16,300 more openings to the market each year through the end of the decade.

Skills and Certifications for the Job:

Resources:

Cloud Solutions Architect

The transition to the cloud resulted in high demand for cloud architects, who develop and carry out cloud strategy. They lead cloud implementations, migrations, and upgrades. With hybrid, multi, public and private environments, cloud architects must help meet the organization’s needs by reducing cost and increasing security, agility, and reliability.

Demand: Our IT Skills and Salary Report found the second highest percentage of IT decision-makers (44%) rank cloud as a top investment area in the year ahead, just behind cybersecurity (49%). Percipio data corroborates these findings as demand for cloud architecture training grew substantially from 2020 to 2021. Training related to cloud computing grew by 28% year over year, with the highest growth in cloud security.

In our list of the 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications, cloud architects who certified in Google Cloud or AWS often hold some of the highest salaries, which have also grown since last year.

Employment Gap: Some estimates show organizations employ 143,000+ solutions architects in the U.S., and LinkedIn shows 121,000+ job openings for this role. Online job board Zippia reports solutions architect roles will grow by 8% through 2028.

Skills and Certifications for the Job:

Resources:

Systems Analyst

Systems analysts identify ways to increase efficiency by improving or automating processes. They focus on data analysis and work within databases to extract information that will help in decision-making and problem-solving. This cross-functional role collaborates with others to assess solutions, establish a project plan, determine the risk and benefits of change, and then support development.

Demand: The BLS projects systems analysts jobs will grow at 7% through the end of the decade, with organizations adding 47,500 jobs to the market each year.

Training for topics that fall under data and analytics grew by 35% from 2020 to 2021, with many interested in working with databases. Similarly, we saw increased training consumption for scripting, as well as Python, Java, C#, C++. However, training related to data operations and data architectures remained steady year over year, showing little sign of an increase or decrease in demand.

Employment Gap: In 2020, there were 607,800 systems analysts working in the U.S. Other estimates come in lower at 476,899. On LinkedIn, job searches for systems analysts yield 113,000+ openings. Growth for this role is projected at 9%.

Skills and Certifications for the Job:

  • Database query and data manipulation (Strong familiarity with SQL)
  • Computer programming (Python, Java, JavaScript)
  • Advanced knowledge of Excel (VBA, Power Query/M language, DAX, Power Pivot)
  • Project Management (Project Management Core Concepts)
  • Strong Interpersonal Skills (Communications Essentials)
  • Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)

Resources:

Data Scientist

Data scientists create statistical and machine learning models to help solve business challenges and reach desired outcomes. These professionals have a strong background in gathering, analyzing and reporting on large data sets to aid in planning and decision-making.

Demand: As reported elsewhere, Percipio trends show a 35% year-over-year growth in training related to data, specifically for tools, frameworks and core concepts, which showed a rapid increase in demand since 2019. Further, many IT decision-makers plan to prioritize data management, AI, cognitive computing and machine learning in the year ahead, placing these disciplines among the top investment areas.

A report by Burning Glass Technologies also highlights several areas that will need data scientists in the post-COVID-19 recovery. The report shows demand of 1.6 million jobs to aid in what it calls the logistics economy and another 828,000+ for the automated economy, which will rely on industrial big data analytics and machine learning.

Employment Gap: The BLS reports in 2020 there were 59,680 data scientists and mathematical science occupations. In March 2022, LinkedIn job searches show 140,000+ listings. Zippia reports data scientist positions are expected to grow 16% through 2028.

Skills and Certifications for the Job:

Resources:

Database Administrators and Architects

When it comes to database management, both architects and administrators serve as the subject matter experts within their organizations. They build, manage and support databases, and work with others in the organization to use data in support of business outcomes, like resolving active incidents or automating tasks.

Demand: As noted under the Systems Analyst role, data from Percipio shows strong interest and consumption in database training year over year. From 2019 to 2020, training demands grew quickly, and growth remains steady. Data training grew 35% in the past year.

Employment Gap: Organizations will add 13,900 new database administrator jobs per year through 2030. That’s a steady 8% growth rate over the next decade, which is consistent with the national average.

In 2020, organizations employed 168,000 administrators and LinkedIn job searches yield 75,000+ listings in March 2022.

Skills and Certifications for the Job:

Resources:

Programming and Software Craft Training Remain Among the Most In-Demand

At Skillsoft, software craft ranks among the highest areas of training. Since last year, Percipio data shows this category grew by 65%. Programming wasn’t far behind, growing 53%.

Under software craft, topics like Agile and project management attract the lion’s share of learners, while Python, Java, JavaScript and C languages lead the way in programming.


Software Developers and Engineers

Software developers and engineers are the brains and muscle behind many mobile applications and software platforms. Often, developers bring to the job knowledge of several coding and programming languages — most notably Python, Java, C, C++, C# and Microsoft .NET — and know how to debug code, troubleshoot and fix issues that may arise during development. This is a collaborative role that requires professionals to work with other teams to meet business objectives.

Demand: Percipio trends show demand for Python grew by 36%. Java training consumption grew by 58%, surpassing Python training for the first time. Training consumption of other languages showed growth over the past year, including for C++, but demand remained lower for these languages when compared to Python or Java.

Reporting by TechRepublic shows that over one-third of technical recruiters plan to hire 50 or more software developers in 2022, suggesting sustained demand for these professionals.

Employment Gap: In the U.S., there were 1.8 million software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers employed in 2020, according to the BLS. Growth is projected at 22% for these roles, which is almost three times faster than the national average. As many as 321,000 software developer jobs are listed online.

Skills and Certifications:

Resources:

Website Developer

Web developers work with stakeholders or clients to create web-based properties that help meet business objectives. They design, develop, test and improve websites, applications and other properties. Developers often integrate front-end and back-end systems, which requires they know a variety of markup or programming languages.

Demand: Demand and consumption trends in Percipio show several programming languages rising in popularity, particularly Python and Java. Training consumption for markup languages and front-end development grew in the past year, but demand in these areas remain comparatively low, with some languages plateauing in the past year, like .NET. Our own research also found app and web development in the bottom half of IT decision-makers investment areas.

That said, technology jobs platform Dice found the average salary for web developers jumped more than 20% in the past year, the highest salary hike of any role in its report. What’s more, the BLS predicts web developer jobs to grow by 13% this decade, almost twice as fast as the national average.

Employment Gap: Nearly 200,000 website developers were employed in 2020. Through the end of the decade, the BLS projects this role to grow 13%, with close to 18,000 jobs added annually. That’s almost twice as fast as the national average (8%).

Job searches for website developer roles come in at 39,000+ on LinkedIn in March 2022.

Skills and Certifications:

Resources:

DevOps Engineer

When it comes to managing complex projects and processes, the DevOps engineer is the one who keeps it all running smoothly. These subject matter experts bring together developers, engineers and operations teams to meet business objectives, streamline and automate processes, and balance priorities and new development with stability and scalability. They have diverse skill sets, since this role requires both technical skill but also leadership and collaboration.

Demand: DevOps training was the third-most in demand under the broader Software Craft catalog, according to Percipio trends. Broadly, project management led the category, followed by Agile. Testing is also high in demand year over year, but gave way to DevOps for the third rank.

Our survey findings support the demand for DevOps roles. Professionals who work in DevOps rank among the highest paid in IT but also among the hardest to find qualified talent.

Employment Gap: According to Zippia, there are about 11,000 employed DevOps engineers in the U.S. and projected growth for this role is 21%, which is almost three times what the BLS reports as the national average. As of March 2022, LinkedIn shows about 60,000 listings for DevOps engineer roles.

Skills and Certifications:

Resources:

Don’t Overlook These Roles. Organizations Still Need Them…

Broadly, the IT industry needs more workers. The talent shortage makes it hard to find and keep talent. At the same time, reliance on technology and IT won’t let up. Organizations must have skilled workers at every level and across disciplines to help keep end-users productive and operations running smoothly.

Network And Computer Systems Administrator

When a network goes down, systems administrators are likely first on the scene. It’s often these roles have requirements to rotate on-call shifts, because they support and troubleshoot issues that may arise with wired and wireless networks. They develop and install networking solutions, support users, aid in security analysis, and more.

Demand: Professionals with backgrounds in networking rank among the top 10 most challenging to hire, which may be due to slower job growth and this area of IT taking lower priority for IT leaders. Only 10% of leaders rank networking and wireless LAN among their top 20 investment areas in the year ahead.

Despite this, Percipio shows a 44% increase in infrastructure training in the past year, which helps indicate the importance of roles like this one. So much is tethered to the network and without skilled workers to maintain its reliability, some functions within an organization can come to a standstill.

Employment Gap: More than 350,000 network and computer system administrators were employed in 2020. However, the growth of this role is projected lower than the national average at 5%. That said, the BLS reports organizations will add about 24,000 new jobs annual through 2030. On LinkedIn, there are about 50,000 system administrator job listings.

Skills and Certifications:

Resources:

Help Desk and IT Support Professional

The help desk remains one of the key starting places for entry-level IT professionals and an important asset to organizations overall. Help desk and IT support professionals respond to and resolve end-user issues, often acting as the first point of contact for the technical organization. These professionals must have a broad understanding of software and hardware, which requires them to have a diverse skill set and strong troubleshooting abilities. Strong communication is critical in this role too.

Demand: Training for foundational principles and practices — security essentials, in particular — have grown since last year, according to Percipio data. What’s more, CompTIA reports more than one-third of companies need people with these skills to support PCs and users; one-quarter need help desk professionals for mobile device support, which may increase as more organizations adopt hybrid work models.

Employment Gap: Organizations employed 844,600 computer support specialists in 2020. Job growth for these roles runs slightly higher than the national average at 9%, with the BLS predicting more than 70,000 job openings each year through the end of the decade. On LinkedIn, there are 574,000+ job listings for IT support.

Skills and Certifications:

Resources:

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Skillsoft and Codecademy: Equipping today’s workforce with the skills for tomorrow https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/skillsoft-and-codecademy-equipping-todays-workforce-with-the-skills-for-tomorrow Tue, 05 Apr 2022 07:00:00 -0400 info@imarc.com () https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/skillsoft-and-codecademy-equipping-todays-workforce-with-the-skills-for-tomorrow

By now, we all know that technology has forever changed the way we work. Yet many organizations are struggling to find the technical talent or develop the workforce skills needed to succeed in today’s digital economy. According to McKinsey, nearly nine in ten executives and managers say their organizations either face skills gaps already or expect gaps to develop within the next five years. And according to the World Economic Forum, closing the skills gap could add US$11.5 trillion to global GDP by 2028.

While the need for technical skills has never been higher, the opportunities to learn those skills have also never been more accessible. That wasn’t always the case– and as Codecademy officially joins the Skillsoft family and we embark on this next chapter together, I want to share a bit more about Codecademy’s story and mission.

A Better Way to Learn to Code

The Codecademy story begins in a Columbia University dorm room in 2011. I was an undergraduate studying political science at the time, but after working part-time for a few tech startups, I quickly realized that the skills needed in the workforce weren’t being taught in most classrooms. After struggling to teach myself how to code, I knew there had to be a better, easier way for people to learn these sought-after technical skills – which is exactly what my co-founder and I set out to create with the launch of Codecademy. I decided to drop out of school, and just a few months later, we went live with our first three lessons in JavaScript.

Today, Codecademy’s curriculum spans over 150 courses, 700 projects and quizzes, and 1,000 lessons across domains like web development, data science, cybersecurity, and more. We designed the Codecademy learning experience to be interactive and self-paced, so that our users can apply their technology skills in real-world environments, while learning wherever or whenever their busy schedules allow. By focusing on engagement, flexibility, and accessibility, we’ve been able to bring online technology education to over 40 million learners and counting.

After working mostly with individual learners, we discovered that Codecademy was not only helping people land a job in technology, but also was helping them succeed while on the job. More and more of our learners were bringing Codecademy into the workplace to support their teams, increase productivity, and take their careers to the next level. It became clear to us that Codecademy’s mission – which is to empower inspiring careers in technology – also applied to businesses and their workforces. By scaling technical learning in the workplace, we could help companies realize their full potential, while also supporting the individual career paths of their employees.

Skillsoft X Codecademy: Our Next Chapter

That brings us to today, with Codecademy officially joining the team at Skillsoft. Together, we want to create a world where every person and every team has the opportunity to learn the skills needed for success in the 21st century. And as we bring together the best of consumer learning with the best of enterprise learning, we’ve never been in a better position to do just that.

Through Skillsoft’s relationships with over 75% of the Fortune 1000, we can bring interactive technology education to some of the biggest companies around the world – allowing them to eliminate skill gaps, keep pace with technological innovation, and create a culture of continuous learning for their employees. The skills of today aren’t necessarily the skills of tomorrow, and in order to thrive in the digital transformation, companies need to invest in learning solutions that not only support their bottom lines, but also empower their team members to grow.

By combining Codecademy with Skillsoft, we can deliver more content, products, and learning experiences to our collective community of over 90 million learners and counting. Together, we will be able to expand our offerings across the Technology & Developer sector, as well as explore different modes of learning for a truly immersive and engaging experience. Whether someone is learning on their own or inside of a company, our goal is to become a truly end-to-end digital learning experience for every person working with technology – which I believe will be most people in the future.

At the end of the day, this milestone is about bringing two mission-driven companies together to make an impact on businesses and the lives of their employees. We believe that the world is a better place when education opportunities are accessible to all, and when every person and every team has the power to build something meaningful with technology. By joining the Skillsoft team, I’m thrilled that we get to build that world together.

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7 Tips to Progress Your Career from CIO Orla Daly https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/7-tips-to-progress-your-career-from-cio-orla-daly Wed, 30 Mar 2022 08:30:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/7-tips-to-progress-your-career-from-cio-orla-daly

When I first met Orla, I immediately noticed her Irish accent. It drew me in, and I wanted to know more about how she came to live outside Boston, Massachusetts. It wasn’t long before my curiosity about her travels was taken over by my desire to learn from Orla. She has an almost immediate ability to draw you into conversation and a natural talent for putting you at ease — skills that have served her well throughout her career.

As I got to know Orla, I asked about her early days. If you read, Chief Information Officer (CIO) in her title and imagined a childhood of chess matches and late nights playing with code, you are in for a surprise. Orla’s unconventional path to technology is a hint into her deepest motivators and the strengths she brings to her profession. It’s grounded in relationship-building and an adventurous spirit that believes anything is possible.

For as long as she could remember, Orla had a thirst to explore the world. She began to quench that thirst by studying French and German in college — not exactly the educational foundation one expects from a CIO, but one that proved valuable.

Orla saw language studies as a ticket to leave Ireland and a way to better understand others. She considered leveraging her language skills to parlay a job in marketing after graduation, but that didn’t feel right. Instead, she took a step that in hindsight would trigger an unexpected but satisfying career.

Orla, enrolled in a master of information technology degree program in Scotland. From what she describes, I’m not sure Orla knew how much she’d feel at home in the program – but what’s certain is she knew it was a chance to keep learning and it felt like another adventure.

Living in Scotland, Orla got her first taste of how technology could change lives. She was drawn in by her first healthcare application. She developed a system to visualize cancer in the human body. It hooked her on using technology to make an impact. Perhaps for the first time, her master’s program was more than a way to go on adventure, it became a way to ground her professional life.

Joining Exxon in the UK, Orla began to feed her wanderlust. She took advantage of their global footprint and got assigned to France. Two years later she moved to Belgium. It was an incredible career move for Orla. She was in her 20s having fun and felt the joy of her freedom. At Exxon, her business acumen and technical training made her the perfect liaison between functions. She began mastering the integration of technology and business to drive value..

In 2005, after getting married, Orla moved to the United States and was ready to build roots in one place. The transition to life in New England came more easily than she had expected. Soon she felt grounded in her new home.

Yet, her drive to learn from new people and about new places didn’t go away. It simply changed form to match her current life. Today, she and her family enjoy taking vacations in places they have never visited before. Although there is one place, Acadia National Park in Maine, that draws the family for frequent return camping trips. There is something magical about the disconnection from day-to-day life that you experience surrounded by the crashing ocean waves on rock. She finds rejuvenating energy in nature. Stepping away from technology is just the break she needs to come back with inspiration.

Throughout our conversation, I was struck by the important lessons Orla shared. Her reflection was clear proof that she’s committed her life to growing – personally and professionally – in a way that betters others around her. She wasn’t shy about sharing what her journey has taught her:

Build trust and understanding

When Orla told me, “I really want to understand the business and the needs of our customers,” her conviction was clear.

She advocates constant curiosity by asking lots of questions, but also really listening to what others express because that is the foundation for building trust with your peers across the organization. Without trust, you can’t make an impact.

Focus on the outcome not the output

It’s tempting to get caught up in the plan. Moving through the to-do list, meeting deadlines, focusing on the output, staying on budget. We can’t let ourselves get lost in all the work, we must remain focused on the impact that work is meant to achieve.

Flex your empathy muscles

Seeing a problem or an opportunity through the lens of others is incredibly insightful and helps bridge functions together. It may seem hard at first, but simply taking a moment to pause and reflect before responding can provide the space to do this well.

Embrace diverse points of view

One of the joys of being a CIO is the interaction with people across the organization. Each brings a unique point of view. It takes effort to get to know your team, but that effort always pays off. When we drop our expectations that everyone must show up in a specific way, we open the door to innovative solutions and new ideas.

Knock down your defensive walls

In order to be effective, hard conversations need to take place. It’s critical that you allow a safe space for those to happen. That means showing your vulnerability and accepting the feedback being delivered, so others will model your example.

Resist the temptation to type cast

A complex, global organization is like a puzzle. We have to understand how all the pieces fit together to form a whole. We can’t do that if we don’t explore the attributes of each puzzle piece. The same is true for our people. We need to see their skills, but also their personalities.

Be your most vigilant customer

One of the best things about working for Skillsoft is that every single employee can use our products. By using our own solutions to advance our people, we not only improve employee satisfaction and optimize performance, we make better products for our customers.

Throughout my conversation, Orla made me smile often. So, it’s no surprise that before we wrapped up, she shared one last, important lesson:

Don’t forget to have fun!

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Turning Learners into Fans Part 1: Developing a publishing program for learning personas https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/turning-learners-into-fans-part-1-developing-a-publishing-program-for-learning-personas Tue, 29 Mar 2022 08:30:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/turning-learners-into-fans-part-1-developing-a-publishing-program-for-learning-personas

A two-part series by David Meerman Scott, marketing strategist and author of 12 books including the Wall Street Journal bestseller Fanocracy

It is amazing that so many marketers spend their time like this: holed up in comfortable company conference rooms or in Zoom rooms trading ideas about how to market their products. You know, just off the top of their heads. The worst part? In these making-stuff-up sessions, there is no representation of the voice of people who will buy the products and services. People go back and forth, saying, “Oh, I think we should do this” or “I think we should do that.”

The way most marketers operate is by making stuff up.

However, organizations filled with people who take the time to understand the needs of buyers they wish to reach, and then develop information to educate and inform those buyers, are more successful than organizations that just make stuff up.

How a focus on marketing your learning content drives engagement

In this two-part blog series, we will look at tried-and-true marketing tactics that you can easily adapt and deploy in your organization to engage learners in ways that are most valuable to them. The ideas in this series have been used by millions of people around the world to market to customers, however these techniques are rarely used for internal communications. There’s no doubt that these marketing strategies can work to increase engagement with your learners and over time turn them into fans of the learning programs offered by your organization.

When you understand your learners’ needs and develop the kinds of programs to reach them at the moment they are ready, they will become your fans. They will eagerly share with others in your organization how valuable the learning offerings are for their growth as employees.

This series is organized into two blog posts:

  • We will start by looking at how to segment your learners into distinct groups, what I call buyer personas in the marketing world. Then we will consider ways to educate and inform your groups of learners by publishing information and being active on social media.
  • Then, in the second post, we will dig into the concept of real-time communications. And to put it all together, we will consider how to create a plan to implement these ideas into a plan at your organization.

Developing learning personas

Buyer personas is a marketing term that describes the distinct groupings of potential customers. Understanding the market problems and needs of definable groups are critically important for successful marketing that leads to business growth.

The same ideas can work for you to reach your internal audiences.

Creating marketing initiatives that target specific buyer personas is a strategy that easily outperforms the results marketers get by simply sitting on their butts in a comfortable office making stuff up.

My use of the word “buyer” applies to any organization’s target demographic. A politician’s buyer personas include voters, supporters, and contributors; universities’ buyer personas include prospective students who might apply, their parents who will help foot the bill, and alumni who might donate; and a nonprofit’s buyer personas include corporate and individual donors.

Similarly, your learners can be grouped into distinct personas so you can create communications programs targeted at just what they would be interested in.

Let’s call them learning personas instead of buyer personas.

By working to understand the market problems that your learning programs solve for members of your learning personas, you’ll gain the insight you need to quickly develop programs that will resonate with learners.

For an example of buyer personas used in marketing, consider the rental car industry. Now, I’m no industry expert, but I do rent cars from time to time. It would seem to me that rental car companies serve quite a few distinct buyer personas. Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Independent business travelers who make rental decisions themselves
  • Employees in the corporate travel department who make an approved vendor deal on behalf of hundreds or even thousands of company travelers
  • City dwellers who don’t own a car but who need wheels for the weekend
  • Somebody choosing a car for a family vacation
  • A commuter whose own car is in the repair shop for a few days but who still needs to get to work

The incredible value of creating multiple personas and researching the needs of each is that the way they express the problems your organization solves may be very different. In the rental car buyer persona example, a corporate travel manager who cuts a deal for 5,000 employees has very different needs (for example, to save the company money) than somebody whose car is in the shop for a week and needs a reliable vehicle for a few days because, above all, she cannot miss work.

Smart organizations build marketing strategies that will appeal to each of these buyer personas, with a focus on their unique problems. It is precisely those organizations that build sites based on buyer personas that cause you and me to go “Wow! They really understand me!”

The same thing is true for you.

Somebody working in your company’s customer support department who needs a learning program focused on conflict avoidance is very different from a senior manager who aspires to an executive level role and wants leadership training. In turn, the needs of those two groups are unlike the needs of those in software development and IT operations who need to learn the latest technologies.

We can consider each of these three hypothetical groups of learners are a unique learning persona. With a deep understanding of the needs of each of the learning personas you serve, your communications can be targeted to the needs of each persona.

“We approach learning like the Burger King slogan “having it your way”, says Cathy Manginelli, VP of Talent Management at TriNet. “We offer a variety of options directly with the learner. We offer online opportunities, virtual facilitated cohorts, and communities coaching. We offer resources ensuring that there's a multitude of ways no matter what employees are learning—whether its technical, functional, system related or leadership development—that they get what they need. We have a working committee of over 50 colleagues that help us chart the learning journey and they co-create with us. We also have an employee resource groups that we call ‘colleague resource groups’. We have different communities that we tap into, depending on what that need is.” SOURCE: Panel: Winning the Hearts and Minds of Your Learners and Your Customers Perspectives 2021

As you develop communications programs to reach your constituents about learning content, a focus on discreet groups, what we’re calling your learning personas, can radically change how you and your colleagues are perceived.

Rather than one-size-fits-all, develop strategic themes and tactical messages for each learning persona about how learning can help them on a day-to-day basis to do their job better, how to grow as an employee, and move up in the organization.

The first step in turning learners into fans is to communicate to them in a personal way they will appreciate.

Develop an information publishing program to educate and inform your learners

Once you’ve identified the learning personas that you want to communicate with, you will need to understand the best way to reach them.

At most organizations, communications channels such as email and slack are clogged with all kinds of messages competing for employees’ attention. The challenge to communicate effectively is to use the tools each learning persona prefers.

As you create your strategy, consider how you can utilize video, social media, and other alternative communications methods to break through the clutter.

As many smart marketers know, well-crafted information that serves to market a product, service, or idea such as blogs, video, infographics, social networking feeds, podcasts or virtual events are essential for reaching buyers and pushing them into and through the buying process.

I’ve been talking about how drive action for more than twenty years now. In that time, I've seen thousands of organizations around the world implement these strategies and they work. It doesn’t matter the marketplace—business-to-business, consumer brands, services, or independent consultants—a modern marketing approach works better than traditional advertising.

“We don’t think of learning as an event, but rather as a process that takes place over time:” says Ben Sieke, Director, Talent Development and Learning at Delta Dental of California. Sieke takes a consulting approach when working with internal clients. “It isn't just one day we go and do this or three days we go and do that. The learning experience takes place over time in bits and pieces. And then leaders within our client group, and in particular the contact center, coach against those same expectations.” SOURCE: Panel: Winning the Hearts and Minds of Your Learners and Your Customers Perspectives 2021

The new marketing model on the web also works to reach internal audiences including learning personas. It’s not about hype and spin and messages. It is about delivering exactly what is needed and, in the process, branding you or you and your team as leaders, developing fans as you go.

If you adopt social sharing tools popular on social media such as “like” and “share” buttons, learners can help promote content to their peers.

Similarly, “upvote” systems (a way to promote content that learners appreciate via voting) and “badges” (online certificates of completion of learning programs) can be used to share learning content.

Here are some marketing basics to keep in mind as you create an information publishing strategy to reach your learners:

  • Information Publishing Strategy #1: Start with your learners.
    When you understand your audience—specific learning personas who will benefit from your offerings—you can craft a content strategy just for them. What works is a focus on each group and their problems. What is less likely to break through is a simple display of your offerings.
  • Information Publishing Strategy #2: Consider your learning persona’s problems or questions and be helpful by showing that you and your organization understand their needs.
    To dig into their problems, read the publications that your learners read, attend virtual events that they attend, read a few of the blogs they read, and maybe interview a few people from each learning persona. You might also consider tapping managers to learn what learning content is the most needed by the employees in their departments. Rather than simply talk about what you have to offer, show that you understand learners’ problems.
  • Information Publishing Strategy #3: Define your organizational goals first as well as how you intend to measure the success of the marketing strategies you implement.
    When possible, try to align your departments objectives with those of the organization. For most corporations, the most important goal is profitable revenue growth. In newer companies and those built around emerging technologies, this usually means generating new customers, but in mature businesses, the management team may need to be more focused on keeping the customers that they already have. When learning programs align with the overall company goals your efforts become much more strategic.
  • Information Publishing Strategy #4: Use examples and stories! Make it interesting!
    Imagine you’re at a cocktail party. When someone says: “Let me tell you a story…,” you’re interested, right? However, when someone says: “Let me tell you about my company’s training programs…,” is your reaction the same? Hearing about someone’s training doesn’t sound like a way you want to spend your valuable time, does it? Stories are exciting. Most marketing is not. As you create publish information to promote your learning programs, consider how you can tell stories of how your learners have grown through your offerings.
  • Information Publishing Strategy #5: Consider creating an editorial plan for each learning persona.
    You might create a calendar for the upcoming year that includes learning content for each persona, and the ways that you will deliver that information, such as blogs and video. Notice as you build an editorial plan and an editorial calendar for the next year that you're now focused on creating and publishing the compelling information that your learners are interested in. Unlike the way you might have done it in the past, you are not just creating a big brochure about your learning content. Instead, you are focusing directly on your learners.

In the second post in this series, we will dig into the power of real-time communications. We will also consider how to create a plan to implement these ideas into a strategy at your organization.

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The Most Meaningful Way to Measure Learning https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-most-meaningful-way-to-measure-learning Fri, 25 Mar 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-most-meaningful-way-to-measure-learning

The Value of Assessments Defined Against Learning Objectives

No road trip is complete without a reliable map — or, more likely, your phone’s trusty GPS. Otherwise, you wouldn’t know where you were or how to chart the best course to your destination.

Learning is also a kind of journey, only instead of going somewhere physical, your endpoint is mastery of a new skill. As with a road trip, it’s helpful to have a map. That’s especially true if you’re one of the 76 percent of decision-makers with critical skills gaps in their teams.[1] Closing those gaps will require some significant upskilling and reskilling efforts. To make those efforts as effective as possible, you need to know exactly where your current workforce stands and what they need to learn to become future-fit.

But how do you map a learning journey and keep learners on the right track? You need assessments backed by meaningful learning objectives.

Benchmarking Basics

Assessments evaluate a person’s knowledge of a topic using a standardized measurement —benchmarks, for example, can provide an assessment of how much a learner knows about a given topic. Many existing assessments are known as “normative assessments.” That means they use the performance of other test-takers as their reference points. A learner’s knowledge is evaluated by comparing their score to the scores of others. Those who do better than average are deemed more proficient.

While these comparisons are useful for some purposes, there are better ways to guide future skill development. Think of it like this: If you set off on a road trip with a map that only showed your position in relation to other cars on the road, would you be able to get where you want to go? Those other cars might not be starting from the same place as you. They might not be taking the same routes.

Criterion-based assessments are different. Instead of comparing test-takers’ scores, they measure every learner’s knowledge against the same objective, impartial standard or learning goal. This paints a more accurate picture of where learners stand on the road to skill mastery. Rather than telling you which of your people is best at a particular skill, criterion-based assessments answer the most critical questions for an L&D leader: What does my workforce already know, and what must they learn to master the skills our company needs?

We've discussed different options for interpreting assessment scores and presented a valuable use case for the criterion-based method. Now, let's direct our attention toward creating impactful assessments.

What Is a Learning Objective?

A learning objective is a clear, concise statement that describes what a learner should be able to do after completing some form of learning content, like a course or video. With that in mind, the most effective assessments measure understanding of the learning objective itself, not the course.

If learning is a journey, you can think of learning objectives like checkpoints on the way to skill acquisition: They keep you on track and guide you toward your destination. You might also think of them as building blocks: smaller pieces of knowledge that, when taken together, constitute mastery of a skill.

For example, if someone were working toward a cybersecurity certification, they’d need to tackle learning objectives like:

  • Recall the three fundamental principles of information security.
  • Compare and contrast single-factor authentication, two-factor authentication, and multi-factor authentication.
  • Create an incident response plan for a hypothetical ransomware attack.

Because learning objectives articulate the specific outcome learners should achieve at each stage of their learning journey, they are particularly useful as a basis for developing benchmarks or any other type of assessment. Consider an assessment that evaluates learners by measuring their knowledge against a set of learning objectives: The results will tell the learner which objectives they’ve met and which they still need to work on to achieve skill mastery.

Why Assessments Work Better When Defined Against Learning Objectives

When we use learning objectives to assess skills, every learner’s progress is measured against the same clearly defined and unchanging standards. As a result, upskilling and reskilling efforts become much more objective, transparent, and personalized:

  • Objectivity:Each learning objective reflects practical knowledge a person needs to master a new skill. When assessments are developed to assess whether or not a learning objective has been met, learners receive clear and unbiased feedback on their current skill level.
  • Transparency: Learning objectives give structure to the skill acquisition process, allowing learners and L&D leaders to more easily track and understand progress. Assessment results show us what a person has successfully learned and what they still need to learn to acquire a new skill.
  • Personalization:Every learner brings their own level of knowledge to a subject and learns at their own pace. When we base benchmark assessments on defined learning objectives, we can determine precisely where each individual should start their journey and how they’re progressing. That way, everyone only spends time on the content they actually need to review.

Going back to our map analogy, assessments tied to learning objectives are more like a modern GPS than a paper atlas. They pinpoint where you are on the road to skill mastery, and they offer directions to your destination based on your unique location.

Taken together, all of this makes for a far more effective approach to developing new skills. Learners can quickly identify and remedy their knowledge gaps. L&D leaders can objectively measure workforce capabilities and track progress toward mastery. There’s no guesswork.

It’s not quite as simple as punching an address into your phone and turning right when the chipper voice says to — but it’s not that much harder, either.

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How Bloom's Taxonomy Can Help You Get More Out of Your Assessments https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-blooms-taxonomy-can-help-you-get-more-out-of-your-assessments Fri, 18 Mar 2022 08:30:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-blooms-taxonomy-can-help-you-get-more-out-of-your-assessments

Assessments have gotten a bad rap. Just reading the word "assessment" might evoke flashbacks to your school days — sitting at a desk, filling in the multiple-choice bubbles, diligently waiting for a score to tell you how "good" you are at a subject.

But when assessments are done well, they aren't about scores and rankings at all — they're critical components of any learning and development program. And effective L&D is especially imperative today: In Skillsoft's Lean Into Learning 2021 report, 89 percent of decision-makers said skills gaps hurt their revenue in the last 12–18 months. Sixty-seven percent also said skills gaps made them lose business.

Everyone knows you need great content to drive learning, but assessments are just as necessary. Not only are they valuable learning opportunities in themselves, but well-designed assessments also help learners get their bearings. By confirming what they already know and pinpointing opportunities for improvement, assessments can guide employees to the courses and content tailored to their unique needs.

So, what makes for an effective assessment? Luckily, you don't have to guess. By turning to Bloom's taxonomy, we can find a practical guide to designing assessments that actively support talent development.

What Is Bloom's Taxonomy?

First developed in 1956 by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues — and later revised in 2001 — Bloom's taxonomy is a hierarchical framework that helps us think through the evolution of skill acquisition. The taxonomy has six levels, each corresponding to a stage of the learning process. Those levels are:

  • Level 1: Remember — Recall facts and concepts
  • Level 2: Understand — Explain concepts
  • Level 3: Apply — Use information in new situations
  • Level 4: Analyze — Connect disparate ideas
  • Level 5: Evaluate — Justify an opinion or interpretation of a subject
  • Level 6: Create — Generate new work using acquired skills and knowledge

One way to think of Bloom's taxonomy is as a ladder of learning. The lowest rungs represent the most basic levels of knowledge — e.g., learning bare facts. The highest rungs represent more complex knowledge, like applying information in real and novel contexts. When we begin learning a new skill or subject, we start at the bottom of the ladder. As we move up the rungs, we gain deeper and deeper expertise as we go, eventually reaching true mastery.

The levels of Bloom's taxonomy purposefully use verbs to describe what a person is doing at each stage. That's because Bloom's taxonomy is organized around learning objectives: short, clear descriptions of what a learner should accomplish at any given step in the learning process. Learning objectives are necessary for effective acquisition of any skill, providing structure to learning paths no matter the subject. For example, if you're learning how to write functions in Python, your learning objectives at each stage might look like this:

  • Remember: Recall what a function is used for in a program or script.
  • Understand: Describe in your own words what a function does and how it is unique in Python compared to other languages.
  • Apply: Create Python code that calls a built-in function.
  • Analyze: Compare and contrast functions and choose the best function for predefined specifications
  • Evaluate: Rewrite an existing function to make it more effective without compromising its performance.
  • Create: Write a brand-new function of your own or choose the best function to accomplish a specified task.

These learning objectives make Bloom's taxonomy a practical framework for guiding and assessing learning progress. At each stage, learners have a clear, concrete goal to focus on — and an objective way to measure whether they've reached that goal.

How Bloom's Taxonomy Makes Better Assessments

Good assessments tell us two important things: What a person knows and what they still need to learn. Using this information, we can design more efficient learning plans for each individual. Instead of spending time on content they already know, learners can focus on the gaps identified by the results of their assessments.

By delineating what people should achieve at each stage of skill development, the learning objectives at each level of Bloom's taxonomy inform how we assess skill mastery. By designing assessments tied to those objectives, we ensure our assessments measure the right things and support new skill acquisition. On a practical level, that might mean connecting every assessment question to a specific learning objective. When an employee answers a question correctly, they confirm that they've met the relevant learning objective. When they answer a question incorrectly, they know precisely which areas to focus on as they work toward mastering a new skill.

Assessments Are Learning Opportunities

While assessments are vital planning tools, they're also valuable learning opportunities in their own right. It's one thing to watch a video on a skill; it's another thing entirely to successfully reiterate your knowledge on an assessment or apply information in a new context.

Articulating, adapting, and applying what you've learned helps solidify new knowledge. Research has shown that every time we recall and reuse information, we strengthen our memory, and it becomes easier and easier to remember that information in the future.[1] So good assessments don't just help learners understand their own knowledge — they also directly contribute to building that knowledge.

Of course, each stage of Bloom's taxonomy represents different types of knowledge and ability, so we need different kinds of assessments tied to each learning objective. For example, you can test for remembering and understanding with a multiple-choice exam, but evaluating a learner's ability to make their own interpretation or create something new requires more hands-on activities and projects. To support comprehensive skill mastery, we need to test for both knowledge (those earlier rungs on Bloom's ladder) and ability (those later rungs).

Toward that end, Skillsoft supports a learner's journey through each rung of Bloom's taxonomy:

  • Remember and Understand: In-course knowledge checks, end-of-course assessments, and post-course reinforcement learning
  • Apply and Analyze: Exercises, labs, and activities
  • Analyze and Evaluate: Journey and Track final exams, certification test prep
  • Create: Capstone exercises, labs, and challenges

When assessments are tailored at each level to the relevant learning objectives, they do more than evaluate learners' knowledge. They actively reinforce progression toward skill mastery and give L&D leaders an objective understanding of talent development over time.

Closing Your Skills Gaps Starts with the Right Assessments

Upskilling is an urgent matter for organizations today, with 76 percent of decision-makers reporting critical skills gaps among their teams.[2] As with any challenge, a company needs to know what it's dealing with before taking action.

That's why closing any skills gap starts with implementing the right assessments to help learners and organizations know where to start on their learning journeys.

So don't let the bad memories of high school fool you. A good assessment is a powerful — and engaging — way to help your learners obtain the skills they need to succeed.

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Women in Tech Profile: Heidi Hale https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/women-in-tech-profile-heidi-hale Thu, 17 Mar 2022 08:30:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/women-in-tech-profile-heidi-hale


Heidi Hale's life and career has been a series of bold, broad strokes. The daughter of an engineer and an artist, Heidi was raised to respond to challenges with both creativity and process, enabling her to break down problems to find the most promising solution. One of her earliest memories is of leaving the Art Institute of Chicago and watching her father make a phone call with an early portable phone.

"He brought out a briefcase, and he put it on top of the car and pulled out this phone. Traffic was stopping in downtown Chicago, trying to figure out what is that?"

Heidi saw future technology come alive while simultaneously being exposed to the art world and found the intersection of those two worlds fascinating.

She found that she had a natural affinity for using data to solve problems in her career, which began in education, working alongside college presidents and deans to improve student retention. This exciting mission pulled Heidi inexorably into the world of technology, metrics, and data-driven decisions--and she hasn't looked back since.

Break down a problem to understand it

Heidi attributes her zeal for problem-solving to her parents. Through them, she grew to take joy in breaking down a problem to understand it better. She could then use what she learned to resolve the issue -- and anyone who works in data and technology will tell you that this is an essential mindset; it's little wonder that it took Heidi far.

Her father was an engineer for Motorola, which gave young Heidi a glimpse of exciting bleeding-edge technology working in the real world. He instilled in Heidi an engineer's perseverance when tackling a problem. Teaching her that creating solutions take time and that you're not going to have the answers right away. That sometimes, you have to fight your way through to the end; that often, you'll fail, but failure isn't the end; it's just more learning.

Her mother, an oil painter and educator, instilled in Heidi the more traditional attributes associated with a creative perspective: Focus, a personal lodestone of preference to comprehend if a product is headed in the right direction, and the ability to foster her sense of inner quiet.

These two opposite but complementary sides have aided Heidi in her career, which has ultimately been a journey of learning.

Learning is a lifelong journey, but most projects have deadlines

When Heidi launched her technology career in earnest -- building Salesforce into a student information system -- she was concerned that she didn't have the same base level of knowledge as the rest of her team. But, by leaning on the research skills she gained during grad school and the innate tools she learned from her parents, she built up her personal knowledge base. Heidi realized that by learning a little at a time, she could achieve small wins that eventually became bigger and bigger. Ultimately, Heidi found she could use her learning to help her team find success.

When things became complicated, and in the technical sphere they often do, diving into learning on her own, having a supportive group of mentors and a caring and collaborative organization enabled Heidi to feel comfortable asking questions and grappling with ideas beyond her scope comprehension.

Once Heidi knew that she could tackle more complex material, learn what needed doing, and do it -- she had the confidence to push the limits of what she knew. Her father's lessons about trying and failing taught her not to over internalize risk, to be thoughtful about your actions, but shoot your shot when there's an opportunity to do so.

You can go your own way

As the youngest of five very accomplished siblings, Heidi was exposed to many different influences at a young age and always sought a variety in her experiences. In high school, she talked with her student advisor and was able to do her elective work in her junior year, which put her with seniors. Then, in her senior year, she tackled the junior class's science and math requirements, giving her a broad social group that further expanded her influences.

Upon finishing high school, Heidi went to college and got her undergrad degree in art and then her Master's in project management.

The influence of her upbringing showed her that there is a lot of creativity baked into engineering, and engineering is just solving very complicated problems. When people hear the word ‘engineer’ they think of a very process-oriented person. In Heidi’s view, process exists to help problem solvers execute on their creativity.

A leader is there to serve, unblock and understand

On Serving

Heidi is an advocate for inspiring others in the workplace. Coming up against some of the same frustrating barriers other women have in the workplace, Heidi has developed a strategy of lifting others up every opportunity she has. Everyone has a point of view, and by creating space for everyone to express theirs, you strengthen collaboration throughout the whole team.

About her leadership style, Heidi’s goal is to help others develop; to help her team do more, try different things, and expand their horizons.

"I really would like to see folks become superior in their roles. I've been referred to as the air traffic controller across the product marketing engineering groups, I'm always in the middle trying to help, and I love that part."

On Unblocking

She understands that sometimes solving a problem takes an enormous amount of creative visualization. It's not just process. One tactic Heidi uses to inspire creativity in her team is by encouraging them to create space to do their creative thinking. Heidi believes in the maxim "if it isn't scheduled, it isn't done" and considers it essential to block out the time to think about a problem and possible solutions. But not everyone can maximize that solo time and instead do better talking through the problem one-on-one -- a process which Heidi is happy to engage in as well.

Heidi uses these different tactics and tools, among others, to break the monotony, regularly inspire and check in on things to see how they're progressing. Then, she helps find a way around or through if they're blocked.

On Understanding

A great example of Heidi's ability to understand where she can serve came after her team launched digital badges for course completion. She was thrilled at how excited users were to earn badges. However, as she continued to monitor the user group, she realized that while they were excited to earn badges for course completion, they were disappointed they didn’t have badges for courses they took before the program was launched.

Heidi agreed with them and wanted to keep users engaged. In a month, she and her team created the capability for learners to generate a badge for a previously completed course. In listening to what the users wanted, and acting quickly on it, learner satisfaction grew, and Heidi's team quickly saw first-hand the pride learners felt for their achievements as they shared them on LinkedIn.

Keep Creativity in the Equation

What we don’t often recognize is these highly process-oriented jobs take a good amount of creativity. Heidi recommends creatively visualizing outcomes – where do you want your task to be two hours from now, versus where do you want it to be two years from now. Because chances are that if you are not engaging your creativity, it’s likely you’re not actually solving the problem. Make time to inspire yourself, to learn new skills and about new things.

As you can tell, Heidi is an inveterate learner, and is constantly expanding her knowledge base. She enjoys listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Here are a few of her recent favorites:

  • Radical Product Thinking
  • Business-focused
  • Podcast the Product School Podcast
  • Multipliers
  • Product-Led Organization
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Five methods to build a learning culture that retains employees https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/five-methods-to-build-a-learning-culture-that-retains-employees Thu, 10 Mar 2022 08:30:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/five-methods-to-build-a-learning-culture-that-retains-employees

Here's a silly question for you: When do we stop learning? Is it once we've graduated from school, when we become adults, or when we start our first job?

The answer is we don't stop learning. We never do, and I'm sure every reader is aware of that -- so why are education and career development not better integrated throughout our working lives? Especially in this era of unprecedented technological change, where we have seen time and again that a learning culture helps retain top talent.

We have now seen firsthand what happens when public health, social and cultural challenges disrupt the workforce: how we work has changed. Just recently, in 2021, we saw a mass resignation to the tune of 4.5 million workers as people left their jobs to provide care for loved ones, tend to illness, or simply to reassess their relationship to work.

Employees are now coming back to work empowered and are looking to do fulfilling work for mindful companies. The new worker wants to partner with a business that takes a stand on social and cultural issues. In fact, 68% of employees will consider leaving an organization with a weak track record for doing social good. More than ever, employees want to do work that has purpose.

Employers need skilled employees, and more than ever, the onus is on the company to keep those qualified employees engaged. So how can organizations give their team members a sense of value, purpose, certainty, and belonging? Here are five methods any business can use to keep their talent:

  1. Embrace the hybrid workforce- remote work is here to stay, don't get bogged down in trying to halt the natural evolution of a changing workplace. Instead, focus on building meaningful blended learning experiences that inspire remote work. Collaborative work and immersive learning programs are a go-to solution for forward-thinking leaders. Self-paced, team-oriented, instructor-led training, live courses, hands-on labs, and bootcamps appeal to the wide variety of training preferences and learning styles that comprise most workplaces.
  2. Invest in skills – we all know that competency is the new currency, and transformation through learning provides a way to meaningfully upskill or reskill and shows employees that you value them. Technology changes fast, so organizations that wish to see their employees thrive will need to focus on providing them with critical training for the most in-demand skills. Upskilling young talent allows them to learn valuable work-ready skills and instills confidence, while reskilling your veterans will keep your best incumbent talent engaged and working toward business success.

    The software, data and analytics company, Black Knight, Inc., is an example of a company that lives these first two ideals. Black Knight partnered with Skillsoft to build a data-driven learning and development program that could also uncover and shore up skills gaps in real-time. The solution delivered custom online training and leadership programs, expert town halls, over 100 virtual hands-on labs where employees can build and test their skills for certifications, and a robust new-hire journey. By investing in people, the organization was able to fill skills gaps with agile certified employees, and those employees demonstrated an over 90% pass rate on certification prep tracks. Their new hire journey provides a gradual education on the industry and company culture and is designed to give those new to the organization everything they need to stay engaged and succeed.

    And the solution has been a success. Black Knight has seen over one million platform views, more than 200,00 course views, almost 40,000 hours of learning, and no sign of stopping.
  3. Support talent and career growth - most businesses rank building skills and capabilities as their top priority for success. Success hinges upon retaining talent excited to learn within an infrastructure that enables them to do so, and organizations that provide their employees with a transparent career trajectory see the largest benefit. It also pays to remember that employees do not exist in a vacuum; they have families, friends, interests, and goals outside of the workplace. The organization that respects this and encourages workers to succeed inside the office and out, will win both hearts and minds.

    From cameras to commercial printers, business consultancy to healthcare technologies, Canon is a company committed to imaging innovation, and they owe much of that innovation to their continued commitment to employee skilling. Through their corporate philosophy of Kyosei – living and working together for the common good – Canon strives to foster an empowered employee population, supporting flexible working, career development, and providing team members access to learning future-fit digital skills to drive transformation. In working with Skillsoft, Canon has sought to realize the full potential of their over 13,500 employees across the EMEA region, creating a self-development and learning culture throughout their entire company. Today, Canon has developed a diverse range of curated channels mapped to critical competencies with the ability to align learning to specific teams. And realize the full potential they have – with over 5,600 learners to date accessing learning across 6,000 channels.
  4. Strong DEIB initiatives raise all ships – fostering a culture of DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) in the workplace means making all your employees feel involved and engaged so that they can be their whole, authentic selves inside and outside of the office. By embracing DEI, you are building an organizational culture centered around the needs of your employees so that they can learn and do their best at work, which directly translates to success throughout your organization. According to a recent study by Mckinsey, companies with gender-diverse executive teams are 25% more likely to outperform financially, and ethnic or cultural diversity among executives improves the likelihood of outperforming by 36%. Investments in DEI programs will see returns in higher employee engagement and retention.
  5. Build a foundation of leadership - the most crucial investment an organization can make is in their leaders. Managers and supervisors have the most significant influence on employee retention. They are in the best position to encourage and enable learning from mistakes, but not if they don't have power skills like empathy and resilience. That being said, everyone across the business, from individual contributors to C-suite executives need leadership competencies to deliver on strategic initiatives, drive results and achieve their personal goals. To that end, personalized coaching of current and future leaders empowers your employees to build their own leadership plan, centered around goals, outcomes and actionable strategies, and affects lasting change that significantly impacts retention and business success.

    Trane Technologies, a global climate solutions innovator, embraces these two concepts. Dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Trane knew that there was work to be done to close the leadership gap for women. So, Trane and Skillsoft joined forces to expand their Women in Action™ Leadership Program, a voluntary, self-directed remote learning journey geared toward helping women leaders. It was a total game changer, participants logged over 4000 hours of short training lessons, designed to easily integrate into busy schedules, with monthly topics structured to build leadership skills at all levels. Participants earned 1,130 sharable badges, and according to Skillsoft's own Dr. Erika Schmidt, a member of our eLearning team who helped Trane Technologies develop the course, it wasn't only the numbers that were impressive: "The energy and excitement around learning this way was palpable. In fact, I was blown away." In turn, Trane has empowered 1,165 women across their organization, building a more competitive and well-rounded workforce by promoting more women and providing them with leadership support.

An investment in your employees' skills and a robust learning and development initiative will ensure your organization has everything it needs to deliver outcomes. When you provide your people with learning solutions, you give them the resources, the validation, and the permission to succeed. By creating a digital learning strategy that meets the needs of all of your employees and applying the employee retention methods above, you create an ecosystem of success.

To uncover more insights into organizational, social and cultural changes in the workforce today, read Skillsoft’s Lean into Learning 2021 Annual Learning Report or watch the Future of Work: Reimagining Digital Learning for the Modern Workforce on-demand webinar.

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Breaking the Bias: Embracing Diverse Journeys on International Women’s Day https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/breaking-the-bias-embracing-diverse-journeys-on-international-womens-day Tue, 08 Mar 2022 08:20:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/breaking-the-bias-embracing-diverse-journeys-on-international-womens-day

International Women’s Day is a time to honor trailblazers and mark all the progress women and our allies have achieved. And it’s also a day to express our solidarity with women facing adversity around the world. As women in Ukraine and other oppressed or war-torn places fight for freedom, our thoughts and support are with them.

Bouncing Forward

Over the past couple of years, we’ve all used the word “resilience” a lot (that and “agility,” and my new favorite “grit.”) Based on the simplest definition, resilience is the ability to "bounce back" from difficulty. And women, in particular, have faced inordinate difficulties during the pandemic. But, returning to the old status quo shouldn’t be the goal.

What if we focused on "bouncing forward" instead of bouncing back?

Frankly, when it comes to creating a gender-equal workplace and world, forward is the only way.

Historically, women in the workplace have been undervalued and underrepresented. In fact, globally, women still make up less than 40% of the workforce. But, as a mother of two daughters, and a daughter myself of a trailblazing woman in tech, I'm thrilled to say we're taking forward strides. And as we come together to #BreakTheBias this International Women’s Day, it’s important to celebrate the real progress that has been made as women recover from the “pink pandemic” and regain power and influence.

Reversing The Pink Pandemic's Effects on Women

While COVID-19 affected us all, women around the world were impacted socially and economically far more than their male counterparts. And while there is still a great deal of work to be done, we're seeing exciting signs of a change: Overall, women started 2022 at the highest rate of labor force participation (57.8%) since before the pandemic. Additionally, leaders are leaning on learning to drive forward motion and positive change. Skillsoft’s latest Lean into Learning report found a 90% increase in enterprise consumption of learning content designed to help women thrive in the workplace last year.

Now, it’s time to put this knowledge into action and “break the bias” once and for all. But how?

I asked three of my female colleagues to answer that question. Here’s what they came up with.

Rashim Mogha,General Manager - Leadership and Business Portfolio


“Don't make decisions for women.”

I am tired of my success being defined by somebody else. Before you start breaking bias in others, you have to break your own bias. That means taking a step back and understanding what success truly means to you right now. For some that may mean a fast path to leading a team, for others it might be building deep expertise in a field they feel passionate about. It may be defined by financial freedom, or quiet moments surrounded by loved ones. There are as many ways to build success as there are women in the world.

Once you have a vision, building a support network across four pillars is essential, for no one should have to go it alone.

  1. Community — Who are the people that are looking out for you? The ones with whom you can share your vulnerable moments. The ones who give you legal advice. The ones you trust to tell you the truth. The people who cheer you on and set you straight.
  2. Connection — Mentorship can be helpful, but sponsorship is often the turning point for women. We don’t just need people to teach us how to lead, we need others who will give us the chance to do it. That’s why at eWOW, 25% of our speakers are always first-time speakers at any event, and we encourage women to nominate themselves for award applications.
  3. Competency — Are you investing in yourself? Our success is a journey that never stops. For each phase of our life success might mean something different to us. We must keep learning new skills to adapt over time.
  4. Celebration — It doesn’t always feel right to celebrate ourselves, but we must make it a priority. Success is not a pie that has limited slices to share. It’s a mathematical pie, with limitless possibilities. Celebrate yourself, and others proudly and publicly often.

One of the biggest challenges for living these pillars is the assumptions others make about what is important to us. I missed so many opportunities early on in my career because people assumed things about me. They believed that because I started off my career in India, I would be married by 23, and my focus would shift to family rather than my job. I wasn’t offered promotions, or new learning opportunities because someone thought I wouldn’t want them. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

We’ll know we’re breaking the bias cycle when we don’t make decisions for women, but embrace each path as a unique journey worth understanding and cheering forward.

Potoula Chresomales – SVP, Product Management

“Removing stereotypes has to be the first step to building a more inclusive workplace.”

For me, “Breaking the Bias” means removing stereotypes to build a more inclusive workplace and a more inclusive world.

I think about the three ways that bias impacts women:

  1. Opportunity — Breaking the bias that results in women getting fewer opportunities to advance, to take on new projects, to get promoted, to get expanded responsibilities.

  2. Perception — Breaking the bias that women do not have the strength or competency to take on a challenge or to lead and advocate for change.

  3. Recognition — Breaking the bias that results in women not being recognized for their work or achievements.

Together, I believe we can create breakthrough moments for ourselves, and the women around us. I hope you’ll join me in this mission. Let’s raise up new voices, let’s share our knowledge with others, and let’s celebrate the success of those around us.

Emma Antoine-Portinari – Content Marketing


“Challenge yourself to raise up others.”

When people first meet me, I might appear as someone who hasn’t faced a lot of bias in my life — yes, I’m white; I was born female and identify as a woman; I’m heterosexual; I’m able-bodied; and at first glance, I appear as you probably would expect any other 23-year-old woman would. And while I acknowledge these parts of my identity that grant me certain privileges, underneath the shell I present outwardly to the world, I’ve also experienced my own set of biases I’ve had to overcome in my life.

At Skillsoft, we believe and often talk about the power of learning as a catalyst for change — and on a personal level, this is truly a message I embody in my daily life. Today, I #BreakTheBias as a first-generation female college student and young professional. Graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree remains one of the most significant achievements in my life, and education has been my key to opening doors to opportunities I didn’t think possible.

Now, I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy being the first in my family to attain a college degree — from navigating the college application process, to financial aid and student loans, to picking the right major, to completing coursework, and to finding a job post-grad (amid a global pandemic nonetheless) — I’ve been faced with navigating an unknown and sometimes scary path, and if I’m being honest, I’m still trying to figure it all out.

But I haven’t done it alone. I’ve been fortunate to have a network of inspiring, strong, female role models around me who I’ve relied on throughout this journey, and whose support has helped me get to where I am today. From teachers, to past and current managers, to those who have acted as coaches and mentors to me, and today, the incredible female colleagues I have at Skillsoft.

While I may still be early in my career, it’s my hope to one day give back to other women like myself who rely on those who came before them. Already, I’ve had the chance to play a role in building our partnership with Ellevate Network. Skillsoft sponsors 2022 EllevateHER Forward fellowship grants, and it’s an honor to know that EllevateHER fellows will receive the same networking and educational opportunities that have helped me.

On this International Women’s Day, I’m reminded of the power we hold to collectively break the bias together. And so, I dare you to ask yourself: how can I support another woman in my network to overcome their own bias?

How You Can Help #BreakTheBias in Your Workplace

To echo my colleague Emma, what are your next steps? How will you “show up” for women and do your part to break the bias? Here are some suggestions:

  • Find mentors who teach, coach, inspire, and surround yourself with like-minded colleagues. If you have the means, become a mentor yourself.

  • Review employee benefits and enhance areas most important to women.

  • Invest in developing and nourishing a diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy.

  • Provide training and tools for women to grow competencies for the most in-demand opportunities.

  • Direct more resources to hiring, developing, and advancing women in the workplace.

  • Contribute time and expertise to key organizations like Ellevate Network, Code Like a Girl, eWOW, iamtheCODE, and many others.

And remember that breaking any bias requires a mindset of constant learning and growth. This means seeking continuous development, staying hungry for new opportunities, and — especially — opening up to new ways of thinking.

In honor of International Women's Day, I want to encourage each one of you to help all of us "bounce forward" into meaningful change. Please take the time to reflect on your personal experiences and think of ways that you can individually help steer progress, whether that's empowering others, learning new skills and competencies, becoming an active ally, or advocating for change on an organizational level.

Because it won't be just women who benefit once that bias is broken.

Organizations — and entire nations — are measurably stronger, more healthy, secure, and successful when women have equal opportunity and equal gain.

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A Woman in Tech Profile: Miray Vu https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/a-woman-in-tech-profile-miray-vu Thu, 03 Mar 2022 10:30:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/a-woman-in-tech-profile-miray-vu


On the top of Miray’s list of priorities was to learn English. But Miray was a chemist living in Turkey with few opportunities to study the language how she wants — from native speakers.

She worked in the pharmaceuticals industry but felt something missing from her career. She went looking for change.

While she learned some English during her childhood, nothing would sharpen those skills like taking the massive leap of traveling to the United States to learn English among native speakers. Even as child, Miray recognized the value of learning different languages and growing her skills.

She spoke with her parents and prepared to leave Turkey in pursuit of this learning adventure. Miray had to leave her job, family, friends, and the only place she knew as her home. What drove her was a strong appetite for learning and growing her skill set.

“I always think that learning is unlimited,” she said. “You need to learn. And in order to do a good job, you need to keep learning. And I'm lucky enough that I always loved learning.”

Just like any learning or growth experience, Miray’s journey was not without its challenges. Yet, even in the face of these obstacles, Miray persisted and learned many important lessons about having the courage to look for new opportunities, even if they call for moving across the world.

It’s Okay To Be Fearful In The Face Of Change

While embarking on her journey to a completely different country, Miray handled the fear and uncertainty by focusing on her goals and what life she was trying to create for herself.

“I remember at the airport I asked for the bathroom, but my pronunciation is like ‘bedroom,’ and a lot of people were looking at me like, ‘Why is she asking for the bedroom?’” she said. “It was a tough time, but it really, really taught me so much.”

Miray held a lot of open dialogue among people from different walks of life. She did this in order to improve her English while also learning about the cultures and people around her.

In the US, she lived near a Turkish community but spent most of her time speaking with native English speakers. She made this choice to elevate her learning experience.

Miray was here to learn English. She kept that goal with her always and it led her to new people, new opportunities, and even a new career.

Challenging Times Can Create Opportunities

While practicing her English and studying for her MBA, Miray lived with two roommates that worked in the advertising business. These two people brought marketing to her attention. The information they shared with her was just the beginning.

Despite having a background in chemistry, she worked hard and leveraged some transferrable skills to land a job in advertising. She used her previous experience and the learning opportunities to get a career she wanted.

“I try to keep up to date with the very new technologies or whatever is changing,” she said. “The best part of being a part of the marketing and advertising community is that it gives you opportunities to learn new stuff from other people’s experiences.”

Find Mentors Or Inspiration Within Your Inner Circle

Miray had several goals and future accomplishments in mind, but she knew that she needed help to get there, especially with limited marketing experience.

She voiced her aspirations to leaders at her job, who then guided Miray toward that career path. She told them that she wanted to work in marketing operations and tech. As a result, they helped her make those dreams a reality step by step.

In order to develop the leaders of tomorrow and a future-fit workplace, strong training, learning opportunities, and mentoring and coaching must be options for everyone.

The Lessons Learned From Miray’s Journey

Miray loves to learn and improve her skills, which helped her find her current role at Skillsoft. She thrives on competing against herself and broadening her knowledge.

Miray took her learning experiences and opportunities into her own hands by changing the environment she was in. As a result, she accomplished her career and personal goals on top of creating a beautiful family.

Like many other women in tech, Miray wanted more fulfillment and ways to develop her skills. As outlined in the Women In Tech Report, more than half of the women in IT and tech roles seek and crave more learning and growth opportunities, but oftentimes their organizations do not give them to opportunity to do so. Professional development and training opportunities are among the biggest challenges that women in tech face.

If there is any message to take away from Miray’s story, it’s to not be afraid of seeking new opportunities and put your professional development and training first.

Goals can Change

Miray’s move to the US wasn’t permanent. She planned to learn English in the US, move back to Turkey, and secure a position as a Product Manager in the chemistry field.

She arrived in the US not knowing anyone. But shortly after making her move, she received an opportunity to earn her MBA. During this time, she also met her future husband.

Today, she’s a wife, a mother of two little girls and works in a career she loves.

Miray understood that sometimes plans deviate from what we initially thought, and that’s perfectly okay. But, just like Miray showed, we pivot, learn, and grow into our new purpose. Because in the end, those changes lead to the most extraordinary thing that Miray is proud of, which is being a mother to her two daughters.

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The Making of a Leader: The Power Skills We Need to Lead https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-making-of-a-leader-the-power-skills-we-need-to-lead Mon, 28 Feb 2022 08:30:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-making-of-a-leader-the-power-skills-we-need-to-lead

If you've ever watched a B-movie about space aliens, you may have heard this famous phrase:

Take me to your leader.

Now, it makes sense for the aliens of our past to demand to see the human in charge — who, presumably, ruled with an iron fist from behind the walls of a well-protected fortress. After all, that phrase was coined in a time when the vast corner office was basically a citadel. It was simply assumed that leaders possessed some mysterious, innate "superpower" that propelled them to success — inspiring slavish devotion (and sometimes, abject terror) in their subjects.

But we’ve come to realize, long before the pandemic and our digital first world, that the way we think about leadership has evolved. As Morra Aarons-Mele, founder of Women Online, says, "Leadership in the future will be the polar opposite of the old command and control model." Today, successful leaders view the empowerment of people as more important than their own positions of power. And they demonstrate these five key behaviors:

  • They lead by example and inspiration, not by force.
  • They treat others with dignity, care, and respect.
  • They trust employees to do the job they've been assigned.
  • They challenge workers to learn new skills and grow professionally.
  • They listen to others' opinions and acknowledge their contributions.

Nature vs Nurture: The Superpower of Learning

You don’t have to go to the movies to hear the phrase, “She’s a natural-born leader.” It’s a part of everyday business vernacular. But, it may be time we retired it.

While "natural-born" leaders do exist, many more are thoughtfully "made." In other words, leadership can be learned. The new leadership paradigm is based on skills like resilience, agility, empathy, communication, and a growth mindset. Today, competencies traditionally viewed as "soft skills" have gained a new name befitting their importance: "power skills.” And, in our annual Skillsoft 2021 Lean Into Learning Report, we found that nearly half of the year’s top-ten course list comprised power skills such as building trust, fostering communication, and understanding unconscious bias.

When I look back at an eBook we released last year on the Future of Leadership Development, I'm reminded of some astute insights shared by one of Skillsoft’s leaders, Elisa Vincent, VP of Global Talent Enablement:

Leadership today is about leading ecosystems of interconnected functional and cultural networks that require equal attention, focus, and nourishment to survive. Amidst rapid organizational disruption, leadership development has become a study and a practice of both the head and the heart in new ways.

Leading From the Heart is a Strength

Now, if "leading from the heart" makes you feel, well, a tad uncertain, you're not alone: only 41% of organizations believe their leadership development programs build leaders in a way that actually benefits business. Why? Many programs fail because they haven't embraced leadership transformation as well as technology transformation. More successful programs have adapted to include content that offers a balance of power skills and hard skills training: the human interaction elements of leadership, strategic thinking to improve productivity and business outcomes, and digital fluency to stay competitive into the future.

Of course, leading from the heart doesn't mean being best friends with everyone. (What could go wrong?) What it does mean is empowering everyone to bring their best to the table — by creating a healthy work environment that fosters growth, belonging, productivity, and innovation. To combat the fallout of “The Great Resignation,” it's important to recognize and nurture the leadership potential that already exists within your organization, by making learning accessible to all.

The Skillsoft Leadership Development Program: In a Class of its Own

Grounded in the firm belief that the best leaders are made, not born, Skillsoft’s Leadership Development Program (SLDP), powered by MIT Sloan Management Review, addresses the changing ways in which leaders must develop to ensure continued growth for themselves, their employees, and their organizations. With over thirty modern leadership channels, this program will help expand your knowledge about what it takes to be a leader "from head to heart.” The Skillsoft Leadership Development Program brings a powerful combination of leading-edge learning resources, world-renowned thought leadership, proven instructional design, and an engaging learner experience in a single online platform.

To quote another industry leader, Cushing Anderson, Program Vice President, Business Consulting and IT Education at IDC:

The most successful organizations today are transitioning from hierarchical leadership practices to collective leadership … organizations need to reinvent how they train their leaders and their workforces. Skillsoft’s Leadership Development Program’s unique scenario-based approach to leadership training achieves this by putting the learning in context

Where else can you turn to make better leaders? Skillsoft's Aspire Journeys for Leadership and Power Skills connect learning to development with pre-curated, role-based, and skill-based learning paths that prepare your people with the modern leadership skills and mindsets needed to be successful, no matter where they are in their career. For an exhausted workforce seeking purpose, growth, and relevance, this is vital. In fact, our Lean Into Learning Report found that more than 50% of job seekers cite opportunities for growth as the main driver for changing employers. But our research shows that 32% of an organization’s employee turnover can be avoided through better leadership.

The good news? Getting started is easy. This free guide that can help you identify seven telltale signs that your leadership plan could use a reboot.

Remember: A leader's true "superpower" comes not from an iron fist, but from an open hand — and an open mind.

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What Have We Learned about Learning? A Look Back Into 2021 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-have-we-learned-about-learning-a-look-back-into-2021 Tue, 15 Feb 2022 08:45:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-have-we-learned-about-learning-a-look-back-into-2021

2021 was full of significant transformations and worthwhile lessons, but it did not come without unique challenges. For example, we saw the business world turned upside from a massive labor shortage due to The Great Resignation amid a global pandemic, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Now that the year has ended, we can take a step back and reflect on how the digital learning market landscape has evolved. Let’s look back into 2021 to learn from the past and see how we can build future-fit digital learning strategies with a vision of what’s to come.

Employees started to reassess their learning priorities in the new way of working.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees went through a total mindset shift regarding their time and labor. According to the US Labor Department, 4.5 million Americans chose to leave their jobs in November alone. Employees didn’t abandon their jobs simply to have more free time; they quit to find work they could connect with better. They want to do something personally fulfilling as they develop professionally. As a result, employees are now reassessing their learning priorities with work-life balance and professional development in mind.

We have seen this devotion to learning illustrated in the 12.7M digital badges received by Skillsoft users in 2021 via the Percipio platform, a 48% increase from 2020. While The Great Resignation was drastic, it allowed organizations to recognize the importance of listening to their employees and provided them with the resources they need to succeed in their careers.

Reskilling and upskilling became more significant than ever.

Several companies noted skill gaps before the pandemic but The Great Resignation seemed to amplify them, with 76% of decision-makers reporting critical skills gaps among their teams.

Many organizations realized something was amiss and started to integrate IT competency training and learning opportunities to allow tech teams to grow and develop within their organizations. As a result, Skillsoft saw IT and tech courses account for 30% of Skillsoft’s most consumed courses in 2021, with an increase in tech and dev learning across the globe, specifically within APAC (39%), India (54%), North America (24%), and the UK (243%). Businesses that took the initiative to focus on IT skilling noticed higher engagement, faster performance, and better work outcomes across their teams.

Organizations acknowledged and began to address gender inequality in the workforce.

Businesses also took great strides to recognize the gender inequality that is so prevalent in the workforce.

Women worldwide have been affected by the financial and social fallout of the pandemic more so than their male counterparts. One in four women has considered downshifting or leaving their career entirely. With these issues becoming more apparent than ever, functional teams, especially those in IT, had to closely examine what women were looking for out of their careers from a skills, professional development, salary, and work-life balance perspective.

We have seen that close attention to gender equality has significantly increased curricula supporting women. While this is a great sign of awareness and the first step towards improvement, we cannot stop here. Businesses must work consistently to ensure that the modern workplace is a welcoming environment that allows for more varied female talent, ultimately leading to diverse and unique solutions and work performance.

The hybrid workforce was widely adopted across the globe and will only continue to rise.

The pandemic has inevitably changed what work will look like forever, and employees continue to adjust. The idea of a "workplace" as a noun has changed dramatically and is no longer limited to a specific physical space. We are going to see more virtual, immersive, and collaborative learning methods that ensure a strong culture of growth across all teams.

We have seen this illustrated through Skillsoft’s collection of courses, “Virtual Work in the New Normal,” a top Aspire Journey course, for the second year in a row. While remote work is an adjustment, it is excellent news for our employees’ professional development. Corporate eLearning and remote training make it accessible to everyone while allowing more opportunities for employees to grow in their careers.

Download our Lean into Learning report or watch our Future of Work on-demand webinar to learn more about what we learned in 2021, what we should keep for 2022, and what we should improve.

What To Look for This Year

One finding that was apparent this year is that our employees love to learn. In fact, Germany, Austria and Switzerland saw a 394% increase overall in learning! So, how do we take what we’ve learned last year and apply it to meet the needs of our ever-growing learners? And what can organizations do today to prepare for tomorrow’s workforce?"

  • Invest in Coaching and Career Development Opportunities for Your Team- As quality talent becomes scarce, personalize the learning experience through tactics like coaching to provide your employees with leadership competencies and career growth opportunities.
  • Build Your Organization’s Culture of Learning- Create an environment where skilling is valued and necessary by delivering and encouraging opportunities for technical skills development.
  • Prioritize And Practice DEI efforts- Invest in strong Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs to show your employees that they belong and are valued.
  • Make Training and Learning Remote- Build meaningful programs using blended learning methods to appeal to remote and hybrid workforces.
  • Training and Develop Your Leaders - Equip leaders with the resources they need to lead through unpredictability.

In unprecedented times, organizations and leaders must do all they can to look out for their people to integrate into the modern workforce and strive towards new heights.

Download and Review our Lean Into Learning report to learn more about what we learned in 2021, what we should keep for 2022, and what we should improve.

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How do you remember what you’ve learned? https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-do-you-remember-what-youve-learned Mon, 14 Feb 2022 12:00:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-do-you-remember-what-youve-learned

As a working mom, I often find it’s hard to remember, well, just about anything. Between cleaning out backpacks, food shopping, and generally trying to run a household while maintaining a full-time job, it’s a miracle I remember anything. I find I must write things down to remember them, so I’ve become a professional list maker in addition to my other professions.

Pro tip/life hack: the Google Keep app will help you create any list you need that can dynamically sync with other accounts. We save our grocery list in Keep so anyone in the household can add to it, and we use the app to tick off items as we shop – no paper!

Given that the details of our busy lives are hard enough to keep track of, how do you remember what you’ve learned from the courses you take or the books you read? It’s so important to maintain an active passion for learning, but how much of that learning do you really retain? To draw on my example above, if making lists is essential for remembering the details of my day-to-day, is there an equivalent strategy to help us remember things we’ve learned?

Luckily, technology can help us to retain new information just like it can help us manage our busy lives. Especially when that technology is combined with tried-and-true learning techniques to help us remember. Distributed practice, practice testing, retrieval practice, interleaved practice, teach-a-friend, and reflection are all elements that help a learner to improve their knowledge retention. In fact, according to the Hermann Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve, we lose up to 90% of learned knowledge in just 30 days if we don’t try to reinforce our learning and remember the key elements of lessons.

When we consider ways to remember facts and knowledge, we can think back to our school days and all the learning vehicles used to study for a test. To name just a few:

  • Highlighting
  • Writing notes
  • Using flashcards
  • Re-reading materials

Is there a way with technology to combine learning vehicles and learning techniques to help us remember? In fact, there are many apps out on the market today designed to help with exactly this. These apps let you create your own quizzes, flashcards, notes — you name it — to customize your learning experience to your needs. However, these approaches require time and attention from the learner to curate the experience themselves, so the learner must be invested in their own learning reinforcement to use these effectively.

As adult learners in a busy world, what if the learning platform you use could instead remind you about what you learned without any work on your part to set it up? Nothing is added to your ‘To Do’ list, you are simply reminded to revisit what you learned after you take a course. This is the simple approach we took for our Learning Reinforcement feature — now available on Skillsoft's Percipio platform. One that requires no ‘work’ on the side of the learner or on the side of the admin.

We have found a way to package a learning vehicle with learning techniques to help you remember what you learned. You get reminders about what you learned and an experience where you can interact and dive back into the topics you find the most challenging. All on your mobile device, from wherever you are.

We researched various learning techniques to incorporate into this feature — here is a bit about them:

  • Distributed Practice / Spaced Repetition - Distributed practice (also known as spaced repetition or spaced practice) is a learning strategy to combat the forgetting curve, where practice is broken up into several short sessions over a longer period of time.​ People learn and remember items more effectively when they are studied in several sessions spread out over a long period of time, rather than studied repeatedly in a short period of time, a phenomenon called the spacing effect. ​
  • Retrieval Practice and Practice Testing - Retrieval practice is a learning technique revolving around repeatedly recalling learned material without seeing it in front of you. One effective and common way to learn via practice testing and retrieval practice is with flashcards. The Leitner system is a widely used method of using flashcards that was proposed by the German science journalist Sebastian Leitner in the 1970s. It is a simple implementation of the principle of spaced repetition, where flashcards are reviewed at specific intervals.​
  • Interleaved Practice - Today's learners are frequently focusing on building multiple skills at once. With Interleaved Practice, a learner will switch between multiple topics in the same session. Interleaving has been shown to be more effective than blocked or massed practice (where a user studies one skill at a time) and leads to better long-term retention and improved ability to transfer learned knowledge. This strategy forces the brain to continually retrieve because each practice attempt is different from the last. ​Cognitive psychologists believe that interleaving improves the brain's ability to differentiate, or discriminate, between concepts and strengthens memory associations. ​
  • Teach A Friend (Feynman Technique) - The Feynman Technique mental model aims to convey information using concise thoughts and simple language. It's a simple approach to self-directed learning that is based on distilling what you know by teaching someone else. ​The creator of it, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, explained that if one cannot describe an idea in simple terms, then they do not really understand it. The ability to use this technique to explain a topic can prove and cement one's understanding.
  • Reflection / Reflective Practice / Self-Explanation - In education, the concept of reflection dates back to the work of John Dewey (1933), who defined it as “active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusion to which it tends.”​ In the scholarly article “Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance,” researchers at HEC Paris, Harvard Business School, and the University of North Carolina found that reflecting directly after a lesson increases individuals’ performance the next time they return to the material. ​

To sum it all up, the cornerstone of our Learning Reinforcement feature is based on the Four R’s: Retrieve, Recall, Reflect, and Refine — where we package up all these learning techniques into an effort-free experience to help you remember what you learned.

Why It’s Hard to Remember

Have you ever gone to do something and forgotten what you were going to do, perhaps because you were thinking about 10 other things at the same time? When we multi-task and have multiple facts and figures thrown at us that we’re expected to memorize, it’s easy to forget. Without the ability to focus and concentrate on something, it just becomes too much for our brains to process. In a pandemic world, add on stress and anxiety and additional duties, and you have a recipe for disaster when trying to retain information.

Here are 4 things you can do to increase your retention:

  1. Interest and associations – It’s hard to learn something if it’s not interesting to you. If it’s boring, we’re not going to learn it well. Instead, try to draw parallels to things you do like and make positive associations. For example, if I must learn about an uninteresting topic, perhaps I can find a way to associate it with music or cooking (both passions of mine).
  2. Visualize it – When learning, if we can associate things with a particular visual characteristic, they become easier to remember. Take names for example, I have a terrible time remembering names. For each person I meet, I pick out a single defining visual trait of each person and connect that to something I can remember, like a fruit or even the name of another friend.
  3. Create chunks of knowledge – if you can group your learning together somehow, it’s easier to remember. Try to create visual categories in your mind consisting of themes that you can lump your learning under. For example, if I’m trying to remember all the ingredients for the dish I’m making for dinner, I would remember that I need dairy (with eggs, butter), protein (tofu or meat), and vegetables. If I remember those three categories, it’s easier for me to remember the ingredients under those categories.
  4. Summarize it – Reflecting on and summarizing what you learned is a good way to retain knowledge. You can even try to teach a friend the topic through your summaries. Keeping notes is a tried-and-true method, just make sure you’re summarizing the learning – not trying to remember everything about it.

Everyone learns differently and as a learner or as a learning administrator, it’s hard to have a one-size-fits-all solution. But one thing remains true — without reinforcing our learning, we are losing most of it over time. The combination of learning techniques and technology will help anyone to retain knowledge, but it’s not a silver bullet. There are things everyone can do to help themselves remember more and remember longer based on the tips provided above. Next time you find yourself learning something new, remember these techniques — you just might find that it helps you remember more, and to help you remember for longer.

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Rashim Mogha: A Woman in Technology Profile https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/rashim-mogha-a-woman-in-technology-profile Mon, 31 Jan 2022 11:11:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/rashim-mogha-a-woman-in-technology-profile


Growing up, Rashim Mogha was very well educated. She went to good schools, explored studies that piqued her curiosity, and filled her mind with inspiration and determination. But for Rashim, a young Indian woman of royal lineage, that education came with a cost. Her future would unfold with permission from a husband she did not know in an arranged marriage she did not want.

In declining the arranged marriage, Rashim knew she was crushing her family’s expectations and the cultural norms she had been raised to accept. But she just couldn’t fathom being happy in a future where so much control was turned over to someone she didn’t even know. To realize her full self, Rashim embarked on a learning journey that began with leaving the safety of her homeland and moving to the United States to work in technology — a field she had already studied and worked within.

Since her move across the world, Rashim’s journey hasn’t stopped. Now an author, technologist, leader, mother, and wife, Rashim lives life on her own terms. That’s a lifestyle she wants for everyone.

“When I came to the United States, being a woman in technology and being a woman of color, I had to face many challenges,” Rashim says. “That's when I realized that while talent is equally distributed, opportunities are not. For me, my mission wasn’t only about adapting to working in the US. It was something much bigger. My mission became creating a world of equality for all, where it does not matter your gender, your race, or your cultural heritage — a world where everyone has equal opportunities.“

Following that transformational awakening, Rashim has made every professional decision about getting closer to her vision. She has seen firsthand that what companies say and what they do are not always aligned. This recognition has made her very astute in her career choices, seeking alignment not only with her technical and leadership skills but also with her personal values. Along the journey, she has learned some very important lessons about feeding curiosity and living to her full potential.

Explore the 2021 Women in Tech Report

Lean on your support structure

While Rashim has paved her own path, she didn’t have to go it alone. She credits her mother, and an incredibly supportive husband, for enabling her dreams.

”My biggest cheerleader was and still is my mom,” she says. “I still remember the day when I had the ticket to move to the United States in my hand, pacing our roof in India. My flight was in the evening, but I was still awaiting the formal visa stamp. My mom asked, ‘You're pacing. What's going on?’ I said, ‘I think I'm leaving for the US tonight.’ And my mom says, ‘Okay, and for how long?’ I said, ‘I'm not coming back.’ The very next thing my mom said was, ‘Okay, then let's go get you a pressure cooker because you don't know how to cook without one.’”

When Rashim and her husband eventually started a family, her mother moved in to help. Twelve years later, she is still an integral part of the family.

“I never had a reason to slow down for anything because I had the support of my mom and my husband,” Rashim says. “At one point, my husband and I had to make a decision. We both had opportunities at the same time. He could go fast-paced in his career, or he could slow down and let me go fast-paced in mine. Without any hesitation, he stepped back and gave me the freedom to run."

The support she had at home is one of the reasons Rashim feels compelled to help others. Just like her mother was there for her, Rashim wants to be there for her children, a 12-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter.

“We often talk about our family circle of trust — me, my husband, my daughter, my son, and my mom,” Rashim says. “Home is a safe space to have candid conversations where we learn to disagree with respect and to support each other. But I also want my children exposed to all kinds of opportunities. I have made it a point, whenever possible, to take both my kids with me when I'm speaking. I want my son and my daughter to see what their mom does and what she believes in. And I want them to see women leaders outside of school and their immediate community. I want them to be inspired by others.”

Her desire to support others is also why, in 2018, Rashim took a bold step toward expanding her influence from within a single organization where she worked to the industry as a whole. Her first leadership book, Fast-Track Your Leadership Career, aimed to provide women with a template for nurturing their ambitions.

“So many books I read were 200 or 300 pages with one aha moment,” Rashim explains. “My background in project management and development pushed me to create a roadmap that others could follow that would be more complete.“

The book started many conversations, but to really make a difference, Rashim needed a forum to move the ideas from the book into action. That was the inspiration behind the eWOW (empowered Women of the World) initiative, which Rashim founded to empower women around the globe through educational forums and a podcast listened to in over 50 countries. Her efforts were recently recognized in an important way. She was named one of the Top DEI Leader of 2021.

Define success on your own terms

Success is not defined by the society we live in. It's defined by what makes us happy and where we want to be. If she didn’t believe that, Rashim would never have come to the United States, led her technology field, and become a leadership visionary. Rashim’s big wish for her children and for those she mentors is for them to be happy and define success in a way that feels right to each of them as individuals.

Make continuous learning a priority

No matter how busy life becomes, Rashim always finds a way to make herself a priority. Every day, she takes 30 minutes just for herself to learn or explore something. She finds breaking down big goals into achievable bite-sized actions helps her stay focused.

“When I launched the podcast, I didn't know anything about podcasting,” she says. “I learned it all as I went. When I started doing videos, I learned how to edit my videos. When I moved into robotic process automation, I had to learn about that. People always come to me and explain a big goal like, ‘I want to be AWS certified.’ But then they explain all the real obstacles to making that happen. I encourage them to break down the 12-month project of prepping for a certification and start with the first step, like taking an introduction to cloud computing class. I truly believe that investing in yourself is always worth it.”

Choosing Skillsoft

For Rashim, choosing to join Skillsoft brought all of her talents and values together in a way that felt complete. “When I was looking for my next role, I wanted to work for a company where my personal values aligned with the goals of the company,” she says. “It is rewarding being in an organization that understands that people are multifaceted, they have lives beyond work, and they bring their experiences to create holistic solutions for the company. When combined with our mission as an organization to help everyone who wants to learn explore their talents, I knew it was the perfect match.”

Your vulnerability feeds your strength

Because Rashim lives in Silicon Valley, the community where she finds herself is often all about the image you put forward. For her, it took time to find the right balance between the expectations people had and who she was on the inside.

“I'm a crier,” Rashim says. “When I'm frustrated, I cry. That's how my emotions come out. When we cry at work, why is the first thing that we search on Google afterward, ‘How do I not cry at work?’ I’m also passionate, assertive, and very driven. People sometimes have a problem with that. I remember one time my manager was leading a career conversation, and she said to me, ‘What's up with you Indian women being aggressive?’”

Bias still surprises Rashim, but she’s come to accept herself fully. When conversations like the one she describes happen, she no longer hesitates to point out the inherent bias being shown and tries to redirect the dialog in a healthier manner. But Rashim is human, and that means vulnerability sometimes sneaks in.

“I still remember a time at a conference when I was scheduled to go on stage,” she recalls. “For some reason, I had not had a haircut for the longest time, and I just didn’t feel like myself. So I went in, and I just got a haircut that was short. I came back and met one of my team members, and she said, ‘Rashim, you shouldn't have cut your hair. You don’t look like a woman leader.’ That's when I realized people owning ourselves is hard sometimes. I’m a no-makeup, take-me-as-I-am leader. That makes me no less effective than one who spends a lot of time perfecting their hair. I got on stage, and I wowed the audience. The worry my colleague had about how I came across, it’s all too pervasive in how we judge ourselves.”

In parting, Rashim shares a personal journal entry: "I'm valuable, knowledgeable, and innovative. I'm successful, and I'm confident. I'm heard, seen, and valued."

In those quiet moments when self-doubt starts to seep in, remind yourself of Rashim’s words. Like her, you are worthy, you are valuable, and you are innovative.

Explore the 2021 Women in Tech Report

About Rashim Mogha

Rashim is a thought leader, best-selling author, speaker, technologist and a business leader. Yet none of those descriptors fully capture her influence. Named one of the Top DEI Leaders of 2021, Rashim doesn’t only work hard, she provides the foundation others need to be their best.

Her best-selling book Fast-Track Your Leadership Careerprovides women a template for nurting their ambitions. Her ideas on leadership, innovation, women in technology, and enablement strategies have also appeared in publications including Forbes, Association for Talent Development (ATD), and Thrive Global.

Rashim is also the founder of eWOW (empoweredWomen of the World)—an intellectual platform that empowers leaders to discover, visualize and actualize their success. Her work with eWOW includes a podcast that is listened to in over 50 countries.

In addition to her award for Top DEI Leaders of 2021, Rashim has been recognized by Business Chief USA as a woman to watch. She is also a recipient of Women Empowerment: Game Changer, Woman of the Year, Women Tech, and Silicon Valley Woman of Influence awards and was inducted into the Alameda County Hall of Fame in 2020.

In her role at Skillsoft, Rashim brings her passion and innovation together to deliver a learning foundation for global enterprises of all types. As GM Leadership and Business portfolio she leads the content, platform, customer success, sales, and marketing teams to deliver compelling experiences to our customers. Prior to Skillsoft, Rashim held leadership roles at companies like VMware, Amazon Web Services, Oracle, and Automation Anywhere, where she built high-performing teams and launched innovative solutions.

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The Best Way to Future-Proof Any Organization? Create a Culture of Continuous Learning https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-best-way-to-future-proof-any-organization-create-a-culture-of-continuous-learning Thu, 20 Jan 2022 02:00:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-best-way-to-future-proof-any-organization-create-a-culture-of-continuous-learning

In the modern global economy, forward-thinking organizations understand that the key to success lies in their ability to retain, upskill, and empower their teams. Particularly in an economic environment where top talent has more job options than ever, ensuring that team members feel both empowered and engaged not only leads to better output and a more positive work environment, it supports retention and the bottom line.

Rather than sitting staffers down for rote, mandatory trainings, agile organizations are finding innovative ways to integrate learning and upskilling into every day work life, creating flexibility for team members at every level to learn on a schedule that works best for them. And when team members are able to effectively learn and upskill, internal growth and promotions are more likely, creating organizations that are not just stronger economically, but more diverse and equitable, as well.

Here, we’ll take a look at how one organization incorporated Skillsoft’s tools to nurture their in-house talent, and the broader lessons their experience can tell us about learning and the workplace:

Making Learning and Reskilling an Organic Part of the Process

When Glenmark Pharma—a major pharmaceutical company in India—sought to improve their market positioning, the company turned its focus toward developing employee skillsets. One reason a culture of learning was particularly important to Glenmark: in the pharmaceutical field, a certain baseline of scientific knowledge and fluency is essential. However, the company’s existing systems weren’t doing enough to bridge skills gaps of communication or effective customer engagement, and hadn’t addressed issues of self-motivation of managerial effectiveness.

Upskilling around communication has taken on particular importance since 2020, as sales team members have searched for ways to effectively connect with customers when face-to-face meetings are no longer an option. In short, workers at all tiers of the sales team needed strategic upskilling.

With a sales team of more than 5,000, Glenmark’s sales training program takes a multi-faceted approach, focusing on hybrid learning to build capability at every level of the sales hierarchy; mentorship initiatives to enable performance; and career development and upskilling to support employee career growth.

More specifically, the company has a goal of supporting front end sales representatives in achieving in-clinic leadership through improved selling skills, as well as helping managers to build leadership capability and managerial effectiveness.

And they knew that in order to achieve sustainable long-term growth and success, their organization needed to develop a culture of engaged, continuous learning that equipped users with current and future required skilling opportunities.

After integrating Skillsoft Percipio and the Skillsoft Leadership Development Program with existing internal learning management systems, Glenmark saw enthusiasm for learning increase across all levels of the organization. Average learning time jumped from 15 minutes per person and a 40% adoption rate in 2019/2020 to 50 minutes and a 72% adoption rate in 2021/2022. For SLDP specifically, the average time spent learning was 70 minutes per person per month, meaning that the company’s leaders are leading—and learning—by example. (Upgrading to Percipio fueled this trend further, as the availability of thousands of learning modules meant that learners didn’t have to wait after completing one curriculum to jump into a new one.)

Easy access to Skillsoft content through the mobile app enabled Glenmark’s team to learn while on the move and working in the field, and empowered them to upskill themselves on whatever schedule worked best for them. Some of the Skillsoft features that have proved particularly useful to Glenmark learners include:

  • Curated channels
  • Personalized user interface
  • Mobile-friendly design
  • Micro-learning videos
  • Assignments to help integrate the learning journey

With engaging, relevant content and easy-to-understand breakdowns of complex concepts, Skillsoft has kept team members coming back to the platform to learn more, and helped Glenmark create a shift in company mindset so that users now see learning as an opportunity for their personal career development, rather than a dull, required exercise. Learners are even exploring resources beyond their assigned courses, indicating a growth mindset and highly motivated sales force.

This widespread enthusiasm for learning at one company is evidence of a more universal principle: making learning more accessible and engaging will make the lessons themselves more effective, and keep learners coming back for more.

An Inclusive Environment Where Talent Has Room to Grow

Supporting team members through learning opportunities has a long list of benefits, chief among them that creating an environment where employees are able to grow professionally is an essential step towards creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.

When in-house talent is successfully upskilled and prepared to move into higher-level roles within the organization, both the teams and the company itself reap the benefits.

In Glenmark’s case, the company is currently ranked 14th among India’s pharmaceutical firms, and they’ve set a goal of breaking into the top 10 by 2025. The company’s leadership is taking a long view of the process, understanding that rather than imposing arbitrary metrics and applying pressure on their teams, true success will require a combination of higher productivity, higher efficiency, a motivated and engaged field force, and a field force with the skillset to prosper in both current and future challenges. It also means creating an environment where team members are able to learn and grow, creating an internal pool of talent that’s poised to take next-level opportunities, and a firm that’s less reliant on hiring outside talent to fill top positions.

The method in which learning is introduced matters, and by creating a self-sufficient digital learning ecosystem, Glenmark looked to dispel the myth that learning can only happen in a classroom setting, and to set the tone of learners taking control of their futures in order to excel both in work and in life.

Culture at nearly every organization is set from the top down, and getting leadership on board is another key component of an inclusive and effective learning environment. Glenmark’s leadership team stepped up to the challenge, offering testimonials on the learning benefits they’d experienced through SLDP, sharing feedback with team members, and advocating for an overall culture of learning and development within the organization. 60% of total learning time at the company is now coming from self-initiated sessions, indicating a broad excitement for learning that didn’t exist just a few years prior.

Democratizing learning in this way has helped to build the skillsets of sales team members and prepare them for higher level roles. Since incorporating Skillsoft’s learning tools, client interface time and engagement have improved, and Glenmark has seen more of their talent successfully upskill themselves and prepare for next level roles, resulting in more internal promotions and fewer external highers, as well as a confident, future-ready workforce.

With a strong culture of learning and ongoing professional development, Glenmark has used Skillsoft as a tool to improve employee retention and engagement, strengthen customer relationships, and create an agile organization poised to rise in the ranks compared to its competitors.

The company has also demonstrated how quickly and dramatically an organization and its team members can feel the effects when learning is successfully incorporated as part of the everyday culture. Managers who find themselves impatient to see improvement in their teams or frustrated at losing talent in a competitive market would do well to consider Glenmark’s experience as proof that while learning can certainly be a long game, when approached with a smart strategy, its positive impacts are immediate.

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A Year of Living and Learning on The Edge https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/a-year-of-living-and-learning-on-the-edge Tue, 28 Dec 2021 11:35:00 -0500 info@imarc.com () https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/a-year-of-living-and-learning-on-the-edge

This time of year is special, whether you’re celebrating the holiday season, enjoying some well-deserved time off with loved ones, or reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the new one.

Despite continued challenges (let’s face it, 2021 was “no walk in the park”), I’m grateful for the people I had the privilege to get to know, to work with, and to learn from. And, a lot of those people were my guests on The Edge, the Skillsoft podcast I’ve hosted for the past two years.

The Edge with Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek

Since we began in the early months of the pandemic, The Edge has evolved into a meaningful vehicle for sharing stories, approaching issues from a new perspective, and exploring topics that, although sometimes difficult to discuss, are mission-critical to speak to.

I’m excited to revisit and share some of my favorite ones from this year with you.

We started Season 2 with a thought-leader in the field of learning and development: Ben Sieke, Director of Talent Development and Learning for Delta Dental. In a spirited conversation, Ben and I discussed how organizations can strive to build a true learning culture, as he shared how his organization developed a customized learning program for its customer service reps, reinvigorating them to go above and beyond in their roles.

I'm reminded of that African proverb, right? If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others. It’s critical in order to achieve some of the large-scale changes we want to have in the organization, as we continue to mature our culture of learning, and it takes a village to do that.”

We continued to build on the conversations we began last year around diversity, equity, and inclusion. This year, I was lucky enough to speak with two individuals from Skillsoft’s New DEI Courses, TaChelle Lawson, and Stephanie Wade, who shared their stories and helped make our new courses so personal and powerful. As TaChelle explained,

It's not about being dismissive and [thinking] we're going to just do this work ourselves, by hiring more people of color. It is about developing a strategy and understanding what those experiences are, what equity truly means and how it's defined within your organization, what you do need to do in order to create an inclusive environment and culture.

Steph agreed and underscored how important it is to do the work in advance.

If you're a manager, do not wait until you hire your first African-American or your first wheelchair-bound, differently abled person, or your first transgender person to start having these discussions. That's way too late. If you wait until that person comes in, you put them in an incredibly difficult position.

This year’s Edge episode in honor of National Mentoring Day was particularly special for me. Not only did I have the opportunity to speak with my new colleague, Beth Egan, Masterclass Speaker, Executive Coach, and Head of Global Coach Talent Acquisition for Pluma, but I was lucky enough to welcome my own long-time mentor, Caroline Taylor, former CMO for IBM’s Global Markets.

These two truly incredible, powerhouse leaders, shared their perspectives on the power of coaching and mentorship in developing tomorrow’s leaders today. As Caroline explained, a mentor relationship can be professional and powerfully personal:

If you, as the mentor, are willing to be open and maybe share personal or more challenging things that you probably wouldn't share on a stage in front of a hundred people, to share your own vulnerability, I think that really helps to build trust.

We heard similar thoughts from other Edge guests. Like the co-founders of DECK — Diversity, Efficiency, Culture, Kindness — Leadership, Mike Metcalf and Shaun Peet. With 10 years of experience working with NASCAR pit crews, Mike and Shaun know what it means to operate on the edge (no pun intended) of what’s humanly possible. But, they stressed that success is driven by human connection.

It boils down to inspiring human brilliance. If you can do that, if you can get a hundred percent out of the people that work with you, you have a far greater chance of leading your category than if you have a bigger team full of apathy.

In our most recent episode of The Edge, I spoke with a woman who’s been called, “The British Oprah,” Jaz Ampaw-Farr. Jaz is an international TEDx Speaker, thought leader, and “Resilience Ninja.” I can honestly say that I’ve never had more fun during a podcast interview, full stop.

What an amazing and engaging discussion we had on the need for a “human-first” revolution, being our authentic selves, overcoming imposter syndrome, and being vulnerable.

What if we stood and said, “You know what, this is who I am. This is what I can do. This is what I want to learn. This is where the gaps are. This is what I'm working on.” And what if that was just okay?

This is only a small sampling of the incredible guests and stories we told in Season 2 of The Edge. I invite you to listen for yourself. You can find The Edge on the major podcast platforms or simply visit Skillsoft.com/podcast.

Learning starts with listening, and through the course of 36 episodes and 36 different conversations, I’ve learned so much.

I hope you will too.

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Strategic Acquisition Reinvents Skills-Based Learning https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/strategic-acquisition-reinvents-skills-based-learning Wed, 22 Dec 2021 07:00:00 -0500 info@imarc.com () https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/strategic-acquisition-reinvents-skills-based-learning

The skills gap. Digital transformation. The great resignation. The pink pandemic. The labor shortage. A stagnant minimum wage. And ever rising costs of higher education. Across the globe, business and popular media make dire predictions about the state of work and the workforce.

But, behind the headlines are three simple truths.

  1. Technology has changed everything, no doubt.

  2. But, with access to the right opportunity to acquire in-demand tech skills, people can ensure they become — and stay — relevant and employable.

  3. And, the best way for organizations to grow and retain the skills they need to be competitive and profitable, is to build a learning culture that encourages continual skilling, upskilling, and personal and professional growth.

Through the combination of the new Skillsoft and Codecademy, we can help organizations not only survive, but thrive, by connecting the needs of the enterprise to those of the learners so new skills can be developed at scale, across industries, globally.


Together, we will connect millions of people to new economic opportunities in technology, provide more enterprises with the valuable tools they need to narrow the skills gap, and help drive societal change, making learning and growth more accessible and inclusive.

We will prepare the workforce of today with the skills for tomorrow.

Turn and face the changes

The nature of work — and consequently the nature of the workforce — has evolved at a rapid pace. Today, every company, everywhere, has to rethink how they conduct business and the talent required to rapidly innovate, meet customer needs and employees’ expectations. But the rate of technological change has outpaced organizations’ ability to upskill and reskill their talent.

Until now.

Every company is a technology company

Greatly accelerated by COVID-19, digital transformation is ubiquitous. Every company's success depends on its ability to execute digitally and continue to invest in new technology-driven offerings and operations. That means, we’ve moved into a world where every company needs to engage in the war for tech talent to stay at the forefront of innovation.

Bridging the skills gap

The skills gap, predicted years ago, has become a crisis. According to Deloitte, the potential economic impact could reach US $2.5 trillion. How we source, retain, and skill talent has to be revolutionized.

By acquiring Codecademy, Skillsoft will be in a unique position to:

  • Help people acquire the skills they need to fill tech roles
  • Enable businesses to transform and thrive by skilling existing talent
  • Prepare the workforce for the most in-demand jobs of the future

Competency is the new currency

Within this shifting job market, competencies have emerged as the new currency. According to Skillsoft’s recent Skills and Salary Report, 38 percent of IT decision-makers cited the rate of technology change outpacing their existing skills development programs. This was the primary driver identified behind why 76 percent of IT decision-makers worldwide face critical skills gaps in their departments — a 40 percent increase since 2015. A skills-based strategy, supported by Skillsoft and Codecademy will enable organizations to reskill and upskill as needed.

Learning empowers people to achieve their career goals

Our Skills and Salary Report found that the top reason IT professionals changed jobs was for opportunity development and growth … not increased compensation. This underscores why talent development is critical to retaining employees and helping them achieve their career goals. And, the global ramifications are massive.

According to the World Economic Forum, closing the skills gap could add US$11.5 trillion to global GDP by 2028.

The need for a skills revolution — especially in technology — has never been greater.

Stronger together, a transformational acquisition

By acquiring Codecademy, Skillsoft will expand its position as a global leader in corporate digital learning. Codecademy's complementary, high-quality technology courses and labs will expand Skillsoft’s Technology and Developer portfolio. Codecademy meaningfully enhances the breadth and depth of the Skillsoft offering, creating a more robust and diverse content library, and delivering an interactive learning platform that can easily extend to support any number of technology-related skills

The acquisition nearly doubles Skillsoft’s reach, bringing an additional 40 million registered learners to the organization’s customer base, and adding sophisticated business-to-people go-to-market expertise to Skillsoft’s robust business-to-business sales engine. At the same time, Skillsoft’s relationships with 70 percent of the Fortune 1000 provides insight into which competencies are most in-demand right now.

Serving a greater purpose

The business growth story behind Skillsoft’s Codecademy acquisition is timely and compelling. But, there’s more to it.

Both organizations are mission-driven, united in the belief that a company can deliver both revenue and profits, while still doing good in this world. Together, they are dedicated to ensuring that value-rich education is available to all. That more people around the globe have access to life-changing learning, empowering their professional and personal lives today and tomorrow.

As one company, comprising heritage Skillsoft, Codecademy, and other recent acquisitions, Global Knowledge and Pluma, Skillsoft is better positioned to connect millions of people to new economic opportunities and thousands of organizations to the highly skilled workforce they need.

It’s more than an idea whose time has come. It’s a bold new approach to learning that will transform employers and employees alike.

Additional Information and Where to Find It

This communication may be deemed solicitation material in respect of the proposed acquisition of Codecademy by the Company. This communication does not constitute a solicitation of any vote or approval. In connection with the proposed transaction, the Company plans to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and mail or otherwise provide to its shareholders a proxy statement regarding the proposed transaction. The Company may also file other documents with the SEC regarding the proposed transaction. This document is not a substitute for the proxy statement or any other document that may be filed by the Company with the SEC.

BEFORE MAKING ANY VOTING DECISION, THE COMPANY’S STOCKHOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT IN ITS ENTIRETY WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE AND ANY OTHER DOCUMENTS FILED BY THE COMPANY WITH THE SEC IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION OR INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE THEREIN BEFORE MAKING ANY VOTING DECISION WITH RESPECT TO THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION AND THE PARTIES TO THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION.

Any vote in respect of resolutions to be proposed at the Company’s stockholder meeting to approve the proposed transaction or related matters, or other responses in relation to the proposed transaction, should be made only on the basis of the information contained in the Company’s proxy statement. Shareholders may obtain a free copy of the proxy statement and other documents the Company files with the SEC (when available) through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. The Company makes available free of charge on its investor relations website at https://investor.skillsoft.com... copies of materials it files with, or furnishes to, the SEC.

No Offer or Solicitation

This communication is for information purposes only and is not intended to and does not constitute, or form part of, an offer, invitation or the solicitation of an offer or invitation to purchase, otherwise acquire, subscribe for, sell or otherwise dispose of any securities, or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction, pursuant to the proposed transaction or otherwise, nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities in any jurisdiction in contravention of applicable law.

Participants in the Solicitation

The Company and its directors, executive officers and certain employees and other persons may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the Company’s shareholders in connection with the proposed transaction. Security holders may obtain information regarding the names, affiliations and interests of the Company’s directors and executive officers in the Company’s Report on Form 8-K and Form 8-K/A filed on June 17, 2021. To the extent the holdings of the Company’s securities by the Company’s directors and executive officers have changed since the amounts set forth in the Company’s Form 8-K filed on June 17, 2021, such changes have been or will be reflected on Statements of Change in Ownership on Form 4 filed with the SEC. Additional information regarding the interests of such individuals in the proposed transaction will be included in the proxy statement relating to the proposed transaction when it is filed with the SEC. These documents (when available) may be obtained free of charge from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and the investor relations page of the Company’s website at https://investor.skillsoft.com....

Forward Looking Statements

This document includes statements that are, or may be deemed to be, “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which are intended to be covered by the safe harbors created by those laws. These forward-looking statements include information about possible or assumed future results of our operations, the timing and occurrence of the closing of the transaction, and the anticipated transaction benefits. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, that address activities, events or developments that we expect or anticipate may occur in the future, including such things as our outlook, our product development and planning, our pipeline, future capital expenditures, financial results, the impact of regulatory changes, existing and evolving business strategies and acquisitions and dispositions, demand for our services and competitive strengths, goals, the benefits of new initiatives, growth of our business and operations, our ability to successfully implement our plans, strategies, objectives, expectations and intentions are forward-looking statements. Also, when we use words such as “may,” “will,” “would,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “projects,” “forecasts,” “seeks,” “outlook,” “target,” goals,” “probably,” or similar expressions, we are making forward-looking statements. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Skillsoft’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. All forward-looking disclosure is speculative by its nature.

There are important risks, uncertainties, events and factors that could cause our actual results or performance to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements contained in this document, including:

  • the impact of changes in consumer spending patterns, consumer preferences, local, regional and national economic conditions, crime, weather, demographic trends and employee availability;
  • the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (including any variant) on our business, operating results and financial condition;
  • fluctuations in our future operating results;
  • our ability to successfully identify, consummate and achieve strategic objectives in connection with our acquisition opportunities and realize the benefits expected from the acquisition;
  • the demand for, and acceptance of, our products and for cloud-based technology learning solutions in general;
  • our ability to compete successfully in competitive markets and changes in the competitive environment in our industry and the markets in which we operate;
  • our ability to market existing products and develop new products;
  • a failure of our information technology infrastructure or any significant breach of security, including in relation to the migration of our key platforms from our systems to cloud storage;
  • future regulatory, judicial and legislative changes in our industry;
  • our ability to comply with laws and regulations applicable to our business;
  • the impact of natural disasters, public health crises, political crises, or other catastrophic events;
  • our ability to attract and retain key employees and qualified technical and sales personnel;
  • fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates;
  • our ability to protect or obtain intellectual property rights;
  • our ability to raise additional capital;
  • the impact of our indebtedness on our financial position and operating flexibility;
  • our ability to meet future liquidity requirements and comply with restrictive covenants related to long-term indebtedness;
  • our ability to successfully defend ourselves in legal proceedings; and
  • our ability to continue to meet applicable listing standards.

Additional factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statements regarding the transaction between Skillsoft and Codecademy include, but are not limited to:

  • our ability to timely satisfy the conditions to the closing of the transaction contemplated in the definitive agreement;
  • occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of the definitive agreement;
  • the possibility that the consummation of the acquisition is delayed or does not occur, including the failure to obtain stockholder approval of the transaction;
  • our ability to realize the benefits from the acquisition;
  • our ability to effectively and timely incorporate the acquired business into our business operations;
  • risks that the acquisition and other transactions contemplated by the definitive agreement disrupt current plans and operations that may harm the parties’ current businesses; and
  • the amount of any costs, fees, expenses, impairments and charges related to the acquisition; and
  • uncertainty as to the effects of the announcement or pendency of the acquisition on the market price of the Company’s common stock and/or on the parties’ respective financial performance.

The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive and new factors may emerge from time to time that could also affect actual performance and results. For more information, please see the risk factors included in the Company’s Amendment no. 1 to its Registration Statement on Form S-1 declared effective by the SEC on July 29, 2021, and subsequent filings with the SEC.

Although we believe that the assumptions underlying our forward-looking statements are reasonable, any of these assumptions, and therefore also the forward-looking statements based on these assumptions, could themselves prove to be inaccurate. Given the significant uncertainties inherent in the forward-looking statements included in this document, our inclusion of this information is not a representation or guarantee by us that our objectives and plans will be achieved. Annualized, pro forma, projected and estimated numbers are used for illustrative purpose only, are not forecasts and may not reflect actual results. Additionally, statements as to market share, industry data and our market position are based on the most currently available data available to us and our estimates regarding market position or other industry data included in this document or otherwise discussed by us involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various factors, including as set forth above.

Our forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made and we will not update these forward-looking statements unless required by applicable law. With regard to these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking events discussed in this document may not occur, and we caution you against unduly relying on these forward-looking statements.

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Four Digital Learning Predictions for 2022 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/four-digital-learning-predictions-for-2022 Fri, 10 Dec 2021 08:30:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/four-digital-learning-predictions-for-2022

While we’re not exactly back to business as usual, the new normal has become slightly more normal. As we emerge from the uncertainty of last year, we indisputably find that the future of work has arrived. We see organizations easing out of crisis mode and getting back to long-term planning, and many are keen to keep a hybrid, if not fully remote, workforce in play. So, my colleagues and I had a conversation about what we were observing, and to answer the question we think is most pressing for the year to come: How do we build a workforce with skills for tomorrow while retaining the most qualified talent at the same time?

Here are our collective predictions for learning and development in 2022, and what your organization will need to do as you prepare the workforce of today with the skills for tomorrow

Prediction 1

Your best talent will leave if you’re not investing in their skills.

Kristi Hummel, Chief People Officer

Sustaining your workforce is not enough. Retain top talent by reskilling and upskilling them to overcome skills gaps.

As the pandemic wore on, workers increasingly recognized that their time is valuable. The Great Resignation has taught us that employees want to do work that matters and is harmonious with their lives outside of the office. Learners are more vocal than ever about their desire for professional development within their company, and employers are picking up on this. According to The Year 2021 For Skilling: A Pulse Survey, 88% of businesses rated building skills and capabilities as the topmost priority.

Organizations that provide a way to transform the skills of their talent in a meaningful way, with a transparent career trajectory, see the most success in their learning and development mission. Because success isn’t about learning a single tool or process—a new and better tool will always come along. Success is about retaining talented individuals who are excited to learn with an infrastructure that enables them to do so. We’ve also seen a demand for greater internal mobility, not just from individuals; cohorts want to learn and skill up together. There are very measurable forms of learning that ultimately allow employees to take their new skills to different parts of the organization.

Prediction 2

Collaborative, Immersive learning is the key to success as remote work and virtual collaboration become the norm.

Apratim Purakayastha, Chief Technology Officer

Another trend we’ve seen holding strong is that employees continue to seek enriching, community-driven experiences online, which directly applies to learning. In fact, the Brandon Hall Group found that because of their experience during the pandemic, 35% of organizations have applied approaches that make virtually-delivered instructor-led training more collaborative and social, similar to what one would expect through in-person learning.

Leaders must be open to creating meaningful and engaging programs using blended learning methods – which infuse self-paced, team-oriented, and instructor-led training, as well as live courses, hands-on labs, bootcamps, and more, to appeal to multiple training preferences and styles.

How do we provide systems and content so that socialization and learning all meld together into one system? Many organizations are looking at the success of gamer culture for inspiration. Gamers worldwide have wide social networks of people they’ve never met face to face but with who they collaborate seamlessly to achieve in-game tasks. Leaders are experimenting with novel and collaborative learning methods, such as using VR headsets for onboarding and live virtual strategy sessions. So, as we go into this new year, make time to review your learning and development mission and ensure its social and contains a variety of different learning types.

Prediction 3

Personalized coaching will help the next generation of leaders stay ahead of the chaos.

Mark Onisk, Chief Content Officer

In a world that has become rapidly virtualized and heavily reliant on report work, effective leadership has never been more important. Coaching accelerates leaders’ professional development by providing a personal mentor who can assess strengths and facilitate new skills in a thoughtful way that encourages growth. Therefore, building leadership competencies must be an integral part of learning across the organization, as quality talent becomes increasingly scare.

The market for personalized coaching continues to grow year over year as organizations strive to foster critical leadership competencies across the company. The International Coaching Federation estimates that the number of leadership coach practitioners increased by 33% globally between 2015 and 2019, with the number of leaders using coaches rising by 46%.

We can also expect an increased investment in AI to enhance digital coaching. AI is a maturing technology and is being trained using the rich corpus of information from every industry to augment human intelligence, find patterns and make predictions. If we apply that to learning, we’re able to take the institutional and practical knowledge that still primarily resides in people’s heads and share it systematically. If we merge the predictive nature of AI with blended learning, we have something that looks like an omnipresent digital coach.

Prediction 4

Digital transformation is critical; all departments will need to build technical skills and competencies.

Michelle BB, Chief Marketing Officer

If there’s one thing to take away from Skillsoft’s Global Knowledge 2021 IT Skills & Salary Report, it’s that the IT skills gap is real, and it’s growing. Our report found that 76% of IT decision-makers experience critical skills gaps on their teams—a 145% increase from last year. As a result, employees must carve out time on their own to learn new skills and keep up with the pace of their organization. It is up to the business to provide and encourage opportunities that retain talent and scale skills across your organization wherever there’s a void.

The skills gap just gets wider for women in tech who seek professional development and career advancement. Skillsoft’s recently published 2021 Women in Tech Report found that 32% of women surveyed cited a lack of training as the main challenge they face in a tech-related career. Consequently, it is more important than ever for businesses to foster IT skills and competencies across their organization.

It’s not all bad news; the IT Skills and Salary report also found that nine out of ten managers plan on addressing the skills gap, and over 50% believe the answer is training their existing talent. As a result of additional training in the IT world, 80% of professionals saw higher engagement, faster performance, and better work outcomes. Skilling up IT training across your enterprise will carry both professional and personal value to your employees and should be a major consideration for businesses going into the new year.

In the end, it’s all about embracing the flow of work and life within the new normal.

The way in which we learn new work skills will evolve to become more natural, intuitive, and personal. Learning systems are advanced enough to integrate with our day-to-day life and ensure your talent has the best skills in the market. But if your organization isn’t leading with a growth mindset, your leaders aren’t taking full advantage of these advances in learning and development. The next level of productivity and efficiency will occur through upskilling your teams, creating a culture of hyper-accessible social learning and coaching leadership, that learners can practice whenever they want, wherever they may be.

To learn more about how learning and training will transform the workforce in 2022, read the 2021 IT Skills and Salary Report and the 2021 Women in Tech Report. Also, stay Tuned for the Lean into Learning Report, coming to you in January 2022.

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Balancing Our Say/Do Ratio: Inclusive Cultures Require Continuous Learning and Action https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/balancing-our-say-do-ratio-inclusive-cultures-require-continuous-learning-and-action Fri, 03 Dec 2021 08:00:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Elisa Vincent, VP Global Talent Enablement) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/balancing-our-say-do-ratio-inclusive-cultures-require-continuous-learning-and-action

“After I left school, I applied for thousands and thousands of jobs, but nobody wanted to know about my disability. It made me feel flat, excluded, and depressed. I was not a priority. People with intellectual disabilities are typically at the bottom of the list of hiring priorities, which results in too many people being forgotten and left out. The entire company needs to be consciously inclusive, to enable and facilitate inclusion at an individual level.”

This is the story of Ian Harper, Special Olympics Great Britain athlete and Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger. His story reflects the experience of so many who identify as having intellectual and developmental disabilities, a community sadly underrepresented in today’s workforce.

Like Learning and Development, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)—for individuals and organizations—is a lifelong journey. There is no single workshop or training that can cure inherent biases or assumptions. Instead, true behavior change occurs only when we are personally committed to action, when we are motivated extrinsically and intrinsically to evolve the way we behave. 

Every individual and company are at a different place in their journey. At Skillsoft, we are at the point in our journey where we are building an authentic culture of inclusion. One that moves past both awareness and assessment, and transitions into action – one that is less performative and more intentional in balancing what we say with what we do. We know that creating an inclusive work environment requires all team members to be curious, to have a mindset of continuous growth and development. But inclusion does not stop with learning and awareness. True inclusion is a commitment to action – a commitment to acquiring, developing, and advancing talent in our organizations without exceptions.

Through Skillsoft’s partnership with Special Olympics, we have learned that too often, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are left out of the corporate DEI conversation. In fact, data from Skillsoft’s 2020 Intellectual Disabilities in Workplace DEIsurvey found that despite surging support for creating truly inclusive workplaces, workplace DEI efforts may often fail to include people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We recognize that this is new territory for many organizations, ourselves included, and we are privileged to learn first-hand through Special Olympics the value individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities bring to the workforce, to teams, and to business growth.

Today, on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we are thrilled to share our learnings from the Special Olympics team, and we hope these insights provide value, wherever you or your organization are on your DEI journey. Beyond the learnings outlined below, Skillsoft has developed two new courses featuring Special Olympics athletes, employees, board members, and partners who share compelling stories of how they fought for, and shaped, a welcoming workplace.

As we worked hand-in-hand with Special Olympics to build this curriculum and produce both courses, we listened and learned. Our collaboration has helped us shape four key perspectives essential to building a truly inclusive workplace. Hiring diverse talent is the first step, but the key to our long-term success is retaining and advancing diverse talent in ways that are scalable and sustainable. We can do this by:

Democratizing and socializing the learning experience

The greatest way to build awareness and craft a blueprint that enables action is to invite and enable self-assessment and storytelling. Each person is unique and different, and the same goes for their experiences in the workplace and beyond. From our work with Special Olympics, we learned the importance of democratizing perspectives to build open and inclusive learning channels, in addition to shining a light on the experiences of underrepresented groups by creating safe spaces for storytelling. Stories create connection; they inspire; and they shift perspectives. When we listen, we learn. After a year and half of disruption and evolving work environments, now is the time for us to pause, listen, connect, and use what we learn to reshape and transform our cultures.

As a part of that commitment, we have established our own Inclusion Council that’s dedicated to building broader DEI learning experiences in the organization. This, combined with the launch of our Employee Advisory Groups, including one for People with Disabilities and Neurodiversity, ensures that we steward this important work in our own organization, provide a platform for and invest in our team members to learn this work and share their stories, and be more intentional with creating a balance between what we say and what we do.  

Removing barriers and simplifying the complex

Emanuelle Dutra Fernandes de Souza, Special Olympics Brazil athlete and Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger, shares her experience of facing specific barriers in the workplace.

“People with intellectual disabilities face barriers every day in many different situations, and getting a job is no different. I have faced barriers in the workplace such as being tired of doing only one task every day. That was exhausting mentally and physically. I couldn't tell anyone about this [because I might] have been seen as a person that wasn't helping my colleagues, even if I was getting copies from the printer across the street from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every day.”

From Emanuelle’s story, we see firsthand that many talent recruitment and enablement practices such as internal talent job transfers, growth opportunities, stretch assignments, and new projects are not universally applied and often times are hard to obtain.

Another athlete from Special Olympics Great Britain, Kiera Byland, shared her perspective on questions inclusive leaders should ask themselves, “Do you know the finer details of your staff members? How to get the best out of them? Imagine I’m like a big ball of wool; and I’m inside with lots of creative ideas. You just have to unravel me and see what comes out. And that is when inclusive leadership becomes real, and it works. To summarize, yes, it’s great to see the bigger picture. Give enough time to listen to hear, process, and act upon, and don’t forget—it’s about the finer details.”

What a powerful statement. As leaders, as colleagues we all play a role in not only “unraveling” the creativity that lives in all of us, but strategically weaving these underrepresented threads into the fabric of our business. Start with getting to know your colleagues – listening in interviews, allowing them to identify their abilities, creating safe spaces for sharing, and then fully rebuilding processes and new ways of working to be more inclusive of diverse abilities.

Focusing on conscious Inclusion and actively seeking feedback

Many organizations have great intentions of adopting a truly inclusive work environment but may be unsure or afraid to start that process. As athlete Ian Harper continued, "Why do company leaders hold back from looking at employing people with intellectual disabilities? Well, because they don't want to be tokenistic. They know that nobody really likes to be a diversity check-the-box hire. "

Our intentions do not often match the impact we want to have. There is a fine line between empowerment and tokenism, but the one way to ensure empowerment first and only is through “conscious inclusion.” Conscious inclusion requires we actively seek feedback and consciously strive to improve how we embrace difference and chose inclusion. Inclusion is active. It is a choice.

As Ian said, "I do not get offended when asked about my disability and what works for me. If asked, I will happily support you and remind you when you slip into your habitual exclusive behaviors, holding you accountable in a friendly way. Of course, seeing people as individuals as they are, whether they have a different skin color or disability. Inclusion at the company level—conscious inclusion needs to also be happening at a company level.”

Knowing when to act and when to press pause

A vital part of inclusion that ties into storytelling is knowing when to act and when to press pause. It is in those moments of pause and reflection – when we truly listen, observe, ask questions, and reflect that we can move forward with renewed purpose and strength. For many of us, we have the desire and energy to move the needle, but often we are driven by our own perspectives and our own sense of what are the “right” things to do. Our journey towards genuinely inclusive cultures is not a sprint. It is a marathon, where the runners who perform best are those who have trained longest, who are the most patient and resilient, and who have the most supporters in their network. We must find that balance between running ahead, running behind, and running beside each other.

We have learned so much through our partnership with Special Olympics. We welcome you to do the same and watch these courses, “Embracing the Power of Diversity and Inclusion featuring Special Olympics” and “Great Leaders Must Be Inclusive featuring Special Olympics” launching today on Percipio, and next week on Skillsoft’s DEI resources page and Skillsoft’s YouTube channel.

Our hope is that these courses will provide a better understanding of the disparities faced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and share guidance on how organizations and individuals can create more inclusive cultures for people of all abilities. And most importantly, we hope that other organizations can take that pivotal step towards action in their own DEI journeys. A journey that we are all continuously striving for and building to create inclusive employee experiences without exceptions. 

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3 out of 4 of IT decision-makers report IT skill gaps https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/3-out-of-4-of-it-decision-makers-report-it-skill-gaps Mon, 15 Nov 2021 08:00:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Michael Yoo) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/3-out-of-4-of-it-decision-makers-report-it-skill-gaps

Almost every day we’re faced with evidence of labor shortages. We have to wait on line a little longer at the local grocery store. Your favorite restaurant is seating fewer tables than usual. The price of purchases such as cars and computers has gone up. Those who work in the tech industry know it’s not just the service and manufacturing sectors who are struggling to meet labor demands. In an October 2021 survey conducted by CNBC 57% of tech executives reported that finding qualified employees is their number one concern - ranking it higher than supply chain issues and cybersecurity threats.

Our own research, the Global Knowledge 2021 IT Skills and Salary Report, which looks more broadly at the challenge confirms IT skills gaps are real, and organizations are struggling to fill them. For the past 16 years, Global Knowledge has conducted a comprehensive study of IT Skills and Salaries. Studying trends in depth for so long provides a unique perspective on IT skills and how we as an industry are progressing.

This year’s study uncovered some uncomfortable truths.

THE SKILLS GAP HAS INCREASED 145% SINCE 2016

Three out of four IT decision-makers on a global scale are reporting gaps in IT staff skills. That’s a 145% increase since 2016 — and that’s creating a lot of angst for organizations feeling the pinch. Increases in stress, project duration, and operating costs, as well as decreased quality and ability to meet business objectives are the unfortunate consequences of gaps in IT skills. Analyst firm IDC reports that by 2022, IT skills gaps will result in monetary losses of $775 billion. Organizations need to address this growing and very real concern.

37% OF IT-DECISION MAKERS REPORT THEIR ORGANIZATIONS DOSEN’T OFFER FORMAL TRAINING TO KEEP SKILLS UPDATED

Thirty-seven percent of IT decision-makers report their organization does not provide employees formal training to keep their skills up to date. Employees are having to informally learn new skills to help the organization achieve its goals.

40% OF IT STAFF ARE FEELING A WORKLOAD SQUEEZE

Covid-19 had little bearing on IT job security. 80% of IT professionals report feeling extremely or somewhat good about job security. That is good news. Unfortunately, it comes with a cost. Nearly 40% of IT staff feel their workload is a big challenge.

MORE THAN 50% OF IT DECISION MAKERS HAVE AT LEAST ONE POSITION THEY HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO FILL

Organizations are challenged with filling open positions. Fifty-four percent of IT decision-makers report they’ve been unable to fill one or two positions, 38% report having three or four unfilled positions. This results in excessive workloads for existing employees, unfulfilled duties, or both. The main reasons: organizations cannot attract candidates with the necessary skills nor afford the salary demands — and there simply aren’t enough qualified candidates.

ATTRACTING AND RETAINING TALENT REQUIRES HIGHER SALARIES

IT professionals are collecting bigger paychecks, indicating that those with the right skills and experience are more essential than ever. Average salaries were up across almost every region. Fifty-two percent of IT professionals reported receiving a raise this past year. The leading factor was job performance. It also signals organizations are having to pay higher salaries to attract and retain talent in critical areas such as cloud, security, and data

Don’t feel disheartened. While skills gaps are a challenge, our study also surfaced proven ways to close them.

TRAINING YOUR EMPLOYEES IS KEY TO TALENT RETENTION

Investing in employee development closes skills gaps and aids in retaining top talent. IT decision-makers value certification. It’s listed as the top way to close organization skills gaps. In fact, nine out of ten managers have a plan in place to address skills gaps and over 50% believe the answer is training existing staff. It’s critical to remember, employees expect their employer to provide training. IT staff crave learning and development for personal growth — and if they’re not getting it from their current employer, they’ll move on. For the third year in a row, more than half of IT professionals reported that the lack of learning and development is the main reason for changing employers, and an increase in compensation was second. IT decision-makers need to evaluate investing in the professional growth of their IT departments before it’s too late.

5% INCREASE IN CERTIICATIONS OVER LAST YEAR

NInety-two percent of IT professionals who participated in the survey reported holding at least one certification. That’s a five percent increase over last year. Increases in salary, new job offers, and overall improvements in the quality of work were all cited as benefits that are a direct result of additional training in the IT world

CERTIFIED EMPLOYEES DRIVE $10,000+ IN ANNUAL VALUE AND FEEL MORE ENGAGED

Certification is an important vehicle to validate one’s knowledge and skills in a specific domain. Nearly half of those surveyed saw an improvement in their work post certification. Almost as many reported feeling more engaged in their work and/or faster at performing their jobs. Sixty-four percent of IT decision-makers say certified employees deliver $10,000 or more in additional annual value compared to non-certified employees. Clearly, time and money invested in certification training have a positive effect on an organization’s bottom line, even though 10% of IT staff report that management do not see a benefit to training or do not approve it

We’ve reported here some of the big takeaways in the report that impact us all, there is a clear and urgent need to act. We invite you to dig into additional details by reading the 2021 GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE IT SKILLS AND SALARY REPORT. We hope this information provides you inspiration and a roadmap for action.

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Bridging purpose, learning, and business impact via ‘Learn for a Cause’ https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/bridging-purpose-learning-and-business-impact-via-learn-for-a-cause Sun, 14 Nov 2021 23:12:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Ankur Gupta) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/bridging-purpose-learning-and-business-impact-via-learn-for-a-cause

Over the last eighteen months, businesses have navigated a tough business climate, while also traversing social challenges. As the pandemic left a lasting trail of turmoil at the workplace, it also introduced many socio-economic problems to address.

In India, despite the huge push towards digital learning at the primary and secondary school level, it is estimated that only one third of India’s school children were pursuing online education and an even smaller cohort were engaged in live classes. Even worse, the pandemic induced disruption in the country’s food security system putting millions of children at risk for calorie deficit. Organizations simply couldn’t ignore the broader life challenges happening to families they employed.

As companies encouraged employee volunteer efforts, one of the most compelling ways to engage employees became supporting community-based impact programs.

Purpose led learning

‘Learn for a Cause’ was a unique, first-of-its-kind, purpose driven learning initiative that had a unique proposition for participants. By completing courses on the Percipio platform, they could give back to charities that worked toward battling hunger and improving access to education. And this program was open to companies across sectors.

The program envisioned by People Matters and Skillsoft was delivered in partnership with the help of two charities – Akshay Patra, one of the world’s largest NGO-directed school meal programs and Concern India Foundation, which extends financial, and non-financial support to grassroots NGOs working in the area of education.

“Most learning initiatives tend to focus on the impact on the individual and thereby impacting the workplace culture and the business. But the pandemic helped rethink the impact that we could have on the larger community, and that’s the vision that fuelled ‘Learn for a Cause’” said Kamal Dutta, Managing Director India, Skillsoft

“People inherently want to contribute to the society, and this was a great opportunity for employees to engage in this activity to give back,” said Kedar Vashi, Director- Talent, L&D, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, one of the companies that participated in this initiative.

This initiative saw 10,192 hours of learning being completed by learners from 17 organizations using the Skillsoft Percipio platform. There were about 4,390 active users who accessed 3,011 content courses, averaging 3.3 learning hours spent in the content, and 5 courses per user completed.

The impact

Speaking about the success of the initiative in the company, Sangram Kesari Samal, Deputy General Manager Human Resources, Bajaj Auto Finance, said, “the interest and curiosity element came from the access to the world-class content on Skillsoft Percipio, and the ownership element came from an inherent human desire to help one another”.

With the help of 17 participating organizations, 16,128 meals were donated and the initiative also helped sponsor the education and employment of 100 young women.

#LearnForACause highlighted the power of learning through L&D teams that are at the forefront of business transformation. The initiative also showed how businesses could weave ‘purpose’ into their growth strategy.

“At its heart, the ‘Learn for a Cause’ initiative was a unique attempt to bring about social impact while you learn. It was an opportunity for organisations to meaningfully contribute back to their community, while bringing about transformational business change as you volunteer and learn.” Ester Martinez, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, People Matters Media

Organisations that participated in this unique initiative included: UST Global, Bharat Petroleum, Bata, Raymond, TATA Chemicals, Capita, Bajaj Finserv, Bajaj Electronics, Bajaj Auto, MakeMyTrip, Evalueserve, ncourage, Rallis India Limited, Spark Minda, Emerson, HCCB.

As companies navigate a new (emerging) world of work, new opportunities are opening up to reconstruct and reimagine work in a post COVID era. ‘Learn for a Cause’ marks the beginning of a new innovative approach to tackling business challenges. By boosting employee engagement and experience and creating an impact in the community, ‘Learn for a Cause heralds a new era of work that place’s purpose at the heart of the business.

Watch this video to learn more about this initiative:

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Connecting with CARE https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/connecting-with-care Mon, 08 Nov 2021 10:00:00 -0500 Valerie.Ward@skillsoft.com (Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/connecting-with-care

It's been 606 days since we went remote. 20 months. 86 weeks. It feels like a lifetime ago. And as I've resumed in-office days, traveling on business, and attending customer meetings, I've realized how socially awkward I've become now that I'm no longer protected by my monitor.

It's hardly unexpected that all of this social distancing has caused emotional distancing.

And so, it's more important than ever to find and connect with purpose — at work, at home, and in our communities. I had the opportunity recently to host a live roundtable in conjunction with ETHRWorld on The Hybrid Work Leader: Transforming Leadership. We spent a great deal of time discussing the hybrid workplace (a new reality for many) and how leaders are navigating the challenges — physical locations, collaboration tools and tech, and employee wellbeing, to name a few.


But the biggest concern raised was that of "connection," our ability to stay connected with each other and with the purpose of our organization.

Dr. Vishwanath Joshi, Chief People Officer at Hexaware Technologies, shared a model from his Great Managers program, which was designed to build and maintain meaningful connections with his (almost) 20,000 employees across 37 global offices. He shared that the best managers are those that C.A.R.E. Connect. Aspire. Recognize. Empathize. And the most successful leaders are those that utilize this model, which focuses less on the work product and more on crafting culture, when managing their hybrid teams.

Connect. Communicate often and with purpose; find creative ways to build relationships outside of "work."

Aspire. Provide pathways for people; develop, nurture, and grow talent.

Recognize. Acknowledge and reward; even small contributions should never go unnoticed.

Empathize. People don't care what you know until they know that you care.

Finally, Dr. Vishwanath shared one other piece of advice that I wanted to offer here:

"Leadership is a dance. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow." And so, perhaps one of the most important takeaways from the roundtable is that we need to listen with intent and let the needs of our team members guide our thinking and our actions.

To listen to my discussion with Dr. Vishwanath and our other esteemed panelists, visit ETHRWorld.

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Fail Fast, Fail Forward with Challenge-Based Learning https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/fail-fast-fail-forward-with-challenge-based-learning Mon, 08 Nov 2021 04:05:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Mike Hendrickson, Vice President, IT Certifications and Developer Products) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/fail-fast-fail-forward-with-challenge-based-learning

Skillsoft and Skillable have partnered to create Cloud Challenge Labs


From the entry level to upper management, nearly every team member at any given organization could regale you with stories of professional skills or lessons they learned only after first getting something very, very wrong.

The truth is that most of us learn best by doing, and the lessons that stick the best are often ones we learn the hard way, by trial and error. For organizations hoping to train their teams, this creates something of a double bind.

We know that traditional, rote learning environments (listen to a lecture, take a test, the end) aren’t how most people effectively absorb information. But on the flip side, most organizations aren’t built for the possibility of trial and error, and the expensive mistakes that might come in the process.

Students, as well as their training providers, need to validate skills quickly, simply, and effectively. They also need to be able to learn without putting their work and the larger organization at risk. With this in mind, Skillsoft and Skillable (formerly Learn on Demand Systems) have partnered to deliver Challenge Labs, which help learners fail fast and fail forward, building durable cloud skills in a safe environment.

Challenge Labs are innovative online, scored labs that give learners extensive hands-on practice opportunities in a particular topic area. Ideal for cloud technologies, they provide skills development and assessments across multiple platforms and technologies. With Challenge Labs, organizations can reduce costs of consultants or new hires by upskilling employees through role-based paths and providing teams with opportunities to build real-world experience in a controlled environment, therefore reducing the risk of potential mistakes in a live cloud environment.

Below are just a few of the benefits provided by Challenge Labs’ research-backed learning design:

  • Unpack Cloud Complexity: Hone in on specific tasks and instances that YOU are going to be responsible for and advance through the Guided, Advanced, and Expert levels as you master skills.
  • Scenario-based Challenges: The training is where you learn it, Challenge Labs are where you prove it. These are not prescriptive - they are actionable and goal-oriented. Learners are provided a realistic scenario and must solve it on their own.
  • Immediate Skills Validation: With immediate feedback based on your work, Challenge Labs provide a two–way dialogue to break down cloud complexities. Learners can truly validate their skills, while beginner labs provide proactive hints in case you get stuck.

Challenge-based learning offers organizations an exciting new way forward. It creates opportunities for smarter learning, new and creative use of learning technologies, and perhaps most importantly, it produces consistent, proven results for your team members as well as your organization.

What makes Challenge Labs so different?

At most organizations, learning follows the same, typical structure: An instructor (or self-paced program) introduces a topic and presents key concepts; a practice exercise is given, with little to no feedback; and learners are given a perfunctory knowledge assessment.

Unfortunately, too many well-intentioned learning programs built on this “present, practice, test” model simply don’t produce the results required by modern businesses and learners. They focus on knowing, not doing, and can leave learners unprepared for real-time on-the-job challenges.

To build durable cloud skills that truly stick, learners need experience in real-world scenarios, which can sometimes be messy. Clean examples in prescriptive, curriculum-focused labs can provide conceptual understanding, but not true readiness for issues team members may face in the role.

With Challenge Labs, users will learn to understand the cloud conversation with scenario-based learning for cloud roles, various experience levels, and scenarios like multi-cloud and hybrid. It becomes an experience you can put to work on the job. In turn, this allows tech teams to reduce risk and gain greater ROI on training.

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Viva Learning: Q&A with Microsoft’s Seth Patton and Skillsoft’s Potoula Chresomales https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/viva-learning-q-a-with-microsofts-seth-patton-and-skillsofts-potoula-chresomales Thu, 04 Nov 2021 08:00:00 -0400 Valerie.Ward@skillsoft.com (John McGinn, Partner Development Manager, Skillsoft) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/viva-learning-q-a-with-microsofts-seth-patton-and-skillsofts-potoula-chresomales

The events of the last year and a half have redefined today’s workplaces. From shifting physical workflows into digital environments to collaborating primarily through video calls and chat platforms, nearly every component of the traditional employee experience has changed. However, one thing that has remained constant is employees’ desire – and need – for connection and collaboration with their peers. This rings especially true when it comes to how they learn and grow together.

As a critical step in rebuilding a sense of community and “togetherness” in the workplace and fostering opportunities for employees to discover, share, and learn in their natural flows of work, this week, Microsoft announced the official launch and general availability of Viva Learning – of which Skillsoft has been a proud integration partner since inception. To learn a bit more about Microsoft’s and Skillsoft’s work together with Viva Learning and explore trends surrounding the current state of learning in the workplace, we sat down with Seth Patton, Microsoft’s GM of Microsoft 365 & Viva Product Marketing, and Potoula Chresomales, Skillsoft’s SVP of Product Management. Here’s what they had to say.

  1. Widespread remote and hybrid work has shifted from a temporary experiment to permanent reality. How can businesses maintain a sense of workplace community and learning in this decentralized model and what role does Microsoft Viva play in this?

    Seth: The rise of remote work and distributed teams have taken its toll on people as many of the everyday physical points of connection have gone away. Companies require a new approach to attract and engage employees and promote growth and wellbeing. Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform that puts people first, helping employees feel more connected, engaged, supported, and be their best no matter where they are working. Viva connects people to company culture, knowledge, expertise, and learning, and delivers insights to improve productivity and wellbeing - all directly in the flow of work. This makes it easy for employees to access the information, resources, and support they need to succeed and thrive so people working remotely are just as engaged, productive, and connected as employees who are able to work in the office.

    Potoula: To Seth’s point, while remote work has taken flexibility to an entirely new level, it’s also created a level of fragmentation in how we communicate and interact with one another and absorb new information. Many of our customers adopted Microsoft Teams during the pandemic to bridge this gap and use of this collaboration tool has skyrocketed (daily active users has spiked by 350% in just over 18 months). In a sense, collaboration platforms have evolved into the new virtual office space, and Microsoft Viva is working to redefine how employees learn, discover, share, and inspire one another – from wherever they are – while Skillsoft helps to power Viva Learning with courses, books, learning paths, coding labs, and bootcamps to support reskilling and upskilling efforts, as well as self-directed learning directly within Teams.
  2. What is top-of-mind for today’s Chief Learning Officers (CLOs) and how can Viva Learning, with partners like Skillsoft, help advance their goals?

    Potoula: CLOs are taking the lead in ensuring that the enterprise has the capabilities and skills needed to achieve their strategic goals. This means understanding the future of work in their industry and across functions, assessing skill gaps, and then filling those skill gaps in ways that meet the learning styles of their workforce. CLOs recognize that some team members might prefer to watch, read, listen, practice, or attend live learning, while others learn best through hands-on or experiential learning. CLOs provide many options cost-effectively and simply. They spend a lot of time thinking about ways to improve business outcomes, team performance, and key operational metrics by upskilling and reskilling the workforce at scale. The key there is “at scale.” They look for ways to achieve this, one of which is through inserting learning directly into the flow of work. CLOs are also “chief culture officers,” building new cultures within their organizations through digital transformation, workplace safety, DEI, and sustainability initiatives that require changing mindsets and behaviors to match organizational values. Skillsoft is a partner to CLOs in developing learning programs that meet these goals.

    Seth: There is a massive skills gap right now with the rapid digital transformation our world is going through. Skills that employees learned in school, and even in past jobs, are often substantially different than the skills organizations need today - and the ones employees need to remain relevant and successful. Additionally, 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. We see CLOs and HR leaders focusing on how they can create the path of least resistance to close that gap for their employees and send a signal that they’re prioritizing employee growth. With Viva Learning, diverse libraries of learning content from Skillsoft and other providers are brought into the flow of work in Microsoft Teams. This means employees can access, share, discover, and track learning right in the tools and platforms they are already using – resulting in fewer barriers to learning.
  3. Employees are craving learning opportunities, but struggle to carve out time. What role can technology like Viva Learning play in navigating this challenge?

    Seth: Providing flexibility and cross-product integrations is key here. Through partnerships with companies like Skillsoft, Viva Learning offers a diversity of digital learning content types, formal and informal, and makes them easily accessible through Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365. Employees can easily find relevant learning embedded within the work tools they already use, and even break learning up into smaller segments of microlearning throughout the day. We’re also building integrations between Viva Learning and other Viva modules like Viva Insights, adding features like email nudges to book prioritized learning time on users’ calendars, and intelligent suggestions for relevant resources to fit within that timeframe. Employees will also be able to book learning time directly from a learning item within Viva Learning.

    Potoula: One of the greatest challenges learners face is finding time. This is why learning must occur naturally as an integral, seamless part of the workday and in a personalized manner that meets each individual’s needs and preferences – whether that be via self-paced, team-oriented, or instructor-led trainings. To facilitate this, Skillsoft content within Viva Learning is offered in bite-sized pieces that can be consumed easily within busy schedules. If users have 10 minutes or less to spend, they can make meaningful progress against their goals with micro-learning videos, book summaries, or articles. If they begin a coding lab or learning path, for example, they can easily pick up right where they left off whenever they have the time. Users are able to access and share this content directly within Microsoft Teams.
  4. What are the benefits of learning in the flow of work and how are Viva Learning and Skillsoft innovating in this area?

    Potoula: We’ve known for some time that learning in the flow of work would be the next horizon for workforce learning, but we didn’t know HOW it would happen. Now it is clear that Teams will be that platform for many global enterprises. This collaboration platform is full of social features that can now be used for learning! One of the most impactful will be the ability to add a collaborative learning tab to a Teams channel so members of a team can share, pin, and chat about relevant courses. This answers the common question “what should I learn?” and is a true game changer. There is also the ability for managers to easily recommend content to others and track whether others accessed or completed that learning. This enables managers to build a micro-culture within their organizations that values and emphasizes continuous learning.

    Seth: By bringing learning content and features right to where employees are working day to day, in one central location, they are able to remain in their preferred platforms or tools of choice to work, collaborate, and learn. This increases employees’ engagement with learning content, improving the value of investments in providers like Skillsoft. With Viva Learning built seamlessly into Microsoft Teams, it’s easy for employees to engage in social learning activities. In a recent study, we found that learners who use social features consumed 30 times more hours of learning content than those who don’t. Viva Learning lets employees share courses in chat, create collaborative learning tabs for their teams, and recommend trainings to colleagues to foster coaching and peer relationships.
  5. Where can everyone find out more about what’s next for Viva Learning?

    Seth: Follow the Microsoft Viva blog to get the latest news for Viva Learning and the rest of Microsoft’s employee experience suite. Be sure to check out our Viva Learning general availability announcement blog for the latest features, details on Skillsoft integration, and how to get started with a trial.

    Potoula: And, to learn more about all the work Skillsoft and Microsoft are doing to deliver the next generation of learning, visit here.
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Mounting Skills Gap, Complex Threat Landscape Drive Surge in Corporate Security Learning https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/mounting-skills-gap-complex-threat-landscape-drive-surge-in-corporate-security-learning Mon, 18 Oct 2021 08:00:00 -0400 Valerie.Ward@skillsoft.com (Mike Hendrickson, Vice President, Technology and Developer Products) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/mounting-skills-gap-complex-threat-landscape-drive-surge-in-corporate-security-learning

Fall is in full swing, and for many, this marks a time for breaking out the flannel shirts, indulging in pumpkin-flavored everything, and raking endless piles of leaves. But for those in the information security community, Autumn – and October more specifically – brings to mind Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an annual ritual dedicated to spreading education and awareness about cybersecurity.

After what seemed like an endless stream of malicious activity in 2020, this year has unfortunately brought even more of the same, with the number of 2021 data breaches already surpassing last year’s total by 17%. With that said, if there’s a silver lining to be found, it’s that cybersecurity is finally getting the mainstream attention and prioritization – from the U.S. government all the way to K-12 schools – that is required to start turning the tides.

In light of Cybersecurity Awareness Month and amidst today’s increasingly complex threat landscape, high rate of skills gaps, and growing talent wars, we were curious to learn how organizations and their respective team members are engaging in security training. Analyzing data from millions of users that have accessed security assets in Skillsoft’s learning experience platform (LXP), Percipio, we found that 2021 has been a true inflection point for security learning and development (L&D) in corporate environments.

Cybersecurity Training and Learning Reaches New Heights
Whether for professional development, to increase awareness of threats and learn risk mitigation best practices, to pivot career paths, or simply build skills sets, organizations and employees are spending significantly more time with cybersecurity training than ever before. Since 2019, we’ve observed a 53% increase in the total number of hours that learners are dedicating to security training content and courses on an annual basis.

Total hours of security content consumption over time



Looking at this trend via a monthly view spanning the last two-and-a-half years, each month in 2021 – except January by a slight margin – has seen significantly higher rates of consumption for security training and education assets across all expertise levels. We see an especially large spike in March and April 2021, which coincides with the infamous Hafnium state-sponsored attack and the impacted party noting that the group behind it “primarily targets entities in the U.S. for the purpose of exfiltrating information from a number of industry sectors.”

Additionally, following a report in late May 2021 of a new wave of attacks involving phishing emails launched by Nobelium that could be used for data theft, we again see a direct correlation with spikes in employees’ security training content consumption.

Total hours of security content consumption over time (cont.)


Breaking this down further, analyzing 25 industries – ranging from aerospace to banking and finance to medical – 60% of all companies saw the total number of hours spent by learners annually on security training content increase in 2020 compared to 2019, with this number rising to 80% in 2021 compared to the year prior. The top five industries that have seen the largest relevant content consumption spikes?

  1. Legal
  2. Energy and utilities
  3. Healthcare
  4. Training & development
  5. Non-profit

For these five industries, on average, they've seen a 59% year-over-year growth trajectory.


Security Pre-Certifications a Hot Commodity
Knowing learners are increasing the amount of security training they’re doing is valuable, but it begs the question of where they’re spending their time. Looking at the 10 most frequently completed security courses so far in 2021, OWASP Top 10 related lessons take the lead spot, followed by cloud security fundamentals, which could be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic spurring a rapid global shift to the cloud.

Most frequently completed Skillsoft security courses in 2021

Rounding out the top 10 are a variety of CompTIA Security+ pre-certification courses, ranging from social engineering techniques to basic cryptography principles. With Skillsoft’s Global Knowledge finding that more than 75% of IT-decision-makers are struggling with existing skills gaps, and cybersecurity and cloud certifications being the two most in-demand skills and technology areas for organizations today, there’s a natural parallel between these findings and where this data shows learners gravitating toward in their upskilling journeys.

Security Training Can’t Be a “Stop and Start” or One-Month Priority
While these findings paint a positive picture surrounding security training and upskilling in corporate environments, malicious actors’ continued success with “preventable” hacks and a continuously widening skills gap show that there is still a lot of work to be done.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is an important annual reminder that, as an industry, we must focus our collective efforts on addressing security issues and spreading awareness and education. In order to drive true change, security professionals and all people must maintain a mindset of continuous learning and curiosity beyond October. Keys to building a lasting culture of cybersecurity include:

  • Outline the role each employee plays, where everyone works together to achieve a common objective rather than simply checking a box;
  • Implement a blended learning approach, combining traditional course content with real-world scenarios, practice labs, and team-oriented lessons;
  • Encourage employees to pursue certifications to expand their skillsets, become more cyber-aware, and reduce skills gaps; and
  • Provide employees with the tools needed to train and upskill in their natural flow of work, with a gamification component to help keep individuals interested and motivated.

See how Skillsoft’s immersive learning platform, Percipio, can help make all forms of learning – especially security – easier, more accessible, and more effective. And check out our Challenge Labs, where we provide teams with safe and genuine AWS or Azure cloud environments to practice and master your newfound skills.

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There is still more for me to do and places to go https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/there-is-still-more-for-me-to-do-and-places-to-go Thu, 07 Oct 2021 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Michelle BB) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/there-is-still-more-for-me-to-do-and-places-to-go

Chances are, you can relate to the title of this post. (I certainly can.) But, you might be surprised to know who it came from.

Dr. Shaquille "Shaq" O'Neal.

It's hard to believe there are still rocks left unturned or goals unachieved for someone as accomplished as Shaq. After all, he spent 19 years with the NBA, starting with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996 and ending here in Boston with the Celtics in 2011. During this time, he won an Olympic gold medal, four NBA championships, and NBA most valuable player, among many other accomplishments. He is considered one of the "greatest players in NBA history."

Here at Skillsoft, we just hosted our annual conference, Perspectives Unleashed. It was an incredibly empowering and inspiring two days. More than 16,000 people — from all around the globe — registered to take advantage of world-class keynotes, brilliant lightning talks, in-depth panel discussions, and more. All focused on “what’s next” and the power of learning to help organizations meet the challenges ahead.


One of the highlights of Day One was a fireside chat I was privileged to share with Shaq himself. During our conversation, I learned there is far more to the man than basketball. In fact, I would argue some of his most impressive achievements have happened off the court. Yes, he is a world-renown player, but he's also a media personality, philanthropist, educator, and yes … lifelong learner. And during our 40-minutes together, Shaq shared some incredible life lessons that anyone — actually, everyone — should find value in.

It's hard to pinpoint the most inspiring moments of our conversation — there were so many — but these might be my favorites. (And, I‘ve included some food for thought for us mere mortals.)

  1. It took someone believing in Shaq for him to feel confident. It was a tutor who helped him navigate a computer course, and once he figured it out, he realized — for himself — that he was smart and capable. And, once he began believing in himself, he immersed himself in learning: reading, listening, doing. And his philosophy now is that it's important to learn something every day — in the classroom or outside of it.

    Is there a person in your past who convinced you of your worth? And, more importantly, is there someone in your life right now for whom you can pay that forward?
  2. We can change our narrative (although we might get some help from our mothers). The most poignant moment of our interview came when Shaq talked about his inspiration … his mother, Dr. Lucille O'Neal. It was his mother who encouraged him to finish his degree at LSU after dropping out to play basketball, and then a life experience made him realize how valuable an education can be. As you can imagine, Shaq is involved in a number of business ventures and endorsements. During our conversation, he recalled how he would go talk to potential business partners and they would say, “Hey Shaq, how are you doing?”, shake his hand and then turn away to speak to his representation. He was considered the talent, not a business leader. They wanted to meet him but didn't expect nor realize that he was in charge. And so, he changed the narrative. Shaq pursued an MBA and followed that up with a doctorate in Education.

    Is your current role aligned to your inner vision? What can you do — or learn — to grow into the person you were meant to be?
  3. We have a bigger role to play in this world. Shaq was inspired by something Jeff Bezos of Amazon shared at a conference, "I invest in things that are going to change people's lives." He heard that, wrote it down, and began to live by it. He turned down business deals that didn't align to his philosophy. He started his own organization, the Shaquille O'Neal foundation, a non-profit that works to instill hope and bring about change in communities, collectively shaping a brighter future for our children.

    Change starts with each of us. What can you start doing right now to make the world a slightly better place?

One of the more memorable moments came towards the end of our conversation when I asked Shaq what he had left to conquer. What he needed to learn. His answer once again involved his "Yoda," Dr. Lucille O'Neal. He met with his mother shortly after retiring and as she embraced him, putting both hands on his cheeks, she said, "You've done everything I've ever asked. From now on, I want you to try to help one person a day. Just one person. Make a person smile."

And that is just what he's doing. Now, what didn't make the final cut but is forever etched in my mind is this … Shaq ended our time together telling me that on his epitaph shouldn’t list accolades or acknowledge career achievements. He simply wants it to read, "He was kind."

I am so grateful for having met and interviewed this incredible leader. To listen to our full conversation, you can watch the replay by visiting www.Skillsoft.com/perspectives2021.

Get ready to be inspired. I know I was.

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Welcome to open https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/welcome-to-open Tue, 05 Oct 2021 11:20:00 -0400 Jen.Kaye@skillsoft.com (Jennifer Tomosivitch, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/welcome-to-open

Open to new ideas.

Open to new skills.

Open to inspiration.

During Perspectives 2021 we hosted a two-day, action-packed agenda of 38 thought-provoking sessions. Much like last year, Perspectives Unleashed was built to provide learners and leaders alike with the tools needed to build and sustain a culture of learning right now, and to transform today’s workforce for tomorrow’s economy. We covered some timely topics:

  • Who owns the skilling agenda? Is it private enterprise, higher education, government or some new combination?
  • A Culture of Learning: how to build it and why it's so important today and going forward.
  • If the future of work is now, what now is the future?

Say goodbye to Perspectives FOMO. Watch Perspectives 2021 on Demand.

Throughout the conference – in presentations and visible in attendee chats – we were reminded again and again, that everyone has potential to grow and that it is our collective responsibility to share the key to unlock new skills and new perspectives.

It’s an exciting time to be leading learning initiatives.

Build pathways to possibility

Attendees at Perspective were incredibly motivated by Robin Arzón, Vice President of Fitness Programming and Head Instructor at Peloton, Best-Selling Author, and Ultramarathon Runner who reminded us that it’s our job as leaders to help people on our team find possibility in themselves. And that starts by meeting learners where they are right now. We have to make it easy for our people to find more in themselves by believing in them, and giving them the tools and motivation they need to grow. We love how she’s framed it as their “Pathway to Possibility.”

Help one person a day

No one could forget Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal’s incredible success as an NBA star, but behind the athlete is a life-long learner who earned his Ph.D. He shared a lesson from fellow basketball star Michael Jordan who told him: “To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail.” So much of what he shared made me smile and made me think, but the one thing I can’t shake is his call to help one person every day. It’s truly a gift to work for a company like Skillsoft which puts helping someone grow at the core of our DNA.

Enable learning in the flow of work

Skillsoft is committed to your success. The launch of our official combined offering with Global Knowledge brings to market one of the broadest and deepest technology and developer offerings in the corporate digital learning space. Customers can now access a combined offering of nearly 28,000 hours of instruction that include a blend of on-demand courses, hands-on labs, real-world challenges, and coverage for more than 170 technical certifications. Additionally, as part of our technology and developer offering, we’ve launched Skillsoft Challenge Labs in partnership with Learn on Demand Systems. This will enable teams working in cloud to have a safe environment to test and master newfound skills with more than 1000 labs covering topics including: AWS, Microsoft Azure, Hybrid and Multi-Cloud. For our compliance solutions, we’ve rebuilt and added new courses to our Legal and Environmental Health and Safety solutions and launched compliance courseware customization for customers. On our Leadership and Business side, we’ve reimagined and refreshed some of our most important content. This included the launch of a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Action curriculum, highlighting real stories from individuals to create impactful and inspirational learning experiences for our customers. As well, we’ve added eight new customer service courses, developed in partnership with NueBridge, a global consulting and advisory firm focused on customer experience. These courses use scenario-based approaches to maximize retention and provide reps with the skills to understand customers on a deeper level, create positive engagements, and ensure happier outcomes. Additionally, we’ve seen our integration with Pluma, a leading digital professional development and executive coaching platform, deepening our Leadership Development portfolio by adding coaching to our bench. And finally, we’ve added new Aspire Journeys across Technology and Developer, and Leadership and Business, as well as new certifications, and officially launched the Skillsoft Percipio App for Microsoft Teams, enabling learners to access the full functionality of the Percipio within the Teams platform.

And those were just a few highlights from Perspectives. In all we hosted 38 sessions.

  • Jeff Tarr challenged us to rethink our talent models by creating a culture of learning.
  • Dorie Clark gave us a roadmap for switching to long-term orientation
  • Kristy Wallace motivated us to be an active ally for the women in our organizations
  • Jaz Ampaw-Farr showed us that complexity, that space between comfort and chaos, can be a beautiful place to explore. In complexity the ground is fertile, the hard questions are worth asking.
  • Flavia Moreira championed showing up, listening, and acting as the first steps to embracing a diverse workforce. She implored us to listen to understand, not to judge.
  • Nick Boyd showed us how Target views learning as a competitive advantage and shared why they made GROW one of their cultural pillars

Don’t miss out on the full recap. Watch the recap summary.

Just recapping all the amazing content shared at Perspectives has my mind buzzing with ideas. It can sometimes feel hard to know where to start so I’ll leave you with Robin Arzón’s words. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the destination – just keep running forward. Forward is a pace.” May today bring you one small step closer to your team’s future.

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Reuniting learners in the flow of work https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/reuniting-learners-in-the-flow-of-work Tue, 05 Oct 2021 09:00:00 -0400 Valerie.Ward@skillsoft.com (Potoula Chresomales, Senior Vice President of Product Management) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/reuniting-learners-in-the-flow-of-work

Have you ever come across an ah-ha moment while learning on the job — one that was too important to keep to yourself?

Pre-pandemic, your revelation may have happened at the office. You learned something, hopped up from your chair, and walked over to a colleague’s desk. “Hey, you know that issue we’ve been having with our project? Check out what I just learned!”

That kind of knowledge exchange might feel like a distant memory, but it was never gone for good; it just needed a new pandemic-era home.

We’ve been watching as our customers’ employees adapted the flow of their work into digital environments. True, office shutdowns stifled interpersonal connection. But great minds were still meeting and collaborating; they just shifted to video calls, chat tools, and virtual workspaces.

But even then, something was missing.

When it came to learning, employees were still building skills — but they were doing it alone and craving connection. So, our customers told us: We need you to build a digital platform where our workforces can learn together, too.

I’m excited to announce that we’ve created a solution. Our customers can restore the sense of community that empowers learners to build, share, and apply knowledge together, with the newly-launched Skillsoft Percipio app for Microsoft Teams.

With today’s launch, Skillsoft customers can access the Percipio learning experience platform’s full suite of capabilities within Microsoft Teams, a social, collaborative environment that connects 145 million daily worldwide users. Here’s a preview of what our new app can do:

  • Learning in the flow of work: Using Percipio for Teams, L&D professionals can enable employees to learn in the format, schedule, and structure that’s right for them. With help from our chatbot, learners can quickly find and launch courses, videos, coding sandboxes, or whatever their jobs call for at the moment — without ever leaving Teams.
  • Learning in the flow of community: Percipio for Teams lets employees quickly share helpful learning content with colleagues in impromptu chats, group meetings, brainstorm sessions, and more. Managers can create virtual learning groups using native Microsoft Teams features such as chat, channels, and teams. They can also recommend, assign, and foster discussion around content.
  • Learning in the flow of the organization: L&D professionals can create learner cohorts and assign to them Skillsoft’s role- and skill-based learning paths, called Aspire Journeys. At each step of the way, learners can ask questions, share ideas, work together, and apply their growing knowledge toward the organization’s most pressing needs.

The notion of learning together has a new meaning in a pandemic-altered workplace. And that’s only going to continue when the future of work ushers in a mix of remote-, hybrid-, and office-based coworking. But with the Skillsoft Percipio app for Microsoft Teams, our customers can engage their workforces in a community-driven platform where employees will do more than learn – they'll adapt and evolve together, gaining the future-fit skills the enterprise needs to compete and thrive.

Learn more about the Skillsoft Percipio app for Microsoft Teams.

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Congratulations India Customer Award winners https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/congratulations-india-customer-award-winners Mon, 04 Oct 2021 02:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Ankur Gupta) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/congratulations-india-customer-award-winners

As a learning company, nothing gives us more pleasure than celebrating the incredible ways customer use our solutions. We’re honored to recognize ten remarkable companies in India that have turned their vision for unlocking employee growth into tangible action. The 2021 India Customer Award winners were selected from dozens of nomination applications spotlighting the quality work our customers have done this past year.

This year we recognize five award categories.

Champion of the Year

This award honors an organization’s HR or L&D champion who has achieved exceptional and consistent success throughout the year, especially considering the difficult Covid-19 situation. This individual shows remarkable skills in delivering a transformational program in part by leveraging Skillsoft solutions. In addition, this person serves as an ambassador for talent development and has used innovation and ingenuity in their programs to better his/her organization.

Leader Award: Best Learning Outcome

This award recognizes an organization that has developed and implemented a leading-edge program utilizing Skillsoft solutions with measurable impact on employees and the organization. Outstanding programs have clearly defined challenges that require unique solutions to make the program a success. Covid-19 has ensured that it was not smooth sailing and only the best stood on top. Award-winning programs are multifaceted; demonstrate business impact, cost savings and feature innovations that infuse a renewed energy across the organization.

Leader Award: Business Impact

This award honors an organization that develops and implements best-in-class integrated learning and/ or talent programs that demonstrate strong results. Programs feature innovation to overcome challenges and realize success.

Leader Award: Future of Work

This award acknowledges an organization with fewer than 1,000 employees that has successfully leveraged Skillsoft products to achieve ambitious business goals and empower employees. Nominees in this category demonstrate how they adapt learning & talent solutions to the fast-paced and evolving landscape of a business environment.

Leader Award: Best Digital Dexterity

This award recognizes and distinguishes the organization which has recently implemented Skillsoft solutions (within a time period of 1 year), witnessed measurable impact and unlocked desired outcomes with regards to their talent pool and the organization. In addition, this organization has set standards and paved a clear path for those willing to embark on an organization wide initiative to incorporate talent and learning management solutions.

“We are proud to recognize all the winners and finalists of the 2021 Skillsoft India Awards. Each nominee has achieved excellence in harnessing our immersive learning platform and world-class content solutions to fuel their talent and learning initiatives. The winning organisations have demonstrated innovative learning & development practices showcasing - business impact, cost savings & the democratization of learning processes to build a future-fit workforce, skilled and ready for the jobs of tomorrow.” Kamal Dutta, Managing Director – India, Skillsoft.

Please join us in celebrating our winners.

Award Category

Winner

Honorable Mention

Champion of the Year

Aditya Sareen, Head - Capability & Leadership Development, Campus and Cadre Management (HR), Tata Power Company Limited

Anil Kalaga, Group Head Learning and Organization Development, Adani Enterprises Limited

Leader Award: Best Learning Outcome

HCL Technologies - Infrastructure Management Services

Coforge Limited

Leader Award: Business Impact

HCL Technologies - Engineering and R&D Services

ANAND Automotive Private Limited

Leader Award: Best Digital Dexterity

UPL Limited

Hindustan Zinc Limited

Leader Award: Future of Work

ACS Solutions

Cairn Oil and Gas, Vedanta Limited

We hope these organizations have inspired you, as they have our team.

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8 Tips to Make the Most of the Skillsoft Learning Platform https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/8-tips-to-make-the-most-of-the-skillsoft-learning-platform Fri, 01 Oct 2021 16:15:00 -0400 Eileen.Plaehn@skillsoft.com (Ryan Ahern) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/8-tips-to-make-the-most-of-the-skillsoft-learning-platform


Skillsoft's personalized learning platform, Percipio, was designed for one purpose — to help you refresh your current skills and embrace new ones so you stay in demand. Let's look at a few key elements of the platform to make sure you get the most out of the experience.

1. Connect your learning plan to your short and long-term career goals.

Skillsoft Percipio allows you to follow curated, role-based, and skill-based learning paths — known as Aspire Journeys— that give you a clear starting point to help you move from where you are now to where you want to be in your career. Aspire Journeys walk you, step-by-step, through diverse skills across business and tech, offering courses, guidance, tools, and hands-on practice. Maximize your time, fit learning into the cracks of your calendar, and gain skills you can apply directly to the projects in front of you.

2. Spend more time on skill-building and far less time wondering, "Is this the best content for the topic?"

In addition to Aspire Journeys, you'll discover that we curate all Skillsoft content into Channels — created to align with more than 100K requests from companies worldwide to create content for the specific skills they're looking for in their employees and candidates. No matter what skill you're looking to master, channels give you a logical pathway of content so you can get started.

3. Skillsoft Digital Badges are yours to keep.

Earn Skillsoft Digital Badges by completing courses and Aspire Journeys. Badges let you showcase your skills by sharing across your social networks or with your manager. The best part is, Skillsoft Digital Badges are yours to keep! Anyone viewing the badge sees what you did to earn it, thanks to embedded metadata secured and verified in a blockchain. Digital badges offer a progressive new way to accelerate your professional brand.

As you develop new skills and improve your knowledge, you can always access your Digital Badges under My Profile.

4. Learn in whatever way makes the most sense to you.

Skillsoft partnered with MIT and Accenture to research how the brain processes and retains information. Skillsoft's scenario-based course content is informed by this research — and proven to improve understanding.

You choose your learning experience. Depending on your preference on any given day or night, you can watch videos, read books, book summaries, listen to audiobooks, and even practice your skills in low-stakes, hands-on lab environments.

You may choose to consume content entirely on your own. You may also attend Leadercamps and Tech Bootcamps to access timely, real-world insights from leading experts and collaborate in scheduled virtual classrooms.

5. Save time and keep your skills updated with AI-driven personalization.

Once you've signed into Skillsoft Percipio for the first time, you can select your areas and subjects of interest. Percipio's AI-driven, personalized homepage recommends content that's meaningful and relevant to you based on these interests — in addition to your recent activity and the activities of learners with similar professional profiles.

Percipio's search functionality uses Google BERT natural language processing AI to optimize search results for multi-word searches. Depending on the terms you enter, search results can include any of your available content types, such as courses or books, and specific asset details such as author, duration, and expertise levels.

When you find content that interests you, you can add it to your Playlist or copy a shareable, unique link to the asset. Your Playlist allows you to access your saved content in one location, so you can view it when convenient with your schedule.

6. LEARN IN THE FLOW OF YOUR WORK WITH THE SKILLSOFT PERCIPIO APP FOR MICROSOFT TEAMS AND A UNIQUE BROWSER PLUGIN.

The app for Teams gives you one-click access to everything found in your Percipio site — your personalized recommendations, playlists, digital badges, etc. — without ever leaving Microsoft Teams. The goal is to help you learn a new skill or answer a question quickly without disrupting your workflow.

The app allows you to search for content using the chatbot. From there, you can launch videos, books, audiobooks, hands-on practice labs — whatever your job calls for at the moment.

The app also allows you to share content with your peers and teammates instantly.

Managers leading teams can create virtual learning groups to recommend learning and open the floor to discussion to help it all sink in.

Project leads might also create a cohort of learners and design a customized learning path. Along the way, everyone involved can ask questions, share ideas, work together, and apply their new skills.

7. Learn anywhere, anytime with the Percipio Mobile App and Offline Play.

Extend your learning experience to your mobile device with the Skillsoft Percipio Mobile app. Download the app, sign in with your credentials, and build new skills in minutes a day. Set weekly goals and opt-in to receive push notifications to remind you to stay on track. A seamless experience allows you to access content on your mobile device, take a break, and then automatically pick up right where you left off from your laptop or desktop.

8. Take advantage of available certifications.

Skillsoft offers several certifications from global leaders in information technology and sponsors of best practices in business processes. Certifications include CompTIA, (ISC)2, ISAC, Cisco, CEH, AWS, GCP, and Microsoft. 74% of learners using our certification prep materials pass the proctored exam on their first attempt, while 99% pass within two attempts.

The fastest way to explore the available certifications is to go to the homepage, click the Library button, then look under the Certifications submenu.

Percipio is Latin for "Acquiring Knowledge"— we hope it helps you sharpen your current skills, dive into new ones, and feel confident that no matter what professional challenges present themselves tomorrow, you'll be ready.

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Open systems lead to better learning outcomes https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/open-systems-lead-to-better-learning-outcomes Mon, 27 Sep 2021 10:33:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Apratim Purakayastha) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/open-systems-lead-to-better-learning-outcomes

An organizational commitment to learning is essential in modern workplaces, but a commitment is not sufficient. To turn a vision into reality, an open platform becomes the foundation of learning. An open platform ensures access to the right content wherever work and skills development are needed, and across all the formats learners might engage.

Enable the three forms of learning: Micro, Macro, and Deep

The best outcomes occur when different types of learning are supported.

Micro learning happens when an employee is looking for a short video or a short book summary to complete a job at hand. Macro learning is prioritized when a learner is trying to learn a specific skill and is able to invest roughly an hour of time to learn the new skill. Typically, in this case the learner would complete a course with several videos. Deep learning is required when a learner is trying to make a career transition and engages on a week or even month-long learning experience.

Organizations that make it easy to find and use all three types of learning see the most sustained learning gains. I see this type of learning diversity in my own team.

For example, one of the people managing cloud operations might need to quickly look into AWS service settings for an update they are doing. A quick video in Percipio does the trick. In another instance, a group of Java programmers need to learn the basics of nodeJS. There was a course for that. And of course, we’re all about sustained skills development at Skillsoft and we encourage our team to evolve their careers. As a result, many on my team have prepared for new certifications in AWS, Microsoft Cloud and other technology advances.


How open content helps across learning types

Micro learning

Did you know Percipio’s search conversion rates are in the high seventies? Being open improves Micro learning. Along with Skillsoft’s own content, Percipio curates a plethora of content from articles to YouTube videos, and more. Customers can even surface a short learning asset that belongs to the customer itself (e.g. video from a CEO) to be curated right within the platform. All of these enhance the likelihood that a learner will find what she is looking for with one click.

Macro learning

Along with thousands of Skillsoft courses, Percipio makes it possible to surface specialty courses from another provider right in the platform. Course completion rates in Percipio are above seventy percent.

Deep learning

Whether it’s deep learning related to certifications, or a career transition, Skillsoft offers support. Aspire Journeys make it easy for learners to make significant new skill acquisition with ease. Learners devote several days of learning to gain competency in a particular desired role. For example, someone might want to move from being a data analyst to a data scientist. Percipio’s open architecture enriches these learning journeys with books from external publishers or immersive labs experience from a third party labs provider.

Learning in the flow of your day

If access to learning is seamless then learning outcomes improve dramatically. This includes making learning readily accessible from common work tools like the browser, or collaboration apps like MS Teams or Slack, or even using email such as Outlook. And of course – all of this must be delivered in a mobile-friendly way. Learning happens on laptops, desktops, mobile phones, tablets and even Apple TVs. You need an open and flexible system that operates across devices, but presents an intuitive user experience. Percipio with its open architecture is able to offer learning across all these form factors and all the convenient points of access.

While this seems a common-sense approach to fostering a culture of learning, building an open platform that seamlessly operated across so many form factors is challenging. Percipio’s open architecture is able to abstract presentation from the content itself and offers a variety of APIs which makes it easy to integrate with devices and common enterprise end-user applications. Percipio even adapts to varying network conditions with support for adaptive bit-rate streaming media using open multimedia formats.

Blending with the enterprise

Aside from learning content, your enterprise makes many other investments. It is important for a learning system to seamlessly work with a multitude of these entities. More than 50% of Skillsoft clients experience Skillsoft content though an LMS they have invested in. That’s why we’ve made sure Percipio integrates seamlessly with world’s premier LMS systems preserving learner experiences and providing find grain tracking using open standards like xAPI. Percipio also supports seamless single sign on with enterprise systems using open SAML technology. And Percipio’s open API’s allow quick and easy integration with enterprise portals like Sharepoint, or enterprise data warehouses. Percipio’s data APIs even allow integration with analytics systems like Tableau.

In addition to system integration, your organization has likely created enterprise-specific learning content, we call custom content. Any Percipio customer can store, deliver, and manage its custom content on the Percipio platform. Enterprises often have instructor-led programs for specific topics—Percipio helps manage and administer instructor-led programs, inclusive of API integrations with virtual meeting platforms. Percipio’s advanced Open APIs make all these integrations possible.

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Challenge accepted. https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/challenge-accepted Thu, 23 Sep 2021 10:00:00 -0400 Valerie.Ward@skillsoft.com (Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/challenge-accepted

Skillsoft commits to supporting women affected by the Pink Pandemic. Will you join us?

COVID-19 has upended the lives of virtually every person in each corner of the world. But startling data shows us that the health crisis has disproportionately affected women. McKinsey reports women account for 39% of global employment, but they suffered 54% of job losses worldwide. According to the International Labor Organization, between 2019 and 2020, 4.2 percent of women’s employment was eliminated as a result of the pandemic – a loss of 54 million jobs.

We simply can’t ignore these startling facts. At Skillsoft, we believe the power of learning can help women reskill and reenter the workforce. Learning offers valuable tools to help lift women up, rebound, and regain influence, power, and capital.

Access your complimentary copy of The Pink Pandemic: A Recovery Plan for Women

We’d like to introduce you to a Pink Pandemic warrior, Ellevate Network, who is leaning on 20 years of experience to help women thrive in even this most difficult time. Ellevate Network is the largest community of women+ at work, committed to fostering and promoting gender equality in the workplace. In 2020, they launched the EllevateHer Forward Fellowship Program to accelerate women’s return to the workplace. We’re particularly drawn to help because learning is one of the foundational principles of the EllevateHer Forward Fellowship Program. We’re honored to be sponsoring the 2022 program where 250 women will benefit from a broad network, mentoring, and complimentary access to everything Percipio offers.

We hope you will join us on our quest to mitigate the impact of the Pink Pandemic. As women return to the workforce, it's our collective responsibility to build new pathways to a more equitable future for us all.

You can help by:

  • Providing tools for women to grow skills for the most in-demand opportunities,
  • Building the power skills of resilience, agility, and empathy,
  • Acquiring the insight and emotional intelligence to actively listen, and become an effective change agent,
  • And, investing in resources for acquiring, developing, and advancing women in the workplace.

Get Inspired with our newest Aspire Journey. Forging new paths: Women’s advancement in life and work.

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Tackle corporate learning and skills transformations with new Skillsoft tools https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/tackle-corporate-learning-and-skills-transformations-with-new-skillsoft-tools Thu, 23 Sep 2021 09:00:00 -0400 Valerie.Ward@skillsoft.com (Mark Onisk) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/tackle-corporate-learning-and-skills-transformations-with-new-skillsoft-tools

If you joined us for Perspectives 2021, (Don’t worry if you missed us live, you can watch many sessions on demand by registering here.) you know the biggest names in learning explored the challenges and opportunities facing all of us.

For example, Dorie Clark, Harvard Business Review author and Duke University Fuqua School of Business executive education professor, shared strategies to help sharpen strategic thinking and embrace long-term perspectives based on her new book, “The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World”.

Lenovo’s Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Flavia C Moreira focused on how we can weave DEI learning, in all its diverse forms, into the daily fabric of corporate culture. And, Merav Yuravlivker, CEO and Co-Founder at Data Society, joined us to talk “Beyond the Skills: Building a Data Culture where they covered the key factors required to build a supportive work environment that fosters data literacy for a sustainable business.

Missed Perspectives live? Don’t worry, you can watch many sessions on demand by registering here.

Are you detecting a theme? Success is all about making learning accessible whenever and wherever it will prove valuable. At Skillsoft, we’re committed to integrating learning into the very fabric of your team’s work.

This week we released two exciting new capabilities aimed at this goal.

Our newly-launched Skillsoft Percipio app for Microsoft Teams brings our powerful learning experience platform directly into the corporate learning platform, Microsoft Teams. Our customers can restore the sense of community that empowers learners to build, share, and apply knowledge together in an exciting new way.

Skillsoft’s June acquisition of Global Knowledge brought to the market the broadest and deepest technology and development developer offering in the digital learning space. Learners can now benefit from combined self-paced micro-learning with live instructor-led training in a single solution. Customers can now access a combined offering of nearly 28,000 contact hours of instruction, including a blend of virtual and on-demand courses, instructor-led training, hands-on labs, and real-world challenges, and coverage across more than 170 technical certifications.

The Skillsoft technology and developer library include both vendor-authorized and expert-validated content across six key areas: cloud, cybersecurity, software craft, programming, data, and IT infrastructure.

Additionally, Skillsoft provides personalized coaching through the acquisition of Pluma, adding a new modality to Skillsoft’s blended learning model.

Your feedback is invaluable. We encourage you to schedule a demo and let us know what you think.

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Congratulations Impact for Good Award winners https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/congratulations-impact-for-good-award-winners Wed, 22 Sep 2021 15:00:00 -0400 Valerie.Ward@skillsoft.com (Jen Falasca) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/congratulations-impact-for-good-award-winners


This year has been a whirlwind of adaption for companies around the globe. The challenges we have all faced make celebrating break-out victories even sweeter. We hope you are inspired by these organizations that use learning to do remarkable good. Good for our planet. Good for people; and good for business.

This year we recognize four award categories.

Sustainability Leaders

The 2021 Sustainability Leader Award recognizes the Skillsoft customers with the most digital book consumption from July 01, 2020 – June 30, 2021. We used Environmental Paper Network’s Paper Calculator to translate the impact of our paperless solution into the number of trees not cut down, the amount of land preserved, and the number of gallons of water saved.

DEI Learning Champions

The 2021 DEI Learning Champion Award recognizes the Skillsoft customers organization earning the most Skillsoft Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion badges reflecting its dedication to developing a workforce that values all people and embraces differences.

Transformation Leaders

The 2021 Transformation Leader Award recognizes the Skillsoft customers with the strongest live virtual learning engagement in the face of external headwinds to ensure continuous employee growth.

Diverse Learning Delivery Champions

The 2021 Leader in Diverse Learning Delivery Award recognizes the Skillsoft customers with the strongest multi-media adoption reflecting their success in serving the diverse learning preferences of the workforce through choice.

Please join us in celebrating our winners.


Award Category

Overall Winner

North America Winner

EMEA Winner

India Winner

APA Winner

Sustainability Leaders

Winner: ACCENTURE

Saved 47 trees, 10.5 acres of land preserved, and 152,348 gallons.

Winner: Lockheed Martin

Saved 6.2 trees, 1.37 acres, and 19,985 gallons.

Honorable mentions:

US Air Force

US Department of Veterans Affairs

DXC Technologies

Raytheon Technologies Corporation

Services Techniques Schlumberger

HP Inc.

ADP, Inc.

US Army

Insperity Services L.P.

Conduent Business Services, LLC

Fresenius Medical Care North America

FedEx

General Motors

RELX Group

Winner: ATOS

Saved 10.5 trees, 2.35 acres, and 34,088 gallons.

Honorable mentions:

CGI

T-Systems South Africa

Deutsche Telekom

Orange

Winner: HCL Technologies

Saved 11 trees, 2.41 acres, and 34,981 gallons.

Honorable mentions:

RPG Enterprises Limited

Voltas

Fujitsu Consulting India Pvt Ltd

Aditya Birla Management Corporation

Winner: Standard Chartered Bank – Singapore

Saved 3 trees, .6 acres, and 9,486 gallons.

DEI Learning Champions

Winner: DXC TECHNOLOGIES

Winner: Lexmark

Honorable mentions:

Linde

BDO Canada

Lumentum Operations

Willis North America

Maximus

The Weir Group

IBM Corporation

Conduent Business Services

General Motors

Accenture

ON Semiconductor

The Manufacturer's Life Insurance

Tech Data

West Interactive Corporation

Winner: CGI

Honorable mentions:

NTT Data EMEA

Akzo Nobel Sourcing B.V.

KONE Corporation

Lloyds Banking Group

Winner: UPL

Honorable mentions:

RPG Enterprises

Fujuitsu Consulting India

Voltas

HCL Technologies

Winner: Super Retail Group

Honorable mentions:

HCX Technology Partners

Flextronics International Management

Xplore Philippines Inc

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd

Transformation Leaders

Winner: OPTUM/UNITED HEALTHGROUP

Winner: EchoStar Operating

Honorable mentions:

Bank of the West

Ascension Health Alliance

Coforge

Unisys

Progressive Casualty Insurance Company

Conduent Business Services

Hyster-Yale Group

Sakatchewan Telecommunications

Mitre Corporation

Delta Dental of California

Black Knight Technologies

Humana

General Motors

United Service Organizations

Winner: Astra Zeneca

Honorable mentions:

CGI

ATOS

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation

Ericsson

Defence Digital

Winner: Equiniti India

Honorable mentions:

Danske IT & Support Services India

Trianz Holdings

HCL Technologies

Adani Enterprises

UPL

Winner: Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (Singtel)

Honorable mention:

Hitachi Vantara

Diverse Learning Delivery Champions

Winner: CGI

Winner: General Motors

Honorable mentions:

Maximus

Conduent Business Services

United Healthcare Services

DXC Technologies

JSW Steel

Willis North America

Accenture

Baxter Healthcare

ON Semiconductor

The Manufacturers Life

Insurance Company

Unisys Corporation

Science Applications

International

Lumen Technologies

Linde, Inc.

Winner: Deutsche Telekom

Honorable mentions:

ATOS

NTT DATA EMEA

Holcim Group Services

Limited

Deutsche Telekom AG

Winner: HCL Technologies

Honorable mentions:

RPG Enterprises

Mphasis Limited

UPL Limited

Fujitsu Consulting India

Winner: Hitachi Vantara LLC

Honorable mentions:

HCX Technology Parnters

Singapore Telecommunications

Xplore Phillipines

PT Netpolitan Cipta

Cakrabuana

In the spirit of doing good, Skillsoft will make a $500 USD donation to the charity of the winners’ choice on behalf each winning organization.

We can’t wait to see what these companies, and those they inspire, do next.

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Elevating Customer Service to Meet Customer Expectations https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/elevating-customer-service-to-meet-customer-expectations Wed, 08 Sep 2021 13:56:00 -0400 Eileen.Plaehn@skillsoft.com (Nancy Santacesaria, Project & Program Manager, Skillsoft Leadership & Business Skills) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/elevating-customer-service-to-meet-customer-expectations
A new curriculum for delivering next-level customer service

I recently shopped online at one of my favorite retailers, and a product that I ordered didn’t meet my expectations. I called customer service to arrange a return and was told that it had been 32 days since I made my purchase. As a result — and even with the original packaging and a receipt, they could only offer me a merchandise credit for the current selling price which was significantly less than I had paid. I questioned the customer service representative and she told me emphatically that there was “nothing we can do.”

But, there was definitely something I could do. Take my business elsewhere — to a retailer that focused on the increased buying power from a loyal customer. A business that had a customer-centric approach to customer service. A business that didn’t believe in the words, “nothing we can do.”

We all know that it’s easier to keep an existing customer than to attract a new one. A satisfied, existing customer becomes a repeat buyer and, quite often, a champion for your product or service. A disgruntled customer has choices — and the choice is usually to take their business elsewhere.

Customer service is a strategic imperative for organizations. It’s an important part of a company’s brand and a key driver of brand loyalty. But today, we see that the nature of customer service is changing as companies increasingly look to overall customer experiences. Digital adoption is a key component with organizations focusing more on automation. Customers actually prefer — and look for — chat interactions for simple self-serve requests.

And that’s why I’m so excited about our new Customer Service curriculum. While our existing customer service curriculum remains our most consumed content in the Business Skills Collection, it was time for an update to address the changing nature of customer service.

We designed these eight courses to give your customer service reps the skills they need to understand their customers on a deeper level and empower them to deliver next-level customer service. These courses will help you understand your customers, create positive engagements, and ensure happier outcomes.

Developed in partnership with NueBridge, a global consulting and advisory firm focused on customer experience, management, operational excellence, and strategic growth, these courses are intended for both new and seasoned CSRs. They use a scenario-based approach with creative text treatments, typography, and graphic design.

Here’s a quick look at the new courses:

  • Adapting to Your Customer’s Cues
    Learn how to recognize your customers’ cues, identify a strategy to get the most from these cues, and how to best respond.
  • Interpreting Customers’ Service Priorities
    Understand the scope and interdependence of your customers’ priorities and how to address both their implicit and explicit needs.
  • Discovering Customer Needs
    Employ a combination of skills to analyze beyond stated requirements and uncover a full spectrum of customer needs.
  • Fostering a Service Mindset
    Provide an exceptional level of customer service by developing a customer-centric mindset and attitude.
  • Engaging with Customers
    Boost CSR confidence, flexibility, and efficiency in every service interaction through proven techniques and best practices.
  • Generating Effective Solutions
    Discover new ways to dig out the root causes of problems, align the proper solutions, and deliver satisfactory resolutions.
  • Becoming a Chat Agent Star
    Apply best practices for implementing an effective chat service and develop appropriate communication skills adapted to the channel.
  • Strengthening Your Service Skills
    Gain a deeper sense of achievement by recognizing key success strategies, boosting skillsets, and developing career paths.

Armed with the knowledge gleaned from these courses, customer service representatives are ready to find the right solution for every client. In today’s business climate, there’s no time for a “there’s nothing we can do” mentality. It’s time to empower your customer service team to respond with, “let’s see how I can understand you and your needs a little better, come up with a solution, and keep you as a satisfied, loyal champion for our goods or services.”

Click here to learn more about our new Customer Service Curriculum, part of our Business Skills solution. Or reach out to your Skillsoft Customer Success Manager.

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How ACS Solutions supports its India employees’ health amid the pandemic https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-acs-solutions-supports-its-india-employees-health-amid-the-pandemic Wed, 08 Sep 2021 11:11:00 -0400 Eileen.Plaehn@skillsoft.com (Lingeshwar Reddy, Customer Success Manager, Skillsoft) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-acs-solutions-supports-its-india-employees-health-amid-the-pandemic

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s resurgence, India-based employees of our valued customer, ACS Solutions, were feeling isolated and confused by a flood of non-validated medical misinformation being disseminated across social media. So, the company’s regional learning and development team decided to take action.

In our monthly review—in which ACS, Skillsoft, and key partner Excel Design Technologies (EDT)—discuss learning & development strategy, Anju Singh, ACS’ Associate Director of L&D, led our conversation with an important observation:

“We help our clients build innovations for timely fields in the pandemic era, like telemedicine. And my L&D team is proud to train our workforce to meet their needs. But we’re only at our best for ACS’ clients, if we’re taking care of our own employees’ physical and mental health. How can we shift our focus toward prioritizing those fundamental human needs?”

Inspired by Anju’s call to action, we mapped out plans to launch a custom learning channel on the Skillsoft Percipio platform. Through this channel, thousands of employees at ACS would gain access to content created, curated, and approved by trusted medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic.

After building the channel, our mission was clear. We needed to encourage employees in India to log in, experience the helpful content, and apply their learnings towards taking care of themselves, each other, and their loved ones. And this is where the unique dynamic of our team truly shined.

As we shared and built upon each other’s ideas, you could feel the collaborative energy in the room, between myself, Anju, and our partner Paras Raina, CS Manager, from EDT. Taking nothing to chance, our team developed a thoughtful plan of action.

  • We began by launching the custom channel for ACS employees. This not only raised visibility of the learning resources—it also made it easy for employees to benefit from helpful content, track their progress, and find relevant information. Percipio’s automated reminders kept the channel top of mind, as employees balanced life and work amid the pandemic’s effects.
  • ACS encouraged employees take a simple yet powerful step after completing courses: Redeem the digital badges they earned—and share them through social media. This empowered the team to counter inaccurate information circulating online with truthful, Mayo-verified content. Badges ranged from COVID-19 safety to mental wellness practices.
  • To further help the ACS India workforce, the ACS/EDT/Skillsoft team created a habit calendar that ACS employees used to keep track of what they’ve learned and put it to use.

We knew we were making a difference when employees began volunteering their own expertise to add to the library of content. For example, we recently learned that one ACS employee created a yoga class, to further support colleagues’ mental health. And it’s moments like that, which remind me of how lucky I am to work with such amazing companies that take care of their learners.

I’d like to specially recognize the incredible ACS team that made this possible:

Mr. Shameel Sharma;(COO/CHRO)

Anju Singh; Associate HR Director

Rajiv Amlani; Director (Legal)

Ramesh Nandyala; Senior Director, HR

Jeena Peter; Senior Director HR

Thank you, ACS Solutions and Excel Design Technologies, for inspiring all of us.


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Intern-al Inspiration https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/intern-al-inspiration Mon, 23 Aug 2021 07:00:00 -0400 Jen.Kaye@skillsoft.com (Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/intern-al-inspiration

They say “timing is everything.” Our timing was … well … memorable. At Skillsoft Marketing, we began our first internship program just over a year ago at the start of the pandemic. In fact, our very first intern joined the day we shuttered the office, picking up her laptop and seeing her boss in person for the first — and only — time.

We had four interns in that inaugural class, all of whom completed their programs virtually and two of whom joined Skillsoft full-time: Gianna Wilson and Amanda Papavasiliou. Now, as we say farewell to our second class, we should take some time to acknowledge the tremendous value of this program — both for Skillsoft and for the interns themselves.

We’ve been able to build a multi-faceted, global program, one in which our interns have been involved in everything from corporate communications to digital marketing, from marketing analytics to conversational AI. And they’ve left us the better for their contributions. Our interns have come from schools across the country and around the globe. And they have taken with them so many new skills — both job-specific and those "power skills" that are so important to be successful in the workplace: collaboration, communication, agility.

And we know that internships deliver value to both employers and the interns who take part. Why? According to SHRM, these programs "offer a way to bring in fresh perspectives, create a pipeline for new hires, and provide mentorship opportunities for existing employees." Further, according to the 2020 Internship and Co-op Survey Report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the one-year retention rate for intern hires with internal experience is 68.7 percent and 55 percent for those with external internship experience, compared to 40.3 percent for hires with no experience.

Kerri Thibodeau (top left), Andrea Mendez (top right), Amanda Papavasiliou (bottom left), Gianna Wilson (bottom right)


Why has our internship program been so successful, especially in a COVID world? Here is what I would offer:

1. We did things differently. Most internships are office-based programs that allow members to meet people from across the business, collaborate on assignments in-person, and learn by watching and doing. As an entirely remote program, we had to find ways to introduce our interns to new people and concepts. We held a series of “Lunch 'n Learns” with internal and external experts, many of whom sat outside of Marketing.

2. We were flexible. Rather than create a rigid program with a defined start and end date or set of weekly hours, we adapted our program to address the various schedules and time zones of the class and built plans that had defined outcomes. And, we were highly focused on not only meeting our objectives, but also fulfilling theirs.

3. We met them where they were. Truly. We took this unique opportunity to hire interns from across the United States and around the world. New Jersey. Puerto Rico. Georgia. North Carolina, the city of Ranchi in Jharkhand, India. In doing so, we were able to hire a diverse group of individuals, from rising juniors to MBA students, each of whom brought new perspectives and skills to their role.

How did Skillsoft benefit? In so many ways!

Each intern has been a part of a capstone project that has resulted in value for the company, but more importantly, value for our customers. Kerri Thibodeau has been integral in launching The Learning Edge, our customer community. Beth, a member of the OG, supported The Edge, our podcast for learners and leaders alike.

What did our interns learn?

I think Andrea Mendez articulates it far better than I could in this piece she wrote as a farewell to the company. I couldn't be prouder of her accomplishments or those of our other interns.

As we begin to think about our third class (!), we'll look to expand even further by running pilots in our Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC) regions. We'll strive to build a year-long program rather than summer solely, and we'll identify additional universities with which we can partner.

To learn more about our interns, subscribe to their blog or listen to The Edge podcast episode that featured our inaugural class.

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PREVENTING OCCUPATIONAL HEAT EXPOSURE https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/preventing-occupational-heat-exposure Wed, 18 Aug 2021 08:34:00 -0400 sam.bruin@skillsoft.com (Donna McEntee) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/preventing-occupational-heat-exposure
Preventing Occupational Heat Exposure

Throughout the U.S.A. and Canada, high temperatures are becoming the norm. June 2021 brought new highs in over 15% of the United States, the most significant extent of record warm temperatures on record. In Canada, the Canada Heatwave of 2021 is believed to have caused nearly 500 deaths to date.

Millions of workers are exposed to heat in their workplaces. Although illness from exposure to heat is preventable, thousands become sick from occupational heat exposure every year, and some cases are fatal. According to OSHA, in the U.S.A., 50% to 70% of outdoor fatalities occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments. The body needs to build a tolerance to the heat gradually over time. The process of building tolerance is called heat acclimatization. Lack of acclimatization represents a major risk factor for fatal outcomes.

Employees at elevated risk for heat illness include those working with heavy physical activity, warm or hot environmental conditions, lack of acclimatization, and clothing that holds in body heat. Hazardous heat exposure can occur indoors or outdoors during any season if the conditions are right, not only during heat waves.

OSHA recommends remembering three words: fluids, rest, and shade. Taking these precautions protects employees from injury or even death.

TIPS FOR WORKING IN HIGH TEMPERATURES

The sun brings special hazards for those working outdoors. Here are some precautions that may save a life.

  • Drink small amounts of water frequently, even if you are not thirsty.
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing—cotton is good.
  • Take frequent short breaks in the cool shade.
  • Eat smaller meals before work activity.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol or large amounts of sugar.
  • Work in the shade when possible.
  • Find out from your healthcare provider if your medications and heat don’t mix.
  • Know that equipment such as respirators and other protective equipment can increase heat stress.
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses and what to do in an emergency.
  • Keep an eye on coworkers.

THE DANGERS OF WORKING IN THE HEAT

The combination of temperature, humidity, and physical labor can lead to fatalities. The two most severe forms of heat-related illnesses are heat exhaustion (primarily from dehydration) and heat stroke, which could be fatal. Signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke need immediate attention. Recognizing those warning signs and taking quick action can make a difference in preventing a fatality. Employers and employees should know the potential hazards in their workplaces and how to manage them.

There are several mobile apps designed to help combat the dangers of heat-related illness. OSHA and NIOSH have an app that allows any worker or supervisor with a smartphone to calculate the heat index for their workplace. The app then assigns a risk level based upon this number. Additionally, the app can provide reminders about protective measures that should be taken to help prevent heat-related illnesses.

Learn more about the OSHA NIOSH Heat Safety Tool and more resources about heat-related illnesses.

It is one thing to provide your employees with the tools to keep them safe, but truly creating a safe workplace takes training all employees, including management. Skillsoft provides a complete collection of safety and health topics, including Heat Stress Recognition and Prevention, Heat Stress Prevention- Cal-OSHA, Heat Illnesses Prevention for Supervisors – Cal/OSHA, and First Aid: Basic training courses.

Donna McEntee is the Director for Workplace Safety and Health Products at Skillsoft.

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For Federal Agencies, DEI Begins With Actionable Steps https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/for-federal-agencies-dei-begins-with-actionable-steps Tue, 17 Aug 2021 14:43:00 -0400 Eileen.Plaehn@skillsoft.com (Rashim Mogha, General Manager, Leadership & Business, Skillsoft) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/for-federal-agencies-dei-begins-with-actionable-steps

As a woman of color in the tech space, I’ve been on my own Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) journey for about 10 years now — both as a member of marginalized groups and as an ally for others. Nowadays, when I'm invited to speak professionally, I introduce myself like this:

"My name is Rashim Mogha, GM for leadership and Business Vertical at Skillsoft. My pronouns are she and her."

I share this with you to illustrate that enabling DEI is an ever-evolving journey. Until recently, it wouldn't have occurred to me to state my personal pronouns. But, as I continue to learn about allyship, I have realized that when cisgender people include pronouns, it normalizes the practice for everyone and protects trans and gender diverse people when they include theirs. It creates a safe environment for a gender-diverse workforce to bring their authentic selves to work.

Now, while the inclusion of personal pronouns may seem like a small step, it's an "actionable" one — i.e., one that can be immediately applied with a clear goal in sight. Most importantly, the practice of including personal pronouns is simply part of an exciting sea change: the public and private sectors' embrace of new DEI initiatives. And that's particularly important for federal government leaders and employees — owing to what many call the current administration's welcome "Big Difference": their renewed commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion for all.

On June 25, 2021, The White House announced the Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce. In this groundbreaking order, President Biden states: "This order establishes that it is the policy of my Administration to cultivate a workforce that draws from the full diversity of the Nation. As the Nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government must be a model for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, where all employees are treated with dignity and respect."

Of course, meaningful change doesn't happen overnight. Whether in the government or the private sector; we are all human, and we all make mistakes. And we have centuries-old biases and outdated behaviors — including unfair hiring and advancement practices — to transform. It's important to remember that real, sustainable change requires courage, and the ongoing efforts of all — from individuals to the institutions that represent us.

Recently, I was honored to speak at the People Matters virtual DEI Leadercamp, "Working Towards an Equitable Future." In an exhilarating, interactive session delivered to over 500 DEI leaders, we broke down some actionable steps that can make the DEI journey a little less overwhelming — and a lot more empowering. You can watch the Leadercamp sessions on demand, but I thought I'd summarize some of my favorite takeaways here.

Why invest in DEI initiatives?

Investing in DEI initiatives is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do: organizations that invest in strong DEI programs see higher employee engagement and retention because people want to be a part of an organization where their opinions are valued, and where they feel they belong.

While we speak of the "business case" in the private sector, it's actually more of a "talent case" in government agencies. Aside from increased employee satisfaction and retention, diversity creates a global think tank of ideas and innovation. For instance, a recent Boston Consulting Group study bears this out: innovation jumps once the proportion of female managers within an organization rises above 20%.

So, if diversity is this important, how can we build a better culture?

As an individual, it starts with you. You have the power to affect change by being an ally — both personally and professionally. Take the time to check your own unconscious biases — and then make a conscious effort to support and amplify underrepresented voices.

The first step: Ask yourself, "Why?"

Why do you want to be an ally? Do you want to effect change because you believe there’s an inequality in the world? Do you want to level the playing field for marginalized groups? Or, is it because of your professional goals?

Knowing why you embarked on this journey will keep you motivated, and help you determine your next steps:

  • Take responsibility to educate yourself, participate in trainings, and do your own research.
  • Advocate for inclusion in team meetings, discussions, and projects, and look for opportunities to sponsor and mentor under-represented individuals.
  • Demonstrate allyship publicly. Set an example, educate others, and contribute to an ally culture where inclusive behaviors become the norm.

If you're in a position of leadership, you are uniquely positioned to be a role model for allyship and influence decisions to foster diversity at work. In fact, what leaders say and do makes up to a 70% difference as to whether an individual feels included or not. And that’s why inclusive leadership is so critical to an organization's success.

So, what can we do to lead more inclusively?
  • Start by sharing your diversity goals. Publish those goals or share them with your team. This makes your intention clear to your team and encourages them to hold each other accountable to achieve those goals.
  • Hire Diverse Talent.Write inclusive job descriptions that will encourage diverse candidates to apply. Think outside the box — for instance, beyond university degrees. You can use tools like gender decoder to make sure that the job requisition you create is not gender-biased.
  • Encourage a growth mindset. That can only happen when you provide your team with psychological safety, so they feel comfortable sharing their ideas without fear. Encourage employees to view failures as learning opportunities.
  • Finally, hold yourself, and your leadership, accountable. Remember, DEI initiatives are not "check the box" activities. Listen to your colleagues, be open to change, and make the commitment to continuous learning.

Speaking of continuous learning, we're here to help. Skillsoft's recently launched a new DEI curriculum. Through documentary-style, real-life stories, and expert-led roundtable discussions, you'll be inspired to start your own DEI journey — one (actionable) step at a time.

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The Day That Shifted My Perspective: Monday, March 2, 2020 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-day-that-shifted-my-perspective-monday-march-2-2020 Mon, 16 Aug 2021 14:53:00 -0400 Jen.Kaye@skillsoft.com (Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-day-that-shifted-my-perspective-monday-march-2-2020

On this day, I was visiting our partner C Space in their Boston office to accelerate planning for Skillsoft’s largest and most important customer event, Perspectives. We started discussing ways we could drive registration when I asked the question we were all thinking … would people come? Coronavirus wouldn't be declared a global pandemic for nine more days, but it was clear by March 2, 2020 that something was going to materially change … and well, everything did. For us, it changed the way we thought about our annual Perspectives event – and that change was transformational.   

Over the next ten weeks, our entire team worked — sometimes day and night — to reinvent Perspectives from top to bottom. It became a free, 24-hour global digital experience featuring more than 100 speakers across keynotes, case studies, head-to-head debates, and more. There were product demos and regional business continuity panels, and there was music and yoga breaks. Our attendees had ample opportunities to ask questions and participate in a rich and dynamic conversation that became much more than teaching people new skills; it was about our collective well-being.   

We learned so much. And we’ll be applying all of that knowledge in just six weeks as we prepare for  Perspectives Unleashed. This year, our event is a free, two-day digital experience that will tackle the topics of corporate learning and skills transformation as we move into the “next now,” post-pandemic. Much like last year, we will feature world-class keynotes, energetic lightning talks, thought-provoking customer panels, and new masterclasses run by pre-eminent thought leaders.  


So what can you expect? Why should you come?

The name says it all. Perspectives Unleashed is designed to provide learners and leaders alike with the tools needed to build and sustain a culture of learning right now, and to transform today’s workforce for tomorrow’s economy. Here is a taste of some of the topics we'll cover:

  • Who owns the skilling agenda? Is it private enterprise, higher ed, government or some new combination?
  • A Culture of Learning: how to build it and why it's so important today and going forward.
  • If the future of work is now, what now is the future?

To bring these themes to life, we have built an action-packed agenda — featuring word-class inspirational speakers like Shaquille O'Neal, Dorie Clark, Elizabeth Nyamayaro, Josh Bersin, and Robin Arzón. And this is just the beginning! Over the next few weeks, we'll introduce new and unexpected speakers, highlight those won't-want-to-miss sessions, and showcase networking opportunities.   

Yes, this will be an amazing event, but don't just take my word for it — see it for yourself. I encourage you to  visit the Perspectives website and start building your agenda today.  

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What's on my Percipio Playlist? https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/whats-on-my-percipio-playlist Tue, 10 Aug 2021 11:06:00 -0400 Jen.Kaye@skillsoft.com (Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/whats-on-my-percipio-playlist

A colleague recently asked me, what's on YOUR Skillsoft Percipio playlist?

What. A. Great. Question.

You see, at Skillsoft, building a culture of learning is what we're all about. And, we're fortunate to have access to one of the most comprehensive learning libraries in the world — delivered via Percipio, our AI-driven, immersive learning platform. So learning is in our DNA and part of our daily rituals.

That doesn’t mean it hasn’t taken time to cultivate this learning mindset. And let’s face it, there never seems to be enough time these days even though we are worth the investment.

But, what if we all just committed to 30 minutes a week?

It's easier than you think. Many of our courses on Percipio are divided into easily digestible learning "bites" — such as 2-5 minute videos — and those minutes add up.

So, in the spirit of "sharing is caring," I thought I'd invite you into "Michelle’s Percipio Playlist" for a look at what I'm currently watching, listening to, and reading. Maybe something I’ve found will spark your curiosity too.

  • Courses. I love our courses because they go deep into a focused topic. Right now, I'm taking Managing Your Emotional Well-Being During The Workday. It's chock-full of insights and stress management strategies from Morra Aarons-Mele, host of the podcast "The Anxious Achiever." (Raise your hand with me if that sounds familiar)! I'm also enjoying Building a Strategic Commitment to Sustainability, developed in partnership with MIT Sloan Management Review — full of key lessons that can help you integrate sustainability into your company’s business strategy. It's around 30 minutes total (there's your weekly learning goal!) and earns you a shareable badge, like so many of our courses.
  • Aspire Journeys. It feels entirely appropriate to be taking the journey on Virtual Work in the New Normal. What I love is how this particular journey mixes mediums, including courses, articles, and book and audio summaries.
  • Books. I adore books, particularly audiobooks now that I've started driving into Boston more. Several people had recommended Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable, which talks about the cure for one of the most painful problems in business - bad meetings. It's on my list to read this week while I'm out. I've also listened to the audiobook, Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, which focuses on the forces that can derail decision-making in our personal and professional lives. Highly recommend.
  • Compliance Training. I just completed our annual required training, which is important –for both me as a leader at Skillsoft, but also as a good corporate steward of the organization.

So, here’s my challenge to you: take the time to invest in yourself by learning something new every single week. Then reach out to me on LinkedIn to share your favorite courses, books, and journeys. I’ll author a follow-up post that includes recommendations from respondents.

Oh, and one thing is clear: I need to up my digital badge game. I have earned 21 digital badges so far, but I don't come close to @Gianna Wilson on our Communications team, who has already racked up an astounding 61 since she started last year. Congrats to Gianna and all of our amazing learners.

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Meaningful Cultural Change Beyond Policy https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/meaningful-cultural-change-beyond-policy Tue, 10 Aug 2021 00:00:00 -0400 Eileen.Plaehn@skillsoft.com (Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek, CMO, Skillsoft) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/meaningful-cultural-change-beyond-policy

Over the past year, organizations around the world have committed to meaningful change and reshaped their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies to reflect the evolving needs of their employees. But, many leaders are still struggling to move beyond policy and to create cultures of allyship, inclusion, and belonging. In fact, when we asked some of our Skillsoft customers what they needed, this is what we heard:

"I need practical strategies and tactics that I can apply in my organization. It's all a bit overwhelming. Help!"

So, when I was asked to moderate a panel for a recent People Matters DEI Leadercamp, "Working Towards an Equitable Future," I leaped at the opportunity to speak with three women who could lend perspective — through sharing their unique experiences and the steps they're taking to create a more just and equitable workplace.I hope you'll take the time to watch these inspiring Leadercamp sessions in their entirety. Meanwhile, I thought I'd share just three of my favorite questions — and quite a few "aha" moments — with you here. (Questions and answers have been edited/condensed for length and clarity.)

My esteemed panelists included: Carine Rolland, People & Culture Leader (APAC & ME), ManpowerGroup; Fiona Sheppard, DE&I Leader ANZ, Johnson & Johnson; and my colleague and friend Rashim Mogha, Customer Market Leader & GM, Leadership and Business, Skillsoft

How has this challenging year impacted the perception of and commitment to DEI in your organization?

Carine: Manpower saw the need to plan for uncertainty, and "build for change." We started a 12-month "conscious inclusion" initiative to support upskilling and reskilling underserved employees for future fitness. Finally, we've added "belonging" to the DEI framework, which was a natural progression from inclusion. Belonging is the next level of DEI.

Carine made a powerful point that I want to underscore here. There’s a reason we add the “B” to a DEI strategy. Belonging is about emotional engagement, making people feel like they matter. And we do that through inclusive acts, like onboarding programs, mentorships, and buddy systems.

Fiona: Johnson & Johnson global health care has embraced DEI and moved into what equity means to different nations. We've committed to investing $100 million over five years to build alliances and invest in health equity solutions for underrepresented peoples. ROI is a driving factor, but now there is a broader vision of success. People come to work for us because of our values alignment and culture of allyship. The business case and human case are inextricably tied.

Rashim: The pandemic and — political events as well — have moved people back into the forefront. Business was "humanized" again. There's a pressure now to evolve fast, and the consequences are huge if you don't. Skillsoft is in a unique position to help our customers with training and solutions that serve as change agents — to view diversity not as a separate HR unit, but as part of their DNA

Let’s talk about allyship; it’s a concept that is easy to define, but complex to implement. Our own personal biases, our experiences, and our innate perspectives all play a role. How are you all encouraging allyship in your organizations?

Carine: First, identify the problems: what obstacles exist for under-represented employees? Who are the ones we don't hear from? As a leader, you must ask yourself, "How am I personally engaging and participating?" Only then can you educate others. It's a conversation that requires humility.

Fiona: At J&J, we've developed robust employee resource groups with 240 chapters and more than 20,000 employee members — from women's leadership, to "open and out", to the alliance for neurodiversity and more. They are "psychologically safe" spaces where people can express themselves.

Rashim: Remember to provide psychological safety to allies as well as those we are trying to help. DEI can be a volatile space, and we hear from allies that they feel they are walking on eggshells, afraid to get things wrong. We are human. We're born to make mistakes. We need to have compassion for others who are still learning.

Aptly coined the "Pink Pandemic," COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the economic and social power and influence of women across the world. Of course, diversity extends not only to gender, but to culture, ethnicity, sexuality, age, experience, ability, and education. How are you prioritizing the recruitment of diverse talent?

Carine: We have a global objective as we work towards gender parity: we are aiming for 40% female leaders in our organization. But regionally we have to be realistic: you can't change society if you're not setting smart goals. For instance, in Japan, 20% female leadership vs 50% in Australia.

Fiona: There is unconscious bias woven through so much of what we do. I find massive value in de-identifying resumes: for instance, take out names and education before you evaluate a candidate. Look at language you use in job descriptions and benefits, such as "part-time" or "parental" vs "maternity" leave, that might discourage some candidates.

Rashim: We need to do away with the concept of "Tier 1" and "Tier 2" applicants. Personally, I have never hired a candidate based on what college they attended! When I look for what I want to hire for: what is their attitude? Do they have a hunger for learning? Do they have a growth mindset? Skills will change, but those things won't.

As you can imagine, we could have continued the discussion well into the evening. After all, this very "human" work is most powerful when we do it together.

Now, the challenge before us all is to bring words to life — to translate dialogue into action and commit to progress and meaningful change. How have you made progress in your own DEI (and B) journey? I'd love to hear from you, too. And, if you'd like to explore how Skillsoft can help, sign up for free access to our groundbreaking new DEI curriculum here.


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DEI Journeys Begin With Actionable Steps https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/dei-journeys-begin-with-actionable-steps Wed, 28 Jul 2021 13:48:00 -0400 Eileen.Plaehn@skillsoft.com (Rashim Mogha, General Manager, Leadership & Business, Skillsoft) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/dei-journeys-begin-with-actionable-steps

As a woman of color in the tech space, I’ve been on my own Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) journey for about 10 years now — both as a member of marginalized groups and as an ally for others. Recently, I was honored to speak at the PeopleMatters virtual DEI Leadercamp, "Working Towards an Equitable Future." And, I introduced myself like this:

"My name is Rashim Mogha, GM for leadership and Business vertical at Skillsoft. My pronouns are she and her."

I share this with you to illustrate that enabling DEI is an ever-evolving journey. Until recently, it wouldn't have occurred to me to state my personal pronouns. But, as I continue to learn about allyship (we are all always learning!), I have realized that when cisgender people include pronouns, it normalizes the practice for everyone and protects trans and gender diverse people when they include theirs. It creates a safe environment for gender-diverse workforce to bring their authentic self to work.

And, at Skillsoft, it's another important step we’re taking together towards a more equitable future for all.

In an exhilarating, interactive session delivered to over 500 DEI leaders, we broke down some actionable ways to make the DEI journey a little less overwhelming — and a lot more empowering. We also explored the very real "business case" for DEI and its impact on profitability. You can watch the Leadercamp sessions on demand, but I thought I'd summarize some of my favorite takeaways here.

Why invest in DEI initiatives?

Aside from it being the right thing to do, having a diverse workforce is also the smart thing to do:

I think the most diverse team will produce the best product; I firmly believe that. “

This quote from Tim Cook sums up why diversity is important from a business perspective. And when we talk about diversity, remember that we are talking about diversity across different dimensions — culture, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, experience, ability, and expertise.

An inclusive workplace has clear financial benefits for businesses. A recent McKinsey study — conducted on more than 1,000 companies in 15 countries — found that organizations that were diverse were more likely to outperform on profitability. In fact, companies with gender-diverse executive teams were 25% more likely to outperform. And if there was ethnic or cultural diversity among executives in the company, the likelihood of outperforming increased by 36%. Those are thrilling numbers.

Aside from increased revenue, diversity creates a global think tank of business innovation. A Boston Consulting Group study bears this out: innovation jumps once the proportion of female managers within an organization rises above 20%.

There are other benefits besides. Organizations that invest in strong DEI programs see higher employee engagement and retention because people want to be a part of an organization where their opinions are valued, and where they feel they belong.

So, if diversity is this important, how can we build a better culture?

As an individual, it starts with you. You have the power to affect change by being an ally — both personally and professionally. Take the time to check your own unconscious biases — and then make a conscious effort to support and amplify underrepresented voices.

The first step: Ask yourself, "Why?"

Why do you want to be an ally? Do you want to effect change because you believe there’s an inequality in the world? Do you want to level the playing field for marginalized groups? Or, is it because of your business goals?

Knowing why you embarked on this journey will keep you motivated, and help you determine your next steps:

• Take responsibility to educate yourself, participate in trainings, and do your own research.

• Advocate for inclusion in team meetings, discussions, and projects, and look for opportunities to sponsor and mentor under-represented individuals.

Demonstrate allyship publicly. Set an example, educate others, and contribute to an ally culture where inclusive behaviors become the norm.

As leaders, we are uniquely positioned to be role models for allyship and influence decisions to foster diversity at work. What leaders say and do makes up to a 70% difference as to whether an individual feels included or not. And that’s why inclusive leadership is so critical to an organization's success.

So what can we do to lead more inclusively?
  • Start by sharing your diversity goals. Publish those goals or share them with your team. This makes your intention clear to your team and encourages them to hold each other accountable to achieve those goals.
  • Hire Diverse Talent.Write inclusive job descriptions that will encourage diverse candidates to apply. Think outside the box — for instance, beyond university degrees. You can use tools like gender decoder to make sure that the job requisition you create is not gender-biased.
  • Encourage a growth mindset. That can only happen when you provide your team with psychological safety so they feel comfortable sharing their ideas without fear. Encourage employees to view failures as learning opportunities.
  • Finally, hold your leadership accountable. Remember, DEI initiatives are not "check the box" activities. Listen to your team, be open to change, and make the commitment to continuous learning.

Speaking of continuous learning, Skillsoft's recently launched a new DEI curriculum. Through documentary-style, real-life stories, and expert-led roundtable discussions, you'll be inspired to start your own DEI journey — one (actionable) step at a time.

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Learning Starts With Listening. https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/learning-starts-with-listening Mon, 19 Jul 2021 12:44:00 -0400 Jen.Kaye@skillsoft.com (Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/learning-starts-with-listening

At Skillsoft, we’ve been in the business of helping people reach their potential through learning for quite a while. In fact, we’re helping more than 45 million learners pursue their goals and earn 14 million badges, truly unleashing their edge.

But, there’s something amazing about learning. It’s always a two-way street.

When we
listen to our customers, many of whom are Learning Leaders at large, multinational organizations — we learn as much as they do. So, about a year ago, we decided to build upon all our valuable customer conversations through a podcast series, The Edge.

What began as a small endeavor to shed light on critical and timely issues at the onset of the pandemic, has turned into a meaningful vehicle for telling candid, thought-provoking stories about the impact of the global health crisis, worldwide economic uncertainty, and the call for social justice. Now, 27 episodes later, we’re launching our second season.

As we start to put the pandemic behind us, we’re talking about the future of work, skills transformation, and the customer experience.

Want to listen but don’t know where to start? Here’s a list of some of our best customer-focused episodes:



1. Women in Exodus, Part 3: Dr. Tan Morales, Global Vice President of Talent Transformation at Equifax, and Dr. Merary Simeon, Vice President of Diversity and Engagement at PepsiCo, share their expertise on empowering women to advocate for themselves and forge new career pathways.

2. Shifting an Organization's Mindset to Enact Real Change: Beth Teixeira, Director of Learning at Comscore, discusses a pivotal turning point for the organization and how it transformed culture and mindset.

3. The Changing Face of the CLO: Dr. Karen Wolf, Chief Learning Officer of ManTech International and Emma Engel, former Chief Learning and Inclusion Officer of Unisys (now with Lenovo) discuss the continuously evolving role of the CLO during transformative times.

4. Inclusion and a Growth Mindset: Special Olympics athlete Emanuelle Dutra Fernandes de Souza and former Chief of Organizational Excellence Denis Doolan educate us about maintaining international community and inclusion during the pandemic.

5. Reskilling a workforce at Scale: Helen Sussex, Director of Global Learning Design and Creation at CGI, discusses how the company navigated reskilling, upskilling, and futureproofing its workforce throughout the pandemic.

What's next? Season two, episodes one and two feature Ben Sieke, Director of Talent Development and Learning at Delta Dental who helps us understand the importance of "people transformation," and of building a learning culture in support of an improved customer experience.

I encourage you to listen to The Edge, and please let me know how the stories you hear help you transform your organization.

For even more transformational stories, I invite you to join us for Perspectives: Unleashed, our one-of-a-kind digital experience scheduled for September 22-23. Learn more and register now.

And, who knows? Perhaps the next story we listen to will be yours.

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5G: What is it, and how will it enable the future for you and your business? https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/5g-what-is-it-and-how-will-it-enable-the-future-for-you-and-your-business Tue, 13 Jul 2021 08:38:00 -0400 mike.saver@skillsoft.com (Lazaros Agapidis) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/5g-what-is-it-and-how-will-it-enable-the-future-for-you-and-your-business

What the heck is 5G? We’ve been hearing so much about it over the past couple of years, about how it is poised to change the way in which we work and play, but what is it really? Now that its rollout has begun in earnest in many parts of the world, it’s all the more important to gain a deeper understanding of the capabilities of this technology, and the way in which it will affect businesses of all kinds.

5G represents a fundamental paradigm shift compared to mobile communication networks of the past. Recognizing the implications of the technology, the potential it engenders, as well as comprehending the details of its technological implementation will go a long way in enabling you to take full advantage of 5G for you and your business.

What is 5G all about?

Unlike previous generational iterations of mobile communication networks, 5G is not all about delivering voice and data to smartphones, even though 5G service to cellular telephone devices is obviously part of it. By the mid to late 2020s, 5G smartphones are expected to compose an exceedingly small, and arguably insignificant part of the 5G ecosystem. 5G will primarily be used to interconnect tens of billions (or more!) of devices through an increasingly ubiquitous network presence to deliver innovative applications and services across all business sectors. With its unprecedented network performance thresholds, 5G will enable many applications that only several years ago would have been considered science fiction.

This may sound like an exaggeration, but I assure you, it is not.

The potential of 5G

Delivering network connectivity at the performance level expected from 5G will enable a multitude of applications. This includes things like smart cities, smart agriculture, smart supply chains, smart transportation systems, automated and assisted driving, medical healthcare, arts and entertainment applications, and the Internet of Things, to name only a few. But this is not even scratching the surface. Sensors and data collection can be combined with artificial intelligence, business analytics, and statistical engineering platforms to deliver predictive analysis for all kinds of applications, including financial as well as natural disaster plans.

From Course- 5G Principles: Comparing 5G to 4G

All of these applications are not always readily perceivable and require a deeper level of understanding in order to appreciate their potential.

Technological dive into 5G

Technologically, 5G is largely based upon the innovations and strides made in the past, especially those involved with 4G and LTE networks. Notwithstanding their similarities, 5G makes significant advances in both the core network as well as the wireless air interface delivering mobile connectivity.

5G Protocol stack

One of the constructs that describes this functionality in detail is the 5G protocol stack. This protocol stack defines the operation of the technology in detail, and empowers 5G’s innovative capabilities. Understanding its functionality enables technical personnel supporting 5G networks, as well as professionals designing applications to be supported by 5G application, to take advantage of the full potential of the technology.

From Course: 5G Mobile Network Providers: The 5G Protocol Stacks
5G core network

Similarly, 5G employs a radically different core network, with virtualized network functions (VNFs) running on commercial off the shelf servers. This is a fundamental shift from previous mobile communication networks, which typically employed separate physical standalone devices to deliver these network functions. The primary advantage of VNFs is the instantaneous increase or decrease, or modification of resources to these virtual devices to dynamically adjust their performance based on the current requirements.

From Course: 5G Mobile Network Providers: 5G Core Infrastructure
5G rollout strategies

A technological examination of 5G would not be complete without mentioning the various rollout strategies available to telcos. Getting that all important 5G icon in the status bar of your mobile phone as fast as possible is of utmost importance to telcos. This can be done quickly using the 5G non-standalone (NSA) architecture, which employs the 5G air interface, but maintains the 4G core network architecture. This makes telco marketing departments happy, but does not deliver the full 5G potential promised by the technology. It is however the most financially viable upgrade path that is taken by most telcos, ensuring early 5G rollout while keeping costs low, and giving telcos time to bring their core networks up to par with the rest of the 5G infrastructure.

Eventually, these NSA implementations will give way to 5G standalone (SA) networks which will deliver the full-fledged 5G feature set, but for the most part, any significant employment of these networks are still several years away.

In order to be able to harness the power of this new and innovative technology, it’s important first to understand what it is and what its potentials are. In our upcoming bootcamps titled 5G: what is it, and how will it enable the future? and 5G Technical Primer, we’ll go over a history of mobile communications, and find out where 5G fits in. We’ll take a look at its capabilities and technical characteristics, and we’ll examine how these will enable applications of all sorts and how these applications are in a position to literally change the world.

We’ll also take a real world look at where we are today as far as 5G rollout goes, what applications have already been deployed, and what innovations are still several years away. In the technical primer bootcamp, we’ll take a deeper dive into the technical aspects of the technology including protocol stacks, network communication, and the wireless air interface.

All in all, we hope to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of 5G and its expected impact on the world in general, and on your business in particular.

Learn more and sign up for our Bootcamp through a Skillsoft Percipio Free Trial.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lazaros Agapidis is a Telecommunications and Networking Specialist with over twenty years of experience. He works primarily with IP networks, and his expertise extends into telecommunications services and infrastructure from both an enterprise and a service provider perspective. In addition to his numerous vendor certifications, Lazaros has a solid online presence as an expert in his field, having worked in both public and private sectors within North America and in Europe. He has enjoyed sharing his practical experiences for over a decade through his thoughtful and engaging telecom and certification training classes.​

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2021 Trends in DevOps Online Training https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/2021-trends-in-devops-online-training Tue, 06 Jul 2021 10:42:00 -0400 mike.saver@skillsoft.com (Mike Hendrickson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/2021-trends-in-devops-online-training

How to Eliminate DevOps Skills Gaps


Amidst the chaos of rapid change, it’s critical that we pause to reflect back on where we’ve come from to build a foundation for where we want to go.

At Skillsoft, our market-leading consulting customers have earned more than 150,000 DevOps badges since February 1st 2021. This alone is an incredible testament to the rising importance of DevOps skills, but the really interesting insights come when we dig into the specific courses being taken, and the badges they have earned. These companies are at the forefront of the DevOps movement and exploring their learning trends tells us a lot about where the industry is headed – and the work our teams need to do to stay relevant.

DevOps Foundations and DevOps Tools dominate early learning cycles, but more nuanced topics are quickly gaining adoption demonstrating the depth of expertise required to operate in a DevOps environment across all customer industries.

Top DevOps Badges Earned by Category
  1. Automation
  2. CI/CD
  3. Containers
  4. DevOps Foundations
  5. DevOps Tools
  6. Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)
  7. Testing

Badges earned February 1st 2021 – June 24th 2021 across all Skillsoft learners including consulting companies

Rising stars: Site Reliability Engineer (SRE)

It’s not an accident that 20 of the top 50 courses are related to SRE. SRE is not an entirely new concept, but it is a growing area of focus. SRE was developed to bridge the gap between the primary job functions of an IT operation & administration team and the developers who write code.

Top DevOps Courses by Badges Earned
Top 50 badge earning DevOps courses (course completions) February 1st – June 24th 2021
  1. The Language of DevOps: DevOps Tools & Processes
  2. Jenkins for DevOps: Jenkins Configuration for DevOps
  3. Automated Software Testing
  4. Using Docker for DevOps: Introduction to Docker
  5. Software Testing for DevOps: DevOps Test Tools
  6. DevOps Agile Development: DevOps Methodologies for Developers
  7. The Language of DevOps: DevOps Principles & Practices
  8. Jenkins: Introduction
  9. IT Infrastructure Automation: Getting Started
  10. DevOps Agile Development: Agile Processes for DevOps
  11. Site Reliability: Engineering
  12. DevOps Mindset: DevOps Principles & Implementation Approach
  13. DevOps Security Considerations: DevSecOps Principles
  14. SRE Troubleshooting Processes
  15. SRE Emergency & Incident Response: Responding to Emergencies
  16. SRE Troubleshooting: Tools
  17. Site Reliability: Tools & Automation
  18. SRE Emergency & Incident Response: Incident Response
  19. Jenkins: Creating Application Builds
  20. Jenkins: Testing & Continuous Integration
  21. Site Reliability Engineer: Managing Overloads
  22. Basic Concepts of a Microservices Architecture
  23. Site Reliability Engineer: Managing Cascading Failures
  24. SRE Postmortums: Blameless Postmortem Culture Creation
  25. DevOps Corporate Impact
  26. Jenkins: Administration
  27. Software Testing Foundation 2018: Fundamentals
  28. Introduction to Bash Scripting
  29. Introduction to Git
  30. Working with GitHub
  31. Best Practices for the SRE: Automation
  32. Site Reliability Engineering: Scenario Planning
  33. Best Practices for the SRE: Use Cases for Automation
  34. Automation Using Bash & Expect
  35. Software Testing Foundation 2018: Test Process Fundamentals
  36. SRE Simplicity: Simple Software Systems
  37. SRE SImplicity: Software System Complexity
  38. Cloud and Containers for the SRE: Containers
  39. Cloud and Containers for the SRE: Implementing Container Solutions
  40. Distributed Reliability: SRE Critical State Management
  41. Introduction to Automated Testing with Selenium
  42. SRE Load Balancing Techniques: Front-end Load Balancing
  43. Distributed Reliability: SRE Distributed Periodic Scheduling
  44. SRE Load Balancing Techniques: Data Center Load Balancing
  45. Design Thinking for Microservices
  46. Techniques and Tools
  47. Software Testing Foundation 2018: Testing & The Software Development Lifecycle
  48. Jenkins: Getting Started
  49. Best Practices for DevOps Implementation
  50. Software Testing Foundation 2018: Test Types & Maintenance Testing

The SRE is an important function on the DevOps team that is difficult to staff because it requires at least some knowledge of both development and IT operations; skillsets that are often hard to find in a single resource. The need to develop these multi-functional employees has become more urgent as infrastructure is increasingly moving to the cloud. As a result, we see SRE learners earning multiple badges more often than in other disciplines.

Category% of learners earning badges in category
Automation81%
CI/CD78%
Containers63%
DevOps Foundations74%
DevOps Tools80%
Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)135%
Testing79%
Testing earns 2 of the top 5 badge earning spots

Two of the top five badge earning courses are focused on testing demonstrating the essential role it plays in DevOps operations. (Top 5 DevOps badge earning courses February 1st – June 24th 2021)

  1. The Language of DevOps: DevOps Tools & Processes
  2. Jenkins for DevOps: Jenkins Configuration for DevOps
  3. Automated Software Testing
  4. Using Docker for DevOps: Introduction to Docker
  5. Software Testing for DevOps: DevOps Test Tools

It comes as no surprise to see testing a central focus. The more agile we become, the more essential an automated and disciplined testing process becomes to avoid disruptions to our operation. We can’t move fast, if we lack confidence in the updates being made. A broader understanding of testing principles are essential skills the most productive DevOps teams are making.

A missing link - DevSecOps

Research shows that companies with full security integration in the software delivery process can remediate critical vulnerabilities more quickly than those who operate in silos.

As a result, cross-functional DevOps teams need all their members to skill up with both generalized and specific security training. Yet, we aren’t yet seeing security be a priority for learners.

Security doesn’t make the top 10 and appears only once on the Top 50 list of badges earned, with only "DevOps Security Considerations: DevSecOps Principles" appearing.

Those organizations that want to get a leg up on optimization and closing security vulnerabilities will make closing this gap a priority.

Get ready to upskill your team

At Skillsoft we’ve made it a priority to simplify the process of upskilling your DevOps team. Our robust library of courses, practice labs, and resources will help your team objectively master new skills and put them into practice.

Want to explore the full DevOps course library?

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Why Reboarding Your Employees Post-Pandemic Makes Sense https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-reboarding-your-employees-post-pandemic-makes-sense Fri, 02 Jul 2021 07:02:00 -0400 sam.bruin@skillsoft.com (Donna McEntee) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-reboarding-your-employees-post-pandemic-makes-sense


With vaccination rates on the rise and new cases of COVID-19 falling, the world is beginning to see shifting employer-employee work arrangements. Employees are beginning to return to physical work locations -- occasionally, part-time, and full-time. As employers weigh their options, the health and safety of the workforce should be top priority, as it impacts how to bring operations back online and employees back to some aspect of normal.

Reboarding is the process of helping organizations resume operations. But reboarding goes beyond just resuming operations, it minimizes health and safety risks as employees return to the workplace. It addresses employees resuming previous job responsibilities or training employees for new jobs in the organization. It also encompasses training new employees to replace those employees not returning to the workplace or supporting the expansion of operations.

The concept of reboarding applies when:

  • You are re-opening or re-staffing your physical locations after COVID-19 closures
  • Employees are returning to work after a layoff or returning after working at another company
  • Employees have transitioned to a new role within the company

A post-pandemic reboarding program will have unique considerations. Among them are:

Preparing the physical workplace – Employers should look at the internal risks of how COVID-19 could spread within their facility. This includes evaluation whether the business has adequate facilities for social distancing returning employees and adequate sanitation for handwashing. It may also require a business to rethink the design and layout of facilities.

Communication - Employers should frequently communicate with their employees. This includes general communications and new policies to be followed.

Training and upskilling - Many industries and regions within the country face a shortage of employees. It may be hard to attract employees in a tight labor market, and many in-demand jobs may be hard to fill. Consider promoting or re-skilling existing employees to take on leadership roles. This may require training on management and leadership skills. Promoting from within has many advantages, such as lower cost per position.

Employee mental health and trauma - Our current public health guidelines, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely. Managers should also receive training on Mental Health First Aid and learn to actively listen to employees and encourage them to seek assistance when needed.

To help employers better understand the nuances involved in reboarding post-pandemic, Donna McEntee, Skillsoft Director of Workplace Safety and Health Solutions, will conduct a webinar, Return to Work: A Guide for Employee Reboarding, on Wednesday, July 21 at 12:00 p.m. EDT/ 9:00 a.m. PDT, where she introduces the concept of reboarding and shares important health and safety considerations for returning to the office environment.

During this webinar, attendees will learn:

  • Key considerations for preparing the workplace for return to work 
  • How reboarding differs from onboarding
  • Additional skills needed by managers for reboarding efforts
  • Management’s role in employee mental health and recognizing trauma and stress 

To learn practical approaches for the next phase of pandemic response, join this important webinar. Available free of charge, register to reserve‌ ‌your‌ ‌spot‌.

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Mitigating Ransomware Attacks – Outsmarting Cybercriminals in 2021 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/mitigating-ransomware-attacks-outsmarting-cybercriminals-in-2021 Thu, 01 Jul 2021 08:33:00 -0400 sam.bruin@skillsoft.com (Luke Tenery) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/mitigating-ransomware-attacks-outsmarting-cybercriminals-in-2021

One compromised password shutdown the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S.A. A few weeks later, cybercriminals attacked the world’s largest meat company, shutting down nine of its beef plants. Each company paid millions of dollars to regain control of their businesses.

As cybercrime evolves in complexity and destructiveness, businesses are challenged with staying a step ahead of criminals. To protect against continuous cyber threats and attacks, cybersecurity policies and procedures must be integrated into every action a company takes. In addition to having a strong infrastructure to monitor, detect, and protect against threats, it is essential employees understand their role in protecting against and reporting suspicious activity.

When it comes to mitigating cyber risks, a robust cybersecurity program is key.

Preparing From a Technical Perspective

Companies should develop a blueprint for responding to cyber threats and attacks. This resource should include a comprehensive data map and exercises for worst-case scenarios and supportive policies to mitigate risk.

A data map is the foundation to any strong response plan to a cyber incident and should provide a detailed overview of a company’s systems, including its backups. This will allow for impacted systems to be quickly identified and backups to be efficiently deployed, resulting in minimal data loss and minimizing significant disruption.

Practicing enterprise-wide responses to a cyberattack, especially ransomware, can significantly decrease the impact of the incident and help companies avoid headlines. Working through tabletop exercises and threat-model scenarios can help understand how responding to a cyber incident – from identification to reporting – takes collaboration across the entire organization. It can also identify and remediate gaps in a company’s response plan before an actual attack occurs.

While cyber incidents are inevitable, protective policies and procedures can provide companies an additional layer of defense. For example, implementing network segregation, “Zero Trust” policies for third-party software, and advanced detection and response controls are proactive measures companies can take to protect themselves against cybercriminals.

First Line of Defense - Employees

A recent report by Statista found top causes of ransomware attacks are phishing emails, poor practices by users, lack of cybersecurity knowledge, and weak passwords and access practices. Not to mention the new vulnerabilities developing from remote and hybrid workplaces.

Employees serve as a company’s first line of defense against cyberattacks. Hackers count on employees to mistakenly click a link or download one of their programs to successfully install their ransomware programs. However, security-conscious employees can thwart a cyber incident well before it starts.

As cyberattacks continue to evolve, it is important to train employees frequently. Training should be accessible to all employees, regardless of location. Educational technology companies, like Skillsoft, with large libraries and regularly updated training, can help organizations and employees stay on top of the latest cybersecurity risks and how to prevent them.

Cross-Team Support

Cyberattacks do not happen in a vacuum. Companies need to cross-train nearly every department on their cybersecurity policies and procedures to effectively respond to cyber incidents. A cross-functional team including investor relations, communications, legal, marketing, sales, and human resources should meet regularly to discuss, practice, and enhance cybersecurity responses. This will help identify and assign responsibilities, educate teams on escalation points for different crisis scenarios, and identify vulnerabilities.

Investigate, Report, and Remediate

Companies will continue to experience cyber threats and attacks. While a comprehensive cybersecurity program with robust infrastructure, educated employees, and support of a cross-department team is important, analyzing and understanding why a cyberattack occurred is critical to avoiding future events. How a company responds to a cyber incident is key to avoiding an enforcement action, minimizing reputational damage, and reassuring customers corrective action has been taken.

Working with an independent third party can often expedite recovery after a cyber incident. Outside experts can be helpful in providing objective assurance to clients and stakeholders, enhancing policies and procedures to avoid similar attacks, and navigating required reporting.

With damages for cyberattacks reported to reach $6 trillion this year, a company’s detection, security, preparedness, and post-event response will dictate its resiliency when facing a ransomware attack.

Luke Tenery is a partner with StoneTurn, a global advisory firm, and head of StoneTurn’s Cybersecurity practice.

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SKILLSOFT AND PLUMA: BUILDING AND NURTURING FUTURE-FIT LEADERS https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/skillsoft-and-pluma-building-and-nurturing-future-fit-leaders Thu, 01 Jul 2021 08:08:00 -0400 Ken.Shafer@skillsoft.com (Rashim Mogha, General Manager, Leadership and Business, Skillsoft; Alexandra Connell, Co-Founder and CEO, Pluma) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/skillsoft-and-pluma-building-and-nurturing-future-fit-leaders

Just as the digital economy has transformed business, leadership too is fast evolving. Today, organizations expect — and need — individuals at every level to be leaders. And the stakes are high; there are significant costs associated with poor leadership. Yet, a majority of companies are lacking the leadership they feel they require. In a 2019 survey, 80% of respondents rated leadership as a high priority, but only 41% believe their companies are ready to fulfill their leadership requirements. (Source: Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, 2019)

On the other hand, when an organization builds and nurtures great leadership, again at every level, the potential upside is hard to ignore. The workforce can be more engaged and more productive; reputations can improve; customers can become loyal advocates; and there is often a direct correlation to the bottom line. In fact, organizations with the strongest digital leadership capabilities outperform those with the weakest capabilities by 50 percent. (Source: The Conference Board, Global Leadership Forecast, 2018)

But, today’s challenges — and opportunities — require a new generation of leaders who are agile, resilient, and digitally fluent. It isn’t enough to ensure that leaders have knowledge about what needs to be done. They must also have confidence in their ability to effect change. Building that ability is key, and one-to-one coaching is one of the most effective ways to do that.

Coaching has always been a powerful and enabling tool, but too often it’s reserved for the select few, for the senior leaders and C-suite rather than first-time managers or emerging leaders.

With Skillsoft’s acquisition of Pluma, we’re changing that. We are democratizing leadership development.

Introducing Skillsoft Pluma

Skillsoft is a global leader in corporate digital learning serving approximately 70% of the Fortune 1000, and more than 45 million learners in over 160 countries. Pluma is a customizable digital platform that offers executive-quality one-on-one and group coaching. Together through Skillsoft Pluma, we can make leadership development far more accessible because organizations need strong leaders to drive business forward and deliver outcomes.

And it’s a win-win for our customers.

Skillsoft Pluma will accelerate professional growth and impact for high potential leaders, whether they have decades of leadership experience or are just beginning to shine. It provides personalized, introspective coaching from distinguished and highly qualified executive coaches. These coaches are available to meet with leaders (and aspiring leaders) in real-time, use assessments to identify skill gaps, and design action plans that drive back to specific learning content in the Skillsoft Leadership Development Program (SLDP), powered by MIT Sloan Management Review.

This high-touch option is a significant complement to the industry-leading, blended learning Skillsoft is known for. And it provides customers with a proven solution to build stronger, more effective, and future-fit leaders.

Why is this solution so timely?

Data from recent studies demonstrate a genuine need for this powerful new offering:

  • Only about 2 in 5 organizations are developing leaders in a way that benefits the business. (Source: Brandon Hall Group, Reinventing and Democratizing Leadership Development, 2018)
  • 72% of organizations attribute the absence of coaching as a reason for leaders lacking critical leadership competencies. (Source: Brandon Hall Group, Improving Leadership Development in the Post-COVID Era, 2020)

Meanwhile, there’s a measurable difference between digital-ready leaders and those who are not. Highly capable digital-ready leaders are more likely (89% versus 58%) to take on stretch assignments to build new skills, and are more likely to provide input to grow the business (67% versus 34%). (Source: Global Leadership Forecast, 2018)

None of this is surprising. The digital economy has already transformed the way we work. Organizations are flatter and individuals take on new, often self-directed, responsibilities at every level. It’s no wonder many companies are experiencing a leadership gap and all the negative outcomes associated with it.

The dilemma is twofold. New leaders lack the experience they need, while many established leaders require a new set of skills to be truly effective in a fast-changing business environment. Both groups can benefit enormously from the combination of skill gaps assessment, learning and coaching. And when individual leaders benefit, their organization does too.

The best leaders will be those who have both knowledge and ability to demonstrate leadership, who are comfortable thinking digital-first, and who can pivot quickly, leading their teams and organizations into the future … whatever that future looks like.

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Understanding — and Celebrating — Leadership Wherever You Find It https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/understanding-and-celebrating-leadership-wherever-you-find-it Mon, 21 Jun 2021 11:12:00 -0400 Jen.Kaye@skillsoft.com (Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/understanding-and-celebrating-leadership-wherever-you-find-it

Something very exciting is happening here at Skillsoft. On Friday, June 11, 2021, Skillsoft closed a merger with Churchill Capital II to become a publicly traded company and combined with Global Knowledge to create the world's leader in corporate digital learning. It was a momentous occasion for all team members as we ushered in a new era.

Of course, when businesses grow, leadership grows, too. Skillsoft has assembled a world class executive team led by incoming CEO Jeff Tarr. These are individuals who are not only experienced in their craft, but also in leading large scale business transformations. In just a short time, we’ve developed a tremendous amount of respect for each other and a healthy appreciation for the work that needs to get done. Most importantly, perhaps, we all believe in the mission of the company and have made a shared commitment to a collective purpose. In a recent interview with IPO Edge, Jeff explained:

"
I was looking for a company that, when it succeeds, will make the world a better place. But it's not only the social mission. It's also the opportunity to connect the hearts and minds of team members to a bigger purpose."

This is incredibly inspiring to me as a leader and someone who believes that we, at Skillsoft, have a societal obligation as well as a corporate one.

As we emerge from a global pandemic, respond to a widespread call for social justice, and seek to become future-fit in a digital-first world, our modern workforce is demanding a new leadership paradigm. Great leaders don't just ask others to follow they inspire others to lead.

When I think about the leaders who influenced my own career, such as IBM’s Caroline Taylor, I certainly remember their charisma, character, and drive to succeed. But those qualities are not the only reason I followed them as leaders and still consider them my mentors. It was their belief that we can, in the course of business, strive to help others, and also treat the
empowerment of their people as more important than our own positions of "power." What did I learn from them that I try to apply to my own leadership today? The best leaders:

  • · Lead by example and inspiration, and not by force. As an example, Caroline worked within IBM to bring cloud technology, AI, and MI to bear for Stop the Traffik, a non-profit that tackles the crime of human trafficking in the world. Her teams followed her and were far more productive because they were inspired by Caroline and wanted to be a part of the work she was doing.
  • · They treat their entire teams with dignity, care, and respect — from interns and administrators, to senior directors and VPs. Whatever your level, you feel valued and understood.
  • · They trust their teams to take care of what they’ve been assigned. They don’t micromanage. And sometimes, when I needed it, they would jump in to save the day if I made a misstep.
  • · They challenge us to learn new skills and grow professionally, something I personally continue to do to this day — and something that’s easier and more rewarding because I work at Skillsoft.
  • · They practice Stephen Covey’s, “seek to understand principle,” listening first before making decisions. They encourage us to grow. And our success is their success too.

I was fortunate to learn from those who were, perhaps, ahead of their time. The conversations we had with L&D leaders in our recent Skillsoft eBook, The Future of Leadership Development, bears this out. As Morra Aarons-Mele, founder of Women Online, says, "Leadership in the future will be the polar opposite of the old command and control model."

According to the leaders we spoke with, the future of leadership requires us to have courage to face the unknown to embrace new ways of being, working, and doing. And to be unafraid. Even, as one leader put it, to have "a sense of wild adventure." But, it also requires new power skills, like resilience, agility, collaboration, and a growth mindset during this era of unprecedented digital expansion and organizational change.

I find this exhilarating. Because power skills are not some elusive, magic formula; they are competencies that can be learned. And, according to MIT Sloan Management Review, companies that invest in the right learning experiences for their people tend to outperform their competitors — delivering an average of 19% more growth in revenue over time.

I think it’s most important that we acknowledge that leaders aren't found only in the C-Suite. Sometimes, leaders are the people who stay calm in a crisis. Those who encourage their peers to be their best selves. The team members who check in on their days off. Or, those who speak up when they witness injustice. Through their presence and their actions, whether in front or leading from behind, these leaders influence others for the good of all. And, when given the opportunity to grow further through learning, the possibilities for their future and ours are limitless.

If you're curious about how Skillsoft can help you or your teammates on the path to leadership transformation, start with The Seven Signs Your Leadership Plan Needs a Reboot. Then, explore our groundbreaking Skillsoft Leadership Development Program, powered by MIT Sloan Management Review, with a 14-day free trial.

Now, lead on. And remember, sometimes, all you need to get started is a little bit of courage and a little encouragement.


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Building Cultures Of Inclusion That Honor Pride Excellence https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/building-cultures-of-inclusion-that-honor-pride-excellence Thu, 03 Jun 2021 07:00:00 -0400 Ken.Shafer@skillsoft.com (Christopher Whalen, Senior Customer Success Manager, Skillsoft) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/building-cultures-of-inclusion-that-honor-pride-excellence

When the 2021 InterPride theme was announced as: #YouAreIncluded, I was beaming with pride, joy, and hopefulness. This is the message the world needs to hear right now. As organizations ramp up their DEI efforts to create Inclusion Councils and Employee Resource Groups, roll out new learning and leadership development initiatives, hiring DEI leaders, rescoping their talent strategies, now, more than ever before, we must find authentic ways to remind everyone that their voice, their perspective, their experience has value. And more importantly, that their voices and talent are needed as we work toward creating sustainable cultural change. The business case and the human case for DEI has never been stronger, so now is the time for organizational leaders to invest in creating and sustaining cultures of inclusion. Pride Month provides us with both inspiration and a model for how we can do just that.

Cultivate A Shared Purpose and Experience

In many ways, the LGBTQIA+ Community carries and role models a spirit of enthusiasm for positive change that invites and encourages everybody to participate. That’s what Pride Month is all about. All are welcome to join the party, to celebrate our individuality and community victories, while raising the voices of those in the community who remain underserved and marginalized. Even the way the community is identified by its acronym LGBTQIA+ is ever-evolving to help ensure all members of the community are represented and included. Within the LGBTQIA+ community there exists a sense of united purpose and action, especially when we see a need for change. For leaders, creating a shared vision and sense of purpose and pride not only increases productivity, but it also creates an environment where innovative ideas flow more easily.

Commit To Learning and Development

Education is a big part of Pride events around the world. In addition to the many celebrations, members of the community and allies alike have access to workshops, discussion panels, virtual conferences, gatherings for and about issues that impact our community members. It is through these open and educational conversations that we are able to make real progress and take our movement from performative to transformative. We learn, through the words of the people asking for support, how we can support their community in the best way. There is a concerted effort by the community to ensure that all voices and perspectives are invited to the conversation. The same efforts have proven to be successful in organizations where leaders curate learning experiences and programs to educate and support allies. When we invest in education for all, we enable inclusion to take root.

Invite Curiosity and Practice Empathy

As much as we celebrate our diversity during Pride Month and every day, we also recognize and appreciate that, as members of the LGBTQIA+ community, we have a shared, lived experience. As, Dr. Stephen R. Yancovelli shares in his book Pride Leadership, many members of the community have the organic ability to cultivate a deep sense of empathy and desire to truly understand one another’s struggles. We are learners. We tell stories. We are curious. We listen. We are sensitive to how empowering it is when someone sees the unique strengths you bring, and we are equally sensitive to micro-behaviors. Leaders who invite, celebrate, and create a safe, trusting space for storytelling build an inclusive culture faster and more effectively than those who do not. Book clubs are just one way to practice curiosity and practice active listening skills and empathy.

Build A Network Of Allies, Sponsors, Mentors

At the core of the LGBTQIA+ community and Pride is a celebration of intersectionality. This gives us an unparalleled network of allies, mentors, and sponsors to leverage in moving forward our cause. As organizational leaders ramp up their efforts to support DEI efforts and empower employees to build grassroot campaigns and advisory councils, we cannot ignore that without allies, advocates, and sponsors at the most senior levels of an organization, these efforts are not sustainable. As organizational leaders recruit members of all communities with shared identities to lead these efforts, it is crucial to invest in their development, so that they feel knowledgeable and confident leading DEI in their organizations. Executive sponsors are a must, as is an investment in coaching them and helping them develop as mentors, advocates, and champions.

#YouAreIncluded is a sentiment to embrace as champions of inclusion within our organization. When leaders lean into the unique strengths their people, help team members identify those unique strengths, and empower them to develop and grow, the return on investment is expansive.

At Skillsoft, we invite you to join us on this learning journey as we launch a new Aspire Journey for leaders looking to build and sustain cultures of inclusion and belonging and an Off The Shelf series the celebrates LGBTQIA+ authors and excellence.

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How CLOs Can Serve a Diverse Ecosystem of Learners https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-clos-can-serve-a-diverse-ecosystem-of-learners Wed, 26 May 2021 10:56:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Elisa Vincent, Vice President of Global Talent Enablement, Skillsoft) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-clos-can-serve-a-diverse-ecosystem-of-learners

My children recently asked me to clarify what I do for work. In my mind, I wondered: How can I explain that I help people meet their truest potential, grow their careers, and make a difference in the world?

In rapid fire fashion, I visualized an impressive checklist of the projects, training programs, and implementations I’ve led. But what did I come up with? “I help people do well in their jobs — for example, by creating videos that show teachers how to effectively check your heads for lice.”

My children raised their eyebrows, smiled, and shrugged their shoulders with a “Hmm.” No further questions. That was the most fun and interesting example I could come up with. But that project was also important, and obviously still fresh in my mind from when I worked in a global childcare company’s training function, and my children were students in their pre-schools. In reflecting on my response, I asked myself: Is that really what I do?

Yes, that is what I do.

It’s awesome.

And I don’t just help individuals; I empower ecosystems of leaders and teams to grow and thrive.

Across all industries, learning & development leaders play a vital role in enabling the success of our complex ecosystems: empowering all learners with pathways to knowledge.

We are the stewards who help people learn whatever they need in real time, from implicit bias awareness to head lice detection. We serve all constituents. If we fail to educate and empower even the smallest, most nuanced groups with personalized learning experiences, they will fail, as will the entire ecosystem.

I learned a lesson about the interconnectivity of organizational ecosystems early in my career, when my team was about to roll out an inclusive leadership model to over 900 front line leaders in early childhood education centers. We thought we had all the data required for a successful launch, from stakeholder engagement survey results to key performance indicators.

But in a sea of complexity, we lacked an ecosystem perspective.

We received feedback during this project’s discovery phase from our front-line leaders. As enthusiastic as they were about the program, they faced realities inherent to their jobs that would make its sustainment and scalability taxing on their flow of work.

So I took the opportunity to go on location and walk side-by-side with front line leaders to experience their days. I was inspired by how they continuously learned and applied skills real-time: from knowing the perfect bleach-to-water solution for disinfecting changing tables, to understanding and applying the best methods for ensuring children feel fully loved, included, and safe.

In those early days leading an L&D function, I learned four key takeaways that still apply:

  1. Fully understand the diverse ecosystems in which our learners work and live.
    Be present, ask the right questions, and never underestimate the power of seeing people’s stories firsthand to learn and build awareness.
  2. Design learning plans using diverse learning technologies for diverse needs.
    For many employees, learning in the flow of work is vital. Mobile apps may be common, but they’re among the best tools for meeting busy learners where they are.
  3. Prioritize accessibility and inclusivity in your platforms and implementation plans.
    Without this, you could risk siloing learners and wasting valuable resources. Identify and remove logistical obstacles to opportunity.
  4. Don’t build a “field of dreams” — foster engagement.
    If you build it, learners won’t automatically seek it out. Create a culture of continuous learning with a push (at the right time) and pull dynamic.

I carry these lessons with me today in my role as Vice President of Global Talent Enablement at Skillsoft. These days, I often engage with peers who lead L&D functions for our customers’ ecosystems. The insights I’ve gained from their worlds have been so compelling, I decided to share them in a new Skillsoft 360 report titled “The New CLO: From Training to Transformation.” I encourage you to read it.

In the my next blog post, I’ll describe how leaders can harness the evolving nature of their jobs to create stronger more inclusive ecosystems.

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Lean into Learning: India https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/lean-into-learning-india Mon, 24 May 2021 13:30:00 -0400 Eileen.Plaehn@skillsoft.com (Kamal Dutta, Managing Director, India, Skillsoft & SumTotal) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/lean-into-learning-india

With remote work, the new normal for millions of employees, organizations have been forced to keep pace by rethinking their digital learning strategies. To stay competitive, establishing a workplace culture of lifelong learning is crucial.

Skillsoft's recent Lean into Learning report offered a global overview of the state of learning before, during, and after 2020. While businesses everywhere share many of the same challenges, we noticed unique approaches to learning based on region and decided to explore these further in a series of Lean Into Learning blogs.

Today, we're taking a closer look at how India leans into learning and how employers are helping their people build the skills and competencies required to meet the future with confidence.

What was the state of learning in India prior to 2020?

Traditionally, India has always placed a high value on learning, with parents across socio-economic classes allocating huge portions of their income to their children’s education. Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services (IT and ITES) constitute two of the largest industry verticals in India, so continuous learning was already seen as necessary to stay on the leading edge of digital transformation. In fact, according to a recent Statista report, there were 4.36 million Information Technology Business Process Management (IT-BPM) employees in India in 2020, an increase of almost 2 million since 2011. Paradoxically, advances in artificial intelligence have also led to employee lay-offs as automation makes certain jobs obsolete. So, even before the pandemic, there was a growing demand for training that could reskill workers for a digital-first world. We continue to also see huge talent availability and gaps in areas like Big Data and AI. Further, there continues to be a huge skill gap both in hard skills and in power skills between industry expectations and skills gained by university graduates.

That being said, although organizations did prioritize corporate and individual learning, only about 20% of their overall L&D spend was allocated to learning online. Their main focus was in-person training with traditionally curated leadership courses and programmatic curriculums. When the nation went into its first lockdown — one of the strictest in the world — all of that stopped overnight.

How has learning in the region changed as the pandemic has evolved?

We recently conducted a research study with People Matters: "Learning Trends India 2020: Reimagining Learning for a Hybrid Workplace." Most strikingly, we've seen employees themselves drive demand for online learning — both formal and informal — as they explore new ways to become future-fit. In turn, organizations recognize that offering access to learning is a powerful incentive to retaining a skilled and driven workforce. We've seen a 20% increase in funds allocated to online learning and employee development since the pandemic struck.

Here are some of the key takeaways from our report:

  • Digital learning is now the most preferred aspirational mode of learning
  • Future-focused skills and capabilities are a top priority
  • Informal learning is as important as formal learning to 95% percent of respondents, but 58% say that they don’t track it
  • Learning must change from disconnected and decentralized to engaging, accessible, and scalable
  • Leadership involvement and 360-degree feedback are critical impact measures

As Emmanuel David, Director of Group Human Resources for TMTC, says,

"The L&D function is evolving; it can no longer serve as the gatekeeper for learning. Knowledge and learning content is omnipresent and easily accessible to all. With growing technology prowess, there is a need to adapt to the changing needs of the learner. Moreover, L&D needs to adapt to the role of a learning facilitator who creates superior engagement and accountability for learning rather than just a provider."

Due to the meteoric rise of informal learning and an increasingly younger workforce, we see widespread interest in customizing fresh, exciting learning content to better drive employee engagement. And while certification continues to be the benchmark for hard IT skills, badging for soft skills offered by platforms such as Precipio can enhance peer-to-peer recognition along with healthy competition. Suryakant Pandey, Senior Director and Head of Learning & Development for Cipla, highlights these trends:
"With an ever-expanding millennial and Gen Z employee base, who live by the motto of instant gratification and mobile learning, it became evident that our learning philosophy and systems were anachronistic and needed a complete overhaul to make learning more exciting, engaging, and empowering. Learners who demonstrate learning implementation and go the extra mile to adopt new ways of working are recognized at organization-wide forums by senior leaders."

What does the future of learning in India look like?

In a word, "opportunity." Eight out of 10 L&D leaders we surveyed said that their main priority over the next 12 to 18 months is to focus on building skills and capabilities required for the future. But despite the desire to adopt digital learning tools, about 43% of the respondents surveyed said they aren’t yet using new-age digital learning experience platforms, and many organizations don't have the means to track informal learning at all. That presents a huge opportunity for Skillsoft to help organizations not only upgrade their L&D strategies and curriculums but ensure they align to business objectives and can demonstrate clear ROI. We have been working with hundreds of learning managers to refine and define a framework that measures the KPIs and baselines them based on industry verticals. We continue to see ROI and Value realization, lack of budget and resources as key challenges for organizations to accelerate learning and thereby impeding the digital transformation and acceleration of innovation. This further impacts talent retention and talent sourcing apart from the overall long-term competitive advantage. The positive news is that we have solved these and more for most of our customers and we know the road ahead.

Even as India endures a second terrible wave of the pandemic, the question we hear most from leaders is, "How can we build resilience into our organizations, so we are better prepared for the next crisis?"

At Skillsoft, we believe that learning lies at the heart of hope and resilience.

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Action https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-in-action Wed, 19 May 2021 14:54:00 -0400 Eileen.Plaehn@skillsoft.com (Elisa Vincent) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-in-action

A new curriculum for empowering sustainable change

When Covid-19 first upended life as we knew it, "We're all in this together" was our rallying cry. But as we face the reality of the global economic fallout, it's clear that the pandemic has disproportionately affected marginalized groups around the world. As leaders committed to an equitable workplace, how can we strengthen our DEI efforts to respond to this?

It’s critical to view diversity, equity, and inclusion training as more than a cure for bias and discrimination in the workplace, but as a commitment to and investment in developmental journeys for organizations and individuals alike. We need to stop thinking about DEI training and initiatives as boxes to check, but rather weave learning (in all of its many diverse forms) into the daily fabric of corporate culture — through discussion forums, new leadership experiences, storytelling and social connection, videos, and any and all moments that capture, represent, and respect the beauty of our diverse existences and experiences and also our shared humanity.

In the span of this year, we have heard a rallying cry from around the world — we are looking for inspiration, we are looking for action, we are looking for progress, we are looking to stop talking about DEI and start closing the gaps experienced by so many.

Last year, I wrote an article that resonated with our partners. The title was "Stop Treating DEI Training Like A Round of Antibiotics.”

"As widespread attention is centered upon the quest for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), organizations are realizing that they must change the dynamics of the workplace in sustainable ways — and not only through programs and training. Companies are recognizing that they must address issues by rebuilding systems, processes, and cultural pillars that have allowed bias, discrimination, racism, sexism, and all disempowerment of marginalized groups to take root."

This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for employers to invest in the right learning experiences for learners at all stages of their careers because that is what we are. Whether we are executives or recent college graduates, the first step is embracing that we are all learners; we are all capable of building new habits and gaining new perspectives. It takes time, but each moment of learning is progress.

When it comes to designing new programs, there is a classic framework that I always go back to — the 70-20-10 rule:

• 70% of information gained is through experience

• 20% through social collaboration with others

• 10% from formal training

It is with this vision, that Skillsoft is deepening our commitment to you, our customers, our partners, — and all your learners — with a new DEI curriculum, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion In Action. We’ve designed these courses to be impactful, inspirational, and experiential to help you advance, nurture, and sustain a culture that appreciates and champions diversity, equity, and inclusion. With our experts, we learn the facts and demystify DEI concepts. Through real stories, we inspire and empower each other. Through guided facilitation and discussion, we start to reflect and build new informed perspectives.

Here are the courses we’ve just added:

WORKPLACE DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION IN ACTION

Your guide to defining the elements of DEI and advancing impactful practices, regardless of your role or the size of your organization.

MOVING FROM BIAS TO INCLUSION IN A DEI JOURNEY

Explore the very human elements of bias and the ways to identify and surmount it on a journey to inclusivity.

RECOGNIZING AND ADDRESSING MICRO-BEHAVIORS IN THE WORKPLACE

Learn to recognize and decode the hidden messages of micro-aggressions and leverage the transformative power of micro-inclusions.

ADOPTING AN INCLUSION MINDSET AT WORK

Delve into specific actions to challenge bias throughout the entire employee experience and across organizational ecosystems.

BECOMING A DEI ALLY AND AGENT FOR CHANGE

Move from understanding to advocacy and action, with recommendations on how anyone can become a true DEI ally and agent for systemic change and progress.

Skillsoft is committed to the democratization of learning for all people. If you'd like to get a feel for our transformative approach, visit our DEI page, where we offer free resources from videos to Leadercamps to blog posts to podcasts and more. Here's a clip below:


All are invited to join us on this journey! Read how Skillsoft employees are diving right in, strengthening a global dialogue, and actively leading on our social channels. These courses are not just what we sell, they are what we strive to live and breathe.

Elisa is the Vice President of Global Talent Enablement at Skillsoft.

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11 Must Know Changes to the 2021 CISSP Exam https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/11-must-know-changes-to-the-cissp-exam Mon, 17 May 2021 08:11:00 -0400 mike.saver@skillsoft.com (Michael J. Shannon) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/11-must-know-changes-to-the-cissp-exam

2021 CISSP Requirements

CISSP Certification Exam Changes: Training & Study Guide
2021 CISSP Requirements


With every attempted hack, data breach, system intrusion, or full-scale attack, Technology and Developer teams grow increasingly more concerned about cybersecurity. IT organizations have good reason to worry. The MITRE ATTACK Framework, a respected watchdog, identifies 291 know threats. This extraordinary tally doesn’t include unknown threats from offbeat bad actors.

More than 130,000 IT security professionals worldwide have achieved certification by passing the rigorous CISSP exam and meeting the extensive work experience prerequisite. Still, HR experts estimate more than 2 million IT security job openings will not be filled in 2021. This is a bad news story for technology organizations wishing to strengthen their security posture as rapidly as possible.

Bad news for the industry is good news for job seekers with a commitment to mastering security.

The CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification exam is perhaps the most recognized and respected credential for security professionals. This is in part because the certification is not vendor-sponsored. Instead, the certification is granted by a neutral body (ISC)2.

Certification recognizes mastery of a large and growing common body of knowledge (CBK). Every three years, the CISSP certification exam is reviewed and is updated to reflect industry trends and technology innovation. 2021 is a new exam year. The new exam will continue to test proficiency in the required eight domains. More than 20% of the tested material is new, and the first test in May is expected to be more challenging than ever.

The CISSP certification exam is an adaptive test that presents questions based upon correctly answered questions. Candidates don’t receive identical tests or even the same number of questions. Most exams have 100-150 questions across the eight domains. Incorrect answers may generate more questions in the same domain.

Candidates can obtain a detailed outline of content from the exam sponsor (ISC)2. This outline covers most of the tested content, but not all. Work experience is not only a prerequisite; it’s essential to have the lived reality of fending off intrusions that are ever-present and inventive. Let’s examine some of the more important new topics.

New exam content

The following topics are new in 2021 and provide a high-level overview of the changes in the exam:

  1. Risk maturity models: approach for measuring an organization’s capability to manage risk. Helps organizations assess good choices and good decisions. Evaluates the degree of risk maturity based on risk culture, skills, and experience of people, process support, and application effectiveness. Scores an organization’s adaptability to risk.
  2. Owner’s rights to privacy: Process for self-imposed limits on data collection and use. Privacy should be proactive and preventative and not a process for remediation for failures to safeguard data or limit use—approach for imbedding privacy into an organization’s architecture and not as an afterthought.
  3. Digital rights management (DRM): Governance for protecting digital content regardless of format including documents, music, medical records, videos, and autonomous vehicles. Establishes rules and licensing requirements for digital keys to unlock encrypted content. Management system for shielding creativity and intellectual property.
  4. Data pipelines: All actions related to creating and protecting resilient and reliable data pipelines across infrastructures. Includes collection of data from all sources, location and secure storage, maintenance of data currency and integrity, retention rules, and requirements and trusted destruction.
  5. Trust but verify: the software supply chain, Open-Source programs, and 3rd party tools are all suspects for introducing malware. Trusted insiders such as DBAs, developers, and administrators are needed to patch and maintain code and authorize access. Methods for verifying trust and auditability to ensure changes are legitimate. Means to verify the authenticity of insider behavior.
  6. Security models: different service types, such as Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Platform as a Service, prevent contrasting security risks. Threat modeling by service constructs real-life scenarios of intrusions and attacks and challenges professionals to practice mitigation techniques in a penalty-free learning environment.
  7. Cloud computing: the flexibility and scalability of cloud apps are driving universal adoption. Microservices accelerate software development but may mask dependencies and exposures. Containers offer a layer of security, and orchestration services are the backbone of scalability.
  8. Internet of Things (IoT) and Edge computing: the explosion of internet-connected devices is driving more computing resources to the edge of networks. Defending the last mile of networks is essential to Edge computing to ensure availability and resilience. Edge expands network management practices.
  9. Continuous Integration Continuous Delivery (CICD): the outcome of process automation which ensures new releases are available daily or hourly to meet business requirements. It is closely aligned with cloud computing and container orchestration. Increases security challenges from software dependencies. Incorporates DevOps principles and removing toil from work.
  10. Agile and DevOps:the SCRUM methodology is used to simplify software development by breaking large projects into small pieces. Development and operations teams deploy DevOps principles to automate much of the build and deployment processes. Both support cloud.
  11. DevSecOps: an expansion of DevOps to embrace security throughout the development and operations process. Shifts security resources to the Build phase to integrate protection into front-end systems and 3rd party tools and repositories. Elevates security challenges across the development life cycle.

These examples of new content are tracking closely with technology trends many IT organizations are deploying. The exam questions are likely to focus on the managerial challenges of implementing technology and cultural change.

The CISSP exam has been characterized as a mile wide but only a few feet deep. There is an extraordinary amount of information to absorb. The official textbook is more than 1,500 pages. The shorter study guide is more than 1,000 pages. Experience helps but isn’t a replacement for a winning strategy. Follow these suggestions and tips to elevate your odds of success – the first time you take the exam.

CISSP Training

Your winning strategy for preparation

These tips and techniques have proven to be a successful strategy:

  1. Put on your manager hat when learning new topics. Selecting the best answer to an exam question requires a managerial mindset. CISSP is not a technical certification. Jobs that require CISSP certification are typically managerial jobs.
  2. Seek live or live online instruction for exam preparation. Live instruction has many advantages. Seasoned instructors have passed the exam multiple times over their careers. Classmates are a resource for Q&A. Learners have the opportunity to share experiences. Learners are committed security professionals with at least 5-years of experience making for a unique learning environment.
  3. Vary learning methods. Books, videos, audio recordings, flashcards, and practice exams from ISC Squared and 3rd party providers make it easy to mix it up and minimize study fatigue. Research has proven that multiple learning methods increase retention.
  4. Repetition pays off. Reviewing a topic 4 or 5 times is an effective way of storing information in long-term memory. Cramming utilizes short-term memory, which is less dependable for recall under pressure.
  5. Practice memorization techniques like mnemonics (acronyms), picmonics (picture mnemonics), chunking, and other proven methods. Some content just has to be memorized.
  6. Get a study buddy. A study partner helps to keep both partners on track with a study schedule. Partners can challenge each other with flashcards and share experiences.
  7. The long haul vs. the hail Mary. Intentionally repeating this point. Fixing concepts in long-term memory works and requires time. Plan your time and build in reviews. Cramming crushes content into short-term memory, which can be fleeting at the worst times.
  8. Don’t rush. Take your time with the first ten questions. The exam is adaptive. New questions are presented based on prior correct answers. Incorrect responses may prompt more questions in an area of weakness. There may be multiple correct answers, but only one best answer.

Skillsoft for your CISSP journey

With Skillsoft, you’ll train with the most effective tools and techniques. In a discipline without a single standard, get a holistic view of various CISSP resources from experts and find the approach that fits your needs the best. Take command of your journey by trusting a proven leader.

Regardless of whether you are a security novice, early adopter, or master, Skillsoft can help you achieve your goals and advance in your career by acquiring new skills.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Shannon has worked at Skillsoft more than 17 years. He developed his skills in the security through working in the field and has passed the CISSP Exam 3 times. He enjoys teaching the live bootcamps because of the diversity of the students and their active engagement in learning. Michael is also an accomplished musician and singer/songwriter.

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4 Steps to Provide CompTIA Continuing Education https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/4-steps-to-provide-comptia-continuing-education-for-your-workforce Fri, 14 May 2021 07:00:00 -0400 mike.saver@skillsoft.com (Greg Fuller) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/4-steps-to-provide-comptia-continuing-education-for-your-workforce

CompTIA CEU

How to Renew CompTIA Certification

If you hold many certifications, the CPE renewal process can be challenging and overwhelming at times.

I have been CompTIA (A+, Network+, Security+, Linux+, and Project+) certified since 1998 and CISSP certified since 2006. In both cases, taking on these was an attempt to challenge myself. Getting A+ certified was the license to enter IT when I first got started. While earning my CISSP was because I had been working in IT for years, and this was a challenge to prove I had the skills for what was - at the time - a rare security designation. In this post, I will discuss how I maintain my CompTIA credentials and, in a future post, talk about maintaining my CISSP.

Anyone knows the CompTIA story. CompTIA transitioned from lifelong certifications to requiring your certification to be renewed every three years. If you know about the original CompTIA program, you also know that they transitioned to their current Continuing Education program a few years ago, which I elected to join.

For CompTIA, you have the following options. You can either retake your exam if you want to relive the fun or do any of the following to earn CEUs.

  1. Earn Non-CompTIA IT industry certifications
  2. Complete training and higher education
  3. Participate in IT industry activities
  4. Publish a relevant article, white paper, blog post, or book
  5. Gain related work experience

From a learners perspective finding the time and a good source of content is always a challenge. If you are looking to keep a team with updated credentials, you want to make sure you can provide them with a reliable source. Here are the steps you need to maintain your credential.

1. KNOW THE REQUIREMENTS

CompTIA does a great job at outlining the requirements for their different certifications in terms of the number of CPEs required for each credential. Taking training is the easiest path to renewal and this is where we help make things easy for you.

2. MAKE A PLAN

Once you understand your requirements, Skillsoft can help you with either retaking your exam or we have endless courses that can be leveraged for CPEs. For example, not only do we offer CompTIA training, but our role-based security journeys could be used to help maintain your credentials. Thus, allowing you to work towards the knowledge needed for a new role and your continuing education credits at the same time.

3. MAXIMIZE YOUR TRAINING

One pro tip I always like to share if you are like me and hold multiple certifications is choosing courses that can apply to multiple exams. Look at your most advanced credential and choose CPEs for that one, and those same training hours can be used for your lower credentials. Let’s say you are looking to maintain your A+, Security+, PenTest+, you can take our new CASP+ courses and maintain all of your credentials at once with one course.

4. SUBMIT

Login to your CompTIA account and submit your CPEs. You simply submit the course details and proof of completion. I usually simply submit a link to my completion badges.

GAIN AND MAINTAIN CERTIFICATIONS


Whether you are looking for training for your team or yourself, we offer an easy solution that takes the stress away from finding the training you need for all CompTIA credentials. This keeps your team from having to search for and locate training on their own independently.

One of the significant advantages a company like Skillsoft provides is that it makes the CompTIA certification renewal process easy with virtually unlimited options. Providing one source for learners to work on both certification prep and also training credits. Regardless of the path, learning methods such as courses, Bootcamps, labs, TestPreps, books, and mentoring can help earn your credits.

Skillsoft helps take the pressure off while keeping things interesting for you by providing seemingly fewer options. We can help you adapt your edge, keep up to date, and maintain your certifications.

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Why ESG is at Center Stage and What it Means to You https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-esg-is-at-center-stage-and-what-it-means-to-you Wed, 05 May 2021 08:50:00 -0400 sam.bruin@skillsoft.com (John Arendes) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-esg-is-at-center-stage-and-what-it-means-to-you

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) refers to the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of a company or business. Founded with the concept of sustainable investing, the term ESG came into popularity in the early 2000s. Today, it’s clear it isn’t a passing fad, and companies are now seeing the risk of not tending to environmental, social, and governance issues.

While ESG is used as a framework to evaluate how an organization manages risk and opportunities that shifting market and non-market conditions create, ESG is also about creating and sustaining long-term value. Organizations can use this framework to manage organizations and adjust to a constantly changing world.

More recently, ESG is picking up steam as a corporate initiative. Corporations face unprecedented risk related to the climate crisis and its environmental impact, their use of water and other natural resources, how they treat workers throughout their supply chain, and the safety and usefulness of their products. Increasingly, many investors are eager to assess and measure companies’ progress in addressing those risks.

A corporation’s fit in society can be an abstract and polarizing question that is not high on the priority list of most boards. Yet, embedded in this question are strategic and operational issues critical to long-term value creation for the business. Today, ESG issues are becoming more important to the consumer, employee, and investor, and these stakeholders are expecting companies to have a way to address ESG.

What does ESG include?

The elements commonly cited in corporate responsibility and sustainability reporting are:

Environmental

  • Climate change impacts
  • Water and waste management
  • Natural resource scarcity

Social

  • Product and worker safety
  • Supply chain management
  • Workplace diversity and inclusion
  • Talent management
  • Employee relations
  • Human rights
  • Health

Governance

  • Labor practices
  • Executive compensation
  • Political contributions
  • Board independence, composition, and renewal

But ESG cannot be achieved by policy alone. It is important to note that some ESG issues may be defined differently depending on the industry, company characteristics, and the business model. For ESG to work, there needs to be a cultural movement within the workforce. Much like we covered in the Higher Calling of Harassment Training, good corporate citizenry relies on employee behaviors. Changing behavior requires a company to put in place the proper policies, communications, and education to set behavioral expectations accordingly.

For example, if a company decides to transition from fossil fuels to renewables to lessen its impact on the environment, there is an impact on its employee base. Companies need to consider how they will look at transitioning or training their employees to operate in this new work environment of renewable fuels. Renewable energy is just one example. The World Economic Forum reports that of the 3.3 billion people employed globally today, 1 billion will need to be upskilled by 2030. Many companies will feel the need to provide this upskilling to remain competitive. The worldwide labor skills shortage is predicted to reach 4.3 million workers and roughly $450 billion in unrealized output by 2030 – and that’s in the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors alone.

To be successful, socially conscious companies will make sure employees are not lost. Building the future with social consciousness means not leaving behind those employees that have supported the business. Companies need to equip current employees with the skills to help them succeed and not leave behind a generation of people in the process. Thus, good execution of ESG requires thoughtfulness about a robust learning environment for employees.

Why is ESG important?

For many, it’s been hard to think of companies as being about more than financial results. But the pandemic cast a spotlight on corporate resilience and purpose just as the climate crisis, changing demographics, social movements, emerging innovations in technology, and other forces began to re-shape expectations of business.

As a result, financial figures no longer tell a company’s whole story. ESG issues have risen in importance to the level of critical business issues. To sustain and thrive in this new era, companies should embrace ESG as a strategic business imperative in a changing world.

According to the 2017 KPMG Board Leadership Center survey, 35% of respondents viewed ESG as a brand issue. Nearly one-third reported their challenges in addressing ESG stemmed from pressure to deliver short-term results. This points to ESG being seen as a disconnected issue as one of the reasons companies are not addressing it more.

In 2020, ESG investment strategies surpassed $1 trillion for the first time on record after net inflows of $71.1 billion in the wake of the pandemic. Significant growth in ESG-branded funds and indexes points to continued momentum. ESG issues continue to rise on investor agendas for a good reason. Poor ESG practices pose environmental, legal, and reputational risks that can damage the company and have a lasting impact on the bottom line. On the flip side, firms with strong ESG performance may find it easier to build a stable and loyal investor base, lower cost of capital, and receive better access to financing, as numerous research papers have now documented.

And the stakes are high as it pertains to reputation. With the internet, everyone has a voice and a platform from which to be heard.

7 ESG trends to watch in 2021

According to an economic analytics firm, SPG Global, ESG is more important now than ever. Companies should note their predictions of 2021 trends in ESG that reinforce the growing strength of this movement.

  1. In response to demand and regulatory drivers, the quality and quantity of ESG data will continue to improve.
  2. The new Biden administration will reinvigorate ESG policies and climate urgency in the United States.
  3. Threats to nature and biodiversity will take center stage in environmental discussions.
  4. With this growing global urgency around climate, conversations about the energy transition will become increasingly nuanced.
  5. The nature of transition conversations will shift from climate mitigation to climate resilience.
  6. Investors will continue to press companies on social issues, particularly around COVID-19, worker safety, and diversity.
  7. Social issues will gain traction in global policy discussions.

Summary

While the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) does not currently mandate ESG disclosures, the reality is that societal forces are increasing pressure on companies to make this a priority and share what they are doing for ESG. As consumers, investors, and employees, Gen Z will likely bring different expectations related to sustainability, society, technology, ethics, and the role of private companies in providing public goods.

Creating long-term value requires companies to understand the impact of their strategies on key stakeholders—investors, employees, customers, communities—and the natural resources and supply chains on which the company relies. Considering a company’s total impact means that both companies and boards need to take a fuller view of ESG.

Even if the timing of an ESG mandate is unclear, companies should not ignore these critical issues. Keep in mind that ESG is a framework to develop your organization’s strategy. Identify the issues that matter most to your company and begin building your approach. Enlist vendors that specialize in the ESG components to fill gaps in your plan. The sooner you start building your ESG strategy, the better equipped your organization and your workforce will be to navigate our rapidly changing world.

John Arendes is the Customer Market Leader and GM - Global Compliance


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8 Tips to Make the Most of the Skillsoft Learning Platform https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/8-tips-to-make-the-most-of-the-skillsoft-learning-platform-1 Tue, 04 May 2021 11:35:00 -0400 Eileen.Plaehn@skillsoft.com (Ryan Ahern) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/8-tips-to-make-the-most-of-the-skillsoft-learning-platform-1


Skillsoft's personalized learning platform, Percipio, was designed for one purpose — to help you refresh your current skills and embrace new ones so you stay in demand. Let's look at a few key elements of the platform to make sure you get the most out of the experience.

1. Connect your learning plan to your short and long-term career goals.

Skillsoft Percipio allows you to follow curated, role-based, and skill-based learning paths — known as Aspire Journeys— that give you a clear starting point to help you move from where you are now to where you want to be in your career. Aspire Journeys walk you, step-by-step, through diverse skills across business and tech, offering courses, guidance, tools, and hands-on practice. Maximize your time, fit learning into the cracks of your calendar, and gain skills you can apply directly to the projects in front of you.

2. Spend more time on skill-building and far less time wondering, "Is this the best content for the topic?"

In addition to Aspire Journeys, you'll discover that we curate all Skillsoft content into Channels — created to align with more than 100K requests from companies worldwide to create content for the specific skills they're looking for in their employees and candidates. No matter what skill you're looking to master, channels give you a logical pathway of content so you can get started.

3. Skillsoft Digital Badges are yours to keep.

Earn Skillsoft Digital Badges by completing courses and Aspire Journeys. Badges let you showcase your skills by sharing across your social networks or with your manager. The best part is, Skillsoft Digital Badges are yours to keep! Anyone viewing the badge sees what you did to earn it, thanks to embedded metadata secured and verified in a blockchain. Digital badges offer a progressive new way to accelerate your professional brand.

As you develop new skills and improve your knowledge, you can always access your Digital Badges under My Profile.

4. Learn in whatever way makes the most sense to you.

Skillsoft partnered with MIT and Accenture to research how the brain processes and retains information. Skillsoft's scenario-based course content is informed by this research — and proven to improve understanding.

You choose your learning experience. Depending on your preference on any given day or night, you can watch videos, read books, book summaries, listen to audiobooks, and even practice your skills in low-stakes, hands-on lab environments.

You may choose to consume content entirely on your own. You may also attend Leadercamps and Tech Bootcamps to access timely, real-world insights from leading experts and collaborate in scheduled virtual classrooms.

5. Save time and keep your skills updated with AI-driven personalization.

Once you've signed into Skillsoft Percipio for the first time, you can select your areas and subjects of interest. Percipio's AI-driven, personalized homepage recommends content that's meaningful and relevant to you based on these interests — in addition to your recent activity and the activities of learners with similar professional profiles.

Percipio's search functionality uses Google BERT natural language processing AI to optimize search results for multi-word searches. Depending on the terms you enter, search results can include any of your available content types, such as courses or books, and specific asset details such as author, duration, and expertise levels.

When you find content that interests you, you can add it to your Playlist or copy a shareable, unique link to the asset. Your Playlist allows you to access your saved content in one location, so you can view it when convenient with your schedule.

6. Learn in the flow of your work with Skillsoft Percipio's unique browser plugin.

You can also install ELSA, our Embedded Learning Synchronized Assistant. ELSA allows you to quickly discover and consume content to answer your questions and solve problems without breaking up your workflow.

7. Learn anywhere, anytime with the Percipio Mobile App and Offline Play.

Extend your learning experience to your mobile device with the Skillsoft Percipio Mobile app. Download the app, sign in with your credentials, and build new skills in minutes a day. Set weekly goals and opt-in to receive push notifications to remind you to stay on track. A seamless experience allows you to access content on your mobile device, take a break, and then automatically pick up right where you left off from your laptop or desktop.

8. Take advantage of available certifications.

Skillsoft offers several certifications from global leaders in information technology and sponsors of best practices in business processes. Certifications include CompTIA, (ISC)2, ISAC, Cisco, CEH, AWS, GCP, and Microsoft. 74% of learners using our certification prep materials pass the proctored exam on their first attempt, while 99% pass within two attempts.

The fastest way to explore the available certifications is to go to the homepage, click the Library button, then look under the Certifications submenu.

Percipio is Latin for "Acquiring Knowledge"— we hope it helps you sharpen your current skills, dive into new ones, and feel confident that no matter what professional challenges present themselves tomorrow, you'll be ready.

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Lean into Learning: The Middle East and Africa https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/lean-into-learning-the-middle-east-and-africa Tue, 27 Apr 2021 12:42:00 -0400 Eileen.Plaehn@skillsoft.com (Tim Walker and Christopher White) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/lean-into-learning-the-middle-east-and-africa

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March of 2020, businesses worldwide faced a global shift to remote work at warp speed. At Skillsoft, we learned alongside our partners as we worked from home, reimagined live events as virtual experiences, and redesigned our courses to meet the urgent business learning requirements of the new normal. Our work was — and still is —based on one question:

How can we help people learn the skills and competencies they need to become future-fit?

In our annual Lean into Learning report, we took stock of how 2020 changed the face of learning across the globe. And we discovered that no matter where in the world a business is based, access to learning lies at the heart of adaptability and resilience. The organisations that will thrive are those that foster a culture of continuous learning.

Recent Skillsoft blogs focused on the state of learning in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand,China, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Now, we're taking a closer look at the Middle East and South Africa.

What was the state of learning in the region prior to 2020?

Until recently, learning was certainly valued, but not necessarily prioritised. In fact, a 2017 study by Financial Times showed that executive education and leadership development came sixth on the priority list of 1,000 respondents across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The survey showed their top priorities for 2017 were in-market growth, strategy development and execution, financial management, and cybersecurity. Many respondents also saw education and leadership development as challenges they wanted to address over the next few years — and here we are. It's no longer a choice; it's mission-critical.

Prior to the pandemic, there were gaps in learning adoption in the region based on hesitancy around privacy and data security issues, along with cultural issues such as local language content. We saw some distrust regarding learning moving to the cloud, and how that might align with government regulations. For instance, Saudi Arabia was cautious when it came to data hosting solutions from outside the kingdom. Across the region, there was still a large focus on traditional classroom training. And because they didn't invest as much time in online learning, courses had to be shorter. There was also confusion around digital transformation and how that might look for specific industries.

How did learning change as the pandemic evolved?

The question is, how didn't it change? For example, United Arab Emirates (UAE) traditionally generates a lot of revenue from sectors like hospitality, tourism, entertainment, property, and retail. With the advent of global lockdowns and travel restrictions, many jobs in those industries were lost, some permanently. That being said, businesses that could adapt to remote work have seen a sharp spike in online learning since the onset of the pandemic, with higher demand for courses on time management, remote work productivity, and decision making.

Out of necessity, more organisations finally moved to cloud-based content delivery. In fact, we’re working with more customers throughout the region than ever before. In the Middle East alone, Skillsoft has experienced close to 25% growth in our programs. In Turkey particularly, we have seen a significant increase in our Technology and Developer offering with upwards of 250% growth. Many have reached out to us to work with them on customising programs that best support them as they make the crucial transition from in-person learning. We're currently developing more content in Arabic, which we anticipate will be in high demand throughout the region.

During this crisis, we’re seeing a transformation of leadership, supported through Skillsoft's Leadership Development Program. Beyond executive training, we’re helping organisations develop broader learning libraries for all employees. In South Africa particularly, there is an increased focus on the re-skilling of staff through our custom Aspire Journeys. And, there’s a greater focus on course completion enabled by Digital Badging, providing greater “reporting” capacity for L&D/HR to demonstrate engagement with content and ROI justification.

What does the future of learning look like?

A survey conducted by KPMG earlier this year found that more than a quarter (28%) of the workforce in UAE will require reskilling, and that's more or less reflective of the situation throughout MEA. Looking ahead, we see new opportunities for employees through new technology and digital learning experiences. Of course, cultural influences and lingering hesitancy may still affect regional adoption rates; and we anticipate a stronger requirement for expert-authored content that can be validated and customized.

COVID-19 has been a paradox for us all. For some businesses, the pandemic has highlighted shortcomings and enforced cultural boundaries. For many others, it has proved to be a catalyst for growth and new ways of connecting.

Learning is the bridge across that divide.

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4 Solutions For Avoiding DevOps Training Pitfalls https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/4-solutions-for-avoiding-devops-training-pitfalls Mon, 26 Apr 2021 16:00:00 -0400 mike.saver@skillsoft.com (Mike Hendrickson) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/4-solutions-for-avoiding-devops-training-pitfalls

THE SKILLS IMPERATIVE OF DEVOPS TRANSFORMATION

THE DEVOPS MINDSET: ADAPTABILITY AS AN EDGE

Technology organizations are the driving force of business success. With the rapid pace of technology change, moving faster with more agility is not an option, it’s a necessity. Yet, delivering on a DevOps transformation is hard work. With DevOps there is no set standard – every team, business, and industry has a different way of doing it. It’s chaotic. Chaos can cause delays, miscommunication, and lost revenue. Businesses can’t afford chaos. Here we'll explore several solutions to employ in online DevOps training to cut through the chaos and build high-functioning teams.

  1. Train your existing teams
  2. Recruiting and training novice talent
  3. Train for DevOps Management
  4. Train employees outside of tech

“Organizations that adapt quickly and provide a delightful customer experience (CX) will have the opportunity to thrive in this new digital economy, while those that continue to rely upon long application release cycles and legacy waterfall software development life cycle (SDLC) processes will likely not be able to survive, or at least won't thrive as they might otherwise, given the right technology decisions.”
-Jim Mercer, IDC: Addressing the Challenge of Adopting and Scaling DevOps

DELIVERING ON DEVOPS

There are stacks of evidence extolling the virtues of DevOps and an almost equal amount of studies indicating how difficult DevOps is to harness successfully in large organizations. IDC’s “Addressing the Challenge of Adopting and Scaling DevOps”found that most Enterprise organizations are using DevOps for less than 20% of their application estate, with the rate doubling in 2021 with organizations planning to have nearly 31-40% of their application estate using DevOps.

Skillsoft recently polled a group of Tech Executives and found that nearly 20% of respondents indicated that DevOps projects are started but are not going well. Another 25% indicated that they have not even launched a DevOps project, while a third group of 15% has no plans to launch a DevOps project.

This is 60% are either just failing (not failing forward fast) or not in the game at all. But why?

  • DevOps is more than using popular and effective tools that enable better DevOps.
  • It is more than a mindset shift for your development and operations teams.
  • It is more than being good at Agile.
  • It is more than being adept at automated testing.
  • It is more than building software as a team and creating communities of practices.
  • It is more than aligning your business imperatives with your tech development.

To truly make DevOps effective in your organization, it’s about harnessing all of them together.

To get to the state where everything is working well together, you can do a few things. You can hire the best, most experienced people/talent to bring in the knowledge needed. And good luck with that approach in this hyper-competitive market with shortages of experienced developers worldwide.

You can bring in vendors to discuss how their tools solve lots of the troubles, pitfalls, and difficulties implementing DevOps. Good luck with that one, too, especially if you want an objective view of what success looks like.

DEVOPS ONLINE TRAINING: TRAIN FOR YOUR TEAM. NOT THE TOOL.

DevOps is not about the tools because we all know how quickly tools change and how quickly the problem space or solution domain shifts. So what works? The best way to successfully deploy DevOps is with a reskilling and upskilling program targeted to your Dev teams first and then to the rest of the organization. This is a holistic approach.

Let's explore what this holistic approach to DevOps looks like.

SOLUTION #1: Train your existing teams

Role-based training to reskill an existing population of learners

Most organizations have large cohorts of people who have been building software for quite some time. They are not all new to building software. In some sense, it might be easier if they were DevOps Natives, where they only know DevOps as their way of building software, services, and products. But the reality is you have people who have used traditional SDLC approaches to development.

This brings in the notion of reskilling—people who need to unlearn their old approach and re-learn a new approach.

These people typically need to understand what is expected in a new role and how to transition to that role. We believe it is important to make that transition prescriptive but not rigid. We do understand that learners want to know what to learn next and what their journey will look as they move to a more native DevOps role. Part of this journey must include plenty of opportunities to practice what is being taught. These people know the value of durable skills being developed by experience and hard-knocks in some cases. But a practice environment that quarantines the hard-knocks so that your tech infrastructure (networks, security, applications, etc.) is not compromised while someone is learning to do new deployments or new automated testing or just merely practicing with a new tool. Having prescriptive content that is built around the roles that your learners will need to master is an essential ingredient for this segment of your population. It helps reskill a group pretty much every organization has today.

SOLUTION #2: Recruiting and training novice talent

Role-based training to upskill a cohort that has very little experience with software development.

Another way to get DevOps talent is to upskill a group of potential candidates. We see this around the globe. Many companies are hiring generalized talent from colleges and academic institutions and upskilling them to their way of building products, services, and software.

This is as close as you will get to producing your own DevOps-native team members.

They likely have very little to unlearn but plenty to learn. They will undoubtedly need to have a broad and deep curriculum that offers plenty of feedback and practice. This cohort likely needs the prescriptive part of a role-based curriculum the most. They have minimal expectations of what to learn next, so guidance and feedback (criterion-based assessments) are needed. And like the prior experienced group, this group also needs plenty of practice to build, test and deploy what will become their durable skills.

DevOps Online Training Custom Onboarding Journey
Create tailored learning paths blending Skillsoft, custom, free, and paid-provider content to meet your strategic needs. Target specific audiences to ensure the right assets are discovered by the right teams.

SOLUTION #3: Train for DevOps Management

Role-based training that combines both an understanding of the tech skills needed for DevOps and the human components of people, communications, collaboration, and teams.

Another way to get more DevOps talent is to ensure that you keep the talent you have by having leaders that inspire their teams to build great products. We've heard from many organizations that some leaders truly do not understand what DevOps is or how to help it flourish in a development team.

This may be the most important group.

This approach, which is developed in your organization, is to nurture and build teams that work together effectively. This helps avoid team dysfunction and prevents seeing members leave the company (institutional knowledge drain) because their leader does not understand what they are collectively trying to accomplish.

This group of aspiring leaders needs some basic training in all of the components of DevOps.

They will need a broad understanding of the adjacency areas that make DevOps work well, from Agile methods to gaining executive buy-in and business alignment to creating communities of practice and a culture of learning and failing forward fast. On the technical end, they will also need to understand how to build process and test automation into your development, address the drain of legacy applications, measure progress with metrics, and finally, how to best leverage 3rd Platform technologies/platforms.

Then for good measure, we need to throw in the adjacency skills they will likely need to understand the changing nature of their world. An understanding of Security, Cloud, Programming, and Infrastructure/Operations advancements. Whew, that is a lot for anyone to digest.

Then throw in all the other "business requirements," and leaders can become overwhelmed. Having learning assets that help them with both the tech side of learning and the people component is crucial for success. Having them combined is even better.

Top Non-Tech Skills Courses Used by Tech Professionals (In descending order of consumption/usage)

  1. Contributing as a Virtual Team Member
  2. Developing a Growth Mind-set
  3. Coaching Techniques That Inspire Coachees to Action
  4. Developing and Supporting an Agile Mind-set
  5. Developing Your Business Acumen
  6. Enabling Business Process Improvement
  7. Managing Pressure and Stress to Optimize Your Performance
  8. Trust Building through Effective Communication
  9. Managing for Operational Excellence
  10. Being an Effective Team Member

Coming Soon! Aspire Journey - DevOps for Leaders and Decision Makers


SOLUTION #4. Train employees outside of tech

Role-based training for people to pre-skill into a needed role.

Yet another way to find new talent for your DevOps efforts is to look internally again. This time not in a formal upskilling or reskilling effort, but rather pre-skilling.

Look for people in other disciplines in your organization that may have qualities you want to develop and keep. There are several cases of this working well. Imagine a Design director (not technical) who is really adept at managing projects and getting all assets to come together by a certain date. If that person is great at what they do, they could make a good Scrum-master with some appropriate training and nurturing.

Especially if this person has the Institutional knowledge of what your company does, it is likely less of a leap to find success. The pre-skilling part lets them try to a role without expectations or an "all or nothing" mentality. If they like it, let them decide to pursue it if they don't, let them continue in their current role.

HARNESS DEVOPS CHAOS

“It is not possible to build a well-designed and strong application without embracing DevOps principles across the entire application. Developers need to be mindful of best practices. DevOps ensures faster release cycles using continuous integration of tests and continuous delivery of releases.”
-
JANANI RAVI, CEO OF LOONYCORN, A SKILLSOFT PARTNER

In all of the above solutions, I envision that adjacency skills attainment becomes one of the most important indicators of success in the future.

The prototype professional is someone who has solid core tech skills, conversant in adjacency domains and skills and has a well-honed digital dexterity mindset. Those people will be in high demand around the globe, and unfortunately, there is a shortage. So most organizations are realizing they need to upskill, reskill and pre-skill the people they have.

Mike Hendrickson, VP of T&D Products

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Hendrickson is Vice President of Technology and Developer products at Skillsoft. Prior to Skillsoft, Mike spent 15 years at O’Reilly Media, Inc., where he most recently was the VP of content strategy. Mike is a technology strategist with extensive experience establishing, building, and maximizing relationships with industry leaders, companies, and partners.

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What is DataOps? Applying DevOps to Data https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-is-dataops Mon, 26 Apr 2021 10:30:00 -0400 mike.saver@skillsoft.com (Mike Saver) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-is-dataops

DataOps Definition

The definition and meaning of DataOps is simple.

Both DataOps and DevOps apply the best practices of technology development and operations to improve quality, increase speed, reduce security threats, delight customers and provide meaningful and challenging work for skilled professionals. DevOps and DataOps share goals to accelerate product delivery by automating as many process steps as possible. For DataOps, the objective is a resilient data pipeline and trusted insights from data analytics.

The heritage of DevOps is lean manufacturing and Agile development. These traditions help build a DevOps culture deeply rooted in maximizing customer value without breaking the bank. DataOps is a relative newcomer seeking to expand the virtues of DevOps to data pipelines and analytics.

Gartner estimates 50-80% of data analytics projects fail. Getting analytics right is critical because organizations are competing based on the effectiveness of their data-driven insights that inform decision-making. Analytics, machine learning (ML), and continuous testing eliminate costly errors.

Neither DevOps nor DataOps is mature. Both processes are dynamic and evolving, and the blueprint of the future hasn’t been drawn. Consequently, the marketplace for tools is chaotic and may be this way for some time. Many tools overlap, and job roles are fluid.

“DataOps gives programmers confidence they are using the right data at the right time," said Mitch Martin, Director of Software Engineering, Data Society, a Skillsoft learning partner. "Code is solid, while data is fluid and has a more complex life cycle. DataOps provides the orchestration needed,”

The advantages of applying DevOps' strengths to data are too great to sit this one out, but that doesn’t make it any easier to know where to get started. Data literacy is low in many organizations leading to less-than-optimal decisions about data sources and uses.

However, overcoming the chaos in the marketplace isn’t optional.

“DataOps aims to benefit multiple data consumers through data-use cases from the simple data sharing to the full spectrum of data analytics popularized by the Gartner model: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive. It brings together self-contained teams with data analytics, data science, data engineering, DevOps skills, and line of business expertise in close collaboration. The goal of DataOps for data science is to turn unprocessed data into a useful data science product that provides utility to customers through a rapid, scalable, and repeatable process.”

-Harvinder Atwal, Practical DataOps: Delivering Agile Data Science at Scale.

DataOps is the solution encompassing the data supply chain end-to-end and a nascent approach to address unmet data needs. The process is shepherded by the DataOps Manifesto, a set of principles to govern data science, analytics, data visualization, data metrics, and data administration. The DatOps Manifesto defines these key principles as:

  1. Continually satisfy your customer
  2. Value working analytics
  3. Embrace change
  4. It's a team sport
  5. Daily interactions
  6. Self-organize
  7. Reduce heroism
  8. Reflect
  9. Analytics is code
  10. Orchestrate
  11. Make it reproducible
  12. Disposable environments
  13. Simplicity
  14. Analytics is manufacturing
  15. Quality is paramount
  16. Monitor quality and performance
  17. Reuse
  18. Improve cycle times

DataOps formalizes data job roles and clarifies career paths, and provides an organizational model for delivering data products and services at speed and scale.

DataOps framework

In an open and connected environment, you need to secure each step in a way that doesn't leak secret or confidential information. You have a build phase, an integration phase, and a deployment phase, and you iterate these. You need to make sure your organizational secrets and client data are all secured along the way. This process culture has to be ingrained from the start. In this build-integrate-deploy process and the iteration of this, building models, integrating them, and then improving the results by iterating or rebuilding based on new information is the process that requires our DevOps to improve and automate. This culture is what benefits from our tactical elements, but the overall process must be there from the start.

For example, the open-source Apache Phoenix Project emphasizes the need to shorten feedback loops to help data scientists learn from mistakes. Apache Phoenix project is relatively new and addresses aspects of data access and availability.

Winning with analytics takes great data and a robust data supply chain. DataOps does not remove job roles or eliminate the need for specialization. In DataOps, for example, the database administrator (DBA) can grow into data engineering by embracing cultural change. Being curious is an advantage.

“DataOps is more of an empowerment idea. Empowering people to take back control of how they produce insight in a way that allows them to have higher job happiness and deliver more results.”
-Christopher Bergh
The DataOps Podcast, episode Data is Empowerment.

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THERE'S NOTHING PRETTY ABOUT THE PINK PANDEMIC https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/theres-nothing-pretty-about-the-pink-pandemic Thu, 22 Apr 2021 06:30:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek, CMO, Skillsoft) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/theres-nothing-pretty-about-the-pink-pandemic

It's time to take off our rose-colored glasses

It's been more than a year since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. While this is not an anniversary to be celebrated, it is one to be commemorated as we look back at the challenges we have faced, and the lessons we have learned. One of the biggest lessons? We are not all in the same "boat." Some of us are steering towards safe harbor. Some of us are staying afloat. But some have been utterly shipwrecked. And many of those are women.


Coined the Pink Pandemic, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women across all facets of their lives, both personal and professional. We’ve all seen "pandemic lifestyle" social media posts. But, for every woman at home with the kids baking cookies, there are multitudes wondering how to stretch lunch into dinner. And let me be clear: there’s nothing wrong with deciding to stay home for your family. For some women, it’s the right choice.

But what happens if you have no choice?

Frankly, we have lost decades of hard-won ground

In December of 2019, shortly before the pandemic, women held slightly more jobs in the U.S. than men for the first time in ten years. Now, according to the Bureau of Lab