Skillsoft https://www.skillsoft.com/ en-us Mon, 28 Nov 2022 12:56:25 -0500 Mon, 28 Nov 2022 12:56:25 -0500 Compliance Silos Are Risky Business https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/compliance-silos-are-risky-business Mon, 21 Nov 2022 13:12:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/compliance-silos-are-risky-business

In an increasingly complex and demanding compliance landscape, many organizations are investing heavily in programs to manage risk. According to McKinsey, for instance, in some large regional banks, the risk function has grown twice as much as the rest of the organization. Yet, fear of liability has prevented these organizations from streamlining their compliance programs.

This “more is more” mentality doesn’t necessarily cultivate a culture of compliance. Rather, it can lead to complicated processes, multiple control layers, and information silos that — ironically —cause the very problems they are meant to prevent. But in today’s strict regulatory environment, “I didn’t know” is not a defense for non-compliance.

On the other side of the spectrum are organizations that view compliance as a series of “check the box” activities that are rarely measured or fine-tuned. This type of program may give your team tunnel vision – convincing stakeholders that your compliance program is sufficient when your needs may be broader than you realize.

Cultivating the right mindset across the enterprise not only decreases the costly consequences of violations, but it reduces the cost of decentralized compliance to support a high-performing, cohesive environment where individuals and businesses can thrive.

A culture of compliance can only grow when an organization effectively deploys, tracks, and updates engaging compliance training across the entire enterprise — ensuring all team members understand compliance standards, take pride in “doing the right thing,” and internalize actions they need to take.

So, who “owns” compliance at your organization?

Between business operations, human resources, and technology, when it comes to compliance, cross-functional collaboration is critical from the highest levels to individual roles. But that doesn’t mean you should take a “one-size fits all” approach. Instead, you need to understand your audience: who needs what training and when, and which courses are critical to centralize.

TricorBraun: “Doing The Right Thing” is Company Culture

TricorBraun is a global packaging leader – and a Skillsoft customer. Here’s how the organization has made impressive strides in its own compliance program.

Founded by the Kranzberg family as Northwestern Bottle Company in turn-of-the-century St. Louis, the organization has supplied customers with glass bottles and other packaging through major economic and societal changes: the Great Depression, two World Wars, recessions, the 2008 financial crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

TricorBraun cares for the communities and markets in which it lives and works. It believes that corporate citizenship is the right thing to do, and that it is integral to the organization’s continued success. As the company continues to grow, it requires dynamic compliance training solutions to meet the needs of its growing workforce.

For example, with the acquisition of new companies came the acquisition of various compliance solutions. Some of the challenges that the organization faced with respect to these solutions included:

  • Consolidation of decentralized compliance solutions to obtain a clear picture of its overall compliance program – including most utilized courses, reliable employee training schedules, reporting mechanisms, and more.
  • Aspects of the organization’s compliance training program were managed by different functions. It needed to reduce the risk of inefficiency and the duplication of resources.

TricorBraun had been partnering with Skillsoft to centralize its legal compliance solution for some time. However, the organization’s overall program was still decentralized, with various managers of the different aspects of compliance training. To combat inefficiency, Director of L &D Kary Gilkeson and L&D Specialist Sarah Rinne completed a compliance audit with the goal of consolidating compliance training across the board.

Gilkeson and Rinne started with cybersecurity, a critical component of any modern compliance program. “TricorBraun used to issue cybersecurity training through a different system, as cyber compliance fell under IT,” said Gilkeson. “When we moved the training to Skillsoft, ultimately reaching 1,400 to 1,500 people across global regions, we started realizing the benefits of compliance across the board."

Skillsoft compliance training was able to boost confidence and awareness for team members that previously worked without critical risk-mitigating insights.

Meeting Various Stakeholder Needs with Skillsoft’s Compliance Solutions

TricorBraun team members now have comprehensive access to a customized compliance solution. The Skillsoft Compliance content library includes more than 500 critical risk topics in 32 languages, providing one of the most extensive global libraries of legal coverage, ethics training, and workplace safety training available.

Skillsoft's expert-vetted solutions keep pace with TricorBraun’s need to meet the complex demands of modern compliance with trusted content, new treatment types, including scenario-based and panel discussions, and professionally-acted role-plays. This innovative approach brings learning concepts to life in real-world situations to fully immerse TricorBraun’s learners, enabling better retention, application, and experience.

As TricorBraun’s compliance journey demonstrates, a successful compliance program isn’t about rules — it’s about people. It should protect your team members and communicate your company’s values and principles. That starts with compliance training that engages team members and empowers them to make the right choices every day.

Training is at the heart of changing behaviors, increasing productivity, and creating safe and ethical workplaces. If you’re ready to integrate your entire compliance learning program under one platform, connect learning with business performance, and offer equitable, effective training to your workforce, reach out to Skillsoft to request a demo today.

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The Top 10 Cybersecurity Certifications in 2022 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-top-10-cybersecurity-certifications-in-2022 Thu, 17 Nov 2022 05:52:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-top-10-cybersecurity-certifications-in-2022

In Skillsoft's 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, 66 percent of IT decision-makers reported that their organizations were struggling with skills gaps, driven largely by the difficulty of recruiting and retaining qualified talent and the rapid pace of technological change today.

While any IT skills gap can spell trouble for a company, cybersecurity skills gaps are particularly worrisome. A lack of qualified cybersecurity talent can leave an organization exposed to cyberattacks that can have disastrous repercussions for their reputations, operations, and bottom lines. According to a report from IBM, the average U.S. data breach costs a company $9.44 million in terms of lost business, customer distrust, remediation, and potential legal penalties.

Staggering figures like that explain why cybersecurity certifications are particularly in demand among employers today. While employers value all kinds of IT certifications, certification is especially important in cybersecurity. Even by IT standards, cybersecurity is a particularly challenging field requiring significant expertise. Cybersecurity professionals are locked in an arms race with hackers and other adversaries. They must always be up to date on the latest technologies and techniques to defend their organizations against ever-escalating threats. That's why organizations are willing to pay a premium for cybersecurity certifications: They prove that their people have the skills they need to protect the company's most valuable assets.

How much of a premium are companies willing to pay? According to the 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, IT professionals with non-cybersecurity certifications earn an average salary of $64,311, while those with cybersecurity certifications earn an average salary of $72,444. That's a difference of roughly $8,000, or about 12%.

Of course, some cybersecurity certifications are more in demand than others — and thus, they garner even higher salaries for their holders. Using data from our 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, we've compiled a list of the top 10 cybersecurity certifications with the highest average salaries in North America.

The Highest-Paying Cybersecurity Certifications in North America

1. CRISC - Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control

Average salary: $167,145.27

Offered by ISACA, a global professional association dedicated to IT governance and cybersecurity standards, CRISC validates a cybersecurity professional's enterprise IT risk management expertise. CRISC is a comprehensive certification covering everything from strategic abilities like building company risk profiles to technical skills like designing and implementing appropriate security controls.

CRISC holders tend to be highly credentialed, tenured individuals. According to Skillsoft's 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, professionals with CRISC certification have an average of nine certifications overall, and 68 percent serve in managerial roles.

According to ISACA, CRISC is best-suited for mid-career professionals in IT/IS audit, risk, and security careers. Earning CRISC certification requires three years of working experience in IT risk management and IS control roles. In addition, candidates must pass the CRISC exam, which covers four domains: governance, IT risk assessment, risk response and reporting, and information technology and security. The exam costs $760 for non-ISACA members and $575 for members.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CRISC exam with our CRISC Prep Course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications

9

Most popular cross-certification

CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Work in management

68%

Age

44

2. CISM - Certified Information Security Manager

Average salary: $158,590.30

ISACA's CISM certification is designed for cybersecurity professionals who are ready to make the leap to the management level. As such, it requires extensive experience in designing and managing secure information systems. CISM holders don't just have the technical expertise to create and implement effective security controls — they also think strategically, ensuring security tools and processes are aligned with broader business goals.

CISM requires significant experience: at least five years in an information security management capacity. However, certification candidates can waive up to two years of required experience if they possess certain ISACA-approved certifications. The CISM exam covers four domains: information security governance, information security risk management, information security program, and incident management. The exam costs $760 for non-ISACA members and $575 for members.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CISM exam with our CISM Prep Course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications

8

Most popular cross-certification

CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Work in management

66%

Age

43

3. CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Average salary: $154,185.64

Offered by (ISC)², CISSP is a comprehensive certification that validates a professional's ability to design, implement, and manage a cybersecurity program. CISSP is also one of the most common cross-certifications held by the cybersecurity pros we surveyed for this list, which speaks to how broadly valuable CISSP expertise is in the cybersecurity field.

CISSP focuses on knowledge and skills in eight domains, collectively known as the "CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK)":

  1. Security and risk management
  2. Asset security
  3. Security architecture and engineering
  4. Communication and network security
  5. Identity and access management (IAM)
  6. Security assessment and testing
  7. Security operations
  8. Software development security

Given its broad coverage, CISSP has been likened to earning a master's degree in IT security. CISSP also complies with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 8570.1, meaning the DoD recognizes it as a certification that proves the holder has mastery of certain critical cybersecurity principles and practices.

To earn CISSP, professionals must pass an exam ($749) covering the eight domains of the CISSP CBK. Candidates also need a minimum of five years of paid work experience in at least two of the eight CBK domains. A four-year degree or additional (ISC)²-approved credential can count for one year of experience.

Don't have the requisite experience just yet? You can still take the exam. If you pass, you'll earn the Associate of (ISC)² certification, and you'll have six years to gain the work experience you need to become fully CISSP-certified.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CISSP exam with our CISSP Prep Course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications

9

Most popular cross-certification

ITIL Foundation

Work in management

53%

Age

45

4. CGEIT - Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT

Average salary: $151,473.40

ISACA's CGEIT is a framework-agnostic certification dedicated to enterprise IT governance. CGEIT holders have proven their expertise in optimizing IT investments, managing enterprise risks, and aligning IT with the overall goals and mission of the business. CGEIT is specifically for those cybersecurity professionals aiming to join the ranks of the C-suite, so it's little surprise that 73 percent of CGEIT holders work in management roles.

CGEIT certification requires five or more years of experience advising or overseeing enterprise IT governance. Candidates must also pass the CGEIT exam, which covers four domains: governance of enterprise IT, IT resources, benefits realization, and risk optimization. As with other ISACA certifications, the CGEIT exam costs $760 for non-ISACA members and $575 for members.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CGEIT exam with our CGEIT Prep Course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications

11

Most popular cross-certification

CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional

ITIL Foundation

Work in management

73%

Age

43

5. Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Security Engineer

Average salary: $150,203.14

Google Cloud is one of the most widely used enterprise cloud platforms, so it's unsurprising to see Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification in such high demand. This certification validates a professional's mastery of cloud security technologies and topics like identity and access management, incident response, and regulatory compliance. While the certification focuses on cloud security in the context of Google Cloud, many of the best practices it covers are equally applicable in other cloud environments — as evidenced by the fact that many holders of this certification are also certified in AWS.

To earn Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification, candidates must pass an exam that covers domains like configuring cloud access, managing cloud operations, network security, compliance, and data protection. The exam costs $200. While there are no prerequisites, Google recommends that candidates have at least three years of relevant experience, including a year of experience with Google Cloud.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification with our Cloud Career Journeys, a fully guided experience that ensures learning happens in the most effective sequence and format.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications

9

Most popular cross-certification

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Work in management

57%

Age

36

6. AWS Certified Security - Specialty

Average salary: $146,300.00

Like Google Cloud, AWS is a widely used enterprise cloud platform, so it makes sense to see the AWS Certified Security - Speciality certification ranking right behind Google's own cloud security certification on our list. The AWS Certified Security - Speciality certification covers key cloud security skills and knowledge like disaster recovery, patch management, security management, encryption, access control, and more. This certification also validates more high-level strategic expertise, like a professional's ability to balance cost, security, and complexity when implementing security controls.

According to AWS, the best candidates for this certification already work in security roles and have at least two years of experience working with AWS workloads. Additionally, AWS recommends five years of IT security experience and a working knowledge of AWS security services and features. The exam costs $300.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for AWS Certified Security - Specialty certification with our recommended AWS courses.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications

12

Most popular cross-certification

Associate Cloud Engineer

Work in management

63%

Age

38

7. COBIT 5 Foundation

Average salary: $144,325.28

Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies, or "COBIT," is an agile, business-focused IT governance framework created by ISACA. The COBIT Foundation certification covers fundamental IT governance principles like meeting stakeholder needs, aligning IT goals with strategic business objectives, and designing holistic governance systems that meet an organization's unique needs.

Many COBIT 5 Foundation holders work in leadership roles like IT management, business management, and even regulatory roles. There are no prerequisites for the COBIT 5 Foundation certification, which makes it a good fit for those professionals beginning their journeys into IT governance. Candidates will need to pass a comprehensive exam that covers a wide variety of domains, like governance system components, performance management, designing a tailored governance system, and more. The exam price ranges from $175-275 depending on whether candidates take the test online or in person.

(It's worth mentioning that the COBIT 5 Foundation certification focuses on COBIT 5, the 2012 version of the framework. ISACA updated the framework in 2019. The new COBIT 2019 version covers many of the same topics as COBIT 5, with some additions to reflect the state of enterprise IT today.)

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the COBIT 5 Foundation exam with our COBIT Beginner course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications

10

Most popular cross-certification

ITIL Foundation

Work in management

75%

Age

40

8. CDPSE - Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer

Average salary: $144,004.11

As the name suggests, ISACA's CDPSE is for professionals focused on data privacy. Software engineers who build privacy solutions, developers concerned with data privacy in their products, and data scientists who work with sensitive data are all good candidates for CDPSE. That's because CDPSE covers both the technical side of designing secure technologies and the ethical and legal side of using data responsibly. Given the increasing threat of data breaches — and the complicated landscape of data privacy regulations organizations must follow today — it's easy to see why CDPSE certification is in high demand.

The CDPSE exam costs $760 for non-ISACA members and $575 for members, and it covers three domains: privacy governance, privacy architecture, and data lifecycle. Furthermore, candidates need at least three years of work experience in at least one of those domains.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CDPSE exam with our CDPSE Exam Guide.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications

9

Most popular cross-certification

ITIL Foundation

Work in management

63%

Age

44

9. CISA - Certified Information Systems Auditor

Average salary: $140,653.57

ISACA's CISA certification is widely considered the standard for validating an IT professional's expertise in auditing and securing information systems and IT infrastructure. Particularly well-suited for entry-level and mid-career professionals, CISA certification focuses on key information security concepts like privacy by design, regulatory compliance, and risk management.

CISA candidates will need at least five years of experience in IS/IT audit, control, assurance, or security, with experience waivers available for up to three years. The CISA exam, which costs $575 for ISACA members and $760 for non-members, covers five domains: information systems auditing processes; IT governance and management; information systems acquisition, development, and implementation; information systems operations and business resilience; and protecting information assets.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CISA exam with our CISA Prep Course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications

7

Most popular cross-certification

ITIL Foundation

Work in management

67%

Age

44

10. CEH - Certified Ethical Hacker

Average salary: $136,008.97

Offered by EC-Council, the CEH certification is one of the most in-demand certifications in cybersecurity — even the U.S. Department of Defense requires certain employees to hold it. As the name suggests, CEH certification focuses on the skills cybersecurity professionals need to evaluate systems, find vulnerabilities, and mitigate risk. CEH holders are typically trained in penetration testing, red teaming, threat hunting, and similar methodologies.

CEH is one of the pricier certifications, with the exam costing $1,199, plus a $100 application fee. However, it's also recognized as the go-to certification for white hat hackers, and many professionals find the cost worthwhile. EC-Council recommends that candidates have at least two years of IT security experience before taking the exam. Candidates lacking that experience can still apply to take the exam — they just have to attend an official EC-Council training course first.

Take the Next Step

Prepare for the CEH exam with our CEH Prep Course.

Average Certification Holder

Number of certifications

12

Most popular cross-certification

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

Work in management

57%

Age

40

Why Employers Pay More for Certification

Certifications are an important way for professionals to prove they have the skills they need to succeed in cybersecurity, but they're also valuable to employers beyond hiring qualified employees. Earning certification helps a professional build new skills and sharpen existing ones, making them even more effective in their roles.

In other words, certifications are sources of real, concrete value for organizations. More than 96 percent of the IT managers surveyed for the 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report said certified staff added value to their organizations. Forty-five percent said certifications boost productivity, and 44 percent said certification helps employees better meet client requirements.

That, ultimately, is why employers are willing to pay more for certified talent: There is a real, measurable return on the investment.

Hiring employees with certifications can help organizations close their skills gaps, but so can offering employees learning and development opportunities that help them earn and maintain certifications. After all, IT certifications in general — and cybersecurity certifications in particular — can become outdated as technology evolves. Connecting employees with continuous upskilling and reskilling programs can help them keep their certifications up to date — and make sure a company's skills gaps stay closed.

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Announcing Skillsoft + Udemy Business Turnkey Integration https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/announcing-skillsoft-udemy-business-turnkey-integration Thu, 17 Nov 2022 05:14:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/announcing-skillsoft-udemy-business-turnkey-integration

Gain indelible skills with Udemy Business content in Skillsoft Percipio

At Skillsoft, we’re firm believers that learning should consist of multiple pathways so users can decide what learning model fits their learning style. This is one of the major reasons we’re constantly updating, upgrading, and adding new content to our Skillsoft Percipio platform. To create an open platform that contains the three forms of learning shown to best drive growth among learners: microlearning, macro learning, and deep learning.

Microlearning comprises short videos or book summaries to help learners complete a job at hand or a task they’re struggling with. Macro learning comes into play when a learner has an hour or more to dedicate to learning a specific skill, often completing a course using several videos. Deep learning is required when a learner is attempting to learn an entirely new skill set to transition careers; deep learning is usually an engagement of a week or even a month-long learning experience.

It's because of our dedication to flexible and effective learning platforms that we seek to partner with like-minded learning companies. We are proud to announce the availability of a new turnkey integration with Udemy Business, the corporate training solution by Udemy, a leading destination for online learning and teaching.

Learners deserve to have the best content, no matter who produces it, so moving forward, our shared clients can leverage dynamic and agile Udemy Business content directly alongside Skillsoft learning experiences. Now learners can more effectively acquire new skills and further develop their existing ones all in a single platform.

IT decision-makers worldwide still struggle with the skills gap

While our learning philosophy is a driving force behind what content gets added to Skillsoft, it’s not the only factor; there’s still a massive IT skills gap to contend with. Organizations worldwide have found staffing success by investing in the people they already have. Upskilling and reskilling are proving to be the differentiators businesses need to remain competitive in the face of ever-evolving technological advancements. Udemy's 2023 Learning Trends Report documented, "Total learning hours of technical skills increased 49% over the last year on Udemy Business." In the past few years, we've seen evolutionary leaps in cloud sharing, communications, and AI technology, but with that advancement comes an increase in data insecurity.

In fact, Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary Report found that 76% of IT decision-makers are missing critical skills throughout their teams. Protecting your data is important, and only employees with top-notch IT skills can help keep your data secure. Recruiting can get expensive, and it can be a gamble if the new employee turns out to be the wrong fit for the organization. Therefore, we often stress how important it is to build a talent pool from within because IT skill shortages aren’t just going to go away; a recent prediction from IDC states that IT skills shortages will affect 90% of organizations by 2025.

The only way to meaningfully reskill employees is by providing robust training and resources that drive proficiency. Many technology professionals are experiential learners, so for training to resonate with them, they require a combination of traditional and hands-on learning activities. At Skillsoft, we have real-world practice labs and sandbox environments where learners can put their skills to the test in realistic scenarios — and fresh and diverse content on the Udemy Business platform helps users hone those skills even further.

Benefits of Udemy Business Turnkey Technical Integration

Udemy Business content is now accessible through search, browsing, recommendations, assignments, and notifications. Curating Udemy Business and Skillsoft content into custom learning paths is easier than ever.

The addition of Udemy Business to Skillsoft integrates an impressive amount of integral business and technology content taught by real-world experts. Organizations can already create custom Aspire Journeys, and now they are even more capable of ensuring individuals master the strategic technical skills they need to succeed. The combined, centralized experience delivers all Skillsoft and Udemy Business content in one place to help organizations holistically attain the in-depth competencies they need to close critical skills gaps.

Unite Skillsoft Percipio’s on-demand, interactive, and live learning experiences with thousands of curated and up-to-date courses from Udemy Business to build dynamic learning paths totally aligned with the strategic goals of your business.

Here are some of the expanded benefits you’ll see from this turnkey integration:

  • A centralized repository for Skillsoft and Udemy Business content so employees can conveniently learn in the flow of their daily work and lives.
  • Multiple content sources for a more engaging, personalized experience for each learner
  • Seamless search and discovery of Udemy Business content in Skillsoft Percipio
  • Leverage Udemy Business content to design and assign customized learning journeys
  • Enable managers to track the completion of Udemy Business content assets in the Skillsoft Percipio reporting suite to better support their learners’ growth

Allow your workforce to take Udemy Business content on the go with the Skillsoft Percipio mobile app

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Living Our Values: The Positive Impact of Growing a Responsible Business https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/living-our-values-the-positive-impact-of-growing-a-responsible-business Wed, 16 Nov 2022 03:01:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/living-our-values-the-positive-impact-of-growing-a-responsible-business

Did you know that recycling paper didn’t start in earnest in the United States until the 1960s and 70s? And that recycling plastic didn’t follow suit until the 1980s? We’ve come a long way since then. In fact, for many of us, recycling has become second nature.

Doing the right thing has always been the right thing to do. But today, organizations are increasingly looking beyond their bottom line to drive progress through diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and programs that favor social good. At the same time, they are dedicating themselves to choosing renewable energy, updating manufacturing processes to decrease pollution, reducing their carbon footprint, and protecting the environmental ecosystem. Much of this is driven by a genuine concern for our shared future. But, there are pragmatic reasons as well.

Customers are holding businesses accountable, and they are not the only ones; employees are doing the same thing. A new social compact has emerged between employers and employees that goes beyond compensation. Employees want to work for organizations with values that align with their personal beliefs. In fact, in a recent study from Deloitte, nearly half of Millennials and Gen Z — today’s largest and most diverse workforce — say that they put pressure on employers to take action to fight climate change. And, in a companion CxO study, 65% of business leaders report feeling that pressure.

The truth is, a sustainable and Responsible Business needs to be top of mind — right now — for employers and employees alike.

At Skillsoft, we are an inherently digital company. We’ve delivered learning in an online environment for decades, with a largely digital supply chain of knowledge workers and content. We enable customers around the world to be more responsible in the way they train their workforce, reducing their carbon footprints by curtailing unnecessary travel, printing, and other activities that can tax natural resources. And, we support those customers in advancing their own understanding and expertise in ESG practices — whether that’s through our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion curriculum, our Corporate Sustainability learning journeys, or our Global Code of Conduct Solution.

As an industry leader, Skillsoft and our entire team are committed to what we call our “North Star” purpose: To propel organizations and people to grow together through transformative learning experiences. Furthermore, we are committed to being a Responsible Business for ourselves, our customers, and our world, and to helping our customers become more Responsible Businesses as well.

We start with leading by example. Our Team Members are on an ESG journey, just as you probably are, and we strive to live and work by our core values every day:

  • We Are One Team: We can only succeed if we unite under one mission.
  • We Are Open and Respectful: We assume positive intent and ensure everyone feels welcome.
  • We Are Curious: We think — and believe — that knowledge is power, and humility is the learning engine.
  • We Are Ready: We expect change and prepare for it always.
  • We Are True: We earn the trust of the people we work with, and our customers, every day

Of course, words are only as valuable as the actions behind them — and the impacts of those actions. That's why I'm delighted to share Skillsoft’s first annual Impact Report, “Living Our Values.” In putting it together, we found that our efforts to date continue to shape an organization and workplace that we can be proud of.

Here are a few highlights for you.

Serving the Planet

For more than 20 years, Skillsoft has been an innovator of learning solutions. By its very nature, our industry has helped organizations become more environmentally sustainable. We’ve helped organizations digitally transform and support distributed workforces. And, we’ve had the honor of training millions of people – helping them reskill and upskill for professional growth and longevity.

Despite our achievements to date, we believe we have an obligation to continually improve and reduce our environmental impact across our internal operations, product and solutions development, delivery, and customer service. One way we're achieving this is by encouraging remote and hybrid work, enabling us to significantly reduce our physical space. Since March 2020, we’ve closed 61% of our brick-and-mortar facilities and reduced others by 19% for a total of 60%+ footprint reduction.

Serving People

We believe in the life-changing power of learning. And, we believe that learning is the key to opportunity. That’s why we support organizations like Special Olympics and Code Like a Girl.

At Skillsoft, our employees have access to the same learning resources that our customers do, and often use those opportunities to give back to others. For instance, Skillsoft employees in India recently gave back to charities battling hunger and improving access to education. Supporting 17 participating organizations, Skillsoft donated 16,128 meals, and sponsored the education and employment of 100 young women.

Serving our Stakeholders

At Skillsoft, we believe in ethical leadership, and have pledged to do right by others, even — and especially — when it’s hard. We keep the promises we make to our customers, to our learners, and to each other. And, we do the right thing, even when no one is watching.

Cultivating the right mindset in every employee is necessary not only to mitigate risk, but also to promote a high-performing environment where both the individual and the business can thrive, while making the world a better place. Our comprehensive portfolio of compliance solutions helps customers support ethical behavior, improve health and safety, and minimize risk. And, our own governance and compliance structure, which is designed to promote transparency, includes policies and practices that enable us to hold ourselves accountable.

I invite you to read our Impact Report. If you're embarking on your own ESG journey, it may offer some inspiration. Or, if you’ve already had some successes, I’d love to hear about them.

Maybe we’ll even “recycle” some.

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Announcing the 2022 India Customer Award Winners https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/announcing-the-2022-india-customer-award-winners Mon, 14 Nov 2022 00:00:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/announcing-the-2022-india-customer-award-winners

At Skillsoft, we’re very lucky. Our customers use our solutions to do genuinely remarkable, inspiring things every day. The winners of the 2022 Customer Awards represent the very cream of the crop, the learning leaders driving transformational change in their fields.

It wasn’t easy to sort through the dozens of nominations we received, given the sheer quantity of amazing work our customers do, but we’re proud to bring you this year’s honorees.

In 2022, we awarded winners in five categories:

Impact Award: Transformative Leadership Development

This category recognizes an organization that has built and implemented a truly best-in-class leadership development program. The hallmark of such a transformative program is that it makes a significant positive impact on the organization and drives strategic business goals.

Impact Award: Innovation in Developing Tech Talent

This award is given to an organization that tackled the tech skills gap head-on. While many companies face tech talent shortages, this year’s winner overcame the challenge by implementing innovative, impactful learning programs for its technology and developer workforce.

Impact Award: Special Learning and Development Initiatives

This award recognizes an organization that has developed and implemented an especially noteworthy learning initiative and/or talent program. This year’s winner and honorable mention delivered L&D initiatives that solved complex organizational problems and demonstrated solid and sustained results over time.

Program of the Year

It’s hard to implement robust learning initiatives in our turbulent post-pandemic world, and this category recognizes the best of the best. The Program of the Year award goes to an organization that has used Skillsoft’s learning solutions to create a unique, cutting-edge learning program that solves clearly defined problems and makes a meaningful impact on both the organization and its employees.

Champion of the Year

This award honors an exceptional HR or L&D leader, an ambassador for talent development who takes an innovative approach to training. The Champion of the Year is someone who leverages Skillsoft’s learning solutions — and a healthy dose of their own ingenuity and creativity — to deliver uniquely transformational learning experiences to their people and organizations.

This Year’s Winners

  • Impact Award: Transformative Leadership Development

    Winner: Larsen & Toubro Ltd.
    A leader in the engineering and construction space, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) built curated learning programs to meet the needs of leaders and high-potential employees at all levels. L&T mixes coaching, mentoring, and Skillsoft course content to help employees master the competencies they need to transform from individual contributors to effective managers.

    Honorable Mention: Voltas Ltd.
    Voltas offers employees a holistic learning journey that helps them develop leadership skills in four key domains: leading yourself, leading your team, channel success, and leading business. The program is delivered through a blended approach, mixing digital learning and virtual instructor-led training (VILT).
  • Impact Award: Innovation in Developing Tech Talent

    Winner: Trianz
    Trianz revamped its onboarding process for campus hires from engineering colleges, crafting an experiential learning program that pairs new hires with dedicated mentors and gives them hands-on experience with the software development lifecycle. Trianz’s rigorous self-paced learning experience helps new hires identify their strengths so the company can put them in the right roles.

    Honorable Mention: Ness Digital Engineering
    During the pandemic, with in-person onboarding no longer an option, Ness Digital Engineering combined Skillsoft courses with internal training content to create a curated digital learning pathway for new hires.
  • Impact Award: Special Learning and Development Initiatives

    Winner:
    Cairn Oil and Gas, Vedanta Ltd.
    In 2021, Cairn Oil and Gas redefined its L&D philosophy and rolled out a comprehensive suite of digital learning programs to engage both on-site and remote workers. Cairn invested in more virtual learning, a more employee-centric approach, and more flexible training opportunities. Today, the company has multiple learning journeys for new hires, mid-level employees, senior managers, and top talent.

    Honorable Mention:
    Conduent
    Conduent launched a global Six Sigma training and certification program through Skillsoft with strong results. Employee development and performance improved, business units increased efficiency, and Conduent established a culture of operational excellence that allows it to serve clients better than ever.
  • Program of the Year

    Winner:
    Adani Enterprise Ltd.
    When building its new leadership development program, Adani wanted to avoid the “push-based” approaches to digital learning many organizations take. Instead, the organization wanted to “pull” employees into the program, incentivizing them to invest in their own education. The company rolled out a mobile-friendly, blended learning program that uses gamification to motivate employees and machine learning to pair learners with the right training content.

    Honorable Mention:
    Engineering and R&D Services, HCL Technologies Ltd.
    HCL Technologies’ role-based training programs enable employees to move into new roles through upskilling and cross-skilling content delivered via Skillsoft Percipio.

    Honorable Mention:
    RPG Group
    RPG Group implemented a gamified take on building digital skills. Employees participated in a friendly four-month learning competition focused on cutting-edge technologies like blockchain, machine learning, and virtual reality. The winners earned cash prizes and the opportunity to participate in high-visibility projects.
  • Champion of the Year

    Winner:
    Anil Kalaga, Adani Enterprises Ltd.
    Anil Kalaga takes an analytical, strategic approach to learning and talent development. He believes that digital transformation is about more than just learning new technologies — it’s about empowering employees to constantly upskill and reskill in the face of an ever-evolving global economy. To achieve that goal, Kalaga creates democratic learning environments that give people the freedom to grow in the ways they want.

    Honorable Mention:
    Asha Prakash, Digital Foundation Services, HCL Technologies Ltd
    Asha Prakash has consistently driven learning excellence at HCL, creating role-based learning initiatives that have helped employees sharpen their skills and improve client delivery.

    Honorable Mention:
    Dr. Rajiv Sinha, Larsen & Toubro Ltd.
    At L&T, Dr. Rajiv has vastly expanded employee learning by implementing a system of individual and business-level incentives, using data to design effective learning interventions, and tracking the development of individual employees.
Award Category
Winner
Honorable Mention

Impact Award: Transformative Leadership Development

Larsen & Toubro Ltd.

Voltas Ltd.

Impact Award: Innovation in Developing Tech Talent

Trianz

Ness Digital Engineering

Impact Award: Special Learning and Development Initiatives

Cairn Oil and Gas, Vedanta Ltd.

Conduent

Program of the Year

Adani Enterprises Ltd.

Engineering and R&D Services, HCL Technologies Ltd.

RPG Group

Champion of the Year

Anil Kalaga, Adani Enterprises Ltd.

Asha Prakash, Digital Foundation Services, HCL Technologies Ltd

Dr. Rajiv Sinha, Larsen & Toubro Ltd.

The world of work is evolving faster than ever, and it can be hard to keep up. We hope this year’s winners can serve as an example to all of how innovative approaches to learning and development can drive business success and build a future-ready workforce.

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Learn how to Upskill and Reskill for optimal use of the Cloud https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/learn-how-to-upskill-and-reskill-for-optimal-use-of-the-cloud Fri, 11 Nov 2022 07:40:00 -0500 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/learn-how-to-upskill-and-reskill-for-optimal-use-of-the-cloud

Business leaders and analysts alike all agree that change is the new normal. It's because of this that more technology leaders realize change management and agility to be critical parts of their strategy.

Many industries remain in uncertain territory as the world continues grappling with external forces that challenge the norm and force change among us all. Leaders at Accenture liken it to rebuilding the engine while trying to weather a storm.

Despite the headwinds, more are facing the storm head-on. McKinsey reports more organizations have accelerated their migration to the cloud, with the momentum to build into the future. This is an important first step to remaining competitive in a world that demands relentless innovation.

While the journey can be tumultuous, the results pay off in the end. By building new competencies, organizations across industries realize the benefits that come with the cloud: scale, cost-saving, and efficiency.

Companies rely on cloud computing to accelerate digital transformation and much more:

Deliver new products and services by successfully migrating infrastructure and apps from on-prem to the cloud.

Realize new operating models by architecting their cloud environment so it scales with business demands and operates with minimal downtime and security issues.

Reimagine user experiences by driving business innovation across product, marketing, sales, service, and operations, that take advantage of ongoing advances in cloud computing.

Transform their sales and service by aligning cloud computing initiatives with their company's mission-critical priorities.

What often stands in the way of realizing these benefits are afflictions many in IT face: talent shortages, high turnover rates, and skills gaps.

According to Skillsoft's 2022 IT Skills and Salary survey, 68% of IT decision-makers — those who manage teams and budgets at work — in cloud roles report skills gaps on their teams. And yet, this isn't the greatest challenge. Retention tops their list of issues, with recruitment close behind and developing stronger teams following.

For this group of leaders, they often can't find people with the skills they need or they struggle to retain their talent. When organizations lose skilled workers, the impact is felt on the team and the bottom line. Of these decision-makers, 35% say certified staff add $30,000 or more in value to their organizations over non-certified staff.

It's for these reasons, most (61%) plan to train their existing teams as many realize they can't hire their way out of skills gaps. Only 18% say they plan to hire outside staff to overcome skills gaps and even fewer (13%) plan to enlist third parties for help.

Leaders see the power of investing in their staff to improve retention, grow their teams and develop skills. By doing so, they can set to motion plans to run their entire organization from the cloud. But first, they must chart their course.

Chart a course to embrace the cloud (Then, take these steps)

Cloud executives and professionals understand the importance of embracing cloud computing but often face several key challenges that prevent them from reaping the benefits:

  • Bringing change to a complex environment
  • Upholding security and compliance,
  • Misalignment (and more, according to Accenture)

IT leaders are looking for experiences to embrace the cloud and adapt to fast-evolving technology needs.

To arrive at meaningful opportunities, IT leaders must take a series of steps to migrate to the cloud and allocate resources to support these efforts:

  1. Migrate infrastructure and apps from to the cloud. This will make scaling the organization less complicated over time, including during acquisitions, new technological investments, or adding staff.

  2. Architect their cloud environment in a way that can scale with business demands and operate with minimal downtime and security issues. Many organizations rely on multiple cloud providers today, often with a blend of private and public, hybrid solutions. A sustainable architect becomes even more important for long-term scale and efficacy.

  3. Remain adaptable and responses to cloud advances. This will help the organization and its employees become more agile and able to take on change or mitigate emerging threats.

  4. Align cloud computing initiatives with company's priorities. In many ways, a leading reason to leverage cloud computing is to improve efficiency. That could be in the form of productivity, cost-savings, availability and elasticity. It’s important that whatever your organization’s goals are that the cloud supports them.


Skillsoft’s cloud training solutions focus on developing teams to successfully manage cloud migrations, operations, innovation and organizational alignments.

Develop skills faster, more reliably to transform your organization

With Skillsoft, you can close skills gaps across your organization in a coordinated and disciplined manner.

Role and skill-based journeys make it easy to develop new competencies faster by combining learning science with expert-led, authorized training. Through Skillsoft's Cloud Career Journey, architects, engineers, developers and managers can increase information retention and apply their skills on the job more confidently.

  • Instructional Variety — An integrated mix of on-demand and live, instructor-led technical training helps meet the needs of different learners who manage cloud migrations, develop applications, and more. Curated, role and skill-based learning paths make it easy for learners to advance their skills in critical areas to support organizational goals.

  • Comprehensive Skills Development — A deep and broad library of technical content paired with market-leading leadership training improve collaboration and effectiveness across teams to manage operations.

  • High Success Rates — More than 90% of learners pass their certification exams on the first attempt (99% on the second) due to Skillsoft's up-to-date, authorized training curricula for leading technology providers, like AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft and many others.

  • Measuring Skill Made Easy — Skills Benchmark Assessments help managers and team members understand their skills gaps, identify the best training to strengthen areas with the most need, and track progress along the way.

See why IDC ranks Skillsoft among the leader IT training companies in the U.S.

Realize the benefits of the Cloud with Skillsoft's Career Journeys

Skillsoft's Cloud Career Journey is a prescriptive path to certification, with an outcome-oriented collection of learning paths providing comprehensive skill development, built on a foundation you can trust.

Learn more about Skillsoft’s transformative Career Journey to help learners pursue cloud-focused roles, build their skills, and earn certifications:

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Stay Up-to-Date On State-Specific Harassment Prevention Training https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/stay-up-to-date-on-state-specific-harassment-prevention-training Thu, 10 Nov 2022 11:00:00 -0500 ravi.gd@skillsoft.com (Ravi Gd) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/stay-up-to-date-on-state-specific-harassment-prevention-training

Do you follow The Try Guys?

Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld, and Eugene Lee Yang left their jobs at Buzzfeed after forming their own production company, 2nd Try LLC, where they have made a living creating content about trying . . . anything.

The Try Guys’ “thing” is to challenge themselves to try new things – embracing failure and learning from it. They have gone viral for their authenticity and playful, friendly comradery. However, just a few weeks ago, Habersberger, Kornfeld, and Yang announced that they would cut ties with Fulmer for engaging in an extra-marital affair with an employee.

While fans of The Try Guys were disappointed to hear this news, compliance professionals might agree that the production company handled it beautifully. Here’s what The Try Guys did right:

  • Quickly investigate claims of improper behavior. As soon as they learned of Fulmer’s allegedly inappropriate behavior, The Try Guys confronted everyone involved. They made it clear that Fulmer’s actions were against what they stand for as a company after a thorough internal investigation.
  • Protect the person involved in the situation. While they rightfully kept the name of the employee confidential, many news outlets have since reported on her name. The Try Guys publicly requested that the internet be kind, as they know that women are often demonized more than men in this type of scenario.
  • Discipline the person who committed the harassment.Despite their long history with Fulmer, The Try Guys promptly removed him from company operations. Not only did this immediately stop potential harassment, but it sent a clear message to The Try Guys’ team and the public that this type of behavior would not be tolerated.
  • Document the investigation and the steps taken to remedy the situation. Obviously, The Try Guys were not at liberty to discuss an ongoing investigation. However, they did make it clear that they are taking the situation seriously and involving all appropriate parties.

While Fulmer’s extra-marital affair seems to have been reciprocated, it is important to note that many companies have established clear policies on personal relationships within the organization. Typically, companies include this type of information in their global code of conduct.

Relationships between a supervisor and an employee can have a negative impact on the entire team – especially if other employees notice the relationship and claim a hostile work environment. After all, quid pro quo sexual harassment may be implied in intimate relationships between a supervisor and an employee.

Workplace Harassment is an Ongoing Issue

If The Try Guys have taught us anything, it is that workplace harassment isn’t just a type of training that employees undertake every couple of years after joining your organization. It is a real problem that continues to arise in organizations around the world.

Consider these statistics:

It is up to your organization to effectively train employees – and managers – on how to promote a safe and inclusive workplace. And then to make good on their commitment.

How to Keep Your Workplace Harassment Solution Up-to-date

At the end of the day, compliance leaders have a lot to consider when developing workplace harassment prevention training programs. Many states require anti-harassment training, and those regulations can change regularly, making it difficult to keep your content up to date and in compliance.

Skillsoft addresses regulatory requirements and works with you to build a culture that promotes respect and rejects harassment.

Importantly, our solutions focus on people, not just rules. For example, Skillsoft’s bystander training empowers employees to recognize harassment in the workplace and provides them with multiple options to intervene when they see this behavior. The course puts the learner in the victim’s shoes, helping them see the emotional impact of harassing behavior.

Skillsoft has just released 115 new workplace harassment training courses to help organizations stay up-to-date with harassment prevention requirements. Our customers may choose from four types of content created for both managers and employees: memorable, standard, workplace, and retail.

  • Memorable (Office 1) - Training explores the deeper levels and details of bad behavior and elicits an uneasy, uncomfortable feeling in learners. Edgy content helps demonstrate the weight and significance of workplace harassment topics.
  • Standard (Office 2) - Training addresses bad behavior in a more benign manner. Content is slightly restrained in the depth and detail of bad behavior discussed compared to "edgier" videos.
  • Workplace - Training is aimed at job roles in a production/industrial, blue-collar environment rather than a corporate/office environment.
  • Retail - Training contains a mix of workplace scenarios from the existing content and newly-created scenarios specific to the retail environment. In addition, the instructional content has been modified to reflect a retail setting.

Our courses are:

  • Self—serve. Skillsoft’s modular design structure makes configuring courses a simple, cost-effective process. Interchangeable scenario video content provides unprecedented flexibility to target both white-collar and blue-collar employees. This provides diverse and relatable depictions of harassment to fit the variety of demographics that may be employed in your organization.
  • Customizable. Configurable to reflect your organization’s unique needs by leveraging a library of interchangeable video assets, Skillsoft’s full suite of anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training helps organizations educate their employees to understand, prevent, and respond to the various forms of harassment.
  • Interactive. Skillsoft courses are produced in a modern, cinematic style to create emotionally engaging stories that reinforce learning objectives, create an emotional impact in viewers, and ensure retention.

These courses include content for both employees and managers, with state-specific training available for California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, and New York. As states continue to rapidly change their specific laws and regulations, companies must be aware and be able to adapt quickly to stay compliant.

Differing state laws present challenges and complexities as they pertain to developing a sufficient and effective sexual harassment training program. Furthermore, as the issue of sexual harassment continues to be in the public spotlight, organizations must seriously ask themselves the following questions when developing such a program:

  • How are we keeping up with new and changing regulations?
  • How do we govern employees in multiple jurisdictions?
  • How do we train employees in multiple jurisdictions who are subject to different training requirements?

Is your organization up-to-date with harassment prevention training requirements? Contact a Skillsoft expert today!

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Minimize Compliance Risk by Eliminating Silos https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/minimize-compliance-risk-by-eliminating-silos Wed, 02 Nov 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/minimize-compliance-risk-by-eliminating-silos

As safety and compliance mandates proliferate across industries worldwide, organizations are struggling to keep up. In Deloitte's 2021 State of Compliance Survey, 61 percent of senior compliance professionals said the increased volume of regulatory changes in the past year had made it harder for them to do their jobs.

Failure to adhere to government regulations can carry a hefty price tag in terms of fines, lawsuits, and lost business. According to one estimate, the average total cost of noncompliance for a company is $14.82 million. But monetary loss is not the only consequence of noncompliance. Employee well-being and safety are at stake, too:

Compliance is ultimately about protecting your employees and your company — but achieving compliance is difficult, and not just because of the multiplying regulations. In the modern interconnected, international, and highly agile business landscape, risks aren't neatly siloed. They have a ripple effect. Risks to one company or department can have consequences for other businesses and teams. For example, back in 2014, hackers were able to steal millions of customers' payment details from Target by first breaching the computer systems of one of Target's suppliers.

Despite this, many organizations still take a siloed approach to compliance. IT handles cybersecurity and data privacy, HR handles harassment and workplace policies, and compliance officers oversee environment, health, and safety (EHS). This fragmented strategy leaves many organizations unprepared for the fluid nature of risk today.

Organizations need a more collaborative, holistic compliance culture — and that starts with an end-to-end compliance solution.

The Hiscox study does provide a great data point regarding % of workers who have experienced harassment. But it is aging. Not necessarily saying don't use it here, but next time consider the two reference links I provided in the email.

Silos Breed Blind Spots

There is a logic to compliance silos. The IT team handles cybersecurity because they have the requisite expertise. By the same token, your average IT person likely doesn't know much about bloodborne pathogen safety — that's a job for the EHS experts.

The problem is that silos often prevent collaboration, leaving an organization unable to see all of its risks from a high level. Consider how matters of cybersecurity increasingly intersect with other compliance concerns. Traditionally, it has been HR's job to manage and protect employees' personal information. If that information is stored digitally — as it often is today — then cybersecurity best practices will apply. Depending on where it operates, the company may even be subject to tech-focused data privacy regulations, like the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

But if HR and cybersecurity are siloed, the HR team may not be aware of all the precautions it needs to take to safeguard employee data in a digital world. That can have serious consequences for the organization: In the past, employers have been found legally liable for the theft of employees' personal data from their systems.

Under a more collaborative approach to compliance, disparate teams could more easily share information and insights, ensuring that every segment of the organization takes the necessary precautions to protect employees and the company. In turn, that can help the organization identify and mitigate compliance risks faster — before they snowball out of control.

For example, the IT team often manages employees' permissions on the company's network. Sound access control policies can be integral to many compliance efforts, from protecting company intellectual property to thwarting financial misconduct. If cybersecurity is treated separately from these other ethical and legal matters, employees may end up with inappropriately high levels of permission. This exposes the organization to potential risks. Hackers could break into employees' accounts and wreak havoc, or disgruntled workers could use their privileges to harm the company.

Conversely, if IT regularly collaborates with HR and compliance officers, they can all work together to ensure that employees don't have access to systems or information they don't need, thereby limiting the damage that malicious actors could do.

Eliminating Silos With an End-to-End Compliance Solution

When we talk about breaking down compliance silos, we're talking about more than just bringing together the leaders of formerly separate compliance functions. That's an essential part of the process, of course. But, in order to create and implement compliance policies and procedures that holistically address risk across the organization, HR, IT, and compliance leaders must collaborate closely. But the most effective way to break down silos is to make compliance everyone's job — from front-line employees to top executives.

An organization's employees can be its first and best line of defense against risk. The choices they make every day — choices about how to do their jobs, how to interact with one another, and how to handle company assets — directly contribute to the organization's safety and compliance status. By cultivating a culture of compliance in which every employee plays a role in mitigating risk, companies can drastically reduce employees' risky behaviors. Similarly, because employees are in the trenches, they often see risks before company leaders do. If employees feel responsible for compliance, they'll flag those risks before they become major problems.

Building a company-wide culture of compliance starts with an end-to-end compliance training solution. After all, employees can only pitch in if they have the tools, knowledge, and experience they need to understand and responsibly mitigate compliance risks. Plus, training is one of the most powerful tools in the compliance function's toolbelt. In Deloitte's 2021 State of Compliance Survey, 76 percent of respondents named training a core compliance function.

A siloed approach to compliance training — with different departments using different programs — will only reinforce the same silos the organization wants to break down. That's why it's most effective to unify all aspects of compliance training — legal, ethical, cybersecurity, and EHS — in one platform. That way, every employee has access to every aspect of compliance education, and an authentic culture of compliance can bloom.

Where to Start Building a Collaborative Culture of Compliance

So you're ready to knock down those silo walls with an end-to-end compliance solution, but where to start? You'll make progress faster by focusing first on the most impactful compliance issues for your organization — those legal, safety, and ethical obligations that affect how every employee does their job. Most likely, these high-impact compliance issues will already be outlined in your organization's Global Code of Conduct.

The Global Code of Conduct sets the tone for your organization's expectations of employees, vendors, partners, managers, and customers. That means the issues it prioritizes are the issues that touch every member of the organization, giving you an organic path to building that collaborative culture of compliance through universally relevant compliance training.

Skillsoft's Compliance portfolio, for example, contains a wealth of courses that cover key compliance priorities commonly found in Global Codes of Conduct. Examples include:

  • Anti-bribery
  • Antitrust
  • Data Privacy and Information Security
  • Insider Dealing
  • Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
  • Preventing Harassment and Promoting Respect
  • Protection of Company Information/Intellectual Property
  • Business Ethics
  • Promoting Reports of Misconduct
  • Gifts, Gratuities, and Entertainment
  • Avoiding Discrimination and Promoting Diversity
  • Cybersecurity

Different companies will have different priorities depending on factors like industry, location, company mission, and more. But by starting with the compliance issues that matter most, whatever they might be for your company, you can demonstrate to employees how critical compliance matters touch every member of the organization. In turn, compliance training empowers employees to step up and play an active role in responsibly managing risk wherever they find it — regardless of whether their department is formally responsible.

At its best, a compliance program should protect employees, boost revenue, and reduce risk to your company. Organizations that replace the old siloed approach to compliance with a more integrated, collaborative culture of compliance are best positioned to reap those benefits.

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The New Age of Tech Talent: Power Skills at a Premium https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-new-age-of-tech-talent-power-skills-at-a-premium Mon, 31 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-new-age-of-tech-talent-power-skills-at-a-premium

Leveraging innovative technologies is a high – if not the highest – priority for organizations today. As a result, there is a heavy emphasis on the development of “hard” skills, and this rings especially true for those in IT and tech roles.

Building these hard skills is necessary for organizations to maintain a competitive advantage and employees to progress their careers. After all, 76% of IT departments are facing critical skills gaps with the biggest areas of need including cybersecurity, cloud, and data management. However, technical skills will only get employees and businesses so far. What can often hinder IT professionals and their respective programs is in the lack of “soft” or “power” skills.

Hiring managers are prioritizing power skills in a way like never before. Monster’s recent “Future of Work” report notes that 63% of employers said they would hire someone with these types of skills – think teamwork, time management, and leadership – and train them on the technical aspects of the job. Meanwhile, of the top 10 hardest skills to hire for, leadership ranks seventh, with project management not far behind at 10.

So why is the development of power skills often overlooked, or neglected, in today’s IT departments and what’s needed to turn the tides? Let’s explore.

The problem(s) with today’s leadership training.

Approaching it with a one-size fits all mindset.

For anyone reading this who works as a manager, you know first-hand that there isn’t a single crash course that teaches you how to do the job. There are plenty of great resources out there – classes, seminars, workshops, etc. – but on day one of becoming a new manager, it’s easy to feel lost and overwhelmed.

Learn about Skillsoft’ First-Time Manager Career Journey

While everyone follows a different path to leadership, unfortunately, many treat training as a one-size-fits-all model. “Do this. Take this course. Check these boxes. Boom, you’re a manager!” Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works and isn’t what makes a good manager and a strong, competent leader.

The pressure and emphasis on technology to accelerate transformation and meet key objectives means there needs to be well-trained, steady leadership in IT who can guide organizations toward making sound decisions as they relate to cybersecurity, efficiency and agility, and more.

Not knowing where to start.

There’s more to mastering skills than quality content and instruction – there also needs to be a solid plan for assessing those skills along the way. Before journeys can begin, learners and leaders need to have a strong understanding of where they and their teams are at, be it for hard or soft skills.

Assessing competencies is an essential component of the skill acquisition process. Measuring learning is essential, but assessments do much more than that. They empower learners to take charge of their own paths while reinforcing the skills and knowledge they need to reach their destinations.

Measure Your Team’s Abilities with Skills Benchmark Assessments

By tracking progress and identifying areas for improvement, well-designed assessments put learners in complete control of their journeys, enabling them to skip material they already know, prioritize critical concepts they need to master, and build on existing skills to reach new heights. In addition to being a more beneficial approach for learners, this also delivers increased value and ROI for the organization itself.

Steps for improvement.

Tech professionals must go beyond their comfort zones to expand their expertise and grow into effective leaders. For organizations that have struggled with employee retention, it’s likely time to look at their professional development programs, especially for IT and technical employees.

While building tech skills in areas like cybersecurity, cloud, data science, and so on are important, adding these power skills to the program will help improve collaboration and communication by helping develop the employees you already have to fill skills gaps and become leaders.

But how exactly do you do that? By adapting your training and L&D practices to become more personalized and inclusive of each learner. For IT professionals who are doing business and leadership training, they need to be invested in the process and program. When this happens – when they have a say in their future – engagement spikes.

Here are some tips to do this:

  1. Be a guide to leadership.
    As mentioned, everybody’s path to leadership looks different, and it’s not always clear what lies ahead. For learners, they may have a goal in mind – such as getting into leadership or taking on new responsibilities. But do they know how to get there? The answer is likely “no.”

    That’s where managers come in. Help draw a roadmap to reaching that goal, including what training or resources may help, what progression and success look like, and more. For IT professionals in particular, advancement sometimes looks more like a matrix than climbing a ladder. Making lateral moves exposes them to more of the business to help employees acquire skills and experience in other areas that complement technical expertise.
  2. Recognize progress and achievements.
    Rewarding an individual for their dedication to learning shouldn’t happen at the very end when they’ve reached the goal. Rather, constant motivation and incremental recognition along the way should be the goal to help sustain momentum and enthusiasm.

    At Skillsoft, learners who complete a course earn digital badges that they can proudly display. They’re a symbol of a job well done and a way to validate progress. In 2021 alone, we’re proud to have issued more than 12.7 million digital badges to learners.

    In addition to badges, point systems or elements of gamification can be equally valuable to encourage a little friendly competition.

    Find what works for your organization and learners to motivate the team.
  3. Follow-up and follow-through.
    As we’ve discussed, candidates must be involved in what they want to learn and how. ​

    Depending on their age, background, experience and several other factors, training and learning will look different. That’s where communication comes in. Put the learner at the center of training and allow them to take the path that best fits their situation.

    Equip them with the training they may need, whether that’s self-paced learning, mentorship, micro-learning, hands-on opportunities and assessments. Offer the method that they find will best reinforce knowledge and skills. ​

    And lastly, my best piece of advice? ​Get to know the learner as an individual and personalize the journey.

IT leaders must look at development holistically for their teams, emphasizing power skills like managing virtual work and teams, communication, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As the workforce becomes more distributed and diverse, these become essential for success.

Skillsoft’s First-Time Manager Career Journey prepares new managers to succeed in their roles by providing a defined path to mastery of the foundational business skills, power skills, and leadership competencies needed to effectively manage teams and achieve business objectives.

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Asha Palmer: Making Compliance Fun Again https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/asha-palmer-making-compliance-fun-again Thu, 27 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/asha-palmer-making-compliance-fun-again

At Skillsoft, we know the importance of doing the right thing – and this applies not only to professional decisions, but also to personal decisions. But how does one know the right thing or how to make thoughtful choices that lead to positive outcomes? It’s hard but it’s more than possible.

Meet Asha Palmer, Senior Vice President Of Compliance Solutions At Skillsoft

Working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the United States Department of Justice, Asha Palmer was on an impressive career trajectory. But when she and her husband decided to move to Abu Dhabi so that he could pursue his dream job, her colleagues told her she was committing career suicide.

“Jobs, houses . . . they are replaceable,” said Palmer. “The things that truly matter – family, friends, experiences in life – cannot be replaced.”

While in Abu Dhabi, Palmer began teaching business ethics to college students at American University Dubai. “Business ethics was every student’s most hated course—and after seeing the curriculum, I understood why,” laughed Palmer. “But teaching helped me realize that for compliance and ethics to be successful, there has to be a better bridge between what people need to know and what they want to know.”

So, she got creative. She re-examined her planned curriculum and found ways to make it more relevant to her students by providing real-world examples of organizations who faced key ethical decisions and worked with her students on how to solve them.

Today, Palmer continues to bridge this gap. After the 74th annual Emmy Awards, she posted to LinkedIn:

Compliance made a debut at the 74th Emmy Awards!

The Dropout is all about the fraud and unethical culture at Theranos that led to toxic outcomes!

There are so many #ethics, #compliance and #culture lessons in The Dropout that have clearly enticed the world and commanded enough attention to win an Emmy!

So there is hope! 🙌🏾🙌🏾

Palmer shared three takeaways for compliance professionals:

  • Make compliance fun. Compliance can be interesting, particularly when dramatized and engaging. Whether you’re thinking about what’s right and wrong as you watch The Dropout, or you’re participating in Skillsoft’s cinematic-quality Global Code of Conduct training, you can learn in a way that is participatory , exciting, and taps into individuals’ emotional capital.
  • Share your stories. People want to learn from others’ mistakes. Compliance professionals tend to keep challenges close to the chest, but talking about these issues with colleagues, employees, and others, may help to clarify the experience and provide a foundation for future behavior.
  • Watch The Dropout. If you’re looking for a drama to binge this weekend . . . this could be it!

Compliance Is An Opportunity

Palmer thinks about compliance a lot due to the nature of her job at Skillsoft. But for most people, compliance is just an annual obligation to ensure they understand their organization’s rules and expectations of them as employees.

Compliance has a bad reputation: boring, lengthy, prescriptive. But Palmer insists that compliance is an opportunity: “Organizations and the people within them have an opportunity to do better. They have an opportunity to help society.”

She shared, “The world has created a false dichotomy between doing the ‘right thing’ and making money. But there doesn’t have to be a conflict between those two things. Compliance is a tool that helps people to understand that you can do well in business, and you can do it the right way.”

According to Palmer, one of the most important skills for any compliance professional to hone is empathy. “Compliance is meant to protect people,” she said. “By protecting people, you inherently protect the organizations where they work.”

By showing empathy and understanding of people’s stressors, personal circumstances, knowledge gaps, insecurities, confidences, and more, you can get a better sense of what they need to know, and how they can best receive that information.

“It’s easy to read a law and spit it back out to someone,” said Palmer. “But you also need to know if that person cares, understands, knows how to apply it, and can be successful in following that law. It’s a remarkable skill.”

Embracing A Culture Of Compliance

Believe it or not, compliance is not about knowing all the rules. It is about knowing what to do when you don’t know the rules. According to Palmer, “If you make it a point to teach your team what you believe to be the ‘right’ behaviors, you have empowered them to take the ‘right’ actions. Compliance is all about vulnerability and knowing how, and when, to ask for help.”

This pathos often comes from the top down in an organization. Employees need to have ethical role models within their organization to help empower them to do the right thing.

“Compliance failures happen when people are allowed to – or are encouraged to – cut corners. Or when they see other people cutting corners,” said Palmer.

Her advice? A strong compliance program encourages people to learn – and trusts that they have the information they need to be compliant. But, it also has controls in place to ensure accountability—trust but verify.

Q&A WITH ASHA PALMER

Skillsoft was thrilled to welcome Asha Palmer to our compliance team in 2022, and we’re excited that she is already making significant contributions. If you’re curious to know more about her, and her view on ethics and compliance, take a look at the short Q&A below:

What’s something you wish more people talked about in compliance?

We need to find ways to make compliance fun and exciting! Too often, organizations settle for mundane compliance training sessions, when they could be using their resources to facilitate powerful conversations on what works and what doesn’t work.

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for compliance – we have to challenge each other to make the industry better. How is your organization engaging people in your compliance training? How have you empowered your team?

We tend to keep our compliance programs so close to the chest, but transparency is what we need to succeed.

What’s the biggest risk facing organizations when it comes to compliance?

In remote world, compliance officers can’t be in every room. That means that you will ultimately encounter some blind spots. As our SVP of Legal Compliance Stephen Martin mentioned in a recent blog post, it is so important to be proactive in your compliance program so you can anticipate these areas of risk.

What’s the role of technology in compliance?

Technology is a necessary part of compliance, but it is not the only part of compliance. We need to leverage technology to create effective and efficient programs – and technology provides the reach and access to data that we need to do that.

But, we have to remember to include a human touch in everything we do related to compliance. That’s where the true benefits come to life. Humans need to look at outcomes and tailor their compliance programing to the data. It’s up to us to interpret the information we receive.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Always be kind. It is so simple, yet it can be so difficult. But when you lead with kindness and empathy, when you truly put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you reach better outcomes and, Honestly, you sleep better at night.

Want to get to know Asha Palmer better? Reach out to us with any questions!

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The Secret Ingredient to Thriving in a Recession? Employee Training https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-secret-ingredient-to-thriving-in-a-recession-employee-training Wed, 26 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-secret-ingredient-to-thriving-in-a-recession-employee-training

The economists agree: An economic downturn may be coming in 2023. While that’s not exactly good news, there is a silver lining. Moments of economic turbulence can also give our organizations opportunities to shine — if we know how to seize them.

According to a recent brief from Bain & Company, organizations stand to make more dramatic gains during slowdowns if they play their cards right. Bain’s research found that there are 47 percent more “rising star” companies during downturns than during stable economic periods. (Rising star companies are defined as those companies that move from the bottom quartile to the top half in their industries in terms of operating margin percentage.)

So what can an organization do to become a rising star? I’m glad you asked. Bain highlights a few key actions, including smart cost restructuring, pursuing M&A opportunities, and — perhaps most importantly — maintaining a strong customer focus. If we can remember, these are the same key attributes of many companies that thrived during the early days of the global pandemic.

Remaining focused on customers means continuing to invest in things that are proven to drive customer satisfaction — things like employee retention and engagement and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. Training programs represent a powerful way to influence engagement, ESG, and customer satisfaction.

It’s no surprise that we believe investing in training and employee learning during a recession can help your organization become one of the downturn’s rising stars. But it’s true!

Training Drives Engagement and Engagement Drives Customer Satisfaction

Customer churn tends to increase during a recession. Customers are feeling the economic pressure, and that spurs them to reassess their spending. But that churn isn’t inevitable. As Bain notes, customer loyalty can be lost or earned in a downturn. You just have to prove your products and services are necessary, valuable, and worth the price, even in hard times. The people—your employees—delivering your products and services are critical to making that case.

According to Gallup, employee engagement is directly and inextricably linked to customer satisfaction. On average, the most engaged teams have 10 percent higher customer ratings, 22 percent higher profitability, and 21 percent higher productivity than the least engaged teams. And training is one of the key drivers of employee engagement. According to researcher Bob Nelson, career development opportunities are second only to employee recognition in terms of their influence on employee engagement. In a very real way, investing in employee training means investing in your customers: training leads to engagement, engagement leads to customer satisfaction, and customer satisfaction leads to loyalty.

Unfortunately, training budgets are often among the first things to be slashed during downturns. While companies may have to tighten the purse strings , history suggests it’s a mistake to do away with employee development entirely. As Barbara Dickson, former director of custom executive development programs at Queen’s University’s School of Business, said during the last major recession, “You’ve got to make sure that you’ve got people who are trained and ready to respond to the challenges ahead of them. You can’t just shut down the doors because the economy is bad.”

According to Harvard Business Review, 86 percent of professionals would leave their jobs for a company that offered more development opportunities. On the flip side, according to Deloitte, a strong learning culture can boost retention rates by 30-50 percent. Not only would losing some of your star players hinder your company during a recession, but it can also set you back when the recovery comes. So, put simply, continued training boosts employee engagement and ensures your people have the skills they need to continue serving customers at a high level during a recession. On the other hand, deprioritizing training may leave people ill-prepared to handle the inevitable speed bumps of a downturn — and it may even cause some of your top talent to leave.

ESG Drives Purpose During a Recession

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives are another area that organizations may be tempted to cut during a recession, but that would run contrary to Bain’s recommendations on maintaining a customer focus. ESG, like employee engagement, is tied to customer satisfaction. According to research from PwC, consumers are more likely to buy from companies with strong ESG commitments, and those feelings have only strengthened since the pandemic. Seventy-six percent of consumers also reported to PwC that they’d stop buying from companies that treat employees, communities, and the environment poorly.

Consider how maintaining a commitment to ESG during the early days of the pandemic paid off for companies like Target, which increased hourly employee pay, expanded paid sick leave, and even gave high-risk employees 30 days of paid time off. When many organizations were hurting, Target saw store sales increase by 20.5 percent, digital sales grow by 118 percent, and same-day pick-up and shipping services grow by 235 percent.

Research also suggests companies that remain committed to ESG initiatives during recessions fare better than their competitors. As Martin Whittaker, CEO of JUST Capital, points out, studies show that “high sustainability” firms outperformed their counterparts between 1993 and 2010, including during downturns.

Companies that maintain ESG efforts even in the face of a downturn have a tremendous opportunity to win customer loyalty and make an impact on the world — and training can help these ESG initiatives succeed. With the right ESG training, companies raise awareness of their efforts among employees and enlist their assistance in furthering ESG goals through the everyday activities they take on behalf of the company.

Effective Training Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

So what kind of training are we talking about exactly? Varying kinds of training may be important for your business during a downturn: technical training to ensure your people have the hard skills they need, business and leadership skills training to equip your people to respond to new and unexpected challenges, and compliance and ESG training to enable your people to stay safe and support your company’s mission. But how can an organization continue to deliver such a wide array of training to employees if a recession forces spending cuts?

That’s where a solution like Skillsoft can help. Skillsoft offers a broad range of content — covering technology and developer skills, business and leadership skills, and ESG and compliance topics — all in one digital, on-demand, AI-powered platform. Skillsoft enables companies to have a much more cost-effective option for trainings than trying to source all that training separately.

Skillsoft’s expansive content library means that no matter what a company’s business and ESG goals may be, employees can find relevant courses and learning experiences. That’s especially salient for ESG topics, which are often highly unique to each business. Skillsoft’s compliance library covers more than 500 legal and safety topics like business ethics; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); and environmental health and safety.

And our content is proven to drive results. According to a new study from Forrester Consulting, organizations using Skillsoft’s compliance training portfolio have cut their company risk ratings by as much as half. Employees are more engaged in the training and able to retain more of what they learn, meaning they’re better able to adhere to safety standards and support ESG efforts. As one technical learning and development specialist said, “From a compliance perspective, the industry average engagement is about 50-60 percent, but we consistently fare above 80 percent.”

According to research published in Harvard Business Review, the companies that win recessions are the ones that “master the delicate balance between cutting costs to survive today and investing to grow tomorrow.” Skillsoft can help you keep costs low while engaging employees and supporting robust ESG commitments. That, in turn, drives higher customer satisfaction and stronger company performance, no matter which way the economic winds are blowing.

Learn more about how Skillsoft can help your people and your organization grow together. Request a demo today.

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HOW TO PROMOTE (AND CELEBRATE) CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS MONTH https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-promote-and-celebrate-cybersecurity-awareness-month Mon, 24 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-promote-and-celebrate-cybersecurity-awareness-month

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is an important global effort, with both individuals and organizations taking part — and for good reason.

Since its inception, Cybersecurity Awareness Month has become an international event led by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to equip people and organizations with the resources they need to secure their data online and prevent cyber-attacks.

Threats to an organization’s data come from all angles: inside, outside, burnt out employees, even honest mistakes. The broad nature of the threatscape makes cybersecurity everyone’s responsibility.

Business leaders now recognize that cybersecurity is just as much their concern as it is for their partners in IT — meaning, it’s not just IT’s problem. Boards agree that cyber-threats pose a risk to the business, according to Gartner.

IBM’s most recent research shows the cost of a data breach continues to break records. The latest figures show data breaches rose by 12.7% since 2020, swelling to $4.35 million. Breaches due to remote work were on average $1 million higher.

Most often, several sources show these breaches involve a human element of some kind, like stolen credentials, falling victim to phishing scams, or even skills gaps. (Read how to mitigate the human risk in cybersecurity here.)

The global Fortinet 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Report documents survey results from across the global enterprise that the cybersecurity skills gap has contributed to 80% of their documented breaches. What’s more, 64% of organizations surveyed have experienced breaches that resulted in loss of revenue, recovery costs, and/or fines.

Clearly, the security talent and skill shortages severely hamper business productivity and progress. The time is now to develop or strengthen your cybersecurity team.

Cybersecurity Skill and Awareness has never been more important

Before long, virtually every organization will feel the impact that cybersecurity skill gaps have on their operations, their data, and their ability to transform. IDC predicts digital transformation-related IT skill shortages will affect 9 in 10 of organizations by 2025.

CISOs recognize that they must arm themselves and their organizations with the knowledge and skills to defend against the schemes brought on by attackers, prevent vulnerabilities in development or misconfigurations, and more.

In this blog, see how you can take part in any number of activities from Skillsoft and the National Cybersecurity Alliance to equip your organizations, your peers and colleagues, friends and family with information to protect yourself and others against threats.

Here are some ways you can get involved & participate:

Learn to Empower a more Secure Interconnected World & see yourself In Cybersecurity

The National Cybersecurity Alliance is dedicated to creating resources and communications for organizations to talk to their employees and customers about staying safe online.

Now in its 19th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to build momentum and impact co-led by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA).

Throughout the month, the organization hosts events, programs, and leads efforts to raise awareness. See what they have planned this month.

Learn to Manage Compliance for Data Protection and Privacy

Data has become one of the most valuable assets a company can hold—essential to business models that can include sensitive information. Breaches, therefore, can result not only in regulatory fines, but costly response and reputational damage.

In creating a compliance culture, organizations reduce risk and build an environment based on education and ethical practices.

Popular Cybersecurity Courses to consider this month

In recent years, security training has spiked amid increased phishing attempts and evolving attack vectors. In response, more CISOs are training their organizations to promote awareness and close skill gaps.

Whether it’s for cybersecurity awareness or to secure code and instill a security-focused culture among your teams, there are thousands of courses out there. However, looking at Skillsoft data, these 10 are among the most popular.

Provide Career-Defining Journeys for your Cybersecurity Team

Skillsoft’s Cybersecurity Career Journey is an enterprise solution that brings together multiple training opportunities that are personalized to the learner. It includes on-demand and live training, certification prep and hands-on labs, and more. It combines learning science, with up-to-date content to increase information retention and on-the-job application of new skills.

The Cybersecurity Career Journey is a prescriptive path to certification and skill development.

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How Codecademy Helps Generation Train Job-Ready Java Developers https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-codecademy-helps-generation-train-job-ready-java-developers Fri, 21 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-codecademy-helps-generation-train-job-ready-java-developers

Some people land careers in tech after pursuing a degree in computer science, completing an internship and starting full-time as a developer or engineer or programmer.

College, graduation, job.

That's the more traditional route.

For learners who come to Generation, their education backgrounds tend to stray from ordinary. Their arrival to the world of tech often comes after a few twists and turns.

A global non-profit, Generation helps people achieve economic mobility for themselves and their families through employment programs that help them become job-ready for roles in several industries, including tech. Generation trains and places people into careers that would be otherwise inaccessible to them.

And it turns out, most employers say graduates of these programs meet or exceed their expectations.

"Across Generation programs, 82% of employers say the Generation grads they hire are as good or better than hires of more traditional backgrounds," said Dana Lee, regional director of curriculum and instruction at Generation.

Dana and I discussed the ways Generation has transitioned its employment programs to adapt to a post-pandemic era.

You can watch our full conversation here.

The success of programs at Generation stems from the rapid change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before 2020, technical roles were a smaller portion of Generation's portfolio. After the pandemic hit, they began focusing more on technical roles due to the rising demand for people with skills who could help their organizations navigate rapid digital transformations.

However, most of their programs relied on in-person training. Like many, Generation needed to quickly rethink its approach. They needed to adapt to unprecedented times.

The Pandemic Disrupted In-Person Training, Forcing Generation to Pivot

Historically, Dana's focus on developing curricula for Generation centered on live, instructor-led training. Learners would come to class in a computer lab, where an instructor guided the lesson.

The outbreak led to tightened restrictions for gatherings, preventing Generation from hosting these classes. During this time, in-person training came to grinding halt. “That curriculum wasn’t going to work in a post-covid world, where so much of our programming had to be done online,” she said.

Now, they had to deliver training digitally and needed help to do so.

Going to the marketplace, they discovered an array of options, but many that wouldn't work.

As a non-profit with 16 affiliates around the world, Generation needed a scalable, budget-conscious partner whose pedagogy aligned with their standards for training.

The focus on developing skills for highly technical roles in short, intensive programs demanded that Generation's programs only include essential material. The delivery of material also needed to be simple and flexible enough to adapt to Generation's existing programs or ones the team would offer in the future. But at the end of the day, this partner would need to work for the learner.

"For us, it comes down to our learner profile," Dana said. "Our learner profile is typically someone for whom traditional education did not fulfill its promise."

Searching the marketplace, Dana and her team found several solutions that were too expensive or too unreliable. That was, until they found Codecademy.

Generation Enlists Codecademy to Bolster Training in JavaScript, Java and React

Earlier in the pandemic, Dana's team focused on two programs: junior web developer and junior Java developer.

Since in-person training was no more for the foreseeable future, everything went digital. The programs became a mix of instructor-led training done virtually, supported by Codecademy's self-paced courses for programming languages, like JavaScript, Java and React. Dana calls it "sync-async, where we integrate an instructor-led experience with the content from Codecademy."

Learning in this way is a balance between the two modes: synchronous and asynchronous. Sometimes, learners are with a group and instructor. They discuss concepts, build off one another, and receive live instruction. Then part of the time is dedicated to self-paced learning, moving through a series of modules to complete objectives.

The balance of these two styles is something Dana says Generation is always fine-tuning. Her team wants to create an optimal learning experience for learners who rely on Generation to land opportunities, but it's also to help alleviate the workload on technical instructors, who are hard to come by.

"We have found it's increasingly difficult to find excellent technical instructors, who are also willing to take on other aspects of Generation's curriculum methodology," she said.

Generation looks for instructors who can manage curricula that integrates behavioral skills into their teachings, in addition to job-readiness work like mock interviews or code challenges. These types of skills are "all these things a new technologist needs to be able to do in the market," Dana said.

Generation recognized Codecademy as the best training provider to help support these two programs, and here's why:

  • The user experience and administration — Codecademy's interactive platform helps communicate complex material in a way that doesn't intimidate learners. Helpful guidance makes sure they can get "unstuck" and continue making progress. What's more, the solution was simple to integrate with Generation's methods of training.

  • Data and reporting — Dana's team blended their traditional approach of instructor-led training with Codecademy’s learning material and platform. This "sync-async" approach allowed Generation to leverage training data and equip instructors with metrics to influence their interactions with learners.

  • Quality and practice — More than any other provider, Codecademy allowed learners to practice in a reliable environment. Dana found other options on the market that seemed hopeful, but there was no guarantee of reliability long term. That's a dealbreaker when people's careers are on the line. Further, Codecademy's in-house team of curriculum experts constantly works to raise the quality and relevance of its content.

  • Value — As a non-profit, the cost of the content had to work with Generation's budget. Searching for other options, Dana says she found providers that were five times more expensive. "It was a delight that we didn't have to sacrifice anything with Codecademy to get to the price point that worked for us," she said.

Codecademy and Generation Help People Earn the Skills to Land In-demand Developer Jobs

Generation deployed Codecademy to seven of its 16 global affiliates, with hopes to expand to other regions. That's roughly 1,500 people working toward a career that may not have been attainable for them before.

These learners often face a different set of obstacles coming into tech. Some don't have the education that a more traditional developer has had. It can be a long, tough journey for some, but with help from Generation, learners find careers that provide them with new opportunities.

It's also mutually beneficial. Organizations of all kinds struggle to hire qualified candidates who have skills in programming languages like Python, Java, JavaScript and several others. For many, Generation has become an essential avenue through which both employers and individuals flourish with highly applicable tech skills.

Dana has seen Generation's Java program excel, placing 90% of learners within 180 days of completing the program. Those same learners also get salaries that are 3.43 times higher on average. "Codecademy has been a big part of that success for us," Dana said.

It's outcomes like these that Dana and her team use to benchmark their success. For the last two years, Generation and Codecademy have partnered in support of this mission and to continue improving the delivery of technical training to people and organizations that will benefit from reskilling and upskilling.

Codecademy for Enterprise has helped thousands onboard faster (50% faster, in fact!), close skill gaps, and become more productive at work. Start a free two-week trial of Codecademy for Enterprise to see how its immersive learning platform can support your team's development.

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Sustainability: Seeking Calm After the Storm https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/sustainability-seeking-calm-after-the-storm Thu, 20 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/sustainability-seeking-calm-after-the-storm

Three years ago, I started writing a weekly series for my global marketing team at Skillsoft. These “ Monday Moments” were an informal way to share company news, business tips, or introduce new learning solutions. As time went on, I realized I also wanted to keep it "real.” Because, while we’re all professionals, and we’re all working hard, we’re people first and foremost. And we share more than just our work.

We share our planet.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about our collective heartbreak over the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian and Super Typhoon Noru. In the case of Ian, parts of the southeastern United States have been all but destroyed, while other territories and countries have also been ravaged. The economic cost of Ian in Florida alone is predicted to surpass $100 billion. Meanwhile, Noru hit “super typhoon” strength in less than six hours, before many communities in the Philippines and Vietnam had time to prepare.

Neither storm should have become as severe as it did, and so quickly. And, as debate heats up about whether officials should have warned residents sooner, it's becoming increasingly clear that future storms promise to be stronger, wetter, faster, and harder to predict and track as climate change barrels ahead.

The fact is, we know our planet is at a tipping point — and the severity of recent weather is just one major consequence. I believe we all have a part to play in helping to address what is clearly a global climate problem of epic proportions. As business leaders, our role cannot be underestimated.

Organizations across the globe are developing sustainability strategies to help reduce their carbon footprint — and rightfully so. But, if your strategy starts and stops with addressing your organization's impact on the climate, you're indulging in "eye of the storm" thinking: the deceptive moment of calm we all feel when we're "doing the right thing." As Emma Cox, Global Climate Leader for PwC, has said:

"Business leaders who have been working hard to decarbonize their operations may be surprised to hear that they may have climate risk blind spots. If they have not considered the ways a changing climate could impact their business, they could be failing to see big risks. And the impacts are coming sooner than many leaders think. In fact, they are already here."

It's one of the reasons I raised my hand to support Skillsoft's new Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) strategy program. I've always been open about the fact that I want to work for an organization where corporate values align with my own personal beliefs. A company where we can have purpose and profits. A place where employees behave ethically and act responsibly towards people and the planet we share. I'm grateful to have found this at Skillsoft.

In a few weeks, we’ll deliver our first full ESG Impact Report, which demonstrates progress against the journey we’ve been on. Most companies have embarked on some sort of strategy — often driven by their leadership, their Board, or their customers. Building on the knowledge that creating a sustainable business should be approached holistically, ESG covers everything from supplier diversity to social impact programs to corporate ethics and stewardship.

Now, this is new and uncharted territory for many of us; we’re building our own program, which is both challenging and invigorating. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn something new and help the company build an initiative that achieves three important goals:

  • It aligns with our purpose.
  • It helps us meet growing customer demand.
  • And, it's the right thing to do for ourselves, each other, and the greater community we all belong to.

We’re also in a position to make a difference by being part of the World Economic Forum's Reskilling Revolution, whose mission is to advance prosperous, inclusive, and equitable economies by preparing one billion people for tomorrow's economy. Through their research, the WEF has found that $1 spent to advance the global energy transition returns $3-8. And, studies also show that clean energy infrastructure construction generates twice as many jobs per $1 million spent as fossil fuel projects. Talk about direct impacts.

As they say, "there is no Planet B." If you're looking for ways to make holistic sustainability your "Plan A,” we can help.

I encourage you to visit Skillsoft Percipio and sample some of the valuable content we offer on sustainability. Take some time to watch the video The Impact of Ignoring Sustainability; read the book Managing Sustainability: First Steps to First Class; or listen to the audio summary, The Power of Sustainable Thinking. Or, to really get engaged with this important topic, join me in completing the Aspire Journey Sustainability and Restoring Our Earth Aspire Journey.

One last note. If you or your loved ones have experienced loss because of the recent storms, my heart goes out to you. As these events have shown, we’re all in this together. And together, we can work to effect change and build a better, more responsible future for all people — and our planet.

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Why IT Pros Want to Quit Their Jobs — and How to Change Their Minds https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-it-pros-want-to-quit-their-jobs-and-how-to-change-their-minds Wed, 19 Oct 2022 08:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-it-pros-want-to-quit-their-jobs-and-how-to-change-their-minds

In the year ahead, more than half (53%) of IT professionals are considering leaving their current employers as job satisfaction rates declined slightly from 2021 to 2022. That's troubling news for many in IT leadership whose greatest challenge is retention.

These findings come from Skillsoft's annual IT Skills and Salary Report, which was published today. Now in its 17th year, this report shares insights into the highest paying certifications, in-demand skills, top investment areas, key workplace challenges and far more across the IT industry. It's the result of a survey distributed over the summer of 2022 that garnered participation from nearly 8,000 IT professionals globally.

Gain access to the full report here.

One of the main takeaways from the report is the ongoing strain IT departments are experiencing as they try to recruit and retain employees.

The Great Resignation, a turbulent labor market, and insatiable demand for digital transformation have all contributed to what many in leadership deem their toughest challenge Retention.

Here are the top 5 challenges IT decision-makers face this year:

Talent Retention

33%

Talent Recruitment

32%

Workload

27%

Developing Stronger Teams

25%

Resource and Budget Constraints

24%

Last year, talent recruitment and retention ranked highly but didn't top the charts as they did in 2022.

More companies continue to realize the outsized need they have for technical skills in order to scale their operation, deliver new experiences to employees and/or customers, and transform the way they do business. As this realization sets in, it adds fuel to an already hot labor market.

This situation has forced many in leadership to reassess what's possible and begin charting a new course. Thanks to the thousands of IT professionals who gave their time to this survey, there is evidence of many promising opportunities to aid organizations that struggle with this challenge and others like it.

But, to curb the impacts of attrition, IT leaders must glean, and act upon, the valuable insights from this research. Let's dive in.

IT Pros Want Opportunities to Grow — Or Else …

The majority of IT professionals (86%) took at least some training in the past year, and most of the time it's in support of their organization's initiatives. The highest percentage of IT professionals (31%) say their main driver for training is to prepare their organizations for a product launch, migration or update.

But they have many motivators for training. These rise to the top:

  • Increasing their salaries
  • Personal interest in learning new skills
  • Earning or maintaining a certification

What often stands in their way is management (even more than their heavy workload). In fact, 45% say management doesn't see the value of training.

Knowing this plays a big part in solving retention issues. Among the leading reasons IT professionals leave their current position or employer is due to a lack of professional development opportunities.

They want training. They want growth opportunities. They want chances to improve themselves and those around them.

Unfortunately, many feel denied these opportunities, which often results in their departure from the organization — a costly situation as skills benefit both the individual and their employers in more ways than one.

“Learning is the catalyst for mutually beneficial growth for employees and employers, especially as organizations struggle to retain technical talent and keep pace with innovation,” said Zach Sims, Skillsoft's General Manager of Tech & Dev in a news release announcing the report. “Companies that create cultures of learning and talent development will be most successful in recruiting and retaining ambitious individuals with the right skills and certifications to make an impact.”

With this in mind, 85% of IT decision-makers say they authorized training in the last year and nearly all (97%) recognize the value certified professionals bring to the organization.

So, where's the disconnect?

It's likely a classic case of lacking communication.

The Impacts of Broken Communication Call for More 'Power' Skills

Most IT leaders authorize training and see the benefits of IT certifications. Almost half say certified staff boost productivity, they help meet client requirements (44%), and close organizational gaps (41%).

And yet, a lack of training opportunities is among the leading reasons why IT professionals quit their jobs.

This begs the question. Are some leaving their jobs because they believe training isn't available to them — when in reality, it is?

This disconnect between what's available and what's known is causing undue trouble for organizations feeling the effects of turnover and a tough recruiting environment.

Effective team communication is the most important skill for IT leaders to have, according to most (66%) survey respondents. Following are interpersonal communication, emotional intelligence, and business skills.

These soft, or Power, skills have become increasingly important for IT leaders to have as technology plays a vital role in modernizing business, adapting to change, and scaling operations. Skills like communication and leadership will help those in IT better align with their counterparts across the organization to drive the positive changes they hope for.

The report found that 22% of IT professionals reported their employers don’t currently offer leadership training programs and 17% simply don't know if one exists. But of those organizations that do offer this type of training, one in four jumped at the opportunity.

As IT leaders encourage their teams to develop new skills in support of technology investments, it's important to also consider how Power skills can help aid in efforts improve collaboration, communicate use cases or the impact of projects, and better illustrate their strategic visions for the future.

Skills Drive Salary Increases in High-Demand Areas

Developing new skills and earning certifications often increases an employee's value to organizations. For example, 46% of IT decision-makers estimate certified staff add $20,000 or more in value over non-certified staff.

This heightened value placed on skills was seen in some high-demand areas in this year's survey data, with varying results regionally.

These were among areas that showed salary increases:

  1. Cloud
  2. IT architecture
  3. DevOps
  4. Data science
  5. Service desk / IT support

In the year ahead, these are the top investment areas reported by decision-makers:

  1. Cloud
  2. Cybersecurity
  3. AI and Machine Learning
  4. Infrastructure and Systems
  5. Data science

And, these are the toughest areas to hire for:

  1. Cloud
  2. Analytics, Big Data, Data Science
  3. Cybersecurity, Information Security
  4. DevOps
  5. Application Development

Many see investments in these areas as unlocking opportunities for their organizations, whether it's better utilization of data or improved efficiency, but leaders have recognized that their teams don't always have the skills to work with these technologies.

Nearly half of IT decision-makers say their team's skills in AI and machine learning, as an example, are low (25%) or somewhat low (24%). The highest percentage (37%) say their team's skills in cloud computing are somewhere in the middle, leaving room for growth.

One of the key reasons why IT decision-makers struggle with skills gaps is because they can't find talent with the skills they need (or can't pay what candidates demand). Due to this shortage, skills come at a premium — especially today as competition grows more intense.

Given these circumstances, most in leadership say they plan to invest in training their existing teams to close gaps, which is consistent with what we saw last year. And thankfully, that has paid off. More on that in the next section.

Skills Gaps Reportedly Decline, but There's More to the Story

Looking at last year's data, many IT decision-makers forecast their skills gaps correctly. In 2021, 76% of leaders reported skills gaps on their teams. But, only 64% anticipated these gaps in 2022.

They were close in their predictions.

Fewer IT decision-makers reported skills gaps this year compared to last, falling 10 percentage points to 66% for the global average. Next year, we'll see if they fall even more. Only 57% predict they will have skills gaps in the coming year.

This is a welcome trend after years on the rise. Segmenting the data among different groups shows skills gaps fluctuating somewhat but consistently remaining lower than last year:

Job / Function Area

Skills Gaps Present

Respondent Count

Cybersecurity

73%

289

DevOps

71%

144

Cloud

68%

365

IT Architecture and Design

66%

475

Data, Analytics and Business Intelligence

64%

214

This is a welcome sign that the efforts from last year are paying off for IT decision-makers. In 2021, most (56%) reported that they planned to upskill their teams to close gaps. From this vantage point, the training is working.

However, some remain unsure of their gaps. The data shows one in 10 IT leaders don't know if they have skills gaps present on their teams, remaining consistent with last year.

By and large, skills gaps pose a risk to organizations and IT's ability to carry out its duties. More than 98% of IT leaders agree gaps pose a risk of some kind (we asked high, medium or low), with 80% indicating high or medium risk. Skills gaps also cause stress, slow project durations, and make it harder to meet business goals.

As an IT leader, not knowing the capabilities of your team could exacerbate the challenges you face, not least of which are retention and heavy workloads. Take inventory by assessing their skills and competencies to understand how to nurture the team you have into the one you need for the future.

4 Steps to Help Retain More Employees

Talent retention isn't unique to any one industry or region. This challenge continues to impact organizations of all kinds globally. However, some organizations are finding ways to overcome this issue. (Read about real-world solutions in this blog.)

Many IT leaders recognize that in order to overcome challenges like these, they must nurture their current staff with time or resource investments in professional development that unlock opportunities to advance and grow.

Take these steps to develop stronger teams and help retain more employees:

Measure Your Team's Capabilities

Some IT leaders are in the dark about their skills gaps. This leaves room for gaps to threaten operations or elevate risk within the organization. Start by assessing your team's capabilities to identify both gaps and areas to grow.

Skillsoft offers objective assessments to help leaders gauge their team's competencies in areas like cloud, cybersecurity, networking, and far more. Learn about Skills Benchmark Assessments here.

Cross-Collaborate to Launch Better Training Programs

IT leaders must collaborate with their counterparts in learning and development to hone training curricula that targets key skill areas. The benefits of this partnership can manifest in many ways, including better adoption of training programs.

As you identify skills gaps, invest in new technologies, or support the strategic goals of the organization, work with your partners and stakeholders to design training programs. The programs should be highly relevant, applicable, and accessible to your team.

Personalize Training and Career Development

While many IT professionals agree they want opportunities for hands-on practice, learning preferences vary from person to person. What's more, their ambitions are unique. Some want to build new skills, others want to earn a certification or take on different responsibilities at work.

Bring up career development in your meetings with staff, talk to them about their goals and how you can support them. Then, provide training that's tailored to them.

Track Progress Over Time

As you develop these programs internally, how will know whether or not they work? Define what success looks like with your partners and stakeholders. Track your team's progress to understand how training impacts their careers but also projects, initiatives, and resources.

Continue to iterate over time to adapt training to the needs of your team and that of the greater organization. And remember, don't forget your partners who can lead the design of programs, help measure performance, and advocate for solutions.

To find more insights into IT leaders' plans to remedy their skills gaps and what the future may look like for those in this field, access the 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report today.

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Why Invest in Skillsoft Compliance Training? Customers saw 317% ROI https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-invest-in-skillsoft-compliance-training-customers-saw-317-roi Tue, 18 Oct 2022 12:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/why-invest-in-skillsoft-compliance-training-customers-saw-317-roi

One of the challenges in the compliance industry is transparency.

As compliance professionals, we work tirelessly to improve the effectiveness of our legal compliance training and workplace safety programs. But, we tend to do the bulk of this work behind closed doors. We aren’t inclined to share the makings of our programs—whether good, bad, or ugly. Yet it is those learnings and sharing that help propel our programs and organizations forward and understand the investment needed to do so.

Our collective goal as compliance and safety professionals is to make the workplace a safer and more ethical place to be. Yet, it is difficult to raise our hands to talk about what’s working – or, maybe more importantly, what’s not working.

Reasons for this might include:

  • Our compliance programs may be immature, so we don’t want to share our experience until we have more success under our belt
  • We are considered a “cost center” and tired of being denied for additional investment or personnel
  • We fear being judged on our incident rates if we share them publicly
  • Compliance issues are sensitive, and we don’t want to invite legal scrutiny

No matter what the reason, science tells us that active learning driven by human interaction and collaboration leads to higher rates of achievement for learners which, in turn, empowers and protects people and, therefore, organizations. Not only do learners invest more of themselves, but they retain information more effectively.

So, keeping our compliance successes and opportunities quiet is a missed opportunity. If we want to improve compliance programs and processes, we need to be vulnerable; to share our learnings freely; and to develop industry-wide best practices that benefit all of us.

We’ll go first.

The Total Economic Impact™ of Skillsoft Compliance

Earlier this year, Skillsoft commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study to examine the potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises may realize by deploying our compliance training solution.

The following findings were the aggregate result of interviews that Forrester conducted with six individuals from four organizations with experience using Skillsoft’s compliance training. Their experiences were combined to represent a single composite organization.

The Forrester study determined that using Skillsoft compliance solutions provided the composite organization with significant benefits – including $3.37M over three years versus costs of $807K, adding up to a net present value (NPV) of $2.56M, and an ROI of 317 percent.

Here are some other insights we gleaned from the TEI study for the composite organization:

  • Providing the right training to the right employees in a way that maximizes their learning saved $3.37 million in lowered risk of compliance failure.
  • Consolidating training vendors reduced expenses by over $588,000.
  • Skillsoft saved the composite organization over $317,000 worth of time and talent spent doing administrative tasks.
  • Skillsoft allows for improved employee learning and retention of content.
  • Reduced course creation effort freed up $178,000 worth of time for the training team.

Download the full study to learn about the benefits of Skillsoft’s compliance solutions.

What’s Working in Compliance Training

Take a look at some of the other lessons that we’ve learned this year from our clients:

How to use data to identify training opportunities.

Gaps in your compliance program can be risky. Closing these gaps is essential to help minimize the possibility of costly investigations, fines, and reputational damage.

Shannon Wenger, director of talent development at Apex Systems, told us how her organization has been able to take its compliance program to the next level by proactively managing risk-related training gaps.

How to build a robust safety training program globally.

Lynn Ross, senior director global operations training and development at Equinix, shared how Equinix, as a global, decentralized organization, has approached its safety training program – from pinpointing which employee groups need specific training, to working with partners to grow the program, to training “in the know.”

How to extend training opportunities to deskless workers.

More 65% of deskless workers in industries such as transportation, retail, healthcare, construction, and hospitality have not been provided with technology to complete their jobs. Around 91% of these workers want better training.

First Student and First Transit shared how to make compliance training more accessible to deskless workers.

How to train managers to be ethical leaders.

How do you communicate an organization’s ethical beliefs and values to all team members, so everyone is aligned on the behaviors expected of them within their organization? How do you promote employee safety and well-being across the company? How do you make hard choices to do the right thing every day?

TikTok’s Catherine Razzano, head of global legal compliance, shared her insights with Skillsoft about empowering ethical leadership in your organization.

How to empower managers to deliver effective compliance training.

Canon Business Process Services talked to us about implementing a comprehensive compliance program to supplement live virtual training due to different time zones, availability of resources to deliver training, and reduction in live training classes due to the pandemic.

Janis Smith-Howard, Supervisor for e-Learning and Instructional Design, and Administrator for Skillsoft Percipio Compliance, created a newsletter for her managers called “Did You Know?” — a simple way to stay connected, share important links and updates, and concisely explain the capabilities of Skillsoft Percipio Compliance. Her efforts went a long way toward encouraging managers to explore and use the solution optimally.

How to get the C-suite’s attention with your workplace safety program.

Getting and maintaining executive buy-in and support for your organization’s EHS program is one of the most effective components in building a mature, scalable, and efficient compliance program. But while the C-suite has a vested interest in keeping employees healthy and injury-free, they also have a business to run.

Katy Schick, Corporate EHS Manager, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, and Brian Borguno, Sr. Training Specialist / Corporate Safety Specialist, Canon Business Process Services talked about how workplace safety professionals can balance the operational concerns of the C-suite with the fundamental objective of keeping employees safe.

How to ask for new features to lighten your administrative burden.

Skillsoft works with a well-known global logistics company offering compliance training for hundreds of thousands of people in up to 22 different languages.

We recently worked with the company to introduce a language selector feature to support organizations with multi-language course needs. It allows users select a preferred language directly from their LMS. Skillsoft does heavy lifting, creating connections between different languages and lightening the load for both administrators and users.

Requirements of an Effective Compliance Solution

It has become clear that Skillsoft’s compliance customers gravitate toward our solutions to fit a variety of needs, including:

  • Provide visibility and documentation of appropriate training across the organization
  • Offer culturally relevant training, particularly for non-English speakers
  • Use automation to monitor and ensure employee participation while reducing administrative burden
  • Enable inclusion of custom course materials
  • Flexible access models that allowed managers to assign relevant trainings for their risk
  • Offer non-compliance curricula to allow for future expansion of their overall learning program

But that’s not all they can accomplish with our training programs. Learn more about Skillsoft compliance solutions by contacting an expert.

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Lean Into Learning: Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022 Edition https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/lean-into-learning-cybersecurity-awareness-month-2022-edition Thu, 13 Oct 2022 08:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/lean-into-learning-cybersecurity-awareness-month-2022-edition

The fast-changing and increasingly threatening state of today’s cybersecurity landscape is on every security professional’s mind – and rightfully so. According to ISACA’s new State of Cybersecurity 2022 report, 43% of organizations are currently experiencing more cyberattacks compared to last year. Just 9% are seeing this number decrease.

Defending against the wide slate of emerging threats requires awareness and buy-in from more than just the infosec community, however, and Cybersecurity Awareness Month is the annual reminder that we all play an essential role in this effort. With the rise in hybrid work, proliferation of technology, and more loose ends to secure than ever before, Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022 is aptly focusing on the “people” component to ensure all individuals and organizations make smart decisions whether at work, home, or school.

This year’s theme is “See Yourself in Cyber,” and per the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA), this boils down to all individuals doing their part to safeguard the organization no matter their title, discipline, or department. In light of this and as a company that is transforming how organizations train all parts of their workforce to effectively mitigate risks, we explored the latest trends in cybersecurity learning in the enterprise. Here’s what we found.

Learning – to all play a part.

Data is a powerful tool, and in many cases, it can be eye-opening, tell a story, and drive decisive action. For instance, IBM Security found that the average cost of data breaches has reached an all-time high this year at $4.35 million. Meanwhile, Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report noted that 82% of breaches involve the “human element,” such as falling for phishing. Phishing, uncoincidentally, is the number one delivery vehicle for ransomware, which has seen a 13% year-over-year increase – a rise as big as the past five years combined.

This data isn’t meant to incite panic, but rather underscore the fact that cybersecurity is an unwavering, pervasive challenge. Moreover, the human element continues to present significant risk.

Building a culture of security is essential to reducing human error. For small and large organizations alike, this is no simple feat. It’s a continuous journey that requires planning, dedication, company-wide buy-in, ongoing assessment, and most importantly, training and education.

Positively, Skillsoft is witnessing organizations and employees place a bigger emphasis on workforce-wide security awareness and skills training. Comparing consumption of Skillsoft’s cybersecurity training content in the first half of 2022 to 2021, we observed a 21% increase in total number of hours spent across organizations and a 24% increase in the number of hours spent by each learner on average. Furthermore, learners spent 11% more hours on cybersecurity compliance training, indicating that organizations are mandating more from employees to avoid the risk of regulatory sanctions.

For the second consecutive year, the top five industries that are making cybersecurity learning and development a priority are:

  1. Business services/consulting
  2. Banking/finance
  3. Manufacturing
  4. Telecommunications
  5. Government/military

Looking at this through a slightly different lens based on industries with the greatest YoY increase in the number of learners consuming security content, we see hospitality taking the top spot (1,359%), followed by banking/finance (598%), construction (439%), manufacturing (374%), and healthcare (321%). The manufacturing industry’s increased attention to cybersecurity is particularly noteworthy and can be attributed to the SolarWinds hack and continued presence of supply chain attacks.

A solid culture of security thrives and succeeds when employees are educated and enabled. Training significantly benefits individuals and their organizations and is a key component to warding off human error threats such as phishing.

Dissecting learner behaviors and trends.


The training content that learners are searching for and engaging with can tell a lot about their interests and levels of competency, as well as potential skills gaps within the organization. Couple this with targeted skills assessments and you can get a comprehensive view of the areas where it makes sense to dial up or down upskilling efforts.

For example, when learners first begin their journeys with Skillsoft, they’re asked to select the skills they’re most interested in improving. Among cybersecurity-related domains, the top selections in 2022 have been:

  1. Information security
  2. Core security
  3. Analyst
  4. Secure architectures
  5. Security operations
Top Skills Selection
2020
2021
2022

#1

Information Security

Information Security

Information Security

#2

Analyst

Analyst

Core Security

#3

Security Operations

Core Security

Analyst

#4

Core Security

Secure Architectures

Secure Architectures

#5

Info/Data

Security Operations

Security Operations

Interestingly, core security – which covers the fundamentals of cybersecurity such as phishing / anti-phishing, multi-factor authentication, and password management – now ranks second on the list. The steady, YoY rise correlates both with an increase in employees’ attention and awareness of security and organizations mandating more from the workforce to ensure they all understand the role they play in protecting the broader ecosystem.

Skillsoft offers a wide breadth of content that appeals to, and is effective for, both learners with a limited cybersecurity background, and those who either hold technology-focused roles or need to take a few specialized classes or earn a new certification. In light of this, looking at the top five cybersecurity-related search terms amongst our learners this year, high-level searches – “cybersecurity” and “security” – rank second and third on the list. Meanwhile, CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) takes the first overall spot, with CompTIA Security+ and CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) ranking fifth.

This search demand indicates that security professionals are heavily utilizing certification prep materials – ranging from courses and books to test preps and hands-on labs. Additionally, Skillsoft’s list of the 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications in 2022 shows that all but one involve a cybersecurity component. The demand for these skills is evident with multiple cybersecurity certifications earning IT professionals at least $150,000. Adjacent skills are also essential for security professionals as they need to protect all aspects of IT and Dev in an organization.

Two peas in a pod – AppSec and cloud security.

Companies are looking to the cloud to cut costs, reduce security risk, and improve efficiency across the enterprise. These transformations have been happening in greater numbers in recent years as the nature of work has changed for many. This upward trend in cloud migrations and adoption of cloud services has increased demand for cloud-related skills and certifications. Skillsoft’s 15 Top-Paying Certifications of 2022 list shows that two of the top three certifications are cloud-oriented.

With the move to the cloud also comes complexities of modern application development and security, requiring new skills across the workforce. This in mind, diving into our data mines further and exploring the most completed cybersecurity courses in 2022, we see application and cloud security-related content ranking in four of the top five spots.

Top Cybersecurity Course Titles 2022

#1​

Application Security Awareness & Validation​

#2​

Secure Application Architecture & IAM​

#3​

OWASP: Top 10 List Items​

#4​

Cloud Security Fundamentals: Cloud Application Security​

#5​

Infrastructure Security​

Furthermore, looking at the badges Skillsoft has issued this year to learners completing courses and sharing results on social media as personal records of achievements, we observed a nearly identical list, with one difference at the fifth spot: IT Security Fundamentals.

Top Badge Titles 2022

#1​

Application Security Awareness & Validation​

#2​

Secure Application Architecture & IAM​

#3​

OWASP: Top 10 List Items​

#4​

Cloud Security Fundamentals: Cloud Application Security​

#5​

IT Security Fundamentals​

From a compliance perspective, among the most-completed courses so far this year, many of the topics align with this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month themes (multi-factor authentication, password management, software updates, and phishing).

Top Cybersecurity Compliance Course Titles 2022

#1​

Global Cybersecurity Risks

#2​

EU General Data Protection Regulation

#3​

Cybersecurity Short: Avoiding Phishing Attacks

#4​

Compliance Expert: IT Security Phishing

#5​

Cybersecurity and Online Habits

#6

Data Protection Short: Remote Working Concerns

#7

Cybersecurity Shorter: Proper Password Management

#8

Data Protection and Device Security

#9

Compliance Short: Cybersecurity

#10

Cybersecurity Short: Smart Downloading

As any IT leader looks at the scope of a transformation of core business services or architecture, it's important to ensure the team that will propel these projects forward is prepared at every step. For many, these courses are an essential step toward realizing those objectives.

Steps for building a transformative cybersecurity training program.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is an important, annual reminder that, as an industry, we must focus our collective efforts on addressing security issues and spreading awareness and education. After all, a strong security culture depends on ongoing education. With continued investment in education, it's possible to build a transformative training program that influences lasting change.

Steps for achieving this goal include:

  • Broaden security efforts by expanding education throughout your organization;
  • Leverage innovative, experiential learning involving storytelling and roleplaying strategies;
  • Ensure your training includes education about security matters relevant to learners’ lives inside and outside of the workplace;
  • Structure training to maximize retention via short bursts of learning experienced through a multitude of modalities; and
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Do you see yourself going even deeper in cyber? Check out Skillsoft’s Cybersecurity Career Journey! Start pursuing new skills, senior-level certifications, or a new job role today.

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The Importance of Transparency in Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-importance-of-transparency-in-corporate-social-responsibility-efforts Tue, 11 Oct 2022 10:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-importance-of-transparency-in-corporate-social-responsibility-efforts

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become an increasingly important topic to global organizations looking to have a positive impact on the world around them and generate a competitive advantage. Here at Skillsoft, we’re examining the impact of our existing CSR efforts and refocusing on initiatives that will truly move the needle ... more on that later!

Last month, we shared an overview of CSR – including what it is and why your organization should care – and introduced our first-annual CSR survey. Our goal is to help organizations around the world to benchmark their CSR progress so we can all have a more informed picture of the CSR landscape moving forward.

We believe that the resulting report will be a useful tool for any organization – whether you are just starting to examine your CSR efforts or you are further along in your efforts. But in the meantime, we wanted to take a look at some solid examples of companies who are sharing their corporate responsibility efforts and results. We are proud to work with many of them.

The Importance of Transparency

With any type of CSR initiative, transparency is key to accountability in setting and meeting goals. After all, getting stakeholders, employees, vendors, and others on board with your CSR efforts require them knowing about those efforts – and in many cases, help to carry them out.

Publishing an annual CSR report is one of the main ways that organizations share their progress in CSR – and help to communicate key information about their corporate culture, commitment to employees’ mental health, and social responsibility efforts.

What is CSR all about? Thoughts from Top Organizations

CSR is about corporate culture.

For many organizations, CSR initiatives have helped to highlight how their operations impact the world around them – employees, shareholders, community, and environment. In fact, many job seekers look to an organization’s CSR initiatives as an indicator of corporate culture.

Here are some statistics you might find interesting:

Take a look at some excerpts from top organizations’ recent CSR reports that point to their strong corporate culture and commitment to the people and communities around them:

“In business, we keep score with money. But business isn’t about money — it’s about people. And people long for something way bigger than just money. I’m so proud and thankful to be on a team with associates and owners who continue to use their business success as a springboard to be significant in their communities.” Ace Hardware President and CEO John Venhuizen

“When our founders opened the first Home Depot store, they did so with a well-defined culture. More than 40 years later, our eight core values and our commitment to put customers and associates first are still the lens through which we view every decision. So, running a responsible and sustainable company is foundational to our business. Doing our part creates value for all of our stakeholders.” Craig Menear, Former Chairman and CEO, Home Depot


CSR is about mental health.

Emotional wellness initiatives are a popular method for increasing employee engagement and work satisfaction – and many organizations are embracing them. Understanding how to manage stress on your team and educating your entire organization on mental health best practices is one important way to improve morale and make your workplace a safe, welcoming place for all employees.

Consider these statistics:

  • 91% of employees said their company’s purpose made them feel like they were in the right place amid global challenges, like the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty.
  • 85% of employees believe companies have more responsibility than ever to create safe and healthy workspaces.

One important way to build a safe and inclusive workplace is to take strides to prevent workplace harassment. At a very minimum, effective training should encompass three areas:

  1. DEFINITIONS
    Employees should be able to identify victims and the legal criteria that establish unlawful harassment. They should also be able to discern instances of sexual harassment that fall short of unlawful harassment but is nevertheless unacceptable to the organization.
  2. RECOGNITION
    Through real-life examples, employees should be able to recognize unlawful sexual harassment whether they find themselves victims, onlookers, supervisors or even those who may be behaving inappropriately. Training should also expose unconscious biases that could lead to unintended discriminatory behavior.
  3. RESPONSE
    Finally, the training should help those who feel they’re being harassed address the issue, from talking to the harasser, to seeking the help of a manager or HR, to understanding their right to seek redress with an outside agency, such as the EEOC. Further, those who observe inappropriate behavior should be encouraged to report it, knowing they are protected from retaliation.
CSR is about taking responsibility.

Corporate social responsibility efforts often revolve around the idea of “doing good.” How is your organization – and its employees, stakeholders, customers, and others – taking responsibility for the world around it? How does it hold itself accountable?

Consider these statistics:

  • 55% of consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services that contribute to positive change.
  • 90% of consumers are more likely to trust and be loyal to socially responsible businesses compared to companies that don’t show these traits.

More and more of the organizations we work with at Skillsoft are focusing on the idea of taking responsibility and doing good.

For employees, a global code of conduct can help to:

  • Inform on-the-job decision-making when the “right thing” to do is not immediately clear
  • Enhance morale and keep employees loyal to a shared company culture and vision
  • Ensure that your organization conducts business in a consistently legal and ethical manner

For employers, a global code of conduct can help to:

  • Familiarize employees with the organization’s mission, vision, and values so everyone remains on the same page
  • Communicate expectations for behavior and encourage ongoing feedback
  • Ensure that managers across the company demonstrate consistent leadership styles and expectations of employees

Looking Forward

We are increasingly impressed at the level of transparency the companies in our sphere are offering to the world at large. Publishing an annual CSR report is an effective way to showcase your organization’s efforts, and to benchmark them from year to year.

How is your organization approaching its CSR efforts?

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How to Empower Ethical Leaders in Your Organization https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-empower-ethical-leaders-in-your-organization Fri, 07 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-empower-ethical-leaders-in-your-organization

No one teaches you how to be an ethical leader! Heck, most people aren’t even taught how to manage people. So where does one learn those required, necessary skills of being an effective leader, a listener, a connector, and perhaps most importantly, a role model?

How does one communicate an organization’s ethical beliefs and values to all team members so everyone is aligned on the behaviors expected of them within their organization? How do they promote employee safety and well-being across the company? How do they make hard choices to do the right thing every day?

These guidelines are often communicated via the organization’s Global Code of Conduct, which is a necessary first step for every manager and leader, but not sufficient to fully encompass the behaviors an ethical leader must exhibit.

I was honored to participate in a discussion about these topics recently with two incredibly smart humans with unique perspectives:

  • Beth Egan, PCC, MBA, The Growth Mindset Coach for Leaders, Coaching Energy, Inc.
  • Catherine Razzano, Head of Global Legal Compliance at TikTok

Beth is an executive coach who helps leaders at all levels to adapt their leadership styles to better align with their organizations. Catherine has been working in compliance for more than 20 years, encouraging organizations to define – and live out – their ethical beliefs and values.

Empathy and the Ethical Leader

We can all agree that managers must lead with an understanding of their organization’s ethical principles and values. And while you must train your team to avoid specific risk areas, like anti-bribery and avoiding conflicts of interest, determining if your managers are exhibiting the behaviors of ethical leaders so you can be a truly ethical organization is something that is a bit harder to pinpoint without the right, or enough, training and oversight.

So, Beth, Catherine, and I first wanted to understand how to best prepare managers to become role models. Specifically, what makes an ethical leader?

Beth shared an insightful quote from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: “Without empathy it is not possible to get the best from your team, so for this reason it is the key to everything.” She believes that leaders must put in the work to become aware of how their behavior impacts their team. Only in understanding their impact on others can they effectively regulate their behaviors to empower the organization as a whole.

Coaching, said Beth, is all about the “who.” Who is the person you are working with? Who does that person need to become to step into their greater potential?

“Awareness and self-regulation are key,” agreed Catherine. She mentioned that TikTok is currently in the process of completing 360-degree reviews, where managers are reviewed by both their direct reports and their own leaders. In this way, they can better understand their impact on others and more fully examine how they achieve output through the lens of TikTok’s values.

Compliance, said Catherine, is all about the “how.” How do you do what you’re supposed to do? How do you do it consistently? How does it show alignment with your organization’s values?

The Heart of Ethical Leadership

Uniting the “who” and the “how” seems to be at the crux of ethical leadership.

According to Beth, real growth and development happens when people feel safe bringing their vulnerabilities to the forefront. To do that, we need to create a safe space for those vulnerabilities – personally and professionally.

“Ethical leadership is a long-term win,” noted Catherine. “There is an enormous amount of pressure in our global environment to make fast decisions.” She recounted watching the Hulu series, The Dropout, about Elizabeth Holmes and her company, Theranos.

The evening before Theranos’ meeting with pharmaceutical giant Novartis, Holmes made a decision to falsify an important blood test – likely thinking that the poor test results would ultimately be resolved, and the short-term ethical breach would justify the long-term gains. However, this decision soon ballooned out of her control.

No decision is ever black and white. Catherine said, “Macro- and micro-environments in the world impact our ability to make the right decisions and show vulnerability. To compensate for that, we need to be more deliberate about the decisions we make.”

She suggests taking three actions before making any important decisions:

  1. THINK. Think about what you’re being asked to do. How do you feel about it? Does it match with your values or the values of your organization?
  2. PAUSE. Take a breath and allow yourself to reflect. It is especially important for leaders to create space for this across their teams.
  3. ACT. Move forward with your decision, confidently!

“Sometimes our environment forces an unnatural amount of pressure on us,” said Catherine. “We need to develop the tools to resist this so that we can create a safe space to make ethical decisions.”

It’s Not Always Easy to do the Right Thing

Skillsoft CEO Jeff Tarr said at our recent Perspectives event in New York: “Everyone leads!”

While it is important for managers to assume the role of leaders across their teams, it is equally important that we not underestimate the role of individual contributors in creating an ethical organization.

Individual contributors often follow the lead of managers when making important decisions because managers are positioned as role models. However, if a manager is not doing “the right thing,” it can be difficult to for individual contributors to say something. That’s why it is so important to empower everyone in your organization to lead and to speak up.

Catherine mentioned the effectiveness of arranging roundtable talks about ethical decision-making across your organization – encouraging teams at all levels to discuss how they might approach critical decisions. “Not only does this help the team to practice thinking through hard topics to develop key muscle-memory in that area,” she said. “But it gives employees more people to bounce ideas off of when they are faced with a critical decision.”

Beth approached empowerment from a different perspective. She said, “Our thoughts impact our feelings, which impact our actions. When we shift from negative self-talk to empowerment, we create a space for ourselves to become more productive and inclusive.”

Our behavior, she noted, is a choice. So, whether we inhabit the C-suite of a Fortune 500 organization, or we’re an individual contributor at a startup – we can take it upon ourselves to change our behavior to elicit ethical outcomes. Ethics can be a grassroots effort.

Where do we Start?

There’s no time like the present to embrace ethical leadership. Beth shared some best practices that she utilizes in her work as an executive coach:

  • Be a role model. Show your team what good behavior looks like. Often, people won’t recognize it until they see it firsthand. Good role models live at all levels of an organization.
  • Encourage learning and transparency. Don’t hide your mistakes. Learn from them and share them so others so they don’t have to learn the hard way. Create a culture where people are comfortable sharing their missteps.
  • Provide opportunities and feedback. Challenge your team with respect to ethical leadership. Give them opportunities to be role models, themselves. What is working well, what can they do better?
  • Reward progress over perfection. Establish a growth mindset. Ensure that your team understands that we are all a work in progress, and we can only do the best we can do on the journey we are on.
  • Create a safe space. Managers must provide employees the time to process and ask questions. They need to create a safe space so that the team can – as Catherine put it – THINK, PAUSE, and ACT.

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

So, let’s THINK, PAUSE, and then do the work to empower ourselves and our teams to be the role models and ethical leaders we want to see in the world.

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Can’t Hire Enough Tech Workers? Johnson & Johnson Found a Solution https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/cant-hire-enough-tech-workers-johnson-johnson-found-a-solution Wed, 05 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/cant-hire-enough-tech-workers-johnson-johnson-found-a-solution

The labor market for tech professionals has been hot for years. However, more recently, the addition of the Great Resignation, changes in personal and professional priorities, and a widening skills gap, it’s become increasingly difficult to hire and retain tech talent.

Johnson & Johnson isn’t exempt from this challenge. The global producer of consumer products, pharmaceuticals and MedTech faces the same issues as virtually every company today:

  • The need for skilled tech workers continues to grow.
  • It’s tougher to recruit and retain workers today.
  • Knowledge and skill gaps can slow progress.

However, Johnson & Johnson has begun to shift its approach. “There’s not enough talent out there,” said Sara Ley, head of digital & tech practice at Johnson & Johnson Learn. “How do we elevate who we have?”

Sara leads a team of learning professionals internally, who support business initiatives by recruiting and upskilling technologists. Knowing the state of recruiting tech talent well, Sara says the company has shifted more of its focus to upskilling existing employees in a way that aligns with its learning framework, the Three E’s: Experience, Exposure and Education. The idea being as people advance throughout their careers, they will need experience, exposure and education to be successful.

Recently, Sara joined Skillsoft’s Perspectives panel in Washington DC to talk about how to overcome the tech talent shortage. Read the event recap here: Perspectives 2022: Overcoming the Tech Talent Shortage

The company continues to recognize the need for skills in intelligent automation, data science, and software engineering to deliver innovative solutions in health care. But Skillsoft research has found people in these roles can be some of the toughest to hire for.

So, how are they building the skills they need, despite the headwinds blown in from a trying labor market?

Organizations Must Nurture the Workforce They Have to Close Skill Gaps

At Johnson & Johnson, there exists counsels made up of company leaders from various backgrounds to address big topics like digital transformation, improving the use of data science, and more.

As ideas and plans emerge from these counsels, capable people must be ready to carry out the projects successfully.

That’s where Sara’s team comes in. It’s up to her team to help source talent or ensure existing employees have the skills they need to get the job done.

“Upskilling is a bigger focus,” Sara said. “Yes, we want to hire the best and brightest from outside, but if we go in knowing there’s a shortage, then how do we also build the capability in house with who we have, who are eager to learn?”

This strategy is consistent with findings from Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary Report, in which half of tech leaders say they planned to train existing staff in order to close skill gaps.

In areas like cloud computing, cybersecurity, data science and DevOps, talent shortages are often the most acute, meaning that organizations must invest in their employees to develop the skills they need.

Otherwise, they could face a series of consequences ranging from longer project durations or resolution times to slumping client satisfaction and even revenue losses, according to findings from a joint IDG-Skillsoft survey. (See pg. 11 of our annual Lean Into Learning Report for more.)

In spring 2022, Johnson & Johnson launched a program internally that gives employees room to develop new skills and begin applying them in different parts of the business.

It’s like an internal gig economy.

When people need help with a project, they post a short-term opening for a job on the company’s learning platform. The algorithm matches prospective candidates with jobs based on existing skills and experience. So far, nearly 1,000 gigs have been listed since the program started.

At the heart of the program is the idea of career mobility, or helping people chart pathways to achieve their professional goals. It resulted from a desire to enable employees to pursue their interests, find their place at the organization, and begin sourcing skills from within.

Mentorship is also available to employees through the Johnson & Johnson Learn platform. People, like Sara, have signed up to serve as a mentor. They get matched with employees based on their skills. Once matched, they connect to teach one another and learn from one another.

These initiatives give employees the chance to work on their portfolios, build their skills, network with others, and explore their options — all without the risk, stress and disruption of leaving their current role.

In this way, it's mutually beneficial. Learners can feel empowered to jump in and out of projects to gain experience and pursue their interests, all the while Johnson & Johnson encourages its workforce to gain skills that they can invest back into the company.

The Benefits for Employees

The Benefits for Johnson & Johnson

  • Gigs provide real-world experience
  • The chance to network with other professionals
  • Enables employees to explore different roles and parts of the business
  • Sources skills internally to support initiatives
  • Encourages continual learning and professional development
  • Helps retain employees who show interest in areas outside of their roles

Johnson & Johnson Supports Talent Development Through Real-World Skill Application

In a time when hiring and retaining tech workers can prove challenging, programs like Johnson & Johnson’s can help by giving employees the agency to find their calling, which is an important factor when people think about their jobs, according to research from Gallup.

Fifty-eight percent of people responding to Gallup’s survey say they want space to do what they do best.

“When people have the opportunity to do work they are naturally gifted at and trained to do, they enjoy their work, find it stimulating, and want to do more of it,” writes Ben Wigert, director of research and strategy, Workplace Management, at Gallup. “Unsurprisingly, this item remains one of the most important for workers. Workers who aren't allowed to use their strengths very often seek jobs where they can; workers who do get to use their strengths seek out jobs where they get to use them even more.”

Through this program, Johnson & Johnson encourages its employees to continually invest in their own education, find what they enjoy doing, and apply their skills in a way that supports the company’s far-reaching, innovative work.

In June 2022, Sara joined talent development leaders from Leidos, Peraton and Lockheed Martin at Skillsoft’s Perspectives event in Washington DC to discuss the issue. To learn about how these companies are addressing the challenges of skill and talent shortages, read this blog, “How to Overcome the Tech Talent Shortage.”

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Thinking Outside the [Cardboard] Box https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/thinking-outside-the-cardboard-box Tue, 04 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/thinking-outside-the-cardboard-box

Global logistics company delivers compliance training in multiple languages to an international workforce via Skillsoft’s Language Selector feature

As we look towards a pending recession, organizations around the world are laser-focused on optimizing sales and cutting costs. But to retain employees during a recession, it is important to spend some time on corporate culture.

Fostering a safe, ethical workplace that’s both people-led and innovation-driven can inspire loyalty and trust. Yet, it requires effective compliance training that’s consistent and consolidated.

Skillsoft is a trusted partner to nearly 2,000 organizations who are continuously working to improve their compliance offerings. In fact, we often make product updates and enhancements based on the feedback we receive from our customers so that Skillsoft’s compliance solutions continue to effectively meet the evolving needs of global organizations.

Case in point: Skillsoft works with a well-known global logistics company offering compliance training for hundreds of thousands of people in up to 22 different languages. Before Skillsoft, the company used to build its training courses in-house, but a couple of years ago it turned to Skillsoft to help build out content in multiple languages to save time.

While this transition was extremely helpful, the company still faced the challenge of deploying courses in multiple languages. But because it relied on a third-party learning management system (LMS), the process was a bit more complicated.

Administrators at the organization would collect all available versions of a compliance course in what amounted to a digital “box” of content. That box would then be assigned and distributed to each team member, who would then have to sift through its contents to find the right course in their language of choice. The navigation was complicated, confusing, and clunky.

For companies using Skillsoft Percipio as an LMS, the process is naturally more streamlined. But organizations with a third-party LMS need to consider additional issues, including:

  • How to package courses together, making sure to include all available languages?
  • How to enable each language for the users that need them?
  • How to allow users to select their native language?
  • How to track course completions in all languages?

Skillsoft and our global logistics customer knew we needed to work together to improve the process for others with third-party LMSs. So, we decided to think outside the [cardboard] box and create a solution that worked for everyone.

Streamlining Multi-language Training Deployment

Enabling its team to easily access compliance training in their preferred language was a priority for the global logistics company. Language barriers are a contributing factor in 25% of job-related accidents, according to OSHA. Not to mention, people learn faster when training happens in their native language.

In the global workforce, more than 1.5 billion people speak English, but about 75% are non-native speakers. We wanted to make sure that every employee at the organization — and across other organizations with third-party LMS solutions — would have easy access to the compliance training they need in their preferred language.

With ongoing feedback from our customer, Skillsoft introduced a language selector feature to support organizations with multi-language course needs. It allows users select a preferred language directly from their LMS.

Now, organizations like the global logistics company can upload a single version of any course into their LMS and encourage learners to choose their preferred language directly. Skillsoft does heavy lifting, creating connections between different languages and lightening the load for both administrators and users.

Understanding the Language Selector feature for Compliance

Learners can get to work quickly and efficiently with minimal effort from administrators.

  1. Load a preferred default language into the LMS.
    Administrators no longer need to load multiple course titles. Save time and conserve bandwidth by loading the English version of the course, only, and tracking course completions in all available languages back to that version.
  2. Select a preferred language.
    When learners launch a course for the first time, they will be able to select a preferred language from a list. The languages displayed will include the translations available for that course in the languages an organization has licensed (replicating some of the capabilities of Skillsoft Percipio Compliance).
  3. Hit play.
    After learners select their preferred language, the page will be translated into that language, and they can launch into the course. Each time the course is opened, the language selector page automatically defaults to the preferred language.

An organization can configure a course to reflect its own documents, policies, non-instructional videos, and custom text and audio; the configured course will continue to work with the language selector.

Committed to improving User Experience

The biggest win for both Skillsoft and our global logistics customer? A drastically improved end-user experience. Now, Skillsoft compliance courses look and function better — all because of the useful feedback and trusted partnership Skillsoft forged with the customer.

Skillsoft customers with third-party LMSs can now quickly and easily assign and track compliance courses across multiple languages. Every employee will have the ability to choose their preferred training language easily — so they can focus on maintaining a safe and ethical workplace, and not the logistics.

Another bonus? The language selector tool can support your organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by making compliance training as easy as possible to access, in every language.

Questions about how Skillsoft’s Language Selector feature can serve your organization? Contact us today.

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What Spikes in Cloud Security Training Tell Us https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-spikes-in-cloud-security-training-tell-us Mon, 03 Oct 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-spikes-in-cloud-security-training-tell-us

The lightning-fast adoption of cloud technology due to the COVID-19 pandemic had an undeniable effect on global business. It provided a successful way for organizations to deliver service and employment in a time of worldwide uncertainty, but it's a success that comes at a price. While cloud technology offers more access to data, it also means that organizations must take greater care to ensure their data remains secure.

Cloud security is a highly technical process, and this widespread adoption uncovered a gap in the labor market. As a result, many organizations and individuals took the initiative to gain the skills needed to support cloud initiatives long term.

At Skillsoft, we’ve seen this trend play out in a noticeable growth of course consumption, particularly in cybersecurity and cloud. Between 2020 and 2021, learners were eager for information on security essentials, infosec, cloud security, cybersecurity, and ethical hacking. Overall, security saw the most significant growth in the number of hours consumed by learners.

Cybersecurity was among the highest areas of growth in training last year, increasing by 59%, according to data from Skillsoft’s learning experience platform Percipio. Cloud security in particular saw a high concentration of consumption as more practitioners sought to understand and strengthen their knowledge in this area. Further, secure coding grew by 30%, indicating that many organizations saw value in reinforcing and promoting security among their distributed development teams.

In 2021, we also saw a shift in what digital badge learners dedicated themselves to earning. In 2020 learners were interested in understanding their biases and navigating their roles in the new hybrid workforce. In 2021, learners were all in on application security, API security, and cloud security fundamentals. These spikes in cloud security training further point to the fact that organizations worldwide are concerned about their cyber and cloud security.

See also: Skillsoft’s cybersecurity training provides professionals with chances to practice what they learn through code challenges, simulations and personalized learning. Learn more.

Cloud security skills mitigate risk

The largest corporations in the world and the smallest businesses rely on secure data to deliver excellent customer service. However, while it is essential for data to stay safe, the closer it gets to the consumer, the less secure it will be.

For example, the algorithms that provide custom recommendations based on previous purchases, and virtual shopping carts, are the weakest link in online shopping portals. Regardless, these features are now ingrained in customers’ habits and expectations, so they likely won’t go away. Instead, they must be patched, monitored, and secured.

Many companies moved to the cloud because it makes doing business on a larger scale easier. Keeping online portals and applications up and running is more manageable in the cloud, which allows IT teams to improve how they utilize resources across services. But, each cloud service a business operates adds more complexity to its overall security operation.

Unstable cloud architectures can not only lead to data breaches but may also cause latency in service, which can impact sales. Therefore, organizations must ensure their cloud architecture is stable, secure, and available 24x7x365, which is not always easy to do with the current state of the cybersecurity industry.

Usually, when adopting new technology, organizations move slowly. They want a chance to kick the tires and ensure the technology works and is safe, but many couldn’t dedicate the time or resources to ensure total security. As a result, we see several challenges rising in the cybersecurity space today.

As state actors execute increasingly high-profile hacks on government and global corporations and people retire from long-held security positions taking their industry knowledge with them, a widening knowledge gap is forming in cybersecurity. Simply put, there are not enough cybersecurity professionals to keep all our data safe.

A data-driven world needs skilled security professionals

There is a lack of talent in the cybersecurity industry due to several factors:

  • Professionals are retiring and taking their institutional knowledge with them.
  • Companies don’t have the budget to attract skilled candidates.
  • Technology is advancing rapidly in use and complexity, and current skills can’t keep up.
  • Hackers never stop learning how to exploit these technological advancements.

To see the benefits of the new era of connected business, many corporations are realizing the high cost of hiring professionals to handle IT security.

Even with a significant bump in investment by IT departments, up to 50% in some companies, organizations are still struggling with hiring skilled cloud and cybersecurity candidates.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. We have seen a significant leap in learners consuming cloud security courses, signaling that many realize this challenge and have begun to respond by earning the required skills.

The ability to scale on demand is a priority for many organizations, but they must ensure that growth happens securely. If confidential information about your clients, customers, or employees becomes the target of a breach, then it’s not just cloud security that you’ll need to upgrade. You’ll need to take steps to restore both the economic and reputational damage caused by the breach to your company and network.

Skillsoft CISO Okey Obudulu presented at SecurityWeek’s Cloud Security Summit in 2022, offering advice and strategies for security leaders to better prepare their workforces to face emerging threats. See the on-demand recording here.

Adaptability comes through learning

Top talent costs the business. You don’t hear much about big tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, or IBM being the target of a data breach — because they can afford to hire the best. As a result, when clients use Amazon or Microsoft cloud products, those clients worry less about data security. But, if you don’t have these organizations’ vast resources, you must find another pathway toward unbeatable security skills.

The most successful way forward is to train your IT security management team to be versatilists; a versatilist is someone with a future-proof skillset that is both broad and deep. When time and security matter, organizations need professionals with comprehensive knowledge and deep expertise. The idea is simple, but in execution, it takes time and investment to train versatilists.

It’s a complex and intense career path, and the people who succeed tend to be lifelong learners. The good news is that learning can be fostered with the proper learning and development solutions. Organizations must provide tools to help talent become comfortable being on the chaotic front lines of cybersecurity.

Being successful on the front lines means versatilists not only need world-class tech skills but strong interpersonal “power” skills as well. Examples of power skills include awareness of personal bias, resilience, active listening, mindful communication, conflict resolution, and the effective giving and receiving of feedback.

When it comes time for an organization's cloud and security teams to recommend immediate action, that team needs an effective communicator to get executive leadership on board. These are skills that an organization can foster through leadership training and development.

Upskilling and reskilling can meet cybersecurity demands

To sum up, enterprises need to remain nimble to cope with disruption. The best way to do this is by providing opportunities for employees to acquire and perfect the necessary skills. Therefore, a fully supported learning and skills development program must accurately assess employees’ training needs to keep pace with the fluid nature of learning.

Skills in demand yesterday may not be relevant in a few months, but the safety of sensitive data and information cannot take a back seat. Any organization that wants to train talented versatilists needs to be a stalwart learning partner that provides agile and inclusive learning programs that don't get bogged down by the natural evolution of a changing workplace.

Skillsoft offers a holistic approach to assessing skill gaps, offering personalized learning, and measuring progress over time. Through the Cybersecurity and Cloud Career Journeys, organizations can equip their technical teams with myriad learning resources, including on-demand and live courses, hands-on practice labs and simulations, and far more.

Read more about Skillsoft’s Technology & Developer Career Journeys here.

CYBERSECURITY CAREER JOURNEY

CLOUD CAREER JOURNEY

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Lessons I’ve Learned as a First-Time Manager https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/lessons-ive-learned-as-a-first-time-manager Fri, 30 Sep 2022 14:51:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/lessons-ive-learned-as-a-first-time-manager

For most of my career, I was an individual contributor, and extremely content in this role. I had the freedom to focus exclusively on building my marketing skillset and growing my experience within the tech industry, and that seemed like enough for me.

However, my perspective completely changed when I was asked to build out the intern program at my previous company. I always knew I loved working with people, but I didn’t realize just how much I enjoyed building these interpersonal relationships until I started to manage the interns. I felt proud that I was able to build a program that taught the interns how to navigate the professional world, while giving them the experience they needed to grow.

This is what led me to aspire to be a manager. I wanted to be that support system for those that were just getting started in their careers. I wanted to help them understand the way in which the corporate world works. And I also started to reflect on the great managers that I had, who had been that support system for me. It was time for me to take the next step in my career and start to build the skills that I was missing; leadership power skills.

So, here I am now, a first-time manager at Skillsoft, with much more formal training than I previously had, but still learning as I’m going. And I’m putting these skills to practice in my remote role, which is even more of a challenge. I constantly find myself wondering: How am I supposed to build relationships with my team? What are the skills I need to develop to be successful? How will my day-to-day change? Well, I’m happy to say that I’ve learned a lot along the way, through the help of my manager, Caitlin Leddy, my past managers, and through courses on Skillsoft’s First Time Manager Aspire Journey. Here are some of the key pieces of advice I have for those becoming managers within a distributed workforce:

Listen first, then strategize

Oftentimes, new managers feel pressure to step into their new jobs with ideas and opinions right out of the gate. I quickly learned that their strategy should be the complete opposite. It’s so important to listen whole-heartedly to your team, to understand their daily challenges and to see what changes need to be made. You may come in with your own assumptions, but always try and see the situation from the perspective of your team before you dive in with your opinion.

This may take a little extra time and research within a distributed workforce, as you are not constantly intertwined in the team dynamics. Therefore, ask questions constantly. Ask your team why they handle situations the way they do, what their priorities are, what their blockers are, and about their ultimate career goals. From there, use the feedback that you hear from your team to help inform your strategy.

I learned this lesson quickly from one of my managers. He was never the loudest in the room (nor am I), but I learned that that was okay, because that’s how we learned, processed, and made decisions. This is also the way that he led; constantly asking questions to understand what we needed, before providing a solution. All his direct reports appreciated it because we felt heard and understood, and that’s how I aim to manage.

Build trusted relationships with your team through good communication

You will learn early on that you will always be in constant communication with your team as a manager. As someone who manages reports earlier in their career, I am always talking to my reports, whether it’s to discuss next steps, provide feedback on their work, or just to check in. Oftentimes, my reports are new to the field, and are looking for guidance on how to navigate their career path, so we are often discussing what their next move should be. We spend so much time together that at the end of the day, I want my team to enjoy their work, and feel comfortable with me and their working environment.

Developing these types of relationships can often be overlooked within a distributed workforce, because how can you accomplish this if not in the same location? The idea of hybrid equity has made its way across different news outlets- it’s the idea that all your employees, no matter where they are based, are given the same opportunities to succeed. It may be easy to check in more frequently with those that you can see every day, but that doesn’t mean that your team members in different locations should be overlooked. These are some of the steps I take to build trusted relationships,

  • Put in the time- Show your team that you are there for them by setting up frequent 1:1s, participating in their meetings, and getting to know your employees as individuals.
  • Celebrate the team’s success- Build a positive and rewarding culture by making note of your team’s success.
  • Be approachable and honest- Ensure your team knows that they can speak freely with you about any challenges they may be experiencing and provide them with the same honesty in return.

At the end of the day, we are all people first, and without strong working relationships, it becomes difficult to create a fun culture that people want to work in every day.

Face conflict head-on: Identify problems early and own your decisions

No matter how great your team is, there are always going to be issues that arise. I learned that lesson quickly. My reports always excelled in the tasks that they were given, but I could sense when something was off, whether it be collaboration with other teams or the work they were being asked to do.

Do not ignore these issues or look to fix them in the short term. Always dig to understand the root of the problem, because these blockers will continue to build, and will eventually hinder the work and attitude of your employees. In a remote environment, these challenges can be harder to identify, so be sure to ask the right questions to understand exactly what is going on and how you can help.

As Scott Cromar stated in From Technie to Boss: Transitioning to Leadership, “Strong leaders can’t wait until they have all the pieces to make a decision. When you do make a decision, own it. A major responsibility of being a manager is accepting the consequences of the choices you make for the team.” Personally, this has been one the most difficult skills I’ve had to learn as a manager. I suffer from imposter syndrome and therefore often lack the confidence it takes to make decisions and stand by them. The problem is, now the decisions I make not only affect me, but my team. This is a skill that I constantly work to refine with my manager. She has given me the confidence and voice to step up and make decisions for the team. Although it often feels uncomfortable, the more I practice this skill, the more it feels like a natural part of my responsibilities.

Lead by example: Set expectations and live up to them

Managing your team’s priorities, expectations and goals is one of the biggest responsibilities of becoming a manager. But maybe even bigger than that is living by the standards you hold your team to. As a first-time manager, you are one setting the tone of the team, but you are also still part of the team. And if you don’t hold yourself accountable for your work and your actions, then why would your team think they need to follow your rules?

If the expectation you set with your team is that employees do not check-in at work during their vacation, don’t send emails or messages while you are out of office. If you ask your team to be present during meetings, don’t multi-task during the meetings that they host. The best way to set expectations and ground them in your team culture is by living them yourself.

I had one manager who set a very clear expectation that we should not be opening our computers when we were on PTO. He told us that vacations were necessary and assured us that the team would be able to cover for us, no matter what came up. He was able to exemplify that behavior himself by taking a ten-day vacation without his computer. When he returned from his trip, I told him that one of my projects had completely fallen apart, but the team has figured it out. His response was “What type of manager would I be if I didn’t trust you to solve those types of problems on your own?” And he was right. Through his example, we learned that the priority would always be our mental health, and that he trusted us to lead projects and come up with our own solutions.

Once you set the vision for your team, get out of their way

Your team will be far more engaged and content in their roles if they are given the freedom to make their own decisions, solve their own challenges, and manage their own projects. It’s often difficult for new managers to take a step back from day-to-day tasks, but that’s the only way to allow your employees to develop their skillsets. Cromar also states, “As the leader of a team, your focus is to understand the moving parts on a larger scale.” The manager must think bigger than simply how to get the work done. It’s now about managing on a higher level and developing talent across your team.

When we can’t always see what everyone’s doing on a day-to-day in a distributed work environment, it’s sometimes hard to immediately trust and to not overstep. You may be nervous because you can’t physically see what your team is doing and feel that you need to constantly check in and do the work for them. However, once you start to delegate and let your team run with their own projects, you will quickly see their strengths, and where they may need your guidance. Take a step back so you can evaluate what your team can do on their own and help build their skillset from there.

Make time for formal learning

It can be easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day responsibilities of being a manager and forget to take a step back and do the work to educate ourselves. We can easily get lost in the tactical work and lose sight of the power skills we need to build to drive change.

But, with the right training, mentors, coaches, resources, and hands-on experience, you can develop the key competencies that will allow you to be successful, particularly as the workplace landscape continues to evolve.

I’ve been able to build these leadership skills through many different resources, including Skillsoft’s First Time Manager Aspire Journey as well as Skillsoft’s First Time Manager Career Journey. However, if you need to learn how you can get started, be sure to check out A Guide for Coaching First Time Managers and Skillsoft’s Leadership & Business Portfolio for some excellent tips.

At the end of the day, leadership is a competency, not just a role. It’s a skillset that drives true behavioral change, and therefore is impossible to become a leader overnight. Building these managerial skills requires a mix of both formal knowledge and practical application to put you on the right track. And with the right balance of formal and hands-on experiences, you’ll be able to drive business value through the application of leadership competencies.

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15 Top-Paying IT Certifications of 2022 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/15-top-paying-it-certifications-of-2022 Thu, 29 Sep 2022 07:30:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/15-top-paying-it-certifications-of-2022

Recruiting and retaining top talent in the IT industry has become increasingly tough amid a rapidly changing labor market and higher competition for skilled, certified professionals.

As the skills gap continues to impact businesses in critical areas like cloud, data science and cybersecurity, organizations seek out those professionals with reputable credentials that validate their experience and capability. In turn, these certified professionals tend to enjoy more leverage in the marketplace because they’ve earned certifications recognized as trustworthy affirmations of their skills.

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

The cumulative results are fascinating insights into the value of skills and certifications. This year in the U.S., 2,557 professionals took the survey. That’s how we’ve arrived at this list.

In the coming weeks, Skillsoft will release comprehensive findings in the 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report. Until then, find the 2021 report here.

Below, you’ll find 15 of the highest paying certifications in IT. In this year’s list, you’ll see a trend similar to last year, with continued emphasis on cloud and cybersecurity certifications — likely due to the sustained demand for professionals with these skills.

“This year’s list is notable first by what topics continue to be hot this year – cloud foremost, supplemented by a couple of key certifications in cybersecurity and data,” says Michael Yoo, Customer Market Leader - T&D at Skillsoft. “Not surprising, given how nearly every company in every industry of every size in every geography is relying upon cloud computing to power their technology strategy.”

While the data shows these certifications have higher salaries associated with them, it’s important to remember salaries are the culmination of several factors, including the ability to apply your certified skills at work, job role, continuous professional development, tenure, and hard work.

The list also provides a snapshot of the typical person holding certification for each credential, including the average number of certifications held, the most popular cross-certification, if they hold cybersecurity-related certifications, if they are in management, and their average age. In order for certifications to make the list, they must have had at least 50 responses in the survey. See more on our methodology at the very end of this blog.

#1 AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

$168,080.36

Throughout the history of our annual research, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (not Professional) has ranked on this list several times, with a few appearances at the very top.

This year, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (not Associate) is the highest paying IT certification in 2022, according to the 2,500+ survey respondents.

Solutions architects are among the most in-demand job roles right now. We wrote more about in-demand jobs here. These professionals design, deploy and support often complex cloud infrastructure, and given the need for professionals with these skills, it’s not surprising to see a certification like this landing toward the top of our list.

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional validates an individual’s ability in this area. AWS recommends two or more years of hands-on experience and familiarity with a scripting language, Windows, Linux, and many AWS services. Earning this certification requires professionals pass the current exam (SAP-C01). Changes to the exam are coming in November 2022 to align with the AWS Well-Architected Framework more closely. The exam costs $300 USD.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

See AWS Certification Training

Read also:

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

11

Most popular cross-certification

GCP – Professional Cloud Architect

Earned a certification in the past year

62%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

70%

Work in management

71%

Most commonly held job role

Cloud Architect

Years old

39


#2 CISM - Certified Information Security Manager

$162,347.07

ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification has made appearances on this list several times, holding the number two rank in 2015. In the years that followed, it’s kept a presence on the top-paying list at varying positions.

Last year, CISM ranked number six but climbed to the second position given the nearly 9% hike in salary reported by these professionals.

CISM sustains its presence this year for good reason. Cybersecurity continues to remain a top priority for organizations who must protect sensitive data from ceaseless threat actors. This certification signals to organizations and industry peers that a professional can lead security teams and efforts effectively.

CISM validates the ability to manage, design and assess an enterprise’s information security. It proves expertise in these domains: information security governance, information security risk management, information security program, and incident management.

To earn this certification, professionals must first have five years of professional work experience in the required domains before they can sit the exam, which costs $575 USD for ISACA members and $760 USD for non-members.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.

GET THE GUIDE

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

9

Most popular cross-certification

CISSP

Earned a certification in the past year

65%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

100%

Work in management

66%

Most commonly held job role

Security Manager or Director

Years old

45


#3 Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Architect

$161,371.46

Ranking among the top again this year is the Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Architect, a credential that validates a professional’s ability to design cloud architecture with compliance and security in mind.

This credential also validates the ability to manage implementation, provision infrastructure, improve processes and more. However, to earn this certification, it’s recommended professionals have at least three years of experience before sitting the exam, with at least one designing and managing solutions in Google Cloud.

There is a $200 exam fee, and professionals have two hours to complete the exam. The certification lasts for two years before professionals must recertify.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

Prep for the exam with our free guide.

GET THE GUIDE

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

8

Most popular cross-certification

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

Earned a certification in the past year

70%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

50%

Work in management

66%

Most commonly held job role

Cloud Architect

Years old

39

#4 CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional

$158,190.79

Earning the CISSP certification has been compared to earning a master’s degree in IT security, as it proves professionals have what it takes to effectively design, implement, and manage a cybersecurity program.

This certification ranks slightly higher this year — it was number five last year — with a nearly 5% gain in salary.

The CISSP exam is based around eight domains in information security:

  1. Security and Risk Management
  2. Asset Security
  3. Security Architecture and Engineering
  4. Communication and Network Security
  5. Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  6. Security Assessment and Testing
  7. Security Operations
  8. Software Development Security

To achieve this certification, candidates also need at least five years of paid, relevant work experience in two or more of the CISSP domains.

If you lack the necessary experience, you can still take the certification exam and become an Associate of (ISC)2 if you pass. Then, you’ll have up to six years to obtain the required experience to earn your CISSP. The exam is $749 USD (up from $699 last year).

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.

GET THE GUIDE

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

9

Most popular cross-certification

Security+

Earned a certification in the past year

67%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

100%

Work in management

53%

Most commonly held job role

Security Manager or Director

Years old

46

#5 AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

$155,019.97

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate serves as a prerequisite for the professional-level certification currently in the number one position of this list.

This certification serves as a credible validation of cloud architects with hands-on professional experience designing fault-tolerant, cost-efficient systems on AWS.

Those who hope to sit this exam should have strong familiarity with the AWS Well-Architected Framework, and it helps to know the basics of programming, though AWS says deep coding experience isn’t required.

To achieve this certification, candidates must pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA-C03) exam. As mentioned, AWS recommends a year of hands-on experience designing systems on its platform before taking this exam.

The exam costs $150 USD. Professionals have 130 minutes to complete the 65-question exam.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.

GET THE GUIDE

Read also:

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

9

Most popular cross-certification

GCP – Associate Cloud Engineer

Earned a certification in the past year

70%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

52%

Work in management

49%

Most commonly held job role

Cloud Architect

Years old

39

#6 AWS Certified Security – Specialty

$149,740.74

The AWS Certified Security – Specialty certification validates the ability to secure data in the AWS cloud and successfully navigate complex security challenges.

AWS recommends professionals who want to pursue this certification have at least five years of experience in an IT security role, with two years of working knowledge securing AWS workloads. What’s more, those professionals should have strong familiarity with AWS security services, logging and monitoring strategies, cloud security threat models, security operations and risks, and more.

To earn the certification, professionals must pass the exam. The SCS-C01 exam costs $300 USD. It’s 65 questions and professionals have 170 minutes to complete it.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

See also:

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

12

Most popular cross-certification

Azure Fundamentals

Earned a certification in the past year

61%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

85%

Work in management

72%

Most commonly held job role

Security Architect

Years old

38

#7 PMP: Project Management Professional

$148,290.32

Projects live and die by how they’re managed, which is why skilled project managers are critical to any organization. They help define, organize, and manage projects from start to finish.

The Project Management Institute (PMI®) Project Management Professional (PMP) is one of the most highly regarded certifications of its kind, and it continues to show up on this list year after year.

It provides employers and customers with a level of assurance that a project manager has both experience and knowledge.

To earn the PMP, candidates must meet the Institute’s requirements. Candidates must have a four-year degree, three years of experience leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education or a CAPM® Certification. Or, candidates must have a high school diploma, five years of experience, and 35 hours of project management education/training or hold the CAPM® Certification.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.

GET THE GUIDE

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

7

Most popular cross-certification

ITIL Foundation

Earned a certification in the past year

54%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

55%

Work in management

67%

Most commonly held job role

Project Manager

Years old

47

#8 Nutanix Certified Professional – Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI)

$147,169.68

The Nutanix Certified Professional – Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI) certification is designed to recognize a professional’s skills and abilities to deploy, administer, and troubleshoot Nutanix AOS 5.20 in the Enterprise Cloud.

Earning this certification validates a professional’s ability to deploy and administer Nutanix AOS 5.20 nodes, blocks, and clusters. It also proves one can use Prism Element to manage AHV hosts and virtual machines, according to Nutanix.

Before sitting the exam, professionals should familiarize themselves with 12 knowledge objectives laid out by Nutanix:

  1. Understanding Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Concepts
  2. Manage a Nutanix Cluster
  3. Secure a Nutanix Cluster
  4. Configure and Manage Networking
  5. Create and Manage Virtual Machines
  6. Monitor Cluster Health and Alerts
  7. Understand the Nutanix Distributed Storage Fabric
  8. Describe Acropolis Storage Services
  9. Understand Data Resiliency
  10. Implement Data Protection
  11. Understand Prism Central
  12. Conduct Lifecycle Operations

To earn this certification, candidates must pass the exam. It costs $199 USD, spanning 75 questions. Professionals have 120 minutes to complete the exam.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.

GET THE GUIDE

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

7

Most popular cross-certification

VCP-DCV – VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualization

Earned a certification in the past year

65%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

27%

Work in management

30%

Most commonly held job role

Systems Architect

Years old

40

#9 Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

$142,975.98

Professionals who plan to pursue this certification should have advanced experience designing cloud and hybrid solutions running on Microsoft Azure.

These architects work collaboratively with others across the business — from stakeholders to developers and beyond — to overcome the complex challenges that stand in the way of secure, scalable, and reliable Azure solutions. Microsoft recommends these professionals have experience in Azure administration and development, DevOps, networking, virtualization, security, governance and more.

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification replaces its prerequisite on this year’s list as the nineth highest paying IT certification. Last year, the associate-level certification reportedly earned architects $121,420, ranking twelfth on the 2021 list.

To earn this certification, professionals must achieve a prerequisite certification — like the associate level mentioned earlier — and pass the AZ-305 exam, which costs $165 USD.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.

GET THE GUIDE

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

10

Most popular cross-certification

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Earned a certification in the past year

78%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

64%

Work in management

42%

Most commonly held job role

Cloud Architect

Years old

45

#10 Google Cloud - Cloud Digital Leader

$142,707.86

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

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

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

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

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Recommended Course:Cloud Digital Leader Training with Google Cloud

See More Google Cloud Certification Training

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

6

Most popular cross-certification

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

Earned a certification in the past year

75%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

51%

Work in management

59%

Most commonly held job role

Cloud Architect

Years old

39

#11 CISA - Certified Information Systems Auditor

$142,336.58

CISA-certified professionals can serve as the conduit between technical, legal and compliance teams and ensure organizations protect privacy and manage risk in an efficient, cost-effective way.

This certification has been around since 1978, making it one of the oldest, and most respected, credentials on this list. For many years, it’s retained a presence on our list but in 2022 it comes with an average salary that’s reportedly 5%+ higher than in 2021.

ISACA’s CISA certification validates audit, risk and cybersecurity skills pertaining to these domains:

  1. Information Systems Auditing Process
  2. Governance and Management of IT
  3. Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation
  4. Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience
  5. Protection of Information Assets

Earning this certification means you meet the minimum requirements and pass the exam. Like the CISM featured in the number two rank, professionals who pursue this exam must have at least five years of professional auditing experience. The exam costs $575 USD for ISACA members and $760 USD for non-members.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.

GET THE GUIDE

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

7

Most popular cross-certification

CISSP

Earned a certification in the past year

41%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

100%

Work in management

60%

Most commonly held job role

Security Manager or Director

Years old

44


#12 AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty

$138,403.51

The AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty certification is for those with at least two years of experience working with AWS and Big Data.

Earning this certification proves a data architect’s ability to:

  • Implement core AWS Big Data services according to best practices
  • Design and maintain Big Data
  • Automate data analysis

AWS recommends professionals who pursue this certification earn the Certified Cloud Practitioner, AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate or another associate-level certification as a prerequisite. It’s also recommended to have at least five years of experience in the data analytics field. The exam costs $300 USD.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

Recommended Training: Building Data Lakes on AWS

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

14

Most popular cross-certification

MSCA: BI Reporting (Retired)

Earned a certification in the past year

36%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

91%

Work in management

88%

Most commonly held job role

Data Architect

Years old

32

#13 VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualization (VCP-DCV)

$138,349.17

The VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualization (VCP-DCV) certification validates the skills to implement, manage and troubleshoot a vSphere infrastructure. Those with this certification can help organizations build a flexible, secure environment that improves their use of cloud computing.

This certification continues to rank highly, given VMware’s ability to help organizations transition to digital environments, improve experiences, and streamline operations and workflows.

To earn this certification, VMware requires candidates to attend at least one course offered by an authorized training provider, specifically:

VMware will accept other courses as well, but it’s best to check which qualify before registering for the exam. In addition to attending a class, candidates should have at least six months of experience working with the latest version of vSphere, VMware’s server virtualization software.

To earn this certification, you must pass the exam: Professional VMware vSphere 7.x (2V0-21.20). You’re given 130 minutes to complete a 70-question exam that costs $250 USD.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

See VMware Certification Training

Read also:

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

9

Most popular cross-certification

NCP-MCI-Nutanix Certified Professional – Multicloud Infrastructure (formerly NCP)

Earned a certification in the past year

75%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

31%

Work in management

40%

Most commonly held job role

Systems Architect

Years old

41


#14 AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

$135,612.16

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is the starting point for those who plan on pursuing a role as a cloud or solutions architect. This foundational certification validates a professional’s knowledge of the AWS Cloud, its services, and more.

After earning this certification, professionals open many doors to associate, professional and specialty-level certifications. For example, someone starting out may pursue this certification, but then go onto earn two others featured higher on this list: the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate and Professional. See what an AWS certification progression can look like here.

AWS recommends professionals have at least six months of experience with the platform before sitting the CLF-C01 exam, which costs $100 USD. Professionals have 90 minutes to complete the exam.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

Recommended Course:AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

7

Most popular cross-certification

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

Earned a certification in the past year

76%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

58%

Work in management

42%

Most commonly held job role

Solutions Architect

Years old

42

#15 CCNP Enterprise

$133,568.33

The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Enterprise is an advanced certification that requires deep knowledge and understanding of the Cisco technology used in today’s complex networks.

This certification is designed for network engineers and administrators who collaborate with specialists on advanced security, voice, wireless and video solutions.

To earn a CCNP Enterprise certification, candidates must pass two exams — a core exam and a concentration exam of your choice, which Cisco says allows you to personalize your focus as a networking professional.

The core exam covers enterprise infrastructure including dual-stack (IPv4 and IPv6) architecture, virtualization, infrastructure, network assurance, security, and automation. Concentration exams test professionals on topics like network design, SD-WAN, and more.

While Cisco does not have formal requirements for those who wish to pursue this certification, it does say that most have three to five years of hands-on professional experience.

Professional-level exams — including those for CCNP certifications — cost $400 USD for the core exam and another $300 USD for the concentration exam.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More About This Certification

Prepare for the exam with our free guide.

GET THE GUIDE

AVERAGE CERTIFICATION-HOLDER

Number of certifications

8

Most popular cross-certification

Security+

Earned a certification in the past year

58%

Earned a cybersecurity certification

48%

Work in management

18%

Most commonly held job role

Network Engineer

Years old

44

Certifications that Just Missed the Cut

Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) by ISACA

This year, there wasn’t enough data to featured CRISC formally on the U.S. list, but including both the U.S. and Canada, those professionals together reported an average of $167,145 in 2022. As with many from ISACA, this certification has a long history featured on this list for the high salaries they command but also the credibility they lend to security professionals.

Learn More About This Certification

Google Cloud – Professional Data Engineer

The Professional Data Engineer was the highest paying certification on this list in 2021 with a reported average salary of $171,749. Earning this certification requires several years of professional experience, some of which should be with Google Cloud specifically. A Data Engineer must know how to build and management data processing systems.

Learn More About This Certification

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) by EC-Council

A respected credential, the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) teaches professionals about ethical hacking, attack vectors and more, but does so in a way that provides hands-on instruction to reinforce concepts and build valuable skills. While the certification did not have enough responses to make the formal list, those who reported having this certification made on average $139,539.

Learn More About This Certification

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals

Close to making the list this year was Microsoft’s entry-level certification, Azure Data Fundamentals. The average salary reported was $133,088, placing it just below Cisco’s CCNP Enterprise. This certification validates a professional’s knowledge for core data concepts and working with data in Azure.

Learn More About This Certification

More findings from the It Skills and Salary Survey

This list is compiled of a subset of data from the 2022 IT Skills and Salary survey. Globally, the total response count exceeds 7,900 responses. This data focuses only on those respondents whose residence is in the United States.

  • The average salary of the 2,557 U.S. respondents was $110,765. Google Cloud’s Associate Cloud Engineer was the most commonly held certification, followed by CompTIA’s A+, Security+ and Network+. 62% earned a certification in the last year, hold four certifications, and manage a team (58%).
  • Almost half (45%) of IT professionals say the nature of their training in the last 12 months was certification focused, while the main reason for training was to prepare their organizations for a new technology, product migration or deployment. Despite this, 61% say their management doesn’t see the value in training — which is cited as the leading inhibitor to training.

  • 85% of IT leaders in the U.S. say certified professionals add $10,000 or more in economic value to their organizations over non-certified professionals. 21% say it’s more than $30,000. IT leaders cite higher productivity as the leading benefit of certified staff, but also note competitive advantage and turnover reduction.

How we built the List

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

The survey is distributed to IT professionals around the world by technology providers, certification bodies and Skillsoft, among others. Over 2,500 IT professionals in the U.S. participated.

To qualify for our list, a certification must have at least 50 U.S. survey responses to be considered. Then, we consider relevance, demand, and certification requirements. Salaries are not normalized for cost-of-living or location (e.g., California vs. Montana).

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The 7 Skills Security Professionals Need in 2023 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-7-skills-security-professionals-need-in-2023 Wed, 28 Sep 2022 12:45:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-7-skills-security-professionals-need-in-2023

A severe worldwide shortage of cybersecurity skills has left organizations exposed to cyberattacks. In a survey conducted by Fortinet, 80% of companies reported suffering at least one network breach that could be attributed to a lack of cybersecurity skills among their workers.

At the heart of the matter is a simple issue of supply and demand. According to a 2021 report from (ISC)2, the world needs about 2.72 million more cybersecurity professionals to fully meet global demand for cybersecurity skills.

Instead of hiring external candidates to fill their skills gaps, CISOs and other security and IT leaders will need to take a different approach. As they look to strengthen their defenses against cyber threats in the coming year, they’ll need to rely on training. Comprehensive learning programs, like Skillsoft’s Cybersecurity Career Journey, can help veteran IT workers master the latest cybersecurity best practices — or even help total rookies successfully make the switch to cybersecurity careers.

That said, security leaders must zero in on the most impactful skills if they want to get the most out of cybersecurity training. When it comes to preparing for the biggest cybersecurity threats of today and tomorrow, organizations would do well to focus on cultivating these seven skills in their workforces:

1. Application Security

In 2021, learners earned a combined total of 12.7 million digital badges for completing courses in Skillsoft’s learning experience platform Percipio and Aspire Journeys. According to the 2021 Lean Into Learning Report, the four most commonly earned badges all dealt with application security: Application Security Awareness & Validation, Secure Application Architecture & IAM, API Security, and OWASP Top 10 List Items.

It’s important to note that these application security skills didn’t top the list of most-earned cybersecurity badges — they topped the list of most earned badges in any domain. They even beat out broadly applicable skills like communication and understanding unconscious bias. That reflects just how necessary application security is for today’s organizations.

The average large firm uses 129 different apps across teams and functions, and every single one of those apps could be a target for malicious actors. That’s why cybersecurity professionals who know how to build, implement, and maintain secure applications are in such high demand today.

Interested in learning more about application security? Check out these courses on Skillsoft:

2. Cloud Security

Cloud skills also held a prominent place in Skillsoft’s 2021 list of the top digital badges, with Cloud Security Fundamentals: Cloud Application Security and Cloud Computing Fundamentals: Introduction ranking in the top 10.

In the era of digital transformation, organizations increasingly rely on cloud services for everything from data storage and analytics to the outsourcing of critical business functions. But using the cloud is not without risk — and much of that risk comes from a company’s lack of internal cloud security skills. According to Gartner, “nearly all” cloud security breaches stem from user mistakes rather than errors on the part of the cloud service provider. Cultivating in-house cloud security skills is the key to avoiding these mishaps.

Moreover, cloud security is a natural complement to application security, given that a significant number of the apps companies rely on are cloud-hosted. You can’t have secure applications without a secure cloud.

Interested in learning more about cloud security? Check out these courses on Skillsoft:

3. Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Identity system defense came in at number two in Gartner’s list of the top seven cybersecurity trends for 2022. That’s because most data breaches — as many as 67% by some estimates — are caused by credential theft, social engineering, and other means of compromising employees’ accounts.

The best way to defend against these common attacks is with a robust identity and access management (IAM) strategy. Organizations are safer when their cybersecurity teams can implement and maintain secure IAM technologies and tactics like multifactor authentication, passwordless authentication, privileged access management, single sign-on, and more.

Interested in learning more about identity and access management? Check out these courses on Skillsoft:

4. Attack surface management (ASM)

Identity system defense may have taken the number two spot in Gartner's list of 2022 cybersecurity trends, but attack surface management was number one. The average organization’s attack surface is larger and more distributed than ever, comprising on-premises, hybrid and cloud-based infrastructure — plus mobile devices, IoT devices, and more. Between all those assets, there may be millions of vulnerabilities lurking in a company’s network. To monitor and mitigate all of them, Gartner recommends “security leaders look beyond traditional approaches.”

Enter attack surface management, the cybersecurity subdiscipline that focuses on tracking network assets, assessing vulnerabilities, and thwarting attacks before they can happen. Companies need cybersecurity pros who can use the latest and greatest tools and best practices to corral their ever-expanding attack surfaces.

Interested in learning more about attack surface management? Check out these courses on Skillsoft:

5. Secure Network Architecture

Secure network architecture goes hand in hand with attack surface management. If attack surface management is about closing vulnerabilities across the enterprise network, secure network architecture is about building those networks so that minimal vulnerabilities are present in the first place.

Learning secure network architecture skills enables your cybersecurity team to use approaches like zero trust architecture to design, implement, and protect today's distributed, interconnected networks.

Interested in learning more about secure network architecture? Check out these courses on Skillsoft:

6. Ethical Hacking

So much of cybersecurity — perhaps more than you realize — is built on the foundations of ethical hacking. Being able to assess your organization’s cybersecurity systems from the viewpoint of your adversaries is critical for penetration testing, of course.

But ethical hacking skills can also yield valuable insights in domains like vulnerability management, threat hunting, incident response, and even secure software development. If your cybersecurity team knows how hackers behave and what they’re looking for, they’ll have an easier time heading off their attacks.

Interested in learning more about ethical hacking? Check out these courses on Skillsoft:

7. Business Leadership Skills

Soft skills rarely come up in conversations about cybersecurity. That may have something to do with why so many organizations are struggling to build cybersecurity awareness among their employees.

As Forrester notes in a recent report, How to Manage the Human Risk in Cybersecurity, existing approaches to cybersecurity training for the general employee population aren’t cutting it. Despite organizations pouring time and money into these campaigns, the average employee is still susceptible to social engineering, unsafe browsing habits, and other behaviors that put companies at risk. To change that, Forrester says, cybersecurity teams must make a greater effort to win the hearts and minds of non-security employees.

Toward that end, Forrester recommends that cybersecurity teams not overlook leadership skills like communication, influence, and emotional intelligence when building cybersecurity capacity. Armed with these soft skills, cybersecurity teams may have an easier time earning the trust of their peers — and that trust is a key catalyst for company-wide behavior changes that keep the organization safe and secure.

Leadership skills can and should be incorporated into cybersecurity training. One good way to do that is by offering a mentorship program, such as the one provided by Skillsoft’s Cybersecurity Career Journey. With support from real experts in the cybersecurity field, learners will be able to see those leadership skills in action.

Interested in learning more about business leadership skills? Check out these courses on Skillsoft:

Training Is the Best Defense Against Cyberattacks

Cyberattacks and data breaches can cost companies millions of dollars in terms of lost revenue, remediation expenses, and reputation damage. They’re also becoming more common, with the frequency of cyberattacks increasing by 50 percent between 2020 and 2021.

Organizations need to build strong cybersecurity teams to defend against these attacks. That’s hard to do when a third of cybersecurity job vacancies regularly go unfilled, and 60% of organizations struggle to recruit cybersecurity talent. With cybersecurity skills in short supply, security leaders’ best bet is to invest in cybersecurity training to build the skills they need in-house.

Comprehensive cybersecurity training programs, like Skillsoft’s Cybersecurity Career Journey, offer IT professionals and novices a pathway to mastering today’s most vital cybersecurity skills. Cybercriminals won’t stand a chance.

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HAPPY NATIONAL COMPLIANCE OFFICER DAY! https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/happy-national-compliance-officer-day Mon, 26 Sep 2022 10:15:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/happy-national-compliance-officer-day

If you’ve been shopping lately, you’ve probably noticed that retail chain stores are already starting to roll out their holiday decorations – even before the first days of autumn. But in our rush to get to the next “big” holiday, we don’t want to forget a lesser known but arguably way more important celebration: National Compliance Officer Day.

National Compliance Officer Day, which originated in the United States, is celebrated annually on September 26 by die-hard compliance professionals and those that appreciate them. It is meant to honor the work of all compliance officers who strive to achieve an ethical and safe environment at their respective organizations.

In honor of the occasion, the Skillsoft team wanted to recognize our own compliance officer, Stephen Martin, senior vice president, Legal Compliance who recently joined the company. Stephen has been working with us in various capacities for quite some time, and we’re so pleased that we snagged him for good.

Happy National Compliance Officer Day, Stephen!

A Day in the Life of a Compliance Officer

Compliance officers have many roles and responsibilities. They are often tasked with solving problems that organizations didn’t realize were problems in the first place. So, we were curious to learn more about how Stephen spends his time. Here’s the inside scoop, in his own words.

Skillsoft: What is your role at Skillsoft?

Stephen: My role as SVP Legal Compliance at Skillsoft is to oversee the company’s compliance program – making sure that it helps to reduce risk and maximize performance. I provide support to Skillsoft employees, and the business as a whole, on all things compliance-related. Specific examples of what I’ve been working on lately include:

  • Helping to oversee the company’s data protection and privacy initiatives alongside the information security team
  • Working on the enhancement of the company’s compliance program to ensure the program meets government expectations for a publicly traded company and is practical for our employees in helping us maintain an effective compliance and risk framework
  • Working on a steering committee responsible for designing, implementing, and monitoring Skillsoft’s Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) program and related processes

Honestly, one of the biggest challenges that you’ll find in many organizations is that their compliance officer is siloed – working only on policies or code of conduct. Since joining Skillsoft, I’ve been fortunate to be involved in a lot of different areas in the Skillsoft’s business – working with different business units and teaming with various functions such as human resources, procurement, internal audit, and information security.

Skillsoft understands that ethical business practices and compliance is a critical part of everything we do as an organization, and that makes it easier for us to proactively address potential risks and issues. Creating a forward-thinking compliance program that is tailored to the risks specific to your organization is the best way to help your executive team understand and reduce risk in the business and in strategic initiatives – from entries into new markets, to launching new products and services, and more.

As your business grows, compliance officers should be thinking: What does this mean from compliance standpoint?

Skillsoft: What did you want to be when you “grew up”?

Stephen: I have always loved sports; I even played baseball in college. It would have been cool to be professional baseball player!

But seriously, I love compliance because every day is different.

On any given day I could be working on a third-party diligence issue, a potential acquisition, data protection policies in Germany, an internal investigation and/or addressing employment law in Brazil – just to name a few. Every “inning” is different, and I need to keep my head in the game as compliance officers often get curveballs thrown at them.

Skillsoft: What kind of education/training should compliance officers undertake?

Stephen: Most compliance officers are lawyers by trade, which can be a very helpful background as they navigate the wide array of issues they are faced with every day.

After I became compliance officer, my first in-house jobs were to help troubled companies handle significant government investigations and recover from significant points of compliance failure. It was in roles that I decided to pursue an MBA in addition to my legal background to better understand the issues these companies were facing from a finance and accounting perspective, helping me to be a more effective compliance officer. At Skillsoft, it is great to be at a company where I am supported in building a practical and effective ethics and compliance program, get to work proactively on compliance issues with senior management and Board, as well as interact with our customers in the compliance training market.

Of course, I also think it is important for compliance officers to continue growing their skills as they advance their career – and this applies to everyone from entry-level to leadership. I’m currently taking a leadership coaching course from Percipio, “Executive Coaching for Transformational Leaders at Skillsoft,” which is helping me to enhance my own leadership skills.

Skillsoft: What does a typical day look like for you?

Stephen: I’m typically up early with my kids and getting them off to school! How and when I start the workday truly depends on what or when issues come up and from what part of the world. You never quite know what any day will be like as a compliance officer. Most of my day involves addressing a variety of issues, ranging from our code of conduct to risk management concerns to advice on data protection agreements as an example. I strive to be responsive to the business as issues arise as you never know what will come up each day. I also work to learn as much about the business as possible to better understand Skillsoft’s risk profile and how our control functions are working.

Skillsoft: What are some of the biggest challenges for compliance officers?

Stephen: For many compliance officers, getting up to speed on the company you’ve joined and its business practices is a challenge. The more you know about your organization, the better equipped you are to come up with a clear plan of action for your compliance program – one that touches on all potential risk areas and how to be more efficient and effective as a compliance officer.

Norm Ford, Skillsoft’s VP of Compliance, wrote a great blog post on how compliance officers can start to improve their organization’s compliance program within the first 30 days of joining the company. He mentioned that compliance officers should:

  • Get to know the existing compliance program, including any perceived gaps
  • Look at all the data you can; learn the business
  • Pivot or make changes as necessary
  • Set achievable goals

My recommendation is to make it clear to your colleagues that you are a trusted advisor – and not the resident “no person” at your organization. Being a trusted advisor means understanding the company, working with the team to find an effective path forward when faced with any problems, and just being generally available.

Skillsoft: What is the best part of your job?

Stephen: Every day, I come to work with a clear purpose. I know that I am here to help all employees and stakeholders make Skillsoft as successful as possible. I know that I am helping to build something special at Skillsoft and to me that makes my job fun, interesting, and exciting.

Skillsoft: What do you wish you had known about compliance before starting the job?

Stephen: I’ve been in compliance for more than 20 years, and I’d say my biggest takeaway is that your reputation and career is all you have. Make sure you are doing things the right way. If you need to stand up to an executive leader who might choose to do something unethical, you have to be comfortable doing it. I think that advice is applicable to everyone – even those in non-compliance roles. Always protect your reputation and do the right thing. Stand up and say something if you see unethical or illegal behavior.

Secondarily, it is so important to understand the issues you are addressing everyday so you can explain them in plain language to everyone from the CEO of your company to the new sales person. That type of practical advice and support can really help move people forward in their jobs.

Skillsoft: Do you have any career advice for other compliance officers or aspiring compliance officers?

Stephen: Be curious. Compliance officers need to figure out a lot of issues they do not have specific expertise in. You must be comfortable figuring things out in a fast-paced environment with competing business needs. If you don’t understand something, figure it out.

And finally, be proactive. Too many compliance officers are just focused on the compliance program “elements” or reactive when issues pop up; yet, the best way to manage risk and help your organization be successful is by envisioning issues and having a practical plan to address them before they happen.

Wish your Compliance Officer A Happy Day!

The team at Skillsoft is thrilled to work with Stephen every day. If you appreciate your compliance officer’s efforts, feel free to download and customize this digital greeting card to help share their story with your community – today, or every day.

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Announcing Digital Badges for Custom Tracks and Journeys: Boost Learner Engagement with Company-Branded Credentials https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/announcing-digital-badges-for-custom-tracks-and-journeys-boost-learner-engagement-with-company-branded-credentials Fri, 23 Sep 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/announcing-digital-badges-for-custom-tracks-and-journeys-boost-learner-engagement-with-company-branded-credentials

With 87 percent of organizations dealing with skills gaps in their workforces, a great learning program can be a competitive advantage. It’s far more efficient to cultivate the skills you need in-house than it is to hire for them in a tight talent market. That’s why 83 percent of organizational decision-makers have made training and development a critical priority within their companies, according to Skillsoft’s Lean Into Learning 2021 report.

But a learning program is only effective if your people are actually using it. That may sound obvious, but the fact is that helping people make time for training has long been a pain point for learning and development (L&D) leaders.

Custom, proprietary learning tracks and journeys are one way that L&D teams can drive learner engagement. Employees tend to naturally gravitate toward learning experiences that are meaningful and relevant to their roles, and that’s exactly what custom training content delivers. Today, we’re announcing a new way for L&D teams to boost learner engagement even further: digital badges for custom tracks and journeys.

Digital badges have already been available for Skillsoft’s prebuilt content library. Now, L&D teams can also create their own company-branded badges for their custom tracks and journeys in Skillsoft Percipio. And these credentials are proven to inspire and empower people to invest in their own upskilling: Badges have been shown to boost login rates by 28 percent, learner return rates by 8 percent, and completion rates by 10 percent.

Learners can now earn powerful, portable credentials for completing your company’s custom learning experiences. Here’s why that matters.

Learning Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All. Credentials Shouldn’t Be, Either.

Most organizations are grappling with skills gaps, but all skills gaps are not the same. Some companies may need more artificial intelligence (AI) and automation skills. Some may need to cultivate cybersecurity expertise. Still others may need to grow leadership skills in the next generation of managers. Similarly, every person learns best in their own way, and each learner brings their own level of preexisting knowledge to their career advancement. Personalization is vital to designing learning programs that empower both people and organizations to grow together.

Your L&D team creates custom learning experiences tailored to your company’s specific skills gaps and your employees’ unique career paths. Custom digital badges give your people an easy way to celebrate, verify, and share their upskilling accomplishments in these custom learning programs both in and outside your organization.

Just like the digital badges Skillsoft offers for prebuilt content, custom digital badges are personal, shareable records of a learner’s achievements. Each badge is verified through a blockchain, creating an unchangeable record of the badge, who earned it, and who issued it. And digital badges comply with IMS Global Learning Consortium Open Badge standards, allowing learners to display badges across the web and share them with peers and managers freely.

The difference is that custom digital badges are designed by your organization for your organization. Your L&D team can create, publish, and deliver company-branded credentials that better reflect your employees’ unique development paths. You can even award badges retroactively to employees who completed custom tracks and journeys before the creation of custom badges.

“What I liked the most was the ability to choose from the different badging templates,” said Steven Potts, Global Talent Development Leader at Diebold Nixdorf, after trying Skillsoft’s custom digital badges. “I think that's awesome because that's what we were looking for. We want our badges to look like us."

By rewarding employees with authoritative credentials for completing company-specific training, L&D teams can inspire and empower people to invest more in their upskilling. Training is no longer just an internal mandate — it’s a way for employees to earn concrete credentials that set them apart. And you build brand recognition as your proud learners share their digital badges on social media, in their personal portfolios, and with their professional networks.

Closing the Skills Gap, One Digital Badge at a Time

With the way technology and business move today, there will always be new skills and competencies for people to master — new challenges for companies to tackle and new opportunities to seize. Rather than scrambling to close every new skills gap as it appears, organizations need to create cultures of learning that enable employees and employers to grow together, no matter what comes their way. The ability to agilely respond to constantly evolving strategic goals is the real competitive advantage of investing in learning and development.

And a culture of learning, of course, requires employees who are motivated and engaged in their own career development. Custom digital badges can help foster that motivation and engagement by tying the company’s custom training to real, valuable outcomes for individual learners. When the organization’s and the employee’s needs are aligned in this way, it drives growth, innovation, and transformation across the entire enterprise.

Learn how Skillsoft’s custom digital badges can help you reskill, upskill, and futureproof your organization. Request a demo or connect with your Skillsoft account team today.

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STAY COMPLIANT WITH AN EFFECTIVE GLOBAL CODE OF CONDUCT https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-stay-compliant-on-your-own-terms Tue, 13 Sep 2022 09:04:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-stay-compliant-on-your-own-terms

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

The best way to accomplish this is through a comprehensive, yet custom Global Code of Conduct.

Be Engaging, Be You

Every corporate culture is different, and thus, every code of conduct should be unique to fit its needs. While traditional Code of Conduct training can be dry and generic, modern compliance training can and should reflect your corporate culture and personality.

According to the Global Business Ethics Survey (GBES), culture is the most influential determinant of employee conduct, yet only 14% of employees report strong ethics cultures.

How does employee compliance training reflect your organization’s unique culture?

  1. It’s an opportunity to attract and welcome new employees to your organization.
    Your Global Code of Conduct is one way to build a clear picture of your organization and its core functions for job seekers and employees. What service do you provide? What gap do you fill within the marketplace? What’s your differentiator?

    By creating a comprehensive Global Code of Conduct, your organization can also showcase its commitment to legal and ethical behavior. Your code will serve as a public-facing indicator of the lengths you will go to protect your employees – legally and from a workplace safety perspective. It is a signal to the world that you will not tolerate wrongdoing or illegal behavior.
  2. It enables you to communicate your organization’s mission, vision, and values.
    How do you create and invoke a shared company purpose? Outline your organization’s “why,” or reason for being. As reported in GBES, 85% of employees working for organizations with a strong ethics culture indicate observing favorable outcomes when it comes to compliance.

    For Snap Inc. (Snapchat’s parent company), the overarching ethos is a commitment to kindness. Snap’s original code of conduct was a “straight-text word document” of legalese, said Nicole Diaz, global head of integrity and compliance legal. According to Compliance Week, Diaz and her team set out to overhaul the code. “We knew we wanted to update it to reflect what I think is our biggest asset, which is the culture of the company,” she said. The distinction in company culture — and its presentation — earned Snap the honor of 2022 Compliance Program of the Year.
  3. You can demonstrate buy-in from the top down.
    The best way to show your organization’s collective purpose is to demonstrate how to do the “right thing" from the top down. Enlist executives or key stakeholders to record first-person messages within your compliance training program. These messages should include expectations for compliance, personal anecdotes, and ways to report issues in a safe way.

    In a Forbes article, Thomas Sehested explained why this is crucial to team mentality. “Executives, management, and business leaders can play an active role in establishing and monitoring the compliance strategy,” Sehested wrote. “This will require clear communication between these leaders and the compliance program. To begin with, leaders must not transmit the idea that compliance is a ‘necessary evil.’ Employees are more likely to get on board if they understand that, when implemented correctly, compliance can become a competitive advantage.”
  4. It fosters a safe and ethical work environment.
    Virtually every workplace training program aspires to compliancy. Whether it be diversity, equity and inclusion training, proper interaction with vendors and customers, or sexual harassment reporting — training should begin with a well-defined code that employees can follow.

    Hill International, Inc., a leader in managing construction risk, needed a global safety training solution for its 2,700 professionals in 50 offices worldwide. In addition to a compliance course, the company issued employees supplemental assignments with Legal Impacts and Compliance Shorts, all in multiple languages. Of 800 employees polled, 34% said they face an ethical decision weekly and the training provided them with a reliable process for making the right decision.

Grow Revenue through Compliance

The average overall cost of non-compliance is $14.82 million annually — up 45% since 2011. But according to a report by Complysci, “Centralizing the compliance function, or at least standardizing the way people in different divisions or departments comply, can yield the biggest rewards for firms, in terms of lowering compliance expenses and making the idea of ‘non-compliance’ even less attractive.”

A customized compliance solution is not only good for company culture; it can actually save money and inspire growth.

Compliance Training that makes an Imprint

For compliance training that “sticks,” Skillsoft is launching its new Global Code of Conduct solution. Based on neuroscience, the interactive content shows employees how to address compliance concerns and make the “right” decisions every day.

Skillsoft’s solution lets organizations incorporate a custom welcome message from top-level executives, add corporate mission statements, policy language, and reporting procedures.

With 27 content modules in 30+ languages, Skillsoft’s program covers a wide variety of compliance issues for a global audience. Top risk topics include:

  • Anti-bribery
  • Antitrust
  • Avoiding conflicts of interest
  • Avoiding discrimination and promoting diversity
  • Business ethics
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data privacy and information security
  • Gifts, gratuities, and entertainment
  • Insider dealing
  • Preventing harassment and promoting respect
  • Promoting reports of misconduct
  • Protection of company information/intellectual property

Within the course template, risk areas are introduced via video, further explored through short, instructional messaging, and reinforced with skill-building interactions.

What’s more, it’s easy to implement. Global Code of Conduct integrates with the Skillsoft Percipio Compliance learning management system as well as other third-party platforms, so it’s available to all Skillsoft customers. And HTML-based instructional content allows for ease of customization at a lower cost and shorter time to implementation.

Ready to implement a Global Code of Conduct within your organization? Contact sales today for customization options and to stay in the loop with all Skillsoft learning experiences.

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4 Tips for Creating Learning Equity Through Literacy https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/4-tips-for-creating-learning-equity-through-literacy Thu, 08 Sep 2022 09:09:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/4-tips-for-creating-learning-equity-through-literacy

The world is fast paced. It’s tough to find time to read a book or master a new skill. If you’re still commuting to work, you might be able to listen to an audiobook during your commute; but, if you’re like many people who are regularly working from home, you’ve probably found yourself with less listening time than before.

Today, International Literacy Day, is a good reminder to continuously offer your team opportunities for learning, reading, and listening to provide an equitable workplace. Here’s why this is important:

  • Across the world, over 771 million individuals, many of whom are women, lack basic literacy skills.
  • In the United States alone, only 79 percent of the adult population is considered fully literate.

What does it mean to be fully literate? Defined by Merriam-Webster, literate is the ability to read and write. For many individuals, this may seem straightforward, but that is not the case for others with disabilities and impairments relating to hearing and speech or those without access to regular learning and education. In fact, literacy may affect your employees without your knowledge, or it may impact the ability for individuals to get hired. Literacy is crucial to the performance of employees across industries in organizations in order to allow them to understand their work, complete their work successfully, and problem solve – it becomes an equity problem.

That’s why, as an employer, building literacy across the entire workforce needs to be on your radar. It is your responsibility to address these discrepancies and actively work to change them through literacy programs and learning initiatives to create an equitable workplace.

Ensuring there is equity in this area may seem like a daunting task but remembering the following points will help in nurturing your employees and creating a successful program.

Consider your goals.

For your organization, providing effective literacy programs could be a matter of equity and social justice. Consider what issues inform how you are investing in education, and to what extent this investment empowers meaningful change.

Many organizations consider learning and literacy opportunities an essential component of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, and make technology-enabled literacy programs available to employees, partners, customers, or vendors. Is this something that your organization has considered?

Take our CSR survey to weigh in today.

From a CSR perspective, it is important to also consider how public policy works against enabling business investment in education. What can you do to counteract potential challenges you might face in implementing a program or navigate pushback?

These questions are vital as you look to build a literacy program that is both equitable and built for longevity within your organization.

Remember learning isn’t one-size-fits-all.

Learning is unique to every individual. When beginning to formulate your literacy program, be mindful of how your employees work and learn to ensure that you are offering equitable opportunities across your organization. Individuals can learn through reading, listening to audiobooks, taking online courses, and through instructor-led training (ILT). .

Recognizing patterns related to how your team approaches learning is crucial to the success of any literacy program you decide to offer. These patterns can be integrated into employees’ flow of work so there is a convenient option for every type of learner – this is the key to a successful learning program.

Get leadership buy-in.

To further encourage employees to take part in learning opportunities, there needs to be support and encouragement from your organization’s leadership team. Employees must feel that learning is a priority, regardless of level, title, or job, and that spending time learning is encouraged by their leaders. At Skillsoft, we build learning opportunities into our annual KPIs — encouraging our team to explore areas of interest and earn badges each quarter. This is an expectation for employees of all levels – not just entry-level employees or managers.

It is the responsibility of managers and leaders to prioritize their own learning and encourage employees to follow suit.

Provide the content your learners are looking for.

In order to be equitable and ensure all employees find learning opportunities and content helpful, you must have a broad range of learning topics for your employees to consume. Consider offering a mix of content that emphasizes hard skills and power skills. Offer a wide range of topics, as well as topics from different industries and skill levels. For example, having content for your HR team regarding onboarding, content on phishing for your IT department, and content on social media best practices for your marketing team will ensure there is something new for everyone to learn about.

When looking to launch a new program for learning and literacy within your company, these tips will aid in both a successful and equitable deployment. Literacy is a worldwide issue, and the sooner companies understand the role they play in helping employees upskill and continue their learning journey, the better.

By creating a learning program and ensuring there is participation at every level of your organization, you will be able to create positive change for your employees and everyone they meet.

Literacy is just the tip of the iceberg. How is your organization looking to enact positive change in society?

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3 Considerations for Developing Tech Training Programs https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/3-considerations-for-developing-tech-training-programs Fri, 02 Sep 2022 13:07:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/3-considerations-for-developing-tech-training-programs

Digital transformation is a top priority for businesses today — but the road there isn't easy. One big obstacle stands in the way: tech skills.

According to the market intelligence firm IDC, IT skill shortages related to digital transformation will affect 90 percent of all organizations by 2025, costing the global economy a combined $6.5 trillion in terms of delayed products and lost business.

As those numbers make clear, a lack of critical IT skills is a workforce-wide problem, not a malady of individual organizations. That means companies can't hire their way to digital transformation. The existing talent pool is too small.

Instead, companies will need to rely on learning and development (L&D) programs to cultivate the skills they — and their workforces — need for the future. In some ways, that's good news. Retaining existing talent is typically more cost-effective than hiring new employees. Plus, according to research from the Association for Talent Development, organizations that invest more in employee training earn 218% higher income per employee than organizations that spend little or nothing on L&D.

To see that kind of return on investment (ROI) from an L&D program, organizations need to be strategic and intentional about how they design and deliver tech training. Learning is most effective when aligned with strategic business aims and tailored to the unique needs of individual employees. So, before implementing a new tech training program to solve your IT skills gaps, consider these three things.

1. What Business Goals Do You Want to Influence?

If your organization is facing a skills gap of any kind, that means your employees are missing the skills they need to help the company achieve its business goals. Any new tech training must start with a clear understanding of the company's strategic objectives. Those objectives will determine the particular skills your tech training should focus on.

Consider the story of Ricoh, a document services and consulting firm that used to focus on office printing. With a core component of the organization's business in decline, Ricoh's leaders knew they had to make a change. First, they identified new opportunities in the era of digital transformation — specifically, digital workplace services, digital business solutions, and hybrid infrastructure.

With clear goals in mind, Ricoh created a customized learning program to help employees develop the skills and certifications they'd need to excel in new business areas — skills like Microsoft Azure, Office 365, SQL, Projects In Controlled Environments 2 (PRINCE2), and IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

Learn how Ricoh is reskilling 4,000 engineers to drive digital transformation.

By starting from its business objectives and working backward, Ricoh created a tech training program that cultivated concrete skills that contributed directly to business outcomes. And employees were excited to gain new competencies with a practical, positive impact on their careers. As one Ricoh employee said, "I felt like I was in a deep rut, but now I have hope for the future."

Business goals should dictate more than just the content of tech training programs — they should also inform the design and delivery of training. An organization like Ricoh, looking to make fundamental changes to its business model, needs a comprehensive, long-term training program that speaks to a broad array of employees — from those with little technical knowledge to seasoned IT vets. That's why Ricoh built a carefully paced nine-month program that moved participants from basic digital awareness to actual assignments in the field.

Conversely, some digital transformation initiatives require smaller changes. For example, say an organization needed to train its IT team on a new cloud security tool it was purchasing. For an initiative like that, the company wouldn't need a major months-long L&D project. A tighter, faster program targeted toward experienced IT workers would do the trick.

2. Program Success Is Built on Close Collaboration Between IT and L&D

Organizations see the most ROI on L&D programs when those programs are personalized. Employees are more motivated and more engaged when training meets them where they are, teaches them skills they value, and helps them advance in their careers. In other words: The best way to ensure your tech training succeeds is to give employees a seat at the table.

Consider CGI, a global IT services company that partnered with Skillsoft to create a customized L&D program to cultivate critical IT skills in-house. CGI wanted to ensure the learning paths it put forward would resonate with employees, making them feel empowered and supported. So, they involved employees in designing the program. The result? Employees consumed 40% more training content and cut time to competency by six weeks.

Learn how CGI built an upskilling engine fueled by a culture of self-motivated learners.

Collaboration between IT and L&D leaders was also critical to CGI's success. IT leaders closely followed their teams' learning progress. They ensured people were on track and helped employees see the value of investing in their professional development. As Anil Santhapuri, who served as CGI's Director of Learning and Development for the APAC region at the time of the program, put it: "Just because you have a learning platform does not mean people will come to learn. One needs to make a compelling case, and that means focusing on creating customized and curated learning paths or journeys."

By delivering the content employees want in the ways that speak to them, personalization creates an L&D program that people actually want to use. And that level of personalization is only possible through close collaboration between L&D and IT.

3. Assessment Is as Essential as Content

How you measure learning is just as important as what your people learn — and for that reason, effective assessments should be baked into the L&D program from the start. Specifically, any tech training program needs assessment mechanisms at two levels: the level of the L&D program itself and the level of the individual learner.

At the level of the L&D program, IT and L&D leaders need ways to track whether the program is driving progress toward the business goals it was designed to support. Otherwise, you could end up investing in tech training that barely moves the needle, if at all.

Take, for example, Black Knight, a technology services provider in the mortgage, consumer loan, and capital markets. When survey results revealed that Black Knight's employees wanted continuous learning opportunities, the company created custom online training programs to provide ongoing leadership and professional development.

In designing these programs, Black Knight identified the key performance indicators (KPIs) it would track to ensure program success. Those KPIs included learning metrics like utilization, business value like cost savings, and talent development metrics like turnover and employee engagement. Black Knight developed a measurement system to track progress on these KPIs, which helped the company ensure its training programs delivered meaningful results. In short, Black Knight saw a benefit-to-cost ratio of $13:1 for every dollar invested in Percipio, Skillsoft's AI-powered learning experience platform. The total ROI of Black Knight's L&D program was more than $2.6 million in 2020 alone.

Learn how Black Knight helped workers build expertise in emerging technologies.

At the level of the individual employee, assessment can be empowering. Consider Skillsoft's Skill Benchmark assessments. These brief, low-stakes assessments help employees measure their progress against specific learning objectives. After completing a Skill Benchmark, learners receive personalized recommendations on what to study next based on their results. Employees spend less time on content they've already mastered and more time on closing knowledge gaps. Good assessments give employees the information they need to take ownership of their learning journeys.

At the same time, individual learner assessments help L&D and IT leaders objectively measure workforce capabilities and track progress toward mastery. If employees fall behind, leaders can step in to help them find the content they need to succeed. There's no guesswork.

Assessment, ultimately, is about more than proving ROI — it's about actively improving learning outcomes. By tracking individual employee progress and overall program performance, L&D and IT leaders can ensure tech training is going smoothly. And if it isn't, they can quickly intervene to get employees on the right learning paths. So, when designing a new tech training program and purchasing tools to support it, it's a good idea to prioritize assessment at the same level as content.

What’s the Most Effective Way to Close the IT Skills Gap?

There’s no shortage of vision and willpower when it comes to digital transformation. Where organizations often run into trouble is the practical work of bringing digital transformation about. Between cloud and system migrations, new cybersecurity mandates, new IT operations frameworks, keeping up with the latest technological innovations, and ensuring alignment between IT and the rest of the organization, there’s a lot of work to be done. Unfortunately, IT skills gaps threaten to derail much of it.

Tech training can close those gaps, but all L&D programs are not created equal. To deliver learning experiences that help organizations and people grow together, IT and L&D leaders should follow a few simple rules: Align training with strategic objectives, foster close collaboration between IT and L&D, and build in the right measurement tools.

To learn more about creating effective IT skill development initiatives that meet your organization's transformative needs, check out IDC's report, Critical IT Skill Development: Using Skillsoft to Solve 5 Use Cases.

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How Training made Champions of 10,000 Volunteers https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-training-made-champions-of-10-000-volunteers Tue, 30 Aug 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-training-made-champions-of-10-000-volunteers

According to NP Source, in the US alone, approximately 63 million people volunteer their time to a charitable cause every year. And these volunteers are often the backbone of the organizations they devote themselves to. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s estimated that volunteers contribute nearly $200 billion in value to US communities.

So, if they are so important to an organization's success, why can training them be so challenging at times?


Here's a classic scenario: a volunteer shows up for a shift, they're given credentials, a t-shirt, and a hat, a 15-minute "orientation,” and then they're set loose to dive right in. Or, a new recruit shows up, and they're handed off to an "old pro" to train "informally." And, here's another scenario: a volunteer signs up online for a shift with a charitable organization and downloads their rule book, which reads like a book of "don'ts."

But, what about the "dos"?

The truth is, it takes more than a person who is generously donating their time and a t-shirt to make a great volunteer. And, just as important, you need to create a great volunteer experience because you want them to come back again and again.

Volunteers invest their time, passion, and personal resources to make a difference. To recruit and retain the best — especially for organizations that depend on thousands of volunteers to help run the show — they deserve an investment in kind. And, that means giving them the training tools they need to be their best. The Special Olympics USA Games is a great example of doing it right.

Very Special Training Helps Volunteers #shineasone

Transforming lives, opening hearts, and encouraging a more inclusive world through the power of sport is what Special Olympics is all about. Not just for their six million global athletes with intellectual disabilities, but for over one million coaches and volunteers who show up and give their all to ensure every event is a success — and every athlete feels like a champion both on and off the field of play.

In June of this year in Orlando, nearly 5,500 athletes, coaches, and chaperones, over 132,000 spectators and families, and over 10,000 volunteers gathered for the largest Special Olympics USA Games in history. Over 99% of their workforce is volunteers — 900 on the sports committees alone. From competition support and athlete safety to operations, media, health screenings, and more, it’s critical that they have the knowledge they need to perform their job role from the get-go — especially the volunteer leaders, who spend as many as 150+ hours over nine days in addition to the hours for several months leading up to the Games.

Historically, however, training has been very last minute. Volunteers have said, “I wish I better understood my role,” and “I wish I had more time to ask questions.” For that reason, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the 2022 USA Games made it a priority to develop a streamlined, comprehensive training program to set clear expectations, inspire, prepare, and support their volunteers.


The LOC reached out to Skillsoft to help them to deliver an interactive and engaging online training program that would address the whole volunteer experience, from general training to targeted training for leaders. The challenge? How to ensure 10,000 individual volunteers with different roles could come together through learning to "Shine As One,” the theme of this year's games.

The new program that the USA Games team designed was around 4 Training Journeys:

  • General Volunteer Training including Safety as the top priority, Volunteer Code of Conduct, Guiding Principles, Customer Service, and how to best support athletes, their families, and spectators.
  • Protected Behavior Training, a Special Olympics Inc. learning module to understand standards of conduct, address compliance, and keep the environment safe for athletes.
  • Leadership Training to channel the energy and enthusiasm into best practices to lead their team of volunteers, set expectations, and refine leadership skills as a role model, coach, and problem solver.
  • Sports Training for an overview of each of the 19 sports played at the Games, such as venue details, volunteer roles, and general rules of the sport.

Skillsoft worked closely with TRS Volunteer Management, the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games’ volunteer platform, to recognize and track the assigned training to each volunteer based on shifts they had selected. The training focused on safety as the top priority, how to engage the athletes, customer service, what to do in various situations, and how the volunteer’s role fit into the overall experience of the athletes, families, and fans. And, athletes had input in the training; for example, how they wanted to be spoken to. Many of the modules highlighted personal insights and stories of athletes and longtime volunteers.

Here's how it worked: Each volunteer signed up through TRS; TRS connected with Percipio, Skillsoft's immersive learning platform; and the volunteer received their training assignments and had a month to complete the training which was approximately 75 minutes in total. Cheat sheets were accessible for printing to keep on hand during shifts. And a Games app was developed for quick reference, scheduling and more, along with a new Fan Enhancement section. In the future, the online training program will be available to all Special Olympics Inc. local, national, and international programs and to future USA Games.

We reached out to Jeanne Ford, Director of Operations, 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, and Lonnie Snyder, Chief Information Officer, 2022 Special Olympics USA Games recently to chat about how the program worked for them.

Jeanne and Lonnie were both amazed by how motivated volunteers were — people went online immediately, took their training, and revisited often. Many also took other training while they were in the Percipio platform, such as “Great Leaders Must be Inclusive,” “Communicating with Customers,” and “Unconscious Bias.”

"People like getting information in multiple ways," says Lonnie, "And everyone felt their preferences were represented. We met people where they were. The training was everything you need to be successful.”

Jeanne agrees, adding, “All of the feedback we received was positive.” We heard, ‘It gave me the information I needed to do my job,’ ‘I was better prepared,’ and ‘it was really well prepared and fun.’”

“The program was a big win," she continues. "Sarah Campbell, our Skillsoft Customer Success Manager, probably has a cape in her closet. Having worked at Disney for 21 years, I thought I’d seen the best of customer service and support — but Sarah and team's ownership, expertise, and customer support ranks right up there with the best I’ve ever experienced."

Custom training enabled by Skillsoft Percipio empowered 2022 Special Olympics USA Games volunteers with the confidence to step up and "shine as one.” In turn, the athletes were free to shine themselves, supported by a team of 10,000 champions — their volunteers.

If you'd like to learn more about how training with Skillsoft can transform your volunteer workforce, reach out to request a demo today.

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Top 10 Cloud Courses for IT Professionals in 2022 https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/top-10-cloud-courses-for-it-professionals-in-2022 Thu, 25 Aug 2022 11:06:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/top-10-cloud-courses-for-it-professionals-in-2022

More companies are looking to the cloud to cut costs, reduce security risk, and improve efficiency across the enterprise. Research shows these transformations have been happening in greater number in recent years as the nature work has changed for many.

"Companies are ramping up their cybersecurity defenses and their adoption of cloud technologies, which can create a more flexible infrastructure, speed up technology deployment, and get digital products to market more quickly," the authors of a recent McKinsey report wrote. "Thirty-six percent of respondents say their companies have accelerated the migration to cloud technologies during the pandemic, and 86 percent of them expect this acceleration to persist post-pandemic."

This upward trend in cloud migrations and adoption of cloud services has increased demand for skills in cloud computing — a trend Skillsoft has seen manifest in its learning experience platform, Percipio.

Technical issues are the number one challenge to cloud migrations , reports McKinsey. Having the tech skills to address these issues is imperative. However, talent with these skills isn't always easy to come by.

Skillsoft research has found that cloud professionals are among the hardest to hire, along with those in cybersecurity, data science and DevOps. For many IT leaders, this means it’s time to look inward at people who may have the potential to upskill.

Diving further into the data, Skillsoft identified several top cloud courses that benefit IT professionals as they architect cloud infrastructure, manage services and work with others to meet business objectives.

The courses below rise to the top for several reasons, including demand and utilization, but also sustained popularity. They are also a blend of virtual live courses and self-paced on-demand training.

As any IT leader looks at the scope of a transformation of core business services or architecture, it's important to ensure the team that will propel these projects forward is prepared at every step. For many, these courses are an essential step toward realizing those objectives.

1. Architecting on AWS

Trends in Skillsoft's learning experience platform, Percipio, show some of the highest spikes in training content utilization for AWS — and for good reason. As one of the leading cloud providers, AWS offers organizations hundreds of services to scale their operations, reduce costs and do far more.

This live three-day, hands-on course teaches architects, engineers and developers how to build resilient, secure and highly available solutions on the AWS cloud.

It is an intermediate-level course, so it's best if learners have knowledge of distributed systems and are familiar with networking, IP addressing, multi-tier architectures and more. A good course to consider prior to this one is the AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials.

Those who take this course will have the chance to practice building solutions in AWS to help reinforce the concepts they learn.

2. AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials

Architecting on AWS has maintained its popularity in Skillsoft's cloud library, but an excellent precursor for that course is this one on AWS essentials.

This course teaches AWS cloud concepts, services, security, architecture and more. It's a foundational course that aims to build more general cloud awareness and knowledge, but it also prepares IT professionals to take the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam.

Participants in this course will learn about AWS’s core offerings and key benefits and gain a thorough understanding of the AWS Well-Architected Framework.

3. Developing Applications with Google Cloud Platform

From 2020 to 2021, training focused on the Google Cloud Platform grew by more than 30 percent according to Percipio data. As of August 2022, usage volume has already surpassed that of 2021.

Much like AWS, Azure and other major cloud providers, the Google Cloud Platform attracts many cloud professionals for its breadth of services, ease of use and cost savings. Those benefits are why Developing Applications with Google Cloud Platform is a top choice for IT professionals. This course teaches application developers to design and deploy apps within Google Cloud Platform through hands-on labs, demonstrations and more.

Helpful prerequisites for this course include Google Cloud Fundamentals: Core Infrastructure and Google Cloud Fundamentals for AWS Professionals.

4. VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage [V7]

This five-day intensive course teaches system admins and engineers how to install, configure and manage VMware's server virtualization software, vSphere. Participants will learn how to configure ESXi hosts and the vCenter Server Appliance, manage data stores, create virtual machines, and more.

The course aims to help admins manage vSphere infrastructure for a range of organizations and serves as foundational training for several other VMware products. Before taking this class, it’s important to have experience with Windows and Linux operating systems, and it helps to be familiar with networking and storage concepts.

Past participants particularly appreciated the course’s balance of lab work, lectures and instructor-led discussions.

"The instructor provided a very thorough presentation of the concepts and took the time to ensure that the knowledge shared was understood by all participants," said Tadd Hoffman, who shared his experience in a post-course survey.

Complementing this course is VMware vSphere: Fast Track [V7], which offers admins and engineers a rapid novice-to-master path for managing vSphere infrastructure, helping them build more advanced skills to maintain highly available virtual environments.

5. Kubernetes Fundamentals for Administrators

This hands-on course teaches administrators about the advantages of microservices over monolith applications, the evolution of Kubernetes, how to create and manage deployments and more. As participants progress through the course, they'll learn how to install all-in-one Kubernetes using containers, use kubectl to manage deployments to run applications in clusters, and create services and expose them to external IP addresses.

Over the past several years, this course has climbed in popularity, likely due to growing interest in and adoption of Kubernetes by developers. Plus, the course also counts toward a broader certification track, the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA).

Since this is an intermediate course, it may be helpful to take one of Skillsoft's popular beginner courses, like Kubernetes Introduction, beforehand.

6. Data Center Design

Meant for advanced cloud professionals, the Data Center Design course teaches participants about what it takes to design a secure cloud service, covering core concepts like tenant isolation, access controls and physical considerations like location and buildings.

This course is a part of a 14-class curriculum for the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) track. The certification validates a professional's ability to design, manage and secure cloud environments.

Courses like this have increased in popularity in the past several years as more organizations expand their cloud offerings and undergo digital transformation. From 2019 to 2021, cloud security training has risen 47 percent according to Percipio utilization data.

7. Microsoft Azure Administrator (AZ-104T00)

This live course is best suited for systems administrators who will manage their organization’s Azure instance. In addition to providing holistic instruction on the administration of Azure, this course also helps admins prepare for the AZ-104 certification test. (Plus, the course offers a free test voucher!)

Before taking this course, learners should understand on-premises virtualization technologies and be familiar with networking configurations, Active Directory and disaster recovery.

Online, there are several free resources that complement this course (see a list here), and Skillsoft offers an Azure bootcamp that has remained popular with learners. Click the link below to view recordings of a previous bootcamp session.

Microsoft Azure Bootcamp

See Live Course Schedule

Gain access to more courses like this one in Skillsoft's Elite Total Access Collection for Microsoft.

8. CloudOps: Infrastructure as Code

This on-demand course covers the benefits of infrastructure as code (IaC) and explores several common tools used to implement IaC. Participants will learn how IaC can improve efficiency by provisioning resources automatically and help maintain consistency among environments.

The instructor will demonstrate how to install Chef and write cookbooks that can be used to manage provisioning of resources, how to differentiate between IaaS and IaC and how to implement IaC with CloudFormation.

This course is one of many that belong to Skillsoft's CloudOps channel, and it is also part of the DevOps Engineer to Cloud Architect Aspire Journey. This Aspire Journey compiles 39 courses (43+ hours of training) to help DevOps engineers shift their careers and become cloud architects. In the past several years, this course has grown into one of the most popular in Skillsoft's cloud library.

9. Docker Containers, Images, & Swarms

In the past year, the number of people who've taken this course has risen sharply, fueled by growing interest in Docker.

"There have now been a total of 318 billion all-time pulls on Docker Hub, an increase of 145 percent year-over-year," according to the 2021 Docker Index. "In addition, there were nearly 30 billion Docker Hub pulls in our fourth quarter.”

This on-demand course covers the role Docker plays in DevOps, the essentials of managing containers, the best practices for developing with Dockerfile and more.

10. CompTIA Cloud+

In 2022, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) released an updated version of the Cloud+ certification. This live course prepares IT professionals pass the new exam.

Having this credential proves a system admin or cloud engineer knows how to deploy highly available, secure cloud environments. Like other CompTIA certifications, Cloud+ is vendor neutral. That means IT professionals who earn this certification can apply their knowledge to several service providers.

That versatility makes a certification like this an ideal starting place for those who wish to land a specialized role in cloud. The Cloud+ certification is also DoD 8570.01-M compliant, meaning it is recognized as a valid credential for employees or contractors of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Cloud Adds Greater Elasticity and Efficiency — but It All Starts with Skills

To take advantage of the many benefits associated with cloud computing, organizations must prepare themselves for the intricacies of migration, integration and alteration of cloud services. (This 22-minute course on Percipio shares stories of successful cloud migrations at companies like Netflix, Spotify and others. It also shares some cloud migration fails and how to avoid them.)

Having clear goals and objectives will help cloud projects succeed, but those who drive these initiatives must be equipped for the journey ahead. Behind any successful project are the architects, administrators, developers and others who deliver these solutions.

Skillsoft offers cloud professionals a dynamic solution to become proficient in cloud management and operations, prepare for migrations and specialize in platforms like Google Cloud, AWS, Azure and others. By offering instructional variety, Skillsoft can help cloud professionals build new skills and apply them on the job quickly.

Solutions like Skillsoft's Cloud Career Journey bring together all the tools an architect or admin needs to support their organization's transformation, including unlimited live and on-demand training, labs, practice test, mentoring and more.

Learn more about Skillsoft's Cloud Career Journey here.

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The First 90 Days: 5 Steps to Improving Your Company’s Compliance Training Program https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-first-90-days-5-steps-to-improving-your-companys-compliance-training-program Tue, 23 Aug 2022 03:35:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/the-first-90-days-5-steps-to-improving-your-companys-compliance-training-program

Building an environmental, health, and safety (EHS) and legal compliance training program for a corporation is a significant undertaking for any compliance professional. Perhaps an even more monumental task is joining an organization as a new employee who is now responsible for a training program that is already in place.

How do you get your bearings? Where can you make an impact?

Let’s take a look at what compliance professionals should look for in an established training program, and how can they make useful improvements in the first 90-days in a new role.

Get to know the existing compliance program

Before you jump into a new team with a list of suggestions for optimizing an existing compliance program, take some time to better understand what’s working and not working right now. It is possible that what worked in your previous role will not be effective at your new company.

Here are a few things that you can investigate in the first 90 days:

  • Are your organization’s training programs or other educational/training materials up to date?Review training materials for outdated information or policies. It’s important that your compliance training program reflects current regulatory requirements, organizational policies and procedures, and continues to be relevant for your team.
  • Do team members know what they need to know?
    Think about conducting audits or surveillances to see if they have retained the information necessary to remain safe on the job. Perform knowledge checks so that not only will this keep important information top-of-mind for employees, but it will help you to identify potential weak spots in your program. A gap analysis can help you to identify the competency, knowledge, or skills that your employees lack.
  • What shortcomings have employees noticed in your compliance training program?
    Investigate HR data such as exit interviews, employee surveys, complaints, and more. This type of feedback is typically honest and unfiltered, and it may help to shape your compliance training program moving forward.

Determine which courses need customization

An important consideration in any compliance training program is whether to customize your training courses. While there is something to be said about producing a training program completely unique to your organization, most companies do not have the time or money to make this work.

Many organizations view Skillsoft’s library of compliance courses as a critical tool in filling training gaps that they do not have the internal resources to fill. Skillsoft courses are an ideal way to teach employees universal lessons such as soft skills, functional skills, and tools training.

Look at the Data

Look to better understand the answers to the following questions:

  • Have we identified all of the risks and addressed them with training if appropriate?
  • Which training courses are currently being assigned to employees?
  • Do we need to cater training to certain roles? Geographies?
  • What courses are employees and/or managers searching for? Is there an appetite to learn more about specific topics for job growth or other reasons?
  • How long do certain training courses take employees to complete?
  • Is there a correlation between our training program and a decrease in injury rates?
  • Where are there gaps in the current compliance training program?

Work towards a compliance training program that is informed by data.

Pivot as Necessary

One of the most important elements of a successful compliance training program is a willingness to pivot when necessary. For example, after the COVID-19 pandemic many organizations around the world moved their compliance training sessions from physical classrooms to online.

But at the end of the day, effective compliance training program boils down to the same main ideas – whether it is in person or online:

  • Have you implemented written policies and procedures that are easily accessible?
  • Have you designated a compliance officer to help educate and inform your team?
  • Is your training program effective?
  • Have you developed effective lines of communication?
  • Do you conduct internal monitoring?
  • Do you enforce the standards you’ve set?
  • Do you respond immediately to any problems that arise?

Set Achievable Goals

One of the most important elements to building a successful compliance training program is to set achievable goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely):

  • Specific: Who needs to know what?
  • Measurable: How can your organization measure employee performance and spot training gaps?
  • Attainable: Is the time and effort required of employees reasonable?
  • Realistic: Is the training relevant and delivered in a way that is easy to comprehend?
  • Timely: When do employees need to know the information being presented?

At the beginning of this post, I posed the question:

What should compliance professionals look for in an established training program, and how can they make useful improvements in the first 90-days in a new role? The best way to do this is to:

  • Understand the compliance program that is currently in place
  • Determine where additional customization may be necessary
  • Review all the data available to you to spot challenges and opportunities
  • Pivot as necessary
  • Work on setting achievable goals

Do you have any other suggestions to add to this list?

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Simplifying Compliance for your Deskless Workforce https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/simplifying-compliance-for-your-deskless-workforce Tue, 16 Aug 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/simplifying-compliance-for-your-deskless-workforce

Many organizations around the globe had to pivot when workforces became distributed due to the pandemic. But, for some industry leaders, a decentralized workforce has aways been the norm. In fact, according to a study by Emergence Capital, it’s estimated that over 2.7 billion members of the global workforce do not sit behind a desk to do their jobs.

That startling figure represents more than 80% of employees worldwide. For industries such as transportation, retail, healthcare, construction, and hospitality, many workers are continually on the move, without regular access to computers or the latest technology developed with their desk-bound counterparts in mind.

The truth is, despite deskless workers being described as “essential” during the pandemic, many feel left behind. The Emergence study, which was conducted at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, found that 65% of deskless workers said they had not been provided with any additional technology to complete their jobs, and 91% say they want better training — including safety and compliance.

So, how do you deploy an effective compliance program for a workforce that doesn’t have access to traditional — or digital — means of training?

Let's take a look at how one transportation organization faced the challenge head on.

First Transit / First Student takes Compliance Training on the Road

First Transit, a transportation operations, maintenance, and administration company, working across 300 locations in 41 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico and First Student, the leading school transportation solutions provider in North America comprises North America’s market leaders in school and public transportation under its parent company, EQT Infrastructure.

Both First Student and First Transit (First) are market-leading businesses that benefit from substantial scale, best-in-class operating track records, a forward-looking focus on innovation, and highly experienced management teams. And, First Student and First Transit both enjoy industry-leading contract retention and customer satisfaction ratings.

Training and compliance are critical to both First Transit and First Student. But, they also present challenges with a geographically diverse employee base. Training is made even more difficult because a large portion of their workers are drivers who are continually on the move. When these leading organizations committed to transforming their compliance program, they started with two important questions:

1. How do we best leverage existing proprietary content, while ensuring regulatory requirements are met?

While there was training in place for some workers, each division had separate courses assigned inconsistently. There were no common structures in place for assignments, tracking, or accountability, and there was little rhyme nor reason as to what classes employees were assigned.

2. How do we ensure the workplace is safe, inclusive, and welcoming, and that training is accessible for all employees, regardless of location?

The organizations needed to partner with a company that understood that compliance isn’t just about protection from legal risk — it’s also about ensuring an equitable workplace with access to training for all. With Skillsoft, both goals were satisfied in one best-in-class platform.

How to make Compliance Training more Accessible

Skillsoft’s compliance solutions combine a continuously updated library of customizable legal and safety compliance content with purpose-built technology and value-added services for total compliance coverage. And it’s all powered by Skillsoft Percipio Compliance, Skillsoft’s immersive platform designed to make learning easier, more accessible, and more effective.

Working with Skillsoft, the Talent Development team supporting both First Transit and First Student was able to customize Skillsoft’s compliance training courses to reflect regulatory requirements and organization-specific goals from a simple self-service interface, accessible on any device. In all learning formats, the team can insert documents, policies, non-instructional videos, and custom text and audio within the introduction, policy, and summary sections of any compliance training course.

Skillsoft helped the Talent Development team reevaluate assignments and learn what classes were being assigned and why. This was particularly important for the company’s drivers on the road, as they have limited time to devote to training. The Talent Development team is able to customize security levels, allowing supervisors, managers, and training administrators to access the features they need, while simplifying access for front-line workers.

The organization also recognized that reporting and accurate completion tracking was an issue. With Skillsoft Compliance, the Talent Development team had access to a complete and auditable training history for a thorough view of employee training assignments and completions, including recurrences.

Satisfying evolving regulatory requirements is mission-critical in the transportation industry. One area of concern for First Transit and First Student was dealing with wage and hour laws. For instance, California employers are subject to one of the most regulated workplaces in the United States. Not only must they comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which regulates wage and hour requirements on the federal level, but they must also comply with the usually much stricter overlay of state law and regulation.

The Talent Development team created two custom videos to support and supplement the Skillsoft existing wage and hour classes. Learning tracks were implemented that enabled employees to take a Skillsoft course, watch the two supplemental videos, and follow up with a state-specific webinar leveraging Zoom.

Another area of concern was sexual harassment prevention training, which is currently required in six states. The company increased compliance licenses to include drivers and all employees in those six states, allowing them to successfully leverage Skillsoft content to meet regulatory requirements.

As for accessibility, classes were deployed in three formats to allow for greater flexibility and empowerment to meet the needs of the operations:

  • Individual training,
  • Facilitated small group training, and
  • Zoom training.

These options allowed local management to select the best method to reach their employees and meet the requirements.

Facilitated small group training sessions enable any location to bring together employees licensed within Skillsoft Compliance to watch the course together with a facilitator. This allows for personal interaction and the ability to ask questions and verify learning outcomes. Attendees receive credit for the class in the compliance site using equivalencies.

In addition to the facilitated sessions, small groups of licensed employees can also meet via Zoom to watch instructor-led virtual courses with check-ins for attendance.

Compliance is critical whether a workforce is offsite, onsite, or perpetually on the road. It's time to ensure that digital transformation benefits every employee in your organization, through access to training and development for all.

If you're ready to unite your entire compliance learning program under one platform, connect learning with business performance, and offer equitable, effective training to your deskless workforce, reach out to request a demo today.

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How to Get the C-Suite’s Attention with Your Workplace Safety Program https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-get-the-c-suites-attention-with-your-workplace-safety-program Thu, 11 Aug 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/how-to-get-the-c-suites-attention-with-your-workplace-safety-program

Getting and maintaining executive buy-in and support for your organization’s environmental, health, and safety (EHS) program is one of the most effective components in building a mature, scalable, and efficient compliance program. But while the C-suite has a vested interest in keeping employees healthy and injury-free, they also have a business to run.

How can workplace safety professionals balance the operational concerns of the C-suite with the fundamental objective of keeping employees safe?

“COVID-19 has helped to elevate the importance of workplace safety initiatives in many organizations,” said Katy Schick, Corporate EHS Manager, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. “As a result, our EHS program has been pushed into the limelight. Whereas our executive team may not have been focused on these initiatives in previous years, they are now paying closer attention to scorecard metrics to ensure that we’re doing all we can to keep our employees healthy and injury-free.”

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company recently rolled out metrics scorecards as part of its EHS training – everyone wants to be seen as doing well because these are the metrics that leadership is checking on weekly. The scorecards have served as both lagging and leading indicators to key safety metrics.

Elements of an effective Workplace Safety Program

I recently sat down with Schick, Brian Borguno, Sr. Training Specialist / Corporate Safety Specialist, Canon Business Process Services, and Blaine Hoffmann, host, The SafetyPro Podcast, to discuss workplace safety – including how the practice has changed within organizations over the past few years.

“It’s funny,” said Borguno, “I think a lot of organizations felt that an effective safety compliance program was easy to accomplish. COVID brought an awareness that our EHS compliance team brings a lot to the table – information, organization, creativity. It really highlighted the work we do as a value-add, not just a necessary side note.”

Schick agreed. She said, “COVID-19 also reminded us that technology can work in our favor. Web-based training ensures our team can learn what they need to learn in a safe environment, and that everyone (even if they are working from different locations) receives the same message in a common language that we can all understand.”

When all employees are learning the same information – no matter where they are located or what language they speak – organizations can feel confident they are actively reducing knowledge gaps and creating a stronger workforce.

Aligning your Workplace Safety Initiatives with your organization’s needs

So, how can workplace safety training capture the attention of your organization’s executive leaders? Borguno said, “For Canon Business Process Services, training is a key pillar of our overall safety governance program. The program is comprised of four components: written policies and procedures, site-specific safe work practices, training and education, and metrics.”

Employee training in health and safety helps organizations to educate employees on various workplace hazards and how to manage them. It covers the ways by which employees can identify workplace hazards, address them, and avoid them.

“At Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, we want to train people who are not EHS professionals on how to integrate safety into their everyday jobs,” said Schick. “We want to go beyond OSHA requirements and integrate a culture of safety into our team’s daily tasks.”

Safety, in this case, is a cultural objective. Organizations with a positive safety culture have shared perceptions of the importance of safety at work and are confident in the efficacy of preventive measures.

What gets Measured gets Managed

What gets measured gets managed,” said Schick. “It is only when leaders stress the importance of EHS that the whole team focuses on making that a priority.”

Even if the entire organization sees the value of your workplace safety training program, it cannot be best-in-class unless your executive leadership team supports it. Your leadership team establishes the standards and values within your organization and ultimately has the power to enforce and prioritize safety requirements.

Our team doesn’t need our CEO to do a lot,” admitted Borguno. “We just need him to talk generally about the importance of workplace safety initiatives to get the team on board and highlight the importance of these initiatives. We’re interested in top-down support, bottom-up implementation.”

That in mind, organizations must measure what they deem important -- incident metrics, training percentages, property damage costs, and other metrics. Sharing this information with the executive team creates a feedback loop that ensures an organization’s most important initiatives are being continuously managed.

However an organization shares this information with its leadership team – whether it be a simple report or a comprehensive dashboard – the important thing is to arm the team with the metrics necessary to hold people accountable for the goals that have been set.

“Sometimes the best thing a leader can do is to hold the business accountable,” said Borguno. “Where are we? Where do we need help? Where are we falling short? The CEO can then manage resources towards the necessary effort.”

What are the Next Steps?

EHS compliance professionals reading this article may be at various stages of getting executive buy-in for their training programs. So, what’s the best way to move any program forward?

Schick shares The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company’s best practices for getting buy-in from the C-suite: “Chances are, your C-suite cares about operations and about making sure that an effective workplace safety program is not a hinderance to their operational goals.” She advises EHS professionals to become a partner to the C-suite – how can you make things safe at your organizations? How can you make their jobs easier? How will this impact the bottom line? How can you prove it?

Borguno advises EHS professionals: “Identify a champion. Someone in the organization you can partner with to start making change happen.” A champion serves as the link between the C-suite and your employees, and serves to motivate, advise on, and understand your workplace safety policies so they can both embody and underscore the importance of safety in the workplace.

Curious to learn more? Download our guide on how to get executive buy-in for your workplace safety program.

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What is Corporate Social Responsibility, And why should you Care? https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-is-corporate-social-responsibility-and-why-should-you-care Wed, 10 Aug 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/what-is-corporate-social-responsibility-and-why-should-you-care

Right now, the job market is strong in the United States. If your organization is looking to hire, it’s more important than ever to understand what job seekers are looking for, and why.

A good place to start is with Millennials. Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials currently make up the largest population of working professionals in the U.S., and it seems they aren’t liking what they see: 75% of Millennials believe that businesses are more focused on their own good, rather than on improving and benefiting society.

Horizon Media’s Finger on the Pulse reported that “81 percent of Millennials expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship.” In fact, your organization’s commitment to good corporate citizenship is directly tied to attracting talent – with 58% of candidates surveyed saying they consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work.

Social and environmental commitments can also help organizations to retain top talent. Nearly 70% of employees say they wouldn’t work for a company without a strong purpose, while 60% would take a pay cut to work at a purpose-driven company.

It has become increasingly clear that to attract and retain skilled workers, your organization must consider its impact on the community, the environment, and its employees. Here are some companies that have received accolades for their work in these areas:

  • Starbucks, a multi-national chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves, aims to bring clean water to 1 billion people around the world and has been investing in local communities for over 20 years.
  • Trader Joe’s, a chain of grocery stores dedicated to innovative, sustainable packaging, is committed to customer satisfaction and fair prices. Employees receive competitive compensation and a 20 percent store discount among other benefits.
  • TOMS, a shoe retailer, was established with the social mission of matching every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes for a child in need. The company has identified six key commitments to demonstrate positive impact on the planet.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is essentially corporate citizenship; it is the idea that companies need to be conscious of the kind of impact they are having on all aspects of society, including economic, social, and environmental.

What is your organization’s economic impact?

  • How many – and what types of – jobs are you making available?
  • Are you paying workers a fair wage?
  • What is the value of the good and services you’re putting out into the world?
What is your organization’s social impact?
  • To what extent does your organization get involved with social issues like climate change, racial inequity, hunger, poverty, or homelessness?
  • Are you a good steward in your community?
  • How do you lessen the negative impact of doing business?
What is your organization’s environmental impact?
  • How have you reduced electricity usage?
  • Can you change fuel consumption for company vehicles?
  • Are you measuring your carbon emissions?

The above list is not exhaustive of the types of things your organization should consider as part of your CSR strategy, but it is a good start.

How can your organization become more socially responsible?

CSR is a way that organizations can build trust, raise awareness for important issues, and encourage social change. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is another term that you might hear to describe a company’s efforts to be socially responsible.

ESG is the quantifiable measurement of a company’s social impact outcome – whereas CSR is the business model it has put in place to hold itself accountable for its actions to society. And whether your organization has an effective CSR program, or you’re just getting started in your efforts, there are some things that you can do to improve your business outcomes with CSR:

  • Offer competitive wages and benefits packages
  • Support philanthropic causes
  • Use recycled materials
  • Reduce carbon emissions
  • Pay corporate taxes

You can get your employees involved, as well. Simple ways that they can participate in your CSR efforts include:

  • Turning the lights off in a room when they leave it
  • Volunteering in the local community during dedicated work hours
  • Biking (or ride-sharing) to and from work
  • Personal and professional development

Weigh in on your CSR Program

At Skillsoft, we care about CSR from many perspectives.

  • We’re committed to our CSR strategy.
    We believe in the life changing impact of learning, and our vision is to help people and organizations achieve their fullest potential through learning and development. Fundamentally, our CSR strategy reflects our purpose-driven culture and is evident in our platforms, our content, and our people.

We believe that Skillsoft is in a unique position to dig into the topic of CSR in more detail. We want to know how companies in a variety of industries, globally, are investing in their CSR programs, including:

  • Who “owns” your CSR program internally?
  • What makes it successful or unsuccessful?
  • How mature are your CSR efforts?
  • Why is CSR important to you?

Our hope is that obtaining the answers to these questions will bring clarity to organizations’ CSR efforts and provide a blueprint for what is working (and what might not be working) – illuminating the most provocative CSR trends across global organizations.

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Rewriting the Unwritten Rules of the Workplace https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/rewriting-the-unwritten-rules-of-the-workplace Tue, 09 Aug 2022 09:00:00 -0400 Sumithra.Appalabottula@sumtotalsystems.com (Sumithra Appalabottula) https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/rewriting-the-unwritten-rules-of-the-workplace

When you start a new job, you likely go through an official onboarding program, which is incredibly useful in helping you understand the organization, its structure, vision, goals, and the role you play in driving success. Chances are, you’ll also learn about the organization’s official policies and procedures through training.

But, what about the unofficial rules?

We’ve all encountered unwritten rules, although it sometimes takes a while to pick up on them. They can be subtle or obvious, positive, or negative. Regardless, they are powerful — and can mean the difference between thriving or simply surviving.

Interestingly, until now, many unwritten rules have revolved around office space: how and when you show up, whether doors are open or closed (literally and metaphorically), what you wear, whether you’re free to socialize with peers. But, many organizations around the globe have embraced distributed or hybrid workforces, and the old rules — written or un- — may not apply.

Jaz Ampar-Farr, a human-first leadership strategist, keynote, and author, was a featured guest at a recent Skillsoft event. During her talk, Jaz introduced the concept of the “unwritten rules of the workplace in the pandemic era.” Again, those unspoken, but important aspects of a company’s culture that help employees – particularly newer ones – better understand and learn more about an organization’s work environment. The vibe. And the ways that it's changed as a result of the pandemic.

The topic sparked such a great discussion with the audience that rather than leave them "unwritten," we've put together a handbook so they can be explored, acknowledged, and shared.

Rewriting the Unwritten Rules of the Workplace was developed in conjunction with HR Leaders who felt it was even more critical now that we live in such a digital-first world.

You can find the handbook here

Download Now

And if you are as big a fan of Jaz as I am, you can listen to this episode of The Edge, in which she introduces the concept of The Human Revolution, a societal transformation focused on being human-first in business.

The future of work continues to thrive off a digital-first world and hybrid environments that encompass unwritten rules, creating even more of a need to develop and upskill teams in the modern workplace. To learn how you can get started building leaders for the modern workforce, visit Skillsoft’s Leadership & Business landing page.

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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 given the growing cost of data breaches and cyber crime, 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 7 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