Tag Archives: Learning and Development

shelley-osborne

Workers Feel The Pressure of the Skills Gap Around the World [Podcast]

As HR leaders, we’re well aware of the skills gap. Hiring and retaining workers for key roles is what takes up a key part of our mental energy on a daily basis, but what about the workers themselves?

In a new report that analyzes global worker opinions, it is clear that the skills gap is on the minds of the workforce as well. But who is running point on this issue? Is it on workers to train themselves, diminishing the skills gap one person at a time? Or should employers take some responsibility, building key skills in the workforce to keep them sharp in our fast-paced world of work?

Check out the conversation below to learn more about the research and some interesting insights on how to resolve the issue.

Episode link: https://beneubanks.podbean.com/e/were-only-human-23-new-research-on-addressing-the-skills-gap-in-the-workplace/

Show Notes

The skills gap is a challenge for many organizations, but how do we address it? Read any news article and it seems as if the United States has a looming crisis on its hands around critical skills areas that we simply don’t have enough qualified workers to fill, and new research shows this is actually a global phenomenon affecting firms worldwide. For instance, 98% of workers in Brazil agree there is a skills gap, and two-thirds of them felt like it affects them personally!

shelley-osborneIn today’s interview, host Ben Eubanks speaks with Shelley Osborne, Head of Learning & Development at Udemy, about this research and how we can use it to attack the skills gap within our own company through learning and development opportunities. While the research shows that individuals are generally confident about the level of skills they possess, they also know that the pace of change and business today requires them to be constantly learning. It’s no longer good enough to get a degree or vocational training and be “good enough” to compete for jobs, promotions, and other roles.

To see the research, check out this link: https://research.udemy.com/research_report/2017-skills-gap-report/

This episode is sponsored by WorkHuman. Join me and hundreds of highly engaged HR leaders in Austin this April for WorkHuman, an event dedicated to helping HR make the workplace a better place. 

adtran company logo

Case Study: Using Hackathons to Attract, Develop, and Engage Talent

“This message will appeal to people in our recruiting process who gravitate towards a culture of hackathons and innovation. It will also turn away others that don’t fit.” Gary Bolton, Vice President of Marketing at ADTRAN

I recently had the pleasure of connecting with a handful of key staff members at ADTRAN in Huntsville, Alabama, to discuss the company’s innovative internal engineering hackathon program. The firm has more than 2,000 employees and is headquartered in Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, the second largest research park in the United States. It also has offices in Germany and India. The company is known locally for its innovation, and the staff credits its continued innovation in part to the hackathons and the type of culture those activities promote.

May Chen, Software Engineer at ADTRAN

May Chen, Software Engineer at ADTRAN

The hackathons are events “by engineers, for engineers,” according to May Chen. This was a grassroots program launched by three of the firm’s 400+ engineering staff, but support goes all the way to the top. Chen, one of the leaders of the initiative, said “We’ve had tremendous support. Business, IT, strategy, R&D–all the business units believe in what we’re doing.” This concept of ownership and self-leadership was echoed by the company’s marketing leader: “This is definitely organically steered. Leaders stay out of hackathon management and leave it to the engineering staff.” Continue reading

neuroscience learning content

The Neuroscience of Great Learning Content: Attention, Memory, and Exploration [Podcast]

neuroscience learning content

Ask any business leader, and they’ll tell you they invest in the development of their workforce with the goal of improving performance. Yet the training and content delivery methods of the past aren’t keeping pace with the needs of the modern learner. No longer can you throw an hour of eLearning at a problem or slap a speaker in front of an audience and hope that knowledge will transfer and behaviors will change.

What gives? 

In today’s episode of We’re Only Human, I explore three critical components of great learning content based on neuroscience principles. In other words, I look at how people actually learn from experiences, interactions, and content and focus the discussion on those elements. In the discussion of how attention, memory, and self-exploration impact learning, I also provide helpful advice on how to create learning experiences that deliver impact and results.

Additionally, if you want to explore more deeply, you can check out my new eBook, the Neuroscience Principles of Great Learning Content, which can be found here: http://lhra.io/neuroscience

For more episodes of We’re Only Human or to learn more about the show, check out https://upstarthr.com/podcast

Check out the podcast embedded below:

 

 

3 Keys to Creating Engaging Learning Experiences

By now you’ve most likely heard about and begun thinking about the employee experience, because you can’t turn around without reading an article or hearing someone speak about it. In essence, it’s a deeper look at the practices you use across the board to create lasting value for employees in the workplace. Within that conversation, one area that I think is going to really explode in growth in the coming year is the learning space.

For instance, there’s a specific practice that high performers follow before developing learning content that separates them from low-performing companies. Hint: it’s more than just throwing out yet another eLearning module that employees have to click through and get credit for. 

The Truth About Creating Learning Experiences

It’s all about the experience. Learning content isn’t just about volume or format–it’s about creating a high-quality learning experience that resonates with your audience. Yet according to our new Learning Content Strategy research study, just one in four companies says their learning experiences are engaging and drive value for those that consume the content.

Yet high-performing companies, as identified in the study, are much more likely to say that great learning content leads to a variety of positive outcomes, from better business and individual performance to higher consumption of mission critical content. Creating engaging learning experiences isn’t just a “nice to have”–it’s essential for success.

And don’t forget: today’s learners have higher expectations than ever before. You’re not just competing with work tasks with your content–you’re competing with mobile apps, entertainment, and other sources of information for their attention and brainpower. In order to meet and exceed those expectations, we need to rethink how we approach learning content and the user experience.

Key Stats from the Data

The research data tell an interesting story. For instance:

  • One in five companies admits that their learning content doesn’t engage learners and doesn’t create a positive learner experience. 
  • Less than 3 in 10 companies say they have a strong L&D strategy in place that is driving content development and deployment.
  • The number one driver of learning content is to close skill gaps. This is validated by companies pointing out that, the most common measure of learning effectiveness is better performance.
  • Nearly half of companies are allocating 10-25% of their L&D budgets to content strategy, development, and delivery.

In a recent webinar on this topic I shared not only the research but also a few stories of companies that have taken a stand and said they are going to change their approach to be more employee-centric. The session not only covered the key pillars of learning content strategy (process, governance, user experience, etc.) but also how to target learner populations and more. If you’re interested in learning more don’t hesitate to reach out.

How Talent Technology Enables Employee Engagement [Podcast]

Talent management technology has come a long way in recent years. I can still remember seeing a demo for a technology solution back in 2014 and the salesperson was so proud of the fact that I could copy and paste data into the system. By the way:

  • It wasn’t searchable.
  • You couldn’t run reports.
  • You couldn’t export anything.

There was no way to actually USE the data in there, but I could put it in if I wanted. Sigh.

Anyway, today I am sharing a really fun podcast interview with you, featuring a recent conversation with Carsten Busch, CEO of the Talent Management Business Unit, and Laura Fuller, Country Sales Manager US for Lumesse. In the conversation we not only talked about how technology has become incredibly user friendly and more employee-focused, but about some of the age-old talent questions that companies face every day, such as why managers are willing to hire an external candidate even when there are perfectly qualified internal candidates available to take the job. Carsten’s answer to the question was phenomenal and I was taking notes because it will be my new default answer to that common issue.

Additionally, Carsten and Laura talk about the shift in technology from the static, administrative-focused versions mentioned above to the talent-focused systems that Lumesse and other companies are developing today.

Also, at the tail end I mention how you can get one of my upcoming pieces of research entirely for free by signing up here for a webinar I’m doing with the team at Lumesse. Here’s the gist of what the webinar will be about:

The June edition of HR Magazine has a feature that focused on how some companies like Gap and Siemens are trying to create development opportunities that connect candidates and employees to the firms for a long period of time. The double benefit of this kind of development is that if businesses can drive retention, then they get the value of a more productive workforce for a longer period of time. This is the incredible value of talent mobility, and that’s the focus of the webinar and this upcoming piece of research.

I hope you’ll join us for that session, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the podcast as well. It was a really fun conversation.

Learning Anarchy: The Risks and Rewards of Informal Learning

According to Deloitte, more than 80% of learning is informal in nature, yet many companies are still unsure how to harness this critical mass of activities to improve performance, minimize risk and deliver organizational value.

Consider this: if you have a toddler, that child can probably pick up your phone, unlock it and open their favorite app. But it’s likely that you haven’t formally created content or delivered a course to the child on how to accomplish this task. It is one of the many learned behaviors that are picked up informally. While simplistic, this example highlights the fact that not much has changed about how people learn new concepts. The difference is that we now have technologies in place to help track, curate and analyze the impact of those learning activities.

Value and Risk: It’s All About Perspective

Discussions around informal learning typically branch off in a few directions. The conversation either turns to the incredible risk associated with “handing over the keys” to the employees to curate and manage their own content or focuses on the supposed anarchy that will reign if learning resources aren’t governed by a single, cohesive L&D team. But there’s another story–one that tempers some of the fear by pointing out the value and opportunities presented by adopting a more informal approach to learning.

Consider the concept of investments: if you put money in a savings account, it is safe, but it doesn’t really grow or offer value. If you put money into a mutual fund, it has higher risk, but there’s also greater opportunity for growth in value. The same concept of risk/reward applies in the learning world.

In this case, we’d see traditional, formal training as the low-risk option, but it has opportunity costs associated with tying up resources, longer lead times due to content development, and requires that L&D either become experts in a variety of fields or source that expertise. Embracing informal learning may have some risk, but also unlocks incredible value at the same time by turning every single employee into a potential source for creating or curating content and resources to help others learn.

Key Questions About Informal Learning

When I’m speaking with learning leaders, there are some fairly common questions that come up, ranging from measurement and analytics to practical application and success stories. Here’s a sampling of questions and their requisite answers:

How Do We Measure It?

Informal learning is like any other learning activity, and it can be measured. Informal doesn’t mean immeasurable. While we can rely on the common Kirkpatrick questions around satisfaction, knowledge transfer and behavior implementations, we can also leverage more aggressive methods, such as focusing on skills acquisition or performance improvement. In this manner, we can not only measure learning, but also tie learning practices to a variety of outcomes.

When we consider that learning is already happening, regardless of measurement, it takes some of the stress away. Now all we need to do is look for ties between learning activities and observable outcomes to start determining the impact of informal learning on business objectives. By putting some effort into tracking what people are already doing, we can take advantage of what has historically been a missed opportunity…

Click here to continue reading the rest of this article