When we decided to grow Degreed LENS from an after-work happy hour to a full-day event, we weren’t exactly sure how things would shake up. But in true Degreed fashion, we said “go big or go home” at the top of our lungs, and put together a two-day extravaganza featuring a client summit and a day-long innovators conference.

We chose the theme: The Business of Building Skills, because if learning organizations want to be seen as a contributor to the business, we have to start talking and acting like it. So each session paired an L&D leader with a business unit exec like finance, innovation, strategy and even a couple company Presidents and Partners.

In a glimpse, we had:

  • Attendees from 35 states and 12 countries
  • 13 sessions with 26 speakers (50% of which were female!)
  • 361 attendees
  • 199 clients
  • 15+ industries represented
  • 400 Expertise Economy books signed
  • 7 sponsors
  • More laughs from Dan Lyons’ session than anyone could count (seriously, we tried!)

We don’t mean to brag, but there were truly too many highlights to capture. So we picked our five favorite ideas.

  1. Answers from a company President: The correct answer to ‘why should I upskill my workforce if they will end up leaving?’ is ‘because they will leave sooner if you don’t.’
  2. Advice from a CFO: When you think about asking for funding for a program, it’s immensely helpful to frame it as how that program or platform is going to contribute to the overall business goals for the future.
  3. Suggestions from a Head of Corporate Talent & Strategy: Employees are an asset even though they aren’t represented that way on a balance sheet. That’s means skills are a currency we need to support.
  4. A challenge from a Partner: We don’t need to invest in expensive strategies – they will change in 3-6 months. We need to invest in talent that is agile and can refresh itself to adapt which means you can’t have a business strategy if you don’t have a talent strategy.
  5. A new framework from an Executive Chairman: There isn’t a standard metric for measuring skills even though that is a top question for CEO’s today. So Degreed created a measurement suite including the new Skill Review. With it, organizations can benchmark employee skills, signal their expertise inside the company and see how people are progressing over time as they prepare for their next role.

If you were there, we thank you. If you weren’t, you are likely suffering from FOMO. And to be honest, we wish you were there, too.

But sometimes things don’t pan out the way we want them to. That’s why we are in the process of putting all of the presentation materials in the 2018 Degreed LENS Pathway, which you can enroll in here. We also recorded a bunch of the sessions and will have those videos live soon.

Next year will be even better – keep an eye out for our 2019 location announcement.

Look forward to seeing you at a Degreed event soon.

Airbnb is one of the most prominent technology startups to emerge in the past decade and has rapidly become a major force in the global travel industry. Since its founding in 2008, it claims more than 4 million listings in over 65,000 cities and 191 countries worldwide.

Airbnb has experienced rapid growth in its first decade by expanding its bookings and revenues as well as its global footprint. This challenge translated internally as well – how do you ensure that more than 4000 colleagues around the world are equipped with the right skills to compete, lead, and deliver a powerful experience to their clients?

The learning team needed a model that reflected how they actually learn—consuming information on the fly, in dedicated bursts of attention, and on their own schedule. And they targeted managers first.

Amplify: Developing Leadership

As Airbnb’s learning team empowered employees to rapidly find critical information, they also kicked off a new program called Amplify to create a leadership development program at no extra cost.

The approach is built upon what the learning team knows about how people really learn and put skills into practice, particularly in a hypergrowth environment. Airbnb is in the process of rolling out the program to more than 700 globally dispersed managers—nearly a fifth of the workforce—at a fraction of the cost of traditional programs.

“A lot of the feedback that we get from people who go through Amplify is they love the fact that they can do this whenever and however it suits them, and that it’s not mandatory for them to be in a location for a good chunk of time—particularly people who are more reflective in their learning style,” says Barry Murphy, global learning lead at Airbnb.

Want to know the six core people leadership behaviors Airbnb is targeting or the structure of the training inside the Amplify program? Barry will take the stage at Degreed LENS next Thursday to share how they created the program, and there are still a few (10 to be exact) tickets remaining.

Join us before it’s too late!

 

 

“Dispersed workforce” takes on a whole new meaning when you are trying to upskill and reskill employees spread over more than 150 branch locations in 3 countries. But knowing key business objectives and improving client retention were tied to improving the learning experience of employees, Associa’s HR team took the challenge head-on, creating Associa University and launching a significant number of technology enhancements in less than 12 months.

“We needed a way to provide engaging learning and training to develop the fundamental skills required for specific roles. Moving away from a clunky, non-user friendly system towards something that enabled both social sharing and unique learning opportunities was essential, so we knew an LMS wasn’t the answer.”
– Debra Warren, Associa Vice President of Development

Chelle O’Keefe, Associa’s CHRO, is hosting a live session at Degreed LENS that will “get in the weeds” on how they implemented their new University and technology stack and what they are using to measure success and progress.

A sneak peak? Associa was the first Degreed client to leverage the Skill Plans feature, using them to map learning experiences to desired skills and roles within their organization. Their revamped approach to learning led to a significant increase in client satisfaction and retention.

This is a case study presentation you don’t want to miss. We hope you’ll join Degreed and Associa in NYC.

nyclens

We couldn’t be more excited to announce Dan Lyons, Carla Arellano, and Jean-Marc Laouchez as keynote speakers for the nearly sold-out LENS 2018 Conference.

The theme of this year’s LENS event, the business of building skills, aims to teach business and learning leaders how to drive success by understanding the newest and smartest ways to harness technology and data to discover, build, and measure the skills their companies need. The fourth annual LENS conference will feature a full day of thought leadership, workshops, and case studies from experts like Peter Fox, Global Head of Digital Learning and Talent Technology at Citi; Tim Munden, Chief Learning Officer at Unilever; Barry Murphy, Global Learning Lead at Airbnb; and Louise Welch, Senior Director, Enterprise Learning and Development at Capital One.

“We’re bringing together the world’s best minds in learning and talent to give business leaders a bootcamp in optimizing their companies for the future,” said Degreed CEO, Chris McCarthy. “Knowing what skills your people have and what skills they need is vital to success. We believe Dan, Carla, and Jean-Marc each bring unique and important viewpoints on the business of building skills and we’re excited to have them as part of a packed agenda.”

LENS will take place Thursday, October 4 at Center415 in New York City. Those interested in attending can view the full agenda and purchase tickets at: https://lens-nyc-2018.degreed.com/

Rolling out an enterprise learning tool can be tough. Now add in the challenges of being the 3rd largest bank in the US with more than 200,000 employees and you’ve got a true uphill battle.

Want to know the secret? Citi’s Global Head of Digital Learning and Talent Technology, Peter Fox, and Digital Learning Technology Project Manager, Tiffany Abinsay, will present their journey to implementing the first global SaaS tool owned by HR during Degreed LENS.

Their session, L&D + IT + Ops: Building for Adaptivity And Stability, will share how Citi’s Learning Technology team overcame operational challenges like shifting from a tactical role to an influencer, how to market a new tool and how they got stakeholder buy-in.

Not sure your organization can empower employees to learn and develop on their own? Think again. Citi empowered learning to be more self-service, even in their highly-regulated finance industry.

Join us on October 4th at Degreed LENS in NYC for Citi’s “how they did it” story.

Want to know more about Citi’s evolution to continuous learning? Check out this learning solutions mag article!

According to the creators of Scrum and its body of knowledge, the Scrum Guide, Scrum is a simple framework for effective team collaboration on complex products. Scrum consists of Scrum Teams (a Product Owner, Development Team, and Scrum Master) and their associated events, artifacts, and rules.

scrum

As successful organizations continue to nurture their ability to deliver with greater agility, they are increasingly turning to the Scrum framework to improve the way their teams work.  When applying Scrum, teams work together to continuously inspect and adapt how they work.

Even more good news

Scrum.org and Degreed have partnered to make learning and developing your Scrum skills even easier! The agreement will enable enterprise employees with a subscription to Degreed to learn general Scrum topics and those specific to their roles on the Scrum Team, helping organizations and individuals deliver higher value products.

By partnering with Degreed, Scrum.org has opened up an avenue for individuals on Scrum Teams to evaluate what they know (inspect) and continually learn (adapt) to enable continued professional growth.

“We are excited to have found a partner in Degreed who, like us, is focused on improving how people work in professional environments,” said Joel Lamendola, Vice President of Business Development of Scrum.org.  “By partnering with Degreed, we can bring Scrum learning paths to individuals within their enterprise clients to help those individual Scrum Team members become more effective in how they work within their Scrum Teams.”

To learn more about scrum and visit Scrum.org for further information on the organization’s Professional Scrum assessments, training, and global community; follow us on Twitter @scrumdotorg and read more from our community of experts on the Scrum.org blog.

Today is a milestone for us as we announce $42M Series C financing, along with new executive roles for David Blake and Chris McCarthy.

First, though, a huge thank you. We are incredibly grateful not just to our investors, but to all of you – our employees, our clients, our partners, and our families and friends – for supporting us in this journey, for sharing our vision, and for helping Degreed to get this far. I am excited and humbled, then, to share the details of our this funding and what that means for our product, clients, and team.

Our strong history

In the spring of 2013, Degreed raised $1.8M in a Seed Round from top investors in the world of business, venture capital, and edtech, including Deborah Quazzo, Mark Cuban, Mike Levinthal, Chris Eyre, Larry Rosenberger, Kaplan, and Walt Winshall. Since then, we have raised $32M more in our Series A and Series B financings, which added Jump Capital, Signal Peak, GSV Acceleration and Rethink Education to our investor list.

Mark Cuban explained his excitement about Degreed nicely. “Degreed allows organizations to inventory their existing employees, train them, and track it all,” he said. “And, when employees do have external training or experience, have the company give them credit for it—I think that’s critical.”

This $42M Series C financing brings our total funding to $75M. It was co-led by Owl Ventures, a fund that invests in the world’s leading education technology companies, and Jump Capital. Founders Circle Capital, along with existing investors, GSV Acceleration Fund and Signal Peak Ventures, also participated.

Why? Because “this methodology evolves the traditional learning model to today’s social environment through increased interaction and engagement,” said Paola Mazzoleni, the Chief Human Resources Officer at Tenaris, one of our customers. “Employees have autonomy and accountability in defining and designing their development plan to reach their professional goals; they are investing in their future.”

Our experts

At the beginning of 2013, Degreed was a team of five people. Today, we are 150 strong and growing weekly. Each of our employees are driven by a respect for the company principles and the desire to provide our clients the best experience possible. And we’re all guided by 12 core  principles:

  1. Balance
  2. Moderately flat
  3. Equality
  4. Empathy
  5. Flexibility
  6. Dedication
  7. Family
  8. Excellence
  9. Candor and coachability
  10. Transparency
  11. Learning
  12. Mission-first

Focusing on these values allows each member of our organization to be intentional about our time. We believe operating this way has set the foundation for healthy tension, growth and most importantly, trust among teams.

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As we continue to pursue our founders’ original vision, a portion of the proceeds from this funding will also be used to expand on Degreed’s newest product, Degreed Skill Certification – the world’s first system to both certify and rate any skill. To guide those efforts, Blake, Degreed’s co-founder, has taken on a new role as Executive Chairman. Blake and the Degreed board named Chris McCarthy, formerly Chief Operating Officer, as the company’s new CEO, to lead the continued growth of the company and its award-winning learning platform.

“Keeping people’s skills in sync with fast-changing markets is the biggest challenge of our time,” said Chris McCarthy, Degreed CEO. “That’s why Degreed exists. We believe there’s a better, smarter way to help everyone keep their skills sharp for whatever’s next, to measure their progress as they grow, and to communicate their readiness – both to current and future employers.”

Our future

Innovation has always been our focus, and throughout our history, that’s been a key attraction for many of our clients. And it’s working. Nine out of 10 clients agree they’re building more productive learning cultures, they’re adapting to shifting business needs faster, and they’re investing in L&D more efficiently.

“Our people are our competitive advantage and Degreed is further optimizing the way that we address current skills and development needs in the short term, and how that will translate to performance as part of our longer-term strategy,” said Sarice Plate, Senior Director of Global Talent Acquisition and Development at Xilinx, another one of our clients. “Our learners are no longer having to guess at what’s quality or what might benefit them.”

With this new war chest, we are planning to develop new features and functionality that will improve the client and user experience, including:

  1. Best-in-class learner experience with AI-powered content curation – making Degreed the daily learning destination for all of our clients.
  2. The ability to unlock the ultimate currency of learning (skills) across each enterprise, along with the ability to enable targeted and curated skill development – fueling career mobility for all.
  3. Enabling an ecosystem of HCM technology and content partners, empowering our channel to build and expand business with Degreed and with our customers.

“We face the biggest challenges humanity has ever encountered,” our co-founder and Executive Chairman, David Blake, likes to say. “We need extraordinary experts to solve those challenges and make the unthinkable reality. Experts who can heal, discover, challenge, and advance.”

The future depends on our commitment to be our best selves and discover our own personal missions. To become experts—each of us. The challenges of the future won’t care how you became an expert, just that you did. And that you made a difference.”

Thank you for joining us on this rewarding journey. We look forward to what the future holds, for all of us.

Thousands of dollars.
Thousands of hours of training and preparation.
A team of experts who offer support.

All those resources boiling down to a few hours of performance with limited results: a win or a loss. Sound like a situation we in Learning and Development know too well? How about every time we create a course or formal training.

So, what can learning learn from these exceptional Olympic athletes? You don’t become a world-class expert from one training session.

Mikaela Shiffrin, a 22-year old alpine skier currently competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics, strapped her first pair of ski boots on at the age of 3. Now 22-years old, she’s been practicing for 19 years. Her success comes from many things, including incredibly hard work, and a variety of activities.

According to The New Yorker, she starts her days with a 10-minute warm-up on the stationary bike and stretching. Interval training is a big part of her training, Strength training is a major focus of her program, including circuits filled with sprints pushing and pulling a weighted sled, squats, rowing machine work, and skating on a slideboard. But that’s not all. She also spends time working on her balance and…wait for it… sleeping! She sleeps nine hours each night, on average, and naps every single day.

As proven by Mikaela, achieving Olympic glory requires mastery, over time, using a variety of techniques, repeated in a variety of intensities and even locations. This recipe serves as an example of how employee learning should look: varied, available in multiple formats, and based on the individual.

According to Degreed, the learning journey is similar.

Degreed was founded on the idea that we build our skills over a lifetime, stitching together a variety of experiences. It takes courses and books, articles, videos and podcasts. It also takes lots of searching, practice, trial, and error. And perhaps most meaningful is the guidance, feedback, reflection and coaching along the way.

So what does this mean for L&D Managers and organizations?

Learning happening in a variety of ways means we have to support a variety of modalities to keep our employees engaged.

Much like training for the Olympics, there isn’t one magical system to create greatness. You need an integrated ecosystem that approaches training and learning from different areas.

These ecosystems often include LMSs, but they are increasingly supplemented by solutions for curating open resources, managing micro-learning and automating feedback.

The near future of learning technology is here, and intelligent networks of tools, content, systems, people, and data all working together to empower your workforce to be world-class. To help them learn better, faster and more cost-effectively.

For advice on how to pick the right tools for the job, check out Degreed’s Innovator’s Guide to the Near Future of Learning Technology.

Many of us are starting the year doing a lot of evaluation. Evaluating ourselves, evaluating our fitness and health, and at work, evaluating our contributions. And some of us have decided to make changes.

In learning and development, many want to improve the way we support employees. We’re asking questions like:

– How can I convince my employees to make time for learning?
– How can we make learning part of the day instead of a tedious activity?
– What can we do to make content more interesting?

I’ve been asking these questions too, and in my search for answers, I found the best place to start was better understanding my employees (learners).

Here are my top 3 recommendations for facilitating a good learning experience.

  1.    Support employees so learning can happen available anytime, anywhere.

Workers don’t confine their development to the “office” or typical work hours. In Degreed’s “How the Workforce Learns” report, 85% of people said they learn at work, 67% do so on personal time and 18% are learning during travel or commutes.

While this feels like you might have less control than you’d like, it’s actually a good thing for retention.

Benedict Carey, author of How We Learn and writer at The New York Times, actually recommends changing locations while learning. New scenery maximizes the number of associations tied to a certain memory and makes it easier to access when trying to reconnect with the content later on.

So, creating the environment and culture where employees feel that ALL the learning they do, wherever they do means increased valued and they’ll likely retain information and make connections more effectively.

  1.    Stop worrying about millennials and boomers and start worrying about learner preferences.

I led a panel discussion last year on the generational differences in the workforce with eBay and BlueBeyond consulting. We had a representative from the 4 generations in the workforce today, and what surfaced was that societal trends, more than age, influence preferences for digesting information.

70% of the time, learning still happens on PCs. But smartphones (17%) and tablets (13%) account for 30% of digital development.

While there is some broad truth to generational differences, there were plenty of boomers in the room who prefer YouTube “how-to’s” and a significant number of millennials who still to write things down and would choose face to face over IM.

The takeaway? Learning preference is just that, an individual’s preference. Regardless of generation, we should give each employee options that appeal to their unique learning style and  preferences in content themes

  1.    When investing in new tech, consider more than efficiency.

Many L&D teams are trying to do more with less. Content that appeals to a broader audience, templates that standardize and one system that can do it all.

But how does this approach cater to the reality that we build skills over time, and from a variety of sources including books, conversations, and experience?

As Degreed’s new Innovators Guide points out, the problem with this approach is that in a typical L&D environment, the content (as well as the systems, people, and work experiences) are isolated. They rarely work together to interact or share data. “As a result, they don’t give anyone a useful picture of our learning activities or, more importantly, our skill-sets,” said Todd Tauber, VP of Product Marketing at Degreed.

Instead, we need to consider the benefits of being in the age of technology, and thanks to things like APIs, organizations can form world-class systems from multiple, best of breed solutions. “This is the near future of learning technology: intelligent networks of tools, content, systems, people, and data all working together to empower your workforce to learn better, faster AND more cost-effectively,” added Tauber.

Ready to learn more? Check out Degreed’s Innovator’s Guide.

 

Degreed is honored to be recognized on two recent Training Industry Top 20 lists: Top Online Learning Library Company and Top Learning Portal  Company.

Top20
“Workers today are inundated with resources. More successful learning teams are utilizing practices like curation to cut through the chaos and bring only relevant, personalized content to each employee,” said CEO David Blake. “Degreed helps people discover, curate, share, track and value all types of learning – from anywhere – all in one place. By using Degreed, L&D teams can spend less time managing and more time empowering.”

Thank you to Training Industry for the thoughtful recognition.

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