Skills Quotient

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Skills Quotient

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Learning Experience

Just the Beginning

Learning Experience

Data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are disrupting everything you know, in ways that most of us don’t understand — yet. To help you keep up, we’re launching a new series, Degreed Does Data. We’ll dive deep into these topics, simplifying their complexities, explaining their potential impact, and breaking down the dramatic ways they’ll be changing the industry.

You can always find the details in the data. It’s a big reason why data science is such a necessity these days. So what is it? And why is it so important nowadays?

Today we can access infinitely more information than ever before. People are constantly interacting through the internet and countless smart devices are tracking every bit of our world. We call these movements and activities “data.”

To give you an idea of just how much data is out there, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day. The most interesting (or scary!) part? Over 90 percent of the data in the world was generated in just the last 2 years.

But more data does not necessarily mean more knowledge. Enter data science. Data science is the key to understanding all this new information in meaningful ways.

Data science combines three areas of expertise: business knowledge, statistical analysis, and computer science. A skillful data scientist uses their business knowledge to understand a problem, applies statistical techniques to collect data and model solutions, and writes programs to run their analysis and generate results.

Data science is how Google, Facebook, and Amazon became successful. They studied searches, similarities, friendships, and purchases to find patterns that led to profits.

Sports teams have used data science to devise Moneyball tactics to hit more home runs and three-pointers. It has even made us safer and healthier because data scientists have crunched numbers that detect fraud and disease.

Data science is a hot topic in learning, too, and for good reason. Employees use the web and mobile devices along with HR and business applications to get smarter, and in the process, they are generating valuable data on things like their preferences, their habits, and new or improving skills. Do not waste this data! Using a learning platform that makes intelligent use of data science, your organization can understand who is learning what, which resources are most helpful, and how employees are progressing.

So what should you do about all this? Well, for starters, start asking more questions. Here’s a few to get you started:

How is data collected, stored, and secured with this solution?

Data science is useless without databases, but those databases must have integrity. Ask how the information is gathered; make sure users have given consent if required. Once the data is collected, it must be maintained and kept fresh. Find out how databases are kept reliable and up-to-date. Of course, don’t forget to keep the data safe, by talking through specifics security threats and privacy protections.

What predictive models have data scientists built using this tool?

One core function of data science is prediction. With enough relevant information about the past and present, data scientists can forecast the future. Methods like regression analysis and neural nets use statistics to study the relationships between variables. For example, data science can predict how costs will change, when products will wear out, or what trends will become popular. When considering data science tools, make sure to find out what predictions it can make reliably.

How does data visualization help users and admins analyze their learning?

Data can be hard to digest. Tables filled with numbers? Equations stuffed with variables? Most of us don’t understand these things. But many data scientists are using data visualization to get ideas across. Creativity and beauty can completely change our understanding, helping us take in more information and clearly see how it all relates. When shopping for or evaluating a learning solution, make sure it offers elegant, intuitive displays of the data, so you can spot the trends instantly.

Now that you know getting warmed up, stay tuned for the next installment in our data series: machine learning.

Ready to dig deeper into data science? Check out the resources below. Before you know it, you’ll be speaking data fluently.

Data Science, Explained for Beginners (five videos, 3-7 min each)

A senior data scientist at Microsoft gives an easy introduction, addressing what questions are answerable and how to make sure your data is ready.

Understanding the Data Science Lifecycle (infographic and 10 min article)

Here is a fresh, simple overview of the data science lifecycle, with an explanation of how to collect, maintain, and analyze data.

What Really is Data Science? Told by a Data Scientist (11 min video)

This YouTuber uses personal experience, solid research, and a sense of humor to break down the rise of data science and how it is used today.

A Very Short History of Data Science (15 min article)

This article from Forbes starts with the origins, way back in the 1960s, but the best bits come from the 2010s, tracking how interest in data science exploded recently.

Tenaris is a global manufacturer and supplier of steel pipes and related services, primarily for the energy industry, employing 22,000 people in 30 countries.

Since the launch of Tenaris University 14 years ago, learning has largely become digitized, leaving Tenaris in need of an upgrade.

So what were they looking for? Tenaris wanted an environment that encouraged knowledge sharing and promoted a social aspect of learning. The team also wanted an interface that reflected how people were building knowledge all the time, through lectures but also experiences and interactions.

So what did they do that has close to 50% monthly average usage?

Our latest success story walks through their new learning strategy and how the implementation of Degreed is driving 15% increase in cost efficiency. Read it now.

Degreed’s product innovation and growing market presence in Europe was recognised in the 2019 Fosway 9-Grid™ for Learning Systems

In 2016, Degreed acquired Gibbon, a pioneer in developing software to curate and share learning resources from across the internet. Based outside Amsterdam, The Netherlands, it was our first big step expanding into Europe. But that was only the beginning.

Almost three years into our European expansion, Gibbon has blossomed into a fast-growing product, engineering, customer support and sales office (and we’re still hiring!). We also have commercial teams on the ground in the UK, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Degreed now works in dozens of local languages, with a range of native European content sources already integrated. And we just opened a brand new data centre in Germany.

All that focus, investment and effort seem to be working for our clients, too. Degreed’s European client base more than doubled over the last year, and we are closing in on 1 million licensed users all across the region – fast.

So we’re proud and excited that Fosway Group, Europe’s #1 HR industry analysts, just recognised Degreed’s product innovation and growing market presence in the 2019 Fosway 9-Grid™ for Learning Systems. This latest report advances Degreed’s position from a “Potential Challenger” to a “Core Challenger,” reflecting the strength and capabilities of our solution, our accelerating customer advocacy, and most importantly the impact we’re making for our clients.

David Wilson, CEO of Fosway Group, told us, “Degreed’s increased investment in Europe is clearly being reflected into its increased performance and potential for European customers. Their ranking as a Core Challenger also reflects their innovative approach to learning and skills, as well as greater customer advocacy.”

“We’re investing heavily to build our team, operations and infrastructure in order to meet the unique needs and requirements of European customers. We are honoured that Fosway’s research validates all that work,” said Chris McCarthy, CEO of Degreed. “Our clients want more than just a better learning experience. They’re pushing us to provide sophisticated technology, data and support to keep their people’s skills aligned with their business strategies.”

If you are interested in learning more about Degreed, please stop by our booth at Learning Technologies, Europe’s leading showcase for organisational learning technology, February 13th or 14th at ExCeL London. At the show, you can also hear how Photobox Group and Anglo American are working with Degreed to drive continuous improvement in their people’s skills. Or, join us at one of our upcoming Degreed Focus workshops in Paris or Amsterdam.

You can access the 2019 Fosway 9-Grid™ for Learning Systems here.

What does a great customer experience look like to you? If you are like most people, you immediately think of personal shopping, technology or travel experience. Shopping at Amazon is fast, easy and with smart recommendations on what else you might need. You might think about Apple and their beautiful products, elegant stores, and a tightly integrated ecosystem. Or you might think about Disney, the highly detailed and immersive travel experience allowing your children to believe in a fantasy.

Now think about the customer experience with enterprise software – can you think of a time when you would say your experience was great?.

At Degreed, we aspire to something far better than the typical enterprise software experience. We aspire to provide you with an experience that not only exceeds your expectations of what our software can do to transform the learning journey in your organization but also provide you with support and a partnership that is second to none. As Chris, our CEO, noted in his year-end summary, Degreed has made a considerable investment in our Client Experience team, all with the goal of creating a truly exceptional experience for our clients.

To deliver this exceptional experience, the first thing we focus on is getting the foundation right.

Hire the right team

There is a lot of work that needs to happen behind the scenes to ensure a seamless customer experience. This starts with ensuring that we hire individuals with a passion for service. That sounds basic enough but it is absolutely essential. For example, I personally interview every candidate for roles on the client experience team to ensure – without exception – my team is focused on service. For reference, we added 30 people to the team last year. We challenge ourselves to not only hire deep experience and expertise (our Engagement team has 10 years of L&D experience on average) but we actively work to hire from diverse backgrounds to constantly challenge our own status quo.

Create great training and processes

With the right people in place, we work hard to train our internal team not only on the Degreed solution but the learning ecosystem as a whole. We use Degreed, as you would expect, to power this learning and have developed pathways for on-boarding and growth. Our internal culture of learning ensures that the latest content and resources are organically shared across the team. Beyond training, we also invest time in ensuring that the handoff between implementation and customer success teams is seamless, that we have strong implementation methodologies augmented with best practice recommendations. These best practices aren’t hopes and dreams, they are tried and true – acquired from years of experience. We specifically designed our resources to allow our team to truly focus on each customer and creating a white-glove experience.

Standing up a disruptive learning technology solution in an enterprise environment can be surprisingly complex. Doing this well would set us apart from most enterprise technology implementations but that’s not what we would consider “a great experience” yet. It doesn’t fully realize our aspiration of exceptional.

Add value

So how do we deliver something more? It’s more than hiring the right service-minded individuals and putting them in a position to be successful with training and smart programs. We want more. And we deliver it. As an example of how we go further, we provide our customers with free services like customer marketing. This is a small dynamic team focused on supporting customers with their own internal marketing of learning to end users. This team provides customers with sample collateral, best practices, hands-on partnership, creative development and swag (everyone loves those socks!) to help our customers deliver high impact launch and change management. As another example, we provide free training including things like the latest insights and exposure to experts in the field so our clients to stay on top of evolving fields like content curation which helps our customers become experts.

Listen and act on feedback

We invest a considerable amount of time in listening to our customers and, most importantly, acting on that feedback to continuously improve our product and services. Twice a year, we facilitate a Client Experience Survey using the Net Promoter Score framework to ask both our L&D partners and end users whether they would recommend Degreed, our services, our product, and our Support.

For each implementation, we survey our L&D partners to ask what worked well and what we could improve upon. For each Support interaction, we ask how we did. But most importantly, we act on this feedback.

As an example, last year our customers told us they wanted better visibility to the Product Roadmap so they could plan right along with Degreed and the future of L&D. Our Product team listened, stepped up, and now not only do we have a customer facing roadmap available but we also host webinars and individuals sessions with customers to share this roadmap. And you guessed it – our clients noticed. In our survey results this year, customers said thank you.

Engage beyond the CX team

Surveys are important but exceptional requires even more. The broader Degreed team including Product, Engineering and Leadership teams actively engage with our customers to listen, learn and then act. Our Chief Product Officer is constantly on the road meeting with customers and listening to inform our roadmap and share our vision for the future of learning. We also facilitate regional user group meetings to get customers together to learn from one another. We facilitate product advisory board meetings and last year we hosted our first annual Client Summit with more than half of our customers attending in person to engage with and learn from one another.

The job is never done…

A moment of honesty. Do we always achieve our aspiration of delivering an exceptional experience? No. There is always more that we can do. In cases where we fall down and don’t deliver the experience we expect, we work hard to quickly course correct, look at root causes and act on feedback to ensure that we are constantly improving and learning from what didn’t work well. Without constant experimentation, without constant learning and growth, we can’t deliver the exceptional experience we aspire to provide.

I am proud to share that our focus on exceptional is working. We have heard, “You set the standard for software vendors” and “Oh, and the Degreed team? They. Are. Everything. The -only- vendor team I’ve ever partnered with that I feel truly cares and always has my back.” Yes, those are direct quotes, and we hear similar anecdotes often. Our customers also recommend us at a level that is consistent with the best in consumer shopping, technology, and travel experience. Our customers continue to partner with Degreed giving us customer retention numbers above 90% and even stronger growth with customers expanding their partnership.

There is always more to do and we will continue to challenge ourselves to go even further we are well on our way to exceptional.

Organizations across the board are having a hard time filling present skill gaps, let alone making headspace for emerging skills — the skills of the future. There’s no doubt emerging skills will be a critical factor in surviving the disruption caused by automation and digitization. In fact, according to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, 62% percent of executives believe they will need to retrain or replace more than a quarter of their workforce between now and 2023 due to these factors. It’s skill or be skilled out there, so how can you and your company stay ahead?

Here are five things we’ve noticed companies who are the most committed to building emerging skills do differently:

  1. Identifying skills from the ground up
  2.  Tap into new skills where they emerge organically
  3. Give experts a platform to spread their knowledge
  4. Give feedback on progress
  5. Mine data to identify emerging skills

The good news? Reskilling is on the radar. A recent McKinsey & Company study showed that 66 percent of executives see addressing potential skills gaps related to automation/digitization within their workforces as a top-ten priority. Nearly 30 percent put it in the top five.

So what are YOU doing about it? For starters, start looking for ways to measure your people’s skill-sets. Then give us 10 minutes and we’ll give you a crash course in emerging skills: what they are, how to build them and how to benchmark your current skills so you can get started on what’s next.

To our clients and partners,

On behalf of the entire Degreed team, thank you for an amazing 2018, and for your continued partnership. What we’ve accomplished together in just a short period of time, is incredible. It was just five years ago that a handful of Degreed’s early employees were engaging with many of you for the first time to share our vision for where learning and skill building had to go. That thesis was based on three pillars:

  1. Individual ownership of lifelong learning
  2. A deep partnership with businesses to put employees’ needs at the center of a next-generation learning, skills, and career platform
  3. Working together to create a common “language” for skills

Over the last few years, we have made meaningful progress on all three aspects of that vision.

As we begin 2019, Degreed is fortunate enough to be engaged with over 200 clients across the globe.  We’ve worked with many of you for years, and others are just beginning your relationship with us. Regardless of how long we’ve been partners, we’re deeply grateful for all that you have done to push us to build something great.

With that said, I want to take a moment to recap 2018 and share what we will accomplish in the year ahead.

2018 Milestones

  • We began the year by raising $42m in venture capital to triple our pace of innovation and growth.
  • We continue to advance the roadmap of our industry-leading Learner Experience Platform with major enhancements tied directly to your feedback. This includes a flexible curation framework — to contextualize learning and skills development through pages, roles, and skills plans — a richer learner home experience to increase engagement and connected learning opportunities, user-generated video content capability, alignment of the mobile app and browser experience, and meaningful insights on skills development and content curation for individuals and organizations.
  • We connected like-minded thought leaders seeking to advance the corporate learning technology experience and facilitated peer-connection forums in numerous locations. As part of that, we have expanded and revamped both our global product council and our client advisory board.
  • In partnership with many of you, we launched Skill Review to easily create structured data on your workforce’s skill sets, and make that data inter-operable between learning, HR and other systems.
  • We joined forces with Pathgather, the only other company in the space that shared our commitment to innovation, product excellence, and customer success. Pathgather’s customers are some of the most impressive and innovative teams I’ve met. In just the first two months, many of Pathgather’s best features began to show up on Degreed. Together, we’re building something truly great and lasting in this industry.
  • We continue to expand our team, product and support capabilities around the globe with four offices worldwide. Around 10% of our 300+ employees are now located outside the United States. Canada, Europe, Latin America, and Asia are among our fastest growing markets
  • In October, we hosted nearly 400 of you, from 35 states and 12 countries, at our two-day client summit and conference, LENS, in New York City.
  • We made major investments in all of our Client Success and support capabilities — technical, client engagement, client success, learning, and marketing services — so we can continue to improve how we serve you all along your journeys. This team, which represents our commitment to your success, now accounts for 25% of our company headcount.
  • Along with our clients Associa, Airbnb, and Mastercard, we were awarded the Gold-level Brandon Hall Excellence in Technology award.
  • With the help of numerous clients, our CLO Kelly Palmer and Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, David Blake, wrote and published The Expertise Economy.
  • To better support scaling and inspire innovation, we grew our business, our client base, and our team by more than 100%.
  • Most importantly, these investments are working. We ended 2018 with a Net Promoter Score of 62, which is world class not just for software vendors, but for any company in any industry.

The Year Ahead

2018 was an incredible year by any measure, but we still have a lot of work to do.

  • Our biggest priority is continuing to listen to you, our customers. This means continuing to incorporate your feedback and investing in the areas where you’ve pushed us. For starters, we kicked off 2019 by creating new, fully-staffed product and innovation teams focused on four key areas:
    1. Learner Experience and Engagement: To use the vast amount of data we collect to improve our personalization and learner experience.
    2. Native Apps and Extensions: To more deeply tie learning into the flow of work, which creates a more seamless native experience.
    3. Reporting and Insights: To help organizations better identify skill gaps, and provide more meaningful analytics and data on learning activity, content utilization, and skill progression
    4. Skill Measurement and Career Development: To help employees measure their skill levels, identify gaps, and progress in their careers through well-defined paths.
  • We will also continue investing heavily in our user experience (UX), data science, and AI capabilities, global/multi-language support, search, and integrations and APIs. The goal is to provide a product that supports clients as they build and reinforce a more vibrant and productive learning culture through a consumer-grade experience in an enterprise learning application.
  • We will work in partnership with you to get deeper integrations into your broader HCM and work systems to make your entire learning, performance, and career ecosystem work better, together. We’ll also work together to use skill data to help you accelerate business transformation, and close critical skill gaps.
  • Lastly, we’re creating more opportunities for our ever-expanding client base to engage and learn from each other — while continuing to push our roadmap — through over 60 events around the globe. This includes LENS 2019, which will be in Austin, Texas, in October.

My Ask of You

We at Degreed couldn’t be more excited for the year ahead. Together, we have an incredible opportunity to accelerate people’s development and career growth. To create something truly innovative and valuable that helps them build their skills, become truly continuous, lifelong learners, and unlock tremendous value for themselves and your companies, over the entirety of their careers.

Please continue to push us and hold us accountable for doing what we set out to do. I’m looking forward to seeing or meeting as many of you as I can this year. But in the meantime, my personal email address is below. Please feel free to use it.

Thank you again, on behalf of all of us, for a 2018 we won’t soon forget.



This past fall 400+ learning leaders from all over the world gathered together in New York City, talking careers and skill development at Degreed LENS: The Business of Building Skills.

It was an incredible event filled with incredible people.

In summary, we had:

  • The launch of Degreed Skill Review
  • 361 attendees from 35 states and 12 countries
  • 13 sessions with 26 speakers
  • 220+ clients
  • 15+ industries represented
  • 400 The Expertise Economy books signed
  • 7 sponsors
  • More laughs from Dan Lyons’ session than anyone could count (seriously, we tried)

See for yourself in the recap video below:

For those who didn’t make it, the main stage recordings, slides, and additional content are stored in the 2018 Degreed LENS Pathway.

All of the sessions were fantastic, but if you are short on time, we suggest you read up on the launch of Degreed Skill Review and watch the two main keynotes: Carla Arellano & Jean-Marc Laouchez. Both of their sessions provide key insights and suggestions for bringing the value of people development to the C-Suite. The closing keynote from Dan Lyons brings the humor to some serious subjects.

We hope you enjoy!

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got” -Henry Ford

“You can’t invent the future if you cling to out-of-date ideas, even if they’ve worked in the past.” -Bill Taylor

To some New Years Resolutions are cliched, but as Learning & Development professionals, growth mindset is in our DNA and starting off the year with goals and ambitions is not only natural but mission critical to learning, growth, and achieving success. Over the last week, I’ve spoken to a few L&D professionals who are on the cutting edge of the profession and here are some of their resolutions:

Rethink What is Possible

“I’m thrilled to kick off 2019 at Visa University. We’re at an incredibly exciting juncture as a team – we have two successful years behind us and a new CLO at the helm with decades of experience in technology, entrepreneurship AND intrapreneurship. She’s empowered and emboldened us to think of what the next phase of Visa University could look like. 2019 will be a pivotal year for VU as we enable the next phase of growth at Visa in the face of industry disruption. We’ll continue to use our agile, user-centered design approach to build bespoke products and experiences that will equip our workforce with the capabilities and knowledge to maintain a leadership position in digital commerce.”

– Deepina (Dee) Kapila, Product Manager at  Visa University

Centralize learning and deliver a uniform experience

As a virtual company, we strive for all of our employees to learn and grow in The Centric Way as part of their DNA. To further accomplish this and keep up with our growing workforce, we are looking forward to developing a centralized 12 month learning program to incorporate in our onboarding of every new employee in 2019. This will help us continue to deliver unmatched experiences to our clients and employees no matter if you are working with our folks in India, Seattle, or Miami!

-Heather Bahorich, Senior Manager, HR &Talent at Centric Consulting​

Provide more visibility into career options

One of our big New Years’ goals is to better support people in their careers at Photobox Group; from providing visibility into career options, understanding the skills and capabilities required to progress, and providing the most relevant learning content and experiences to help people get there.

-Emily Whittaker, L&D Manager at Photobox Group

“One of our big resolutions for next year is to provide better career support to HP employees. We want to help them elevate what they can do in their role as well as provide visibility into career options. That includes learning content on how to build a personal brand, network within the company, and discover new opportunities. The final piece of that is to provide resources in Brain Candy to develop the skills they need to move ahead.”

– Michael Jordan, SVP Global Talent & Learning at HP Inc.

Shift the learning mindset from push to pull

“One of our resolutions at 84.51° for this year is to support the shift in learning mindset from the traditional “push” mindset to more of a “pull” approach. Our people are highly technical and, in many ways, already operating this way. Our goal is to make the learning experience easier. We’ll start by expanding access to learning experience platform to all employees, and making learning resources more robust and easily accessible.”

– Annette Brown, Talent Development at 84.51

Support employees at the speed of business

“Signify (the new company name for Phillips Lighting) is in the midst of disruptive change, and we are changing the way the learning function operates to align with the speed of our business. The focus will be on our Fit-For-Future” program. Just like in sports, playing a perfect match requires the right mindset, skill, and practice. Besides Education, we will promote learning by Exposure and Experience. With our new recognition program, we will reward people who deliver value to others by sharing information and offering learning-by-doing to their peers. In this way, we enable a new learning culture, driven by the learner, powered by managers, where our people have access to the right learning opportunities at the right time using the most suitable medium. We will identify a metric which is a leading indicator of Learning Effectiveness which also correlates Employee NPS. In this way, we will stimulate the brightest minds to bring Lighting beyond illumination.”

– Hans Ramaker, Sr. Director Learning Innovation & Technologies at Signify

Provide a collaborative learning environment

“2019 is going to be all about providing our people with all the necessary opportunities and tools, to collaborate while they acquire new knowledge and work experience. We’ll do this by providing connections between multiple platforms and vendors; creating and curating new social journeys within our organization through the use of learning paths with access to our thought leaders. We’ll be using machine learning and predictive insights to support and promote, as they build-up their profile of capabilities and interests.

The future is now!”

– Lee Schubert, Social Learning & Collaboration at Dimension Data

Provide an empowering learning experience for employees

The new year is upon us, one full of potential. The mission for 2019 is to simplify our training offerings, so our customers receive only the training that they need. Part of this simplification includes getting away from the current training mentality and developing a learning mindset. We are a compliance-heavy organization, which results in our customers being bombarded with training, while achieving a low level of learning. We want to provide information in smaller chucks so it is more easily absorbed and retained.

In parallel, we are evaluating technologies that can empower our Learners to learn from each other, while giving them more control over their learning experience.

We welcome the challenges that 2019 will bring.

– Shahzad Ali, Head of Pharmacovigilance Learning Center at Bayer

Prepare for the Expertise Economy with a focus on skills

“The most important thing you can do in 2019 is to understand the skills you have and the skills you need to build for the future. We all have aspirations and areas where we need to learn and build skills. Understand your skill gaps. Then, put a stake in the ground, create a learning goal, and start building the skills you need”

– Kelly Palmer, Chief Learning Officer at Degreed and author of The Expertise Economy

Do you have a New Year’s Resolution you want to share? Email us and we add it to this post!

When Citi transitioned to a SaaS learning vendor — away from an on-premise LMS — it forced a change in how they operated, which meant new processes and roles. Specifically, Citi had to make shifts across operations, technology, and L&D functions in order to be able to support the new model.

Using Degreed, they set out to redefine what skills numerous roles within their organization actually needed. “We look at how we evaluate the skills for their employees and what changes we need to make so that they can find what they need, but we’ve had to look internally at their own departments to make changes for how we can reevaluate what we’re doing,” said Peter Fox, Citi’s Global Head of Digital Learning and Talent Technology.

As part of that shift, Citi invested in three new roles:

1. Governance

Citi created a governance team to make sure that their system is aligned with global strategy, while ensuring it’s always being evaluated.

2. Data and Analytics

Citi’s L&D team hired a data and analytics specialist to look at the data they got back from employees. The goal is to leverage the data to make sure employees are getting what they need, and to inform larger strategy decisions.

3. Innovation and Emerging Technology

Innovation is a cross-functional role that keeps a pulse on what’s happening in the industry and makes sure Citi remains innovative. This person also works with internal teams to understand their business problems and gaps, and then finds or creates solutions based on best practices happening in the industry.

Want to know more about the learning journey at Citi? Read their recent success story below.

It’s been a few years since the famed Disney movie, “Frozen,” came out. If you have children, nephews or nieces — or if you’re a Disney movie fan — you’re now probably singing out loud or in your head, “Let it go! Let it go! Can’t hold it back anymore!” You’re welcome.

And I bet you never thought of it in the context of learning until now, but it’s also how we can change mindsets and collapse preconceived ideas of how learning really occurs in our organizations. “Let it go!”

That’s what Associa did to transform their learning culture using Degreed. Associa is the world’s leading community management company, with more than 150 branch locations in three countries. Chelle O’Keefe, Associa’s Chief Human Resources Officer, shared key steps and insights at Degreed LENS of how they were able to “let go” of controlling learning and development experiences to empower their mobile workforce.

O’Keefe explained their various challenges given their competitive business environment, digital disruption, and the various needs of their employees globally. She highlighted a recent business driver requiring the company to implement new technologies across their 150 locations in six months to leap ahead of their competition. In turn, Associa needed to deploy new learning programs in a fast, effective, and cost-efficient way. Associa leveraged Degreed to reskill employees and enable their digital business transformation.

So, how did HR and L&D “let go” of control? As O’Keefe explained, getting to this point involved a few classic — yet critical — change management ingredients:

  • Leadership support: You must have the right sponsorship and the right leaders engaged when introducing change.
  • Understand your employees/audience: Meet learners where they are, and provide what they need to help you create the learning culture required to be ready for the skills and roles that will support future business objectives.
  • Create a strong “change network” or “promoters”: These are your champions who, in turn, become the tipping point driving the transformation.
  • Allow the learning to happen: In Associa’s example, they curated content into Skill Plans and Pathways, leveraging various resources in Degreed, the Degreed mobile app, and even paper job-aids to meet learners where they are and reinforce the change.

The results and insights? O’Keefe identified three key findings in their approach to transforming Associa’s learning culture:

  1. Putting learning at the feet of the learner rather than the feet of HR and L&D drives adoption and engagement.
  2. Control is an illusion: Learning is happening all the time outside of L&D. It’s L&D’s job to go to where the learning is occurring — on their mobile devices.!
  3. New Mindset = New Results: By “letting go,” individuals feel enabled to “own” their learning and skills development and the organization taps into intrinsic motivation.

“Let it go! Let it go! Can’t hold it back anymore.”

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