Skills Quotient

The Solution to the CEO’s Biggest Problem

Skills Quotient

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What is xAPI?

Learning Experience

Just the Beginning

Learning Experience

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.

Onward,
Chris
chris@degreed.com

 

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.”

There’s a misconception sometimes in the industry that driving transformational learning change takes dozens of employees and years of work. With the same passion USAA brings to its members every day, they are doing the same for their employees, revitalizing their learning culture with a small and strategic cross-functional team.

Over the years, USAA has been predominantly focused on instructor-led training (ILT). Realizing that doesn’t always scale fast and wide, Doug Elzinga, part of the IT Workforce at USAA, said they needed to take a step back and “break free from L&D traditions and frameworks.” Driven in large part by technology leadership, the need to upskill associates to be able to deliver IT code faster was identified.

Three core objectives emerged for the core team pursuing their Degreed implementation:

  1. Scalability: Impact a large number of learners.
  2. Velocity: Move content faster to learners, particularly in the IT organization.
  3. Agility: Be flexible, try new things and fail fast, as part of an overall commitment to energy and improvement.

Laurie Littleton, also part of the IT Workforce at USAA, offers some critical lessons from their Degreed implementation that will resonate with many:

  1. Access content to create a unified learning ecosystem. USAA identified three providers to help solve both soft and technical skill needs.
  2. Follow the Tell/Show/Coach model in communications to bring all levels of the organization along for the journey.
  3. Inform the masses — drive with direct communication from senior leaders. Use digital billboards in the office, and leverage the value behind specific content providers.
  4. Show the value of what is available through demos and roadshows. Drive knowledge of basic functions in Degreed, and ensure employees understand how their own career and skill development will benefit. Acknowledge that the change may be radical for some and address old behaviors and processes.
  5. Coach your champions for the role they need to play — invest the time to prepare them as innovative content curators.
  6. Curation matters — lead with governance and consistency, and focus on embedding curation into everyday work-life. Make it familiar by using a repeatable branding and naming approach for Pathway sections.
  7. Look for partners that are willing to try new things and start conversations with them early. The IT/HR partnership was critical for the USAA team.

With their spirit of service and no-quit outlook, Elzinga and Littleton are seeing quicker innovation happening at USAA and creating a culture where learning can happen anywhere. Activations are on the rise thanks to direct leader-driven communications, and the roadshow program over the summer is also showing positive outcomes. All signs point to the new way of learning at USAA being established.

Cisco is not only ranked #62 on the Fortune 500 List, they’re also ranked #48 on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2018. After listening to Joshua Clark, Senior Manager, Leadership & Team Intelligence at Cisco, discuss how they do things differently during Degreed’s LENS Conference, I’m not at all surprised.

Doing things differently at Cisco isn’t just a strategic initiative written down on a piece of paper once and then forgotten. It is a strategy used daily within their teams, in the way they approach funding, and in the way they push their partners to evolve (the last one comes from personal experience).

How many L&D Leaders do you know who are engineers by trade? Likely, not many. The most obvious difference in the learning team at Cisco is their team leader. Clark has been with Cisco for 19 years. He is an engineer by trade, yet has carved a journey into L&D, building and designing learning. He understands that “no one wakes up and logs into the LMS with a cup of java.” The Degreed project is the result of the vision that Cisco needs a learning platform to develop and keep employees relevant to driving the business forward.

Rather than focusing purely on the need for continual learning when building the case for project funding (which, in and of itself, doesn’t resonate with the executive team when it comes to ROI), Clark’s approach to obtaining funding for learning involved understanding the challenges that were critical to their business, including:

  • The limited shelf life for certain skill sets
  • Critical talent pools and skill areas needing development in the organization
  • Upskilling and re-skilling needs resulting from the previous two challenges

Tying learning challenges to those business challenges resonated with the executive team, and the project was funded.

Moving forward, Cisco also approached the project itself differently:

  • Strategy: The new marketing strategy wasn’t a “one email and done” approach. It included multiple channels (like digital signage, posters, and imagery), new design themes that they were willing to throw away if they didn’t resonate with their focus groups, and the idea that they would need to continually reinforce the message.
  • Team DNA: In addition to Clark’s background in engineering, they introduced new L&D roles like UX designer, curator, marketing manager, and software developer. This brought new thinking to the project to assist with a successful launch.
  • Technology: Having a software developer on their team enabled Cisco to “leverage and tinker” with that expertise when faced with security challenges that were unique, like having a number of learning systems behind their firewall rather than in the cloud that would be easy to connect.

As a result of Cisco’s experience, Clark recommends that we “embrace technology as L&D professionals,” and reminds us through Einstein’s words, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

According to economist Paul Krugman, the skills gap is no longer a zombie idea, “an idea that should have been killed by evidence, but refuses to die.” Despite an economy and job growth being steadily on the rise, many employers actually have difficulty hiring skilled workers. Furthermore, we are constantly inundated with sobering statistics about the state of the skills gap. Among them:

It’s clear from both the statistics and a quick read through any publication that CEOs are in a state of unknowing, a state of anxiety. There is not a single CEO in the world who can tell you the skills their organization has, or the skills that their organization needs. Why? Because we lack a universal language for measuring skills within organizations.

Without this measurement, there is no way to equally calibrate what a person, let alone an entire organization, is capable of.

What CEOs Want

The market wants to, and needs to, speak a common language about skills. Degreed clients are already having those initial conversations in L&D, but we have to migrate those conversations  to the C-Suite. Doing that takes a different mindset, new tactics, and an executive-level metric. CEOs need business-qualified metrics, which L&D has rarely had at its disposal, blurring the line between a business contribution and a business expense.

Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 7.23.56 PM

Other business units have had to shift their story as well, eg customer satisfaction. Frederick Reichheld tied it together best: “By substituting a single question for the complex black box of the typical customer satisfaction survey, companies can actually put consumer survey results to use and focus employees on the task of stimulating growth.” Mr. Reichheld shared this quote in a 2003 Harvard Business Review article that introduced Net Promoter Score.

Introducing a single question and a CEO-level metric solved the customer-service black box question. Fifteen years later, the most successful CEOs know their company’s NPS, because  NPS gives CEOs a single metric, a universal way to benchmark and judge practices for their impact.

As part of The Expertise Economy, a book about how the smartest companies use learning to engage, compete, and succeed, Kelly Palmer and and I introduced the Skills Quotient — a framework for benchmarking the skills of an organization.

About Skills Quotient

Skills Quotient is an entirely open framework: whatever taxonomy, mechanisms for measuring skills, rubric you use, you can benefit from Skills Quotient.

the skills quotient framework

Here’s how it works: For any role, identify the skills needed and the required levels. Next, capture your individual ratings for each skill. Then, divide the sum of the skills you have by the sum of the skills required, multiplied by 100 to calculate your Skills Quotient. The example below uses the 8-level framework created by the Lumina Foundation.

skills quotient by job role what are the skills you need?

There is a caveat to the equation: your skill level for any skill cannot exceed the maximum required. We do this to correctly identify the skill gap.

There are a few important things to know about Skills Quotient:

  1. It works for individuals, in whatever role you are in, even aspirational roles.
  2. You are not just one number. You have a Skills Quotient for your current role, but it can also be calculated for your next role, or dream job.
  3. Skills Quotient works for teams, organizations, and industries.

For the first time, we are able to benchmark in a meaningful way, and breakdown differences using a codified, single C-level metric.

Want to innovate with us? We are looking for more companies who are willing to join us in proving Skills Quotient and ultimately publishing uses cases for it, just as Frederick Reichheld did fifteen years ago with NPS.

Though it’s a concept brought to life in the Expertise Economy, Degreed is here to help. For existing clients, we’re introducing Skill Review, a scientifically defensible, highly-accurate way to capture skill data. Skill Review joins Degreed’s suite of skill measurement capabilities, including self assessment and Degreed Skill Certification to give you a robust set of tools to measure skills inside your organization.

As you use Skills Quotient within your organization, you are taking a complex black box and providing a single question and single executive level metric delivered in a codified way. What this unlocks in the organization is the ability to benchmark over time, and drive skills at the team level. And answer the question for the CEO, and to solve the CEO’s BIGGEST problem.

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.

In case you didn’t notice it, there has been a monumental shift in the learning market, with analysts beginning to diagnose a new trend.

  • The Sierra Cedar 2018-2019 HR Systems Survey white paper cites Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) as “an emerging trend in the Talent Management application space.”
  • Brandon Hall is calling it “the beginning of a movement that has been set in permanent motion to transform how organizations look at learning and improving individual and organizational performance.”
  • Josh Bersin says the “potential LXP market is huge,” and is currently valued at $200-250 million and growing at 200% or more.
  • Craig Weiss, learning technology consultant, calls the category, “Learning Engagement Platform,” and calls it a stronger product [than an LMS] in an inevitably expanding niche.”
  • In its 2018 Hype Cycle for HCM Technology, Gartner states, “Learning Productivity Platforms” has just entered the innovation trigger which occurs when there is a period of rapid development and growing interest. The market has finally been validated and defined and is expected to reach mainstream adoption in the next 5-10 years.”

Though analysts can’t agree on a name for the category, they all agree that there is something new and big here.

Engagement is a Prerequisite, Not the End Goal

Analysts remain focused on the front-end portal, the employee experience, and engagement. For many in corporate learning that are utilizing legacy Learning Management Systems, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that the end goal of all learning is engagement, measured by time, activity, and satisfaction.

If your company is like most, voluntary usage of learning systems might average 4-6% in a given month — anemic by almost any standard. Increasing learning activity 9x as we’ve done at AirBnB, having 25% of employees spend 3-4 hours learning every week at HP Inc., or getting a 69 Net Promoter Score at T-Mobile would seem to be goals worth striving for. And they are. Without engagement, nothing else is possible.

We agree that something huge is going on here, but it goes deeper than the surface level experience analysts are seeing. There is plumbing and wiring hidden under the surface, and driving this experience behind the scenes is a robust skills data set that matches people to what they need to learn, driving more engagement.

We believe a new operating system  for learning is emerging that will enable companies to make talent decisions.

It’s what you do with that engagement that matters

Engagement is not enough. It doesn’t mean that outcomes are being created, or that value is being generated for the business. It’s a bit like how startups try to grow revenues without any appreciation for the value of profits. These companies  get caught up in vanity metrics because it makes them feel like they are making progress, but they are not actually building a sustainable business. In the same way, engagement indicates that you are doing something right, but it’s not the complete story.

It’s what you do with that engagement that matters. We’ve known all along that engagement matters most when it aligns to greater performance, opportunity, and achievement for all parties, like when a company is filling hard-to-fill roles and retaining employees longer; when employees are gaining skills that are valuable to their careers, and to the competitiveness of their firms.

To achieve this goal, we made a major investment in technology, data science, and machine learning. We’ve spent the last few years, creating a framework that creates data about what can people do, how well they can do it, and matches them to learning opportunities that will help them grow their career and contribute to organizational growth.

This is something that no one else is doing today and it is already starting to yield substantial value for our clients. At Unilever, active learners are 24.5% more likely to receive 4- and 5-star performance ratings, get promoted 10% faster, and are 25% more likely to be targeted for retention efforts.

The linchpin of this framework is Skills. Knowing the skills your company has is exponentially more valuable than knowing how many hours employees spent learning. It becomes meaningful to the entire organization, especially to the C-Suite, who can leverage this data for strategic initiatives like product innovation, entering new markets, and M&A, all of which require a talent pool armed with the latest and greatest skills.

It’s time to elevate learning

To that end, we’re making a series of other exciting Skills-related updates to our platform:

  • Skill Review to assess who has what skills across an entire company
  • Team Pages and Individual Development Plans to drive employee development at a grassroots level
  • Career Pathing to help people grow while aligning careers with company strategy

All these updates are intended to build upon what we’ve already achieved and continue to elevate learning — to make it more strategic to business units and to turn it into a competitive advantage. To redirect the way we talk about learning outcomes — leaving behind metrics like satisfaction and activity, and putting new a focus on internal mobility, retention, and performance. All these things come down to helping your business do a better job of developing your talent.

With rapidly changing business landscapes in virtually every industry, we believe learning is one of the greatest internal investment opportunities of our time. Learning drives the creation of skills, and skills are what drives corporate competitive advantage. It’s our mission to make learning matter and empower organizations to make skills the center of their people operations and create a path for every person to own their future while helping their company succeed in the marketplace. These recent upgrades to our platform are a step in the direction in this mission.

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