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The Shift: Unlocking a Skills-first Community

We’re experiencing a massive shift in the work world—a shift that puts skills first. 

Some businesses are actively transforming into skills-based or skills-first organizations, while others are still exploring all the good reasons that inspire such a change. But amidst all this chatter about skills, there’s not much out there on how to put skills first.

That lack of info isn’t surprising because it’s uncharted territory. On top of that, the skills puzzle is big—too big for any one person to solve alone. It helps to have a safe community where skills enthusiasts, skills pioneers, industry analysts, and everyday practitioners can come together to ask hard questions, brainstorm, and share their strategies and experiences. 

Here at Degreed, we took a good look at the landscape and saw the business world need for a swift and effective transition to skills. We saw an empty void begging to be filled with collective innovation. And that’s why—with skills-first thinking ingrained in our DNA—Degreed recently announced the launch of The Shift.

The Shift is an online community that dives deep into the skills-first shift by sharing the stories, ideas, and advice of business leaders leading the charge for the skills-first revolution. It unites C-Suite, HR, L&D, and talent leaders in a single place where they can learn from one another, face challenges, and unlock opportunities. 

To officially join The Shift community, follow our LinkedIn page for regular updates and content. 

What can you expect from The Shift?

The Shift community is here to support, nurture, and challenge skills-first pioneers (AKA Shifters). By rolling out a steady cadence of events, polls, discussion prompts, guest posts, and forums—community members can build an effective and efficient path for help their business organization put skills to work.

The Shift is guided by four core principles. Its programming is: 

  • Skills-focused: The Shift solely focuses on skills in a vendor-agnostic community that emphasizes practical solutions over theory.
  • Action-oriented: The Shift prioritizes pragmatic, actionable outcomes driven by practitioners with real-world experience.
  • Globally relevant: The Shift recognizes that diversity and maturity levels evolve during learning and development journeys.
  • Career-minded: The Shift welcomes thought leaders and young professionals from HR, Talent, L&D, and other roles who want to establish and build expertise in all things skills. 

Events: Real Practitioners, Candid Conversation

Shift members get unlimited access to skills-first community events. These events are tailored to the community by creating space for questions, dialogue, and collaboration. Each event includes some form of audience participation and input so that community members drive the programming. 

To set the tone for the community events, The Shift engaged three friends, colleagues, skills experts, and Canadians: Gina Jeneroux, Future Work and Skills Strategist and former Chief Learning Officer at BMO, Lori Niles-Hofmann, Senior EdTech Transformation Strategist at NilesNolen, and Susie Lee, SPV and Client Innovation Officer at Degreed. 

While the panel was all-Canadian, the audience was from all over the world. Participants Zoomed in from the Philippines, Germany, India, Netherlands, and many other places, to listen to a refreshingly real and practical discussion about skills. The panelists discussed how to get started on your skills journey, explored valuable tangents, answered attendee questions, respectfully disagreed with one another, and even admitted when they didn’t know the answer to a particularly hard problem. If you didn’t catch the event or want to see it again, you can watch it on YouTube

Looking ahead, we’re already scheduling new events for Summer 2024. Up first in June, we’re bringing together Josh Bersin from The Josh Bersin Company, Estelle Maione from Capgemini University, and Maxwell Wessel from Degreed. They’ll discuss how companies are using AI to put skills first—and how your organization can too. You can sign up for upcoming events and join the community to stay updated about other future events.

Polls: Critical Questions, Real-Time Feedback

For companies trying to navigate the new skills landscape, polls can play a critical role, providing rudimentary data about topics of concern when data is otherwise scarce. In turn, that data can be used to boost and advance skills-first thinking in positive, effective ways. 

Consider this scenario: We recently met with a future Shift event contributor. During that conversation, they mentioned that they can’t use the term  “skills-based organization.” Leadership ignores whatever follows. 

This made us question the very language we’ve used in the past year to talk about skills. If skills experts want to get leadership buy-in, they need to use language that appeals to leadership, right? So we did a little research by asking The Shift community about their experiences. Here’s what happened:  

The results show that skills enthusiasts should lean more conservatively when using terms like skills-first organization with their leadership. Handy information to have, right? And this is just one example. The Shift will continue to use polls as a weather vane to build consensus on timely topics.

Guest Posts: Expert Insights, Fresh Takes

To feature diverse voices and ideas, the community publishes guest posts. Community members can contact community moderators to feature their posts, and community moderators always ask experts if they’d like to contribute a hot take. 

Our first guest post was by Niles-Hofmann. She has 25 years of L&D experience and is a trusted advisor to Fortune 500 CLOs worldwide. As a panelist for our inaugural event, she shared a few analogies that resonated with our audience in the chat. We asked her to further develop those ideas, which she shared as a guest post.

Friday Forums: Diverse Voices, Honest Exchanges

About every other week, The Shift will post a Friday Forum. This is a space where people can discuss difficult topics—like skills skepticism—and swap and share skills resources on specific topics. Within the community, there is a wealth of knowledge, and the Friday Forum is a place to discuss and download that information into one place for community members. 

Let’s embrace The Shift to skills together.

The skills-first future is here. In a rapidly transforming world, skills are not just tools; they’re the emerging currency of work. No matter what industry you’re working in, embracing a skills-first mentality requires discussion, collaboration, and experimentation. 

The Shift is exactly the place to do all that and more. It’s a diverse LinkedIn community of industry leaders brimming with expert insights, exclusive content, and peer-to-peer exchanges that put skills, growth, and connection at the core of work. 

Join The Shift community, and let’s embrace the shift to skills together. 

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