Corporate Strategies Category Archives - General Assembly Blog | Page 2

LOWER THE BARRIER TO ENTRY: 4 WAYS TO ATTRACT MORE DIVERSE JUNIOR TECH TALENT

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If we’ve learned anything from the “Great Resignation,” it’s that today’s workforce is fed up with the status quo. Beyond the ongoing flexibility debate over work-from-anywhere or work-from-the-office, today’s talent is laser-focused on diversity. Motivated by purpose alongside (and perhaps even more so than) money, today’s tech talent is tired of companies who say that diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, and empowering team cultures are important to them. They want to see the specific and tangible benchmarks in place to measure a company’s DEI progress.

If businesses want to attract more diverse junior tech talent, they need to move beyond talking the diversity talk, to walking the inclusion walk. The good news? Building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce isn’t only good for a company’s reputation, it’s good for a company’s bottom line. In a recent McKinsey study, one-third of companies that improved DEI efforts over the past five years are now financially outperforming their industry peers. 

Considering that the US Labor Department reported in March that there were 2 positions open for every employee, diversifying the workforce isn’t only vital at the recruitment level of talent management, but crucial for employee retention overall. One of the top reasons employees have cited for leaving their jobs is a company’s failure to fulfill promises to improve DEI efforts. There’s a veritable chasm between employer perception and employee reality when it comes to cultivating workplace culture. Just look at the Accenture study which found that while 68% of leaders felt they created an empowering team culture, only 36% of employees agreed with them.

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GA WEBINAR RECAP: CREATING PATHWAYS TO LIFE-CHANGING CAREERS THROUGH COMMUNITY RESKILLING

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We’re at a turning point in our world—and in talent. Employers are struggling to fill roles across sectors, and the talent shortage will only continue as the economy becomes increasingly digital. The pandemic has accelerated the need for digital skills and normalized remote work. Meanwhile, the Great Resignation is underway, workers are seeking opportunities that better support their lifestyles, and workforce diversity and inclusion objectives are critical.

How can companies evolve their talent strategies to adapt to these circumstances?

Community reskilling is one powerful option for tackling these challenges head-on. These initiatives involve companies forming public-private partnerships to source, train, and hire non-traditional candidates from underserved communities—often with the help of a reskilling partner like General Assembly. We just launched an in-depth whitepaper on the topic—download it here.

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5 Tips from Real Leaders Dealing with the Great Resignation

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In our last posts, we shared the hidden opportunities within the Great Resignation and advice from culture expert Bob Gower on building cultures that survive the talent churn. In our most recent webinar, we brought together real leaders to share their greatest tips for seizing this moment to create the strongest, most productive teams — and the most loyal employees. 

A level playing field

With the Great Resignation, there’s a new power dynamic in town. Employees are re-prioritizing, looking to new careers and internal mobility to help them grow and find meaning. As you get used to this new landscape, there are many benefits to be received — not only for workers, but for the companies they serve.

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How Leaders Build a Strong Culture…When Everyone is Quitting: 5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO DRIVE LOYALTY LONG-TERM

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In our last post we talked about how leaders should rethink their approach to the Great Resignation. In this post, we’ll discuss how leaders can build positive cultures while everyone is quitting. We sat down with culture expert, Bob Gower, who has spent the bulk of his career working with leaders to create effective teams, to get his advice on building cultures that survive the wave of resignations. 

The cultural causes of the Great Resignation

To understand the Great Resignation, leaders need to get to the heart of why employees are quitting. The COVID-19 pandemic reminded employees that they have a choice in where they work and how they spend their time.

“The power has often been in the hands of management or of companies,” Gower explained. “The Great Resignation is both people reevaluating themselves and taking power over their lives.” 

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Hot Take: The ‘Great Resignation’ is good for your business. Here are 4 ways to come out stronger on the other side.

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Since early 2021, employees have been leaving their jobs in record numbers, and businesses around the globe experiencing this ‘Great Resignation’ have struggled to survive. As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to improve and life slowly gets back to normal, a record number of job openings threaten a range of industries, which don’t have enough skilled employees to fill those roles. 

A recent study of 9,000,000 global employees from 4,000 businesses revealed two key insights into which employees are leaving and why:

  • Resignation rates are highest among mid-career employees. With long careers ahead of them and the experience to know their worth, these employees are in strong positions to create the careers they want. This has created a demand for change: rejection of burnout culture, new standards for how they spend their valuable time and effort, and a hunger for meaning — leading in-demand talent to go freelance, change careers, return to school, or invest in long-term goals and wellbeing.
  • Resignations are highest in the tech and healthcare industries. This makes sense for health workers, who have been under pressure during this pandemic that is unprecedented in our lifetimes. But the tech side shows another story: COVID-19 provided massive disruption in the way we work in tech, including less in-office bonding, more flexibility in working conditions, and greater autonomy over our time. Employers’ already-huge demand for talent was magnified to survive the accelerated digital transformation, making more lucrative opportunities available to tech talent.

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What Is Reskilling and Why Does It Matter?

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Houston, we have a talent problem. It’s no secret that leaders have been struggling to fill skills gaps since the onset of the digital revolution.

But the pandemic and subsequent Great Resignation have sent that trend into hyperdrive: According to a 2021 report from Gartner, a third of job skills that were in-demand just a few short years ago are now obsolete.

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Meet Our Partners in Impact: Microsoft Accelerate

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Over the last 10 years, we’ve built incredible partnerships with enterprise businesses focused on creating real impact inside and outside their communities. We’re excited to introduce you to the Accelerate program — a coalition that brings Microsoft together with local community, business, and civic partners in several cities around the US. Through Accelerate, GA is able to provide scholarships for several of our technology tracks to students from underserved communities and those impacted by COVID-19.

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3 Trends That Will Humanize Work in 2022

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There’s a tectonic shift taking place in today’s workforce. Facing burnout, safety concerns, and a general feeling that it’s time to rethink what really matters, workers across industries are taking bold steps toward career change. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 2.9% of the workforce left their jobs in August 2021, and just one month later, an additional 4.4 million Americans quit. The Great Resignation needs no introduction. 

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Getting Real About AI: 3 Lessons For Business Leaders

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If you only paid attention to the hype about AI, you’d think our world was one algorithm away from either a frightening robot takeover or a fantastical machine-enabled utopia. But a closer look at the reality of how AI is evolving on the frontlines of business reveals a story that’s not nearly as far-fetched — but nevertheless driving a sizable impact. 

Consider Moderna and Pfizer, two healthcare companies that employed AI technologies to rapidly test and develop COVID-19 vaccines months after the first reported cases. Intelligent computer models rapidly evaluated the effectiveness of vaccines-in-development, assessing immune responses across tens of thousands of virus subcomponents with a depth, speed, and accuracy that humans could never achieve on their own. AI cut the vaccine development timeline to mere months vs. decades. 

The pharma companies mentioned above are global organizations with extensive resources for testing and development. How can companies that don’t have access to that depth of funding or talent begin to lay the foundation to take advantage of AI benefits?

For many leaders, distinguishing hype from hard facts is a chief hurdle stifling their AI journeys. Here are three key lessons to bring clarity to the AI conversation and illustrate how this very real, very practical technology can drive significant business value in the near-term.  

Forget the moonshots. Start with the mundane.

In 2013, the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas launched an ambitious AI initiative. The idea was to use IBM’s Watson cognitive computing system, aiming to speed the process of diagnosing patients and matching them with clinical trials. But the project never delivered on its promise. Four years and $62 million later, there was no record of the system used on a single patient. 

Rest assured, there’s a silver lining. The cancer center’s IT team was quietly tinkering with the technology during that four-year period and delivering a host of efficiencies and improvements to the organization. Engineers instructed AI to recommend hotels and restaurants to patients, reach out to guests with personalized bill support, and improve the tech team’s workflow. These outcomes may not have been as sexy as the medical breakthroughs hoped for at the start of the project. But the results were undeniable: Guests were happier. Employees were more efficient. And financial gains realized. 

The takeaway: Don’t get too swept up in grandiose planning. Start by looking at the mundane ways that AI can improve your day-to-day business operations. 

AI is only a tool. Humanity is required. 

Part of the mythology around AI stems from the notion that these technologies can “think” for themselves. After all, they can reportedly write articles, design clothes, and compose rock songs. These examples make it easy to understand the common fear that AI will replace humans in the workplace. In addition, recent research from the World Economic Forum estimates that AI will create 60+ million more jobs than it eliminates. That all said, it’s important to understand that these technologies are just tools — they still require a tremendous amount of human input to function. 

More specifically, it comes down to data — and how well a workforce can collect and leverage it. For instance, Netflix’s dynamic optimizer generated lots of excitement about how it uses machine learning to enhance streaming quality on a scene-by-scene basis. But the tech doesn’t operate on its own — the data is gathered from human viewers tasked with manually assessing hundreds of thousands of shots. Similarly, there’s lots of talk about how conversational AI can potentially improve customer service experiences by engaging intelligently with customers via Natural Language Processing. But according to TrueLark, an AI-powered customer support platform, training that technology requires a tremendous amount of human input — hundreds of thousands of conversations

The takeaway: AI is not a standalone solution, nor a silver bullet. Humans need to “partner” with the technology to learn from one another, extract value, and better serve the market.

Know what you want AI to do — and be specific.

It’s easy to imagine AI bots as helpers akin to Rosie from the Jetsons: Intelligent, catch-all assistants standing by to anticipate and fulfill a wide range of work-related tasks and needs. But the reality is that each AI application is actually highly-specific — the technology is not yet capable of general intelligence.

Just take it from MIT Sloan Professor Thomas W. Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. Referencing IBM Watson’s notoriety for beating the world’s brightest Jeopardy champions, he says, “You think, wow, that machine must be really smart. But the truth is that the [version of the] program that beat the best players in Jeopardy couldn’t even play tic-tac-toe, much less chess.”

The reality is, most AIs can do one thing and one thing well. A given AI can:

  • Reach deep into your systems and identify where you’ve been overpaying vendors.
  • Automate marketing campaigns that correspond to how individual customers engage with your website or social media.
  • Generate a more accurate actuarial model for insurers in real-time.
  • Synthesize patient data from a range of platforms to create a single up-to-date health record.

These example tasks are hugely impactful for their respective business functions. But they’re nowhere near the general intelligence required for creativity, strategy, empathy, and so on. That’s still the exclusive domain of humans — and likely will be for the foreseeable future. 

The takeaway: Don’t think too broadly about how AI can benefit your business. Start by drilling down into highly-specific business problems to identify the highest opportunities for ROI.  

AI in Practice: A Transformation By Degrees

Continuous change is essential for remaining competitive in the digital environment. But when it comes to AI, what’s realistic is a transformation by degrees. Little by little, an organization that steadily integrates AI capabilities into its workforce and processes will see compounding rewards over time.

So don’t get too swept up in the hype — but do get started. When it comes to AI and business impact, slow-and-steady wins the race.

Want to build a data-driven academy? Get in touch to learn more.