Since the Great Recession in 2008, startups have become a major force in society. Today’s entrepreneurial culture — with lower financial barriers to launching a business and people’s increasing desire for flexibility, freedom, and purpose in their work — has bred a whole generation of young companies that have quickly scaled and revolutionized a wide range of industries. A number of those companies, like Airbnb and Uber, have achieved explosive growth and evolved into bonafide conglomerates in recent years.
Meanwhile, older organizations looking to remain relevant and thrive are striving to figure out the practices that allow these startups to excel — and how their corporations can adopt them in order to catch up.
The digital landscape is evolving at a rapid pace, and it’s essential for companies to harness wide-ranging technical expertise in order to stay ahead. Today’s marketers must be able to analyze massive amounts of data, IT workers must be able to design compelling mobile app experiences, and a “product” is no longer only a physical object but could be a website, a piece of content, or even a training curriculum.
General Assembly’s recommendation for keeping up is simple: Companies need to invest in learning. The Economist magazine recently issued a special report that highlighted the importance of “lifelong learning” as a habit that both skilled and unskilled workers must incorporate to keep pace with a rapidly developing economy. They profiled GA’s approach to tech education — including upskilling promising individuals and reskilling those with outdated competencies in data, web development, and design — as an effective way to ensure employees’ skills were kept up to date.
This piece has been adapted from Talent Economy. Read General Assembly and Whiteboard Advisors’ full white paper, Investing in Talent, here (PDF).
Amid complex external and economic pressures, companies must face the reality that the nature of business is changing. The pace of technological change continues to accelerate, and in an era in which the shelf life of skills is less than five years, it is critical for employers to prepare their workers to adapt to the shifting demands of work in the digital age.
The good news for employers is that current federal policy provides tax-advantaged opportunities for companies to support employees’ educational aspirations. Rooted in sections 117, 127, and 132 of the tax code, educational tax benefits are somewhat unique in that they provide a double benefit: They are both deductible for the employer, and tax free to the employee.
Nearly every company in the world is being shaped by new waves of technology, communication, and interaction with customers. Digital forces in particular are a huge concern for every one of the companies we work with at General Assembly. Leaders know they need to boost their digital readiness. But there remains the question of how to actually transform their organization, and what that can mean for their customers, employees, and shareholders.
During my 30-year career, I led Procter & Gamble’s Baby, Beauty, and Asia businesses, culminating with running P&G e-business — everything from helping to architect the digital transformation, to the incorporation of virtual tools, to develop breakthrough products and supply systems to digital marketing and eCommerce. I’ve harnessed my insights from three decades in the field to help companies answer that question of “How?” One clear way to make it happen is by improving leadership skills and creating digital leaders.
Nobody sets out to create a poor learning experience. But creating a good one is not an easy task. To help train your team, General Assembly has developed a step-by-step process that guides creators through the planning of high-impact learning experiences. Whether creating an online or offline program, these principles are at the heart of great training.
Let’s pretend that we want to create a lesson to teach a group of people how to make an omelette. Let’s walk through the steps that we might take to create that lesson.
The scoping and planning phase is an incredibly important but frequently overlooked element when developing a digital training or transformation program. L&D executives and training sponsors are often bombarded with questions, opinions, and pressure to quickly move on launching a solution, which can often lead insufficient planning.
In hearing from large organizations across the globe, GA’s corporate training team has found that an underinvestment in scoping corporate training programs can result in substantial rework, delayed launch dates, and disappointing program outcomes.
As a consultant, I interact with people of varied levels of seniority across many roles. I frequently question whether any of the problems I encounter can be remedied with a solution that lives outside of my skill-set.
While the challenges of the companies I speak with differ, I recently have identified one commonality. What I have come to realize is that the unintended consequence of growth in ad-tech is a workforce deeply in need of training. Here are some indicators your company may want to invest in T&D:
1. Temporary In-House Specialists have become more frequent.
While I did not personally experience the transition into digital advertising, I did experience mobile in its early days. In 2010, the term “mobile” elicited much of the same feelings the terms “data” and “programmatic” have in 2016. The reaction to the mobile industry was a mass hiring of “mobile specialists.” These specialists were placed within agencies and publishers alike and asked to guide the buying and selling decisions through a mobile lens.
General Assembly’s corporate learning team was in attendance at Web Summit 2015, November 3-5, 2015, for its final year in Dublin. Bringing together some of the leading names from large brands, agencies, media, and startups–not to mention investors and the odd celebrity–Web Summit is the leading tech conference in Europe, with over 20,000 people from 100 countries in attendance.
Here we provide a digest of the most prescient trends, themes, and insights. Filtering out the noise, the sales pitches, and the occasional dud speaker, let’s discuss the most compelling takeaways from the three days:
Last week, I had an opportunity to attend Charles Melcher’s Future of StoryTelling Summit at Snug Harbor in Staten Island. The Future of StoryTelling (FoST), a conference founded in 2012, invites influential thinkers to discuss how technology is going to change the “most fundamental unit of human culture”–the story. I was part of a team of graphic recorders visually capturing various roundtable sessions throughout the two-day event. What follows is my own story of my experience at the conference and some of my thoughts about what the future has in store for storytelling.
Bonus insight: it’s tough to take a great photo when you’re in the cheap seats.
Last week, I attended the HR Tech World Congress in Paris. From humble beginnings, HR Tech World has grown to be one of the most significant gatherings of HR professionals in Europe, with conferences in London, Amsterdam, and now Paris.
Though most of the conference was centered on IT for HR services–with companies like SAP, IBM, Oracle, and Workday presenting their latest products–the first day of the conference offered breakout sessions focused on learning & training initiatives.
There are three key takeaways I’d like to share from their talks–and from the broader Learning & Development conversations that were happening at the conference: