• Why Are Employers Taking a Skills-Based Approach to Talent Development?


    interview situation with view of interviewer's hand holding a tablet with labeled lists for hard skills and soft skills

    Here’s an alarming number: 73% of workers are actively thinking about quitting their jobs. That's a lot. If The Great Resignation has taught employers any lesson, it’s this: Employees want the opportunity to learn and advance.

    However, simply providing generic tuition assistance or generalized learning programs may not get employees where they want to go. That‚Äôs why many employers have turned toward a skills-based approach to talent development‚ÄĒfocusing on what an employee can do, rather than just what their role requires.

    Shifting your talent development focus

    By focusing on skill development, employers can gain a clear measure of employee proficiency and use it to provide the type of focused learning and career pathways that increase employee engagement while also making the employer more competitive. Not only does this deepen the organization’s talent pool, but it also democratizes its careers by creating equitable and transparent access to job opportunities.

    Giving employees the opportunities to advance their skills helps employers unlock internal talent mobility. Whether it's an employee who wants to upskill because their profession is constantly evolving, or they want to grow in their career to become more senior, or even if they want to reskill to start something brand new, employers should look for clear pathways to achieve these goals.

    According to Susan Manning, Senior Manager of Customer Education, Credly, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs really about assessing employee skills to determine the gap, then creating personalized development plans so they can actually increase their proficiency with a skill. Their performance then becomes proof of their development.‚ÄĚ Having a skills-based development framework to enable a personalized learning experience moves the needle forward for both the employee and the employer.

    Different skills-based approaches

    A skills-based approach to talent development can include a broad spectrum of formal and informal learning programs‚ÄĒeverything from strategic education benefits to credentialing, mentoring and new experiences. This approach recognizes that skill development is achievable in many forms. The key to these different approaches is in measuring development strategically to assess the skills your organization has and then create development plans to obtain needed skills in targeted ways.

    One method ‚Äď credentialing ‚Äď provides organizations with a way to invest in talent while also gaining measurable data points to understand where skills bench strengths across the organization. Andrew Vecchiarelli, Strategic Initiatives and Learning Manager, BMO Financial Group helped build an internal credentialing program to prepare employees for the future of work. The program, Demo Forward, offers multiple curriculums that cover skills such as data visualization, analytics, cybersecurity, and even power skills like influence and emotional intelligence. Digital badges are given out through Credly as a recognition of the work.

    As Andrew Vecchiarelli explained, ‚ÄúBecause the program is voluntary and because there is a time commitment, depending on which curriculum you're looking at ‚Äď it could be anywhere between 13 and 17 hours of work that goes into achieving a digital badge ‚Äď it really is a clear indication of not only skill development, but of career interest and commitment by the employee. The digital credential actually becomes an evidence point of skill sets that the employee has, which allows our leaders to use it to help plan their own talent decisions. Then ideally, as we continue to look future-focused and through other technology integrations, it'll also suggest career opportunities to the employee that are aligned to their interests and career ambitions.‚ÄĚ

    Other companies, particularly those with frontline workers, have found that skills-based development is best achieved by providing strategic education benefits with a range of targeted learning options and flexible, non-traditional degree programs, including bilingual options. Enabling employees to pursue their educational goals without taking on debt can be a primary motivator for many essential employees. This can also help to fill basic skill and language gaps that many employees may be lacking. Michael Karicher, Executive Vice President of HR and Training, Remington Hotels partnered with Accelerated Pathways for his talent development needs, explaining, ‚ÄúTheir program helps fill a critical gap for parts of our workspace that traditional development programs don't serve very well.‚ÄĚ

    Getting leadership buy-in

    By focusing on a personalized learning experience, employees can build a robust profile of skills that meet their career aspirations and drive the organization forward. However, finding the right skills-based approach requires data-driven decision-making and buy-in from leadership. According to Andrew Vecchiarelli, ‚ÄúExecutive sponsorship can be the catalyst that drives your entire talent management engine, but it really takes thinking about how skills change your HR ecosystem and not just how it helps become a proof point of a particular learning experience.‚ÄĚ

    Support from direct supervisors is also key to successful implementation, as they play a significant role as champions (or gatekeepers) in employee promotion and advancement. They‚Äôre frequently asked, ‚ÄėWhat do I need to do to get to the next level?‚Äô If they‚Äôre willing to champion a new skills-based development approach, then the program will gain success and the employer will earn a reputation for its culture of fostering employee growth.

    Taking the first steps

    According to the¬†Working Learners Index, 90% of employees say they would stay with their employer if education was offered as a benefit. Most organizations understand this and strive to offer talent development opportunities that deliver improved results.¬†Ultimately, that‚Äôs what skills-based development is about‚ÄĒkeeping the employee happy with their role, but also providing them opportunities to develop and move either laterally or vertically in the organization.

    Ready to shift to skills-based development? At Pearson, we have the right resources to help you customize the best approach for your workforce. Our programs aren't just discounts on tuition. We offer managed education services that target your skills gap, drive your business objectives and make you an employer of choice. Get in touch with us to learn more!

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  • Why a College Degree Is Important


    young woman in cap and gown outdoors holding degree and smiling

    Wondering if a college degree is really worth the time and money investment? What if it doesn’t pay off? And what about the people who find success without a college degree?

    Here’s the thing… those situations are more of an exception than the rule. In the real world, people without a bachelor’s degree end up earning 35% less per year than those who graduated. In addition, bachelor’s degree requirements have become more commonplace for good-paying jobs.

    Overall, college is still the best way to set yourself up for success in life. Here are five reasons why.

    1.       Higher income

    According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average college graduate earns $78,000 per year, against an average of $45,000 per year for individuals with only a high school diploma. Even college dropouts are twice as likely to live in poverty compared with those who completed earned a degree.

    In the information age, this trend will only continue, and the best jobs with higher incomes will require a college degree. Bottom line… if you want a stable career where you can build your profession and earning potential over time, college is the way to go.

    2.       Better employer benefits

    Don’t want to end up in the gig economy with no health insurance or other safety nets? College graduates have greater access to employer benefits like paid time off, retirement savings plans and other full-time perks. In fact, degree holders are 47 percent more likely to have health insurance through their jobs than individuals with just a high school diploma.

    These types of benefits can have long-term significance, especially if you live in a country with soaring healthcare costs and expensive retirement living. Having a full-time job with good benefits can help you build long-term security and savings‚ÄĒrather than being wiped out by an emergency or sudden health scare. You‚Äôll have the chance to live and retire more securely.

    3.       Lower unemployment rates

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics consistently shows that college graduates have lower unemployment rates than individuals who did not go to college. In February 2022, high school graduates with no college had an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, whereas those with a bachelor’s degree had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.2 percent.

    Bachelor’s degree holders have better chances of possessing the skills that appeal to employers and therefore of getting hired and earning more. Not only does unemployment decrease considerably for college graduates, but they can also move up the career ladder faster and find more career options.

    4.       More career opportunities                                                                                                                        

    As mentioned, college graduates have¬†a wider variety of¬†career options¬†than other workers do. Having a bachelor‚Äôs degree allows you to apply to many different career fields, even outside of your major. In fact, over 80 percent of jobs in four of the fastest-growing occupations‚ÄĒhealthcare, STEM, education and government services‚ÄĒrequire a bachelor‚Äôs degree.

    Having more job opportunities also means having a greater chance of finding a career that you enjoy. For example, if you majored in psychology but eventually decided that you’d prefer to teach, you could still qualify for a teaching position and could transition more easily than someone who has to start their education from scratch.

    5.       Stronger personal development

    Earning a bachelor‚Äôs degree is a terrific way to let employers know that you‚Äôre a goal-oriented applicant who can provide great¬†communication, leadership and problem-solving skills‚ÄĒall attributes which are key to the future of work.¬†

    However, a degree is much more than just proving your value to others. College helps you achieve personal growth and self-development. There’s a deeper type of learning that you gain as you pull yourself out of your comfort zone and endure the academic, personal and social challenges faced as an incoming first-year student. College challenges you intellectually while also giving you the opportunity to explore your interests, expand your mind, reach new goals and define who you want to be in the world.

    In a nutshell, earning a degree is empowering! You can gain lasting personal benefits such as a boost in confidence, improved mental health and a greater sense of achievement.

    Ready to do college your way?

    At Accelerated Pathways, we empower you get the degree you want, from the school you want, at the speed you want‚Ķ all without going into debt. Our students are free from the limitations of traditional college‚ÄĒno classrooms, set schedules or overpriced textbooks!

    No matter where you are in completing a degree, you can do it faster‚ÄĒand cheaper‚ÄĒby knocking out college credit with Accelerated Pathways.¬†Why not start today?

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