How Degreed helps enterprises plug the digital skill gap

In the age of data driven personalization, corporations need to aim for optimal human-machine interaction. CIOs or CHROs will not be able to deliver on this alone.

US-based learning and skill tracking platform is aimed at sensitizing CIOs on their two pronged role for digital transformation - procuring and updating technology platforms in the dynamic business scenario and ensuring that CHROs have the best skills building technologies that can cut the long talent/skills-gap story short.

In an interview with ETCIO.COM, Chris McCarthyCEODegreed discusses how Degreed is working with integrated CIO-CHRO teams to unlock true potential of digital transformation for the companies

How does a platform like Degreed fit into the scheme of things when a traditional organization decides to go for Digital transformation?

Degreed has partnered with companies not just for our products but really for their digital transformation initiative that puts the employee first and then takes the best of the consumer web to design an enterprise learning platform. It allows employees to build and represent their skills over the entire arc of their career. It’s really exciting as this is the first time that the end consumer has been put first. We are excited to work with hundreds of companies to deliver this.

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What has been your observation of working with the Indian companies? What are some of the unique problems you think that they face?

It’s been fascinating to work with Indian companies. What’s amazing is that in all our non-US markets like Europe and Asia Pacific, they are generally one to two years behind on the adoption curve. But they are not behind at all on the education curve. Indian companies are upto speed with what we have been able to develop in the US and are moving at an incredibly fast pace to adopt this technology. When it comes to skilling and new technologies and new innovations around helping people build and represent their skills, India is one to two years ahead of most other countries, specifically the US. This creates a rich environment where we have a lot of companies that are grappling with job vacancies. We have a lot of employees that are struggling to represent what skills they have. It is pretty significant market failure to match up the skills that people here in India have, with open jobs. Degreed comes in as the platform that solves this matching problem with technology and data and work with these great companies to better serve their employees. I do believe that we are going to see a pretty significant difference here.

What is the current state of skills evolution across enterprises ? Which are the areas in which they are struggling to get key skills?

56% of Indian companies are reporting difficulty filling up jobs. It really is a matter of mapping the supply of skills with the demand for those skills . Right now the market is desperate to speak the language of skills – what can you do, how are you a good fit for this opportunity, how can you help my company, but it cant so it still uses jobs, resumes and formal degrees as the unit of measure and that puts a lot of friction in the market. 80% of CEOs report that availability of key skills is their number one pressing issue and it is accelerating .It has very real costs in terms of loss of productivity and growth, retention inside companiesbut the more profound effect is on job seekers who are unable to really represent what skills they have.

Research agencies like Gartner predict that by 2021, CIOs will be responsible for a change just the way CHROs are? How do CIOs become digital evangelists?

This is more pronounced in India than in the US. In US, CHROs and CLOs are primarily the ones making the talent and workforce planning and learning decisions. Here in India, the CIOs have a very active role. They are a stakeholder in the US but in India they are much more active. The biggest lesson is that it’s the partnership – it’s a trend that we are finding more and more CIOs/CTOs in active partnership with HR and Learning and Talent business partners, listening to the needs of these end consumers which are the employees and prospective employees, and this partnership goes both ways to understand that it is possible to buy a technology platform that solves a human capital need that manages to have all the enterprise class scalability and security, but also that it is designed for the end user. This is a tremendous opportunity. The partnership between HR and CIOs is going to be really critical. We have seen it in the US and the callout to everyone in India is that everyone in the C-Suite works together, the end result is much better product and experience for the end employees. Well-documented business benefits have come from this partnership.

How should CIOs deal with the problem the digital blur?

When I meet companies in India and ask CIOs if they know what skills do they have, the answer is probably not. You cannot even begin to measure the impact of digital initiatives until you understand first what skills do you need, what skills you have and third, are you actually making progress at acquiring or building those skills to close the skills gap . It is not surprising that there is a digital blurr because they are not even measuring the skills in the first place. The focus is on measuring skills and making investments to build those skills and tying it back to the ultimate business outcomes.

How does Degreed help CIOs in this?

Degreed helps CIOs through partnership and not just a product. Our Learner Experience Platform, skills measurement product is the product that we are selling but at the end of the day, it’s not just about the product that we are selling. It’s about how with deep partnership with these companies over many many years and we are doing so globally, so much of what we have built has been co created with our customers. We now done it with 300 companies globally and excited to do with companies here in India.

Can you talk about some of your customer stories in India?

We can talk about a global company like Boeing, that US tax reform dollars, their C-Suite executives decided that they are going to invest in those tax reform dollars in their employees. So they put kiosks up all around their facilities and solicited ideas directly from employees – asking them what do they need – and they got 40,000 suggestions back and the number one that shuffled to the top was invest in helping us build the skills we need to remain competitive. That led Boeing to buy Degreed and not just the product but a partnership on how we are working to upskill their workforce. Experience with Boeing has all the elements that we would love to see from a successful partnership. Sponsorship from the C-Suite, listening to and feedback from the employees tied to investing in things that close skill gaps and ongoing partnership between the company and Degreed.

EIPMikka CruzComment