Scott Barneson is the Director of Learning Products for AWS Training and Certification

How to institutionalise a skills development culture in order to empower learning and training 

Many factors contribute to a workplace culture that attracts and retains the right employees.

In nearly every industry, employees are looking for an encouraging environment and opportunities for advancement.

People want the room to learn and grow professionally.

A key element in any organisation’s strategy for employee engagement and business growth must be ongoing learning and development.

However, for many organisations that face competing priorities and razor-thin budgets, providing non-essential training often takes a backseat.

As more organisations adopt the cloud, it’s not an option to de-prioritise employee skills development.

There simply aren’t enough professionals with cloud-skills.

As such, organisations must be intentional about investing in and nurturing a culture that places cloud-skills learning at the forefront to attract and retain high-quality cloud talent.

Furthermore, as new ways of working become the norm in our post-pandemic world, it’s more important than ever to reassess how your organisation prioritises employee development.

Throughout my career, I’ve seen how encouraging skills development increases confidence among employees and leads to a more innovative, agile, and collaborative work environment.

Developing a culture that centers around skills development can include various forms of formal and informal training and inspiration. It can include affirming the value of hands-on experience, encouraging experimentation, and emphasising the importance of achieving industry certifications.

From harnessing the real-world experience of seasoned employees to train new team members, to hosting online and in-person courses and introducing game-based learning opportunities, there are many ways to meet your business goals through employee skills development.

Here are a few strategies for implementing a culture of skills development to make the most of your organisation’s cloud investment:


1. Institutionalise your skilling culture.

Incorporate employee skills development into the company’s annual goals—tied to leadership’s performance metrics and each employee’s goals—to establish operational rigor that substantiates your desired culture. Consider specific strategic and operational imperatives that align to skilling gaps, as well as industry certification achievements that can bolster new business wins.

Managers should have an open and continuous dialogue with employees to align skills development and industry credentials to the individual’s current role and their short- and long-term career path. Institutionalising skill building from the very top of the organisation ensures the culture is intentional about ongoing learning and curiosity.


2. Stay future-focused.

What cloud initiatives are forthcoming in the next 12 to 24 months, and what cloud skills are lacking now?

Think beyond the IT teams. Arming IT and non-IT staff alike, such as finance, sales, marketing, and even administrative staff, with cloud knowledge increases the organisation’s ability to deliver more quickly and collaboratively to customer needs.

Think holistically to solidify the expertise and cloud competencies the organisation needs, formulate a future-focused skills-development plan, and start energising teams to lean into these development areas.


3. Identify champions.

Acknowledge the skilled professionals in your organisation and encourage them to act as mentors and coaches to others. Create a process and structure to empower these champions to drive employee learning programs.

This helps build leadership opportunities for your champions—while creating additional mechanisms for employee growth—creating a flywheel. Before long, once-new learners step up as emerging champions.


4. Encourage dedicated time for skills development.

For a culture of learning to take hold, it’s vital for leaders and managers to bake-in skill development time into their timelines and milestones so that they can achieve priority objectives for their team and organisation.

Empower employees to dedicate time during the work week to prioritise learning and build their skills. For example, on my team, we set aside time for learning once a month without meetings or other deadlines. While it may take time for this to take hold, consistently dedicating time for employees to learn new skills will encourage them to take advantage of it.


5. Create sprint-style learning.

Think about creating an agile—and repeatable—approach to learning in short timeframes or sprints. Establish a desired timeframe and design a learning program that includes a team or multi-team challenge (e.g., earn 50 certifications in 50 days).

This compressed approach helps organisations skill up or gain certifications quickly in a particular job function or domain, but must be balanced with business demands. Employees need to feel the organisation’s commitment to making space for learning so they feel confident setting daily responsibilities aside to pursue their skills development.


6. Incorporate peer connection.

Take advantage of interactive and gamified learning approaches to create peer connections and cross-functional synergies. Fun, hands-on, and risk-free learning scenarios can be a motivating way for employees to learn a new skill, enhance a current one, or experiment.

Split employees into small groups to work on hands-on cloud projects to increase expertise and collaboration. Invite the winning team to present their project and key learnings during an All Hands meeting.


7. Recognise and reward.

Don’t forget to acknowledge, reward, and create incentives for all employees who are putting in the effort toward creating a culture where learning new skills is the norm. This includes advancement opportunities, a leadership role in a new business venture or project, managing employees, and more.

Ensure skills development is part of regular manager check-ins with employees to encourage a two-way dialogue about ongoing skill milestones.


Building a skills development culture can help you attract and retain valued talent, help employees stay more engaged and innovative at work, and increase your overall business prosperity.

With a little creativity and a lot of enthusiasm, you can realise tremendous organisational benefits from cultivating a culture of continuous skills development.

Scott Barneson, Director of Learning Products, AWS Training and Certification

Scott leads global curriculum development, product management, and AWS Certification programs, helping individuals and organisations acquire and validate in-demand cloud skills.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 11 hours 16 minutes ago

RT @FENews: Committed to mental health – University Centre Leeds becomes early adopter of new charter: University Centre Leeds (@UniCentreL…
View Original Tweet

Alicia has published a new article: Teachers: Our Unsung Heroes of 2021 13 hours 26 minutes ago
william bradley commented on The Importance of Social-Emotional Learning with At-Risk Students 16 hours 3 minutes ago

SEL is helpful to both children and adults, increasing self-awareness,...

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page