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. You’ll want to work on tips for retaining employees while promoting a culture of learning.
Tips for Retaining Employees and Promoting a Culture of Learning
A key element in any organization’s strategy for employee retention and business growth must be ongoing learning and development. However, for many organizations that are facing competing priorities and razor-thin budgets, making sure employees are trained on the latest business-related technologies often takes a backseat.
Cloud Services Imperative to Business Growth and Learning
With cloud services becoming imperative to business growth and enterprise cloud spending rapidly increasing, de-prioritizing employee skills development is not an option.
Between 2019 and 2020 alone, organizations as a whole doubled the workload that they shifted to the cloud, and over 20% expect to move 80-100% of their workloads to the cloud sometime this year.
However, the number of trained staff to manage those cloud environments is severely lacking, with only 1 in 3 organizations indicating they have a formal process and resources in place to address this skills gap.
Are There Enough Professional With Cloud Skills? Your Employees can Learn.
There simply aren’t enough professionals with cloud skills to make up for the rapid growth in organizations that need professionals with those skills. As such, organizations must be intentional about investing in and nurturing a culture that places cloud skills learning at the forefront of their priorities to attract and retain high-quality cloud talent.
Skill Development for Business Growth and Learning
Throughout my career, I’ve worked with organizations that encouraged skills development in various ways and saw increased confidence among employees as a result, which led to a more innovative and agile work environment.
Developing a culture that prioritizes skills development can include various forms of formal and informal training and motivation.
The Value of Hands-On Learning
There are many ways to create a skills development culture that makes the most of your organization’s cloud investment — whether it’s through affirming the value of hands-on experience, encouraging experimentation, or emphasizing the importance of achieving industry certifications.
Strategies to Gain Needed Cloud Skills and Business Growth
Institutionalize your skilling culture.
Incorporate employee skills development into your organization’s annual goals—tied to leadership performance metrics and individual employees’ goals—to establish operational rigor that substantiates your desired culture.
Consider specific strategic and operational imperatives that align to skilling gaps, such as encouraging industry certification achievements in specific cloud skills that are lacking within your company. In addition, 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.
Institutionalizing skills building from the very top of the organization ensures the culture is intentional about creating a culture that values ongoing learning and curiosity.
Stay future-focused for cloud initiatives.
Organizations need to ask themselves, “What cloud initiatives are coming in the next 12 to 24 months, and what cloud skills do we lack now to be successful with them?”You need to think beyond the IT teams within your organization and arm both IT and non-IT (such as finance, sales, marketing, and administrative) staff with cloud knowledge to increase your organization’s ability to deliver more quickly and collaboratively.
Think holistically to determine the expertise and cloud competencies that your organization needs, formulate a future-focused skills-development plan, and start energizing teams to lean into these development areas.
Acknowledge the skilled professionals in your organization and encourage them to act as mentors and coaches to others. Then, 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 will step up as emerging champions.
Encourage employees to take dedicated time for skills development.
For a learning culture to take hold, leaders and managers need to bake in skills development time into their timelines and milestones. Likewise, empower employees to dedicate time during the workweek to prioritize learning and build their skills.
For example, on my team, we set time aside – one day per month without meetings or other deadlines – for learning. While it may take time for this practice to take hold, consistently dedicating time for employees to learn new skills will encourage them to take advantage of it.
Create sprint-style learning.
Think about creating an agile—and repeatable—approach to learning in short timeframes or sprints. Establish the 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 organizations skill up or gain certifications quickly in a particular job function or domain, but it must balance business demands. In addition, employees need to feel the organization’s commitment to making space for learning, so they feel confident setting daily responsibilities aside to pursue their skills development.
Incorporate peer connection and learning.
Take advantage of interactive and gamified learning approaches in order to create peer connections and cross-functional synergies. Fun, hands-on, and risk-free learning scenarios can motivate employees to learn a new skill or enhance a current one while increasing expertise and collaboration among participants.
Encourage friendly competition by splitting employees into small groups and assigning them a cloud project to complete within a certain timeframe. Once a winning team is determined, invite them to present their project and key learnings during a company meeting.
Recognize and reward achievement.
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 can include 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 realize tremendous organizational benefits by cultivating a culture of continuous skills development.
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Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!