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CAHRS Partner Companies Discuss the Importance of Upskilling

Human Resource Executive's April 2019 "Mind the (Skills) Gap" features learning programs implemented by CAHRS partner companies Accenture and IBM. A high-tech client of Accenture approached the global management-consulting firm about reskilling its workforce and, within two years’ time, Accenture was able to help transform this company’s curriculum from 100 percent classroom-based learning to 75 percent digitally based. The result? Ellyn Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer at Accenture, says the client saw a 92 percent average increase in the number of people being trained per year.

Accenture isn’t just talking the talk—the firm is dedicated to upskilling its own workforce, along with helping clients do the same. Shook says that, in roughly three years, the company has "new-skilled" nearly 300,000 of its 469,000 employees worldwide.

"New-skilling our people was at the heart of our massive talent transformation to ensure they remain relevant and at the forefront of both technology and industry," she says. "To achieve this, we have an innovative learning culture, Accenture Connected Learning, which abandoned the onesize-fits-all curriculum to instead focus on learning opportunities that are highly customized for the individual and highly specialized based on our clients’ needs."

Over at IBM Corp., its global workforce of more than 380,000 has access to a whole host of learning and development programs, and the company recently embraced the era of "new-collar" workers—putting skills above degrees.

Kelli Jordan, director of career and skills at IBM, says the tech giant offers a digital-learning ecosystem called Your Learning, which has transformed the way in which employees learn. Learning is no longer a top-down activity, but something all employees are encouraged to do at their own pace. Your Learning is powered by Watson cognitive computing, which uses AI to understand the unique learning needs of every employee. With every interaction, Watson gets smarter and improves the learning recommendations for individuals.

Employees also have access to Watson Career Coach, which acts as an advisor that can offer career advice, identify lateral career moves and recommend ways to help build skills in an employee’s desired career path.

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