IT modernization remains top of mind for enterprises amid the continual shift to digital transformation. With technology increasing in complexity at a dizzying pace, companies need to know that their dollars are well spent on key investment areas. As technology is outpacing the skilled workforce, companies are devoting resources to high-quality certification and training initiatives. Not only are certifications used to further one’s career, but upskilling, reskilling and certifying from within can also allow an organization to retain valuable employees and experience benefits, such as heightened productivity, efficiency and increased engagement.
The challenges facing management today
Numerous studies highlight the importance of professional development in the modern workforce. However, this is not without its challenges:
- Shrinking budgets. According to one report, nearly half of workers say their employers have reduced upskilling opportunities during the pandemic.1 This allows for a reduced expenditure but at what business cost? Considering the shift in technologies brought on during the pandemic, the need for modernization of IT functions and skilled workers has become ever more apparent.
- Retention and performance. The Great Resignation has brought on many challenges, including how to retain employees. With larger projects and fewer people to handle the workload, employees’ confidence can be affected. This can also affect staff performance, as research confirms that 98% of workers say they perform better when they feel more confident.2 Employees can optimally spotlight their capabilities when they’re aligned with current competencies or training is provided to increase their knowledge base. Now more than ever training and certifications are playing a larger role in retention strategies to keep employees confident and happy in their role.
Smart companies make certification planning a priority
It can be challenging to understand the scope of all training needs from the onset. Preparing a detailed certification analysis will help you build a business case for training initiatives that will generate a strong ROI and boost productivity and innovation in your organization. The following five steps will help you create a strong certification plan:
- Assess all certifications
If you want to make an immediate impact, begin with taking stock of existing certifications your IT staff has acquired. This serves a couple of purposes. You will be able to assess your current capabilities, and it will provide insight on areas where you may need to focus on in the future. See if any of your IT employees’ certifications are expired or need to be renewed. If a certification is outdated by more than five years, it may be a good idea to check the vendor’s website to ensure knowledge and skills are current.
- Identify any gaps and cross training opportunities
Research indicates that 94% of executives said it’s challenging to find skilled technology professionals.3 Identifying key areas for opportunities to upskill current staff will give you a better handle on learning opportunities you can leverage to overcome any challenges you may encounter in the future. With digital transformation and modernization at the forefront of many strategic initiatives, IT professionals will additionally benefit when their skills help organizations move toward cloud or multi-cloud initiatives. VMware’s Cloud Management and Automation 2022 and Security 2022 certifications are excellent picks to ensure a comprehensive set of skills. Need additional help with assessing your current talent gap? We have a great knowledge assessment tool to help individuals and teams stay on top of their IT game.
- Identify key performance indicators
Training is not applicable if it does not impact business outcomes. Pinpointing and striving toward the right metrics are crucial to organizational success. Ask yourself, “What kind of return on investment should we be getting with the priorities we have mapped out earlier in the year?” Knowing your numbers will go a long way in building a solid business case for training. Prioritize areas that ensure a maximum ROI on training that supports business goals, such as improved performance, reliability, risk management and cost.
- Build your business case
After you have identified your KPIs above, you will need to build a business case to persuade key stakeholders on how the upcoming certifications will positively impact your organization. Be sure to include key areas of impact from a customer experience perspective as well as how certifications and training can generate a competitive advantage. Take time to listen to objections and concerns from management and help them understand how upskilling and reskilling will help you bridge current gaps.
- Monitor and report on certification results
Remember that training is a journey not a destination. Throughout this process you will need to reevaluate based on targeted business outcomes you have identified in the previous steps. Measuring the individual successes is the key to understanding impact but training can only serve the employee and the company best if you can measure progress toward your goals. If a staff member is not able to use the newfound skills on the job, make sure to adjust the certification plan accordingly.
Let us help you plan
Not sure where to start? With a Knowledge Skills Assessment, we offer an individualized assessment of current skill levels relative to VMware solutions and provide recommendations on how to address skills gaps.
If you are looking a specific certification, let us help you move forward in your certification efforts!
1Degreed, “The State of Skills 2021: Endangered”
3Robert Half, “The Demand for Skilled Talent: 2022 Hiring and Employment Trends”