2022 Thought Leader Q&A: Mike Bollinger


Mike Bollinger Discusses Expertise Improvement Challenges And Knowledge-Pushed Discoveries

Mike Bollinger is an achieved govt with 20 years of trade expertise. In his present function as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives with Cornerstone, he’s liable for inner analysis in addition to technique growth round outcome-based targets. Mike helped discovered and at present manages the Cornerstone Folks Analysis Lab (CPRL), whose mission is to generate data-driven discoveries concerning the world of labor as we speak and determine rising developments that can give rise to new work fashions. Mike additionally collaborates with Cornerstone shoppers in an govt capability as a frontrunner, influencer, and alter agent who applies experience to advanced companies. Right this moment, he speaks with us about constructing essential abilities and what the long run holds for L&D.

Because the International Vice President of Strategic Initiatives with Cornerstone, you might be liable for inner analysis and technique growth. Based mostly in your expertise, what do you suppose is the most typical problem that organizations face relating to aligning their L&D initiatives with real-world outcomes?

The traditional solutions listed below are most frequently learner engagement and measuring profitable outcomes.

Nonetheless, I might add one elementary ongoing problem that will simply be harder to perform and should lay upstream to the primary two. That issue lies within the nuance in execution; merely put, alignment of abilities to the enterprise want.

In our personal current analysis, we discovered that when L&D leaders are figuring out which new abilities their workforce wants for the long run, they usually look inward. They look at their firm’s enterprise technique or speak to their staff and leaders to search out abilities gaps. Constructing worker capabilities and bridging ability gaps are important processes, and we’re all actively engaged. Nonetheless, along with inspecting inner wants, corporations want to concentrate to exterior forces. Our analysis discovered that employers do not look intently sufficient at what their rivals are doing, how their trade is altering, how roles are laid out, and the way their expertise is altering. A profitable new skilling method requires that L&D leaders look past their 4 partitions—or, on this case, their 4 digital partitions—to be sure that their inner efforts align with bigger, exterior adjustments.

In the event that they take this again to their workforce(s) as inputs into the L&D methods, they will align throughout areas, managers, and enterprise items. That alignment yields an understanding of how every is measured. L&D can construct customized pathways towards that evaluation, with a complete sport plan focused at closing the numerous totally different gaps.

Growing a plan is your measurement. True studying does not happen until there is a habits change. So, first, determine learn how to measure staff’ habits adjustments. Then, perceive how the change impacts a enterprise consequence. Get a baseline measurement so that there is one thing to check new knowledge to later. Measure your self and your initiatives towards how the person enterprise teams are measured. Observe staff’ sentiment in the direction of L&D efforts as properly—this may assist corporations decide whether or not they’re truly closing the hole.

By doing this, you deal with the traditional questions of engagement and measurement, however upstream. Each intrinsic worth for the learners and extrinsic worth for the group are tangible outcomes of those efforts.

You additionally handle the Cornerstone Folks Analysis Lab (CPRL). Are you able to inform our readers a bit extra about its mission and why it was based?

The mission of the Cornerstone Folks Analysis Lab (CPRL) is to generate data-driven discoveries concerning the world of labor as we speak and determine rising developments that can give rise to new work fashions. Its two major areas of focus are company Studying and Improvement developments and points associated to the expertise of individuals at work. We make this analysis accessible to everybody as a result of we imagine a rising tide lifts all boats on this regard.

For a number of years, we began to do sponsored analysis (profession mobility, financial impression, and so on.). About three years in the past, we had an inner dialogue about not solely persevering with that work however doing our personal analysis as properly. The thought behind our authentic work was to dig deeper into subjects we had been enthusiastic about at Cornerstone, in addition to to do longitudinal research (inspecting the change in our evaluation over a time interval).

The “2022 International Expertise Report” explores how profitable organizations worldwide are utilizing abilities to deal with rising challenges. In your opinion, what was one of the shocking findings concerning the employee-employer confidence hole? What do you suppose is essentially the most important differentiating issue that units high-performing organizations other than the remaining?

The 2022 report was a chief instance of that longitudinal evaluation I discussed within the query above. The unique report in 2020 not solely had a world attain but in addition included sentiment evaluation by each the employer lens and the worker perspective.

The unique report had a really distinctive consequence which we termed “The Expertise Confidence Hole,” i.e., the distinction between how aligned individuals and organizations are once they charge the group’s high quality and effectiveness of ability growth alternatives.

This hole was statistically important—there have been 30 factors between the employer’s funding confidence and the way staff felt about consuming the investments that had been being made.

Once we launched into our 2022 research, we requested after the identical objects however added particulars across the “why” and a further perspective from historically high-performing organizations (HPOs). We discovered that the hole elevated to 31%—nonetheless, when it got here to high-performing organizations, the hole was a lot much less at solely 11%, whereas laggard organizations had been at a shocking 43% confidence hole. This alignment on perceptions in HPOs carried by into all of the detailed questions.

There are a number of differentiating elements that shined by setting HPOs other than the others. First is that success didn’t come by with a single initiative. The report discovered that high-performing organizations tended to have broad initiatives and never only a singular method. This got here by as an best possible apply.

Second, HPOs are centered on future abilities. Ninety-nine % of staff of HPOs felt like their group may take motion on closing their abilities gaps. That is in comparison with solely 51% of laggard organizations.

Lastly, an internal-first hiring mindset was the catalyst for most of the different high-performing outcomes we noticed within the report. It mirrored the alignment that staff at these organizations felt with their employers.

Expertise growth is essential for long-term enterprise success. Based mostly on the report and your private insights, what are a number of of the widespread traits of an efficient skill-building program as we speak?

We have entered a brand new, digital world of labor that requires several types of abilities, and it is a possibility for workers to undertake them. Some individuals are utilizing low-code applied sciences—like collaboration platforms, digital toolsets, and video conferencing instruments—for the primary time and have developed new technical abilities because of this. Our gentle abilities have needed to change as properly. We’re studying learn how to successfully talk with others nearly since in-person interactions aren’t an choice.

Subsequent, we ought to be centered on searching for adjacencies between abilities. For instance, if an organization wants pure language processing abilities, a future-focused group finds staff with abilities which can be much like language processing—like somebody within the advertising division who communicates for a residing. Figuring out adjacencies makes new skilling efforts simpler and reduces the educational curve.

That is an unimaginable alternative for workers, however to totally reap the benefits of it, they want to have the ability to put aside time to determine and discover new abilities. This report made it clear that many staff really feel like they do not have sufficient time for self-directed studying. However lack of time can be a warning signal for different issues, like uncertainty, worry, and/or an absence of steering. So, it is essential for organizations to search out methods to assist them alongside on their studying journey. This is not going to solely encourage them to undertake a self-directed method to studying, but it surely provides them the possibility to learn from the investments employers are making in them.

For employers present process speedy digital transformation, many seemed internally to see who that they had within the workforce to contribute to or lead these initiatives. What some discovered is their “stock” of abilities required some work and so they did not execute as rapidly as they may have. Organizations ought to begin by investing in administration groups and their studying, as this has a secret “multiplier impact” that yields outcomes at sooner speeds. Then, encourage managers to speak to their staff about their profession targets and motivations, and alter their studying accordingly. By gathering a deeper understanding of staff’ particular person abilities, it is simpler to find adjacencies and develop new abilities with velocity. The organizations that be taught this lesson and spend money on higher visibility into their workforce can have a stronger functionality to answer disruption sooner or later.

What do you suppose the long run holds for L&D, significantly concerning abilities growth and distant expertise administration?

This can be a robust one. I beforehand did a session with Don Taylor on the Studying Applied sciences Convention, the place we seemed again on a few of our failed predictions as an trade. For instance, in 2015, all of us thought that the concept of digital privateness would disappear within the social media explosion, many thought eLearning was a fad, and that gamification would change every thing.

However finally, what Don and I landed on was that, as L&D practitioners, we ought to be reminded that we have to develop as properly, and because of this, our future focus areas ought to embody:

  • A deal with the abilities of the long run. That is an evolution moderately than a revolution, and we have to discover a strategy to hold abilities evergreen.
  • Actionable insights are what get you within the door. Knowledge is in every single place, however it’s the way you make sense of that knowledge and switch it into information to realize priceless insights. You do not want excellent knowledge; you simply want to make use of the info you have got properly.
  • Having business-specific acumen is central to the L&D function. It’s good to perceive what’s going on in your corporation. How do you measure success? What insights could be drawn from these measurements? And the way can these be aligned to the targets of the broader enterprise?

For our future to be shiny, our methods want to incorporate:

  • Connectedness – To maximise impression inside a enterprise, leaders should create a linked expertise for companies and staff.
  • Knowledge – Leverage AI to streamline your method and collect baseline outcomes to work from.
  • Unrelenting focus – Studying and Improvement ought to be seen as a core enterprise precedence, not only a studying precedence.

Whereas we can not precisely predict the way forward for L&D, we will put measures into place to assist soften the blow of change. Merchandise with a specialist focus, like Cornerstone, assist to create a linked expertise between companies and staff—whereas gathering and analyzing abilities knowledge that improves productiveness and deepens insights. Working with expertise as one of many instruments within the broad initiatives that high-performing organizations accomplish that properly, one can revolutionize the best way a enterprise features.

2022 is the yr for L&D to essentially make itself identified and have extra of that seat on the desk.

What’s considered one of your standout eLearning consumer success tales?

A narrative that basically stands out to me is from Deutsche Publish DHL Group (DPDHL), a number one logistics firm with operations in publish, freight, provide chain, and e-commerce. DPDHL is made up of a household of close-knit enterprise divisions all working collectively to satisfy clients’ wants.

For DPDHL, you will need to deal with what excellence seems like on this digital world and the way its individuals can adapt to that change. With the tempo of change shifting at unimaginable velocity and new abilities turning into more and more important in as we speak’s world of labor, DPDHL turned to Synthetic Intelligence (AI) to assist align abilities with future challenges for the enterprise.

A serious a part of DPDHL’s 2025 expertise technique is figuring out the abilities at present of their workforce as we speak and uncovering potential abilities which can be related to tomorrow. That is particularly vital, as DPDHL created 20,000 new jobs final yr and now has 570,000 staff in 220 nations, some 400,000 of that are customer-facing within the area. One of many greatest challenges tied to this goal is how to herald a abilities ontology that may replicate the variations between desk-based roles and area roles, similar to these dealing with and delivering parcels. That is the place AI comes into play.

DPDHL turned to Cornerstone’s abilities ontology providing, an AI-powered abilities engine that identifies capabilities inside the group, which might then be matched to jobs inside the firm and pinpoint potential abilities gaps. The Cornerstone Expertise Graph is constructed on a strong and consistently up to date abilities taxonomy of over 53,000 distinctive abilities pulled from tens of millions of job positions throughout each trade across the globe.

Now, on the click on of a button, DPDHL can determine what may be the subsequent profession transfer for an airside handler or a supervisor in a warehouse, and what abilities they’ve that may be transferable to different elements of the enterprise, or that they’d wish to develop to be able to be an fascinating candidate for an additional division or one other nation.

In selecting the best accomplice, DPDHL set out clear goals to reply each the wants of its staff—fluid profession paths—and the wants of the enterprise—retaining its expertise and future-proofing itself.

As soon as the abilities are out on the desk, the worker can then select what areas they’d wish to develop to be able to transfer up or into a brand new profession path, opening up many prospects and mapping out their future with the corporate.

Selecting this strategic skills-first method to growth implies that staff at DPDHL are regularly rising and studying, setting profession paths that aren’t essentially linear and as an alternative utterly customized to them.

In consequence, DPDHL has elevated worker retention, promoted from inside, and saved tens of millions of {dollars} in exterior recruitment prices. As well as, DPDHL gathered extra knowledge on their staff’ abilities after three weeks of being stay with the abilities profile than they did in additional than 5 years of their earlier profile, giving them a stronger baseline understanding of who their individuals are.

Workers at DPDHL are benefiting from:

  • A structured profession path. Past matching staff to alternatives, DPDHL aspires to supply staff a strategy to hold profession growth in sight on an ongoing foundation—from planning future roles to receiving solutions to develop the required abilities.
  • Elevated worker retention. As staff can envisage their future at DPDHL, fewer are leaving and there’s a reducing want to rent externally. In reality, DPDHL has had a drop of 10% in exterior recruiting sources, saving tens of millions.
  • Extra visibility to inner recruiters. DPDHL permits its recruiters to have elevated visibility of the inner expertise swimming pools primarily based on greater than obtained purposes for a place. That method, staff can have a strategy to elevate their arms for brand spanking new positions, and recruiters will be capable of see their matches and not using a want for an lively software.
  • Each expertise administration and expertise growth. DPDHL desires its individuals to develop, and for that to be celebrated. It might really feel onerous on managers when staff transfer groups and departments at first, however in the long run, individuals are engaged, their experiences are improved, and the enterprise is general extra environment friendly and efficient.
  • Sense of objective. Because of AI and Cornerstone, staff now really feel like they’ve a way of objective within the office, which is among the most vital attributes that folks search for in a corporation as we speak.
  • Plugging the abilities hole. From an HR perspective, AI permits DPDHL to determine abilities gaps that in any other case would go unnoticed till it’s a larger drawback. This higher prepares the corporate for the long run, and because of this, DPDHL turns into a extra sustainable enterprise in the long term.

Learn extra Cornerstone success stories to find how the appropriate accomplice may help you revolutionize your expertise growth technique. 

Wrapping Up

A giant thanks to Mike Bollinger for sharing his insights with our readers and for shedding gentle on present and rising abilities growth challenges. Be taught extra about how profitable organizations worldwide are utilizing abilities to assist themselves and their individuals thrive in a brand new world of labor by downloading the Global Skills Report.

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