Blog Learning Cultures

New Research: Nurturing a Strong Learning Culture in Today’s Organizations

We’re thrilled to announce the release of our newest research report on learning cultures! This collaborative effort brought together the expertise of our team, including the brilliant Laurie Ruettimann, and our amazing partner, Learnerbly.

One of the key highlights of this report is the introduction of a comprehensive maturity model—a tool designed to assist companies in assessing their current position and charting a course for future growth. With this model, companies can gain a clear understanding of where they stand and identify specific areas where they need to focus their efforts to enhance their learning cultures.

We found that 67% of companies are ramping up their investments in learning and development initiatives this year. This surge underscores a growing recognition among businesses of all sizes: continuous learning is essential for staying competitive and agile in the dynamic business landscape.

However, despite the increasing investment in learning initiatives, there’s a glaring gap between intention and execution. Less than half of companies express confidence in the effectiveness of their learning cultures, and only one in three are satisfied with their providers. This disconnect exposes a critical gap between investment and perceived value, highlighting the need for a paradigm shift in how organizations approach learning and development.

The significance of cultivating a strong learning culture extends beyond organizational growth—it profoundly impacts the employee experience. By fostering a learning-centric environment, companies empower employees to acquire new skills, stay engaged, and enhance performance. Yet, despite these benefits, many organizations lag behind in their approach to learning and development, treating it merely as a business benefit rather than a tool to empower individuals.

To bridge this gap, organizations must embrace a transformative approach to learning and development—one that prioritizes alignment, personalization, and inclusivity. These pillars serve as the foundation for nurturing a comprehensive learning environment that resonates with individual employee needs and fosters an inclusive and engaging atmosphere.

Personalization: Only 42% of companies personalize the learning journey for their employees. Recognizing that learning is not one-size-fits-all, organizations need to tailor learning experiences to meet the diverse needs and preferences of their workforce.

Inclusivity: Despite the pivotal role of inclusivity in fostering a diverse and equitable learning culture, only half of companies state that their learning cultures are accessible to all employees. Prioritizing inclusivity requires addressing barriers to participation and ensuring equal opportunities for all employees to engage in learning and development activities.

Alignment: One in four companies believe their investment in learning is wasted, highlighting the importance of aligning learning programs with both employer and employee expectations. By ensuring that learning initiatives address the specific needs and skill gaps of their workforce, organizations can maximize the impact of their learning investments.

Addressing the challenges of low engagement, wasted spend, and the need for greater inclusivity in learning initiatives requires organizations to take a critical look at their learning cultures and drive meaningful change. By embracing a holistic approach to learning and development—one that prioritizes alignment, personalization, and inclusivity—organizations can cultivate a learning environment that empowers individuals, drives organizational success, and fosters a culture of continuous growth and improvement.

The report is available now on the Aptitude site.


Paradox Disrupts High-Volume Hiring: The Benefits of a Conversational ATS

Today Paradox announced plans to offer a conversational ATS for high-volume companies. This news should be no surprise if you have followed the Paradox story over the past few years. Companies like McDonald’s, Lowe’s, and Great Wolf Lodge have replaced their ATS with Paradox and a conversational experience. And the results include reduced time to fill (weeks to days), improved conversion rates, and better candidate engagement.

We found that 65% of companies with high-volume recruitment needs are not satisfied with their current ATS. Most traditional ATS systems are designed for corporate hiring and lack capabilities to support high-volume recruitment, such as programmatic advertising, scheduling, or communication. Conversational AI is a perfect product-market fit for managers and candidates.

What Does a Conversational ATS Include?

  • Hiring managers can quickly open and post jobs with a few taps in a mobile app.
  • Candidates can apply to jobs in minutes, all via text or Chat
  • Screening for minimum job requirements can be completely automated
  • Interviews can be scheduled (or rescheduled) instantly with qualified candidates
  • Automated reminders can be sent to drive significantly higher show rates
  • Reminders can automatically be sent when a candidate needs to complete other steps in the process

What are the Benefits of a Conversational ATS?

  • Mobile First: Mobile must be the foundation of a candidate communication strategy, especially for hourly workers. By adopting a mobile-first strategy, companies will be better positioned to engage with candidates and meet candidates expectations.
  • Personalization: Ultimately, communication should cater to the needs of the individual – not a collective group- and recognize that all individuals are not the same. According to an Aptitude Research study, ninety-four percent (94%) of companies believe that personalizing communications will help employees do their job better.
  • Consumer-like: Hourly candidates are customers; their experience should mirror a consumer-like experience. Solutions should provide engagement, communication, and simplicity.

What Does This Mean for the ATS Market?

  • Companies Have Better Options: The ATS market is an apples-to-apples market. These systems need more differentiation (except for Greenhouse and Lever). Paradox is the first real disruptor to the ATS market, offering an everyday experience.
  • Text and Chat will Be a Focus: A few years ago, many conversational AI providers were acquired (Stepstone with Mya, Pandologic with Wade and Wendy, and Hirevue with AllyO). As a result, some of the ATS providers will look at the text and Chat landscape and start to make some acquisitions.
  • Professional Hiring is Next: Conversational AI has completely transformed high-volume hiring, and professional hiring is next. Again, candidates, recruiters, and managers should benefit from a simple, personalized experience.

Aaron Matos, CEO and founder of Paradox, has built an incredible team and delivered a vision to reimagine the recruitment experience. I am excited to see what the next year has in store for Paradox.


Countdown to HRTech: Internal Mobility

Internal mobility is the next topic for my blog series in the Countdown to the HR Technology Conference. Internal mobility is a strategic priority for any company looking to recruit better, engage, and retain talent. According to Aptitude Research, 70% of companies have increased their investment in internal mobility compared to 58% of companies in 2020. And, 1 in 2 companies has increased the number of internal hires this year.

The movement of talent into different positions is not new. Companies have been hyper-focused on internal mobility and career progression during various periods of uncertainty. Internal mobility becomes the go-to strategy when hiring slows down or turnover spikes. But today, companies have adjusted their responsibilities, strategies, and technology. Internal mobility is no longer an isolated activity or a quick fix during a time of transition. It is a critical part of any talent strategy and the intersection between talent acquisition and employee experience.

But, most internal mobility programs fail before they begin. Many companies rely on traditional methods of moving employees across their organization without providing a fair, equitable, and personalized experience. So, internal candidates are treated like strangers. We found that:

  • Only 1 in 2 companies personalize feedback and learning opportunities for internal candidates
  • 55% of internal candidates go through the same interview process as external candidates
  • Only 26% of companies personalize communication with internal candidates

How is Technology Improving Internal Mobility?

Fortunately, the technology landscape to support internal mobility has improved over the past few years. Companies are thinking beyond internal career sites and finding meaningful ways to empower employees. And skills are driving this new approach. Every single provider in this industry seems to be talking about internal mobility. Here are a few providers I have been impressed with this year (in alphabetical order):

  • Beamery: Beamery’s acquisition of Flux earlier this year strengthens its internal mobility capabilities and provides a talent marketplace for internal, external, and contingent talent.
  • Clickboarding: Companies must consider cross-boarding and the intersection of internal mobility and onboarding. Clickboarding provides improved experiences for both new hires and career transitions.
  • Eightfold: Eightfold’s AI-driven talent intelligence platform and skills-based approach gives employees internal career paths to help them reach their goals.
  • Gloat: Gloat’s talent marketplace connects employers with internal and external talent.
  • HiredScore:  Hiredscore looks at all talent options from the ATS, CRM, employees, VMS, and connected external databases to find the fairest slate for each role.
  • PageUp People: PageUp provides capabilities for both promoting internal jobs and personalizing experiences as well as developing employees through skills profiles and communication.
  • Paradox: Paradox’s use cases are expanding to internal mobility and employee experience. It provides employees simple, friendly, and immediate opportunities to learn about career paths and develop the right skills.
  • Phenom: Phenom’s employee experience platform helps employees identify their unique career paths based on their experiences, skills, and goals
  • Worqdrive: Worqdrive is a stand-alone internal mobility provider designed to improve the experience for both employees and recruiting teams.
  • Workday: Workday’s skills-based approach and talent marketplace help companies find the best talent and empower employees to manage their careers.

What are the Key Findings of the Research?

  1. Companies Must Do the Work: Companies should start with their processes, culture, and communication before investing in technology. With both core HR systems and best-of-breed talent acquisition providers offering advanced capabilities, it is tempting for companies to turn to technology before evaluating their own strategies. However, nearly 50% of companies stated that managers make it difficult to support internal mobility. This frustration is a cultural and process-driven challenge rather than a technology challenge.
  2. Internal Candidates Are Treated Like Strangers: Most companies are not personalizing the experience for internal talent. As a result, internal candidates are treated like strangers to their employers and often do not receive a response. Only 26% of companies personalize communication to internal candidates, and 55% of internal candidates go through the same interview process as external candidates. Companies that do not provide a personalized experience for internal candidates risk losing them completely if they do not receive the job.
  1. Companies Have Better Technology Options Today: The technology landscape for internal mobility has become crowded and complex. Only one in two companies are satisfied with the technology they use to support internal mobility. Fortunately, companies have better options to engage internal talent and provide growth opportunities. Companies adopting a skills-based approach should consider providers with robust skill frameworks and AI capabilities that infer skills beyond what is found on a profile.
  1. Ownership Is a Challenge: One in four companies stated that talent acquisition does not want responsibility for internal mobility. It often feels like more work with less direction and reward. Companies must shift the narrative around internal mobility and empower TA leaders with the necessary resources while incentivizing recruiting teams to hire internal and external talent. One company that we interviewed created a role in TA (internal recruiter) and a role in HR (Internal Career Support) to collaborate on internal mobility from both perspectives.
  1. Internal Mobility impacts Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Eighty-five percent (85%) of companies stated that DEI is impacted by internal mobility. Companies have an opportunity to provide fair and equitable experiences for all employees with a strategic internal mobility approach. Yet, for companies that do not have a diverse workforce, internal mobility will not improve DEI. When internal mobility is incorporated into talent acquisition efforts, companies have greater visibility of DEI initiatives. 

Internal mobility has been a big focus of our research over the past year. I am excited to share these findings next month at HR Tech!


Amazon’s 2nd Headquarters: Building the Case for Boston

Last week, Amazon announced the finalists for its 2nd headquarters and Boston is a contender. This is exciting news for a city that has seen significant growth in tech from companies like Wayfair, Tripadvisor, Raytheon, EMC, and Hubspot. According to the SEC, at the end of 2016, Raytheon added over 2000 jobs and Wayfair not far behind with 1791 new tech jobs. Amazon would certainly accelerate this growth and completely change the job market and recruitment landscape in Boston. We believe for the better. And yes, as a Boston-based company, we are slightly biased. Here are a few reasons why we think that Boston is a strong candidate for Amazon and what impact this could have on talent acquisition efforts:

  • Brain Drain: A 2016 study by real estate services firm, CBRE, found that college students with tech degrees are leaving Boston for cities like San Francisco and New York that offer greater opportunities in their field. This is not a new phenomenon. Boston has always struggled to retain students from schools such as MIT, Harvard, Boston University, and Northeastern University – especially in tech. Amazon would offer a huge opportunity for students considering staying in the Northeast. It is planning to add 50,000 high paying jobs and invest $5 billion into the city.
  • Location: The location that Amazon is considering is just minutes from a major international airport. This location makes it incredibly convenient for customers, partners, candidates, and remote workers to meet with Amazon. Anyone owning real estate in Revere or East Boston should hold on tight to their investments.
  • Competition for Talent: Competition for talent is not always a bad thing. Amazon’s presence in Boston will certainly require companies like Wayfair, Raytheon, and even GE to offer better salaries and incentives to their existing employees. Amazon will also bring new talent to the city that will help boost the economy.
  • Diversified Industries: The Boston economy is thriving. According to BLS, Boston unemployment rose 2.3% in October 2017 from a year ago. Boston added nearly 15,000 jobs in that time in a variety of industries including professional services, education and health services, and finance. Amazon’s headquarters will increase Boston’s prowess in tech.

Amazon’s announcement on its 2nd headquarters will be exciting for any of the 20 contenders but Boston is well positioned to make the short list (despite its cold winters). We are watching very closely!