Moving to a Hybrid Workforce? Why You Need to Offer Online Certification

Moving to a Hybrid Workforce? Why You Need to Offer Online Certification

Jami Kelmenson
August 5, 2021
Customer Spotlight
Online Certification and Badges

One of the key economic lessons from the pandemic is that employees can work remotely without productivity taking a hit. So now, hybrid workforces – the blending of in-office and remote work – is the buzzword of work.

In a previous post, we looked at customer onboarding, retention and training in the age of hybrid workforces. Here, we’ll look at the new opportunities for online certification and badging, aka digital credentials, as part of a complete customer training, onboarding, and even retention, program.

We sat down with Jarin Schmidt, Chief Experience Officer at Credly — the world’s largest, most-connected digital credential network and a Skilljar partner and customer — to understand how offering digital credentials can boost an organization’s customer education initiatives – as well as their overall brand.

Online Credentials Are the New Black  

“Skills-based hiring is all the trend right now,” according to Jarin. While he also acknowledges – when did we ever not hire based on skills? –  the proxy that serves for knowledge of skills is changing. It’s being elevated from someone just being exposed to a skill through education, to seeing proof that the person genuinely knows how to apply and demonstrate the skills. Digital credentials are the new proxy by which skills knowledge is being judged in the workforce.

Through his work at Credly, Jarin has found that more people are jumping on the digital credential bandwagon:

“As a result of the pandemic, people are at home, and they have more time on their hands. So we’ve actually been seeing a significant increase in remote learning and development; the ability to jump in and find a new skill or maybe expand an existing skill has started to really skyrocket. And our customers have seen that the traditional signals related to training and development — the academic degree — are not as valid a proxy as experience.” And the way people are getting that experience is through channeling online certifications into job experiences.

Offering Certifications Can Extend Your Brand

Another trend Jarin is noticing is that employers are offering training to their own employees. The upside to this, he says, is two-fold. “They’re getting better-trained employees and they’re being recognized as an industry leader for being able to offer the training.”

Take, for example, Zendesk, a customer of both Skilljar and Credly.

Zendesk training and certificaton

Zendesk, a leading provider of customer success software, is creating value not just for its employees, but for its customers and partners as well, by offering online certification for Zendesk users.

According to Carol Dibert, Manager of Certification at Zendesk, the benefits of offering online professional certification are three-fold:

  • For companies who need to prove their worth in the market to stakeholders and extend their reach with a certified partner network
  • For companies who want to set their own staff apart from the competition as subject matter experts
  • For the job seeker or employee who want to excel in any area for which certification is available

(Hear more from Carol on how Zendesk is implementing a digital certification program with Skilljar and Credly in our upcoming webinar – register here!)

A Word on Badges from Credly:

Credly Certification Badges

The digital badge—the visual representation of learning via certification—can be impactful for amplifying your organization or brand. By including the digital badges you offer in existing marketing materials, you’re associating your brand with verified learning in a way that drives brand amplification.

Employers Are Investing in Their Employees Through Training and Development

Not only are employers offering digital certifications, but they’re paying for them as well. Jarin said, “The past year and a half has taught us that learning and development are in your own best interest.” With the interest being there among employees, forward-thinking companies are seizing the opportunity to give employees what they want.

Jonathan Finklestein, the CEO of Credly, said:

“There is a large and rapidly growing segment of businesses that are issuing certifications to their own employees. Employers today recognize that people are choosing a place to learn, not just a place to work. With as many as 95% of currently employed people today considering alternative jobs or careers, the onus is on the employer to make working there a great place to be. And learning ranks number one in what most people look for in a job. So, the best way to put your company’s money where its mouth is, is to issue a certification or credential of its own, summarizing the skills that a person develops.”

And when you, the employer, are footing the bill for the up-skilling, it gives you industry recognition for being a great employer.

Certifications Can Lead to Decreased Churn – For Customers and Employees reported that 95 percent of workers are thinking about finding a new job, driven in part by the lack of growth opportunities at their current job. Therefore, Jarin concludes: “If you put that in the context of keeping and retaining talent, offering industry certifications and credentials is a huge driver to keep someone at your organization. Providing up-skilling opportunities through training is tremendously valuable.

“We are no longer in a place where you go and get your degree in four years and then you’re competent in that field forever. Because things change so quickly, you actually need your employer to be an advocate in helping you up-skill and re-skill,” which in turn makes you a better employee for them.

Similarly, Jarin believes that when you empower your customers to better understand how to use your product through training and education, this can “actually save you from losing them as a customer.”

Skilljar & Credly: A Certified Partnership

The number of people that are now getting digital credentials through Credly, after learning about how important customer education is through Skilljar – is absolutely accelerating. – Jarin Schmidt

So how can you take advantage of these learning trends and begin or amp up your customer education program to take advantage of digital credentials and online certifications?

Skilljar integrates with Credly’s Acclaim platform to issue verifiable badges to learners for courses they complete in Skilljar. Upon accepting the badge in Acclaim, students can promote these badges internally and share them on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. When a viewer clicks on a public, shared badge, they see a description of the event, skills developed, and verifiable information linking directly to the completed course.

Here is how Jarin explains the symmetry between the Skilljar and Credly platforms:

Skilljar recognizes that individuals pursue training and development to improve their life or career. That requires an offering like Credly to ensure the learning outcomes are controlled by the individual, regardless of who provided the training or experience, and then incorporated into settings where human capital decisions are made. Customer LMSs like Skilljar do a fantastic job delivering content and assessments. Offering clear next steps to unlock professional opportunities based on those experiences is where Credly comes in.

Our partnership with Skilljar is extremely valuable and why we pursued it is because of the training in and of itself. So where Skilljar ends at the junction of someone learning something new, Credly begins at how can we apply that knowledge to help the greater world?     – Jarin Schmidt

In a “greater world” filled with hybrid workforces, the need for knowledge — and ways to apply that knowledge — are only beginning to be understood. We at Skilljar look forward to helping shape the new future of work.

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