The Talent Right In Front of You

When you invest in the education of your employees, you give your company the gift of a long-term solution to your talent needs

(Originally posted on blog.udacity.com. Written by Christopher Watkins)

The following quote has been variously attributed to everyone from Lao Tzu to Maimonides to Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie:

“Give someone a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach someone to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime.”

Given its ubiquity throughout modern history, it’s clearly a resonant message, and part of its appeal has to do with its broad applicability—it’s germane to so many different use cases.

The quote is generally interpreted as a lesson about self-sufficiency, but it’s also sage advice when thinking about short-term “band-aids” vs. long-term solutions. Why solve something for a day, only to have the same problem again tomorrow? Why not embrace a long-term solution that eliminates the problem once and for all?

Hiring managers and recruiters confront this issue every day. After all, hiring is essentially an act of problem-solving—a company has a need, and the right hiring decision will solve for it. But what IS the right hiring decision? If you’re a company in need of talent, the solution is often right in front of you!

Let’s take the example of a company website.

Company X is a small company. They have a website, but it’s not very good, and it’s becoming a problem. They need a new site, but no one internally has the skills to do the work. What should Company X do? One solution is to hire someone from outside their organization to do the work. In theory, this makes sense, because professionals will know what to do, and how to do it. The challenges with this approach, however, are multi-fold. One obvious issue, is that there’s no real way to know whether the outside entity will do a good job. But the bigger question is, how can you know whether they’ll “get” you? A website isn’t just functional. It’s a symbol of brand identity. It communicates values as much as it provides services. So you want to work with someone who understands who you are as a company. Finding an outside entity that is both reliable, and that understands your brand, is difficult, and even if you DO find someone, they’re not yours for keeps. They do the work, then they’re off to the next client.

Hiring an outside entity often results in a “fed for a day” solution. If all goes well, you’ll get your new site, but as your company expands and evolves, you’ll be hungry again soon.

So what’s the alternative?

If you’re in a Company X kind of a situation, take a moment to look around you. What do you see? Chances are, what you see are dedicated, reliable, hardworking individuals who are committed to your company, and who most definitely “get” you. But at first glance, you might not be seeing the people who can build your new site.

Or are you?

Here at Udacity, we think you are! We think there are people at your company right now, who are just a Nanodegree program away from giving you exactly what you need. Don’t believe us? Poll your employees today. Find out whether someone at your company harbors an interest in web development. Chances are, there’s someone who’d jump at this kind of opportunity.

So, here’s a suggestion for companies in need of talent. Instead of investing in a one-time, short-term approach, invest in a Nanodegree program on behalf of one or more of your employees instead, and give your company the gift of a long-term solution to your talent needs.

Employees, this is an action item for you as well. If you’ve got a passion for something, and you think pursuing your passion can help your company, speak up! That’s what Kat Halo did. Her company hired someone else to do their marketing, but Kat knew she could do a better job. She took it upon herself to learn digital marketing with Udacity, and now, she’s doing marketing for her company!

There are a great many tangible benefits to hiring from within. A recent CareerBuilder article affirms that you’ll save money and see better performance, and Adam Foroughi, writing for Entrepreneur, notes the following:

  1. Motivated employees work harder.
  2. Opportunity, happy people = higher retention.
  3. Internal hires adapt better to new roles.

And finally, as noted in a recent article from Inc., “Wharton research shows that external hires cost18 to 20 percent more than those  promoted from within.”

In a world marked by rapid technological advancement, more and more companies all across the hiring landscape are embracing digital transformation initiatives, and this is leading them to look anew at the talent within their own ranks. At Udacity, our Enterprise team works directly with hundreds of different companies who are investing in their employees by proactively offering opportunities to reskill and upskill through our Nanodegree programs. If you’re not yet investing in the talent you already have, now’s a really good time to consider doing so!

Let’s now return to our quote:

“Give someone a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach someone to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime.”

The key lesson here lies in the distinction between “a day” and “a lifetime.” As a company, when it comes to making hiring decisions, you want to invest in a long-term solution that works for the long term, and that’s what investing in the development of existing employees is all about. When you need talent, you often need look no further than the people right in front of you.

Your Next Great Tech Hire May NOT Have A Computer Science Degree. And That’s A Good Thing

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Qualifications, credentials, and experience remain vital considerations when assessing candidate suitability for a key role. We’re not here to debate that. What we ARE here to do is to propose a rethink about what constitutes applicable (read: relevant!) qualifications, credentials, and experience. Because what you really need in your candidates today, can’t necessarily be measured by traditional means. What you need are people with lifelong commitments to learning, the ability to easily and quickly adapt, growth mindsets, and a fluent command of modern tools and technological advances.

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Rethinking How You Hire? Some Companies Are Changing the Game Altogether

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There was a time when a college degree was virtually the sole measure of job-readiness. That time is gone. There are simply too many other, more effective ways to find and vet crucial talent. That’s not to say a college degree can’t be a key factor; it can. But in today’s hiring environment, the need for specific skillsets is too intense, the pace of change too rapid, the competition too fierce. Companies often need truly rarefied talent, and they’re realizing a college degree is no longer the best determinant of suitability. Agility and flexibility are vital, real-world experience, critical. There is a genuine need to reevaluate hiring practices, and the most innovative companies are already doing so.

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Today’s Talent, Tomorrow Skills: Udacity’s Job Guarantee

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The current hiring landscape brings with it some significant challenges, and Udacity understands how difficult it is to keep up with the pace of technological change. But we also know that you’re committed to overcoming whatever hurdles stand in your way, and that talent acquisition is instrumental to your company’s success. Through our work with dedicated learners driven to pursue the most amazing career opportunities available, and courtesy of our critical industry partnerships, we have been able to amass a wealth of insight into the state of today’s hiring needs, and we believe we have found a way for you to hire faster better, and smarter.

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5 Great Benefits of Hiring Veterans

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Job-seeking military veterans are ultra-competitive candidates. They have proven track records and in-demand skill sets. Sometimes their value gets lost in translation, but here you’ll find some of the crystal clear benefits for recruiting and hiring them.

Currently, there are many commendable initiatives advocating for the hiring of military veterans. I greatly appreciate every organization and individual concerned with the interests of our country’s transitioning service members. However, as a military veteran myself, I’d like to turn the tables and focus on how hiring military veterans is a lucrative move for companies across every industry. Here are just five of the many amazing benefits of hiring veterans:

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So Obvious You Missed It: How To Solve The Employee Engagement Puzzle

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For decades, an effective learning and development program has been considered an important part of an employee engagement and retention strategy. New research, however, shows that its level of importance has been understated—significantly, perhaps even tremendously.

Having happy, motivated and engaged employees is critical for organizations. Engaged employees power growth and innovation. According to Gallup, companies with highly engaged workforces outperform others by 147 percent in earnings per share and have 25-65 percent less turnover, depending on whether they are low- or high-turnover organizations.

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Is There A Skills Gap Crisis Looming, and Can Learning & Development Avert It?

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Is there a skills gap crisis? Are organizations right to be worried about workforce capability? The pressure to innovate, to be agile, and to adapt has certainly never been greater. And talent has never been more transient, nor have both recruiting and retention ever been so challenging. But a crisis?

Business leaders are certainly expressing concern. Only 28 percent of business leaders believe their organizations are “ready” or “very ready” in the area of workforce capability, according to “Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends 2015” survey. Which obviously means 72 percent of business leaders are worried.

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AT&T’s Transformational Journey

“Never has there been a greater need for people who not only understand concepts at work, but can put them into immediate practice to move the business.” – Nate Edwards, Vice President of AT&T University

 

Sophisticated, progressive technology is an indispensable necessity for any business that wishes to maintain relevancy in the modern global climate of rapid growth, innovation, and change. Companies must not only transform how they provide goods and services to consumers; they must transform internally as well. To be competitive, companies need extraordinary talent. Upskilling your workforce is one of the single most important projects your organization can undertake. AT&T, recognizing the critical importance of internal development, recently took some remarkable steps to upskill and transform its workforce.

Since its founding in 1885, AT&T has been no stranger to change. Because of its ability to embrace transformation, the company is even more relevant today than it was over a century ago. Its most recent evolution, from a telecom company to a full-fledged technology company, hinged on the upskilling of thousands of employees.

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Learning & Development Roadmap Reboot

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Your single most important asset on the road to innovation is the quality and the talent of your tech team.  It has never been more important to ensure that learning and development programs are providing your with the return on investment needed to innovate, stay ahead of your competitors, and meet your growth objectives.  

Today, competition in recruiting and hiring for technical positions is at an all-time high.

Organizations large and small are being forced to reevaluate how they develop and retain talented teams through L&D programs. Nurturing, training, and developing talent is essential to a company’s growth and it’s vital that the correct training provider is chosen to meet these objectives. To help breakdown the process of finding an L&D partner, we’ve built a roadmap to help you through this dynamic decision making process.  These factors will help you identify the training partner, which will transform your learning initiatives and your talent into a winning team.

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