Workforce transformation starts with certification. Learning and development (L&D) programs that provide opportunities to earn certifications to showcase the mastery of new skills are essential to a workforce that needs to keep pace with the evolving technologies. Certifications are helpful in hiring and retaining valuable employees while providing needed motivation for skilled workers. Certifications also provide career path opportunities for employees to showcase new skills or confirm to hiring managers that reskilling/upskill has taken place.
Companies that offer a formalized training program report a 24% higher profit margin than companies that do not, according to a study done by the Association for Talent Development. And an IBM “Value of Training” study reported 22% faster rollouts of products/processes. In addition to higher profits and increase speed to market, high-quality training programs result in greater productivity, lower turnover, fewer safety accidents, and job satisfaction.
Case in point: one of SCTE’s member companies recognized the demand for more fiber rich networks and realized its technicians needed to develop a strong knowledge base and skillset working with fiber. Based on the data from the fiber training program, trained technicians improved the quality of their overall install activity, driving a 64% growth of fiber related installs in a single year. Not only did the training yield financial benefits, but it also served to improve technicians’ confidence in working with this technology which continues to be deployed widely.
A certification program that follows a rigorous development process is a detached vendor-neutral assessment that evaluates predetermined industry standards and best practices for achieving desired skills, knowledge, and abilities in an individual. Certifications drive competencies and improve the performance of a workforce to a level of expertise. A certification program developed by a body of industry experts can drive the development of an entire career ecosystem.
Today’s Employees Expect Training
Conducting research on engaging talent in the shadow of COVID, the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) reported that more than a third of employees named continuous learning opportunities (36%) as a key engagement factor. The survey also unveiled a disconnect, with 76% of executives stating their organizations are providing adequate training on new ways to work during the pandemic, but only 38% of employees said the same. Closing this gap is key to attracting, retaining, and engaging talent.
Forward-thinking leaders foster a culture of perpetual learning that rewards continual skills growth. Employees universally want to succeed and grow. Certifications say a lot about an employee’s drive, self-discipline, and overall professionalism, and have the potential to lead to higher pay, promotions, and new job opportunities.
Mastery of Skills Improves Motivation
“We have seen an increase in a desire for training content and self-directed learning journeys,” confirms Agnes Francis-Adolphine, MSE, PMP, Director of Learning and Implementation for Cox Communications. “Upskilling technical professionals who support the network evolution, and the daily operations require constant motivation.”
“The telecommunications industry workforce, like so many others, is challenged by uncertainty and greater demand for dynamic upskilling of frontline resources,” confirms Francis-Adolphine. “Employees are challenged to reinvent themselves to remain relevant in supporting the evolving technology networks.”
“With increasing pressure to grow and perform,” she says, “staying motivated will provide boosts to maintain momentum and continue to build the capabilities and resiliency necessary to navigate the future of work.”
Lack of Training Leads to Lower Retention
Performance failures resulting from a lack of training run the gamut from errors, quality issues, and time lost repeating activities, all with enormous implications for customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders who are all negatively impacted. Workers place a lot of value on having the skills needed to perform their work. Performance suffers when the tools to learn and succeed are not in place, and attrition can occur. Morale takes a hit when mistakes are made and the company doesn’t perform as expected, which only amplifies the workforce retention struggle.
In contrast, when employees are well trained with the requisite skills to perform their job well, they deliver high-quality work and have a positive impact on the organization. The successful completion of work boosts confidence and leads to greater job satisfaction, improving employee retention. Quality work also translates to customer satisfaction and improved relationships with suppliers and other stakeholders, boosting the bottom line.
Certified professionals are 90% more productive and 60% more efficient, according to Pearson VUE’s annual Value of IT Certification study. That translates into a pretty big bump in an organization’s capacity to do business. Employers are prioritizing credentialing efforts and 91% of employees say the gain increased confidence on the job with certification completion.
Certification provides a proven foundation of knowledge, in-depth testing, and ongoing professional development. Certification requirements are continually updated based on new standards, best practices and evolving technologies. Premier skills are acquired while earning such industry endorsements, and robust, continual training for every level of an organization keeps a company productive and competitive.
As we continue to collaborate with industry partners to meet evolving challenges and empower emerging technologies, training and certification programs progress in tandem to upskill the workforce of the future and support the future of connectivity.
Robin Fenton is the vice president of membership and learning operations at SCTE®, a subsidiary of CableLabs® and the nonprofit member organization leading the acceleration and deployment of cable telecommunications technology. Fenton’s team develops and facilitates industry certifications and training courses for professionals at all levels of the cable industry.
Addressing the rallying cry for continuous training within the industry, the theme for the L&D Experience at the upcoming SCTE® Cable-Tec Expo® is “Infinite Learning - Inspire, Motivate, & Cultivate” which Agnes Francis-Adolphine is co-chairing. The largest learning and networking event in the industry, SCTE Cable-Tec Expo will unite thousands of professionals September 19-22 in Philadelphia, PA, and in addition to showcasing premier thought leaders and innovative vendors with leading edge technology solutions, will provide more than 100 hours of learning.