The BEST Awards recognize organizations that demonstrate enterprise-wide success as a result of employee talent development. The winners use learning as a strategic business tool to get results. View the entire list of 2023 BEST Award winners.
Strategic talent development keeps tech companies on the cutting edge.
High-value employees know what they are worth, and training and retaining them in the tech industry, where competition for talent is especially fierce, takes concentrated and continual effort. AppsFlyer, Deltek, and Ness Digital Engineering ensure their employees keep their skills razor-sharp while fostering an inclusive, encouraging, and comfortable work environment that makes every member of the team feel valued.
Staying on top of new advancements and successfully competing for the most skilled workforce are constant challenges, and these three companies understand that a workforce equipped with mere degrees or yesterday's experience won't guarantee optimum performance. Simply said, tech companies must constantly be skilling and reskilling to remain on the cutting edge.
Skills developmentAs a privacy-preserving marketing measurement platform, AppsFlyer prioritizes collaborative L&D and rewards innovation and disruptive thinking. To grow talent through learning that supports business goals, the firm's talent teams promote role-based learning, onboarding, and product learning. The learning is aimed at team members, leaders, as well as customers and partners. Of course, the goal is to ensure that the learning aligns with business objectives.
"We manage to measure all of this with very clear KPIs [key performance indicators] on a dashboard that allows us to track our impact on the business and engagement level of our teaching processes," explains Yanay Zaguri, AppsFlyer's assistant vice president for organizational growth. "But it's not just the numbers; it's the conversations we have with managers who see us as a critical part of business processes. When we do product training, for our people and our customers, we are a critical part of the going-to-market process."
Herndon, Virginia-based Deltek, which develops software and services for project-based businesses, embraces an "everyone culture" that values each employee for their unique role, says Jodi Atkinson, senior director of HR global learning.
"In an environment in which knowledge and skills are transient, we recognize the greater importance of soft skills development and provide competency-based leadership programs for employees at every level of the organization," Atkinson explains. "We believe innovation and curiosity go hand in hand to ensure continued relevance in the marketplace."
Deltek is invested in its employees' success and asks that they complete at least 40 hours of annual learning to support their development. Company leaders know that measuring a return on investment can be difficult. That's why they consistently measure employee progress in L&D programs with competency assessments. The company is already seeing gradual increases in postprogram scores. Feedback shows participant satisfaction is high and continues to improve overall with each cohort.
Ness is a full life cycle digital engineering firm offering digital advisory through scaled engineering services. There, the talent development team has established a distinctive brand it describes as "cutting-edge technology for next-generation talent." Shivadarshan Deshamudre, global head of learning, says the market has a dearth of digital experts, and recruitment and skilling are the two levers to meet staffing demands. In particular, skilling and reskilling are paramount at Ness, with "proficiency upgrades and development of adjacent skills" serving as a mantra for all in the organization.
The company uses detailed, personalized learning journeys that include self-paced learning, instructor-led training, assignments, and coaching for building project-ready associates. All new hires achieve a mandatory Intelligent Engineering certification. Upon completion of the learning journey, post-assessmentconsists not only of a test, but also a capstone project and "line of sight" for application of learning. For example, developing full-stack engineering capability is a long process with approximately 200 hours of learning.
"This requires substantial investment of time and commitment from the learners and business," Deshamudre explains. "Upskilling internal talent is always at a better price point compared to hiring from the market."
Culture of careAppsFlyer's executives say the company's hypergrowth is a blessing but also a challenge, which is why the talent management team is responsible for helping to craft a healthy and appealing work culture. The team hosts leadership summits to instruct company leaders on culture and acceptable workplace practices.
"Our leadership sees culture as one of the most important factors for success," Zaguri says.
To help staff continue to focus on work-life balance and assess their approach to work, Deltek partners with an employee assistance vendor to offer a series of webinars throughout the year. Sessions cover a range of topics on personal and career development, wellness, financial planning, and relationship building.
As employees reassess their developmental aspirations, they also seek purpose, and the training programs are now at the forefront of the effort to build a culture within the organization that enables staff to make a significant impact. Individuals who complete programs have the opportunity to network with cross-functional team members and leadership; they receive congratulations on their accomplishments through a company-wide recognition platform.
Ness executives are hyperfocused on employee wellness too, considering many associates are working from home, leading to burnout, social isolation, and anxiety. "Employee well-being is critical, keeping in mind that many associates are working remotely," Deshamudre says. Wellness programs and emotional intelligence sessions are regular entries in the company's learning calendars, and curated learning paths enable associates to identify their development on a continuous basis. The learning team and HR work hand in hand to enable learning for associates and managers to address any employee challenges.