Strategic skill development and the future of business

By Aaron Skonnard

Companies today are at a crossroads. It’s disrupt or be disrupted. You either anticipate opportunities for transformation and build the technology skills you need to innovate, or you fall behind and self destruct. 

There are examples of this all around us. Ride-sharing apps put a dent in the taxi industry. Fintech companies are raising customer expectations and challenging traditional financial services institutions. Netflix has changed the way we consume video entertainment forever. 

We’ve disrupted ourselves at Pluralsight too. Once upon a time, we taught technology skills in classrooms. We later transitioned to a SaaS model and continue to enhance our technology learning platform with experiences that help individuals and businesses build critical skills. We’ve changed the way people learn technology, and we couldn’t have done it without recognizing shifts in the industry and investing in our technology strategy to capitalize on it. 

To succeed today, companies need to forget the old ways of doing business and adapt to the new world order. Those who are at the top won’t stay there by maintaining the status quo. If you look back at the Fortune 500 in 1955, only 12% of those companies are still on the list today. In Fortune's 100 Fastest Growing Companies list of 2019, one-third of the companies are "tech companies." The ones that have held strong, like IBM, have embraced technology, transformed their businesses and set the pace of their industries. 

Technology skill development needs to be a strategic priority

That’s the key––investments in technology skills are the single most critical element to success today. You need the right technology, the right people and the right vision to build and execute on a winning strategy. And skill development is essential to that equation.  

So, how do you know if you have the right people and the right skills? Answering this question has always been a bit of a guessing game. HR departments have traditionally been responsible for defining roles and required skills, but they don’t have the expertise to reliably address changes in technology and business needs. 

You can hire consultants to come and perform internal job-leveling exercises, but the roles they define aren’t dynamic and become dated the moment they’re published. You might turn to certifications to help you validate your technologists have the right skills, but certifications aren’t available for a lot of important technology roles, and you can’t customize them to fit your unique needs. 

All of this creates chaos. There’s a lack of definition around technology roles and the skills required for them. Most leaders don’t have visibility into the technical abilities of their teams, making it impossible to build skills at scale. On the other side, employees aren’t clear on the skills they need to succeed in their careers, and they face inefficient onboarding because roles are vague.  

It’s time to move from chaos to clarity

In the face of constant change, you need to know your technologists have the skills needed to drive the future of your business. You need a way to future-proof your organization and reskill people for the roles your organization will need today and five years from now. 

I’m excited to announce Role IQ, the only way to really know if your technologists have the technical expertise to succeed in their jobs. 

Last year, we introduced Skill IQ. While Skill IQ measures knowledge in a certain technology, Role IQ measures proficiency in a role as a whole by assessing expertise in the collection of skills related to it. By completing relevant skill assessments, Role IQ shows your team members where they’re currently at and recommends learning opportunities to help fill skills gaps. 

Not only does Role IQ give your employees a clear path for growth, it helps leaders quantify technology roles across their organization and know whether they have the talent to meet their most critical objectives. You can even customize roles to fit the unique needs of your business and evolve them over time. 

Industry giants are already starting to see the value of Role IQ and how it can help them build technology skills at scale. That’s why we’ve partnered with Microsoft to launch three of our first roles: Microsoft Azure Developer, Microsoft Azure Solution Architect and Microsoft Azure Administrator. You can now have utmost confidence that the people in these roles have what it takes to deliver on their responsibilities. 

Embrace the future with us

As a technology leader, your decisions dictate the road your organization will go down. You have the power to make technology skill development a core competency and take control of your digital future. And we’re right here with you. Pluralsight is committed to being your strategic partner along this journey. We’re here to help you win today, five years from now, 10 years from now and beyond.

I encourage you to give Role IQ a try. Starting today, it’s free for learners (with leader customization and analytics capabilities coming soon for business plans). Get your team taking assessments and discovering their Role IQs, and soon you’ll be on your way to building teams armed and ready to act on the opportunities of tomorrow.  

We can’t wait to help you create the future. Go rock your role! 

About the author

Aaron Skonnard is the CEO of Pluralsight (NASDAQ: PS), a fast-growing enterprise technology learning platform. Aaron cofounded Pluralsight in 2004 and has since grown the company to more than 1,000 employees and 1,500 expert authors. As CEO, Aaron focuses on business strategy, future direction, product development and strategic partnerships. On a day-to-day basis, he works closely with the entire executive team in different capacities, including recruiting, brand management, marketing, sales, feature planning and content acquisition.