The Future Of Work: Why Learning Culture Is The Best Way For Companies To Stay Competitive
The pandemic accelerated the business world’s shift to the cloud.
This journey of migrating from on-premise infrastructure and applications to the cloud started all the way back in 2010. Since then, companies have slowly let go of the leases on their data centers, stopped investing money in refreshing their hardware, and step by step made the transition to the cloud. So much so, that many companies today are now confident and comfortable running mission-critical applications on public cloud platforms like Azure.
As a result, there is a huge shortage of cloud talent.
Right now, everyone is trying to tap into this small pool of talented workers who are proficient in the cloud, including platform providers like Microsoft, customers like Johnson & Johnson, and partners like our company, Hanu. Cloud companies, and companies looking to invest in the cloud, all want top-tier talent. Which means even above-average coders are being fought over and incentivized to jump ship by being given a 50% raise or a hefty signing bonus.
So, when hiring is no longer an option, what do you do?
Competitive companies of the future will likely have a Learning Culture.
When you can’t hire for the roles you need to fill, your only other option is to train people internally.
We have done this within our own company, launching Hanu Azure Academy, which seeks to transform traditional IT talent into Azure Rockstars by training them on everything from cloud-native application development (PaaS), infrastructure design (IaaS), and so on. We take employees that have been working with traditional IT skillsets and put them through an eight-week structured program that ensures they are equipped to handle the demand of today’s cloud-based opportunities.
In doing so, we have come to a powerful conclusion.
More companies will have to create their own internal programs like these and build education departments and programs when hiring the right talent is no longer an option.
1. Culture & collaboration
How you interact with your employees, your workforce, and how they interact with each other, is what defines a company.
Culture isn’t how many days off you have, your vacation policy, or anything like that. Culture is how your team approaches and solves problems, how people communicate, lift each other up, and pass along what they’ve learned to the next person.
By building internal education programs, these foundational principles of a healthy and effective company culture get embedded in an employee’s DNA from the very beginning. They have the opportunity to learn by being surrounded by others they can look to for advice and guidance, even mentoring. To the point where, by the time they “graduate,” they are not just equipped with the hard skills required to fulfill the role, but the soft skills as well to be an effective employee within the company.
2. Continuous learning
Cloud computing is an industry that evolves every single year. And not just every year, but usually every few weeks. (Microsoft, for example, makes hundreds of improvements every single month.)
In order for companies to remain competitive in the future, continuous learning needs to be part of the job description. It’s a baseline expectation.
The way we foster this is by giving every one of our “rockstar employees” two days, every single quarter, to do nothing except learn. It’s entirely up to them. If they want to read a book, they can read a book. If they want to take a course, we’ll invest in their education and help them do so. But these two days are exclusively focused on upskilling because we want them to be as up to speed as possible—so when they talk to a customer, they show up as an expert.
3. Health & wellbeing
The pandemic has re-emphasized the fact that employers need to play a bigger role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of their employees.
And when it comes to “the war for talent,” this is absolutely something the most valuable employees are going to look for when choosing their employer.
In the past, a company might have considered “health and wellbeing” giving employees a stipend for a gym membership. But today, expectations have been raised, and what people want is for health to be part of the company’s core values: physical, mental, and emotional.
Companies of the future that successfully build this three-legged stool for themselves will possess a competitive advantage.