Requalification: there is an educational advantage for this

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. You have officially arrived in February! It’s a month late and 11 more to go. Burnout, anyone? Today: Best Practices for Education Benefits, the Great Calendly Link Debate, and the Consequences of DEI Commitment Drift.

—Amber Burton, Journalist (E-mail | Twitter)

An education in the benefits of education

Very early in my career, one of my former employers discreetly suggested that his collaborators enroll in an online course to learn Python. The company was paying for it, yes, but there was little information about how much time was spent or what a person might do if they actually learned Python. Needless to say, I didn’t sign up for the course and I don’t know Python. Like Marlon Brando:“I could have been a competitor!”

My personal regrets aside, Rebekah Rombom, director of business development at the Flatiron School, said this was the wrong way to provide education for workers. The Flatiron School has made a name for itself over the past decade training and retraining professionals in software engineering, data science, product design, and cybersecurity – some of the most in-demand skills in the industry. tech industry today.

For Rombom, who works with Flatiron’s corporate partners, the secret to getting employees to upskill, retrain and engage with the benefits of education is to raise awareness and set expectations. In today’s competitive tech talent market, providing education benefits is a critical way to retain and promote the best employees. Rombom spoke with Protocol about the current education benefits landscape and what HR leaders should consider when rolling out these programs.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

How has the demand for training to upskill and reskill employees evolved over the past two or three years?

What we see companies really want to do is either drive employee engagement across different sub-goals – recruit, retain, engage, increase employee satisfaction – or fill in-demand roles in a targeted way. These technical roles we train for are some of the hardest to fill [and the] the most competitive on the market, with a significant gap between the supply of talent and the demand from employers. And in addition to companies looking for ways to engage and retain employees, we’ve also seen companies say, “Hey, I have these really hard roles to fill, and are there people in-house that could be repositioned?”

What do you see in terms of the time and support that companies give their employees to tackle difficult topics?

We have coaches and instructors who work directly with students, both individually and in small groups and in class. And their job is to help people navigate the material in ways that will help them better grasp it… And so for an organization, a lot of companies have seen a ton of value in that. You can empower your employees with content, but if you’re truly looking to bring about transformational change, part of that experience is often a guide, coach, and instructor to help you understand the content.

We have a program in place in partnership with Amazon where we retrain warehouse associates for careers in software engineering and cybersecurity. The first cycle of this program ended late last year with more than 270 graduates, warehouse associates who now have the skills to start a career in cybersecurity or software engineering. These are people who have full-time jobs. All of those grads I just mentioned were working full-time in an Amazon facility, so we had to structure a program in partnership with Amazon that would work for those people’s lives.

It was 10 months, a part-time apprenticeship that people could fit into their work schedule. It had both a great stand-alone component where there was content you could access anytime and instructor support that was flexible and could work with your schedule. So things like lectures you might attend and conversations with peers and teachers. I think that’s one of the benefits of working with an organization that does that.

We’ve already seen students start their new careers in cybersecurity and software engineering, both inside and outside of Amazon, which is really exciting.

What do you say to executives weighing the pros and cons and the reality that once you arm people with new skills, they might not stay?

I think it depends on the goals of the business. So for a company looking to attract, engage and retain over a two-year period, to retrain frontline workers for new skills and then give them the opportunity to move on to a new job in the company or start their new career elsewhere, could be a very good choice. For a company that is looking to move existing employees into high-demand roles within that company in a very targeted way, we would recommend another type of program, something that is perhaps smaller and more geared towards technical skills. specific to this organization.

What are the best practices that HR managers should consider to ensure that employees reap their education benefits and also complete the program?

One thing is awareness and inviting people to experience. We have worked with a lot of students over the years who come from very different backgrounds than what is traditionally considered a tech worker. So inviting people into the tech workforce is, I think, a very important part and making people aware that these pathways exist.

Then [No. 2] is setting expectations. This experience is difficult and requires dedication. It’s pretty uncomfortable learning a whole new set of skills that you don’t have, and it takes openness, vulnerability, and a lot of hard work. Making people aware of this early on goes a long way to putting them on a productive path through something that is going to be a little bumpy. When we engage in these conversations, organizations already know that they’re going to need to identify the time and get support from managers, and I think that’s what HR and learning teams and development tend to be really good.

What is your Calendly label?

There is a debate on the internet: what is the correct etiquette for sending a Calendly link? Turns out it’s a more controversial issue than you might think. The latest incarnation of the debate comes from a tweet by former Facebook VP Sam Lessin. His thoughts on Calendly links: “The most raw/naked display of social capital dynamics in business.” In other words, he hates them and argues that sending someone a Calendly link is a way of telling them you’re more important than them. Despite the strong feelings, many online chat participants defended Calendly. What do you think about sending Calendly invitations? E-mail me and let me know.

Read the full story.


Whether you work on the top floor or in the shop floor, Workplace celebrates who you are and what you can bring to your business. Discover where you can be more you.

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Today’s tips and tools

Today I’m featuring some productivity tips from Protocol Workplace reader Sheena Sharma at Envoy. Here are some ways Sharma spends her working day:

  • Filter your emails aggressively. This means creating separate email folders for calendar invites, newsletters, and Google Doc comments. Use a “follow-up” or “action” folder to pull “to-do” emails out of your main inbox.
  • Find text summaries of webinars; no need to watch the whole video. Zoom recordings are often automatically transcribed.
  • Use Sunday evening or Monday morning to sketch out your priorities for the week. You can separate them into high, medium or low.
  • Build your ideal week from a blank calendar. Is there anything you can undo? How many regular meetings have you accumulated?

As always, if you have any tips I should share, feel free to DM or email me.

—Lizzy Lawrence, Journalist (E-mail | Twitter)

Commitment to DEI

According to a recent Deloitte report, a lack of trust in DEI efforts can be an even bigger hurdle in an already competitive talent market. We’ve learned over the past few years that workers are more willing to leave a company if it doesn’t align with their values. And with more and more companies publicly recommitting to diversity and inclusion efforts, there’s growing concern about whether or not they’re following through. Here are some of the results of Deloitte’s survey of over 1,500 workers.

  • 40% of survey respondents said they would consider quitting their job if they could not trust their organization to fulfill its DEI commitments.
  • 56% of people said they would not feel comfortable recommending their company as a place to work to friends and family if they could not trust their organization to fulfill its DEI commitments.
  • Some workers feel their organizations are moving away from their stated commitments to diversity. Nearly 40% of all survey respondents believe that “engagement creep” is a likely outcome in the future.
  • The effects of not following up on DEI initiatives go far beyond employees. 25% of respondents said they would stop doing business with a company if it did not engage in DEI.


Whether you work on the top floor or in the shop floor, Workplace celebrates who you are and what you can bring to your business. Discover where you can be more you.

Learn more

Thoughts, questions, advice? Send them to [email protected]. Have a good day, see you Thursday.

Sam D. Gomez