Tech Leadership: Lessons from Growing a One-Man Team

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“As applicant tracking systems and human capital management solutions evolve, digital credentials will serve as a more concrete and unbiased way to hire ideal candidates,” says Alex Hripak, VP-Technology, Credly, in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.

ET Bureau: Since COVID-19 drastically disrupted businesses, what are some of the top tips you have for business leaders as they formulate strategies to adapt to the “new normal”?

Alex Hripak: The pandemic has caused large shifts in employment all the way from layoffs to people seeking more income to cover the cost of working from home. Up skilling or reskilling staff has been an important topic that many businesses have put more resources into, including internal credentialing programs.

Businesses should take a close look at the skills their employees currently have and identify gaps according to their quarterly objectives. This is something we consider when hiring for a new position, and it lends itself to critical thinking about precisely what skills will be needed. As your industry changes, look for opportunities to up skills your current workforce and what transferable skills can help you retain people with domain knowledge & experience.

Read More: Assessing Intelligent Automation for its Transformation Capabilities

ET Bureau: In what ways can businesses address some of the cons associated with remote collaboration?

Alex Hripak: At Credly, we were fortunate to have an existing remote culture pre-pandemic. One commonly held concern is the idea that real-time collaboration isn’t possible and that there is a need for an onslaught of new tools to make it feasible.

Chances are the business already makes use of productivity software, and the way one gets value out of it needs to adapt—one may even consider getting certified in that software; many SaaS companies offer certificate programs these days.

Real-time collaboration can absolutely be achieved over video conferencing, but people have to temper that with respecting work-life boundaries. This means being respectful of time zone, frequency, duration, and most importantly, having a concise agenda. Being purposeful with meetings helps improve productivity and engagement.

ET Bureau: How have digital credentials changed over the years, and as we move forward, how important are they going to be?

Alex Hripak: The world has recognized skills and achievements for hundreds of years in the form of diplomas and even longer for other types of credentials. As technology has improved, it was brought into a digital form—the challenge is deciding what goes into a “credential” to make it useful for the holder and informative for the viewer.

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Digital credentials continue to become an essential piece in hiring and team-building decisions, especially at a scale where strong signals cut away the noise that can be brought about by long resumes or poorly tuned artificial intelligence.

ET Bureau: How can digital badging address the acceleration towards digital transformation? How are they addressing the “skills gap” problem?

Alex Hripak: Digital badging in the enterprise context shows that continuous learning and recognition are highly valued. It helps pave the way for one’s growth within a company by making achievements and criteria clear.

It comes down to training and that “corporate dilemma”–what if you train them and they leave? The bigger question is, what if you don’t train people and they stay? While the business, the industry, and the competitors are all evolving, one simply can’t afford to allow their employees’ skills to stagnate.

ET Bureau: What culture change do you suggest for organizations that want to embrace the full potential of AI?

Alex Hripak: It’s no secret that automation and artificial intelligence have been removing the need for many positions over the past decade, and the pandemic has only accelerated this movement.

Many companies utilize AI in the hiring process to consume thousands of resumes to narrow down the candidate pool. For both the hiring organization and the job seeker, the importance of strong signals in that process is high.

Job seekers have grown privy to AI in the hiring process, and that they may have an advantage over other applicants if they tweak their resume to have similar keywords with that of the job description.

Read More: SaaS applications: Is it possible for enterprises to have full control over them

Digital credentials serve as a strong signal being that they’re backed by another organization that can verify the authenticity of what that individual has accomplished. As applicant tracking systems and human capital management solutions evolve, digital credentials will serve as a more concrete and unbiased way to hire ideal candidates.

Alexander Hripak is Vice President of Technology at Credly and was an early contributor to the original Credly platform. Alexander has a background in software design and development. He is currently the Chair of the Open Badges workgroup at IMS Global and participates in credential groups in the W3C.