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Hackernoon logoHow To Win the “Learning War” for Talent as a Startup by@chongkal

How To Win the “Learning War” for Talent as a Startup

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Co-founder of Vectorly, 2 exits

Growth and learning is the #1 reason to take a job in a startup. The economy of longer life leads to frequent job changes and the unprecedented rate of skills obsolescence, which require new approaches to creating learning experiences.

Companies are no longer created of human resources, but of talents, who are aligning their own purpose with company goals. 

These are the latest reports from the tech world that highlight the growing problem. 

2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Report,  “Learning and Growing” opportunities is the #1 reason to take a job in a company. 

HackerRank Developer Skills 2020 Report also unveils that compensation is less important than an opportunity to grow: 

Competitive compensation is the #3 criteria developers look for in a job — but professional growth and learning is #1

Invision Design Trends 2019 Report on Talent says that employees want to make an impact and be involved in the company’s growth: 

The impact they want seems unattainable, so people leave.

It's clear why this happens. The economy of longer life, frequent job changes and the unprecedented rate of skills obsolescence requires talents to become lifetime learners.

What can your startup do about it?

You need to provide growth opportunities to compete for talents. However, most companies are not ready for this challenge at all. Despite time and money spent on employee learning, learning expenses are still ineffective, because companies are not aligning business goals and performance with learning provided.

According to the Deloitte study: 

55 percent of this year’s survey respondents said that incentives were “not linked at all” to the acquisition of new skills

Companies should stop thinking about work experience in terms of perks and rewards and focus on job fit, job design, job impact and job meaning for every team member.

The challenge is nothing less than to integrate ongoing learning into the flow of work.

Your startup should understand that learning is not about gaining knowledge anymore, but about getting new skills. Here the main challenge is to find an effective way, where companies and talents can clearly align these skills to grow a company in one direction. 

Tip #1: Use skill matrixes to navigate growth of your team

Skill matrix is a tool that helps companies to communicate skills to teams and talents. Product teams are constantly facing new challenges that require upskilling and reskilling of people. And teams still don’t communicate it effectively.

Irina Seng, CEO of Vectorly

Tip #2: Set focus areas in your team to have T-shaped team

To manage individual growth you should set focus skills for each person. Every team member can tell skills of her personal interest, so you can match the company’s skill requirements with employees’ personal interests. 

Focus skills are really easy to manage. You simply communicate to each employee her area of focus, and at the end of the period, you review her performance. 

Tip #3: Align learning with working performance to retain people

Start tracking on how the working activity aligns with personal growth. It’s a common startup problem that working tasks of team members diverge from the focus areas of employees.

And it's fine for a short period of time, however if it’s left uncontrolled it can undermine your team performance.

Tip #4: Understand skill gaps and skill fit to manage growth

Teams can use Skill Gap Analysis to understand the fit of the current team’s skills to the skills to the skill matrix.

Skill Fit and Skill Gap Analytics give you an understanding of your team growth as a whole. Maybe you don’t have any Experts in Typography? Or UX analytics? Or Voice UI? Lack of skill can shed light on problems in your products because they are made by people with certain skill gaps. 

How to boost your team growth

Try Vectorly. We are an early-stage startup founded in 2019. We are at the beginning of our journey serving pioneers of work-centered learning.

We have been featured in Trend Hunter 2020 Report as a Future of Work. For more information visit:

(Disclaimer: The author works at the Vectorly Team)


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