Making Professional Certifications Part of a Continuous Learning Experience

Making Professional Certifications Part of a Continuous Learning Experience

 

 

Written by: Anne Wright

 

Published on 01.24.24

One of the five main things employees look for when considering a new job is the chance to learn and develop new skills — along with opportunities for career growth within a company, according to LinkedIn.

After two years, employees who have made a career move within their company have a greater chance of staying on compared with those who haven’t (75% versus 56%). In its 2023 Workplace Learning Report, Building the Agile Future, LinkedIn also notes that skill sets for jobs have changed by about 25% since 2015 — and that number is expected to double by 2027.

All this is reinforcing news for employers who provide their employees with continuous learning opportunities. These opportunities, which include new skills training and professional certifications, create a more agile, competent, satisfied workforce that can better serve client needs and that reflects positively on a company.

Happy Employees, Happy Customers

“Clients appreciate companies that invest in their employees,” said Jennifer Farrell, director of Aptive’s learning and development team. “These employees are more motivated and less likely to leave, which provides more continuity of service for customers. Ongoing training and certification yield happier employees and customers.”

Aptive offers employees opportunities to acquire or retain professional certifications and grow their skills to meet ongoing demands of the company and its customers. An annual professional development stipend offsets the cost of many of these certifications, which include project management (PMP and CAPM); change management (Prosci); diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); human-centered design; credentialing; product engineering and software development (CMMI/ISO); Amazon Web Services cloud practitioner (AWS); process improvement (Lean Six Sigma); customer experience (Medallia); Agile certified practitioner (ACP); and professional in business analytics (PBA).

Aptive’s communities of practice (CoPs), such as the project management, change management and process improvement CoPs, support employees interested in pursuing certifications by sharing information about the process and helping them prepare for exams. They also make that important connection between theory and practice.

Applying the Learning

“The CoPs are a great reinforcement of the learning,” said Gielle Kuhn, a senior associate in the Veteran Health Group. Kuhn formed the company’s first study group for employees pursuing their PMP, one of the most popular certifications among Aptive staff (all study group participants passed the PMP exam on the first try). “Case studies and other resources CoPs share make the learning come alive — you start connecting the dots.”

Another sought-after certification at Aptive is for DEI, for which the company formed a cohort. Once again combining theory with practice, Aptive had created a DEI group to help build and promote a more inclusive workplace. The group holds regular meetings, hosts brown bag speakers and other events and maintains a resource library for employees.

“The certification helps you understand why DEI is important and how we can apply the principles we learned to what we do,” said Lisa Stanley, an Aptive senior associate. “We talk about these things within our [federal] client base, not just at Aptive.”

Aptive employees are eager to begin applying the knowledge they acquire through certification programs to their client work. For instance, the Medallia certification provides staff who work in customer experience (CX), which is an important issue for federal clients, the tools to do so more effectively.

“My responsibility is to help clients create the best experience possible for their customers,” said Christopher Cosner, lead product designer on Aptive’s creative team. “The certification gave me a fuller picture of how to use CX best practices and tools.”

For continuous learners, one certification is simply not enough. Kuhn, who also earned her Prosci certification, has set her sights on conquering Lean Six Sigma next. And Stanley, who is a PMI-ACP with several other IT certifications, is interested in earning a more advanced Power Platform certificate focusing on business analysis or automation.

“Aptive’s commitment to advancing employee learning and knowledge goes hand in hand with our relentless focus on customer service,” said Farrell. “Our dedication to service delivery excellence, paired with a highly skilled and innovative workforce, produce excellent results for every client.”

Learn more about Aptive’s CoPs and commitment to creating a culture of continuous learning.