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ETU - interview with Alejandra Salazar and Ashley Cooper, Capgemini

Skills-focused learning at Capgemini: Learning leaders interview

Capgemini is embarking on a skills-first talent journey, measuring core skills across its workforce. In this learning leaders interview, Alejandra Salazar and Ashley Cooper from Capgemini share their insights on creating a skills-based organization and launching an emerging leaders program.

Alejandra Salazar, Head of Learning Portfolio, Capgemini

What does a skills-based organization mean to you?

A skill-based organization is the one that has skills at the heart of every employee's journey. It starts with conversations with the business about what are the skills on demand and identify if we currently have those skills or if we need to go to the market to hire for those or if we upskill people on those particular skills. It is also about having skills conversations with the managers during the performance reviews and also compensating around skills. Basically, if you see the full HR processes, skills need to be there so you can be considered a skills-based organization.

How do you define skills at Capgemini?

Skills at Capgemini are the learning ability that enables people to perform a task with the five skills in five dimensions:

  • Personal effectiveness
  • Leadership
  • Industry
  • Business and methods
  • Technical

We grade skills in a five scale going from beginner to expert.  

Tell us about Capgemini University

Capgemini University is our global learning offer. It is available for all our 300,000 plus employees across the globe. All our learning offer is tagged to a specific skill dimension and it is created and designed in order to ensure that we are meeting business targets. So what we do, basically, is we offer different types of learning from self-paced learning to dedicated programs, events, web-based training, face-to-face... All the type of learnings that are related to specific topic are all together in one place where people can find it and access.

How are you using skills data?

We are using skills data in different ways. In learning particularly, we use it to create all our learning offers so when an employee takes one of our programs, one of our learnings or they assist or attend an event they know exactly what skills they are going to get. We also use it in our certification framework so all our certifications are tagged to certain skills. And if we talk in a more global context or from the organizational standpoint we are using skills to staff. And I think that, at the end, this is where our transformation is going to take us, where we put the people with the right skills in the right projects so they can deliver to our clients.

How are you measuring core skills or power skills?

Measuring skills is one of the challenges that we have currently. So what we are doing right now is that we are relying a lot on our own employees with the self-assessment. We also take into consideration manager's feedback but as I mentioned it is a challenge. So we are currently in the process of implementing a skills assessment which will give us a more objective view of where we are on our skills and what demand we need to supply from the learning standpoint.


Ashley Cooper, Head of Learning Design and Experience, Capgemini

Tell us about the Emerging Leaders Program and how it is evolving.

At Capgemini, we believe that all our employees are leaders and this is supported by our leadership vision. Our emerging leaders program is a brand new program, it's designed and built to aid our first time leaders whether they are leaders for the first time with one director port or whether they're managing and leading a team for the first time.

Why did you decide to include simulation in this program, and where does it fit?

The journey for the emerging leadership program is built around four moments that matter. These moments that matter were specifically picked by our business and our subject matter experts. Within each of those moments that matter are employees start by understanding the context of that moment that matters then develop skills by curated content and then go into the simulations to practice and really get into what that scenario is that feeds that moment that matters. Our envision, or what we really want our employees to get out of it, is that they're having the ability to practice these scenarios before they're given them in real time, so really becoming that life raft for them to survive and to thrive rather than to drown when they're thrown into these situations and actual job.

How will skills be measured and developed in the program?

There are two different ways that skills are going to be measured and developed in the program:

  • the first is our learner is going to do a self-assessment, so really measuring themselves on the skills that they think they have and those skills are related directly to our leadership vision,
  • the second is the data that we are going to get based on the simulation in that practice exercise.

Our goal is that between looking at the way they rated themselves in the data from the self-assessment and the data from their skills practice that they'll be able to see what they think of themselves as a leader and what they're actually doing from a leadership standpoint and then how they can improve and grow further within the program.

What learner feedback and coaching are you designing into the simulations?

It's been a really fun journey for us developing this emerging leaders program. We actually heavily use focus groups of learners that would be going through this program but that are gonna already be in a different leadership program. But we've been using them as the focus group to help us design the programming, get their input in terms of what they would have liked to see and how that they would have felt during the program. In terms of coaching, we really like the solution for this because every time the learner or our employee makes the decision within the module they're going to get feedback based off of the action that they chose. So they're going to make a decision, get feedback immediately but then at the end they're also going to get a full report of their decisions and what they could have done differently or what they've done well to help continue that growth mindset and continuous learning experience for them to carry on in their development.

What do you expect to be able to do with the additional skills data?

We're still making a lot of key decisions about what we are going to do with the skills data. But a few of our big goals coming out of the skills data is:

  • one to get a full holistic view of the skills maturity for our emerging leaders or our first time leaders,
  • the second is to be able to really show where our learners are either struggling or excelling so we can continue to build other learning programs based off of their needs, and
  • the third is for us to have a view of what leadership skills transitions are looking like across our entire curriculum of leadership offering. 

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