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How to Create a Cloud-Ready Workforce

Start a Movement to Develop Cloud Fluency

Preparing your team for new ways of working will require some amount of culture change. Defining workplace culture often begins from the top down with the assumption that employees will follow the example that leaders demonstrate. That is why so many companies adopt core values: they give everyone guardrails to inform their decision-making, including the C-Suite. The pandemic has changed so much in our working lives. How we manage culture change is not exempt.

As we, hopefully, near the end of the pandemic, workers are change-weary. We all have had countless changes foisted upon us by the world at large and within our organizations. While companies navigate The Great Resignation, our broader culture has a new focus on equity and inclusion, and a shift in focus from efficiency to resiliency is giving companies a competitive advantage. It’s important to approach managing organizational change with a fresh mindset and with the input of your employees.

Use Inclusive Methods to Create Lasting Change

Much has been written about changing corporate culture from the top down vs. the bottom up and every way in between. Different approaches have different advantages as well as drawbacks. Most organization change experts agree that the best approach is dependent upon your existing culture and organizational structure. That often varies across industries. Whatever your organizational structure: hierarchical, matrixed, flat, etc., most experts advise you to leverage aspects of your existing culture to make the changes stick.

With all of the different theories out there, knowing how to best move forward with important changes to your company, like preparing a cloud-ready workforce, can be difficult. Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change is a good place to start. While it has been around for decades, it continues to evolve and has been updated with the impact of COVID-19 in mind.  The first step is to create a sense of urgency. Next, get a diverse group of your staff together from across different roles to help you structure, socialize, and execute the change.

With your group of change-makers, collaboratively identify what your vision for your cloud-ready workforce will look like and what it means to your business. Tie your vision to your overall business strategy and then identify a high-level roadmap to get you and your team where you need to be. It’s very important that, as a leader, you embody the change. When employees see leadership taking a new strategic initiative—like cloud adoption—seriously, they’ll take notice. For example, a CFO who not only extolls the virtues of digital information sharing and collaboration but also actually uses the digital tools and processes she talks about will likely encourage the entire department to do the same. Lead by example—and with enthusiasm and compassion — and the rest of the company will be more likely to follow suit.

Provide & Require Training

Building a learning and development plan to achieve cloud readiness that is tailored to different roles in your company is essential to support your workforce through this transition. Your HR or other people leaders in your organization should do the research and provide a path forward, starting with leadership in the C-Suite, the department level, and then to the units and individuals.

If you don’t have staff with sufficient knowledge to build out the learning and development plans, bringing in a cloud partner to plan and lead the training can help. By conducting mandatory training that begins with leadership and includes all levels of the organization, a company will ensure that the cloud-ready initiative permeates the entire organization. Starting with leadership also builds trust with individual workers, who see their bosses putting in the effort to learn new skills.

An effective training plan contextualizes the benefits of cloud computing for both the business and each individual employee’s career, which helps motivate workers

Reward Cloud Adopters

As with any organizational change, small acts of recognition go a long way to encourage the adoption of new behaviors. Leadership can encourage a cloud-ready workforce through learning and development success, proactive adoption of cloud-based applications, and digital transformation buy-in by rewarding or acknowledging employees who make the required changes, such as having completed their assigned trainings, achieved certifications, or by championing the initiative as an internal influencer.

Rewards can be as simple as encouraging managers to offer “kudos” to employees during department updates via emails or meetings. Monetary rewards are always welcome. Promotions should be considered. Additionally, companies can creatively gamify the experience by rewarding teams, individual team members, or departments who have reached a defined number of required training sessions or certifications with internal badges or other designations.

A skilled cloud partner can develop solutions to help you encourage widescale adoption and collaborate with management or HR on the best path forward.

Retain Cloud Adopters

Once you have invested the time, effort, and resources to create a culture that actively guides the attainment of cloud skills, you will want to make sure that you have a strategy in place to keep those employees engaged and interested in working for your company. Retention management is critical anytime but especially in today’s labor market, in which the quit rate in the United States reached its highest point in 20 years. Retaining employees increases productivity, improves overall business performance, boosts morale, and avoids turnover costs – the most recent estimates of which ring in at $4,000 per new hire.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management employees are more likely to leave a company not only if they are not being compensated appropriately but if they are not given the opportunity to continually update their skills. Providing the opportunity to improve their cloud skills is only the first step. An effective retention plan will include ensuring that employees are: respected, receive competitive compensation, trust management, have job security, and have an opportunity to use their skills and abilities. For those employees who successfully become cloud-ready or adopt any mission-critical change, promotions and raises should be considered as they will become not only more important to your business but they will also become more desirable to other employers.

Hire Cloud-Ready Employees

Another option when building out your cloud-ready workforce is to hire new employees who already have the skills your business requires. Of course, cloud skills are in short supply in the labor market, so you will need to be prepared with a well-thought-out recruiting process that includes competitive compensation packages and seeks out diverse candidates with a broad range of skills. When you write up your job descriptions – even for jobs that may not be entirely focused on the cloud, it’s important to include cloud-based preferences to attract applicants who are drawn to forward-thinking companies.

Additionally, companies can bolster their reputation as new tech adopters by using LinkedIn to post content around cloud-based initiatives inside the company and across the industry.

Augment Your Cloud-Ready Workforce with an Experienced Partner

Not every company has the resources to hire new employees or even implement large-scale learning and development plans. A cloud partner can help. Choosing a firm that understands the challenges of cloud adoption can help a company pinpoint an iterative training roadmap that delivers quick wins for individual learning goals. And if you have larger cloud initiatives that need to move quickly, a technology partner can step in to help you plan and execute cloud-based projects without the burden of onboarding full-time IT employee.

Create a Cloud-Ready Culture

From helping leadership create a cloud-first vision to working with HR to develop a learning and development plan, build out resources, and create compelling job descriptions, Soliant Consulting can help you take your company from cloud-hesitant to cloud-ready.

Soliant is an experienced partner that delivers solutions designed to transform the course of your business. Reach out to Soliant today to learn more.

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