Digital Badges Help IBM Employees Outpace AI

By: Joe Hewitson| - Leave a comment

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For as much as artificial intelligence and robotics have made our lives easier, there comes a point at which they simply outclass our human efforts — that is, unless we keep developing our own professional prowess. If you’ve ever been concerned about the eventual robot takeover of your professional career, IBM’s digital badges may be the answer.

Business Insider recently published the full scoop on IBM’s innovative take on employee development. Perhaps most eye-opening is the fervor with which IBM has invested in its own employees. In an overwhelming vote of confidence, IBM has pumped some $500 million dollars each year into making its team members the best they can be through professional skills development.

Tracking Progress Through Digital Badges

While providing education opportunities for enterprise employees isn’t a new concept, IBM’s strategy focuses on tangible improvement. In some cases, improvement that can even be converted to college credit. The idea is to enable employees to continuously gain new skills that help them outpace automation and drive their own professional value.

“We are really reinforcing a culture of lifelong learning and developments,” David Leaser, senior executive of innovation and growth initiatives at IBM, told Business Insider.

IBM has figured out a way to make these new skills more recognizable and beneficial: Using a system of digital badges, IBM rewards employees that complete sponsored courses with badges that mark their achievement much like traditional certifications. Through Big Blue’s cognitiveclass.ai website, employees can choose classes aligned with their interests and earn digital badges tracked in a sort of modern-day skills registry. This system allows IBM to both inspire continual improvement in their employees and maintain a dynamic ledger of the unique skills each user collects over the years.

“They validate industry skills in ways we could not before,” Leaser says.

Beyond Big Blue

Internal use at IBM isn’t the end of the story for these digital badges either. Promotion on resumes and LinkedIn offers validated insight for potential recruiters. For those looking to parlay their efforts into higher education, IBM’s partnership with Northeastern University could help them get that master’s degree they’ve been seeking.

The digital badge strategy is IBM’s blueprint for keeping employees ahead of the ever-advancing industry skill curve. One point of proof for their success is the fact that companies like Ernst & Young are emulating the idea with their own similarly structured programs. The real genius of the initiative is that it can bring cutting-edge industry knowledge and skills into the organization while also bettering the employees who take advantage of the opportunity.

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About The Author

Joe Hewitson

News Writer

With a degree in Applied Computing Technology and over a decade of service in the IT and Software Development industries, Joe Hewitson has acquired a keen ability to write about emerging technologies and the impact they have on businesses in many different industries. Accompanying his love for all things tech is a passion for writing informed and engaging pieces in a unique and easy to understand voice. Living in the beautiful arms of the Rocky Mountains, Joe is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys running, biking, and fishing.