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A Skills Approach for the Present and Future: IEEE’s Jennifer Rogers

by Dani Johnson and Stacia Garr | December 6th, 2023

Jennifer Rogers is the Executive Officer in the Learning Technology Standards Committee at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which has 427,000+ members in over 190 countries. The IEEE is the world’s largest trade organization and the professional home for engineering and technology communities worldwide. 

Jennifer is an unrelenting advocate for the potential that exists in others, which is why she’s a perfect fit at IEEE. IEEE is working together to figure out skills across an industry. They’re also focused on skills development and education at all levels through college and a professional career. 

In this conversation, Jennifer shares what a skills-based organization looks like, how they organize and validate skills, and how their approach focuses on both the present and future.

Why Jennifer is passionate about skills

Jennifer has devoted her career to talent and workforce strategy. She specializes in industries in destructive environments and needs a highly capable and skilled workforce. She’s passionate about solving challenges related to talent pipeline inefficiencies across the world.

She uses innovative processes and emerging tech to see people and their unique contributions and connect them to opportunities to serve, grow, and thrive. She seeks to facilitate measures to track learning and growth over time and match experiences that help accelerate their growth.

Why IEEE is focusing on skills now

IEEE is a global and diverse organization. They have members all over the world with different backgrounds, different areas of opportunity, etc. IEEE seeks to look at people’s capabilities so they can connect them to opportunities no matter where they are or what their background is. 

They’re looking to develop a talent pipeline to support the present and future, which means looking at the progression of skills throughout someone's life. Skills are important because it gives them a benchmark to see how they’re doing and to make sure that they’re efficiently scaling people up to do the jobs of both now and the future. 

The end goal is a sustainable talent pipeline for anything related to tech now and in the future. Secondly, they’re using their expertise and knowledge to make significant differences in parts of the world where that expertise is needed to make substantial change.

What does a skills-based organization look like?

According to Jennifer, to be a skills-based organization, you have to transform people, processes, and systems. You have to learn to see people differently and match them to opportunities within your organization. It’s about being able to see people based on their current capability and their potential.

IEEE seeks to look at not one static job architecture but an organizational architecture across multiple timelines. You may need certain capabilities today and different ones five years from now. So the goal is to build flexible architectures.

Skills-based organizations need to be able to form a view around what capability they have and how they can best organize it to achieve whatever their outcomes are to ensure continued growth.

How IEEE looks at organizing and validating skills

Someone's role may have core skills that are important to that role. They may also have target skills to work toward. There's also a way to look at it around levels of complexity. Jennifer points out that data analysis might be a skill that everyone needs but they don't all need the same level of complexity around data analysis (depending upon the jobs that they do). 

Validation can take many forms. There is a difference between knowledge and skills. Therefore, we have to get more and more sophisticated about how we validate that information. It can come from continuous feedback, numerous data points, and formal observation. 

It depends on the industry and what's appropriate for that particular skill, task, or competency.  There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Jennifer Rogers

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