What Key Upskilling Challenges Does HR Face Today? With Omer Glass

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Hello everyone! My name is Ladek and my guest for this episode is Omer Glass, the CEO and Co-Founder of GrowthSpace, the world’s first outcome-focused talent development platform.

In this ‘outcome oriented’ conversation Omer and I talk about

00:00 › Start

06:06 › The Top Three Issues in adult lifelong learning and upskilling that GrowthSpace addresses

10:47 › The Challenges Omer & the GrowthSpace team grapple with and their approach to scalability with such a user-focused platform

16:52 › The Power Users Have in GrowthSpace to make it truly “their own” pathway, especially when they’re paired with experts they don’t like!

20:22 › AI: The Big Elephant in the Room for everyone these days is how AI  is going to be impacting everything. Omer and I discuss how GrowthSpace is including AI going forward, and what type of feedback they’ve received from their clients and users

27:35 › What is GrowthSpace excited about for the near future?


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a company leveraging open -source software to deliver effective, customized, and engaging learning experiences for schools, universities, companies, and governments around the world since 2005.

Learn more at OpenLMS .net. Hello, my name’s Ladek, and my guest for this episode is Omer Glass. The CEO and co -founder of GrowthSpace, the world’s first outcome -focused talent development platform.

In this outcome -oriented conversation, Omer and I talk about the top three issues in adult lifelong learning and upskilling that GrowthSpace addresses. Then we talk about the challenges that Omer and the GrowthSpace team grapple with and their approach to scalability with such a user -focused platform.

We then move on to the options users have in GrowthSpace to make it truly their own pathway, especially when they are paired with experts that they don’t like. We then talk about the big elephant in the room for everyone these days,

which is how AI is going to be impacting everything. Omer and I discuss how GrowthSpace is including AI going forward and what type of feedback they’ve received from their clients and users. We then end our conversation,

as we do with everybody here, and Omer tells us what he and GrowthSpace are excited about for the near future. Remember, we record this podcast live so that we can interact with you,

our listeners, in real time. If you’d like to join the fun every week on LinkedIn or Facebook or YouTube, just come over to elearnmagazine .com and subscribe. Now, I give you Omer Glass.

Omer, you are the CEO and the co -founder of GrowthSpace, a company called GrowthSpace that operates in the HR universe. universe. Something that’s intimately connected to learning and learning and development,

you know, adult lifelong learning, upscaling, et cetera. That’s what we’re gonna be talking about today. But before we do, where do we find you sitting? – I mean, Israel today. – Which part of Israel?

– And it’s actually called the Binia Mina, which is one hour north of Etelpepe. – Okay, fantastic, excellent. What, and for everybody who doesn’t know,

it’s, you know, we’re recording this on April 15th. What’s it like? I like, what’s the weather like right now? Like, I mean, is spring sprung? Are you still, you know, are you in the heat of the summer?

Or like, what’s, what’s the deal with it? – Yeah, it’s kind of like, I think it’s kind of like Miami. So it’s hot all year long, very low rainfall.

So yeah, Israel is perfect for weather, for other stuff less, but yeah. – Excellent, super cool, super cool. And so, and then,

you know, as I love to do for our guests here on the show, you know, I could, you know, I could kind of butcher your bio and talk about the wonderful things that you’ve done, but why don’t you take, you know, the 60 seconds to introduce yourself?

Like, how did you come into GrowSpace? How did you get it started? What’s it all about? – Sure, so the story of GrowSpace starts, again, I will not take the credit for the idea because it came from my co -founder and our COO,

Dan. And so before joining me, Dan was a COO of a data company called the Signals Analytics. And basically they had a relatively high attrition,

like they grew quite fast and the employees started living and he tried to understand why people were living in the company. So he realized people were living in the company after doing some post -surveys and exit interviews that they didn’t feel the company invested enough in their development.

So is that good? I have a problem. Let’s solve the problem by introducing a lot of learning development tools that are out there, so like learning tools,

some workshops, etc.” And then he spent a nice amount of money on that and tried to understand whether this thing had made an impact,

like his ex -consultant, ex -bane, so he tried to measure the impact on what he did. And he saw that there was not only not a positive impact, the impact even was negative. So he’s kind of like,

“I have a negative ROI. What do I do?” So he called me and he asked me, “Omer, how do you create effective employee development?” And then my intuitive response, and you had some experience in the space, my intuitive response was,

“Nobody really knows.” Nobody really knows because you do not work with data. It’s kind of like I like to take the equivalence of performance marketing. How do you know that something works?

You try something, you measure it. If it works, you scale it. If it doesn’t work, you kill it, right? Now, a lot of times in learning development, you just introduce a tool and then you measure participation,

disfaction, etc., but you don’t really see the outcome. So we said, “We really believe that learning development is a business -critical function, but sometimes it doesn’t be perceived that way by the business.” So we said,

“Okay, let’s help organizations to make L &D business critical.” So that’s kind of like the mission where we started, and then the place we started with is what we call human -to -human development,

which is the part of L &D where humans help other humans grow. So it can be vendors, like you can think of sales trainer, management training,

a communication workshop, or a coach or a mentor that you bring to help an individual, right? And it can be from within the company or an external vendor, but it’s basically we took this whole space into one platform that helps organizations to run this human to human development and also to improve their impact on real business KPIs.

– How, this is a, I’m very interested to see how we impact this here because, let’s step back. So what are the, you know, breakdown for me like the top three,

you know, issues in, you know, adult continuous learning, you know, that your co -founder was discovering. I mean, ultimately you’re saying there was an underlying data piece that wasn’t being addressed,

et cetera. Like what were those, what are like the three big things in human, you know, sort of sorry, in adult upskilling? Been talking about AI way too much here. In human upskilling,

that’s, you know, that growth spaces is addressing. – So I can look at it from the organizational level and I can look at it from the individual level.

– Okay. – So from the organizational level, there are three things. It’s performance, attrition, and promotability or billing promotable base usually. You want people to do better what they do.

So you want better engineering velocity, better sales conversions, better operational activity, and effectiveness. And you want lower attrition. You want the good people,

the top talents to stay on board. And you want to be able to basically raise the next generation to basically build a promotable base. Usually we help organizations with those three topics.

Again, this is the corporate level. Usually we work B2B less, like not B2C. And in the individual level, the nice thing about what we do is there are a lot of things humans need.

So again, upskilling, it’s not a generic thing because sometimes you need to work on your communications. Sometimes you need to work in your presentation. Sometimes on your storytelling. sometimes on your account -based marketing sometimes on your sales or leadership or management etc.

so there are basically a lot of skills and our platform is basically built on a skill taxonomy that helps organization to find the right expert to the right need the specific leader for participant or group.

Hi there I’m sorry to break into the show right now but if you’re enjoying this show if you are challenged if you’re inspired if you’re learning something if you think that you’re gonna be able to get something out of this to put into your practice do me a quick favorite pause right now and just hit subscribe on your podcast player now it doesn’t matter which one just hit hit subscribe because that way it’ll make

sure that you never miss an episode in the future thanks now back to the show. If I am an individual in one of the companies that you work with what take me through the process like I guess what I’m trying to do is get us to a place where reducing the complexity of continuing to grow myself to continue to flex and and as you say become more promotable become more effective etc one of the biggest issues that I

know for most people is I just don’t have time to do that right I don’t have like you know I can’t find space in my day and then when I’m presented with that space at that time there’s usually like you know it’s it’s complex I’ve got to invest in it as well so as an individual in an organization how are you presenting them with opportunities that are digestible that seem relatively you know reasonable to take on

and are not you know that typical hey go to a classroom get a new degree get a new certification kind of stuff yeah so we take the approach we try to take the approach of like okay let’s say you’re an executive and like I’m a CEO if I need something usually if if I need to upskill myself on,

I don’t know, managing a board meeting or I don’t know, like finance or leadership or communicating my vision, I will not go to an e -learning class,

right? I will find someone who can help me with exactly what I need. So the most efficient thing that we’re, basically we’re doing four things. It’s one -on -one coaching,

mentoring, training. It’s team coaching, kind of like six people in one room, workshops and internal mentoring. So the most efficient thing you can do in order to upskill and the more like,

everything is digestible. But the one -on -one is the most efficient because again, I’m working with you on the specific thing that you need. So you get basically a human that’s specialized.

This is all they do. Like you need to work on your storytelling. So you will work with a master storyteller, like a storyteller expert on your specific storytelling and skills. For example,

so it can be communications, et cetera. Now when it’s presented to like, people love it because people want to grow. People who want to grow their career want to be better and it will help them to be like succeed in their existing role,

to be promotable in their organization. And again, to equip them for their career. – Fantastic. What are the challenges that you find that you’re still coming up against or that you have,

when you start to work with a company, what are the challenges for implementation of something like this? I can see that doing something like this at scale would be significant,

a significant lift, a significant effort for a company. So if I’m looking at a company with 20, 30 people, great. When I start to get into the hundreds, this could become an issue.

When I start to get into the thousands, a real big issue. Like what are your approaches for scalability of something like this? – So first of all,

we built product and technology that makes it much easier. Because as you said, like we usually our, we start working with companies usually when they’re like in the 200 employees,

but it goes all the way up to like fortune fifties. And now usually the deployment piece can be challenging for companies, but we built basically a product that makes deployment easy.

So deployment is all about communication. So let’s say you’re a learning and development professional and you want to launch this new one -on -one program, for example, let’s pick back on my last example.

Now you need to communicate it to the business partners, you need to communicate it to the managers, you need to communicate it to the employees, you want to engage everyone, you want to market it internally, you want to surface like a case that is why this thing worth your time,

et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. You need to sell it maybe to the function leader. So there are a lot of different elements in the deployment. And this is how we basically design the product in order to make it easy as possible.

Now I would say that the biggest hurdle we’re facing is usually when you do not have the learning and development function. This usually happens with small organizations, but if you have a learning and development organization in place,

a function, even if it’s a one person team, then deployment becomes really easy because the product is basically tailored to a structure where you have learning development,

Azure business partners, managers, functional managers, and participants. – All right, excellent. Can you, I appreciate that case story there. Can you, I’m wondering how specific or granular it could be in sort of an aha moment with maybe your,

I don’t know if you’re able to mention clients or those types of things where they were doing things the traditional way, right? They were looking at their ongoing employee upskilling and their sort of adult education in sort of a traditional way.

They’ve moved to your system and here’s the three things that they found and wow, the kind of feedback that they’ve received. – So I will just share a case study study that we recently published so Mates I can just say talk about it freely.

So it’s a company called the Cognite 2000 employees and They basically spun off a company so they just listed on NASDAQ and Just started kind of like fresh and they had like the mother company who had their own traditional learning and development and They started working with us a number one because they wanted to be outcome -driven So they wanted to drive their Glint which is a journal it takes a platform metrics and

Around engagement for their top talents because they wanted they know that engagement is linked with attrition like better engagement or attrition So they wanted to basically and improve their engagement among a very specific population of a top talent now Usually it’s hard to drive metrics with Learning and development tools,

but this is how we build a growth. So And we started with basically we divided their top talent population into two one one part Received the growth space the other part didn’t and then we saw what was the difference in their engagement metrics in Glyn for the two populations and we saw that the The basically the test group who got growth space got based eight percent higher than the control group Right,

so basically really attributed an eight -point increase For like the desired population So this is number one the ability to connect the impact of a program within three months to Business KPIs or organizational KPIs Number two with this company.

We’re doing a one -on -one coaching and mentoring We’re doing workshops and we’re doing internal mentoring. So it’s the consolidation piece. It’s like kind of like instead of working with one vendor on a workshop,

another vendor or this workshop, another vendor or this workshop, another vendor or coaching, another vendor or internal mentoring, you just do everything in one platform. So it just becomes easy because you don’t need to source vendors,

payments, etc. And you just have kind of like when you’re looking for a hotel, you’re going to booking .com, right? Wherever you are in the world because you know that it will be simple. It will be like you see ratings,

so it will be high quality, etc. So I think that’s the second moment or a one. And the third one will be the results, like the data,

the way the platform is built. It’s an ongoing match and rate, repeat process. So basically, we match an expert to an individual or a group.

We rate the results based on feedback of the participant and direct manager. And then we do it again and again and again. So the platform becomes better and better and better. So you basically understand who is good in what because when the platform matches you or a group,

let’s say a group wants to work on communication skills. So you’re being matched with a communication expert and kind of like in booking .com or Airbnb that you have the ratings of the hotel.

So you have the ratings of the experts from similar engagements in similar companies. So you have better like higher certainty on the actual quality of the expert. What happens,

you know, take me through a scenario if I’m a group or I’m an individual and I’m matched with somebody and okay, maybe they got a great ratings and they, you know, they’ve had great feedback, but we’re just,

you know, we’re not a good fit. You know, either our personalities don’t work or, or, you know, there’s some other piece like what are, what are my options there to be able to say, you know, I’d like to choose someone else or, you know, throw me back into the roulette.

Yeah. So if it’s a one -on -one process, you can ask for a rematch after the first meeting, it’s totally okay. It happens, our stats show that it happens in three to five percent of the cases.

So out of 100 participants, two out of three to five people who asked to change the expert, totally fine. You change the expert, you start over again with another expert because chemistry is an important thing and not everything you can predict with data.

That’s number one. And number two, if it’s a group, like if it’s a workshop, and they can basically, usually workshops are shorter engagements. So usually a one -on -one sprint will be five sessions on average.

And a workshop will be one to three sessions, but then you will have prep sessions with the expert when you can basically feel the expert, tell her the content, see some past engagements,

et cetera. So you have high visibility and eventually lower probability of failure. It sounds perfect.

So what are the challenges that, you know, when you as, you know, the co -founder of the CEO, what are the big issues that you’re working on right now? You know, are there certain trends that you’re following?

Are there certain pieces about upskilling, et cetera, that you’re, you know, you’re particularly focused on that either your company isn’t addressing right now, the growth space isn’t addressing, or that you’re excited to add in,

et cetera. So the complexity of our business is basically that companies need a lot of different skills to work on. Upskilling is almost limitless because different people have a lot of different needs.

And one size doesn’t fit all. So it’s not like you’re bringing a coach and the same coach can do sales and account based marketing and agile training and communication and management,

right? Like you have a lot of different skills. So it means that you need a lot of different experts. So it means that we come to companies and currently we have 80 different categories categories of skills where every expert can tag themselves on up to two.

You said 80, like 80, right? Yeah. So 80 different basically categories. This is what we call our skill taxonomy. And it’s very granular because like if you come like join growth space as an expert,

probably you can tag yourself, you can become, for example, a learning development expert. And maybe you’re a really good interviewer so you can work on communication skills. But that’s all you will do at growth space.

Like you will not do management, you will not do leadership, etc. And now the challenge is you come to companies and sometimes they need things that are not necessarily on our taxonomy.

So it’s basically a coverage challenge. And basically every month we increase and build more and more and more pieces to our skill taxonomy and bring the relevant experts in order to get a better and better and better coverage.

Fantastic. The big elephant in the room for everyone these days is how artificial intelligence is going to be impacting everything.

What’s the outlook for your platform, your tools and how you’re implementing that going forward? So we started in 2019 before anyone talked about AI and we built our matching.

Matching we took a lot of inspiration from a company called Word 50, probably you’re familiar with them. They basically, it’s like a very, very wide glove service of matching the perfect like CEO to CEO.

So if you’re a CEO in a shipping company in Singapore, struggling with the pre IPO, they will find you the perfect match. They have basically a whore of analysts and a crazy network and it’s very very expensive and like a really like upmarket their product but they will find you the perfect match now how do you do that at scale with like thousands of people and that’s basically where the matching algorithm and why the

matching algorithm is so important so we built from scratch our matching algorithm with AI so that was basically the first AI implication a growth space is building of a mechanism that will find each individual or each group their perfect perfect match out of a lot of different parameters so that’s number one and number two there are a lot of different applications that we currently embed into our programs for example

with again open AI for example to make this skill selection easier sometimes you’re a let’s say it’s a manager led program where manager is basically giving their employee a program okay I want you following up on our feedback I want you to work on your delegation skill right that’s what you need to work on so sometimes for managers not for learning development people but for managers or participants it’s hard to

understand what do I need to work on specifically do I need to work on my leadership skills or my delegation skills or my storytelling etc. Open AI really helps there because it makes kind of like a taxonomy selection to a conversational selection so for example this is one thing and then you basically talk with the chat and you talk about outcomes and you talk about things you observe that you cannot necessarily

connect to skills but the algorithm will help it it will help you choose the right skill to the behaviors that you preserve hmm what has been your you know obviously in the application that you have it sounds like like it’s seamlessly built in.

And so there are, I would assume most individuals don’t even realize that they’re interacting with, you know, the technology in this way. Has there been any pushback,

any sort of, let’s think about ethical gaps or, you know, data privacy concerns, those kinds of things and interacting with AI in this way. Or is that still, you know,

it’s two layers down and so people aren’t really coming at you with that. – So the ethical gaps, usually there can be ethical gaps in the matching process.

And we designed everything, for example, and sometimes customer come to us and ask us, okay, I want these people from this specific race to be matched with the people from this specific race. But then this is an ethical problem because you cannot give and tag people according to their race,

right? So usually this is kind of, it can be an obstacle working with companies and it may happen to us a lot of times that it was very important for us to build our matching algorithm in a really,

like Dean, I am in like a really equitable way. Like we do not tag gender, we do not tag race, et cetera. We just tag the skill because you’re a professional,

you need to work with someone that they will be able to help you with a specific skill. So we really try to avoid these biases. And in terms of HHGPT,

we didn’t encounter any like ethical problems yet because usually we use it around the matching, around the skill selection, and around,

like again, some communications, but not around the exact engagement that happens between like the vendor, like the coach mentor and trainer to the individual or group.

– Omer, this has been a fascinating conversation. Really interested to think about how this can scale up and provide, before I ask you my usual last question,

talk to me about the interactions that you have with the clients that you’re working with right now, but then also I’m gonna be so bold as to say sort of thinking of your forward sales process.

Do you find that when you’re acting with HR departments these days, it’s the conversation about data first is it’s just a no brainer? Everybody’s like, yes, we wanna figure out how to do this or is there still,

or do you ever find, you know, like there’s still a generational gap of people who are like, you know, we understand that it’s kind of important,

but we have our own process and we wanna continue to do it our way kind of thing. So I think what’s common for every function in every organization in the world is that the work,

again, I’m talking about business, not about a nonprofit, they work in an environment that eventually you want to show one slide to the management. This was the problem,

this is what we did and this was the result. And it’s the same for every company in the world. And I see our job in like helping them to create this slide. And sometimes we’re helping them to create this slide for the first time.

Like there was one customer and at the company and like a mid, like enterprise. And I think it was around their 1 ,000 employees that they wanted to prove that with learning and development they can lower customer churn and increase engineering effectiveness,

for example. So we just did like an A /B test like I described before and we showed them like that we just drove two metrics. Like customer churn dropped for the specific audience and their book of business in 70 % and engineering effectiveness dropped like an increase in 5%.

And they just showed the management one slide with just two metrics before and after test group, control group and the response of like the CEO was,

give me more. So I think this is common for every business in the world. Every business needs to basically show the ROI on what they do especially now in times of recession. Absolutely.

So on that note, the final question I always ask everybody is what are you excited about for either your organization, you know, what you’re developing or maybe other things that are coming down the pipe in the near future,

6 months, 12 months, 18 months out. What are you looking at on the horizon that has you excited? So I think the open AI,

it’s like, I don’t think most people understand the impact it’s going to like create on our lives. And I think it’s much more like product like implementing open AI into product becomes kind of like a commodity.

A lot of companies do that. But I think the really exciting thing is how you can implement it in every aspect of your business. Like you’re implementing it in HR, in finance,

in sales, in marketing, in R &D. So it’s so broad and it’s so efficient in like a lot of ways. So I’m really excited.

And like actually tomorrow, like we have open our employees are not watching this, but we have in our all hands, really like may ask to really crowdsource more and more and more ideas of open AI like implementation in their functions.

So I think this is something really big for any company. I am also, you know, we’re putting on the AI and learning conference here in June of 20 to 22nd.

I couldn’t be more on the same side of the table in terms of we have yet to even think about the impact that this is going to have on so many things. But mostly I think in a very,

very positive way, especially learning and development, the efficiencies just the efficiencies that it brings are absolutely incredible. Omer Glass, you are the co -founder and CEO of GrossSpace. I can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your evening over there in Israel to talk to me today,

and I wish you all the best. Thank you so much. Thank you again for listening to the E -Learn podcast here from OpenLMS. I just wanted to ask one more time, if you enjoyed this show, if you learned something,

if you were inspired, if you were challenged, if you feel like this is something you can take into your practice, please do me a favor. And right now, on your podcast player, hit subscribe. That way,

you’re never going to miss a future episode. Also, come over to elearnmagazine .com and subscribe there as well, because we have tons of great information about how to create killer online learning outcomes. Thanks.

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