AWS Training and Certification Blog

5 ways to increase AWS Certified employees in your organization

Did you know that 95% of customers consider cloud certifications important in their decision-making process when choosing an AWS Partner? Moreover, 85% cite them as a deciding factor when selecting a partner (Canalys, 2023).

Partners with AWS Certifications have demonstrated their understanding of AWS best practices, architectures, and services. This enables them to recommend the most suitable solutions that align with the customer’s requirements and business goals. AWS Certifications are widely recognized in the industry and serve as a mark of credibility. Customers can trust that certified partners have undergone rigorous training and assessments, validating their expertise and commitment to AWS technologies.

While pursuing certifications can seem like a daunting task, many partners have found creative ways to motivate their employees and reap the benefits of a skilled, certified workforce. Some common concerns include the perception that certifications are too challenging or time-consuming, as well as the worry that certified employees may seek opportunities elsewhere due to their high demand.

However, by implementing thoughtful incentive strategies, you can inspire teams to attain certifications and cultivate a more loyal and engaged workplace culture. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best practices for encouraging certification pursuits and retaining top talent, along with real-world examples from AWS Partners who have successfully adopted these methods.

Proven methods to motivate your team to get AWS Certified

Several AWS Partners, including Alpha Omega, Bell Canada, Compie Technologies, Hyland, LTIMindtree, and Playground Tech, have implemented effective strategies to encourage employee training.

1. Brand and gamify your training initiative

Company branded prizes and gamification are effective strategies to motivate employees for continuous learning. Research shows that 83% of employees feel motivated when they receive gamified training. (TalentLMS, The Gamification at Work Survey, 2019.) Hyland Software is an organization that discovered the benefits of taking a creative approach to the training process.

In January 2022, Hyland employees held only 32 AWS Certifications. To increase engagement and boost the number of certified team members, the company consulted with AWS to implement a new program called “Certs for Shirts.” The premise was straightforward—every time an employee earned a certification linked to the Hyland account, they received an AWS-branded t-shirt and recognition during internal calls.

By branding the program, Hyland noticed an uptick in people signing up for training. Today, the company is well on its way to achieving its goal of 500 certifications. “Certs for Shirts had a catchy ring to it and caught on,” said Anne Siess, AWS Partnership Manager at Hyland. “I thought we’d have a few names every month to highlight, but soon there were lists of names. Employees wear their shirt with a sense of pride. Everyone knows you don’t get that shirt unless you have an AWS Certification!”

Another AWS Partner, Compie Technologies, wanted to ensure its development team understood cloud technology to power their software effectively. To achieve this, Compie Technologies organized a “Cloud Quest” event. Over 80% of the development team participated to gain hands-on experience with cloud technology through 12 AWS Labs. Compie Technologies turned this learning into a friendly competition using AWS Skill Builder.

“We aimed to boost our developers’ cloud skills, so we organized a gamified tournament for 80% of our team, offering hands-on experience through 12 AWS Builder Labs and AWS Cloud Quest: Cloud Practitioner training. We saw a 30% decrease in developer inquiries to team leaders and a 35% reduction in DevOps tickets. These enhancements not only improve service quality and customer satisfaction but also let us focus on critical tasks, achieving more with fewer resources. Developers also reported at least a 40% reduction in estimating cloud-related development hours, streamlining operations,” says Mor Sade, Business Development Manager at Compie Technologies.

2. Recognize employees’ achievements

Recognition has a positive impact on fostering company loyalty. Data from Gallup and Workhuman shows that employees are 56% less likely to look for other job opportunities when their employer prioritizes recognition. By making recognition an important part of its culture, a company with 10,000 engaged employees can save up to $16.1 million annually by reducing attrition and turnover costs. (TalentLMS, The Gamification at Work Survey, 2019)

Hyland Software acknowledges the importance of leadership recognition. “Our CEO recognizes those who obtain an AWS certification on monthly all-company meetings. The acknowledgement shows that the effort to get an AWS Certification is significant, which is quite powerful,” says Siess. In response, Hyland noticed that employees became more interested in the benefits of becoming AWS Certified and how they can incorporate that knowledge into their roles.

Playground Tech, a fast-growing AWS Partner in Sweden, ensures that all team members hold AWS Certifications aligned with its core focuses like migration, modernization, containerization, DevOps, and security. To incentivize AWS Certifications, Playground covers all exam fees and provides financial bonuses. Magnus Villson, Co-founder and CEO of Playground Tech, said, “We incentivize our people to pursue certifications by paying all exam fees, even for failed attempts, and providing financial bonuses when certifications are achieved. Moreover, by maintaining Professional or Specialty certifications, team members earn an extra monthly bonus. As the saying goes, educating employees is expensive, but not doing so is far costlier if they stay in place without developing new skills. Upskilling makes us a top-tier consultancy.”

3. Create a community of mentorship and peer learning

Alpha Omega (AO) transformed its certification process by incorporating gamification through a program called “The Amazing Race to Certify.” In the program’s first year, AO employees achieved an impressive 300 certifications. Building on this success, the company is investing in developing a community of continuous learning to sustain the momentum.

In addition to increasing the training budget, AO facilitates mentorship and coaching opportunities through Total Solutions Group members and Center of Excellence Leads. The mentorship program provides employees with valuable guidance and subject matter expertise, enhancing their skills and knowledge in their respective domains.

“AO’s gamified certification approach, combined with support and recognition, fosters an environment that enables employees to grow and excel in their careers,” said Nitin Vartak, Chief Technology Officer at Alpha Omega.

4. Provide flexible, dedicated time for employee learning

Many organizations and learners cite time constraints as a significant obstacle to training. Nearly half (48%) consider it a top challenge for learning and development. Employees with limited time may worry about balancing training with other priorities and, as a result, decline training opportunities. To encourage employees to earn certifications, organizations should consider dedicating specific work hours for training.

Bell Canada successfully implemented this approach. They provided employees access to various training options, including flexible online learning through the AWS Skill Builder Team subscription and immersive in-person training. This approach allowed employees to learn at their own pace and convenience, taking advantage of different training formats. Within just 5 months, Bell doubled the number of its AWS Certified employees.

5. Provide learners with a tailored learning path

Many learners find it challenging to know where to start their cloud learning journey. By recommending specific courses to your employees, you can help put them on a path that will sustain their motivation as they acquire new cloud skills.

For example, LTI Mindtree collaborated with AWS Training and Certification to upskill over 4,600 technical and non-technical employees across various business units, industry verticals, and roles worldwide. They offered a range of prescriptive learning programs tailored to their complex organizational structure.

The training plan consisted of four learning pathways: migration and modernization, SAP, Internet of Things (IoT), and data. It included self-paced AWS Skill Builder digital courses, AWS Partner instructor-led training with hands-on labs, and AWS Certification exam readiness sessions. Additionally, LTI Mindtree incorporated seller enablement programs to help front-line employees understand the value of AWS Cloud solutions, even if they initially lacked cloud knowledge.

By providing clear learning paths and targeted training opportunities, LTI Mindtree ensured that employees had the resources and support needed to succeed in their AWS Certification endeavors.

Unleash your team’s potential with AWS Partner Training and Certification

No matter where you are in building learning and development plans for 2024, AWS Partner Training can help you achieve the revenue stream improvements and operational efficiencies partners attribute to training.

Tailor prescriptive training paths and accelerate customer delivery

As an AWS Partner, you gain access to tailored training resources designed to fast-track your team’s AWS Certification journey. Explore a wide range of virtual and on-demand certification preparation courses, offered in multiple languages and time zones, to cater to your diverse workforce.

Connect with a Partner Enablement Representative to identify the resources to best support your training objectives and build a data-driven plan for targeted skills enablement with an AWS Learning Needs Analysis.

Looking for training that motivates your employees?

Elevate your organization’s learning culture with engaging training that motivates your employees. AWS Skill Builder offers a personalized learning experience, enabling learners to develop in-demand cloud skills at their own pace. With a free library of over 600 on-demand digital courses crafted by AWS experts, your team can easily track their progress and deepen their knowledge. AWS Skill Builder subscriptions provide access to AWS Certification Official Practice Exams, AWS Cloud Quest role-based games, AWS Industry Quest, more than 125 AWS Builder Labs, and AWS Jam Journey challenges, offering hands-on learning experiences.

Explore AWS Skill Builder