AWS Training and Certification Blog

UnionBank of the Philippines: 5 insights to train your team

Accenture reports that a digital skills shortage is the top barrier to achieving cloud value, and it’s ranked as the number one barrier by 54% of CEOs. That number matches what I’ve heard during my conversations with AWS customers around the globe. Those conversations have given me some unique insights on how forward-thinking enterprises are maximizing their cloud investments and becoming a prime destination for top cloud talent.

One of those enterprises is UnionBank of the Philippines (UnionBank). I recently spoke with Michelle Rubio, the bank’s Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer, as part of the AWS Executive Webinar, The Great Reset: How to build digital transformation at scale.”

Michelle is responsible for leading the bank’s people strategy and she’s also an executive sponsor of ULAP, the bank’s Cloud Center of Excellence built based on the AWS Skills Guild framework with guidance from AWS Training and Certification experts.

As part of our discussion, we focused on the growing importance of cloud skills training and key lessons she’s learned over the past year. UnionBank is a fantastic example of how a large enterprise can optimize itself for the cloud. I wanted to use this blog post to share five key insights and some practical tips for anyone considering or operating their own cloud training program.

1. Open new opportunities for your entire organization

As employers everywhere scramble to close the cloud skills gap and manage the “Great Resignation,” how do you attract and leverage people skills? Start by upskilling the talent you already have—and think beyond just your IT teams.

In the not-too-distant past, digital transformation and the cloud were often viewed as the realm of the CIO and the IT department. Today, it’s much more about the business. And, even more than that, it’s about people. One common trend in successful training programs is the ability to build collaborative partnerships based on cross-functional objectives and alignment.

The more you can open up cloud training and certification across your entire organization—from IT to finance to HR and beyond—the more successful you’ll be. In the case of UnionBank, the partnership between the IT and HR teams is extremely tight—with everyone contributing to a culture that thrives on innovation and the goal of delivering an exceptional customer experience.

2. Align your training objectives and curricula to your business

As both market conditions and personnel roles evolve so quickly these days, you need to prepare your teams for continuous change. That often means adopting a fresh mindset around processes and organizational values—which is why the executive sponsors at UnionBank believe it’s so critical to align their business goals with their cloud training objectives.

If you want to be agile with your business, you also need to be flexible with training that addresses the needs of all types of learners. To meet this challenge, UnionBank prioritized its training and certification path to develop role-based modalities with three important steps:

  1. Provided the “why” to get all learners up to speed on the business benefits of the cloud—and why they were focusing on DevOps and agile methodologies. The ultimate goal was to build cloud fluency throughout the organization.

  2. Delivered in-depth training and certification prep for technical roles such as cloud architects and security specialists.

  3. Made sure everyone could easily apply the training to their specific roles.

For training to succeed, people must be able to apply it to their actual jobs. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve personally seen is when enterprises take the time to define their cloud training strategy, train their teams, but then neglect to give them meaningful work in the cloud. It’s a best practice to shorten the time window from training to relevant work—or better yet, weave actual work into the training process.

3. Review, measure, and adapt

Based on my experiences, truly innovative enterprises share a common belief that they’re never done. That represents a key departure from the old IT mentality where every project had a clear beginning, middle, and end. With the cloud, it’s all about continual improvement for your business outcomes and your customers.

The same lesson applies to cloud training. At UnionBank, they continually experiment with training modalities to understand how their teams learn best. They’ve discovered that when employees need just-in-time learning, they gravitate towards bite-sized training in bursts, and they also seek out peer-to-peer coaching. Employees also want training that’s more structured and programmatic, like AWS Classroom Training. They are motivated to innovate when they have dedicated spaces to experiment, like UnionBank’s Innovation Lab.

4. Invest in your future

When there’s a cloud skills shortage, how do you create a pipeline of talent to help secure your future workforce? To answer that question, UnionBank has established a technical management leadership program with local universities where students participate in an accelerated 12-month training program built around the latest cloud technologies. This program benefits the universities, students, and the bank. It also reinforces the fact that UnionBank values employee training and ongoing professional development, leading to higher retention of its existing employees.

5. Don’t forget to communicate and celebrate

If you’re a leader or executive sponsor of a training program, you have to continually communicate your goals and share the results with stakeholders. And last, but not least, you have to celebrate success. UnionBank regularly recognizes the efforts of its teams by celebrating both individuals and big milestones to help keep everyone motivated and engaged.

I encourage you to watch the full webinar to hear directly from Michelle. And if you’re looking for an experienced training partner that can provide best practices and expertise, visit our Digital Transformation Center to access a wide range of executive resources.