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HR vendors give managers more upskilling control

New tools from Oracle and ServiceNow focus on giving business leaders more control over upskilling and reskilling in an effort to address the AI skills gap.

AI is driving the need for a rapid skills upgrade as automation assumes a larger role in the office.

Recognizing this shift, HR vendors now emphasize equipping managers and executives with new tools -- often powered by AI -- to oversee upskilling and reskilling initiatives.

Oracle is delivering new tools that give executives insight and control over upskilling and reskilling efforts to ensure they align with the business direction. ServiceNow, for its part, now offers a tool that helps managers assess the strengths and weaknesses of their training efforts. ServiceNow's product is available now, and Oracle will release its tools early this summer.

Josh Bersin, an HR industry analyst and founder of the Josh Bersin Company, noted that while there are similarities between Oracle's Grow for Business Leaders and ServiceNow's Skills in Manager Hub, critical differences exist in their upskilling and reskilling approaches.

Oracle's product is more of a learning and development platform, while ServiceNow offers a skills management system, which Bersin described as "skills infrastructure."

In both cases, the vendors aim to "help companies build and deliver training content more easily, as most learning management systems are expensive and often challenging to use," Bersin said, noting that the tools allow for more "manager developed" training.

Upskilling alignment

The HR tool Oracle Grow for Business Leaders, part of the Oracle ME employee experience platform, enables business leaders to align their teams' skills with the company's goals. It consolidates relevant information about employee skills and training progress, giving leaders immediate access to a level of detail they didn't have before.

Yvette Cameron, senior vice president of global HCM cloud strategy at Oracle, said the tools will bolster an HR department's ability to collaborate with executives.

"This whole process is about putting control in the hands of the business because they understand what's needed," she said.

Trish Steed, CEO and analyst at HR consultancy H3 HR Advisors, believes the Oracle tool will help HR.

"Empowering business leaders to have greater access to data will enhance the ability of all leaders to make better data-driven decisions," she said, adding that it will also allow HR to focus on the strategic direction of the organization.

ServiceNow designed its new tool for managers overseeing teams, typically at mid-to-senior levels. The new Skills tool, which the vendor unveiled at its annual user conference last week, allows managers to identify skills gaps and popular training topics, aiding in project planning and hiring decisions, said Heather Jerrehian, vice president of product management for employee workflows at ServiceNow.

Jerrehian said the tool enables managers to identify popular skills among team members, understand their learning interests and anticipate emerging skills. She added that it can also "help executives align business objectives with training needs by understanding the skills of their organization at a macro level."

Patrick Thibodeau is an editor at large for TechTarget Editorial who covers HCM and ERP technologies. He's worked for more than two decades as an enterprise IT reporter.

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