18 NOVEMBER, 2022


Why You Should Invest in Micro-Credentials for the Future of Work

Amidst the global talent shortage and evolving work landscape, micro-credentials have been quietly revolutionising the way essential work skills are quantified and enhanced. So what are micro-credentials, why are they proving so valuable – and how do you go about implementing them for your own future-ready workplace?

What are micro-credentials?

For many, the term micro-credentials simply equals short courses, but this doesn’t do the term its full justice. According to UNESCO’s distillation, a micro-credential:

  • Recognises what the learner already knows and can do
  • Includes assessment based on clearly defined standards and carried out by a trusted provider
  • Has standalone value, yet can contribute to or complement other micro- and macro-credentials, and
  • Meets the standards required by relevant quality assurance.

As such, micro-credentials offer a flexible and effective way to both recognise and cultivate the skills needed within a modern work environment.

Are micro-credentials replacing degrees?

Not necessarily. Micro-credentials can contribute to or complement other qualifications as well as being qualifications in their own right. Recognised short courses can actually be ‘stacked up’ to contribute towards a degree, as we’ll explore more in a moment. Indeed, there may be a time in the future where all degrees are created with this flexible structure. But the key value of micro-credentials is that they help meet the demand for specialised skills in the shorter term.

Benefits of micro-credentials

Micro-credentials are proving invaluable for adaptive workplaces and employees, for these reasons and more.

Recognise and benchmark capabilities

Micro-credentials can provide a clear and independent way of appraising capability in your workplace and identifying valuable opportunities for your learning programs. Having a clear benchmark makes it easier to assess and fine tune the return on investment of any learning programs as time passes. And with greater clarity on your talent pipeline, you may find your internal succession planning and promotion processes become more efficient too.

Gain an objective way to assess human-centred skills

Anyone can claim to be a team player on their resumé, but micro-credentials can help you to assess just how true that is. Human-centred skills like problem solving, critical thinking and interacting with colleagues are often developed on the job and beyond, but they’ve traditionally been difficult to evaluate. We help businesses to verify and measure this with human-centred micro-credentials, so you can make better-informed decisions about workforce capability.

Support employees and workplaces to adapt to disruption

Automation, globalisation and technology are all creating a landscape where disruption is a matter of course, leading to quick changes in what skills employers need. As just one example, some accounting processes have become more automated, yet human skills like  leadership and critical thinking are less able to be automated and have never been in such demand.

92% of surveyed businesses invested in soft skills training in 2021, with 61% reporting a set budget for human skills training. –  DeakinCo., The Business Return on Learning and Development

Micro-credentials in education, business or your own specific industry will have increasing value because they’re effective in tracking these ever-changing, in-demand capabilities.

Boost employee engagement in work

Holding onto great talent is essential. In our recent research, 93% of Australian businesses reported that difficulty in securing and retaining top talent was a key risk to their business throughout 2022.

Recognition and opportunities for professional development are key drivers of employee engagement. Micro-credentials can support both: empowering employees to learn and to have their skillsets acknowledged so they’re more likely to stick around. Each employee can build their confidence knowing they have the up-to-date skills to excel in their roles. Using externally validated capability recognition can also help to reinforce your employee value proposition, bolstering your reputation as an employer of choice.

Meet the demand for convenient learning opportunities

The pandemic and the global talent shortage have both had a seismic impact on how people want to work, learn and develop in their careers. Micro-credentialing provides a flexible, scalable tool as you develop your modern learning & development program.

Often, the process will be 100% online with no traditional coursework required.

This flexibility better equips you to assess which skills you already have in the workplace, and better able to pivot to fill short and long-term skills gaps. Why waste resources on lengthy, partially-helpful training courses if employees and employers can both benefit more from agile, pinpointed programs?

Provide pathways with Professional Practice Credentials

Certain micro-credentials can be structured and achieved in a way that will add immediate value in the work environment, yet also provide a pathway to a larger qualification. Deakin’s Professional Practice Credentials  are assessed on job-relevant capabilities without essays or exams, and can be accumulated as credits towards postgraduate study. For example, DeakinCo.’s Mini-Masters program provides an accelerated pathway to a fully accredited Masters degree at Deakin University, with 25% to 50% advanced standing achievable through Professional Practice Credentials.

How to integrate micro-credentialing into your workplace

So it’s clear that micro-credentials can help service the demand for constantly changing skills within a constantly changing industry. But how do you actually implement this type of program in your organisation? Here are a few key strategies.

Build continuous learning into organisational culture

By creating a culture of continuous learning within the workplace and even through your organisation’s value system, you can place a high emphasis on the importance and benefits of agile upskilling. This helps to actively encourage employees at every level to keep developing.

Partner with universities and other educators

Depending on your industry and required capabilities you could work with universities’ existing offerings for micro-credential courses, or even negotiate bespoke solutions. For example – DeakinCo. can help both with certifying individuals’ existing professional credentials, but also deliver short courses and corporate training to boost skills as needed.

Ensure course offerings are high quality and tied to real skills

There’s little motivation to be found in meaningless short courses offered purely for the sake of having an ‘on-trend’ micro-credential program. It’s well worth bringing in expertise to assess existing skills and skills gaps, and implementing relevant courses that will immediately add value to the organisation and employees.

Subsidise relevant micro-credentials

Relevant short courses can provide a rapid return on investment when well chosen, so it could be worth subsidising or completely covering the costs of these courses for employees. Once more, assessing the existing technical and human-centred micro-credentials within the business will help you to appoint resources wisely.

Encourage lifelong learning

With the right encouragement, a high-value employee could potentially fulfil various different roles with your organisation over the course of their career. Supporting a personalised approach to learning that encompasses both short and lifelong goals will help to build a stronger and potentially more enduring relationship between employer and employee.

Provide convenient platforms for accessing micro-credentials

There are now intuitive platforms that help organisations and employees to participate in micro-credential programs and track individual’s growing ‘skill portfolios’. Many of these allow for online and on-demand learning, so employees can complete courses at their own pace.

Adaptive workplaces start with learning

In today’s and tomorrow’s work environments where required skills can and will change quickly, the ability to adapt and expand employee knowledge, skills and competences is essential. Future-focused workplace training should be a central focus in every organisation’s business performance strategy.

To discuss micro-credentials and workplace training solutions for your organisation, contact the DeakinCo. team today.