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The Explosive Growth Of The Josh Bersin Academy

As an industry analyst I often write about fast-growing new companies. Well, today I’m going to tell you about one I know a lot about, the Josh Bersin Academy, or JBA as we call it.

The JBA was designed as a unique and special “Capability Academy” focused 100% on the needs of HR leaders and their teams. Launched in early 2019, I realized that one of the biggest issues in business was the skills, capabilities, and rapid change in HR. And sure enough, as the pandemic hit our lives, this turned out to be even more true than I had imagined.

As most of you know, Human Resources is more of a craft than a profession. Yes, you need to know the laws and the basics, but like any craft, practitioners develop their expertise over many years. So the JBA is focused on stories, innovations, and new technologies – all built on the foundation of principles and HR practices.

When we first launched the JBA it had eight formal certificate programs (each 4-5 hours in length), more than 300 curated and specially designed learning resources, and a large community of senior faculty. Today, as we’ve expanded into remote work, design thinking, coaching, and more, we have 19 programs, more than 1000 resources, and over 60,000 participants to learn from. Our faculty has grown and we are introducing eight new programs each year.

I always wanted the JBA to have both a consumer and corporate offering, so we built this system on a highly scalable platform (Nomadic Learning) and we showed it to hundreds of HR leaders. They immediately asked us for a competency model and skills assessment, so we built the JBA Global HR Capability Project. Today more than 7,000 HR professionals have benchmarked themselves against this capability assessment and we now write regular articles about the trends and needs of HR teams around the world. (You should check it out.)

We are committed to maintaining and updating this model, and since its introduction, we’ve added topics like public health, resilience, remote work, and mental wellbeing – all of which are new over the last few years.

Growth And Expansion

As far as growth, this has far exceeded my dreams. Today we have registered more than 60,000 learners, more than 340,000 comments in programs (they’re all cohort-based), and we are growing at more than 100% year over year. Our global membership (learners from over 90 countries) is already around one-fifth that of SHRM, which has been in business for more than 70 years.

And this has really turned into a community. The average JBA member meets six other people during each program (direct connections) and overall has accessed more than 310,000 learning resources over the last three years. We conduct regular JBA webinars for the community and our senior faculty have been involved in many direct coaching sessions with clients. Companies like BetterUp have donated coaching resources to members and we continue to look for more partners.

Corporate members are my favorite part of the business. Walmart, Pepsi, Jardines, Astra Zeneca, L’Oreal, Accenture, and many other world-class companies use the JBA for their entire HR organization, and we support them through a variety of other services including our Josh Bersin Company Membership. These companies gain access to thousands of pages of proprietary research, assessments, and other new tools we offer, all value-add to the JBA.

Best of all, companies and HR professionals love this experience. The NetPromoter score of the JBA is higher than Apple, and our corporate members can tell you more at our upcoming research conference, Irresistible.

Where This Is Going

When I started all this I was nervous about whether it would succeed. Well, through hard work, a commitment by our partners, and a focus on this important profession, we continue to thrive and grow. The HR profession has become one of the most important functions in business, and we are going to innovate and evolve to keep up.

If you haven’t tried out the JBA, I encourage you to do so. It’s the only place in the world where HR professionals congregate exclusively to share and learn and it just gets better every day.

Additional Resources

The Growing Role of People Analytics In HR

Coaching: The Most Valued Capability in HR

DEI: The Most Desired and Missing Capability In HR

HR Technology: How Technical Skills are Not Enough in HR

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