WIP 320 Bijal Shah

In this episode of Work in Progress, I’m joined by Bijal Shah, Guild‘s new CEO, to discuss how big companies are helping their employees find their next career step inside or outside the company through education benefits. And, we look a new Guild partnership that’s helping Olympians find their next career beyond sports.

Shah is new to the job of CEO, assuming it full-time in April after 34-year-old CEO and co-founder Rachel Romer stepped down to focus on her continued recovery from a stroke she suffered last summer.

The number of employer partners has grown over the years and now includes businesses like Chipotle, Discover, Hilton, and Target. With growth, Guild has had to deal with some of its own structural changes. In May, the company cut a quarter of its own workforce.

“As Guild’s business continues to grow, we must ensure that we deliver on our mission as efficiently and effectively as possible…we have decided to restructure our organization,” Shah said in a statement. “While difficult, these changes will ensure that moving forward, we operate more efficiently, innovate faster, and continue to deliver strong outcomes for our stakeholders,” she added.

Guild’s role with the partner companies is around creating education benefits, including training programs that will arm the workers with in-demand skills. Shah says this has proven beneficial for employers and employees alike.

“We are solving a problem. These (employees) are craving learning opportunities. They want to get their associate’s degrees or bachelor’s degrees. They want to further educate themselves, and the alternative is taking on student debt. This is a way that they don’t have to do that.

“Our data shows across our broad employer population, those who go through Guild are two times less likely to leave their employers than those who do not. There’s an immediate retention benefit.

“We also see benefits in attracting talent. When people are thinking about employers of choice, one of the things that I think folks are thinking about is how is the employer going to invest in me as the employee in a way that outlives even working at that employer or the specific job I have right now,” Shah adds.

One of the sets of skills employers are looking for is “durable” or “soft” skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and risk assessment. We go into the “how” of teaching those skills in the conversation.

We also take a look at the new partnership with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee that is providing education benefits to current and former Olympians.

“Many of the athletes don’t actually get those huge multimillion-dollar sponsorships, they’re living paycheck to paycheck. They spend all their time investing in their athletic careers, and then one day their athletic career ends and they need to find their second act,” Shah says.

Find out the details of the education plan in the podcast.

And you can listen to the podcast here, or download and listen wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find it on our Work in Progress YouTube channel.

Episode 320: Bijal Shah, CEO, Guild
Host & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Theme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4
Transcript: Download the transcript for this episode here
Work in Progress Podcast: Catch up on previous episodes here

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