Miles DavisNovember 19, 2019

Avaya Academy: Empowering a New Generation of Skilled Workers

The pace of change in the technology industry has posed some unique challenges, both for employees seeking work and organizations seeking skilled workers. This is why we launched Avaya Academy three years ago. Many universities struggle to bridge the skills gaps between tech degrees and the jobs they unlock for graduates. Meanwhile, 65% of executives recently surveyed by KMPG report a lack of talent that is holding their organization back.  

The Avaya Academy program was designed to recruit associates worldwide to learn about our solutions, sales motions and customers, helping individuals accelerate their development, long-term engagement and professional growth in a concentrated learning environment and out in the field. I’m particularly excited about our 2019-2020 program and changes we are implementing to the program.

Empowering a New Generation of Skilled Workers

These changes place greater focus on those who have come out of higher education with a technical degree as opposed to the first two years’ intake which was more business centric. The emphasis on a technical degree allows us to better balance participants’ current strengths with building sales talent and relational skills, ultimately leading to a more impactful customer experience with Avaya.

I was thrilled to get involved with the initial launch of academy program and am equally excited about the new changes we’ve implemented. As program leaders, we get just as much out of this experience as the participants. In working closely with a new generation of Avayans – a reflection of those who now dominate the labor force – and us “veterans” are exposed to new views, perspectives and demands that are completely different to our norms. Personally, it keeps me better in tune with the needs of our partners’ and customers’ sales teams and I’m also seeing the progress that the first two years of Academy candidates have made in a short space of time which is incredibly rewarding.

The Avaya Academy Program

The Avaya Academy is designed to bring recruits from initial onboarding to full-fledged, highly productive roles in twelve short months, centered on three program components:

  1. A 101-course training (i.e. solution knowledge, who Avaya is, how we serve our customers)
  2. Exposure to customer demos, partners and updates (moving individuals into external meeting settings to learn from those who lead them and hear from our customers first hand)
  3. Segmentation into a core focus area. In our region, this means one of Avaya’s four key pillars of cloud, UC, contact center and devices. By aligning individuals to one of these four pillars with a mentor, they come away at the end of the fiscal year with a specialization that they are known for and trusted in. They are able to draw confidence from it and have others within the organization see them as an expert in it.

Whether part of a formal academy or not, I believe there are three qualities employees must possess to find success as skilled workers in today’s rapidly changing industry:

  • A deep love of technology, shown through a technical degree or time spent out in the field.
  • Adaptability: not just being able to cope with change but embracing it. You have to be a swiss army knife in this industry; no two months (or even days) are going to be the same.
  • Authenticity: expertise and adaptability are essential baseline ingredients to any position, but so is the passion for the story you are telling. Engaging your customers and partners in your own style instead of regurgitating messaging, will help drive more meaningful connections and lasting relationships.

At Avaya, we believe that strategically investing for the future means focusing on the people behind our solutions and processes, fostering personal development and career growth to ensure high levels of employee engagement and well-being (which, of course, translates into customer experiences that matter). Our new Avaya Academy is a win-win in so many ways. I’m excited for all that lies ahead for our newest recruits as they embark on this exciting journey.

You can learn more about the Avaya Academy Program in our 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Avaya Academy: Empowering a New Generation of Skilled Workers

Miles Davis

Miles Davis is the Director of Solution Sales for Americas International at Avaya. He and his team are responsible for launching new products for the Canadian, Central and Latin American markets, including program development for our sales and partner community in four strategic areas - Unified Communications, Contact Center, Devices and Cloud delivery.

Miles’s background includes sales roles with Nortel in Australia/New Zealand. Now based out of Montreal, he has spent time as Channel Chief, as Regional Sales Leader for Eastern Canada and Avaya’s Midmarket Sales Director across Americas International.

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