HRTech Interview with Kristy McCann Flynn, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of SkillCycle

In today's fast-paced world, it is very important for employees to hone their craft and take ownership for their own careers.


Kristy, please introduce yourself to our audience and tell us about your professional journey in the HR industry so far.
I spent two decades as a Strategic Human Resources Leader, Change Manager and Organizational Development Expert, during which I held senior leadership positions at several large global business entities. I’ve always believed in a big picture perspective with a hands-on, actionable approach which I brought to life by becoming an accidental entrepreneur when I created SkillCycle (formerly known as GoCoach). The goal of SkillCycle is to help companies build toward their business goals and maximize their ROI through investing from within and empowering their employees to continue to hone their craft and take ownership of their careers.

What inspired you to co-found SkillCycle? What mission and vision does the organization uphold?
I spent 20 years in HR vetting systems built by non-HR people that were essentially designed backwards. These outmoded systems on the market today provide performance management with no learning outcomes for people; generate engagement data and analytics that connect to literally nothing; and produce generic point-in-time learning that barely scratches the surface of what skills deficits exist within organizations. SkillCycle re-centers the full scope of talent development, experiential learning and performance management around education that drives actionable engagement and connects individual outcomes to overall company performance and goal progression.

What sets SkillCycle apart from its competitors? What transformation does it bring to the industry?
The most significant changes happening in small business organizations draws on three things:
1) the inability to scale people through learning to meet the needs of the organization;
2) the lack of resources in people development and retaining versus recruiting;
3) and the lack of People Tech tools that actually help People Leaders and their actual people connect feedback, roles, goals and all the cycles of employee learning and development.

We created SkillCycle as a solution to help close the Skills Gap through personalized learning and development that connects performance, engagement, goals, roles with all cycles of an employee’s career journey. SkillCycle is not a middleman marketing to people to utilize tuition reimbursement, nor is it an HR tether system that creates features to connect all the mundane HR systems out there. And we are not some AI coaching company that leads with AI assumptions rather than actual, factual data about employees that depicts the ‘why’ and determines the learning and development path that aligns both with their own career goals and progression in addition to their role in the business goals and progression of the company. At SkillCycle, we offer a single hub ecosystem for learning that connects all facets of an employee’s role and career cycle and provide learning that connects to what people need and want with an actionable path and a plan, instead of a burden of systems, problems and nuances for HR professionals and business organizations.

You’ve been in the industry for quite some time, in all these years of service what has been the one aspect that you’ve always wished to change?
That would be a very long list, but at the top would be companies that live their values, create safe and supportive work environments and do not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind. CEOs who do not inhibit HR, but embrace all the value that can be provided to people and businesses to create better returns. Throughout my career, I learned to leverage and build off what was in my control and became interested in how HR tech systems could work to provide visibility into businesses by creating development plans within organizations to not only upskill people, but to empower more positive work experiences, create work life success and bring meaning and value that helps organizations thrive.

How do you plan to redefine the human capital development category? What impact will it have on HR, L+D senior leaders, employees, and organizations?
SkillCycle is redefining the Human Capital Development category with key offerings at a time when recruitment and retention challenges are rampant. The revolutionary work-life success platform produces metrics that matter for senior organizational stakeholders to lead to true productivity outcomes. Designed to allow leadership, L&D and HR teams to hire LOUDLY and build talent within their organizations, SkillCycle offers a personalized suite of service products for career progression and business growth. Key features include performance management, engagement and learning tools plus a certified coaching marketplace to serve the needs of mid-markets and enterprises and their employees. SkillCycle builds equity in staff to increase the equity of the company through investments in its people with learning and development at the core.

How do you plan to align your offerings with modern technological advancements?
SkillCycle in itself represents the benefits that it offers. The value of our products and services is that they are designed to evolve with the companies that adopt them and as technological capabilities advance. While many platforms simply gather employee data where it lives and dies in monolithic systems, our system connects the data to learning, engagement and performance outcomes to generate actionable and measurable upskilling success through personalized development plans for each employee and organization.

What top three pieces of advice would you give to HR professionals?
1) Whether done quietly or loudly, stop whacking your people and instead look from within to identify the flaws within your own systems and processes;
2) Keep things simple with a data-driven mindset and allow data to be your proactive beacon for planning and creating employee roadmaps that tie directly to the strategic direction of the organization;
3) Stop settling – now is the time to advance and to bring in the right tools to develop and upskill your people, your company and your HR department.

With the scare of a recession looming over everyone’s minds, layoffs are becoming rather sudden and harsh. What is your opinion on this subject? Do you think such situations should be handled with more empathy?
This is not a recession, but rather an opportunity for a much needed reset. Many companies have been operating as fantastical flying unicorns in a horse race – over staffing in high times and stuffing their pockets with government dollars needed at a time of uncertainty. Now, their winning days at the races have come to an end, and the stakes are being pulled out from people who need them most.

The companies who celebrated those payouts loudly and impetuously instead of investing those dollars back into their companies and their people have suddenly fallen silent and are hiding behind a bunch of negative monikers – quiet hiring, quiet quitting, skills shortage, great resignation – all of which are thinly veiled admittances of reckless spending that have revealed itself in the form of decreasing bottom lines. What many companies fail to realize is that those bottom lines will continue to dip further if they don’t invest in the development of their people. Let’s stop playing death by a thousand cuts, and instead play learning for all which will save – and recoup – a lot of money and time while benefiting the company, its people, culture, engagement, retention and more.

How do you plan to scale SkillCycle’s operations in 2023 and beyond?
We have a responsibility and we are grooming a champion workhorse not a fantastical unicorn. We will continue to double down on our path to help SMBs and enterprises elevate their overall returns, their people and their processes which will lead to endless productivity and growth with and because of people instead of against them.

How do you prefer to spend your downtime? What hobbies do you enjoy pursuing?
My personal and professional passions and goals have a lot of overlap – I am Human Resources and people are my purpose. What we are doing with SkillCycle is bigger than me and it will help so many people and organizations. That said, any downtime I have goes to my people at home – my husband and my family in Philly where we love to exercise and then get a Philly cheesesteak on South Street – my dog likes their cheese fries too!

Discover the full potential of your Hrtech strategy with our comprehensive Hrtech News and Hrtech Interviews.

Want to Contribute? CLICK HERE To Submit Your Guest Post and Join Our Community of Writers!!!

Kristy McCann Flynn Headshot
Kristy McCann Flynn Co-founder and CEO, SkillCycle

Kristy has more than two decades experience as a Strategic Human Resource Leader, Change Manager and Organizational Development Expert. She has served in senior leadership positions throughout her career – most notably with Publicis Media Groupe, Pearson Education and Constant Contact. Kristy brings a big picture perspective and a hands-on, tactical approach to her leadership that she is now bringing to life through SkillCycle. She is redefining the Human Capital Development category and her goal is to educate and help companies meet their business goals by developing and empowering their employees to take ownership of their careers.

The SkillCycle Human Capital Development platform combines proven methods of learning-led talent development and people success analytics to provide companies with a unique view into an organization’s skill proficiencies and deficiencies, empowering HR teams with the agility to move fast and intelligently.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here