Our constantly evolving business ecosystem demands that the workforce pick up new skills and proficiencies every few years. Here’s how employers can make a difference in this regard.
The global business landscape is ever-changing, which is nothing new, but the pace of change continues to accelerate, compelling organisations across every industry to continuously transform their operational systems and processes. But business and technology transformation don’t happen in a vacuum. The human workforce is a key and often neglected component of addressing such change and staying relevant.
Often employees, especially older ones who have been with a company for a long period, begin to feel insecure about their relevance and adaptability in their workplace when everything is changing around them at such a rapid pace. One of the most effective ways to help employees overcome these fears and for businesses to ensure employees remain a valuable asset to the organisation is through continuous enhancement of their skill sets in keeping with evolving technologies and the dynamic business environment.
With a view to the need and demand for continued upskilling among new-age professionals, several businesses and online learning platforms offer learning solutions and tools to professionals who are keen on building and strengthening their skills without having to go through formal classroom sessions. Through “Continuous Adaptability”, a learning concept developed by Skillsoft, a global leader in corporate learning, ambitious professionals can acquire pertinent knowledge about in-demand skills that are relevant to their current and future roles. To that end, organisations need to build productive learning environments where team members are able to develop and grow every day and feel motivated about the future of their jobs in their current workplaces.
Through continuous learning, employees can increase their levels of performance and engagement, honing their skills across subjects that are relevant to their workplace, their customers’ needs and their markets. Skilled employees are more in tune with the industry’s demands and are more likely to support the organisation’s business objectives successfully. Future organisations are going to require employees who are able to easily adapt their skills to meet rapidly changing customer needs and market shifts.
Building learner accountability
The onus of building a productive learning environment where team members can learn and grow every day falls on organisations. Companies must place employees in a position of power wherein they pave their own learning journey. The learning system must enable them to easily find and consume information, which they can then apply in their careers. Organisations must help employees understand how to learn efficiently in a corporate environment while facilitating high levels of performance and engagement.
Learner accountability can also be nurtured by tracking one’s own progress over time through self-analysis and undertaking more challenging tasks and roles. Employees must also stay updated with industry trends through a variety of learning opportunities like reading, attending talks and seminars, taking online courses or watching training videos.
Culture of continuous learning
Organisations can nurture the curious minds of employees by conducting talks and seminars, organising reading sessions and offering access to online learning tools that allow employees to learn through text, video or audio-based media. Businesses and their HR teams must focus their energies on creating an atmosphere where knowledge and ideas flow throughout the organisation, departments, business units and at all levels of employment. It’s essential that learning becomes the absolute norm.
Businesses can also encourage knowledge sharing and idea creation among employees by collectively exposing them to social media, online courses, classroom training and other such relevant resources along with a comfortable learning environment. Once the culture of continuous learning is in place, employees will be empowered and capable to contribute to the business goals and to the success of the organisation.
Creating a learning roadmap
The most important part of creating a learning culture in the workplace is to create an efficient road map. For this purpose, organisations must identify the top skills in the context of their business and the levels at which these skills are required. This strategic roadmap must focus on particular high-calibre skills that will contribute to the overall development of employees to support their success and the success of the organisation.
It is imperative for companies to create a learning roadmap that involves several strategies to engage employees. Since different employees have different learning styles, it is important to include multiple methods such as reading, watching videos and listening to audio clips. To reinforce learning and make learning stick, it is also important to build in opportunities for employees to practice what they’ve learned. Once popular methods of learning are identified, they can be deployed keeping in mind employee needs and preferences.
Continuous motivation is also an essential part of continuous learning. Companies should incentivise continuous learning in a way that employees are urged to acquire more skills. Apart from designing courses and strategic roadmaps, organisations must focus on ensuring that they offer sufficient motivation to learners. Powered by motivated continuous learners, organisations will be able to stay ahead of the game, ensuring that their employees are appropriately skilled at any juncture of business transformation.
Many organisations understand the benefits of continuous learning for their current workforce but there are additional long-term benefits for organisations that invest in and build a culture of learning. While continuous learning does increase the worth of an employee, such a learning environment also helps organisations retain their best talent and attract and acquire new talent. Career development is thus an integral function for any organisation to support its business objectives while keeping up rapid and continuous change that has become the norm across technologies and industries.
The author is managing director, India Skillsoft